This 4 game road trip has been one of the longest of the year. Time is funny like that. When the injuries, poor play and general Olympic malaise infects the team and grumpy fans. Would this have been a good year for the NHL to NOT skip the Olympics? Yes, yes it would.
But, no, Gary B. wanted us to witness a mini-injury-streak within a mini
[redacted] streak. So, instead of watching Canada’s best players play the best game in the world at 2AM, we get a Sunday afternoon game in Dallas. Insult meet injury.
That’s a lot of meet and greet. On this mini-hell-on-wheels tour of the wastelands of hockey game attendance, we have seen Gaunce, Gags, Granlund, Tanev and Brock pulled out of rink and into the infirmary. At least the Nucks have risen above adversity and won every game. In our hearts. Sort of.
Today though, we get a little relief....Brock is back!
Boeser will play vs. Dallas today. pic.twitter.com/rzkUVGwOPJ— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 11, 2018
But others are still being held for standings ransom - whatever that costs.
Tanev is a week from playing.— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 11, 2018
Granlund will be out at least a month.
Goldobin & Biega will not play.
The Dallas Stars have been on a streak too - a five game winning streak. We know what that feels like. By looking at our historical records. The Stars are in the top wildcard spot and have bunch of teams chewing at their skates to take it. Must be fun.
Over at Sportynet there’s a Q&A with Green that answers many questions - like this one about more ice time for the kids.
Green: I’m always looking to play young players as much as possible. But I don’t want to play them at the cost of them (failing to develop) into players that we can win with. It’s a fine line. We try to balance it, try to juggle it. Jake Virtanen is a good example. He does not play special teams. He’s learning the game, learning little details in the game. There’s so much that goes into what I’m talking about in developing players we can win with. We do not want to overload Jake. I want to make him the best even-strength player that we can. I thought in Tampa (a 5-2 loss on Thursday) he played well. He had a drive in him. He had purpose in his game. He had shots. He carried the puck.
If you watch teams that win, they hang on to the puck and make plays. They’ve very aggressive and very consistent. They do it every day. They know what it means and what it takes to win. We need to make Jake a winning player – not just a player. I’m not going to bend just because we’re in the last third of the year. He’s got to come back next year and prove that he’s a winning player. And it’s not just him, it’s our young guys in general. We want to make sure our young guys want to win so badly that they’ll play the way they have to play to win. I understand there’s a step for everything. We have to get from where we are to making the playoffs, then take another step. (But) I want to win championships. My goal is not just to squeak into the playoffs.
Enjoy this Sunday afternoon game, don’t worry about squeaking into the playoffs, just squeaking out an improbable win could be fun.