February 17 2009 12:45PM
I hate playing the Vancouver Canucks. Partially because they've been an eminently hate-able team for a long time. Not just because of the NW Division rivalry, either - no, this is a franchise that has employed the likes of Jarko Ruutu, Ed Jovonovski, Todd Bertuzzi, Matt Cooke and Alex Burrows over the last few years. Many were of them at the same time. Then there's the freakish triangle-headed wonder-twins, harboring telepathic bother-to-brother communication abilities in their giant malformed skulls. They aren't dinks like the rest of the guys listed here, but they do tend to kick the hell out of the Flames at pretty much every opportunity.
Which brings me to the other reason I hate this club: they've had Calgary's number for a couple of seasons now. The Flames ugly start to the season began with a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Canucks - a game so horrible I had to go back and watch highlights of the Gelinas overtime winner in game 7 of '04 to get the awful taste out of my mouth.
Still brings chills, doesn't it?
Back to the present. The Flames haven't seen the Canucks for awhile, which is a shame because the Western Whale went into a bit of tailspin mid-season. Luongo was injured and then terrible and the Sundin addition was looking like a giant misstep. Unfortunately, that window has closed and it looks like the Canucks are respectable again: they've won 5 of their last 6 games and Frankenstein may have turned the corner.
The Flames, on the other hand, have been playing some terrible hockey recently. Like, October bad. The 5 of 6 points they managed on the road trip is a mirage: they gave up copious amounts of shots and quality scoring chances against and if it wasn't for bounces, Kippers play vs Anaheim and LA and the fact that two of the three opponents aren't play-off teams, the results would have been much uglier. If the Flames can't get back to the defensively sound play they displayed during the halcyon days of December and January, they'll be in line for another shit-kicking at the hands of the despicable West Coasters this evening.