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Game Day Coffee- Feb 6/16- Good Morning, Kamloops

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Celebrating the game nation-wide, with the festivities centered in my hometown of Kamloops, BC. It's Hockey Day In Canada, and the Canucks have a huge game against someone who is trying to steal Auston Matthews from them: The Calgary Flames.

They told us that it was dead, but deep down, we still believed. And after a 2-1 shootout loss against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, #TeamTank is gassed up and ready to roll. And with a majority of their games remaining against the teams they`re fighting for this fabled wild card spot, things are not looking good right now. And that`s okay. I am all about the big picture, and while it`s maddening at times to watch this team fritter away games, I know that in the long run, it will pay off. This is about making the team better for the future, building a new core that will take the torch from the Sedins and run with it. That means some painful moments on the way, but they`re necessary to correct mistakes made along the way.

But, if you are one of those that still thinks this team should be pushing for the post-season, this game appears to be a winnable win for the Canucks for a number of reasons. The Flames have lost 3 straight on the tail end of back to backs, and the Canucks are 4-1-2 all time against Calgary on Hockey Day. Does that mean they`ll win tonight? Probably not, but the Flames Gaud-awful (see what I did there?) special teams might be the reason the Canucks get 2 points. One of the worst penalty killing teams, along with the worst PP in the NHL could add up for a good night for the Canucks. They are also healthy for the first time all season with the return of Dan Hamhuis.

One thing to watch tonight is the Jake Factor. Jake Virtanen was a healthy scratch in the two previous meetings of these teams back in October, and given his penchant for hits, this seems like a game he is dying to get into when you think about that playoff series back in April. I know many Canucks fans are looking forward to seeing him bring the hammer down on Michael Ferland, and fortunately the Hockey Night in Canada crew will be there to remind Sam Bennett how old he is when Jake gets done with him.

As you all know today is the annual Hockey Day In Canada celebration, and this year it's in the town I grew up in: Kamloops, BC. My old hometown has a pretty rich hockey history, especially in junior hockey. From the old BCHL Rockets, who produced Bob Nystrom of the New York Islanders, to the Kamloops Jr Oilers (who of course went on to become the Blazers). How good were those Blazers teams in the late 80's early 90's? There were some who called the franchise the Montreal Canadiens of junior hockey. 3 Memorial Cups in 4 years. And the list of players that came out of those days? From the superstars like Jarome Iginla, Scott Niedermeyer, Mark Recchi, Shane Doan and Devan Dubnyk to long time NHL'ers like Darcy Tucker, Darryl Sydor, Kem Daneyko, Robyn Regher, Rob Brown and Darryl Reaugh. It was also the home of former Canucks Corey Hirsch, Nolan Baumgartner, Doug Bodger, Garth Butcher, Brad Lukowich and Jason Strudwick. They also produced some pretty good coaches: Ken Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Dean Evason, Don Hay and Marc Habscheid all spent time on the ice or on the bench (and in the cases of Evason and Habscheid, both) for the Blazers.

I have great memories of going to games with my dad, and not just Blazers games, but the long running Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament, an Easter tradition in the 'Loops. Some of the names that played in this tournament: Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Rod Brind'Amour, Cliff Ronning, Adam Foote, Sergei Fedorov, Patrick Marleau, Vincent Lacavalier, Mike Modano, Brendan Morrison, Ryan Kesler, Dion Phaneuf, Patrick Kane, Evander Kane and Jordan Eberle. Not a bad collection of talent, eh?

I wish I could be there today and be part of the celebrations, but I am happy that CBC's doing such a good job of showing the passion for the game that Kamloops has. Now, let's get on with the links, shall we?

FRESH HOT LINKS

-  Yannick Weber's cleared waivers and is on his way to Utica

- Could Dan Hamhuis be a fit in Washington as part of their playoff run?

- A big day in Canucks history, as one of the better trades the franchise ever pulled off happened this day in 1998

- Though consistency is still an issue, Linden Vey seems determined not to go back to Utica

Willie's only missed the playoffs once as a coach (Damn you, Seibu Bears!) and he's determined to keep it that way

- The roller coaster that is the Youth Movement

- Perhaps we should call him the $3.25 Million Dollar Man?

- The Canucks made Sven Baertschi work on his defensive game, and it's starting to pay off

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

With the Kamloops theme to the day, I had to bring some homegrown metal for ya, in the form of Sadistic Humour. SadHum were the house band on my tv show back in the day, and they evolved from a raw, crossover influenced band to a more melodic thrash style, heavily influenced by guitarist Sean Luciw's jazzy riffs. This home video is from their farewell show in 1994 at the Legion in Kamloops.