<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>“Losing is a disease…as contagious as bubonic plague.” The Natural
About now we need Roy Hobbs (with a talented, aging Swede named Mats or Peter standing in for Robert Redford) to leap over the boards clutching “Wonderboy”, his lightning-bolt-emblazoned stick, to save the day, the season, and the team. Yes indeed, if life worked like the movies, we would now be in the middle section of the film, that sad, frustrating part where the team is being tested. All we audience members would need to do is await the inevitable comeback, the victory and the happy ending.
I think fans and players alike could really use the upcoming intermission, in the form of the All-Star break, to stretch our legs, exorcize or at least exercise our demons, and recharge our batteries.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/jan0508_skills18_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/jan0508_skills18_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Frankly, there are two things that I am hoping will come out of the All-Star Game. First, I hope Roberto returns relaxed, happy and ready to look at the remainder of the season as a fresh start and a chance to regain his position as best goalie in the League. Second, I dream of the emergence of Henrik Sedin as an individual. This weekend, shift after shift, Hank will be forced to tailor his game to two linemates who do not share his DNA. Heaven forefend, he may actually be forced to become the red-headed Scandinavian who takes the first shot at the net off the rush. I would dearly love to break Henrik of the habit of always, always thinking his only choice in every situation is to try to find Daniel.
Cripes, do we ever miss Willie and his magic stick, Kevin and his physical, feisty play, and the timely goals of Mo. This team’s top forwards are skilled but don’t physically dominate, and its biggest forwards can create room but at times struggle with hitting the back of the net. I want us to start winning again but I don’t want Dave to make some crazy deal that scorches the earth and wrecks our future for years to come.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/dec1007_kings14_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/dec1007_kings14_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>The hardest thing for this fan at the moment is that the team is not really playing badly. So I can’t throw up my hands and walk away in disgust. The line between winning and losing is a microfiber right now. The coach calls for more shots on net, the lads respond. They don’t actually score any more goals mind you, but they do take more than 40 shots. They are not making spectacularly bad defensive decisions. Unfortunately, breakdowns are inevitable, no team plays a perfect game, and these days, the puck seems to sail in behind Roberto ever time there is a miscue.
It feels like we are so close to the win column, but we ain’t playing horseshoes here, so close doesn’t count. Speaking of which, maybe we need to get a medical team into the locker room to surgically implant some horseshoes. The boys are way overdue for a little good luck.
Let’s hope the Blues have the blues when they leave town on Wednesday night.