Today at high noon (or 4pm for people who like things more factual and less dramatic) the Vancouver Canucks renew their hostilities with the Chicago Blackhawks. There might not be a better way to put it than that. They hate each other, and that means great hockey... most of the time.
The Canucks have traded two awesome wins for two slightly embarrassing losses over the last week (most recently to the Blues, hence the title), and honestly I have no idea which team is going to take the ice in the windy city. Looking at the matchups, there are a few burning questions I find myself asking.
"Second verse, same as the first?"
Scoreless after 20 minutes. Chicago lights up the Canucks for 4 goals in the second, and another 3 in the third (while giving up 1).
The day was November 20th, 2010. Final score 7-1 Blackhawks.
This was also the day the Canucks snapped out of the early season jitters and started their ascent to the top of the NHL. After being bogged down for a month and a half with inconsistent play, lack of production from the big guns and continuous second guessing, the Canucks used this embarrassing defeat as a rallying point and they never looked back.
It was the wake up call they needed. If they lose today, which would be their third loss in a row, will it have the same effect on this year's team?
"Is the slot in the defensive zone made of lava?"
This might be the only plausible reason for the horrific play by the Canucks defence in front of "Schneidongo". I can only assume they are playing some sort of child-like game and they have declared the area in front of the goal as lava and if they touch it, well, you know...
Seriously though, it doesn't matter who is in net if the 6 men who get paid to protect him don't show up to work. All the respect in the world to Tom Brady, but if his offensive line didn't show up, I highly doubt he would have a good outing.
Bieksa and Hamhuis are slumping. That's it. Both are great players and solid D-men and as soon as they get their groove back, all will be well. On the bright side of things, I'm loving what Alexander Sulzer is bringing to the table out there. Young guy, not letting his nerves get to him and seemingly not at all terrified of the lava the other D-men are convinced is out there. German cool.
"With Burrows out, who gets the rub?"
With Alex Burrows potentially out of the lineup with back spasms, someone has to jump up onto the first line with the Sedin twins. People have been clamoring for everyone from Jannik Hansen to David Booth to Anson Carter (that last one may have been a desperate plea from an obscurity dwelling and very regretful Anson Carter).
"Well, this is awkward.")
AV's hand has been forced with the Burrows injury, and hopefully we'll see something fresh this afternoon that might spark our offence. I can think of no better way for David Booth to get his scoring touch back than by logging some minutes with the
So there you have it - a few things to watch out for this afternoon when the Canucks and the Blackhawks get it on at the "United Centre".
Yeah, Canadian spelling. Deal with it, Chicago.
Thanks for reading.