The Stanchies: The Kuzmenkshow runs wild as Canucks best Avalanche 4-2

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
1 year ago
The Colorado Avalanche rolled into town Thursday night, and while some fans might have worried another offensive beat down was headed their way, many astute fans knew differently.
You see, just when you think this team is done, just when you think they’ll have no choice but to trade assets and look ahead to next season, they tend to go out and beat a top NHL team instead.
You know, they say all teams are created equal, but you look at Colorado and you look at Vancouver, and you can see that statement is not true. See, normally if you have Colorado go one on one with another team, they have got a 50/50 chance of winning. But Andrei Kuzmenko is a genetic freak and he is not normal. So the Avalanche had a 25% chance at best to beat Vancouver.
Then you add Collin Delia into the mix, and the Av’s chances of winning drastically go down.
See, they had a 33 1/3 chance of winning, but the Canucks, they had a 66 2/3 of winning, but because Colorado knows they can’t beat the Delia, they weren’t even going to try.
So, Colorado, you take your 33 1/13 chance minus the Canucks’ 25% chance, and you had an 8/13 chance of winning at Rogers Arena. But then you take the Canucks 75% chance of winning, and if you were to go one on one against Elias Pettersson, and then add the 66 2/3 percent, the Canucks had a 141 2/3 chance of winning. See, Colorado, the numbers don’t lie, and they spelt disaster for you Thursday night.
Now, onto the gifs.
Best conspiracy theory
Before we get to the game, we have to discuss this:
The Canucks’ guerilla marketing campaign continues as a “Free the Skate” banner was seen flying over Vancouver on Thursday. Hot on the heels of a long, sensual zoom in on a fan rocking a #FreeTheSkate sign at the last game, and on top of the team being seen practicing in black practice gear ON TOP OF the digital board ads randomly turning black, red and yellow this season, well, connect the dots folks.
Remember, they all said Jerry Fletcher was crazy at one point. Don’t let Dr. Jonas win. The Canucks are behind all of this.
Besides, it’s a well-known fact that any big moves made by the club is signalled via plane banner rather than regular social media, it’s just how we do things here. Oh, TSN is reporting you’re signing John Tavares? That’s quaint. Vancouver is going to rock a plane banner to announce the Bo Horvat trade. Sorry your flair game isn’t as strong as ours.
Taking it one step further, Trent uncovered what might be the origins of the Skate jersey’s return this season: Robin Sparkles. I mean, Cobie Smulders.
Remember, the Canucks haven’t released part two of the video yet. Perhaps the sequel leads right into the release of the Skate jersey? Is that the final mission? Cobie wore a Mason Raymond jersey, we can trust her, we know this.
(I would be remiss if I didn’t add  in Tyler Myers front-kicking someone to death from Part one)
And since I like making gif money off of the oddest things, here’s Tyler Myers driving a car with JT Miller:
Fun fact: Quadrelli had to pay me $12.45 for that gif.
Now, the question remains, when will we see the Skate jersey? If the Canucks are indeed behind this, nobody is talking. Probably because Tyler Myers will kick them to death if they do.
So in the meantime, stay tuned to The Stanchies, as we keep our ears to the ground to uncover the next set of secret signals from whomever is behind the #FreeTheSkate operation this season.
Best end game
This is the entire point of this campaign. Kumzenko and Luke Schenn in Skate jerseys. This is why it must happen.
Though shout out to Brock who somehow always looks more rugged and determined in the Skate jersey.
Best let’s just keep it to a thank you Jim
I’m not sure what this has to do with Vancouver? A young prospect, with no ties whatsoever to Vancouver, a draft pick that in no way exists in an alternate universe piling up points for the Canucks, won a gold medal today? Well that just sounds delightful!
Best signage
Best new hotness
The Canucks run a very neat mentorship program where they take in struggling youths players and pair them up with Elias Pettersson to help lift their spirits stats.
JT Miller, who has been at the centre of attention in Vancouver lately, was put on a line with Elias Pettersson. This is something we haven’t seen often in these parts for many moons, whether due to a coaching decision or if you read the tabloids, because EP40 and JT have been feuding ever since Miller spoiled the end of season 3 of Succession for Elias.
