It’s Sidney Crosby Day! (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)
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. Has Sean Avery actually retired? Will Sidney Crosby make it to the end of the season without an injury? Will the Canucks ever win a hockey game again? Hockey makes the world go round.
The Good: Scoring Goals
Congratulations to Steven Stamkos for achieving something seemingly impossible: scoring 50 goals in one season. Oh and his team still has another 13 games left to play. Not only is he the first in the NHL to do so this season, it is the second time in his career that Stamkos has reached the 50 goal pinnacle. Good for him, and good for Lightning fans. It’s fun when you have scoring leaders on your team. Evgeni Malkin has been it for the Penguins, with 38 goals thus far. Heck, even Phil Kessel is in the top 5 with 34 goals.
The Sedins used to be good at scoring. They also used to play well with each other, and with Alex Burrows. Daniel Sedin has been the Canucks leader as far as goals go this season, netting 28 of them. He had 41 at the end of last season. Henrik has 13 goals. Thirteen. As in Friday the 13th thirteen. Yeah, frightening when you look at golden locks Stamkos up there. Alex Burrows has 24 so far and Ryan Kesler, 22. Mason Raymond hasn’t even hit the double digits; he has 8. Wednesday’s decision to put the slumping Raymond on the first line with the twins failed as badly as the time I accidently used icing sugar instead of flour when baking cookies. It was a big f**king mess.
I hope that the Lightning fans appreciate Steve Stamkos. Unfortunately, it is not enough to clinch the Lightning a spot in the playoffs. The Canucks, however, are looking good in their current second place spot in the west. Let’s hope that the entire Canucks team remembers just how much fun it is to score goals. Fans love, it feels good, it helps win games! It really is a win win situation. Hopefully, they can proceed to do this more than any team they play from now until Mid June.
The Bad: Panicking
If you live in Vancouver and if you are a Canucks fan, you are being told to panic. Either by your traumatic memories of historical Canucks events, or else by everyone who has lived them and remembers the agony of the soul crushing, ruined dreams. Or by the media, who sometimes like to be a little bit on the negative side. “The Sedins are not scoring” or “The team is in a slump” and my favorite “Blame Luongo!”.
Now to be fair to the panic stricken fan, or journalist, the Canucks have been losing games to some pretty bad teams lately, and often. For a team that came so close to winning it all last season, one would expect a performance on par or better than last year. But the Canucks are special. They’ve never won a Stanley cup, something that Canucks fans know all too well and either have accepted as a sealed fate for the franchise, or have become blindingly optimistic that “this year” will be different. It is safe to assume the worst, that way you never get your heart broken.
If the team is going to slump, at least now is a good time. They already have a ticket to the playoffs. They don’t want to exhaust themselves now, or risk injury. If they’ve learned anything it’s that it takes a tremendous amount of mental and physical strength to win a Stanley Cup. And scoring goals is also essential. The Finals can be brutal if you are not prepared. It’s like sprinting; all about how you distribute your energy, making sure that you have enough left for that last vital stretch. I choose to believe that this is what is really happening. It’s all been orchestrated this way and the Canucks are just tricking us by pretending that they play poorly now.
And Dear Crosby
Welcome back to the NHL Sidney Crosby. Tonight will be your first game since December, 5, 2011, you haven’t actually played a game in 2012 yet. Hockey has missed you, and so has my sister so can you just respond to ONE of her letters, please. She has declared your return a national holiday. She even baked cupcakes. Ok, I lied, she just bought Timbits from Tim Hortons and some Dempsters bread. By the way, I’m not surprised that you have decided to wait until Thursday’s game against the Rangers to return. More so, I am not surprised that you decided NOT to play in this past Sunday’s game against the Bruins. They re-injured you in that last game you played and they are known to be ‘physical’ players. It was best to make your safety a priority.
In case you haven’t heard, Steven Stamkos scored 50 goals already this season. I bet you could have beaten him had you been able to play the full season, but there is always next year (by the way “There is always next year” is an automatic response from Canucks fans to the reality of losing anything. We don’t even know we say it. We use this response even when we lose non-hockey things.) It appears that your team hasn’t really needed you this year. That must feel good knowing that they have survived, thrived really, without you and are not looking to you to get them to the playoffs. Plus Malkin seems to be doing ok and I bet you’re so happy for him. Speaking of the playoffs, remember when the Penguins lost in the Finals in 2008 and then came back to win the Stanley Cup in 2009? Yeah I am hoping that the Canucks can do that this year. If you have any advice for them … well I am sure that you have already shared it. I mean you were teammates with Luongo during the Olympics and all so you’re probably really good friends.
Good luck in your first game back Sid! I’ll look forward to seeing you, and your uh beard, in the playoffs. Seriously though, please write my sister back.