I was completely expecting a bore-fest at GM Place last night. The last few games between the Preds and Canucks have been exactly that. However, last night might have been the exception.
The Preds came into the game with a powerplay ranked 29th in the league. That kind of tells you how poor the team's top players have performed this year. OR it tells you how badly they need another top 6 forward....or Radulov...(that will be a topic for another day)
The Canucks came into the game having lost 6 straight and 7 straight at home. There seem to be less and less excuses to be thrown out there for this team. Before, it was because of no Luongo, and before then it was no Salo and some other injuries. Now those guys are back and Sundin is on the team. Doesn't look like there should be anymore excuses and this team will be pressured to perform from here on in.
Last night's game was a little less chippy than I expected. I have to say that I wasn't surprised that Burrows didn't want to fight Tootoo. Burrows never "walks the walk". Interesting that when Tootoo wanted to go, he didn't and yet Burrows tries to get Erat to go...wow...
The 4 players that Barry Trotz has called out before all tallied goals last night. Arnott, Legwand, Dumont and Erat all got on the score sheet and if this team ever wants to be considered a playoff team this year, they need production from that line. I don't expect Sullivan to light the lamp too often but he had a few chances last night but on a bunch of plays, you could see his rust.
The Preds could still use another top 6 forward but the more likely deadline situation is that the team picks up a Jan Hlavac-type player at the deadline. Really thats all they need with Sully back.
As for the Canucks, the woes continue and you're probably gonna see more and more Sundin bashing as this guy continues to have sub-par games. Luongo was solid but never really had a chance to flash the leather or make a sick save. Mike Gillis seems like the kind of GM who would actually pull off a move to help his team. This merely based off of perception not so much fact. That seems to be the difference between him and Dave Nonis. Nonis was a very reserved GM, only making necessary adjustments to the team.
TSN's coverage for last night's game was good. Obviously, they need a focus for the telecast and since there really is no "face" of the Nashville Predators anymore now that Vokoun and Kariya are gone, they opted to focus on Steve Sullivan and his return to the NHL (now news that is weeks old). Whenever, Sully was on the ice, there was a camera on him no matter what he was doing. At least they didn't bring on the relocation talk or talk fo the financial troubles or ownership struggles that the team has "apparently" had. TSN's focus for the Canucks was Sundin (and not Luongo) as the media continues to barrage him with questions and a lot of garbage. Its almost like he's gotten more attention now in Vancouver than he had in Toronto. Hard to believe but it wouldn't surprise me. Sundin did have a bad game but he's seems to be still in the adjusting period. Many compare his situation to that of Teemu Selanne's comeback last year. Here's the difference: Randy Carlyle had SET lines and Selanne really developed good chemistry (some of which he already had) with those linemates. Also, when Peter Forsberg was acquired by Nashville a few years ago, he played every game with Alexander Radulov and most games, with Vernon Fiddler on the other wing (would've been Hartnell had he not been injured). Sundin needs to be on a set line combo. Something like him with Pyatt and Wellwood or him with Bernier and Wellwood would work. I dunno...something like that I guess.