VANCOUVER CANUCKS (18-18-3) vs FLORIDA PANTHERS (27-8-5)
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: LITTER BOX CATS
Sometimes, you just gotta say ‘fuck it!’
I mean, what else can you say about a team that finds itself in the situation the Canucks are in. After coming off a shutdown where they hardly had anyone in COVID protocol, but the games were postponed because they would have to be played in an empty rink, to a 5 game swing through America’s petri dish, where they find themselves without both goaltenders and three of their top six forwards. If you ever had any doubt about the hockey gods complete and utter disdain for the Vancouver Canucks, this should pretty much settle it.
So just to be sure you’re perfectly clear, the Canucks will go into tonight’s contest against the NHL’s first place club with Thatcher Demko, Jaroslav Halak, JT Miller, Bo Horvat, and Conor Garland on the COVID Protocol list. So that means we’re looking at a mishmash of lines, with a whole lotta Abbotsford flavour as they play their first home game since Dec 14th when they beat Columbus 4-3.
What should have been a fun homecoming game and a chance to get some revenge after a tough loss in Florida 10 days ago, now becomes a game where we hold our breath, keep our fingers crossed no one gets injured to make a bad situation worse, and that they don’t get embarrassed as badly as the Oilers did last night.
Panthers projected lineup
Carter Verhaeghe — Aleksander Barkov — Sam Reinhart
Jonathan Huberdeau — Sam Bennett — Anthony Duclair
Maxim Mamin — Anton Lundell — Owen Tippett
Ryan Lomberg — Eetu Luostarinen — Joe Thornton
MacKenzie Weegar — Aaron Ekblad
Olli Juolevi — Brandon Montour
Scratched: Frank Vatrano, Mason Marchment
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (upper body)
COVID-19 protocol: Gustav Forsling
Canucks projected lineup
Nils Hoglander — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Jason Dickinson — Alex Chiasson
Tyler Motte — Juho Lammikko — Matthew Highmore
Vasily Podkolzin — Sheldon Dries — Justin Bailey
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myers
Scratched: Brad Hunt, Justin Dowling
Injured: Guillaume Brisebois (undisclosed), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Brady Keeper (leg), Brandon Sutter (illness)
COVID-19 protocol: Thatcher Demko, J.T. Miller, Jaroslav Halak, Conor Garland, Bo Horvat
Bright spots? Well, that first line could be fun to watch, though it sucks that they’re forced to break up the Pettersson/Hoglander/Podkolzin trio already after such a strong showing in Nashville. That second line is not a second line on any other team in the NHL except maybe Arizona, and we can only hope Justin Bailey and Sheldon Dries find some kind of chemistry with Podkolzin. And hey, we still have all our defencemen, right?
Tonight’s Spencer Martin’s big moment, his first NHL start since the 2016-17 season for the Colorado Avalanche. It’s hard to say right now who will get the start on Sunday against the St Louis Blues if Halak is still in protocol, but you get the feeling that barring a super human performance from Martin, they’ll give DiPietro a shot.
What a disaster.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"He's the number one goalie down there (AHL) so makes sense he's next up."— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 21, 2022
️ Bruce Boudreau on starting Spencer Martin tonight against the Panthers#Canucks | @TheProvince pic.twitter.com/8XK2OH3Yar
Let's end the stigma around mental health.— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 21, 2022
Fans are encouraged to share messages of support to create an atmosphere of open dialogue and awareness about mental health, using the hashtag #HockeyTalks.
RESOURCES | https://t.co/P8AZEGdNYX pic.twitter.com/b4OdgHoCuN
Tonight is the 10th annual Hockey Talks game, as they honour the memory of Rick Rypien, and show their support for everyone suffering from mental health issues. It’s been amazing to see how it grew from the Canucks starting it, to a near-league wide event, and while they still have a lot of work to do, it’s great to see how much they’ve changed the way they look at mental health.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Old school Maiden for you today. From their 2nd album ‘Killers’. here’s ‘Wrathchild’ for ya. Try and enjoy the game, alright? Go Canucks Go. RIP Ryp.