Wednesday, after a 3-day rest, the Canucks took on the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena. The team was looking to right a
sinking no-longer-buoyant-but-still-somehow-staying-in-the-exact-same-position-on-the-surface ship. Many of the players have been mired in scoring slumps lately, the powerplay has been dismal, and for some reason when you add those two items together and combine them with shaky goaltending and defensive breakdowns, the results are worse than Terrence Maddox’s last blood test.
But now is not the time to panic, my little Smuglies. No, that time was 2 games ago. Now is the time when you slump to the ground, exhausted by your own hysterics and dehydrated from the excessive sobbing and drooling and start to realize there is still good in the world. You see, not every loss is a complete loss and not every win is a complete win (mostly because some wins are shootouts). We here at Smug Nation don’t believe that the Canucks’ cup is half empty, and we certainly don’t believe that the cup is half full. Only losers have half-full cups. At Smug Nation, all cups usually runneth over with optimism, hope, and enough alcohol to keep those first two things intact. Today, the Canucks’ cup runneth over with the momentum gained from breaking nine slumps on Wednesday and getting several individuals off the proverbial “schnide” (also getting them off the non-proverbial Schneid, who would prefer that players stop sitting on his lap for comfort following a loss).
Let’s take a look at some of the slumps bumped by the Canucks on Wedneday night:
1. The Canucks scored more than 3 goals for the first time in almost a month, when they scored 5 against our hapless “rivals” in Edmonton (I put the term rivals in quotes there because the definition of that word is not “Awww, look how cute they are!”) on February 19th.
2. Not coincidentally, that game against the Oilers was one of the last that Henrik showed up in (excluding a few good shifts in Detroit). Hank got two apples in this game, his first points in 9 games and his first point on the powerplay in 11. This also moved Henrik into the number-two spot in all-time points for the Canucks, ahead of our beloved Trevor. Following the game, Henrik celebrated by sitting next to Daniel and staring at him for 10 minutes straight, prison style, because he needed to know.
3. Daniel could do nothing but take the stare-fest because he only put up 1 assist against the Coyotes. Still, that was Dank’s first point in 6 games and it was nice to see him and his brother getting some possession time in the offensive zone. Daniel spent the evening after the game telling anyone who would listen that if Henrik didn’t stop widening the all-time scoring gap between them, Daniel was going to go “all Tanya Harding on his ass.”
4. Also not coincidentally, Wednesday night marked the first time in 8 games where the Sedins weren’t forced by their wives to sleep on their respective couches because “beds are for point producers.” It’s a good thing they still have their indoor fort in the basement.
5. Speaking of forts, Burrows set his up right in front of the net against Phoenix and ended up with a goal and an assist, his first goal in 5 games and just his second multiple-point game in almost a month. More importantly, Burr got his goal on a line without twins, potting a Hansen feed early in the first. After the period, Burrows called his agent and said, “See?!“
6. After putting home a rebound past Mike Smith in the third period of Wednesday’s game, Dan Hamhuis celebrated pretty hard. Why? This was his first goal since a December 23rd loss to the Calgary Flames, a span of 35 games. Unfortunately, Hamhuis frowns on celebration so he denied himself his customary glass of warm milk before bed that night. He did not sleep well.
7. It was great to see David Booth scoring on the powerplay (PP) Wednesday. As dangerous as he has looked with the man advantage, this was just his second goal on the PP this season and his first since November 6th. It was also his first point on the PP since Dec 4th. Granted, he’s been playing on a second PP unit that has struggled of late, but Booth is a good enough player that one would expect some better PP production. Later, Booth celebrated by giggling at the phrases “PP unit” and “PP production” while elbowing Chris Higgins and asking him if he got it. In case you’re wondering, yes, Higgins got it.
8. This was not the only positive sign for the Canucks’ special teams. After going 1 for 28 on the man advantage in the last 10 games and putting up zero points in the last 5, the Canucks powerplay struck black gold, aka texas tea (oil, that is), going 2 for 3 with the man advantage with 7 shots. Not only that, but the newly retooled first unit, with Kesler working the point, looked dangerous every time they hit the ice. How good is this? Well, the last time the Canucks scored more than one powerplay goal in a game was January 7th in Boston, over two months ago.
9. And finally, this game was the first in about a month where I didn’t sullenly rip my team photo off the wall in disgust and throw it in the trash can, only to apologetically remove it the following morning, smooth it out, and return it to its rightful place next to my wedding picture. Sorry, guys. You know I’d never hurt you, right?