<table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Oh Easter, thine bastion of tradition - your four-day weekend is always a reminder of two things in my life: a belly full of Maker’s Mark and creme eggs, and watching hockey while the sun is still up. There is nothing I enjoy more than an Easter Sunday morning that consists of blasting the quads with some hack squats, a sport bottle full of Kentucky bourbon whiskey, an Easter egg hunt/banana pancake breakfast at a neighbor’s of my choosing, and then topping it all off with watching a hockey game in a room that is alit with nothing but the glorious rays of the sun. It’s the way that I’ve always done it, and it always serves as the first intimation that the playoffs are right around the corner. It’s looking like the Canucks stand a good chance of securing a spot in the postseason, but I feel that if they are to succeed, there are three activities that need to be retired from their arsenal:
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/Sep2007_Twins_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>1. The Sedin slap-pass. The last time this play worked, I was still in diapers. The year was 2003. For a period of time, this move was one of the most effective weapons on the powerplay, until opposing defenses happened upon the brilliant strategy of defending against it. According to the NHL rulebook, there’s nothing that strictly prohibits a defenseman from interfering with the slap-pass, but there it is on what seems like every powerplay - trotted out like an aged stage-monkey propped up with cedar splints and amphetamine booster shots. That poor monkey, he only yearns for the occasional handfruit and some affection (you can probably come up with a way of making that into a metaphor for why the slap-pass needs to be retired on your own).
2. The Naslund slap shot. Quick - name the game which featured Jim Hughson’s now famous call, “Naslund rips one top shelf with the slap shot!” Trick question, it wasn’t Jim Hughson, it was John Shorthouse. Double trick question, it never happened. Once the owner of a wrist shot that rivaled the Joe Sakics of the league, Naslund has since arrived at the decision that a blind man gently lobbing blueberry muffins is as effective of a weapon as a Cold-War era Soviet laser beam. Agree to disagree, I suppose. Full marks to the captain for effort, but every time Naslund winds up for a slap shot, he looks about as comfortable as the patients of Dr. Jonathan Bananahands, Proctologist.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/nov1407_edm@van04_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>3. The ‘Lou’ chant. That’s right, fans - the finger is pointed directly at you on this last one. What started out as a means of letting the best goaltender in Canucks’ history that his efforts were being earnestly noted has snowballed into a unruly beast of the apocalypse, subsisting upon routine saves and the hearts of newborn puppies (think about that the next time your tongue curls back in your mouth in anticipation of a hearty ‘Lou’ after he stops a 60 foot backhand shot). I appreciate the sentiment and the enthusiasm, but maybe the ‘Lou’ chant should be treated like Christmas or showering - it’s more special because it doesn’t happen every day.