Canucks and Beyond

Ohlund is Resurrected and the Thrashers are Going Down

02/07/2008 at 5:59pm EST

On Monday, Mattias Ohlund returned to Vancouver unexpectedly for undisclosed personal reasons and missed Tuesday night’s game in Dallas. Then on Wednesday, he suddenly went missing from the Canucks active roster, only to return to the list several hours later.

This unexpected development caused bazillions of CDC forum posters to nearly crash the message boards with dreams of Hossa coming to Vancouver, and other related fantasies. (I believe several were even debating matters like the value of trading Ohlund for Wade Belak. Seriously.)

The problem is that “personal reasons” instantly translates to “trade alert!” when February comes around. Despite the fact that the idea of trading Ohlund is patently stupid, and if Dave Nonis did have such a bizarre notion at this point, we should all question his mental health.

Not only does the guy sport a NTC in his contract, the team itself is talking about buying blueliners, not selling them. Making the playoffs with a half a dozen rookie defensemen—as good a job as they’ve generally done—is just not going to happen.

Anyway, fortunately Ohlund is back with the team and set to play tonight in Atlanta. In today’s Vancouver Sun:

“I slept pretty good on the plane, so I don’t feel too bad,” Ohlund said.

Ohlund’s return is a relief to the Canucks, who are already missing four injured defencemen in Willie Mitchell (back), Lukas Krajicek (shoulder), Aaron Miller (foot) and Kevin Bieksa (calf).

“The new guys came in and played extremely well for us in Dallas and it’s nice to be back here and hopefully we can start winning,” Ohlund said. “Obviously we need points and hopefully that can start tonight.”

Ohlund said his personal situation should not cost him any more games in the future.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “It was something I had to deal with and things are looking better now.”

As for tonight’s game against the Thrashers, I’m going to say something I never, ever, ever say (because, frankly, my track record with making hockey predictions and laying bets is tragically-bad). But this time I’m saying it: The Canucks will finally win tonight.

Sure, Atlanta is almost the perfect setup for Canucks disaster, but when I read the quote below on the Atlanta Thrashers official team blog today, I was suddenly certain of a happy ending. From Blueland Blog:

Salo is the only talented puck carrier on the blueline and the Thrashers should be able to win battles in the corners and pick up loose pucks in the neutral zone. As long as Luongo doesn’t stand on his head this should be a game the Thrashers can win. The Sedins and Marcus Naslund are dangerous but after that the scoring drops off pretty quickly. Vancouver works hard but doesn’t have a lot of skill up front right now. On paper the Thrashers have a decided edge up front, a good edge on defense and an edge in goal if Luongo plays like he’s been playing for the last month.

Perfect set up, in every way, to suggest that Atlanta rocks the Canucks. And that’s exactly the kind of certainty and cockiness that the hockey gods like to punish.

So Atlanta is going down, despite all odds.

Prediction: 3-1 Canucks. And Ohlund takes First Star of the game.

And now… time for cocktails. I think that concussion is still affecting me.

P.S. If I’m wrong about all this, well, just please don’t bring it up. K? Thx.

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