Vancouver Canucks (11-15-3) vs Minnesota Wild (14-10-2)
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
When: 7:00 pm PST
Where to Watch: Sportsnet Pacific
SB Nation Opposition Blog: Hockey Wilderness
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gotta hand it to GMJB. At a time where the tank is rumbling along at full speed and the fan base is starting to get restless, he goes out and actually does something that should improve this hockey team. And the fact that he saw an opportunity to make a deal with a team that was in a bit of a bind? It’s almost like a Christmas Miracle. Am I selling this one a little on the hard side? Maybe, but when you look at the free agent signings that the Canucks made recently, getting someone with quantifiable upside who just needed a change of scenery seems like a win.
Naturally, some Leafs fans don’t like this deal, and I can’t say I blame them. Michael Carcone is having a great season with the Comets, and has really made the most of his opportunities that have arisen thanks to the myriad of injuries down on the farm. But the Leafs moved out an NHL player for an AHL’er who was a long shot to make the Canucks. If he plays even one game for the Leafs, something’s gone horribly wrong in Hog Town. Sure, it’s a pretty accurate statement on the way things have gone for the Canucks over the last few years, but damn does it feel nice to be on the side of a trade that’s a clear win.
And while we wait to see where Travis Green slots Leivo in, they’ll also get someone back off the IR tonight as Jay Beagle returns to the lineup. Try to contain your excitement. Beagle was the big free agent signing in the off-season, and got in just 5 games before a shot block arm fracture sidelined him. In a way, we don’t really know what we have in Beagle, but the hope is that he can bring some stability to the PK and take some of the faceoff load off of Bo Horvat. The faceoff part I get, because he’s been a stud in the circle for a while. The help on the PK? As PITB and Canucks Army pointed out before the season started, it’s a bit of a mystery how he got a reputation for being good on the PK when his stats clearly say otherwise. Still, anything that shakes up the bottom 6 right now is going to help. That being said, the Canucks need to stop taking so many damn penalties and try and hang on until Brandon Sutter returns.
The Wild come into this game slumping a bit themselves, having dropped 3 straight against the Coyotes, Blue Jackets and Leafs, but still hold onto a Wild Card spot, sitting 5 points ahead of the Canucks. They’re also healthy at the moment, and are looking at this Western Canadian swing as a chance to get things back on track. There’s a great, detailed post over at Hockey Wilderness to fill you in as we await their pregame report.
Here’s the projected lineups for tonight from The Province (we’ll update the pairings when they’re announced):
Josh Leivo — Bo Horvat — Sam Gagner
Markus Granlund — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin — Adam Gaudette — Jake Virtanen
Tim Schaller — Jay Beagle — Antoine Roussel
Alex Edler — Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton — Erik Gudbranson
Derrick Pouliot — Troy Stecher
Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Anders Nilsson
Zach Parise — Mikko Koivu — Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker — Eric Staal — Mikael Granlund
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno — Eric Fehr — J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Mathew Dumba
Nick Seeler — Greg Pateryn
Goalies: Devan Dubnyk, Alex Stalock
Canucks: Brandon Sutter (separated shoulder, IR), Sven Baertschi (concussion, IR).
Wild: No injuries to report.
Canucks: 20th (18.1%)
Wild: 14th (21.2%)
Canucks: 23rd (76.8%)
Wild: 5th (83.5%)
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Another track off a recent acquisition, 1989’s “Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit-DejaVu” from Suicidal Tendencies. A number of tracks that are actually covers (4 originally done by No Mercy and one by Los Cycos), 2 versions of “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow...” and a studio outtake make this more a compilation than a true album. Here’s the video for ‘Waking The Dead’ (featuring future Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo, though he didn’t play on any of the recordings).