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Let's Get Nuts - MAR.08.08

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Mike the Yankee

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<table width=80% align=center><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/mikeblog.gif border=0 align=left hspace=4 vspace=1>Remember in Batman (the older one mind you, before Joel Schumacher

vomited all over the franchise) where an angry Michael Keaton grabs a

fire poker, smashes a lamp and screams at the Joker, "You wanna gets

nuts? C'mon, let's get nuts!"<br /><br />

That phrase keeps popping up in my head when I watch Vancouver games.<br /><br />

Think of it: 138 games lost to injuries this year so far, primarily on

the blue line. Their top four - Mitchell, Ohlund, Bieksa and Salo -

have just been running back and forth to the infirmary. It's made the

pressure on the team's back end that much harder; hell, Vancouver's

tied for last in the league with ten OTLs showing how hard it is for

the defense to clamp down in the OT frame alone.<br /><br />

And yet, there they are, still in the NHL playoffs?<br /><br />

"C'mon, let's get nuts!"<br /><br /><a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/022108_preds12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/022108_preds12_t.jpg border=0 align=right hspace=4 vspace=1></a>

We can thank Luongo obviously who must be amazed at the idea that he's

missing last's year healthier, yet similarly offensively plagued team.

Despite the hard times, Mr. Clutch has the 4th best save %, 7th best

GAA and is 3rd best in shutouts (6) in the league.<br /><br />

We can also thank the kids: Edler, Shannon, Raymond, Bourdon and

Jaffray. Every time the IR list gets longer and the offensive draught

gets more dire, one of the new generation of Canucks (babynuck?)

stands up and helps keep this team competitive. Edler alone leads all

rookies in average shifts per game.<br /><br /><a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR0608_Canucks-Predators10_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR0608_Canucks-Predators10_t.jpg border=0 align=left hspace=4 vspace=1></a>

Then there's the Nashville game. Where on this blue orb we call Earth

did that offensive explosion come from? Ranking in the bottom five of

scoring in the league, the Canucks scored seemingly at will, chasing

Dan Ellis in the first (you see his frozen expression when Burrows

scored?) and leaving Chris Mason ready to cry as the Canucks just kept

coming at him all 60 minutes. After four straight losses, what exactly

did the team drink prior to the drop of the puck to get that outcome?<br /><br />

Who cares?! "Let's get nuts!"<br /><br />

Honestly, on paper the numbers don't look good and they arguably

shouldn't have a chance at the top eight in the conference, but they

still actually do. They didn't go out at the trade deadline and stock

up excessively on wingers in anticipation of a long spring, but here

they are. They aren't sitting at the top of their division, but

they're only three points out of that slot anyway.<br /><br /><a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR0608_Canucks-Predators03_b.jpgg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR0608_Canucks-Predators03_t.jpg border=0 align=right hspace=4 vspace=1></a>

Think about this: you know the most dangerous thing in the NHL

(besides Jordin Tootoo on a sugar high from Red Bull and Skittles)? A

team on a roll entering the playoffs, especially when it's a lower

seed about to tackle a top seed (ask your local Red Wings fan that).

So what if this team, this "Bad News Bears" on ice as they are shaping

up to be, can roll off a winning streak here and there and push their

way into the playoffs with authority? You think a lot of teams want to

tangle with a confident Canucks squad, bolstered with youth,

world-class goaltending and that spunk and swagger of a team that

simply has nothing to lose?<br /><br />

Oh yeah, this could be good.<br /><br />

"C'mon, let's get nuts!"

</td></tr></table>

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