Update (8:55 PM): Been away from the computer since I left work, so I only saw this just now: Helm’s a healthy scratch tonight.
What?! Maybe Helm hasn’t been in playoff form, but you’re going to scratch one of your fastest, hardest-working guys in the middle of a skid? I don’t get it.
What I really don’t get: Helm is out, but Abdelkader is in. I get May. Sorta. But Abdelkader doesn’t belong in the lineup over Helm.
Also, I’ll be livetweeting the game tonight at @OtW_InGame. – Matt
… Another test of fanship tonight, folks. A 10:00 p.m. start against Mikael Samuelsson and Company, which would be depressing enough without that 3-4-2 start. Yay for 6 or fewer hours of sleep in the middle of the week.
… The Canucks haven’t exactly had a torrid start themselves, but they do have more wins than losses and their points are listed with two digits: 6-5-0, 12.
… They’re won their last three games, beginning with a 3-2 decision in Chicago on Wednesday and continuing with a pair of home wins over Toronto and Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
… With the exception of a seven-goal outburst earlier in the season and a four-goal one soon after, the Canucks have maxed out at three goals so far this season. So we’re not talking a blistering offense.
… Our old friend Mikael Samuelsson has managed to hit the net enough times to lead the team in scoring with five goals (with a stunning shooting percentage of 10.9%). Henrik Sedin is next with four.
… The other Sedin, Daniel, is out 4-6 weeks (as of October 11th) with a broken foot.
… Other Vancouver injuries include Sami Salo, Jannik Hansen and Pavol Demitra.Â Rick Rypien is day-to-day with a sore groin. Salo and Rypien skated yesterday (which the rest of the team had off).
And Kyle Wellwood is day-to-day with a broken toe. Wellwood was the subject of a hilarious Twitter meme last week, “#KyleWellwoodIsSoFat,” which basically amounted to a ton of (in good fun) fat jokes. I have no idea where it began, or why. My favorite, though:
#KyleWellwoodIsSoFat, even Ken Hitchcock thinks he’s “let himself go”
… We’ll have the pleasure of seeing Mathieu Schneider in a Canucks uniform for the first time as he made his debut Sunday following shoulder surgery. He got just 14:15 in ice time Sunday and was paired with Shane O’Brien. He’ll be wearing #27.
… Vancouver captain (yeah), and Best Overall Goalie in the History of (Never) the World, Roberto Luongo will start tonight for the Canucks.
… The Wings are in the middle of a give game road trip that has so far been a real joy to watch. They blew a one-goal lead late in the third against Phoenix last week to lose in overtime, and then blew a second period one-goal lead to lose to Colorado on Saturday. It was their third loss in a row, though they did get a point in two of the three.
… In an effort to mix things up, the only consistently threatening line on the team, Ville Leino, Valtteri Filppula and Jason Williams, has been broken up. In practice, anyway: Babcock might not stick with it. But assuming he does, the lines could look like this tonight:
Assuming Eaves and Abdelkader are the odd-men out, as they were in the skate yesterday.
… As others have said, here’s hoping this means a shake-up on the blueline as well. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed (actually, I know you have), but Brett Lebda is not a mentor and is not a fit partner to Jonathan “Still Green and Learning” Ericsson.
It’d screw up the rotation, but I’d really like to see Jonny rotate in with Nick on some shifts. Nick could handle any extra time and the other three top four guys can cope with an altered mix. I’m tired of watching Jonny flail around out there and lose his confidence. Give him a partner that can cut down on the flailing and help him gain some confidence, please.
Lebda can be solid when not called on to teach a rookie, but right now they’re foisting that task on him. And his play is suffering as a result.
On the defense, how much do we miss Lilja right now? I’ve been less hard on him than some over the years, but I never thought I’d want the guy back so badly. Sadly, it looks like that won’t be happening.
… The Wings could really use a win here. “Need” is too strong for the 10th game. But we’re just shy of “need,” I’d say. It’s time to end this, guys. Take care of business.