Game #50 Preview – 0 to 100 MPH in 7 days


I know the Canucks didn’t win the Cup. I get it.
But this will never get old. EVER.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #50 – Blackhawks @ Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have, for the most part, had an entire week off from live game action. Sure, the Sedins and Alex Edler played in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, but let’s be honest – that’s not a real game. Effectively, the Canucks have not seen proper game action last Tuesday’s win over the Oilers. Couple that with a very light January schedule and the team should be well rested to close out the month.
Well, they better be ready to play tonight, as they face their fiercest rival; a team that now has a very familiar face.

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:00 PM PT

TV: TSN Radio: Team1040

The Setup

If you’re going to get back at it, why not get at it with gusto? And boy, do the Canucks ever have to bring the gusto tonight, as they host the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canucks come into tonight’s game well rested, having been idle for the All-Star Break. In addition to that, tonight’s game is only their 3rd game in 14 days, and only their 11th game in January. After playing the most games in the NHL through mid-January, the Canucks have had a good amount of time to recuperate and recover and rest. Luckily for them, they have a sizable lead in the Northwest and therefore a firm grip on a top 3 spot in the West. But the Canucks go from 0 to 100 MPH tonight as they host the Hawks, their most bitter rival over the past 4 years. What better way to return to action and to get back mentally into playing elite level hockey than to play your biggest rival, who just happens to be one of the top 5 teams in the league as well.

And who will we see wearing #17 for the Hawks but none other than long-time Canuck and Pitt Meadows-native Brendan Morrison. Morrison was acquired from the Flames over the weekend to help with the Blackhawks lack of depth at center. From all reports, it appears that Morrison will get to play some serious minutes with proper linemates, as he’ll center the second line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. That’s quite the upgrade for Morrison after playing on a Flames team that was struggling for a playoff spot and that couldn’t fit him in to lineup in a consistent spot. Morrison will always be loved in Vancouver, given that he is from the Lower Mainland and that he played on one of the Canucks most electrifying line in the team’s history. But man, playing for the Blackhawks will sure make it hard for Canucks fans to look back at the good times with BMo wearing the Orca.

Meanwhile for the Canucks, the newspapers, bloggers, TV and radio were given another "controversy" to discuss yesterday as the Canucks announced that Cory Schneider would start tonight. Whenever Schneider starts against a big-name club, it is now frustratingly deemed a "controversy". It’s ludicrous. The Canucks are NOT sheltering Luongo. Lu has already proven that he can beat the Blackhawks, and has done so in many, many games. Schneider gets the start tonight because Luongo traveled to Florida during the All-Star break and could use an extra off day to get back to top form. Schneider did not leave Vancouver, so there is no travel considerations there. Oh, and Schneider hasn’t played in exactly three weeks. Sounds like a good time to get him some game action to me. Schneider needs to play and Luongo needs an extra day. End of story. If you don’t think both Schneider and Luongo knew before the All-Star break that Schneider would start tonight, you’re a fool. The coaching staff sure knew and I’m sure they prepped their goalies well in advance. And in case you’ve forgotten, the SAME scenario occurred last year. Luongo returned to Florida for the All-Star Break and Schneider played the first game back, against the Stars in Dallas. Schneider and the Canucks won 4-1. Yeah. I think the Canucks know what they’re doing.

Game Notes

As mentioned, Schneider starts for the Canucks. Other than long-term injuries to fringe players, the Canucks sport a very healthy roster. At the other end, Corey Crawford mans the net for the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews returns to ice after suffering a hand injury, while Patrick Sharp is likely to return as well.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. This is going to be Boston part 2, in that the Canucks HAVE to be playing at 100% from the moment the puck drops until the final whistle. No passengers tonight. Everyone has to be on board playing with full intensity.
     
  2. Target Toews’ hand. Yeah, it’s cheap. I know. But he has a weakness right now. Exploit it. Toews is one of the league’s best centers, playing for one of the league’s best teams. You have to exploit any weakness you can find. You can expect Toews to take a litany of slashes and hacks and chops at his hands tonight. Because let’s face it; if Henrik Sedin had an injured hand, Dave Bolland would be chopping his hand like the world’s ugliest lumberjack.
     
