War Of The NHL’s WaterWorld
The NHL’s perennial chokers are playing in San Jose Wednesday night; and no I don’t mean the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, the great whites of the Bay Area and killer orcas of the Juan De Fuca Strait square off for the 2nd time this season.
The first tilt saw the Canucks come out on top 3-2, and the game was also played in Cali.
That was November 26, and this is now.
We are post-Christmas and the Canucks have continued to trend in the right direction; a nice present for Vancouverites.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have gone a mediocre 5-3-2 in their last 10 and are tied with Dallas for the Pacific Division Lead.
Two points behind both of them are Phoenix and Dallas.
Anyhow, let’s look at my 5 keys (no longer golden) for Wednesday night’s match (as the English would say):
Oddly enough, the Sharks next game after this one is January 2nd in Vancouver. But before that game goes down, the Canucks face Anaheim and LA in Cali. A strange schedule indeed (and when isn’t it?) but the point being in a home and home situation, you’re trying to win while also taking notes on the opponent for next game.
The Sharks are in this position. The Canucks on the other hand have to just take this game as it comes and move on to a new foe.
The Sharks are looking ahead while Vancouver is solely focused on the present.
2) THE BIG 3…OR 4
Dangerous as usual, Vancouver has to watch out for the ever powerful Sharks top line of Jumbo Joe, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. On top of that, there is Logan Couture who is following up a Calder Trophy Finalist Season with another near PPG output.
As mentioned, these players are ALWAYS dangerous, but especially with a home record of 12-7-1, if they smell blood, they will feast on the Canucks.
Then again, the Canucks have the twins who actually are averaging over a PPG, not to mention the likes of Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler finding their stride as of late. The offensive talent on both sides is enormous but alas:
3) AV’s LINE JUGGLING
The team announced Tuesday that winger Chris Higgins would not travel on the road trip. He apparently has the same mystery staph infection as before, except it is now in his hand. Higgy needs to stay away from all the needles in the Canucks locker room. Anyhow, this is going to force Viggy’s hand with Booth still out to play Raymond and Hansen up on the 2nd line again.
The 3rd line should be Weise-Hodgson-Ebbett. Andrew Ebbett proved he does in fact have some hands and speed on Monday vs. Edmonton. Weise was handed no suspension so he could take that other wing on the 3rd.
BREAKING: @news1130sports tweeted Wednesday morning the Canucks have called up Mark Mancari on an emergency basis. Mancari had 0 points and 3 shots in 3 games between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19 and had an even rating.
Looks like HE will fill in on the 4th, and we’ll probably see Mancari with Manny and Lappy.
With all the potential line juggling going on, the Canucks should be fine but it’s basically asking for something bad to happen so let’s go:
ADVANTAGE: San Jose
Both tenders (not chicken) have sub-par records against the other team all-time (Niemi 2-5-0; Luongo 7-10-1) but let’s remember that doesn’t include the playoffs. Ah thank you.
Luongo of course won all 4 games versus San Josie and the Pussycats in May during the WCF and frankly, has Niemi’s number. Believe it or not, it may be Luongo who is in someone else’s head for a change.
Oh and even if Schneider were to start, he is 3-1-0 lifetime against the Sharks. BOOM, DONE!
5) FLYING THINGS
Please watch this and then read the rest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q00JPsR9AEs
Yes…some idiot threw a dead duck on the ice in San Jose’s last game against Anaheim. While cruel, this does beg the question?
Do the Canucks players need to worry about dead whales being thrown at them during play?
This day and age where all we do is worry about player safety, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it to even play the game. The Canucks already have Booth and Higgins out of the lineup.
Next thing we need is a pair of ginger pancakes underneath a fat arse dead whale.
Heck, last thing we need is Luongo skating out to see what it is and having the image of a dead orca engrained in his head forever.
But obviously, he would be able to tell it was an orca from the net. It is, after all, a freakin’ Orca.
So please AV, I AM BEGGING YOU! Just forfeit this game, for the sake of the players and muh boi CoHo of course.
ADVANTAGE: San Jose
The fall of the vulcanized rubber disc to the sheet of ice is scheduled for 7:30 Pacific Standard Time at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The game can be seen on TSN.
The Canucks next game is against Anaheim Thursday evening at 7PM PST.
Stay tuned for a game preview.