Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Look at the Red-Hot Vancouver Canucks: In the Now by Lisa Ovens

First, I would be irresponsible to look towards tomorrow's game against the sizzling Sedin snipers and their merry band of brothers without acknowledging last night's lacklustre loss against the Bolts. I must be honest, for the first time in forever, I flipped off the game (almost literally) and buried my head in a book. Now I am well aware that there is plenty of time left and we are nowhere near being out of playoff contention, but for realz boys? Where is our offense? How many lovely rebounds were left in front of tribal elder Dwayne Roloson's net last night with nary a Cap in sight? RMNB pretty much sums that game up to a tee here. If the Caps want to get past league-leading Vancouver and Roberto Luongo tomorrow night, they are going to have to grasp the concept of crashing the net and clearing the puck out of their zone for cripe's sake! HM will be there with my Bantam twins taking notes on those other twins for sure.

Anyone who's been reading along for awhile knows that Vancouver is my second favorite NHL team. In preparation for the big game, I wanted to provide some insight on the Canucks from someone who knows them best - author of Hockey & High Heels and For the Love of Empty Net Goals and life-long Vancouver fan Lisa Ovens. Here's her breakdown of her beloved Nucks:

“The past you cannot change, the future will never come so live in successive moments of now” (guru, Kirpal Singh Maharaj). That’s a mantra I discovered ten years ago and have applied it to my life ever since. Though sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do.

So if there is one mantra I could apply to the Vancouver Canucks right now that would be it. They aren’t getting ahead of themselves and they are leaving the past where it belongs. They are focused, so focused I don’t think they realize they are currently 14-0-3.Much has been said about the winning, their place at the top of the standings, but by everyone else; the Canucks themselves, not so much. Tonight they play the Rangers, and most likely aren’t even thinking about the Capitals game on Friday night. A game I am really looking forward to, even though I am going against the whole successive moments of now thing! (Can’t help it, but I am one of many that enjoyed HBO’s 24 7 take on hockey, and was appreciative of the Capitals (and the Pens) for letting us get inside their workplace and inner sanctums. Naturally I want to see more of the thrill ride that is the Caps!)

Although they are playing great as a team, there are a few Canucks that have upped their game; and two in a quiet sort of way…

First time All-Star, Ryan Kesler isn’t as “pest-like” and mouthy as he used to be. Less talk from the center, more of practically everything else. Kesler is right behind Canucks currently leading scorer, Daniel Sedin (Kes has 24 goals). Same goes with winger, Alex Burrows. He’s also chosen to stifle himself, and let his play alongside the Sedins become top priority. As a fan that is somewhat drawn to pests and agitators, it’s okay…I’ll get used to this ;o)

And that guy that always seems to be on the trade block, blue liner, Kevin Bieksa has really improved after a few wonky years. I could go on and on about every player that’s pushing their game to new heights, so I’ll just leave it at this…

The Canucks are playing with a maturity and that’s making fans weak in the knees: we love it. The Sedin twins continue to dazzle us: so far Daniel’s scored the first goal of the game ten times this season, and Henrik’s leadership has permeated the locker room.

Watching this team do so well during these successive moments has been a treat. Seeing all of them raise their level of play almost leaves this long time Canuck fan a little speechless. And I guess Canuck nation should also thank the Chicago Blackhawks: according to a recent Vancouver Sun article, a late November 7-1 spanking at the hands of the Blackhawks drove the Canucks into a meeting, obviously a powerful one, because they haven’t been the same team since.

Here’s to an exciting game on Friday. I expect it will be a speedy, emotional affair from these two hot teams. There’s something about Caps Nation and the RED that gets “rocked” in Verizon Center. On the coast, we can feel the heat, the atmosphere all the way out here! And what will it be like on the ice? One of those games you know both teams will be completely up for. The Canucks will be fresh off an evening with the Rangers, and hopefully they don’t run out of gas in the third period, something that was a little evident during last Saturday’s tilt with another top team, the Detroit Red Wings (the Canucks blew out the Oilers the night before). I think this game will be decided in overtime. But that’s as far as I can go if I plan to stay in the now…at least until Friday :o)

Many thanks to Lisa and let's hope for all's sake that it's a great game! Speaking of the Sedins, I caught this version of the identical bros (and people have trouble telling my two apart - eegads) playing "The Newlywed Game" on NHLN as I was getting ready for work this morning.

Meanwhile, Puck Daddy is on a mission for the NHL All-Star game to see what would result if the Sedins fought each other if they end up on separate teams. Very funny stuff but a little too close to home for HM as I pretty live the twin fighting scenario out in my living room on a daily basis.....sigh.

Finally, HM gives a big stick tap of gratitude to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg over at DC Sports Bog (one of my daily must reads) for the mention in his post on new Caps blog Puck Buddies. Much obliged for the link love!

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