First, if you haven’t seen Kesler’s latest interview-bomb with Daniel Sedin, you must. It may be his best yet.
After a 5-0 road trip, the Canucks are back in Vancouver. And if you loved the intensity and pace of last week’s games against the Sharks and Flames, this week’s schedule will probably have you wishing for those opponents. The good news is that the playoffs are only 12 games away.
Minnesota Wild – Monday, March 14
With 13 games left in their season, the Wild are 4 points out of a playoff spot. Meaning they’re not quite dead in the water, but being shut out 2 games in a row against teams they need to beat in Dallas and Nashville, it doesn’t look promising.
Following the losses, this was written on Hockey Wilderness:
“If anything screams ‘We just don’t want it,’ that would be it. For the second straight game, the Wild showed absolutely no ability to master the basics of offensive hockey, and they paid for it. Again.”
Mike Russo (@russostrib), Wild beat writer for the Star Tribune, tweeted:
“Season ended March 11, 2011.”
Even worse, they play the best team in the NHL (the Canucks) on Monday and the 3rd best in the West (the Sharks) on Thursday. Russo may have hit the nail right on the head.
Colorado Avalanche – Wednesday, March 16
The Avalanche have only 5 more points than the butt-end of all hockey jokes, the Oilers. The only thing more depressing than that, for them and their fans, is that 2 months into the season, they looked like a playoff bound team.
And they’re not cold, they’re absolute zero. Out of their last 22 games, they’ve lost 20.
If you’re wondering why they’re so pathetic, read this, from Mile High Blog:
Man-Games Lost To Injury: 349
Man-Games Lost To Injury in 2009-10: 352 (2nd in NHL)
The Avs will officially top their man-games lost to injury totals of last year tonight. Please, everyone, celebrate responsibly.
What to Expect:
You know those games where the Canucks seem to sleepwalk through everything but 2 minutes? They could probably do that and still win this game. Still, the Avalanche are not a trapping, defensive team, so it shouldn’t be overly boring.
Phoenix Coyotes – Friday, March 18
Winnipeg and the NHL have a drama-filled relationship, if you think about it.
The Jets, who left Winnipeg for sunnier, richer, more attractive Phoenix in 1996, might return to the very city they jilted next season. Doesn’t Winnipeg feel like the ugly, unwanted backup plan of the NHL, if the he doesn’t find someone better?
I mean, that’s not true love, right? That’s not what we see in the movies and in fairytales. It really makes you appreciate the feelings shared between Vancouver and the Canucks: a marriage, if you will, that has endured the test of time.
Ah yes, HTTN, the helpless romantic.
Ok, hockey analysis: The Coyotes are the first and only playoff bound team the Canucks will face this week. But, only 2 points up on 8th placed Calgary, the Coyotes are far from assured their spot in the post-season.
This game will be meaningful for at least one team, which is more than we can say about the other two games this week.