Games I’m Looking Forward to in the Second Half of the Season
Now that we’ve officially launched into the second half of the season, the playoff race is getting tighter, every game is starting to mean more and, unlike an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway, the points do matter.
The Canucks currently sit in 7th place in the tough Western Conference with 55 points – one point behind the 6th place San Jose Sharks and two points up on the 8th place Calgary Flames. Especially in the West, every year features a close playoff race; needless to say, the Canucks aren’t really in a position to just sit back and coast for the rest of the season. Not that we need to be reminded, but teams like the 9th place Los Angeles Kings, the defending champs who have a habit of kinda dominating in the playoffs, will be pushing just as hard to make it in the top 8.
That said, there’s plenty to be excited about in the latter half of the season because, Cole’s Notes version, Things Are Getting Real. There are a lot of exciting games coming up, and here are some of the ones I’m looking forward to:
Hockey Talks Day, February 13
Hockey Talks Day is a day dedicated to raising mental illness awareness (separate from #BellLetsTalk day, which is January 28, FYI). The game against the Boston Bruins (more on that in a few), will be dedicated to encouraging talk about mental health awareness by means of social media. Mental health awareness is something I feel very strongly about — as we all should — so seeing lots of discussion surrounding it is inspiring to see. The Canucks aren’t the only teams participating in Hockey Talks day — you can read here for more information about the day itself and to see who else is taking part (and you should, too).
February 13, Boston @ Vancouver
It’s Game Eleventy of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and the series is tied. Neither team has the same goaltender, that’s how long this Cup Finals series has been going on.
(Okay, sure it’s been nearly four years since the Stanley Cup Finals, so what.)
Anyway, I don’t know about you guys, but the loss stings a little less now (time does indeed heal all wounds) and I’m just glad, for the most part, that the Bruins aren’t a team we have to see on a regular basis. A 7-game series was enough for me, thank you very much.
Given the short and sweet history between these two teams, it’ll be a good game to watch. Last year, the Canucks and the Bruins split the season series – the Canucks won 6-2 in Vancouver, and the Bruins won 3-1 in Boston – so maybe the trend of the home-team-always-wins-on-home-ice will continue? (Oh — wait.) The Bruins currently sitting in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 57 points, but a lot could change by the time the first tilt of the season between these two teams rolls around. Either way, you should probably file this game under “Ones Not to Miss,” so see y’all in a couple of weeks.
March 14, Toronto @ Vancouver
This is be guaranteed to be a good one; games between these two teams are usually spirited affairs. For some reason (wink wink), the two fan bases hate each other’s teams (and largely each other, although I’m sure there are exceptions to every rule) with a fiery passion.
When the Canucks and Leafs last met, the bad guys won for the first time in a million years (fine it was like, 11 years, but that’s pretty much the same thing). Toronto’s victory that weekend came on the eve of the Ottawa Senators’ win against Vancouver, which subsequently got Sens coach Paul Maclean fired — AFTER WINNING A GAME. Of course, not long afterwards, Toronto coach Randy Carlyle lost his job as well. All that aside, the Canucks will be looking to bounce back and get on track with their winning ways against the Leafs again. (Regularly winning against Toronto is one of the few things that we have, okay?)
March 17, Philadelphia @ Vancouver
This night will be a special night at the arena that used to be called The Garage. The Philadelphia Flyers are in town and this is the night that Pat Quinn is being honoured. Quinn, of course, coached both the Canucks and the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals so it makes sense that his life is being honoured during a game between these two teams. Plus, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, which is pretty fitting, I think. It’ll be a special night, not a dry eye in the house, I’m sure. No matter what team you’ve cheered for or cheer for, how can you not love Pat Quinn, man.
April 11, Edmonton @ Vancouver
It’s the last game of the regular season, or, as I like to call it, “The Edmonton Oilers Miss the Playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.” I’m always a sucker for the last game of the season (generally even moreso if my team makes the postseason — so, here’s hoping that’s a thing that will happen this year). I can’t imagine what being a Wings fan must feel like (lucky bastards) because the atmosphere is fun and the excitement about the postseason builds. Regardless, though, it’s pretty much written in stone that the Oilers will fail to make the postseason for the ninth straight year, and I’m so happy the last game of their season will come at Rogers Arena. I dunno why. Dominating the Oilers is one of the few things we have, and I’m not even gonna pretend that’s not true. LET. US. HAVE. THIS.