Regardless, it hasn’t been utilized at all under Bruce Boudreau, so there was some surprise seeing JT line up with EP40 to start the game. That being said, there is no better spot to put a struggling player than on a line with Elias, as he tends to make everyone around him a better player and/or person.
One minute JT is saying why bother recycling while lighting the tires on Artem Chubarov’s abandoned car on fire, the next minute he’s handing out metal straws and pipe cleaners to everyone in the team meetings.
And to be fair to JT Miller, he can have an elite offensive game, so letting Elias play around with that is something that can return some fun results. A win/win sort of situation right now, assuming the team doesn’t get too top-heavy and/or Elias and JT start punching each other at centre ice.
Either way, the game started off well with the Chaos Giraffe jumping up into play on the line, and JT Miller diligently covering for him at the point, ending with a funnelled shot that Elias just missed converting into a dangerous shot on net:
This might seem like a simple gif, but you must remember two things:
  1. Quads has to pay me for it.
  2. At no point does JT Miller give up the puck into a breakaway against.
I will now sit back and patiently await the swarm of angry JT Miller commentators who have come for my head on social media as of late. For the record, he is a fantastic offensive player, and can, as we have seen in the past, be a very responsible player. It’s just, I don’t know how you can argue that he hasn’t struggled this season at both ends of the ice.
Best letting them know
Here’s the thing. If you’re a top-notch goal scorer with sick hands and an even sicker haircut, what better way to put the league on notice than to drop some fool and show them your inner 2003 Todd Bertuzzi?
Okay, so Kuzmenko turned in a slow circle and was penalized for this because….bees?
Either way, he let Colorado know early on that he was going to be a PROBLEM for them on the night.
Best you ARE doing great
Ali is correct, Delia was locked in on the night. There is something about a goalie who can shut down the Colorado Avalanche on one hand, then turn around and look like he can deliver a scathing rebuke to a Ludwig Wittgenstein argument on the other. Sometimes the building is more important than the foundations of possible buildings, damn it.
At one point he even threw off his mask to let the Avalanche look into his eyes so they could see that they had zero chance on the night:
That’s just a big-time move by a big-time goalie who is eyeing up Spencer Martin’s job and wondering “What if…?” that doesn’t involve Loki.
Best taking the trash out
Surrey Eagle alum Devon Toews was given a rather cold reception upon returning back to the Province he played BCHL hockey in, as Curtis Lazar dumped him into the Canucks bench early on in the game:
He got into a bit of a piss-baby fight with Travis Dermott, while Quinn Hughes looked like your cousin at Thanksgiving dinner trying to avoid the beer someone spilled all over the table from dripping onto their lap.
The good news for Devon Toews is he knows that after the game he can walk a few blocks to Blenz to get one of their superior holiday drinks because they respect their eggnog-enjoying audience, unlike Starbucks.
Best offensive machine
Playing with Elias Pettersson seems like it must be one of the best jobs on the planet because you can simply funnel him the puck and then watch him do most of the work.
The newly formed Entourage line had a strong start Thursday night, with Kuzmenko making the quick sneaky pass over to Elias after JT Miller caused a ruckus in the corner:
I know we talk about Elias an awful lot, but man alive, I love me some Kuzmenko. He just has a very subtle smart game that lines up with what you normally scream at your television. You’ll see a guy open and yell “PASS TO HIM PASS TO HIM NOW” and most of the time it doesn’t happen because apparently playing in the NHL is high-level stuff and it’s much easier to scream and point than to actually do it or whatever.
But with Kuzmenko, you scream and point and he’s already doing the right play most of the time. Like on that previous clip, you see JT forechecking in the corner, mumbling about goalies being a bunch of suck bags, and then Kuz slides in there and flicks a perfect pass over to Pettersson in the slot. Nobody on the Canucks reads the ice like Elias, but the fact Kuzmenko is huffing it behind him and keeping him within eyesight, that’s still very impressive.
And who knows, with enough time, Elias Pettersson might go back in time to reconnect with a lost love and then boom, Kuzmenko is your new Captain Canuck. I’m just saying.
