Found March 14, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Vancouver_canucks_v_db08
Is This Game… the Breakout Game?

Josh is out sick today. Taking over his preview for tonight.

March Madness has hit Vancouver but we’re not talking about basketball. Instead, the Canucks rough patches that have persisted throughout 2012 have put the city on high alert.

They aren’t dominating opponents anymore, they’re losing on Hockey Night in Canada, and most troubling the Sedins have completely disappeared for the better part of two months now.

The results are still trickling in, but like their strange extra time streak, the final scores aren’t quite telling the whole story. To veteran eyes of this team, something is off.

The Canucks have admitted that they’re guilty of looking ahead to the playoffs with the division and a top two seed already locked up. Some would say they’re resting up for the big dance.

But this is a dangerous game. Can the switch be easily flipped come the first game of the first round?

Tonight offers a test of sorts for this theory. If the playoffs were to end today, the Canucks would face the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round. With these stakes, and coming off a couple days rest, the Canucks should put the pedal to the metal and take it to the desert dogs.

Of course, the turn-around game has been predicted for about five weeks now. The weekend blitz of the Leafs and Oilers was supposed to be a turning point as well, but both the team and the Sedins promptly went back into hibernation.

So what can we look forward to tonight?

The Sedin Spotlight

Almost every game the past few weeks the Sedins have gone pointless and Alex Burrows has looked lost without his best buddies. Yet to a point, Henrik Sedin almost always states after the game that he felt good out there and that the breakthrough is close. Well, we’re still waiting.

I don’t care about the Art Ross race, I care that the Sedin disappearing act was perhaps the biggest factor of Boston’s cup win.

Unless they’re merely getting the slump out of the way before the playoffs start, this is a growing concern with every game.

Sedins Canucks Game 70 Coyotes vs. Canucks: Its desert dog day...

It's time you two. It's time.

The Sedins, as franchise players, are vitally important to this team. It’s no coincidence that the powerplay has gone south at the same time they have. It’s so bad that yesterday they were practicing on a line with Mason Raymond.

Has it really come to this?

The process, whatever that means, is great to talk about but the results need to start coming on a consistent basis. Actually, most of this February & March slump can be traced back to the Sedins. C’mon guys, just show us something so we can sleep soundly at night.

The American Express Line

Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler is back baby. Along with David Booth and a re-energized Chris Higgins, the second line is making a strong case to be called the first line. It seems like they’ve scored every goal this month. It’s a huge silver lining to make you salivate about what the Canucks can do when the Sedins get going again.

Every Goal is Sacred

Mike Gillis is in Florida to discuss hockey with the other General Managers around the league and he’s been quoted as saying that he wants to eliminate the 2-1 game and bring back the 5-4 game. Against Phoenix tonight that won’t happen. The Yotes are such a defensive-minded squad that their franchise player is probably their coach Dave Tippett.

It’s the only way to win with an organization in the uh, unique situation they’re in but they’re still the lowest scoring team in the West with a playoff spot and a team where the average fan probably couldn’t name more than five of their players.

Prediction

A win would be nice under any circumstance right now which is why I won’t mind what will probably be an overtime or shootout win for the Canucks.

Does Daniel Sedin get a goal in this one? I think he does. Do Zack Kassian and Raffi Torres go after each other all night?

I hope they do.

Puck drop is 7 PM on Sportsnet Pacific and TEAM 1040 Radio.

CLICK HERE TO 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: Alex Burrows, American Express Line, Canucks Blog, Canucks Clubhouse, Canucks Matchups, Canucks Preview, Canucks vs. Coyotes, Chris Higgins, coyotes preview, Coyotes vs. Canucks, Coyotes vs. Canucks Gameday, Coyotes vs. Canucks Preview, Daniel Sedin, Dave Tippett, David Booth, Game 70, Habs, Henrik Sedin, Mason Raymond, Mike Gillis, NHL, nucks, Phoenix, Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix Coyotes vs. Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix vs. Vancouver, Raffi Torres, Rogers Arena, Ryan Kesler, The Sedins, vancouver, Vancouver Canucks, Zack Kassian

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