<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>Okay. I confess that I do bring a slightly masculine edge to my girlie pursuits. I am quite possibly the only woman with a guilty addiction to “MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives” who gets annoyed with the inaccuracies in the hockey aspects of the show. Conversely, I also view sports through a female gaze. So I have to admit that I am generally baffled by the passion displayed by the fellas for so-called “old-time” (read goon) hockey. To me, it usually indicates an evening where skill, style, talent, flash and all the other ingredients that normally cause me to delight in the game, are largely missing in action. If the Canucks are going to stage a “Slapshot” evening, could we not at least be treated to a reenactment of Michael Ontkean’s striptease, featuring Markus or Willie?
Now, I always enjoy it when our lads refuse to be intimidated. If an opposing player starts it, I love it when a Canuck finishes it. But 193 penalty minutes? During the endless final seconds of the Oilers game, I was quite concerned that there would be another incident on GM Place ice that would once again make us the pariah of the NHL, and the chief emotion I felt when the final buzzer sounded was not joy at the win, but relief that nobody left on a stretcher. Still, obviously, this was a game that the Canucks needed to play. After a month of disappointment and one-goal losses, you just knew that the pent-up, testosterone-fueled frustration was reaching epic levels. And the boy-bonding exercise of group brawling seems to have been a real tonic for the team.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1608_Canucks-Oilers13_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1608_Canucks-Oilers13_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>After the uncharacteristic flurry of goals exchanged with Minnesota a week ago, last night’s tilt against the Wild seemed a bit more in keeping with the usual battles between the two teams. That is, it featured precious little room to move and solid goaltending with ugly goals going in off deflections. But both games did feature one pleasing common denominator – the ability of the Canucks to battle back. In fact, after spending much of the season as the team that was doomed if they were behind going into the third period, the boys finally seem to be leaving that stat behind.
The Canucks were looking dominant throughout last night, but that hasn’t always translated into a positive outcome for the team. I was getting that old sinking feeling with ten minutes left to play. Fortunately the captain’s timely goal buoyed me up (even the anti-Naslund squad must admit that Markus has been playing rather well of late). And just as I was thinking that the Minny crowd’s loathing of mild Mattias Ohlund seemed all out of proportion to his actual crime against Mikko Koivu, and that their lusty booing might actually be motivating the Canucks, stalwart Matty was the catalyst for Daniel Sedin’s overtime winner. How sweet it is.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1608_Canucks-Oilers03_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1608_Canucks-Oilers03_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>But when it comes to motivation, there is nothing quite like the endless (life-long, really) desire to impress your dad. Having their fathers in the house seems to have smartened the lads right up. Was there a threat of grounding, or car keys being confiscated, as punishment for a loss?
And finally, the flaps flap. Once again I will state that a rule for one should be a rule for all. If one goalie can wear the flaps, they all can. If a player gets a high stick in the face, it’s a penalty, whether that player is a superstar sweetie or pesky Ryan Kesler. If punching a player in the back of the head is a suspendable offense, everyone who does it should get a suspension, period.
And, man, if you really want to limit the superhuman abilities of Roberto Luongo, you can’t just cut off the flaps of his goalie pads. You’re going to have to cut off a limb.