January 29 2014 01:35PM
Today's the day! The day where watching a Canucks game will be fun!
Let's try to be positive and forget the fact that the Vancouver Canucks were basically taken to the woodshed by the Edmonton Oilers the last time saw them take the ice. And the fact that Daniel Sedin probably couldn't even score on Dan Cloutier these days. And the fact that the Minnesota Wild leapfrogged them in the standings with their victory last night. Forget all of that.
It's a new day, and you have the option of taking the game in with all of your cyber buddies if you so choose to come down to The Pint. Plus Canucks/Blackhawks games usually wind up being entertaining, by hook or by crook. Most importantly though, keep in mind tha--.. wait, what do you mean that Chris Tanev is out for an extended period of time?!?!
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM PST
The injury issues only continue to pile on for the Canucks, as top pairing defenseman Chris Tanev is set to miss some time with a fractured thumb. In '13-'14 Tanev has blossomed into a player that can match up against the other's teams best at 5v5, becoming a guy that the coaching staff and the fans have counted on for his reliability throughout a season of total turmoil pretty much everywhere else
But just as importantly (if not moreso), he has been an absolute rock on the penalty kill, helping drive a unit that has been in the top 2 or 3 for pretty much the entirety of the campaign thus far. They'll miss his ability to block shots and snuff out scoring opportunities in that facet of the game more than anywhere else. I guess the one silver lining is that he was named to the All-Hipster team before this unfortunate news broke (apologies on the poor choice of wording there).
The show must go on, and in Tanev's stead Yannick Weber's run as a 4th line forward will end after just 1 game, as he moved up to fill the void. This in turn opens up a spot once again for Dale Weise, who will be re-inserted into the lineup after being a healthy scratch. I can already visualize it.. Weise takes an ill-advised penalty, and the Blackhawks power play completely and utterly picks apart a Chris Tanev-less Canucks PK. This stuff writes itself.
Let's get to the underlying data for the Canucks heading into tonight's game:
|Corsi Close %||51.8% (10th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.33 (14th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.14 (9th)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.21 (27th)|
|5v4 SF/60||58.3 (3rd)|
|4v5 GA/60||4.01 (2nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||39.9 (1st)|
The Blackhawks actually haven't exactly been lighting the world on fire themselves, lately. They've got only 1 win in their past 3 games, and have basically slipped down to 4th in the Western Conference standings because of it. There's also the fact that the Canucks have played them very tightly this season in their only 2 meetings, and the games between these two are generally quite competitive.
I think it's because of those things that I've been recently seeing people suggesting that the Canucks would be better off potentially playing Chicago in a playoff series than a team from the Pacific Division. Let me officially attempt to discourage you from saying such things, because they're silly. That matchup would probably be more aesthetically pleasing, sure, but don't take the Blackhawks' occasionally nonchalant regular season stretches for weakness; I assure you that they're still the best team in the league.
You do not want your favourite team to run into them in the playoffs.
|Corsi Close %||56.0% (2nd)|
|5v5 GF/60||3.00 (1st)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.24 (12th)|
|5v4 GF/60||7.60 (6th)|
|5v4 SF/60||53.0 (10th)|
|4v5 GA/60||7.66 (28th)|
|4v5 SA/60||48.2 (10th)|
[Stats via extraskater.com]
Also, as I mentioned off of the top, the Canucks Army viewing party at The Pint IS A GO tonight. You can still buy your ticket online, but if you don't get around to it, just come by and say you're with us. Our whole staff will be there, and while I can't promise that the game itself will be good, I guarantee we'll have a good time regardless.
That also means that we likely won't have a gamer going up for this one, but I think we'll all live. I hope to finally get to meet most of you soon!