  3. No screwing around in the defensive zone. The Blackhawks are ruthless with the puck in the offensive zone, creating turnovers and chaos whenever they possibly can. The Canucks D-zone play as to be air-tight tonight. One to two passes and it needs to be at center ice. And for god’s sake, do NOT bother with the silly blind backpasses at the blue line. The Hawks will murder them if they try those.

The Links

Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Gameday: Canucks vs. Blackhawks (The Province)
  3. In his own words: Brendan Morrison talks… (The Province)
  4. Intensity level rises for Canucks with Blackhawks on tap (Vancouver Sun)
  5. Canucks seek upper hand on Blackhawks (CBC Sports)
  • fk all you whiners are ridiculous. target anything that helps ya win. this aint “rec hockey”. its survival of the fittest, oops, survivors are the winners! your all looking at this thru emotions but its not about being mr nice guy or dont hurt the image…fark that!! the funny thing is i bet all you whiners are the first ones to stand cheering a good scrap where both players are trying to KO the other guy…nope, its a business and its about winning any way you can up here! thats how seats are filled jobs are kept and money is made!!! take yourself out of the idea its a game…cuz its NOT to the people involved..its their jobs and their job is to win. oh yeah, and dont worry, i dont like seeing people get hurt as much as the next guy but im realistic about the true nature of todays game and money involved

      • but i do respect your opinion. this, well, its just mine and im with tinfoil on this one. its not crossing over the line to do such a thing imho. and no, i dont mean break it, but just enough to get him thinkin about it when he gets into a situation where he could get a shot to it.

      • then dont. but i am. its the real world man, not a fantasy.

        what? you think Cooke for instance gives a fk about what we think when he cashes his 2m a year? like all rats, they do what they need to do to win and takin a free shot at Toews hand to slow him down works. just think if they did it in the second tonite they wouldnt likely have got one in the 3rd.

        this is only a game to us my friend. thats why we’ll never see cheap shots leave the game. never has, never will.

  • BlackhawksForever

    Are you saying that the Canucks target a player with the intention to injure? You are really a low-life. I’ve seen a lot from Vancouver, but you are ridiculous. You, sir, are a jerk.

  • For what it’s worth, the editorial slant of this particular Canucks blog veers towards non-violence and I personally wouldn’t have suggested this tactic.

    That said, this sort of brutal “gamesmanship” has been around as long as hockey has. There’s a reason teams are vague when declaring injuries. If, for example, a team knows a goalie is coming off a groin injury, they’ll generally make him go post to post all game long.

    I think that’s what Cam was getting at with his line there.

  • Lol so you’re saying we should stoop down to the Bruins level? No thank you and I prefer their speed and skill game than goonery. I’d much rather win that way than getting away with murder. Although with the Canucks’ extremely unfortunate distortion of their image, I doubt they’d get away with anything. Lose/lose situation if you ask me.

    • He’s talking as if targeting an already injured player to further “exploit” his “weakness” is an okay thing to do. It’s not and it will make things much worse for the Canucks image if that were the case. It’s NOT blown out of proportion because it is an outrageous claim in which cheap plays are advocated. These types of things DON’T belong in hockey and certainly not in Canucks hockey. I always believed that the Canucks play with integrity and they always seem to stand by that. Now if they do cheap shot Toews hand what then? Are you saying this is okay? You’re delusional if you think it is and even more delusional if you think that portion of the article wouldn’t get any backlash.

      What about all of us Canuck fans crying about Salo when he was injured? If someone on the opposing team, fan or not was going around saying that they should “further concuss Salo” we would be screaming bloody murder. Including you “Megan”.

      • we are talking about targeting a player’s weak hand, not giving a headshot. To even say the two acts are similar makes you the delusional one, James.

        Thomas Drance makes a clear point-

        ” That said, this sort of brutal “gamesmanship” has been around as long as hockey has. There’s a reason teams are vague when declaring injuries. If, for example, a team knows a goalie is coming off a groin injury, they’ll generally make him go post to post all game long. ”

        Exactly, thank you.

