Elliott Pap at the Vancouver Sun gets an interview with Mattias Ohlund. And, given the opportunity to explore the complex issues of Ohlund’s 4-game suspension, Pap goes for a truly hard-hitting approach right from the top:
Q.The Canucks are on the road this week but you’ve been at home serving your suspension for whacking Mikko Koivu. Are your kids wondering what Daddy has done?
A. I think Viktor and Hannah are just happy that Daddy is home.
Well, as long as they’re happy, that deals with the big question of the day. So now for some trivialities—like Markus Naslund’s recent performance.
The team is on an upswing at the moment, and coach Alain Vigneault offered these comments about his surging captain:
“We’re probably a lot more alike than people think we are. The thing about Markus that people don’t see is that he really cares a tremendous amount about this team.”
They are seeing it now because, in the absence of injured skill defencemen Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa, Naslund has elevated his game the last two weeks and is scoring like he hasn’t since his Lester Pearson Award season in 2002-03. He is scoring like—be honest—people never thought he would again.
Many theories abound about why the Canucks have been so strong through November. Certainly there’s been good goaltending; unexpected players chipping in scoring; the best players are in fine form… etc.
Whatever it is, time-wise, it all seems to go back to the team meltdown about a month ago. That small rebellion by the players, publicly squabbling with their coach, that seems to have led to a more creative offense while simultaneously tightening the defensive system their coach insists on.
Whatever it is, somehow they’ve pulled it all together and obviously it’s working.
But as the superstitious type, I’ve got another theory about this upswing (and it’s highly scientific, so pay attention): I haven’t had a drink since November 3rd, after the last time the Canucks lost a game in regulation.
Now, that indicates a disturbing correlation between the Canucks’ current streak and my own disgustingly-healthy choices of late—which were only intended to be temporary, but a hockey superstition seems to be developing here. I’m not too happy about it. But they’ve had a point in every game since I quit pickling myself on hockey nights, so I might be trapped in this nightmare.
Of all the sacrifices I’ve ever made for hockey, this is the worst one ever...
But I’ll hold strong—till Christmas, anyway. I love the Canucks, but if they’re still pulling off the point-a-game-plus for that long, I’ll have to trust that they’ve figured out how to do it on their own and get blotto over Christmas dinner in celebration. (Baileys on ice starting at 9 a.m. on Christmas day is kind of a religious tradition—and while I love the Canucks, I ain’t messing with God’s plan…)
Tonight they face the Blues. So… Go Canucks!
And just pass me another diet coke. Sigh.