THE CANUCKS: Okay, so maybe it was a bit silly to think that the Canucks weren’t going to score another goal this season. You can’t blame someone for thinking that after the way they played during that AZ/CA road swing. So it was nice to see them come out and play hard against San Jose, controlling play for stretches during the game and look, dare I say, dangerous? Sure they still lost, but the key right now is keeping things entertaining for the fan base, ensuring that the kids are getting a chance to show their stuff to remind people things will get better than they are now, but still drop those last 2 spots and (hopefully) secure their first ever 1st overall draft pick in June.
Speaking of the kids, there’s a bunch of news on some of the prospects, so let’s take a look at what’s going on. Will Lockwood has decided he’ll stay one more year at the U of Michigan, so the Canucks will not be seeing him next season apart from development camp. Lockwood’s Wolverines are taking on Adam Gaudette’s Northeastern University on Saturday in the NCAA playoffs, though Lockwood is out as he recovers from a shoulder injury suffered during the World Juniors. The Canucks have decided to pass on signing F Jakub Stukel. Stukel was selcted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft. They will however be signing Cole Candella.
TANKWATCH 2018: Not a good night for the Canucks, as everyone around them lost. The Detroit Red Wings are making a serious push for the bottom, and after losing 5-1 to Colorado, are now 0-9-1 in their last 10. After dealing a blow to Florida’s playoff hopes Saturday, the Oilers rolled over in a 3-1 loss to Tampa, who clinched a playoff spot with the victory. The Islanders lost 4-3 to Carolina, and the Blackhawks lost in OT to to St Louis. So let’s see the standings in the basement before looking at tonight’s games:
Two huge games tonight, as the teams beneath them are both playing, and this could have a massive impact on how this all shakes down. Buffalo is taking on the Nashville Predators. With the Preds firing on all cylinders right now, it’s hard to imagine they take a night off. The Arizona Coyotes are hosting the Calgary Flames, who are desperate to stay in the playoff race, and playing against G Mike Smith’s old team, will come out hard. Fingers crossed for the Canucks tonight, but my gut tells me no good news is to be had by the end of the evening...
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The NHL’s GMs are having their annual spring meetings in Florida, and there’s a few things on their agenda, most notably the coach’s challenge to goaltender interference. It’s been one of the biggest issues this year, as no one, from players, to coaches to on and off ice officials can seem to clearly define what is and is not goaltender interference. Do we have any reason to hope that they can come out of this with a solid vision of how it should be called? Welllll...
Colin Campbell says he believes NHL goaltenders are now coached to embellish contact around the net.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 19, 2018
That’s a nuclear hot take, and believe me when I tell you that one resonates all the way back to 2011 around this neighbourhood.
It was beginning to look like the St Louis Blues were going to fade away in the playoff race, but winning 4 of their last 5, including back to back OT wins has them now just one point back of the last wild card spot in the West. They did get some bad news yesterday though as Vladimir Tarasenko was injured and is listed as day to day. They’ll need him to get back soon if they want to keep pushing forward.