This is getting to be re-goddamn-diculous!
Game Day Recon #59 – Canucks @ Predators
Salo. Edler. Hamhuis. Ballard. Rome. Alberts. Sweatt. And now… Bieksa. It has gone from a minor inconvenience to an inexplicable epidemic. If you are a defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks, you will get hurt this season.
And the Canucks are playing the Predators tonight with a D that’s made up of 3 players from the Manitoba Moose with a combined set of 12 NHL games.
Game Time: 5:00 PM PT
The Canucks coaching staff and management must be wondering which god or gods they’ve pissed off. But as the old adage goes, "What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger." Well this ridiculous set of injuries to the Cauncks blueline this season hasn’t killed the Canucks. One look at the standings is all the evidence you need.
So when they get healthy, or when they stop getting hurt, imagine just how strong this team will be.
For now, the Canucks have to deal with missing the most key defensemen that they’ve had all year. They’ll play tonight with Chris Tanev, Yann Sauve and Evan Oberg on their blueline, paired with the only main Canucks D left standing (Salo, Ehrhoff, and Rome). And honestly, if the Canucks gameplan for the next few games isn’t simply to hang on, then they’re kidding themselves.
Luckily they face a team tonight that is not exactly an offensive juggernaut, so it’s not exactly a bad game for this rookie group to cut their teeth as a singular unit.
Tonight will be a big game for Roberto Luongo. First of all, he is looking to rebound after a tough loss (and letting in a HORRIBLE goal) in St. Louis. Then they’re the fact that it’s very likely that he’s going to have to bail out his inexperienced defense on more than one occassion.
The Canucks should pay particular attention to Sergei Kostitsyn, who is on a roll lately with 8 pts in 8 games. And as always, Shea Weber is leading the way with 6 pts in 8 games and leads the team in scoring.
Let’s just hope the Canucks can hang on, and get out unscathed, with or without a victory. When was the last time you actually thought that the result of a Canucks game was of secondary importance?
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Safe plays. The untested Canucks D has to make safe, high-percentage plays. Up the boards and out. No funny business. Play safe. And please don’t look any of the Predators crossly, lest they pummel you on to the IR.
2. Everyone has to play D tonight. This has to be a game where all the Canucks forwards play like Selke candidates, not just Kesler.
3. Be prepared to win ugly again. They did when they played the Wild on Tuesday, managing only 1 shot (an ENG by Kesler to close out the game) in the third period. They should expect to play a similar game tonight.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Predators (canucks.com)
2. Canucks Game Day (The Province)
3. Kevin Bieksa to miss 2-3 weeks with broken foot, Canucks call up Evan Oberg (Vancouver Sun)
4. Canucks vs Predators Preview (Yahoo! Sports)
5. Gameday Thoughts – Canucks VS Predators (The Predatorial) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!