March 22 2012 02:49PM
Alex Burrows and the rest of the Canucks took obvious and expected exception to
Duncan Keith's terrible elbow to Daniel Sedin's head.
(Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
This is a weekly feature that will highlight The Good, The Bad and The *fill in the blank* exciting things that are currently happening in the NHL. Will the Jets surprise everyone and make it to the playoffs? Are team captains also expected to be scoring leaders? Are hockey gods real and can they be bribed? The sport of hockey is better than football, golf and synchronized swimming.
The Good: When it’s good, it’s good.
I am going to be honest; now that we are getting so close to the end of the season, I really don't want to pay attention to teams other than the Canucks. However, I would like to congratulate Ryan Miller for his sixth shutout this season with the Buffalo Sabres, a team still fighting for that 8th and final playoff spot in the East. I guess ex-Canuck Cody Hodgson is finally feeling comfortable with all that extra ice time … I heard rumors of him getting two goals, seven shots on goal and a bunch more faceoff wins in the Sabres last game against Montreal. Yay, that is just great for the Sabres.
And Mr. Hockey, Sidney Crosby, has also been finding his groove nicely now that he is back on the ice with Pittsburgh. And there hasn't been any excessive hype around his return this time … it’s just business as usual. Those Penguins are going to be a tremendous force in the playoffs now that Crosby is back. He will be good for them. The Canucks used to be good. They used to score goals and excel on powerplays and win games regularly. Those were good times.
Is there anything good about the Canucks these days? Mason Raymond played well on Wednesday against the Blackhawks – he hardly fell down, was a force in front of the net and came oh so close to getting a goal, more than once. Oh yeah, the Canucks are no longer a team that will be pushed around. It was nice to see that in Wednesday’s game, after Duncan Keith elbowed Daniel Sedin in the head, the team stood up for their teammate and did something rarely seen from the Canucks on ice – they got mad and they got revenge. Even if they didn’t win the game … because they don’t do that anymore.
The Bad: Causing Injuries
Dear hockey players, don’t hit the heads of your opponents. It’s not cool (I am looking at you Duncan Keith). With the frequency of serious head injuries in the NHL already being rampant this season, and with Shanahan not shying away from punishing perpetrators, it frustrates me that players are still targeting heads of their opponents. Shane Doan, of the Coyotes, just received a three game suspension for elbowing Dallas’ Jamie Benn. The ironic part is that the suspension was announced pretty much right after Keith’s hit on Daniel. Hopefully the latest casualties, Benn and Sedin, will not have serious injuries that will take them out for too long.
Actually … the thought of Daniel Sedin being out is worrisome, especially since he seemed to be coming back to life in the last few games by getting points and scoring goals. Something that was once so effortless. Now what will happen to Henrik? Will it make him worse? Will he have sympathy headaches or whatever it is that twins have? Who will take Daniel's spot on the first line? Mason Raymond? Will this start a chain of even more Canucks calamities? Is it possible for things to get even worse?
And The Canucks: Do They Even Care About Winning?
I hate the word ‘slump’. This word has been overused and I have seen too much of it in the last couple of weeks. I want it to go away and never be used in conjunction with the Canucks ever again. Whatever is happening with the Canucks right now, it’s not fun. They are a team that can win and should win a heck of a lot more than they have been. What is fun: hearing all the silly conspiracy theories that are circulating about that account for the recent batch of poor performances from this team.
- “The Canucks are uninspired; they are just waiting for the playoffs.” I am sure that they are just so bored of having to play regular season hockey and would much rather be in the elite group playing against much tougher opponents than the Columbus Blue Jackets. Because then they would try to win.
- “The Canucks are resting up for the playoffs.” I know that it must feel nice to have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, something that Winnipeg Jets fans envy. Last spring, the Canucks were beaten down physically and suffered through an assortment of injuries in their (failed) quest to win the Stanley Cup. Of course it makes sense for them to throw games now, games that don’t really matter, so they can reserve their strength for the grueling playoff run. Once the playoffs start this team will magically transform into an army of soldiers trained and prepared to win.
- “The Canucks are confused.” With Mason Raymond not producing much on the ice to getting promoted to the first line to watching a game from the press box all happening in the span of a week – it is no wonder the Canucks are unsure of what they are doing. What is their coach trying to tell them? They are getting mixed messages and have probably lost all faith in his ability to coach and guide them. They are doomed.
I am concerned a little because it seems that the Canucks are crashing, but I refuse to worry yet about the state of mind this team is in and their ability to be competitive. I hope whatever they learned from last year’s playoff run will help them this year. Above all, I hope that we can celebrate our team again. And soon.