Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Canucks vs Flames Game Preview – January 18, 2014

Image courtesy of flames.nhl.com

Image courtesy of flames.nhl.com

The Canucks limp back into Rogers Arena to face the Calgary Flames after a catastrophic road trip in California. Are the underwhelming Flames the cure for what ails the Canucks? Or will Vancouver continue their slide into mediocracy? I honestly don’t care as long as they score more than one goal in the process.

Last Game:

Honestly, what am I supposed to say here? I guess you can qualify the game against the Phoenix Coyotes as progress, but that’s coming off of a 9-1 loss so even just showing up to the right arena is progress. The Coyotes got on the board first (and last…) courtesy of Antoine Vermette on the power play. There wasn’t much happening after that as Phoenix anticipated the Canucks not being able score and didn’t even attempt to pad their lead. Why would you? The Canucks can’t score a goal to save their lives and Phoenix bases most of their success on putting the other team to sleep. The result was a 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and a potentially devastating string of injuries to Mike Santorelli, David Booth, and Henrik Sedin, thanks to a series of Martin Hanzal cross checks.

The Calgary Flames:

The Flames continue to putter along with the dregs of the Western Conference. They currently sit 10 games below .500 and only three points clear of Edmonton, who still remain in last place. Although his pace from earlier in the season has slowed down considerably, notable Olympic snub Jiri Hudler continues to lead the way for the Flames. Boring Sean Monahan (excellent twitter follow alert) is having a productive first season in the NHL with 13 goals on the year thus far. Overall, the Flames should not pose much of a challenge. However, I get the feeling that the Canucks will somehow make this more of a challenge than it should be.

 

Canucks Lines: Updated January 18 (11:30 am)

There are still many questions as to who will play tonight. From the morning skate, it looks like Alex Burrows is back, Kellan Lain draws in the lineup for his first NHL game, and David Booth isn’t missing any time. Henrik Sedin was going through all the motions meaning he should be playing tonight. Roberto Luongo was first off the ice this morning which points to him starting but that will be a game time decision. 

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows

Higgins – Kesler – Kassian

Booth - Richardson – Hansen

Weise – Lain – Sestito

Hamhuis – Tanev

Garrison- Bieksa

Weber – Edler

Luongo (but maybe Lack. Game time decision) 

Storylines:

1. Hit the Reset Button (again…)

The road trip through California and Arizona was an unmitigated disaster. John Tortorella has said many times this season that these losses aren’t worth dissecting because it would take too long he knows his team is better than that. The Canucks have zero confidence right now, but are fortunate to be heading home to the friendly confines of Rogers Arena. Hopefully they take a day off on Friday, spend time with their families/drinking buddies (Kassian, Zack), and come back Saturday with a fresh mind ready to kick some ass.

2. Mount St. Torts

I can’t for the life of me understand how John Tortorella hasn’t exploded yet. His team is a garbage fire right now, the reffing (although not why they lost) has been suspect, and he is seeing a once comfortable playoff position evaporate in front of his eyes. Perhaps he is keeping his anger behind closed doors and staying calm in front of the media as last year he openly said he regretted some of the things he said about his players in the media. Still, you would think a volatile guy like Torts would have had enough by this point. He just seems really supportive. I’m scared…

3. Trade Time

I somehow made it until January without discussing trades, but I think it’s time that GM Mike Gillis gets serious about making some changes to the lineup. As it stands right now, this core is not going to get it done. I’m sure they could sneak into the playoffs and maybe push through to the second round but when push comes to shove, they won’t be able to compete against the big boys of the West. I’m not suggesting selling off the veterans for draft picks because that would be ludicrous. But this team clearly needs a major shakeup and the sooner this happens the better. Organizations that wait until the deadline to add major pieces (although more cost effective) don’t have enough time for the players to gel with their new teams before the playoffs start which puts them at a disadvantage against teams that are all of the same wave length. If you are looking for an example, check out what happened to the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

Prediction:

If you can’t beat the Flames, just stop trying. Canucks take it 3-1 and Alex Burrows scores in his return. Seriously, I think they will win and even though it’s just Calgary, we’ll all feel a little bit better.

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6 Response to Canucks vs Flames Game Preview – January 18, 2014

  1. betty henderson on January 17, 2014

    I think you may have given up too soon. HOWEVER, each to his own. I have enough Faith for both of us, and lots more !

    Reply
  2. Michael on January 18, 2014

    The weirdest thing is how this is a tale of two teams. We were 10-1-2 in December. Sure that was an easier part of the schedule opponent-wise, but we beat Chicago and Boston in there. I totally agree that some trades would be a good idea, but I don't think you can write off the team yet. Winning in the playoffs is a lot about getting hot at the right time, and our December shows that the team is capable of getting pretty hot. But I guess our general record against the better teams in the West is not a good sign because those are the only teams we'll face in the playoffs. If only there was a shitty team out there stacked with good young forwards but with no depth on defense.

    Reply
    • Steve Lancashire on January 18, 2014

      One of the reasons why I suggested the Canucks should make a trade soon is because of what happened to LA in 2012. Like you said, winning in the Playoffs is about getting hot at the right time and LA was very proactive by picking up Jeff Carter early after really struggling for the first half of the season. This gave them enough time to gel as a team and create that momentum that carried them through the playoffs.

      And that team you are referencing is the Colorado Avalanche I believe.

      Reply
  3. Steve Lancashire on January 18, 2014

    One of the reasons why I suggested the Canucks should make a trade soon is because of what happened to LA in 2012. Like you said, winning in the Playoffs is about getting hot at the right time and LA was very proactive by picking up Jeff Carter early after really struggling for the first half of the season. This gave them enough time to gel as a team and create that momentum that carried them through the playoffs.

    And that team you are referencing is the Colorado Avalanche I believe.

    Reply
  4. firstbasecoach22 on January 20, 2014

    Can't believe the boys got two points out of this. What a battle… and a mess.

    Reply
  5. Steve Lancashire on January 18, 2014

    The same problems have been repeating themselves from a few years now. Tortorella has been fantastic for this group, but I think there still needs to be a few changes before these guys can really go for it.

    Reply

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