It might be a reach to describe Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko’s recent trials and tribulations as a soap opera, but it’s fun to reminisce back to some of the classic titles that may apply. “One (Hockey) Life To Live”, “As The (Puck) World Turns”, and of course, “The Young And The Restless (Russian).”
A 39-goal season followed by an eight-goal one (so far), has included some healthy scratches, time spent in the bottom six, a heartfelt one-on-one conversation with his head coach and a return to the top line.
That’s the spot where he started this season.
Number-96 sat out the 5-2 victory in Nashville over the Predators on December 19th and the 4-3 overtime loss in Dallas to the Stars two nights later before returning on the wing adjacent to centre Elias Pettersson on Saturday night and scoring two goals against the San Jose Sharks.
“He’s a very popular teammate, a really funny guy, very charismatic,” Canucks centre Teddy Blueger said of Kuzmenko postgame, “so no better way to come back into the line-up I guess, so he really got us going, those goals were huge for us and we’re thrilled for him.”
Pretty exciting for Koozy to score the first two goals of the game, one of them on the power play, only to be on the ice for three goals against in a match his team won 7-4.
Still some work to do. A talented upside versus a $5.5-million contract for another season after this one.
Is he the right guy for the playoff grind?
It’s fair to say some form of this hockey soap opera will continue.
It may have been a benchmark game for the Arizona Coyotes, a team presently occupying the 1st wild card playoff position in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Wednesday night the ‘Desert Dogs’ were trailing the 2022 Stanley Cup champion and Central Division leading Colorado Avalanche 4-0 with four-minutes remaining in the 2nd period, only to storm back and score five unanswered goals to win in overtime 5-4.
You know what they say: Never underestimate the Coyotes in the friendly confines of the 5,000 seat Mullett Arena in Tempe!
Ok, maybe they don’t say that, but the college barn was bopping with the stirring comeback, one that should snap the Yotes out of a recent funk.
And by the way, they are 12-and-5 for 24 points at the Mullett this season, just three less than the Canucks have at Rogers Arena.
In checking out preparations for the NHL Winter Classic in Seattle this New Year’s Day, when the Kraken host the Vegas Golden Knights, we learned quite a bit about ice preparation and paint jobs. Especially the bit about bluelines, red lines, and logos.
— Simmer’s Boxing Day 9: Canucks Leaders, THE Coach, Lying PR