TRH GAMEDAY 67 – VANCOUVER CANUCKS: CATCHING UP

The LA Kings and the Vancouver Canucks.

Any fan who has been conscious for the past few weeks or have even glanced at the standings can tell you that tonight is a pretty important game. Coming into Thursday’s action, the Kings trail the Canucks by three points in the Pacific Division standings – a gap that if closed will greatly aid Los Angeles’ playoff chances. Both teams have 16 games remaining on their respective schedules, with tonight being the first of three games the teams will play against one another.

So, to summarize, a couple wins against the Canucks would be a major help in the Kings’ efforts to leapfrog Vancouver in the standings and cementing themselves into a playoff spot. And at this a time when they are already coping with Calgary conspiracy theories and Devan Dubnyk’s bid for the Hart Trophy, it’s safe to say Los Angeles fans are looking for any help they can possibly get…

This is worse than I ever thought possible

But the Pacific Division race is merely the obvious storyline for when the Kings visit Vancouver tonight. And we’re not satisfied with only picking the low hanging fruit. Instead, we want to give our readers multiple reasons to get excited for the game at hand.

1. It’s Easy To Hate Vancouver

Ok this one is also fairly obvious. The Canucks and their mischievous band of rap scallions are essentially the poster boys for being unlikable. They have been notorious divers, employ such ruffians as Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows, and share a recent playoff history with the Kings.

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And what a wonderful recent playoff history that is

But wait, on second thought most of the pests and surly characters they have had in the past (Kesler, Lapierre, Luongo, Tortorella) are gone, Bieksa is out of the lineup and reports say that the Canucks are on a mission to remedy their unsavory reputation around the league. It turns out the current group in Vancouver just doesn’t boil the blood like they did in the past.

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#HowManyPointsCanTheKingsEarnTonight?

A quick word of caution: If you choose to retain your ire for the Canucks, just make sure you don’t make any suggestive jokes about the Sedins on local radio stations. That doesn’t go over well.

2. A World-Class Reunion

Considering one of Vancouver’s key additions for this season, the Kings and Canucks matchup is a little more tantalizing when you consider a potential matchup of United States Olympic goaltenders.

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#StartMiller

Of course, any look back to the Sochi Olympics would not be complete without a reference to an earlier occurrences of what is now a Hockey Twitter ritual: ridiculing Jonathan Quick.

https://twitter.com/MattNHLHogan/status/434435419552231424

https://twitter.com/MDMBrown/status/434704303945572352

#StartMiller was #NotElite before #NotElite was #NotElite

So it might be a completely contrived, keyboard warrior-driven rivalry, but there is definitely a rivalry between Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller that will fun to watch continue to play out on Thursday night.

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Ugh… Never mind.

In that case, I hope Vancouver starts Jacob Markstrom… Because the Kings are on a one-game winning streak against AHL call-up goalies and he has done this in the past.

3. Familiar Faces

Well if all else fails, Kings fans can look forward to playing the Canucks to catch up with a pair of old friends.

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The first “Ritchie” to bite the dust

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I’m convinced Linden Vey the T-shirt design had a bigger impact on the LA Kings than Linden Vey the hockey player.

Actually, any Kings fans travelling to Rogers Arena can actually catch up with Brad Richardson, since he is going to be somewhere in the stands nursing an injury, because apparently half of their team is hurt.

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On second thought, maybe the whole trying-to-catch-the-Canucks-in-the-playoff-race angle is all you need for this game, because there really isn’t much else going on.

Go Kings Go.

KINGS WEEKLY SNEAK PEEK

Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky were lucky
to get the chance to play with Luc Robitaille.

TRH TENDER SWIPE TO VICTORY MATCHUP™

QUICK-Canucks-March

BEST OPPOSITION BLOGS:

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BEST OPPOSITION TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER:

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WORST OPPOSITION TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER:

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Knick Rickle was a former junior and college goaltender and is a current aspiring journalist and mediocre adult league goaltender. While growing up in Minneapolis, he learned how to play by attending Robb Stauber's goalie school, which unbeknownst to him at the time was the first step in becoming a Kings fan. The rest of the steps came when became probably the first person ever to move to California from Minnesota to play hockey. He currently is unemployed, holds an English degree, while contributing to #TeamTRH, so you be the judge how his hockey career turned out. You can follow KnickRickle on Twitter @KnickRickle.