JT Miller took the spot of Ilya Mikheyev, and while he doesn’t have the speed of Ilya, he does have gumption and the knowledge that the Bumpin’ Bo spot is very effective:
He almost sets up Elias for a goal in Bo’s favourite spot, but more important than that, the cycle game of the Entourage line was on full display during this game.
Again, JT Miller is a very smart offensive player. Putting him with Elias and Kuzmenko should lead to some highlight-worthy hockey. I am not trying to insult your hockey daddy.
Best gotta give him credit?
Most Canucks games this season start with me making video clips of questionable defensive plays where I wonder when the goals are about to start.
Thursday night started off no differently when OEL and Tyler Myers did that thing they do where they both cover one man, then scramble to recover:
Now, on one hand, I am going to give OEL credit for realizing there was an oopsie in progress when he backed up to cover the net front and his rear end ran into CG57. Upon realizing that once again they found themselves covering the same guy, OEL slid over and blocked the passing lane with a Three Musketeers stick lunge, shutting down the high danger shot.
On the other hand, I have a multitude of video evidence of these recoveries not working, and it resulting in a goal, so I don’t want to get too enthusiastic about applauding plays like these.
That being said, the Canucks tightened things up considerably as the game went on, and the fact I only have a few clips like this on hand after a game against the Avalanche? Well that speaks volumes.
Best whatever works
I think at his core, JT Miller always gravitates towards being that guy who sits in the centre of his own zone and sets up shop, barking out orders. And while EP40 is indeed the centre on this line, JT Miller played this rush perfectly:
He defends his man, each of his defenders takes the two outside rushing players, and then JT swoops around the net to offer support and help collect the puck in a board battle.
That right there, that is what we in the business call the “good stuff.”
Best dialled in
I knew on this save that Delia was going to be in the zone on the night:
It’s not that I don’t love Delia when he summons his inner Hasek, because nobody loves a barrel roll 360 Time Cop split save more than yours truly. But he was so locked in he wasn’t even giving us the fun stuff I know he likes to lean into. He was simply fundamentally sound all night long, and doing that thing modern goalies do where they make saves look so boring that you wonder if the other team should have even bothered shooting the puck in the first place.
Cool, you wear knives on your feet, that’s neat, but why waste our time shooting? Did you see the minimal amount of energy the goalie used to stop you? You’re embarrassing yourself.
Best drawn lines
There has been a season-long battle between Boeser PP1 truthers and Kuz PP1 truthers. Anytime Brock is on the first unit, people wonder why Kuzmenko isn’t there, and vice versa.
While I lean more towards being a Kuz PP1 truther, I am fine with either one of them on the first unit because 95% of the plays simply end up being feeding Bumpin’ Bo for the shot or the tip in front:
And I say that without condescension, as it’s a good play to simply feed Bo on the power play. It feels like it’s been years since EP40 wiring home one-timers on the power play was a thing, and JT Miller’s blind drop passes of doom to Quinn Hughes are the stuff of nightmares, so get that puck down low to Brock or Kuz or whomever, and keep feeding Bo.
Best get him a body bag
I’ve watched an awful lot of movies and worked at several video stores enough to know a leg being swept when I see one.
If this was the All Valley Karate Tournament, Darren Helm would have been penalized a point for his 43-on-43 crime.
Best mad scrambles
The Avalanche continued to press onwards, hitting the post in the first period, leading to Delia making several kick save animations before finally covering the puck:
And yes, the sight of four Canucks on the crease makes for good comedic value, but was a solid sign of the desperation this team needed to be using as fuel on the night. It’s like when you make fun of a friend over text but after you send it you realize it might have been sent to the group chat? That sinking sensation in your stomach, that fear and adrenaline coursing through your veins, that is exactly what the Canucks needed to rely on to power their victory.
Best familiar feeling
With Tyler Myers off for hooking, the Avalanche realized the best way to defeat Collin Delia was to take away his superpower: His sight.
The only time Collin really seemed in trouble on the night was when the Avalanche set up screens on him, as he was caught struggling to track the puck several times during the game. Sometimes it resulted in a goal, and sometimes the puck would flutter by dangerously close, almost as if to whisper in his ear that Collin was experiencing transcendental idealism and that how could he stop that which he doesn’t know?
