Hey, remember last season? It seems like forever ago, but it was just 10 months ago when this happened:
Looking at it ten months after the fact, nothing changes how I view this hit. It was cheap and dirty. The puck is nowhere near the same stratosphere as Daniel Sedin when Duncan Keith launches a high elbow right in his jaw.
If you recall correctly, Keith received just a two-minute elbowing penalty but also got supplemental discipline handed down: A five-game Shanaban.
But the damage had been done to the Canucks. Daniel Sedin was sidelined with a concussion, and missed the rest of the regular season including the first three games of the first round against the Los Angeles Kings. By the time he returned for Game 4, the Canucks were in a 3-0 hole in the series and their hopes to return to the Stanley Cup Final virtually dashed.
Now there’s no telling what could’ve been if the Canucks had a healthy Daniel Sedin in their lineup during that series. Maybe they don’t let the Kings win and go on to claim the Stanley Cup, or maybe not. But there’s no doubting that had he been in the series he would’ve at least made it interesting.
Flash forward to tomorrow. It’s the first time the Canucks meet the Blackhawks since that fateful night. Some sort of revenge has to be on Vancouver’s minds; even fans are hoping Duncan Keith gets his due.
Sound familiar, doesn’t it?
March 8th, 2004. The Canucks meet the Colorado Avalanche for the first time since Steve Moore laid out captain Markus Naslund with a borderline hit to the head. Vancouver called for redemption for weeks, and they got it in the worst fashion possible. Todd Bertuzzi goes overboard and, well, we all know how that story played out… It wasn’t pretty for either side.
Needless to say, tomorrow’s game between the Canucks and Blackhawks has all the potential to be an all-out war. It could get ugly in a hurry and perhaps Vancouver may even be looking to make a statement physically as opposed to on the scoreboard.
And unlike in meetings past, Vancouver has a number of players willing to dish the big hits and launch fists: Aaron Volpatti, Dale Weise, Max Lapierre… And then there’s Zack Kassian, who lately has been the hottest Canuck. Perhaps even more ironically at this time, he’s fulfilling a lot of those comparisons people have made between him and Todd Bertuzzi circa 2004.
Kassian even has a beef with Keith. Check out the video evidence:
Hoo boy. Here we go.
Keith can’t say those things to Kassian now. Kassian has five goals in seven games (good for a second-place tie in the NHL), and has dropped the mitts on two occasions already; by now, he knows his role. Kassian has been the lightning rod of attention on the Canucks, for better and for worse (mostly better these days).
Duncan Keith may yet get what’s coming tomorrow from Zack Kassian. Let’s just hope neither side goes overboard with the retribution this time.