Is Lappy the best linemate for Hank + Burr?
Over the past few weeks the Vancouver Canucks scoring drought, and the defensive trap it spawned, forced me to come up with a new means to enjoy the games that had unfortunately become more than a bit tedious.
So, two weeks back I decided to come up with the perfect BC solution in the form of an updated ‘Nucks drinking game.
However, I didn’t want to make it too fancy. I lead a pretty simple life. There would be no need to take things to an extreme level.
The old guidelines were thus tossed out the door.
The beer bong could not come down off its trusty wall hook whenever an opponent took a cheap shot at Burrows. The bottle opener would remain retired no matter if Ryan Kesler lurked in a teammate’s post-game interview.
I resolved to keep things simple.
As a result, the rules became every time the team scored I could have a beer. That’s it. No other aspect to it.
Well, I have never seen a six pack last so long in my house.
It was the ultimate Spartan diet.
Now, it is exceedingly hard to stay dry in an Irishman’s house, but for a while I thought I had found the secret to true sobriety. Then Coach Alain Vigneault decided to move Maxim Lapierre up to Henrik Sedin’s line, and a few hours later I awoke on the bathroom floor.
Once I took a moment to scan my surroundings and found my bearings it hit me…a 5-1 Canucks victory over Dallas. Add to that tonight a 3-2 OT win over Calgary.
It had been over a month since the team had scored that many times. (5)
What made the difference I asked myself?
Well, Lapierre has been electric the last two games. His energy levels have always been off the chart, and he was flying around the ice on the first line against the Stars and tonight versus the Flames.
He may have a poor reputation with many players around the league but his contributions are invaluable.
He hit everything in sight versus the Stars, and was the first star against Calgary.
He’s also attracting the attention and ire of his opponents as usual. He back checked furiously as always, and maintained a thoughtful defensive presence.
He also has much better hands and hockey sense than many others would give him credit for.
The upshot of all this is that his hard work and the focus it drew opened up the ice for Henrik, leading to his 3 assists.
Burrows got back on track and the move also allowed Manny Malhotra to return to his 4th line centre position, where he feels most comfortable. Most vitally, the team did what we expect of the talent in this squad, they scored plenty.
If Daniel’s recovery somehow stalls, and even if it doesn’t, then this two game performance by the much maligned Lapierre should certainly have given AV some food for thought.
But if he does make this a more permanent change then I will be forced to revise my Canucks drinking game rules once again.
One hangover a week is enough.
Maybe I could only drink every time the Leafs miss the playoffs…