And while JPat is correct to point out the unholy trash that is the Canucks’ penalty kill, I will say that this was a very nice shot from Mikko Rantanen. Through three players, then off the post, and in? I have to give a lot of credit to the Avalanche on this one.
Luke Schenn not boxing out JT Compher and providing a screen of his own certainly didn’t help, however, and is probably a solid example of why the Canucks penalty kill is so poor this year. Blocked shots haven’t exactly been the Canucks’ calling card this season, so if you’re not blocking shots but you’re also setting up shop and screening your goalie? You’re gonna have a bad time.
So while I can give credit to Mikko for the nice shot, that stunningly low 68% penalty kill is not something you can simply explain away as “well you have to give the other team credit” night in and night out.
Best tempting fate
Best wipe out
Look, sometimes you dodge the first banana, but then there are three more just waiting for you around the corner:
The important thing is you get up and collect your item box, and bust out the turbo mushrooms on the next shift.
Best make like a screen door and get out of there
Luke Schenn’s struggled on the night as he set up the perfect screen on the Avalanche’s second goal:
At first glance you just assume he went full Dunc Wilson on the shot, complete with looking like the guy who sells you pot out of his van. Looks like an easy shot that just sort of floats in. The kind of shot that makes you want to leave discouraging words about on social media.
Well, this is Collin Delia we’re talking about, and what is his one weakness? Needing to use his eyes to see.
Watch the replay and you see Luke Schenn try and make a shot block, inadvertently trying out a blocker save, which lifts his arm up, allowing the puck to have a path to the net.
The puck shoots under Luke’s arm, right by a confused and betrayed Delia, and we’re left to wonder why the crowd loves Maximus so much. Is it because the crowd is fickle, brother? One might never know.
The main takeaway from this is that Luke Schenn needs to leave the saves up to the professionals: Mainly, Chris Tanev and Alex Edler. Those two are backup backup goalies. It took them years of practice to rise to the top of their game like that. You can’t just simply wander on the ice as a d-man and start making saves all willy-nilly.
Best silent assassin
While I often give credit to Kuzmenko for being a sneaky subtle fellow, Ilya one-ups him by being a complete silent assassin. I will watch games where I don’t notice him on the ice at all, and then all of a sudden there he is making a five alarm pass perfectly onto the tape of his teammate.
The only problem that arises is when Sheldon Dries gets greedy and tries to take passes clearly meant for Andrei Kuzmenko:
Kuz is the king of the backdoor underground, and Sheldon needs to realize you have two jobs when watching him set up shop beside the net:
  1. Get out of the way
  2. Get out of the way
Let the maestro do his work.
Mikheyev would then utilize the Sedin Hail Mary pass, ie icing the puck on purpose because you know your linemate has a direct line to the puck:
That’s just a brilliant pass to Curtis Lazar from a player that I don’t think gets enough credit from people mainly because he’s a ghost on the ice and we forget he exists. He’s the Angela Martin of the team, standing behind you the entire time without you noticing him.
Best stick work
Look, I’m not saying slashing the stick out of someone’s hand can’t be a penalty, but certainly you need a stronger grip than this to play in the NHL:
Also cool it with the magician’s giant hand waving reveal of the fallen stick, Cogliano.
“Eh? Eh? The stick is mysteriously no longer in my hands!”
Best starting the comeback
As Anna points out, there were signs that the Canucks were not going quietly into the night, would not vanish with a fight, were going to live on, and were going to survive.
First up was Dr. Drei setting up Elias for the two on one with JT Miller:
That feels like against most teams it would have resulted in a shot on net at the very least, but Nate MacKinnon is the fastest kid alive, and he makes it looks so effortless to skate back that yes, you wonder why the Canucks even bothered with the 2 on 1 in the first place. He straight up starts in the Canucks zone and skates back quick enough to cover JT Miller on the far side of the ice, taking away Elias’s pass, and forcing him into the middle where the trailer comes in to double team him. That is just sound fundamental defence, and in no way am I looking towards JT Miller giving him a knowing look. Your hockey daddy is fine.
Then on the next shift, the ghost Ilya Mikheyev loops a pass into Bo Horvat’s path, and with a brilliant Todd Warriner one touch, creates another two one one that results in Brock Boeser just shooting wide:
The Canucks can struggle on nights to create high danger chances, and although they only got 7 on the night, they also limited the Avalanche to 7 as well. And as they say, all high danger chances are not created equal, and this was definitely the case on the night where it felt like Vancouver was a much more threatening team than usual.
