Great news from the Canucks today, as it was revealed that Manny Malhotra has been medically cleared to play hockey again. Media outlets aren’t saying when he’s going to play, but I will. He will play in game 1. I base this on the fact that Cody Hodgson is getting very few minutes on the 4th line right now, and the fact that Malhotra has been skating for weeks. He should be in decent game shape. So if he’s medically able to play (which he is), he’ll play.
With a 1-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night, the Canucks found out their opponent for the Stanley Cup Final. That opponent, of course, are the big bad Boston Bruins. While the Lightning probably have more star power, I think this matchup will provide a little more sizzle given that the Bruins are an original 6 franchise.
I was twelve years old when Jim Robson famously called “the Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup FINAL!” after Greg Adams’ famous goal in 1994. And now 17 years later, a new generation has a iconic call of their own (give kudos to John Shorthouse, he wasn’t fooled). It wasn’t pretty, but the Canucks were the best team in this series versus the Sharks, and deserve it. This team keeps winning, and they keep doing it in different ways. Lets review how it all went down last night:
The 1994 Vancouver Canucks had a reunion on Monday, with the likes of Linden, McLean, Courtnall, Adams and others on hand. It will be 17 years ago to the day on Wednesday that Greg Adams scored in double overtime in game 5 of the conference finals at home to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. Tuesday night, the Canucks get a chance to match that feat and the whole city of Vancouver is ready to party.
There’s a lot of talk about whether or not the Canucks are “Canada’s team” lately, given that they’re the last remaining Canadian team in the playoffs and the fact that a Canadian based team has not won the Stanley Cup since 1993. So are they Canada’s team? Do we care?
It wasn’t a picture perfect win, but it was a win nonetheless Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Canucks limited the Predators chances, en route to a gritty 2-1 win. Usually I’m not a big fan of sitting on a one goal lead for long periods of time, but if there ever was a time to do it, it was game 6 in Nashville. The ice surface was so poor that it was very difficult to make complete passes and hold pucks in the offensive zone. The puck looked like a bouncy ball out there, hopping and skipping around all over the place.
Hey, did you read my blog posting yesterday titled: “Canucks-Blackhawks Game 4 Preview – Get Your Brooms Ready”? It appears some of the Canucks did, because they looked like an overconfident team in game 4. The Blackhawks have life.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the Vancouver Canucks have locked up the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s top team in the regular season. We know this because they absolutely took the night off in their first meaningless game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night! But I digress. They’re the top dogs, which means we know that they will play whichever team ends up in 8th place in the conference. In case you haven’t seen the NHL standings in a while, here they are:
I’ve got to admit that when I heard the news this morning that Manny Malhotra would be lost for the regular season and playoffs due to his eye injury, I began a mini-panic. Weird that a season ending injury to a 30-35 point scorer could cause such angst, but anybody that has followed this team closely knows that he’s more than that.
Ok ok before you freak out after reading the headline and trash me in the comments section, let me explain. Michael Grabner is not the second coming of Brett Hull. Far from it. So why bring it up? Let me explain… In case you haven’t noticed, former Canucks 1st round draft pick Michael Grabner is on quite a tear right now. After a slow start to the season, Grabner has 15 goals and 6 assists in his last 15 games. That’s brought his goal total up to 24 this year while playing on the Islanders third line. And that’s what makes this all the more impressive for Grabner. He hasn’t been given prime time minutes. He has received minimal power play time and is averaging only 14 minutes a game. Yesterday he netted a hat trick in only 15:06 of playing time. ‘Grabby’ is now on pace for 35 goals this year, imagine what that would look like playing 17-18 minutes a night? Imagine what he could do after he matures a little more. Somewhere Dave Nonis is saying “I told you so”.