        • BlackhawksForever

          Listen to yourself…”targeting a player’s weak hand, not giving a head shot.” The problem with your argument is that there is NO difference. It is still playing with the intent to injure or cause further injury. What Thomas Drance says is plausible, I agree with it. That’s called the proper way of “exploiting” or “taking advantage” of an injury or weakness…you DON’T try to cause further injury but you take advantage of an injury by OUTPLAYING an opponent. Now if the poster of this article made that more clear than we wouldn’t have a problem.

  • I’m a die hard Canucks fan and for you to actually post and advocate for the Canucks to target Toews hand? What is that even supposed to mean? It’s idiotic remarks like yours that make our fan base look bad. What’s worst is that people in general cannot think logically and critically for the life of them and often associate silly words with the actual team itself. It doesn’t help the “Canucks are classless” argument, it drives it more.

    I am disappointed that a generally good fan site like CanucksArmy actually had the indecency to publish this. If it was the other way around and say, Henrik was injured and Hawks fans were asking for his head/further injury than all of you (the ones who agree with this) would be whining and complaining about how the Hawks and their fans are so “classless.”

    This obvious double standard doesn’t belong here. Your right, it’s cheap, something like some fans will stoop low to but I for one know for a fact that the team itself, the Canucks will not and will never. I understand maybe exploiting his injury in a way that the Canucks just outplay Toews and his team but to say to actually target his hand? Gutless. We just had the all star weekend, just because it’s over doesn’t mean sportsmanship should be absent.

  • Hey TinFoil, as far as im concerned its always a good article when speaking truth.(goodonya) Political correctness should be limited to bigotry, imho, not hockey forums/articles no matter whose most sensitive lil bones it might offend. gotta ask tho, i wonder when writing if you thot it would create such a stink? > to end.. ‘quote'(It sure was fun having such a barrage of comments today. For that, I’m grateful.)as they say, controversy or Nipple Ring moments are always a good thing lol..need more like it instead of, like some, always trying to
    schmooze a certain demographic!

    cheers!

  • Why limit it to guys that are hurt? I say we knock the little baby Kane with a slash too. I like how we try to pretend to be classy when the blogger says what everyone is thinking. No way should Toews or Sharp finish this game. It’s life.

  • Don’t just target the hand, break the farkin thing. ever hear the ole proverb? good guys finish last. would i like it happening to the Canucks? no! but that doesn’t mean i don’t expect it to happen from time to time or that i wouldn’t mind it if i was a Chicagoan.
    give it a rest whiners! you all know if it happens to the opponent you’ll all pretend you care but cheer at the victory and “minimize” the infraction at every inquiry

  • You are losing it.

    “Target Toews’ hand”. What do you mean if it doesn’t mean attempt to injure?

    You’re implying you want them to slash it to hurt him which is an attempt to injure. Hello!

    Come on pint size. You’re fighting a losing battle here. Kudos to you for writing a paragraph to get you more than your 8 views a day, it worked but your logic is sad.

    You also don’t answer half the questions these intelligent posters are saying to you. A pure sign of defeat.

    Don’t quit your job at Taco Bell because blogging is not your thing.

    • Please tell me specifically which questions I have not answered or addressed.

      “What do you mean if it doesn’t mean attempt to injure?” Slash his hands. Do you think every time a player slashes another player that his intent is to injure? I sure don’t.

      Did I really have spell that out that explicitly in order for you to understand what I meant?

      And if your tack on dealing with this topic is just to insult me, then why do you keep replying? Why are you bothering?

  • ‘@ tinfoil tuque
    Your sarcastic “thanks for reading my article” response seems to suggest that if we disagree with your post we can all have a nice cup of “Shut the $#&! Up. Canuck fans are intelligent enough to know advocating slashing someone is NOT one of the three keys to the game. We have a great team and surely do not have to resort to cheap shot tactics on Toews to win…….or do we? There will always be players willing to embrace the opportunity to act upon your suggestion. However, that thinking and talk stays in the room not hearalded publicly. You should take note.
    Thanks for keeping your posts on the lighter side. Most guys wouldn’t admit to being a douchebag but you wear it very well. Thanks for the belly laugh!!!