Best signage part two
The important thing here is that both Jims got their thank you, which should please Cybulski and Gord Miller.
Best the battle rages on
The Kuzmenkshow started in earnest in the second period, when on the power play he dipsied, he doodled, and he straight up went off dangling the puck to the point he lulled Georgiev to sleep:
This was my favourite goal on the night, not just because Kuzmenko mashed his controller stick like he was playing an EA Sports game, but because the team kept cycling the puck towards the opposite side of the ice, drawing the Avalanche players away from the net.
And who is the sneakiest player on the Canucks? Kuzmenko, stop swiping!
OEL drives to the blue line, and he drops it for The Ghostface Killah Ilya, who also drives towards the blue line, who then drops it down low to a now wide-open Kuzmenko, who busts out his Ultimate Atomic Buster.
Made even better is the fact that the referee ate a puck in the corner and prevented the puck from leaving the zone, which caused the Avalanche to be a little miffed.
Another great thing about the Kuzmenkshow? His goal celebrations:
As someone pointed out, it’s not that Kuz celebrates every goal like it’s his first beer league goal in three years. If it’s a lone goal in a 6-1 loss, he puts his down and averts his eyes with the best of them.
But in games where the team is starting to feel the energy and are trying to get back into things? He literally feeds off of the energy. Like, he grabs a spork and starts chowing down on the energy on the ice and in the building. And you know what? It’s infectious.
There is just something about his energy that stands out from everyone else on the team. It’s so pure. He isn’t weighed down by decades of hockey sadness or expectations. He’s just out here living life and loving hockey. Even during one of the most depressing seasons in recent memory, somehow watching a Kuzmenko goal celebration like this makes all the pain go away. Suddenly the wins and losses don’t matter and you just find yourself enjoying the moment.
Which I know, that doesn’t win you Stanley Cups. And you can’t build a team around the philosophy of “I like this guy’s vibe”.
But he is a highly skilled player and some team, whether that is here, or elsewhere, will be lucky to have him.
It’s hard to remember there was a time when people were openly wondering if his game would translate to the NHL. People would pull you aside and whisper to you about not getting your hopes up. But here he stands, with 17 goals on the season, and a bonafide top six player in the NHL.
I know the Canucks have a lot on their plates in terms of juggling contracts and the salary cap, and re-signing Kuzmenko is probably third or fourth on their list. And I know there is a huge debate to be had about dealing him at the trade deadline, because honestly, you could get a King’s Ransom for him. Not Alex Edler tied up in a basement, but a solid return of draft picks. An aspiring Stanley Cup team sees those 17 goals, sees that power play specialist, they would probably be willing to part with some prized assets for that.
But if the Canucks do somehow end up with him beyond this season? At the very least you will get to experience what it’s like to have a golden retriever suit up and play hockey for you.
Best getting greasy with it
Kuzmenko got the Canucks second goal on the night by simply going hard to the net and digging away:
Again, this is a testament to his game that he can get you the pretty goals, but if need be, he can get his hands dirty as well.
Elias Pettersson skates around the net and almost flicks a perfect pass over to Kuzmenkshow, bypassing Johnny Drama JT Miller in the process, and Kuz gets to work.
He then celebrates by doing a weird Godzilla stamping goal celebration which I am 100% here for:
Like I said, it could be the worst season in recent memory, but watching Kuzmenko bust out the weirdest goal celebrations is very much my jam.
Best showing support
Housing is expensive here, this might work.
Best of my client
The Canucks would then take the lead and never look back after Brock Boeser cleaned up a rebound and sniped home his 7th of the season:
You’ll notice Georgiev smashes his stick on the back of the net, but I assume that is because of bees.
The important play here is that Brock’s forecheck ends up with the puck bouncing off of his skate right to Bo Horvat, who has only one thing in his mind when he gets the puck: “How do I get to the net as quickly as possible?”
He then dumpsters the puck on net and shoves his way through the crease like he’s boarding the Skytrain at Commercial, and Boeser at this point has cycled back and has an open look at the puck.
