Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
When: 4:30 pm PST
Where to Watch: SNP
SB Nation Opposition Blog: Canes Country
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Get a load of this guy...
ICYMI: Can Canes' Andrei Svechnikov win the Calder Trophy as top rookie? Don’t bet against him https://t.co/TVy3PV54q6— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) December 22, 2018
When this came out just before Christmas, it raised a lot of eyebrows, especially in this neck of the woods. Not just because it looked a tad silly given how one-sided the race has been, but let’s face it: Chip doesn’t look like the kind of guy who partakes in the smoking of a certain leafy green substance. But ol’ Chip must be high if he thinks that there’s any way that Andrei Svechnikov is taking home the Calder that doesn’t involve a) an interference campaign on par with the 2016 US Election or b) a season ending injury for Elias Pettersson. And in the case of b) it’s not even a lock.
"Oh? You were a 5th-overall pick? Lol. That's cute." - Andrei Svechnikov, probably. pic.twitter.com/VEYkUbF1sd— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 23, 2019
Nah, bro. What’s cute is you think ANYONE could make up a 22 point differential in the remaining 33 games, but you do you.
The one fundamental difference between these two players is simple: The Hurricanes cannot look at Svech and say there’s no way we are where we are right now without him in the lineup. The Canucks? There’s no chance they can say the word playoffs without him and that’s a damn fact. Google it.
I do enjoy all the Svech-ing, but for me the best part about tonight is getting to see Sebastian Aho play. The 21 year old C is having himself a fine season, with 22-33-55 in 49 games. He’s been a bargain at his ELC salary, and is likely to get himself paid in a big way next season from the Canes. With Teuvo Teravainen (5 years, $27 Million) that could see them let Michael Ferland slip away, so watch for him to be dealt at the deadline. And before you ask: no thank you. Ferland is Lucic 2.0 and isn’t likely to reproduce his numbers this year. I however won’t be at all surprised to see him go to Edmonton because Oilers.
Meanwhile, the grounding of Nikolay Goldobin (who has done a very bad thing) continues, as we can see by this morning’s line rushes:
#Canucks at a-m skate— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) January 23, 2019
It puts the Canucks in a bit of a situation. Are they still trying to develop the player? If they are, then they either need to send him to Utica (which doesn’t work because he’d get snapped up on waivers in a heartbeat) or play him. And there’s a general unwillingness on the part of Travis Green to pull anyone out of the lineup to take his place right now. So if that’s the case, you can then wonder if they’re looking to trade him, right? But if that’s the case, don’t you want to showcase him with the deadline approaching and give him some chances to succeed and allow for the best possible return? Things may be slowly getting better around here, but that’s not to say there’s not still some head-scratching decision making going on. It ain’t Edmonton, but then again they’re in a league of their own...
WILD CARD WATCH: Tonight’s a big night, as a number of the teams that the Canucks are in a slap fight for one of those two Wild Card slots are playing: The Coyotes are in Montreal for a big game against the Canadiens. Despite a metric fuck-tonne of injuries, the ‘Yotes have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 and sit 2 points back with one game in hand. The Minnesota Wild are in Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs hold onto the Wild Card Spot at the moment, and the Wild are one point ahead, sitting in 3rd place in the Central. Both teams have a game in hand, but the Canucks have more wins than the Avs. And finally St Louis is in Anaheim to meet the Ducks. The Ducks are in a bit of a freefall right now, winners of two of their last 10 and rumours swirling that Randy Carlyle could be on his way out as head coach. Despite a herculean effort this season from John Gibson, this team is bad and is gonna need some help to make it. The Blues have made up a bit of ground, but sit 5 points back of the Canucks and Avs but have two games in hand on Vancouver. They’re going to need to win those and hope the Canucks don’t if they want to stay in this race, and with the All Star break starting after tonight’s games, we won’t have a slightly clearer picture until after things resume next week.
Getting back to tonight’s game, we would feel bad if we didn’t give you a heads up on this:
I'll be live-tweeting the Carolina game tonight and sharing some thoughts about the season so far.— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) January 23, 2019
Gonna be a night of #HardHittingAnalysis for sure. Speaking of, here’s your pregame reading list... iMac and Murph on why the Canucks find themselves knocking on the playoff door (I haven’t read it but I am sure there’s some mention of 2⁄3 of the Western Conference being bloody awful and the rest of it about EP40)... JPat’s preview for TSN1040... Carolina’s starting a rookie goaltender in his first ever NHL game tonight, so react accordingly...
Per source, (yeah, I'm sick), Carolina Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is expected to make his first NHL start tonight.— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) January 23, 2019
Drafted one spot behind Vancouver Canucks' Thatcher Demko, Nedeljkovic is ironically expected to start vs. the Canucks Wednesday. #TakeWarning #Canucks
Jason Brough over at the Athletic on why he thinks the Canucks will aggressively pursue a Top 6 winger for the deadline... The focus? Get back into that playoff spot before the break... All kidding aside, the Carolina Hurricanes are bringing fun back to hockey, here’s ESPN with a look at what’s going on down there... And finally, here’s the box score from the last game Carolina won in Vancouver if you want a good chuckle... Here’s the potential lines from The Province:
Markus Granlund — Bo Horvat — Josh Leivo
Sven Baertschi — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Jake Virtanen
Loui Eriksson — Jay Beagle — Tyler Motte
Alex Edler — Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton — Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot — Erik Gudbranson
Jacob Markstrom, Thatcher Demko
Nino Niederreiter — Sebastian Aho — Justin Williams
Michael Ferland — Lucas Wallmark — Teuvo Teravainen
*Andrei Svechnikov —Jordan Martinook — Brock McGinn
Warren Foegele — Greg McKegg —Saku Maenalanen
(* Svechnikov suffered upper-body injury Tuesday in Calgary).
Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce — Justin Faulk
Calvin De Haan — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Alex Nedeljkovic — Petr Mrazek
Canucks: No players on Injured Reserve; Hurricanes: Jordan Staal (upper body, IR), Curtis McElhinney (knee, day-to-day)
Canucks: 23rd (17.0%); Hurricanes: 22nd (17.1%)
Canucks: 21st (79.0%); Hurricanes: 20th (79.1%)
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Corrosion of Conformity began their career as a hardcore band, veered into crossover territory before settling into a stoner/doom groove. The best damn band ever outta North Carolina are still out there kickin’ ass, but we’re gonna go way back to their early days for today’s battle hymn. From their 2nd album ‘Animosity’, here’s ‘Positive Outlook’. Enjoy the game.