Saturday, February 4, 2012
AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Vancouver Canucks, 2/4/12
The Good Guys: Played a fantastically mediocre game on Thursday in a deflating 1-0 loss to Manbearpig. The Avs controlled the puck for the most part, and JS Giguere made several key saves, but it wasn't enough to overcome a fluky early goal from Greg Zanon. It wasn't an entirely dark effort, however: Erik Johnson played an elite game, and Gabriel Landeskog played an angry, aggressive game; his best game as a pro. Despite those two bright spots, it was as crushing a regular season loss as the Avs are going to see all season, as it put them 3 points behind the Wild in the race for the final playoff spot and allowed Dallas and Calgary (!) to leapfrog them in the standings as well. The Avs have played more games than every team in the NHL thus far, and their record against Northwest Division opponents dropped to an inexcusable 2-12.
Bunch Of Dicks: Vancouver plays in the Northwest Division; they're also leading said division. The Canucks boast the distinction of a roster that features the highest overall percentage of dicks, assclowns, con men, sleazeballs, and shady characters in the NHL. Their coach, Alain Vigneault, is a slickster snake-oil salesman who talks out of both sides of his mouth well enough to drink coffee and play the trumpet at the same time. These guys can suck it. Part of the appeal of watching any Canucks game is the realistic potential of Sami Salo spontaneously deconstructing like one of those dolls with velcro-attached limbs.
We Like: ...no, we LOVE the idea espoused by Sportsnet's Marc Spector that it's time for the Canucks to trade Cory Schneider. Can you imagine skittish Canucks fans being asked to entrust a purse dog like Roberto Luongo to carry their team all the way through the playoffs without the safety net provided by the seemingly steady and competent Schneider? Schadenfreude!
We Don't Like: The lack of a timetable on Matt Duchene's return from a knee injury. The Avs persevered for some time without Mighty Matt, but three consecutive one-goal losses to inferior opponents points to the difference an offensive player like Duchene can make. The Avs don't have enough offensive difference makers to afford to be missing Duchene much longer, and they sure as hell don't seem all that inclined to spend the money necessary to replace him via trade. Gee Greg Sherman, think Michael Ryder (18g, 17a) or Kris Versteeg (20g, 24a) would have been more sound offseason investments than Chuck Kobasew? Oh, that's right: Kobasew was cheaper. In all fairness, I'm sure Sherman was concerned about signing deals that put the Avs within $15 million of the salary cap ceiling, so in that regard, Kobasew made more sense. I'm going to have an aneurysm.
Randomly: No, seriously, I think I'm going to have an aneurysm. Every time I think about the second-wealthiest owner in the NHL playing footsie with the cap floor, my vision goes all gray and fuzzy, and my eyeball starts twitching. Sherman claims Enos authorized him to spend to the cap, which means either Sherman is incompetent (possible) or a liar (probable).
Potential Hero: Any Avs fan that can make it through watching this entire game without wanting to throw his or her TV into a fire.
Potential Goat: I'm so down on this cheapskate, bare-bones franchise right now, I'm tempted to award Enos "Honorary Goat Of The Year" now and chuck this segment from the blog. This team could have been a contender THIS YEAR if they committed some money to it.
Canucks 5, Avs 3