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Game Day Coffee- Feb 9/16- Canucks @ ColoraHOLY CRAP TORONTO?!?!?!?!

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I step away from the computer for a moment and the Toronto Maple Leafs pull off a MASSIVE 9 player trade... with the Ottawa Senators? Yeah, people in these parts aren't going to react well for every hour the Canucks don't make a deal now.

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I know we need to talk about that game on Saturday, which was either an embarrassing heart breaker or a clear nod to Team Tank. Right now though, the hockey world is reeling as news breaks of a trade between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators that shows once again that anyone who says you can't make trades in today's NHL isn't trying hard enough.

The trade breaks down like this:

Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey to Ottawa for Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg and a 2nd rounder in 2017. Neither team is retaining salary here, and that is a clear sign that the Maple Leafs are making room, and a lot of it, to bring in Stephen Stamkos in the off-season. We all knew Stamkos was gonna get paid, but this changes the game a whole lot now. Is Tampa really willing to part with him? Can they afford to match or beat Toronto? Is anyone else going to be able to come close? All I know is any of you who thought the Canucks had a sniff at bringing him in should realize they have a better chance of making the playoffs than pulling this off.

Ah yes, the playoffs. I am confident that we will be able to look back at Saturday night's game and go "that's what finished the deal for the Canucks". Sure, it could be said there were a lot of games that sealed their fate, like every freaking time they went to OT, but in a game that to a man they recognized as must win, they simply didn't have enough, losing precious points to a divisional rival that should have been easy pickings.

While there's still a smattering of people insisting upon blaming goaltending, and Ryan Miller in particular for the Canucks woes, the problem is clear: the Canucks can't score, even when getting a healthy amount of shots. Whether it's luck or something else, this team's goal scoring ability compared to last season is night and day different and along with the continuing erosion of the defence since 2011's run to the finals, it's the reason they are going to miss the playoffs.

There's not going to be some kind of miracle comeback barring a trade in the league of what we saw today where the Canucks get an infusion of goal scoring AND some help on the back end. Call me a pessimist, but I can't see Jim Benning pulling off anything close to this.

Anyway, on to the task at hand. The first of 3 meetings this season against the Avalanche, and in spite of all the talk about the Canucks brutal road schedule this year (not excuses for losses, just stating fact), they are actually playing in Denver on the first of the back to back, and not the tail end as we've seen in recent years. That alone should give you hope for a possibility of a win.

The Avalanche will be going with Semyon Varlamov tonight, while Jacob Markstrom gets the nod for the Canucks. Markstrom is looking for his 4th straight win, while Varlamov and the Avs will try and come up with a better effort against the Canucks than they've been mustering lately, as they try and avoid going winless in the last game of their 4 game home stand. The Avs are pretty bad at home, like Canucks bad. So with the line juggling that Willie D is making (but how long will that last, right?), perhaps the Canucks can take advantage of a team that lets in just under 3 a game at home and get their microscopic playoff hopes back on track. Aww, who am I kidding? This back end of the Avalanche is going to feast offensively on the Canucks, and it will, much like he's had to do all season long, be up to Markstrom to try and steal a win.


- With Phaneuf and a freshly resigned Dustin Byfuglien off the market, does this make Dan Hamhuis a much more marketable commodity? VCB's Ryan Biech looks at some possible destinations...

- Meanwhile, in our Goaltending Controversies Yet To Happen Dept. we can look forward to the Canucks probably screwing up a potential future superstar, right?

- Ben Kuzma was on TSN1040 this morning, and he thinks the Caps should take a long look at Hammer

- The Kid Line is back tonight: Overdue or a sign of desperation?

- The preview over at Mile High Hockey


The Mile High State has always had a strong metal tradition, and the current champs are the kickass thrashers HAVOK. Check out 'From The Cradle To The Grave' and enjoy the game tonight!