<table width=80% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/henderson_headshot.jpg align=left hspace=4>Yeesh. Pity the poor ticketholders who witnessed the Canucks on Saturday night, looking more snowed under by Avalanche conditions than the Coquihalla Highway. It was beginning to feel like an Old Yeller moment, where the kindest thing might be to take the team out behind the barn and put them and us out of our collective misery.
So, bravo boys, for coming up with a feisty effort the very next night and coming away with a win. I have been yelling for some time that those who ain’t scoring better be hitting. They seem to have finally heard me.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks10_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks10_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>It was delightful to see Alex Burrows get a pretty breakaway goal. Alex endlessly cracks me up – I love his zippiness and determination and obvious passion for the game. So it’s nice for him to be rewarded with a right-place-at-the-right-time pass, and most importantly, to display some rather dazzling finish. And a little finish, or more accurately Swedish, from our captain – making like the Markus of old, providing those last minute heroics as he has done so many, many times before, and tipping in the tying goal in the dying minutes of the third period.
How disorienting and ego-deflating it must be to celebrate as a Stanley Cup champion one minute, and the next, you’re toiling away on the farm team due to injuries. So, I’m happy to see Ryan Shannon back with the big club. And if he was trying to make an impression, I would say he succeeded with that shootout move. My opinion is that Khabibulin made first contact with his attempted poke check, which contributed to the tumbling action by our mighty mite hero. In other words, it looked legal to me, but I would, of course, have to admit to a pro-Canuck bias. Clearly, over time, it’s getting harder for players to score in the shootout. So naturally they are becoming more creative to improve their chances. I predict the already circus-like atmosphere of the shootout will only get worse, with shooters inventing ever more goofball or dangerous moves and the League ruling on them the next day
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks04_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks04_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Oh, and apparently it is, once again, acceptable for one hockey player to punch another in the back of the head at GM Place. At least, I didn’t notice the VPD descending upon the cranky Russian netminder. Considering that a blow to the back of the head has previously been condemned as the worst crime in the history of hockey, I am surprised that a suspension isn’t at least being discussed.