Oh Calgary, how we love thee. With your over-rated GM and lack of raw talent, you make us pity you each and every time we meet.
Here on the fields of Rohan…I mean Alberta, we meet again.
I don’t know about everyone else; well actually I do, but seriously, this regular season is so January. It sucks having a good team because then you just get to wishing the NHL would make the first 82 games into just 52 games.
It’s the opposite when you suck because your team needs as much time as they can get to catch up.
This gruelling final stretch of the Canucks season may be to blame for the string of headaches I’ve had lately. The again, it might just be the nauseating feeling I get every time I read “out indefinitely” beside Daniel Sedin’s name.
Either way, Thursday’s game is all but a formality for the NHL, notwithstanding the fact that the Canucks need to win if they desire to keep pace with the Rangers for the President’s Trophy.
I think I can honestly say that I’m fine with just 1st in the West. That doesn’t guarantee Vancouver home-ice if they make it to the Finals, but it still leaves the door wide open for it. Maybe the Canucks make it all the way again but New York falters. I’ll take the odds on that.
This game should be nothing more than practice for Coach Vee and his squad. Not that they shouldn’t give it their 100% game effort, but really, the Flames have zilch to play for and are far inferior to the likes of the red hot Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and Cory Schneider.
There is absolutely no reason why Vancouver should lose this game. If they do, well it’ll be because they decided to take the night off. Not that that’s acceptable from a fan’s point of view, but it’s human nature to let up at this point.
Thankfully for fans, they are embroiled in this hotly contested race for said President’s Trophy.
Kevin Bieksa, of game-day interview fame, has traveled with the team to Calgary and could play Thursday for the first time since March 26th against LA. His injury has gone undisclosed but it looks like even if he doesn’t suit up against Calgary, he’ll get one final regular season game in against the Oilers at home on Saturday night.
Either way, he’ll be a big boost to the blueline that’s so dearly missed his presence.
You see, one good reason for this team to try and win Thursday night besides the President’s Trophy is to maintain good habits.
Obviously Marc-Andre Gragnani has some habits of his own he needs to nip in the bud, but when you’ve won 7 in a row, you must be doing some things right.
The game changes when the playoffs start but a win in Calgary would surely only cement those good habits they’ve been performing over the last two weeks.
Chris Higgins can continue to pitch in offensively. He’s up to 18 goals now. Henrik Sedin has 10 assists in 7 games sans Daniel. Cory Schneider will get the start as well and he has been all-world, especially in the last few weeks. Not that Schneider will get much time, if any at all come the playoffs but he’s still got to be ready.
The game may go 3 hours prior to the Canucks but let’s be honest, we’ll all be watching or at least checking in on the Rangers game against Crosby and the Penguins.
We really don’t care that much about the Flames whose flicker was snuffed a long time ago.
So here’s a mini preview of the Pens and Rangers game.
The Rangers have locked up 1st in the West already and are in that same damn race for that same damn trophy the Canucks are fighting for. Or are they really fighting for it; we don’t know.
Anyhow, the Pens have taken 3 of 5 so far this season against NYR but are only 5-4-1 in their last ten. Meanwhile, New York has kept pace with Vancouver having gone 7-3-0 in their last 10, respectively.
Here’s the kicker. The Pens have won the last three meetings for their previously mentioned three wins this season against NYR and who returned to play the last time they met on March 15th?
That’s right: Sid the Kid.
That night, Crosby has 2 assists in a 5-2 victory that didn’t go unnoticed by a single soul in the NHL because Pittsburgh automatically became a Cup favourite that very night with the return of the phenom.
BEST BET TO WIN: Pittsburgh Penguins
BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver Canucks
BEST BET THE CANUCKS WILL CARE MORE ABOUT THEIR GAME AGAINST EDMONTON IF THEY BEAT CALGARY: Yes
Puck drop is at 6PM on Sportsnet Pacific and TEAM1040 Radio.