Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/29/12
Swapped Life of Zack & Cody

I can guarantee you that interest in a Phoenix road game has never been higher than it was Tuesday.

It wasn’t the dazzling charms of Dave Tippett’s exciting brand of up-tempo defensive sludge, but rather the circumstances under which, in some circles at least, some combination of regicide and infanticide not seen since the Shakespearian days had befallen the young heir to the throne, Cody Hodgson, by the evil witch Mike Gillis.

In his place was some kind of giant moronic henchman sent to do the witch’s bidding, ostensibly to ruin the Canucks season.

Cory Schneider, the  constant subject of trade rumours for years and years, somehow outlasted the prospect that all but had his number retired.

(Side note: What does it mean that someone taped a C to Hodgson’s practice jersey on Monday? Was it an unfortunate coincidence, Mike Gillis’ cryptic horsehead message, or a tribute by the Bieksa-led team of elder animals who may have had some inside knowledge?)

Well, all that makes for great TV so a large number of faces were no doubt glued to some form of screen to see the debut of Zack Kassian, not unlike the iconic scene in King Kong.

Let us marvel upon the stunning ape in the Canucks vs. Coyotes Love ‘Em & Hate ‘Em.

Love ‘Em

1. We Might As Well Get to Zack Kassian

Kid was good. Little over 24 hours removed from a trade that he could not have seen coming, Zack Kassian managed to throw the body and show off a nice two-way game. He even played well enough to kick David Booth down to the fourth line, which must have totally killed Booth’s buzz.

The pressure is still going to be immense on him for the next while, especially in a now marquee game against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, so one good game won’t shift the #cryingforcody hashtags.

It’s going to take a goal, a fight, and possibly some other defining moment before Kassian sheds black sheep status. No pressure, but seriously, pressure.

2. His Name is Sami Pahlsson

Sami Pahlsson‘s acquisition was overshadowed a wee bit on Monday, but flying under the radar is exactly what Pahlsson is all about.

It’s true that Cody Hodgson centring the third line is no longer reality, but in its place the Canucks have a chance to build a third line around essentially a pre-eye injury Manny Malhotra, you know when he was getting some actual Selke talk, only this one also comes with a cup ring that he was a driving force behind.

Sami isn’t going to replace Hodgson’s offensive output, or at least his January offensive output, but he is going to be a lot more adept at the areas Hodgson struggled in, defensive play and face-offs.

Already Pahlsson was taking defensive draws against Phoenix, freeing Ryan Kesler up for more offensive zone starts.

Sami Pahlsson wears the same number Mikael Samuelsson once wore, and if you remove the Pah and shove the names together it makes Samilsson but that’s where the comparisons end because Pahlsson isn’t prone to taking 5-7 long range shots a game.

3. The Hometown Buzz

Not surprisingly, there seem to be a ton of Canadians in Arizona during the winter, and also not surprisingly they seemed to skew older. I can only imagine they all got tickets for free with purchase of a single sour key.

Nice hit! I can guarantee you that interest in a Phoenix road game has never been higher than it was Tuesday.

I can’t decide if the Coyotes love or hate these games. Do they love playing in front of a bigger, more invested crowd or do they hate the intrusion on their property like Tim Thomas probably would?

Whatever the answer, they better get used to it happening in Seattle as well.

Hate ‘Em

1. The Canucks Are Hanging On to Leads Like Mason Raymond Skates

If the game immediately preceding and immediately following the deadline is any indication, the Canucks perfectly tread water. Unfortunately, blowing third period leads and losing in extra time is not a recipe for Stanley Cup success (quite the opposite actually).

Also, let’s talk about regulation games guys, they’re an option too. Snoozers don’t need losers…uh points.

2. Speaking of Macy…

Mason Raymond, you have to stop falling down. Even Bambi had this figured out by now. It’s no longer adorable, it’s just sad.

Maybe it’s an ear thing, have you looked into that?

3. Speaking of Ray…..

Didn’t Ray Whitney have a good game? Didn’t Ray Whitney pretty much steal the two points?

Did you know he turns 40 in May?

That’s only two years younger than the franchise he pretty much single-handedly beat on Tuesday. Do you think old man Ray has a walker he can let Raymond borrow?

CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY ON NWSB!

© Richard Hodges for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Alain Vigneault, Buffalo Sabres, Canucks articles, Canucks Blog, Canucks vs. Coyotes, Cody Hodgson, Cory Schneider, Dave Tippett, David Booth, game rewind, Love Em Hate Em, Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Mikael Samuelsson, Mike Gillis, NHL, NHL Trade Deadline, Phoenix Coyotes, Ray Whitney, Rogers sportsnet pacific, Ryan Kesler, Sami Pahlsson, Seattle NHL team, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Canucks Blog, Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog, vancouver canucks vs. phoenix coyotes, Vancouver Hockey Blog, Vancouver vs. Phoenix, Zack Kassian

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