January 30 2014 05:15PM
Pictured above is the most important member of the Canucks, Mike Burnstein.
The Vancouver Canucks once again lost last night, after a rapid flurry by the Blackhawks proved to be too much to overcome. If you were one of the however many people that was able to make it out to The Pint for our viewing party, all of the other festivities surrounding the game hopefully dampened the blow of another relatively meek loss. Judging from the mood in the room I don't think anyone really carried the loss with them, allowing it to ruin their night [more on this later].
But as is usually the case with every fun night, the following morning provides some challenges. After you finally gather the energy to get up and evaluate the landscape, all you can do is hope that the damage is manageable. In the case of the Canucks, the hangover is of the mean variety this morning, as there's some more bad news on the injury front. Why did the party have to end?
Acting head coach Mike Sullivan gave some updates this morning:
Believe Bieksa out w/injured foot originally hurt during 9-1 loss in ANA. He blocked a shot late killing 5-on-3, was limping since #canucks— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 30, 2014
Interesting. If that's the case, then why on earth was he playing these past handful of games? I mean, it was nice that he was around to provide us with this moment (which was one of the few hockey-related things that fans have actually had reason to get excited about over the past month or so). But he'd also been on the ice for at least one goal against in each of the past 5, including being directly responsible for Toews' eventual game winner last night.
If he was hurt, he should've been resting it. Especially after the miserable season we witnessed from him last season, when a litany of bumps and bruises ultimately added up and handicapped him in a big way.
Luckily for the team the Olympic break is just 10 days away. With Bieksa joining Tanev on the injured list, the team has recalled Frank(ie) Corrado from Utica for the 2nd time this season. Since the first recall happened just over a month ago, I think that most of the thoughts I had at that time are still relevant here.
You've got to feel for poor Dan Hamhuis, who could conceivably log 1 billion minutes over the course of this upcoming 5-game road trip. But it's okay, because he'll have a few weeks during this upcoming break to rest u--.. oh, crap.
#Canucks Mike Santorelli has shoulder surgery and is done for the season. Recovery to take 5-6 months.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 30, 2014
You have to genuinely feel bad for "Santo". Prior to that ruthless criminal Marty Hanzal destroying him, he was having a fine season with 28 points in 49 games. While that random little outburst he had (from December 8th to the 19th, putting up 8 points in 6 games) probably gave fans the wrong idea regarding what he was actually capable of moving forward, there's no denying that the team has missed him/will continue to miss him.
That probably says more to how dire things are up-front these days, but it also speaks to Santorelli being a nice little find off of the scrap heap by Mike Gillis leading up to the season. While this news must be devastating for him, thinking big picture it's probably a sneakily fortunate one for the Canucks. The way he was playing and producing looked like it was going to have us headed for one of two situations:
a) He prices himself out of Vancouver's range, and the team loses him this summer.
b) The team's decision makers value him a little too much for my taste, and wind up signing him to a bad contract, which we wind up hating and making fun of.. ultimately depriving us of the ability to root for him the way we have this season because he's now overpaid.
Whoever was going to be giving him the money, I think there was little doubt that he was going to get paid, one way or another. Now I think it's far more likely that he takes something along the lines of the 2 year, $3.2 million deal he signed back in '11, to stay at home.
Then there's also the fact that his departure has now created a natural opening for Jordan Schroeder to get a longer look than he otherwise would've in a situation that could help him out moving forward (i.e. not playing on a 4th line with Dale Weise). Schroeder will be an RFA himself this summer, so creating a larger sample size to evaluate him off of is in the team's best interest. For as long as he can stay healthy, at least.
Hey, that's legitimately good news! I do think that the team has been very wise to give Henrik an extended rest (since the last couple of times we saw him, he really looked like he was labouring in a bad way). Once he finally missed that first game against the Oilers back on the 21st, putting an end to his ironman streak, I figured there was a good chance that he'd get a couple extra games to really let his ailments heal up. So this wasn't exactly a surprise.
Neither was how lost and helpless the team has looked without him. Aside from the 5-goal outburst on Mike Smith, they managed to score 4 total goals in three games against the Predators and Oilers (two of the three most defensively susceptible teams in the league), losing two of them.
While the team was struggling with the man advantage even prior to his injury, their difficulties in that aspect of the game have reached a whole new level without him. Without Henrik, they don't really have anyone who can penetrate the defense as it waits along their own blueline, and the team is left with two choices: watch Ryan Kesler try to split the 4 defenders (and fail 99.99% of the time), or dump it in, basically forfeiting possession of the puck, and ultimately having to go back to their own zone to retrieve it.
His absence has also meant that we've seen waa-haaaay too much Brad Richardson. We know the Sedins have been capable of all sorts of wizardry in the past, so maybe Henrik will be able to defibrilate Daniel Sedin's lifeless corpse when he returns..
Another silver lining: we'll always have Top Sixtito..
Image via VanCanucks
Sestito leaves practice. Was having hip worked on at bench. Hip-flexor? #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) January 30, 2014
Sestito said hip-flexor sore but he's good to go for five-game road trip. #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) January 30, 2014
.. oh thank god.
The Viewing Party
Seriously though, it was great to finally get to meet some of you guys last night. I speak for all of the Canucks Army staff (which was in attendance last night, including proud papa,
Ryan Getzlaf Thomas Drance, pictured above) when I say that we had a great time putting faces to twitter handles. I personally thought it was a pretty cool experience. We all appreciate the turnout, and hope you guys keep on reading the work we do here, and engaging in thoughtful discussion (despite the window-centric theme that the comments sections below have deformed into this year).
Unfortunately it was a pretty dark setting (literal lighting, not mood) so we don't have too many photos to share. Except for this one of David Booth, inexplicably missing last night's game so that he could jump behind the bar and serve us some drinks:
All of the money we raised last night will go to the BC Children's Hospital. We'll make sure to have another event along these same lines, and hopefully those of you that weren't able to make it out last night will come out for that. In the meantime, we've got a ton of snazzy Canucks Army tshirts printed that are left over from the event, and we'll be giving those out via Twitter in the coming weeks.