Ahead of tonight's Predators vs Canucks tilt at Bridgestone Arena, I checked in with Kent Basky of SB Nation's Vancouver blog Nucks Misconduct to get a sense of what's going on up there in British Columbia.
1. After a threat by Minnesota, it's looking more and more likely that the Canucks will take the Northwest Division once again. Given all the injury issues Vancouver has had to deal with, what are fans thinking up their about the Canucks' playoff chances?
KB: You could ask a hundred Canucks fans that question and get a hundred different answers. If there's one thing the Canucks have managed consistently this season, it's inconsistency. That being said, to be in position to snag a 5th straight division title (and the home ice that comes with it) is impressive given the injuries to key players and the media circus revolving around their goalies. Personally, I have seen too many games like Saturday's against Colorado to make me think they can go far, but they've played well against Chicago and L.A. this season, so who knows. Maybe not being considered a serious contender could be good for them.
2. How is Ryan Kesler looking now that he's back in the lineup, and what's his impact on the forward lines? Having Henrik Sedin, Kesler and Derek Roy down the middle is an embarrassment of riches compared to what the Preds are rolling out right now.
KB: It's still early in Kesler's recovery, but early indications suggest he's at 100% for the first time in ages. It's been said that Ryan Kesler is the proverbial straw that stirs the Canucks' drink, and having him healthy heading into the postseason does make the Canucks worrisome to some teams, as you guys might recall from a couple years back.
I really love the addition of Roy, and it's a shame that Higgins got hurt when he did, because the chemistry between himself and Roy was instantaneous. 3 fast, talented lines for the playoffs? Yes, please. Thanks to the injury to Higgins, the Canucks will be experimenting tonight with Kesler on the wing with Roy, so it should be interesting to see how that pans out.
#17 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Aug 31, 1984
|2012 - Ryan Kesler||10||2||7||9||-5||8||1||0||1||22||9.1|
3. Where will Roberto Luongo play next season? I bet nobody's asked you that one before.
KB: Haha, yeah... If I knew that, I could cement my career as a Hockey Insiderrr, right? It's certainly not an easy fix, yet despite what some of the MSM keep insisting, it's not impossible either. There are a lot of teams who are unhappy with their goaltending situation, and with the amnesty buyouts coming, there will be some drastically altered cap situations around the league. I am pretty sure they got close during the season and trade deadline, and we likely will never know the whole story as to just how close it was to happening. I will go so far as to venture and say he'll end up in the East. The notion they'd trade him to Edmonton is nuts. The Canucks are perfectly happy to see the Oilers flounder with subpar goaltending to accompany their amazing top 6 forwards.
#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 04, 1979
|2012 - Roberto Luongo||17||1018||8||4||4||40||2.36||447||407||.911||2|
Thanks to Kent for providing some of the perspective from Vancouver. What do you think, with all the fuss over Chicago & Anaheim, are the Canucks flying under the radar and getting healthy at the right time?