Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment
Nucks Fan Rebuild & Retool Center - Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment

The important thing to take away from last night's loss in Vegas is that we should all be panicking and the sky is most definitely falling, right?

Vancouver Canucks (46-21-8) vs. Arizona Coyotes  (31-38-5)

7pm PDT; 10 p.m. ET

TV: Sportsnet Pacific, SCRIPPS

Radio: Sportsnet 650

Before we get started, I just want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who reached out as I have been trying to deal with the health-related knucklepuck that's been thrown at me. The response and the love was truly humbling, and gave me strength in the recovery process. I'm down a kidney, and in two weeks I will begin my first treatment in a year of immunotherapy to help my body fight off any further outbreaks of cancer. I'm going to try my best to keep contributing through this, as we prepare for the first real playoff run in almost a decade.

So, there's no way to sugar coat it. Last night sucked. Yes, the officiating was bad, and was definitely a factor, but the Canucks lost that game, plain and simple. It would be easy to look at the last couple weeks and say well, they lost to Colorado, Dallas and now Vegas, obviously they can't hang with the big boys. I don't buy that. The first two losses could easily have been wins, and the Avs and Stars won hard fought games that were decided by one mistake. Last night? It was a comedy of errors, compounded by two officials who have been making a strong case for genuine bias against a particular team.

Yeah, it was an ugly loss, and there was little to find that you could be positive about in it, but we need to look at the big picture here, folks. It doesn't erase a year of hard work, and let's face it: it's better to shit the bed now than after April 20th. Are there concerns? Of course there are. No one's trying to say that the Canucks are a sure thing to go all the way, and if they are, they're wrong. What they are is a good team, that, when they're healthy, with their all star goaltender in the crease, they are one of the better teams in the NHL this season. Don't buy into the mindset that anything less than a Cup this year is a failure, either. The only failure would be a first round sweep, and with Thatcher Demko in goal I just can't see that happening no matter who they play.

What is happening with this team right now is probably helping far more than it's hurting them. Look back at last year's Boston Bruins. They were on cruise control through the whole season, and looked untouchable. They faced adversity for the first time in Round One and folded under that pressure.

The playoffs are hard. None of these teams are going to be an easy matchup, and the more the Canucks see they can't bring anything less than 100% of the style of play that saw them utterly dominate some of the league's better teams this season, the better. I mean, it's possible some guys are playing hurt, and we saw just how important Dakota Joshua has become to this hockey club when he returned after six weeks away to heal a broken hand. It's been said by many smarter than myself: Trust the process.

There's a long way to go in this battle to bring this franchise back to respectability, and none of us expected things to go the way they have this season. And while they may be ahead of schedule, whatever happens shouldn't dampen your hopes for the Canucks. It was supposed to be a 'maybe they can battle for a wild card spot' kind of year, and instead, they'll head into the post-season with home ice advantage. That alone is huge, and trust me: it's not lost on the guys in that room, especially the ones who were part of the bubble playoff team in 2020.

Just breathe and enjoy this. It's just the start of things being better, and this whole season has been such a joy after a decade of abject misery. It's fun again, and I refuse to lose sight of that.

LINEUPS

The following lineup was scrawled into the dirt on an ACME delivery truck that was heading off to deliver to some schmuck trying to catch a roadrunner... or maybe it was on the ol nhl dot com thingy...

10 p.m. ET; SCRIPPS, SNP

Canucks projected lineup

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- J.T. Miller -- Conor Garland

Ilya Mikheyev -- Pius Suter -- Sam Lafferty

Vasily Podkolzin -- Teddy Blueger -- Arshdeep Bains

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Noah Juulsen

Injured: Thatcher Demko (lower body), Elias Lindholm (upper body)

Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller -- Nick Bjugstad -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Logan Cooley -- Dylan Guenther

Matias Maccelli -- Jack McBain -- Josh Doan

Liam O’Brien -- Alex Kerfoot -- Michael Carcone

J.J. Moser -- Sean Durzi

Juuso Valimaki -- Michael Kesselring

Travis Dermott -- Josh Brown

Connor Ingram

Karel Vejmelka

Scratched: None

Injured: Barrett Hayton (lower body)

Arturs Silovs gets the nod tonight, coming off a fantastic performance Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks at home. And while it's 3 games in 4 nights for the Canucks, expect them to come out fired up after a sub-par performance last night, and also because these are two teams that have been developing a genuine dislike for each other.

GAME DAY CHATTER

With a 60 minute effort and no passengers tonight, they can get things back on track as they have a huge game Saturday night against the Kings. The good news is, they could have Demko back, as he will be eligible to come off LTIR this weekend. Start treating every game like the playoffs have already started, and we'll see where this goes.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

I'm sorry you were all subjected to the ahem, musical choices that Westy provided in my absence, but I assure that I will make amends, starting now. And since the Canucks are in Arizona tonight, how about a brand new one from OG AZ thrashers ATROPHY? A long awaited new album is coming soon, and from that disc called 'Asylum' on Massacre Records, this is 'Punishment For All'.

It's really good to be back, especially with a potential for an honest to god playoff run that starts in a couple weeks. I'm glad to be able to be here with you guys for this. LFG!

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