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. Are there controversies happening in the NHL that we don’t know about? Is everyone ready for the playoffs? Will Buffalo suddenly become an exciting team? Hockey is fun for the whole family.
The Good: New Team
It’s been a few days … how is everyone adjusting to the new Canucks team that we have for the rest of the season? Are we over Cody Hodgson being ripped away from us? Can we move on and embrace the newest additions as our own? I ran out of Kleenex so am forcing myself to be okay with this. It’s never easy adjusting to something new, especially when it is so unexpected. Trading Cody Hodgson when he was doing so well … ok, I promised I would not go there. Moving on.
Last year when the Canucks acquired Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre, I was a little apprehensive. But they were instrumental during the playoffs and it was fun getting to know their personalities. Vancouver has embraced them so I am confident that we will do the same with Zack Kassian, Samuel Pahlsson and Marc-Andre Gragnani. But let’s talk about what we gained by losing our beloved Hodgson.
So far Kassian has played an impressive two games with the Canucks, which says a lot of his potential. Imagine how exciting it will be when he starts to build some chemistry with his new teammates! Oh and I heard he can fight. At 21, he is 6’3 and 214 pounds. Hmmm … seems like the toughness that was on the Canucks wish list may have been delivered. I cannot wait for the day when an opposing player tries to mess with the Sedins only to turn around and face a knuckle sandwich from Kassian and hopefully gets a bloody nose as a result. In my dreams, that player is Milan Lucic. Yeah, this Kassian kid could turn out to be just what the Canucks need. Oh and he can score goals too. Move over David Booth, there is a new kid in town.
The Bad: Approaching Playoffs
It has been delightful watching the Canucks since October as they merrily rose further up in the standing; as of today, they are at the top of the NHL. There are 17 Canucks games left in the regular season. Wait seventeen games left? Where has the time gone? The realization that there is now a definitive countdown to the end of the season means one thing: The Playoffs.
At first, the playoffs seem like wonderful news: the chance to play for the Stanley Cup. But the memory of last year is hard to shake now that I am forced to remember it. It was only last year that I really understood the ingrained disappointment of the playoffs that comes with the territory of being a Canucks fan. Last June is a nightmare that has just resurfaced.
Who are the Canucks going to play first? How well will they do in the second round? Then there is the taunting that will come from my ‘friends’ in Alberta who will once again not see their team in the playoffs and resort to the next best thing: attempting to trash the superior team that I cheer for. How will Luongo deal with the pressure? Can we avoid multiple injuries to our defensemen? Will the Sedins be able to score? These are the irrational fears that I will try to defeat over the next 17 Canucks games.
And The Saturday Showdown
If you have read any of my previous posts, then you will know that I am a Ryan Miller fan. If you knew me when I lived in Calgary, then you would know that I was a Robyn Regehr fan. The recent events of Monday robbed us of a fan favorite Canucks player and shipped him off to Buffalo where he will play alongside the two aforementioned Sabres, oh yeah and that other guy who used to play for the Canucks last year. The Buffalo Sabres will be in Vancouver on Saturday. This makes it a game that I am greatly anticipating for reasons more than just Cody Hodgson.
Will Hodgson score on Luongo? If so will it make David Booth cry? Will Alex Burrows score on Ryan Miller? And if he does will I cheer? Saturday’s matchup will see both Miller and Luongo coming off shutouts, though Miller actually has two consecutive shutouts and that is IF Luongo gets the start. Both goalies have had some rough patches this season and remember each other well from two years ago when they played in the Gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics right here in Vancouver. Will this affect Miller? Will Luongo have an advantage? Why am I asking so many questions?
It will be strange seeing both Ehrhoff and Hodgson in Sabres jerseys, but I think the crowd at Rogers Arena will give them both a warm welcome. I hope that the Canucks are ruthless in their attempts to win. I hope that Miller makes it challenging for them to do so. I hope that Edler and Ehrhoff try to outdo each other a-la- the “Walk Off” in Zoolander. I want Hodgson and Kassian to have their best games against their former teams. Saturday showdown, I am ready for you, May the best team win.