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. Did Shanahan finally suspend a Bruin? Did Aaron Rome get a hat-trick? Was a hockey blogger actually photographed & caught sitting in his basement without any pants? I hope all of these things occur.
The Good: Mason Raymond’s Back. It’s not broken and his return to the NHL actually happened!
When he was run into the boards during a game in the Stanley Cup Finals and fractured his spine, it was uncertain if Mason Raymond would ever play hockey again. At the age of 25, to face the possibility that your NHL career might be over is both tragic and heartbreaking. He miraculously recovered. Then that paperwork hiccup tried to keep him away even longer but once again, Mason Raymond prevailed. He now has appeared in two games with the Canucks since getting the green light to return to the lineup and will skate in his his third game on Thursday against Montreal. Welcome back MayRay! Now that Chris Higgins and David Booth are both out, will we see Raymond reunited with Ryan Kesler on the second line?
The Bad: Staph Infections, Injuries and Losing Three Players in One Week.
Just when the Canucks had finally established a punishing dominance with the American Express line, two of its members dropped faster than standards at The Roxy. Chris Higgins got himself a Staph infection and David Booth, who had narrowly escaped the wrath of Shanahan for his run on Mikka Kiprusoff, found himself in a knee to knee collision with Kevin Porter in Tuesday’s game against the Avalanche. He is out for 4-6 weeks. Good thing that Ryan Kesler is made of titanium and is pretty much bulletproof, right? Oh and Aaron Volpatti is out …but might be back for the playoffs (is that good news?) No more injuries allowed, please.
The fun topic for this week: The Goalie Controversy Turns into A Comedy of Errors
Let’s recap: In 27 games of this season, Vancouver has gone from having a top notch goalie who didn’t get enough pre-season starts (causing him to have a rougher than usual October), but that was excused since Roberto Luongo never performs well in that particular month. The spectacle of all of this produced a blood thirsty mob that would have run Luongo out of town if that was possible. Canucks fans split their allegiance to side with either Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider. Trade Luongo! Start Schneider! How can we get rid of Luongo? Some even had their own solutions on how to solve the Luongo issue.
An undisclosed injury to Luongo then allowed Schneider the starts to wield a 5 game win streak that included a first in his career: back to back shutouts. This appeased some but more importantly made the Canucks win. Then a game against the Nashville Predators ruined everything. It was like Cinderella after midnight. The hot streak ended, Schneider was pulled, Luongo performed poorly, the Canucks lost and we were in another goalie conundrum.
But, in true Canucks fashion, they got past it. Luongo won the following game and all seemed to be well in the world …until Tuesday when someone spun the Karmic Wheel of Canucks Fortune and ended up on something chaotic. Luongo took a horrific hit to the neck by a possessed puck, and had to leave the game. Schneider came in to finish what Luongo had started and both goalies were acknowledged for a shutout. Now we have a united achievement that rightly laughs in the face of any and all speculation that one goalie is better than the other. The timing of this dual triumph could not have come at a better time. And what did Luongo and Schneider do? They sealed it with a kiss.