  • So sad that you have to drop down to this level just to get views and wish injury upon someone.

    The 2 posters above said it perfectly and you were quite brutal in your feeble attempts to defend yourself which is another bad blogger trait. Perhaps now write a blog just defending yourself? I bet it crossed your mind.

    Anyways, you have a lot to learn kid. Quit watching the WWE and try to learn hockey a bit better.

  • Wow. “Target Toews’ hand.” You claim “hey, this is acceptable because all teams do it, it’s just fact.” Canucks fans are constantly bewildered by the fact that no one can stand them. Comments like that and you wonder why? Imagine if someone on Sportsnet or TSN advocated that. Would they not be canned instanly? I’m certainly not suggesting that any canucks player/coach takes into consideration any of your “articles” but consider the slippery slope you’re creating. In this day and age of the game, “respect” seems to be the common theme, especially with the incessant concussion injuries. Should Crosby’s head be targeted? Think about what you say before you make such classless suggestions.

    • So let me get this straight.

      We all know that players have targetted opponents’ injuries since hockey started… Right??

      If you don’t know this, or are ignoring this, then you’re a complete moron.

      But I’m classless for saying the words. So it’s okay that it happens. That’s part of the game. We know it’s going to happen and it continues to happen.
      But I can’t talk about it, or suggest that it will happen, and I’m not allowed to talk about it because that makes me a douchebag.

      Got it.

      thanks for reading my article.

      • Actually, the word douchebag was never said, but ok, I’ll roll with it. Yes, you are a douchebag for advocating injury. You know the type of guys who do that? Matt Cooke, Jarkko Ruutu, Raffi Torres, etc. Reputable guys, leading the hockey world with class, yes. Of course it has happened before, but is it something the game needs, something people want to see? No self-respecting hockey fan would ADVOCATE it. Murder happens everyday, should I suggest we all go murder people we don’t like because “meh, it happens anyways.” Moron.

        Also, you never answered my question. Should Crosby’s head be targeted? Would you suggest that the Canucks target Crosby’s head every time they play the Pens?

        Don’t act like you know what is said or suggested in the locker room. You’re a blogger, probably with permanently stained cheeto fingers.

        • Thanks for painting all bloggers with the same brush. That helps.

          Now… I hope you can admit that there is a bigg difference between an elbow to the head (which is a suspendable offense) and a slash to the hands, which happens 30 times per game.

          Can you admit that those are different?

          I suggest that the Canucks or ANY NHL team would do whatever they can within the rules of the game to gain an advantage. Toews has a weakness. Exploit.
          Did I say that the Canucks should two-hand his wrists and shatter his hands? Nope. Did I suggest that they cut off his hands with a machete? Nope.

          WOULD I EVER SUGGEST THAT AN NHL PLAYER SHOULD TARGET THE HEAD OF ANOTHER OPPONENT?! No.

          If you can’t see that there is a difference between “intent to injure” and a slash to the hands, then there is no point in continuing this discussion, because you’ve missed what I’ve said.

  • “2.Target Toews’ hand”
    Read the injury reports and try to re-injure a guy. It’s more than cheap it’s ruthless, wait a second, classless is more accurate. Why not just butt end him in the mouth on the first shift and take the penalty? Save your dramatics for the playoffs.

    • I know, right!?

      Because the Canucks would be the FIRST TEAM EVER to target an opponent’s injury!

      CLASSLESS TEAM! RUN THEM OUT OF THE LEAGUE!

      And I’m a disgusting pig for even suggesting that!

      I imagine the Canucks would say something like this: “What’s that? Are you saying that we should hit him in the hands?! But that’s mean! No, we would NEVER do that. And nobody in the NHL would ever do that! We’re all the classiest, respectful sportsmen ever!”

      HAHAHAHAH.