Where: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
When: 7:00 pm PST
Where to Watch: Sportsnet, CBC
SB Nation Opposition Blog: Fear The Fin
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: It wasn’t pretty, but it was a fairly familiar refrain. The Canucks managed their way out of a jam thanks to Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Jacob Markstrom and one of the kids. This time it was a goal and an assist from Adam Gaudette that forced overtime before Pettersson and Boeser scored in the shootout to give them the win over the Kings. They sit a point back of the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot in the West, and can retake it with a win tonight. Just one problem. They haven’t looked like they could win a period against the San Jose Sharks for a long time now, let alone an entire game.
That’s the battle they’re facing right now: a 16.82% of making the playoffs. Not exactly confidence inspiring. I suppose if you like underdogs, there may not be a bigger one in the league this year, but it’s still very likely that they don’t have what it takes to get them there.
Gaudette had a huge impact after being called up, but I will be genuinely surprised if the latest player dispatched from the Utica Comets has the same effect. Luke Schenn was brought up yesterday amid injuries to Christopher Tanev and Alex Edler. If you’re looking for a replacement of either of these two in Schenn, it’s not happening. There’s a reason why he was down with Anaheim’s AHL squad. But if he can play marginally better than Erik Gudbranson, who is the weakest link on the Canucks back end, that has to be seen as a positive. That’s a low bar, but this is the situation the Canucks find themselves in.
One thing that has been good is the way that Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton have responded in the absence of the Canucks top pairing. They have handled the extra minutes well, especially Stecher, who has helped breathe some life into the stagnant Canucks power play since his addition. It’s not perfect, but it’s becoming a threat again thanks to Stecher’s ability to move the puck, helping create space for Pettersson and Boeser.
And we’ve just found out that the Canucks have made another trade, sending Sam Gagner to... Edmonton. Wow. Ryan Spooner comes back the other way. Not sure what to think of this trade, because it gives the Canucks a guy that struggled to find a place on that god-forsaken Oilers team. But if you’re looking for a possible silver lining, it might be this?
And it apparently gives the Canucks a small amount of cap savings by taking Gagner off the books (and having it come at the expense of the Rangers is kinda great, not to mention it eh, affects the Leafs):
Reminder - Rangers are retaining $900,000 of Ryan Spooner's salary for this year and next season— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) February 16, 2019
Which makes the #Canucks actually save $50,000 in cap space compared to Gagner.
No word on whether Spooner will go straight to Utica, or if he’s destined to be in the Canucks lineup. Either way it’s a reclamation project for both teams, though the question could be asked: are either of these teams in a situation where they should be doing this?
No word yet on the actual lineup, but we’ll post it for you once it becomes known.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Tridroid Records is an independent label based in Louisiana specializing in all things heavy. On Valentine’s Day they gave out some Bandcamp download codes to snag some of the releases off the label and I am impressed with everything I heard. My favorite was a band from Poland called RUSTED BRAIN. Their album High Voltage Thrash brings you exactly that, high speed riffing that may not be reinventing the wheel but is sure to get a circle pit goin’. No matter how you like your heavy stuff, they’ve got something for you. Check out their entire catalog here.