Please don’t hurt the Henke tonight.
It’s the final regular season game of the year, as the Vancouver Canucks host the Calgary Flames at GM Place tonight. The Canucks aren’t playing for a playoff position, and Calgary was knocked out two games ago, so there’s not much to play for tonight. That is, except points for Henrik Sedin and his quest for the Art Ross Trophy.
The Canucks are playing for pride, for honour, for player points, for dignity, and for practice tonight. They look to even up the season series tonight, to erase a few indignant losses early this season. The games have been exciting, for the most part, living up to the hype of the rivalry. However, there is no reason to believe that tonight’s game will hold the same battle level. Both teams are dealing with a whole host of injuries and both are playing for nothing.
The main purpose for the Canucks tonight has to be to escpae the game unscathed. Leave uninjured. I would be quite happy if they dressed the entire Moose lineup tonight, if it meant everyone was healthy for the start of the playoffs.
It looks like the Canucks could be without Willie Mitchell, Ryan Johnson, Sami Salo, Christian Ehrhoff, and Shane O’Brien tonight. It looks like Salo, Ehrhoff and O’Brien are nursing only minor injuries and will be ready for the playoffs. But if sitting out tonight guarantees that they’ll be ready for the post-season, then coach Vigneault has no choice but to sit them all out. It appears as though Evan Oberg will figure into tonight’s lineup, as a replacement for one of the injured defensemen.
And personally, the race for the Ross for Henrik Sedin is inconsequential. It’s highly unlikely that Henke will come back to win the scoring title. It’s far more important that Henrik is healthy. So if that means limiting his ice time tonight, do it.
So tonight’s game-plan – stay well. Please.