I have argued in the past that Boeser’s defensive game (forechecking included) has been underrated in this market. His time with Tanner Pearson produced some very strong games in the past. But I will be the first to admit that Brock has not looked great this season. He has often looked disengaged and listless on the ice, giving a token stick check once in a while, but nothing more.
The game on Thursday night? He was as engaged as I have seen him all season. His legs were moving and he was pressuring the Avalanche all over the ice. Which is what leads to turnovers like this, because you’re all up in their grill. Sit back and get passive, giving up time and space, and anyone in the NHL can burn you, even Logan Couture.
How many games have the Canucks sat back and gotten crushed in high danger chances? Too many to count.
Now, I don’t know how Boudreau goes about unlocking this version of the Canucks, but if ever there was a way for this team to go on a run, it’s going to be need an awful lot more games like this, where all their players, including their stars, are putting in the work.
Best slow motion PTSD
Best  continuing the pressure
The Canucks continued to assault the net and if you want to know if Kuzmenko was feeling it, then this 360 should answer that question:
That’s about as swaggy as a Henry Boucha headband, and I don’t even want to know how he would have celebrated a hat trick off of a spin-o-rama.
And what better way to end a period than with Brock Boeser going full Thomas Vanek on us?
There haven’t been too many “fun” games this season, but Thursday night sure felt like one. To the point where it even looked like the players were feeling it.
When was the last time we saw spin-o-ramas and clap bombs in the space of a minute from the Canucks? This had some West Coast Express vibes to it.
Best reboot
Best midterm test worth 40% of your grade
I could show you Jack Studnicka getting a penalty to start the third period, or I could show you the Chaos Giraffe absolutely stapling a Colorado Avalanche into the glass:
The Avalanche came close to tying the game up on the Studnicka powerplay by once again taking away Delia’s eyes, but their shot just went wide:
Again, Delia was locked in. The only way he was being scored on again was if the Avalanche and/or Luke Schenn screened him and/or someone stuck him in the groin with their stick.
Best new line combinations
Obviously after one win you can’t declare victory of your new lines being unstoppable, but clearly you ride them again the next game because Boeser, Mikheyev and Horvat were as impressive as the Entourage Line, if we’re being honest:
Bo Horvat knows the power of the Bumpin’ spot, so he sets up Ghostface for good shot on net.
And then later the Canucks forecheck once again causes a turnover that eventually leads to a Brock Boeser one timer:
You know the team is feeling it when Boeser openly smiles on the ice after a play in which he doesn’t score.
And again, look at this team. When is the last time you saw Brock pressure the puck carrier like that to cause the turnover? Even better, the line cycled the puck until a dangerous shooting lane opened up rather than taking a bad angle shot from the corner.
It’s almost as if the Canucks played a complete game on Thursday!
Best Malik-ing
Bo Horvat almost pulled off the between-the-leg beauty on the Canucks power play mid-way through the third period, but was denied:
So to summarize, we saw a 360, a Vanek clap-bomb attempt, and Bo going between his legs.
Safe to say the Canucks were feeling pretty good about themselves.
Best first rule of Kuz club
See the thing is Dries, you have to let Kuzmenko do his job:
It’s like putting a hand on Michael Jordan’s chest and telling him you got this, as you launch a three ball.
You’re not here to get goals. You’re here to watch Kuzmenko get goals.
Best shutting it down
Want to see Nate MacKinnon try and dance his way through Vancouver and get absolutely shut down?
That’s Nate. He likes long walks along Spanish Banks and getting any local beer brewed East of Quebec street.
What he doesn’t like is having all of his passing options covered and being tripled teamed into turning over the puck, and having to watch the puck go the other way and end up being a shot on net.
It’s not often we’ve seen these Canucks this season.
Drink it in, man.
Best you shall not pass
Collin Delia, who has 100% earned the next start, closed the game out.
First, he made a couple of saves in close:
Then he stopped the traditional “Give up a breakaway that could tie the game up late in the third period” that Vancouver is oh so fond of:
He didn’t even blink an eye at that breakaway. Even when his d-men parted like the red sea, he simply stared Darren Helm and refused to blink.
Absolute game-saver.
