Prepping for Pat Quinn night & Lack's durability - bonus Monday Sixpack

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Image: canucks.nhl.com

Two days off between Canucks games? During the stretch drive? Are they crazy?

Worry not fans – VCB has you covered with this day-off edition of the SixPack.

1. Lack’s revival

Heading into the past off-season, many thought Eddie Lack was going to be Vancouver’s starter going forward.

One thing we learned through last year’s stretch drive was he had the mental side down. Lack had a surprising ability to shake off losses and handle pressure situations – two days after last year’s Heritage Classic and Roberto Luongo trade, he was back to himself, allowing one goal in the next game against Phoenix.

Same thing after the New York Islanders debacle – he won in a 3-2 shootout against the Jets.

Lack showed a remarkable ability to bounce back and we learned that his rare and surprising ability to handle the Vancouver fishbowl was as much a part of him as loving tacos and smiling (all the time).

With the way he played through the stretch – his strength deteriorated while starting 19 straight games – the concern during the summer was if his body could handle the demands of being a starter.

Kevin Woodley wrote a great article on Lack for NHL.com Friday.

In it, he went into how Lack rebuilt himself.

Lack spent the summer rebuilding his body, moving personal trainer Lucas Fierro Smith into his cabin in Leksands, Sweden for two-a-day workouts…

The regimen was put into motion by Tyler Gingras… Lack flew Fierro Smith from Sweden to be part of the discussions with Celebrini and the Canucks human performance department about the next steps for the end of the season.

Woodley mentioned that Lack stopped in Chicago on his way back to Vancouver to work on his foot movement, and once back in Vancouver, he worked with Alex Auld on technique.

It’s really no wonder Lack is playing like an NHL-ready starter now that he’s being given the chance.

Now that it looks like Vancouver has two number ones (Miller and Lack) and another guy possibly close behind (Markstrom), what’ll happen with the goalies this summer is a mystery. But you do have to wonder if Eddie even wants to stay in this situation…

HNIC’s Scott Oake spoke with Willie Lack, Eddie’s father before the game.

During the interview, Willie said he was speaking with Eddie and his son said, “Actually I could spend the rest of my career here, in Vancouver.”

Still not convinced he loves it here?

This tweet tells us two things:

1. Lack loves Canada
2. Wyatt loves Eddie

2. Vancouver loves the early game

Some things are just a part of life: it rains in Vancouver, dogs have bad breath, Subway commercials are always lame.

Another life certainty: there will be a 4 p.m. Saturday home game against the Leafs every year.

So here’s the question: what’s more annoying – the annual early Leafs game, or the annual complaints about the early Leafs game?

Guess you know which way I’m leaning from the way I posed the question. To be honest, I don’t get why people even complain about it anymore.

The early Toronto game happens every single year. It’s as much a part of the schedule as the Christmas and All-Star breaks. If you’re going to complain about that you might as well complain about about daylight savings time (wait, people do this too).

Neither of these things are going to change. But was it really that bad?

Guess it was…

There are other early starts in the schedule. Every year there are a couple of weird 11 a.m. games against Carolina or Pittsburgh, yet people don’t say much about those.

But what do I know.

Can’t argue there.

3. Did you know the Leafs suck?

After Zack Kassian and Dion Phaneuf nearly fought Saturday night, Craig Simpson said something hilarious.

I’m still laughing about this tweet.

4. A quick message for Brad Richardson, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Higgins

On Saturday, Brad Richardson played his first game since January 16, Kevin Bieksa played his first since January 20, and Chris Higgins finally finally returned from his March 5 injury.

Richardson and Higgins hooked up for the Canucks first goal of the game, and Higgins had a great shorthanded chance in the second as well. Here’s the goal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtzcH5uSa7I

That message we had for the returnees…

minionswelcome

5. Still not sure what game management is?

Earlier this season, we read about NHL ref Tim Peel admitting they’ve been told to make calls differently depending on what’s going on during the game.

There may never be a more blatant example of this game management than the call for a penalty shot on Saturday.

(thanks to @jovanheer for this gif)

True, Phil Kessel’s had a rough year in Toronto – from being blamed for Toronto’s crappiness to having to live through Toronto’s crappiness – but this call makes you wonder if Brendan Shanahan called his old friends at NHL and asked them to give Kessel some free calls to cheer him up.

That tap from Hank was as much a hook as Vancouver’s December-February stretch was a winter.

6. Getting ready for Pat Quinn night

It’ll be an emotional night at Rogers Arena Tuesday as Canucks fans celebrate the life of Pat Quinn.

As lucky as Vancouver was to witness the most exciting goalscorer ever for seven years, they were probably luckier to have one of the NHL’s most respected leaders of all time for nine.

Here is a tribute video for Quinn from the Canucks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMOiDU4KFqk

This was the pre-game ceremony the Canucks put together a day after Quinn’s passing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqEKwnHkkn0

Tuesday’s ceremony will be a must-watch for any true Canucks fan.

Feature Image: canucks.nhl.com

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About the author

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Omar A has worked for 24 hours, the Canadian Press and TSN. He graduated from the Journalism program at the University of King's College
@omarcanuck

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