Oh wait... I know what's missing: Brandon Prust. Yeah, seems like we have been talking an awful lot about the guy this year, and in the last month or so especially. That's what happens when you spear someone in the junk and then act like an unrepentant asshole about it. As we discussed previously, Prust was scheduled to be scratched against the Rangers, with Jake Virtanen getting back in the lineup after missing the game against the Islanders Sunday. Suddenly there was an awkward about face by the team, announcing that Prust was back in, and team president Trevor Linden offering up a not-very convincing excuse about Prust needing to play against a former team, calling it a 'delicate dance'.
That's all fine and well, and I along with many others accepted that, even though we weren't happy about it. There's just one problem with it all: It means that Prust is out of the lineup tonight against Boston. Sure, given the way he played at MSG he should be riding the pine, but Prust's actions at the end of the game probably need to be addressed. So instead of facing the music against Marchand (or as is the Bruins way likely someone else, probably all at the same time) exacting a little revenge on Prust for his gutless and unnecessary play in a game the Canucks were getting blown out in, he instead gets off lightly again. And where does that leave the Canucks? With 'enforcer' Derek Dorsett and the diminutive but game Alex Biega to have to defend against the Bruins tonight. And mark my word, they were completely intent on making sure Prust got what was coming to him tonight. Now, someone else is gonna pay, and we're not gonna like who it ends up being, I imagine.
The optics of this are horrible. It went from Prust being painted as the selfish teammate refusing to accept a healthy scratch, to one of two things: Either the team is keeping him out of the lineup, which makes some sense in terms of keeping him from getting killed (no matter what he deserves) but then leaves the rest of the team vulnerable because despite his seeming inability to protect his teammates from cheap shots this year, that's one of the reasons they brought him in. The other possibility, is that he bargained this to ensure he'd still take his healthy scratch, but at a time more convenient for him not having to spend the entire night getting his head kicked in by an angry Bruins team. Either way, this looks bloody awful. And if another Canuck gets injured tonight, this is on his, and management's hands.
The Canucks did confirm that Virtanen and the newly signed Mike Zalewski will be in the lineup tonight, and they'll play on the 3rd line with Dorsett. Virtanen and Zalewski should be able to provide a little more speed than we're used to seeing from the bottom 6, and aren't shy of the physical game either. The Bruins could see David Krejci and Landon Ferraro back in their lineup tonight, both were on the ice at an optional skate, and we should hear soon if they're good to go.
So is this still a rivalry? While some want to make you think it's as intense as the first game after 2011 (and what a memorable game that was), time heals old wounds, and it's not what it used to be. I mean, there's just 5 players from that 2011 lineup left for the Canucks. There are the Boston fans of course, some of them fine people, others exemplifying the worst in sports fan humanity, and we'll see lots of that tonight. There's also the Boston media, who make John Garrett's ridiculous op-ed yesterday about conspiracy against the Canucks by officials look rooted in common sense. A visit to Boston means having to see stuff like this:
The absolute highlight of my week was hearing Johnny Cash's "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Boy Named Sue" blaring from the Canucks locker room.
The absolute highlight of my week was hearing Johnny Cash's "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Boy Named Sue" blaring from the Canucks locker room.— Andre Khatchaturian (@AndreKhatchNESN) January 21, 2016
We'll revisit that one should the Canucks pull out a win tonight.
FRESH HOT LINKS
- PITB thinks Prust should lay low...
- Are the Canucks as barren for trade bait as everyone thinks? Not so, says Botch
- If Zalewski's name is familiar it should be, he turned a cup of coffee and a demotion into a new contract
- We saw Ryan Miller's mask for that upcoming throwback skate jersey game, now check out his pads
- That Garrett article on CDC got a lot of attention, and none of it good. Take the under on Canucks power plays tonight, friends
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Switzerland's not a country many associate with metal. Sure, there's been a few gems: Hellhammer (who went on to become Celtic Frost, then evolved into Tom G. Warrior's newest project Tryptikon), Coroner, Eluvietie, Samael and old school rockers Krokus. So I was happy to see a new Swiss band come out, and these guys have some pretty decent metal chops. COMANIAC released their debut 'Return To The Wasteland' and it has a real KREATOR-like vibe to it.