Best riding shotgun
JT Miller got the empty net goal to close things out after Elias Pettersson made even that pass to an empty net look world-class:
If ever you wanted to turn a guy’s game around and get some positive momentum, stick him with EP40. He’s the Better Call Saul of the team.
Good ol’ Slippin’ Petey.
Best deep dive
“Collin walked into the room and immediately, he knew something was wrong. If you had asked him he wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was off. It wasn’t like the door was ajar or there was a strange smell in the air. No, there was just a sixth sense sort of moment where the second he walked into the apartment, he could feel it in his soul that something was amiss. He took a cautious step forward and eyed the room. His gaze fell upon the curtains, unassuming at the best of times, but now carrying the malevolence of a third divorce.
‘Oh, I wasn’t expecting you so soon.’ Collin offered up into living room, his eyes burning a hole in the curtains.
‘Ah, you’re as clever always Mr. Delia,’ came the muffled response behind the curtain. A quick twitch of fabric and the stranger revealed himself, stepping into the faint glow of the lamp by the couch.
‘Nate MacKinnon. I thought you were still in jail for the Tim Horton’s robbery last year’ Collin responded, the hint of a smile toying at his lips.
‘I was, but you see, I simply had to see you one last time.’ replied Nate, his face a stark contrast to Collin’s. Where Delia had playfulness, Nate had the harsh lines of someone holding onto something for far too long, the kind of anger that poisons the mind and soul. If not for the light of the lamp, the darkness of Nate’s gaze would have enveloped the entire room. ‘I refuse to live a life in which you get to be the hero, Collin. It’s something I realized I just couldn’t live with.’
Without another word, Nate whipped out his stick and shot a puck directly at Delia’s head. With the reflexes of a young Troy Gamble, Collin threw his hand out and grabbed the puck mid-air, continuing the motion until his fist travelled around the world.
‘The thing about being a hero is, it’s all subjective, isn’t it?’ said Collin.
‘What….what do you mean??” Nate whispered hoarsely, still trying to come to terms with what had just transpired.
‘One man’s hero is another man’s villain as they say” said Collin as he pulled out the Heart of Lorkhan. ‘And I think it’s about time you realized that.’
Outside, Luke Schenn walked his dog, content after a victory over the Avalanche. At one point he thought he heard a loud piercing scream break through his noise-cancelling headphones, but he shook it off as local traffic. Why would anyone be screaming on such a tranquil night, he thought? Best to just get home and get to bed for the net. The smell of burning hair struck him as odd, but he was too caught up in Sum 41’s greatest hits to give it much thought.
Best good guy energy

Best DAWG pound

I know I’m missing Will Lockwood highlights, but let’s get this out there: He set a new season high DAWG rating at a whopping 181.69.
This is what happens when you throw 8 hits in the game, several of them big ones.
Now, I’m not saying Lockwood is a game changer, but if I had a list of players I enjoy watch playing, he is high on that list. He just brings a bad intentions energy with him to any game, as he makes finishing his checks an art form. He isn’t out here politely pushing you into the glass, he’s out here trying to make sure you remember his name. Absolute monster game from Will.
Other top DAWGS:
Luke Schenn – 147.59 (6 hits, 6 blocked shots)
Curtis Lazar – 118.06 (5 blocked shots)
Brock Boeser – 100.28 (Normally he’s a low end DAWG, so if you ever needed proof he was having himself a gritty game, this is it)
Elias Pettersson – 96.90
Jack Studnicka – 96.44
Dakota Joshua – 87.47
Ilya Mikheyev – 77.22
Mid-range DAWGS
Sheldon Dries – 70.55
Andrei Kuzmenko – 66.41
Conor Garland – 59.10
JT Miller – 50.99
Travis Dermott – 47.81
Ethan Bear – 46.43
Bo Horvat – 43.88
Bottom DAWGS:
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 35.34
Tyler Myers – 30.49
Quinn Hughes – 27.84
Best birthday wishes
Eddie is one of the best s*** talkers I know. He never gives up a chance to chirp me. In anything. I could be going in for surgery and he’d chirp me and tell me he’d be better at recovering then me. It’s his love language.
So I’m not shocked to find out that his Dad is the same way.
Absolutely savage birthday gift.

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