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Game Day Preview And Game Thread #31: Dec 19/22- Canucks vs St Louis

After serving up another pathetic effort on home ice, the Canucks look to get back on track as they play host to the St Louis Blues tonight at Rogers Arena.

St. Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (13-14-3) vs ST LOUIS BLUES (15-15-1)

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

7:30 PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC RADIO: SN650

Another absolute embarrassment of a game on HNIC Saturday Night, as the Canucks showed yet again they are nowhere near as good as their record suggests, getting absolutely schooled by a team that knows how to play defence in today’s NHL. And let me tell you, this game was another one that exposed some truths about this current iteration of the Canucks.

It showed us that Bo Horvat leaving the Canucks via a trade cannot come soon enough. It showed that Bruce Boudreau’s in-game decisions need to be questioned a hell of a lot more than they are. And if Elliotte Friedman is right, that the Canucks management are as utterly clueless as the last crew running this franchise, if they think they should entertain offers on the only legit top pairing defenceman they have.

What a bloody mess.

I don’t give a good god damn about how close to a playoff spot they are right now thanks to an inept Western Conference. It’s an illusion, and if the Canucks actually make the post season and do anything besides bow out with a whimper, I’ll buy a Bruins hat and wear it for the duration of the playoffs.

Let’s start with the Captain. He’s having his best season yet, statwise. Fantastic. None of this is translating into anything beneficial for the team. He’s padding his stats, but I am seeing little in his play on ice that is in any way inspiring his teammates to play better. Y’know, leadership stuff. I’m at the point right now where the sooner they send him off to the Eastern Conference to go chase a Cup, the better. Anyone can see that Luke Schenn is the true leader of this team and it’s not even close.

When Neil Pionk scored to make it 3-0 halfway through the 2nd period Saturday night, the Canucks looked absolutely dead inside, and for reasons only known to himself apparently, Bruce Boudreau decided to leave Spencer Martin in goal. Why is he so unwilling to try and send some kind of message to this team that their play is unacceptable? Look, I have a lot of time for Martin, who’s done as well as he can in front of one of the NHL’s worst teams defensively, and if not for him, they’d be at the bottom of the NHL pile right now. I was hesitant to jump on the #BruceTimeToGo bandwagon, but coaching decisions like this (and the constant return of Riley Stillman to the lineup) have me completely out of fucks to give at this point.

How on earth can Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin even be considering such a thing? Quinn Hughes is the best defenceman this franchise has ever had, and it’s not even close. If you’re going to blow up the core (and holy shit, stop waiting and do it already!), you delete Horvat, Brock Boeser and maybe this summer Thatcher Demko. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are the two you keep, and that should be so obvious to even the most casual observer.

Anyway, tonight the Canucks going up against directly ahead of them in the standings, like we saw on Wednesday when they faced Calgary. The Blues are another team that’s been nowhere near as good as most expected them to be, and one of the big issues has been in the crease. Jordan Binnington and Thomas Greiss have mirrored their team’s play, with both keepers sporting .500 win/loss records. With the Blues not getting a ton of goalscoring from some of their usual suspects so far this season, they’re going to need better from their last line of defence if they hope to catch the Wild Card holders the rest of the way.

LINEUPS

In a world that time forgot, there was a document that told of a battle between two average armies... or we may have gotten it from nhl.com :

Blues projected lineup

Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyJosh Leivo

Pavel BuchnevichBrayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko

Ivan BarbashevRobert ThomasJordan Kyrou

Alexey ToropchenkoNoel AcciariNathan Walker

Nick LeddyColton Parayko

Torey KrugJustin Faulk

Niko MikkolaRobert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Calle Rosen, Tyler Pitlick, Logan Brown

Injured: Marco Scandella (hip), Scott Perunovich (shoulder)

Canucks projected lineup

Conor GarlandBo HorvatCurtis Lazar

Andrei KuzmenkoJ.T. MillerIlya Mikheyev

Nils HoglanderSheldon DriesBrock Boeser

Dakota JoshuaNils AmanJack Studnicka

Quinn HughesEthan Bear

Oliver Ekman-LarssonLuke Schenn

Riley StillmanTyler Myers

Spencer Martin

Arturs Silovs

Scratched: Kyle Burroughs, Lane Pederson

Injured: Elias Pettersson (illness), Thatcher Demko (lower body), Tanner Pearson (hand), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)

So it’ll be Brock Boeser back in tonight, which means Lane Pederson will be in the press box. He’ll be joined by Kyle Burroughs because Bruce Boudreau hates us with a passion that burns hotter than the sun, apparently. Arturs Silovs is in the backup slot tonight, as Collin Delia’s wife recently gave birth, so he’s back in Abbotsford for some family time. Congrats to the Delias!

EP40 is still recovering from the flu, so he’ll be out again tonight, which is a shame since he plays well against the Blues. They’ve lost their last three meetings against St Louis, so a big time bounce back game tonight would be nice.

The Canucks could be getting some defensive help soon (aka making sure Riley Stillman doesn’t have to play anymore).

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Gonna get a little progressive here with this one from Australia’s NE OBLIVISCARIS. This stunning (both visually and sonically) video for their song ‘Equus’ is from their most recent release ‘Exul!’. It’s a powerful statement on the horrendous wildfires that plagued Australia, and the toll it took on the wildlife in the country. Anyone who thinks music videos, especially metal, aren’t art should rethink that after watching this. Absolutely breathtaking.

Enjoy the game, if that’s possible. Go Canucks Go!