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OPPOSING BLOG: PENSION PLAN PUPPETS
This might be the biggest game of Travis Green’s tenure as coach of the Vancouver Canucks. If his charges don’t come out of the gates tonight ready to battle and really take the game to what is arguably the best team in the NHL right now, he could very well find his time as the Canucks bench boss come to an abrupt and unglamourous end.
No pressure, right?
Since what was essentially their best performance of the year in the first game of this road trip in Winnipeg, the Canucks have rattled off 4 straight losses, each one more frustrating and embarrassing than the last.
We’ve put up with a lot in the last 10 years, and the promise was that things were going to get better after getting so close a decade ago. We bought in on a rebuild far earlier than the team did. We knew what they had was not good enough and they would need to rebuild a completely new core. We’ve been patient, watching as the team slowly drafted some players that they could genuinely craft something special around.
And we’ve tried to temper our frustration with a management team that has fumbled and bumbled their way through these 7 years, taking two steps back for every step forward, culminating in a summer that promised the issues that were facing this team were going to be addressed. Either we were blatantly lied to, or they really aren’t good at this, because the issues: defence and goaltending, have been so glaringly bad that the season is already in jeopardy.
So that leaves the Canucks in the situation of having to play a game with bigger stakes than the Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights a few months earlier. And somehow, the team that’s been getting their asses kicked on a nightly basis has to reverse course here.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what we should expect tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Loui Eriksson
Nils Hoglander — Brandon Sutter — Justin Bailey
Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Antoine Roussel
Quinn Hughes — Jordie Benn
Nate Schmidt — Tyler Myers
Alexander Edler — Olli Juolevi
Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette, Jalen Chatfield
Injured: Micheal Ferland (upper body), Jayce Hawryluk (undisclosed), Travis Hamonic (upper body)
Maple Leafs projected lineup
Zach Hyman — Auston Matthews — Mitchell Marner
Wayne Simmonds — John Tavares — William Nylander
Jimmy Vesey — Alexander Kerfoot — Ilya Mikheyev
Alexander Barabanov — Travis Boyd — Jason Spezza
Morgan Rielly — TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin — Justin Holl
Mikko Lehtonen — Zach Bogosian
Scratched: Nic Petan, Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks
Injured: Nicholas Robertson (lower body), Joe Thornton (upper body), Jack Campbell (lower body), Travis Dermott (charley horse)
After a couple really bad nights in Toronto, Jalen Chatfield is out and Olli Juolevi returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for 6 straight games.
This sucks, because Motte’s been probably the best of the bottom 6 so far this year.
They’re also giving Braden Holtby the start tonight. Holtby was pissed off after Saturday’s game, and rightfully so. Giving him the chance to battle for a win may just get the Canucks motivated after being called out for another lackluster effort.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"We need to take a good look in the mirror and raise our standards on the ice." - J.T. Miller pic.twitter.com/fH4Z5HakPG— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 8, 2021
"It's important for a goaltender to close the door on yesterday so they can open the door on today with a fresh mind." #Canucks Goaltending Coach Ian Clark is mic'd up working with Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby. pic.twitter.com/dB0WeDoub3— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 8, 2021
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
With the release of Hell Unleashed, UK thrashers EVILE return to the scene with their first release since ‘Skull’ in 2013. The title track seems to promise what helped them become one of the leaders of the New Wave of Thrash Metal, tons of furious, speedy riffs to be found here. Try and enjoy the game, alright? Go Canucks Go.