Often times Fridays and Friday nights are relatively quiet around the National Hockey League. Not January 14th, 2022 apparently. As the Vancouver Canucks practised and prepared for the middle game of their five-game eastern roadie, the rest of the NHL was making news. We’ll start with a quote from Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau on his team’s practice day, and then we’re going for a spin …
Let’s Skate !! …
Finding Road Legs
First of all, a reminder, the festivities begin at 10 am pacific time Saturday morning between the Vancouver Canucks and the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s a 1 pm matinee in the east. The Canucks lost 5-2 to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and then dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The Canucks were much improved in the latter match.
“I thought we were pretty good,” Boudreau said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted but we did a lot of really good things. I just told the guys, if you play like that and maybe finish a couple more times on the chances we had, you’re gonna win a lot of hockey games.”
One team that is winning a lot of games, the Colorado Avalanche. At home. The club made it 13 victories in a row at the Ball Arena Friday night with a 4-3 shoot-out win over the Arizona Coyotes. The two teams head south to Glendale to complete a quickie home-and-home set on Saturday. The Avalanche should see the return of their captain Gabriel Landeskog for the game according to a late night update from Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater.
Landeskog returns from Covid protocol, while it looks like defenceman Ryan Murray might miss the game with an upper body injury. Colorado is tied with St. Louis in 2nd place in the Central Division with 49 points, one point behind first place Nashville. The Avalanche however have three games in-hand on the Blues and four on the Predators.
Holy crap! Want to see what the dictionary definition of a “head shot” looks like in the NHL? Check out the suspension video produced by the league, regarding New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston’s hit to the cranium of forward A.J. Greer of the New Jersey Devils. The slow motion look is rather graphic all things considered. Johnston picked up a three game suspension. One could argue it should have been more.
Demko an NHL All-Star
You very likely heard this one already, but ten of the eleven NHL All-Stars for each of the four division teams were listed on Friday and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made the cut. He’ll share the Pacific Division crease with his fellow American and the man he’s often compared to, John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. Here’s the division squad that will battle it out in the three-on-three All-Star mini-tourney on February 5th.
Pacific Division (All-Star appearances)
F Leon Draisaitl, EDM (3rd)
F Jordan Eberle, SEA (2nd)
F Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (6th)
F Adrian Kempe, LAK (1st)
F Connor McDavid, EDM (5th)
F Timo Meier, SJS (1st)
F Mark Stone, VGK (1st)
D Alex Pietrangelo, VGK (3rd)
G John Gibson, ANA (3rd)
G Thatcher Demko, VAN (1st)
One more player will be added to each division’s roster on Monday night via the “Last Men In” fan vote. JT Miller, the Vancouver Canucks leading scorer, is a candidate for the last spot in the line-up for the Pacific Division. Canucks fans can vote at NHL.com/lastmenin, NHL.com/vote
See you a little bit later this morning for Canucks at Hurricanes. We’ll have a tidy, tantalizing, turbo recap shortly after the game is over.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!