Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames

Simmer’s AM Skate: Canucks Wither, Local Boy Hits 100

Canucks Cranky

The Vancouver Canucks need to go the equivalent of 29-and-17 over their last 46 games to have a crack at a playoff spot this season. That would put them at 93 points, which will be right around the cut-off mark for the 2nd wild card spot.

If the last two games and the reaction to them are any indication, it’s not looking so great.

“Sometimes you’re best players have to be your best players and I don’t think our best players in that second period were our best players, and consequently when that happens, you get behind the eight ball,” Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the Canucks lost 3-2 in Calgary on Saturday night.

The Flames scored three 2nd-period goals including a shorthanded marker from Blake Coleman.

The Canucks are back below .500 for the season, entrenched in 6th place in the Pacific Division with 35 points. They host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Speaking of …

Let’s Skate!

Although he would have preferred reaching the mark in a game his team won, it was still a monumental evening for Coquitlam native and former BCHL’er and Western Leaguer Matt Barzal of the New York Islanders. He tallied the lone goal for his club in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken, which just happened to be the 100th of his career, coming in his 400th career game.

The 25-year-old has 348 career points, all with the Islanders, the team that drafted him 16th-overall in 2015.

By the say, since were at that point in the season (see below), Barzal didn’t have the success he wanted in his World Juniors visits, finishing out of the medals with Team Canada in 2016 and picking up silver in a loss to the US in the final in 2017.

Fenway Fun

The NHL Winter Classic is just getting started at Fenway Park in Boston as the Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although this tradition has been around for almost 15 years now, it remains a bit surreal to see a hockey rink sitting within the confines of one of baseball’s classic venues.

I had the privilege of being the ice level reporter for the national radio broadcast the last time the Winter Classic was played at Fenway in 2010. The color commentator that day was Darren Pang, who I ran into at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle last Wednesday as he was part of the TNT TV crew. We reminisced about that day at Fenway, it being my lone opportunity to work with the great play-by-play man and even greater guy Dave Strader, who died of cancer in 2017.

On more than one occasion in 2010, including during the media skate the day before the game, Fenway turned into a snow globe as large flakes fell from the sky.

It looks like perfect conditions this time around.

The Bruins won the 2010 game 2-1 in overtime over the Philadelphia Flyers with Marco Sturm getting the game winner.

World Junior Knock-out

Win and keep going. Lose and go home. The quarterfinal round of the World Junior Championship takes place Monday with the United States taking on Germany at 1 pm pacific and North Vancouver’s Connor Bedard and Team Canada taking on Slovakia at 3:30 pm pacific.

After the Islanders roll through, the Canucks host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Enjoy the Hockey Action !!

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.