From a December to remember to a January that was definitely a struggle to survive as the injury bug hit the Canucks with full steam. 2014 did not get off the the best start and that has caused many fans and the media alike to jump on the panic button as the stretch drive for the playoffs is just around the corner.

January was NOT the team’s best month by any means….the injury bug attacked the team with a vengeance [Luongo{who returned in the Calgary game},Henrik, Santorelli, Bieksa, Tanev, Weber and Alberts {Dec.29} have still not returned]. It has not been easy to watch the team struggle as the injuries seemed to happen in nearly every game…it seemed their mission most games was to escape the game with minimal injuries rather than focusing on winning. It has been a difficult few weeks to watch the Canuck in part because of the injuries and the mentality of which they let their opponents get in their heads but also because January saw Torts suspended for the final six games of the month.

Yes we are over halfway through the season and yes the team needs to be better. The good news is January is OVER and February a month in which they have had a lot of recent success[Since 2011 the Canucks are 24-9-6] is HERE. There may not be a lot of games this month due to the Olympic break BUT with the return of head coach John Tortorella and the expected return of captain Henrik Sedin things are beginning to look a lot brighter for the Canucks.

True, the Canucks have put themselves into a more difficult position with their play in the last few weeks BUT they also have a lot left to fight for in next 2 1/2 months yet. These games in February and March are ever more so important to their playoff fate. There a 4 games left before 8 Canucks [newly acquired Diaz brings the Canucks total to 8 Olympians!] are sent to Sochi to vie an Olympic hockey gold medal and the rest of the team will be treated to an Olympic break. The Canucks would like to go into the break on a high note with a few wins starting in Detroit.

Good-bye January and HELLO FEBRUARY!! The real madness is set to begin as the Olympics close and the trade deadline approaches…

Trades are one of the difficult parts of a being a fan because you are torn between being upset that a player is leaving the team while being excited for their new opportunity and optimistic about what the new player will bring to your team. In the morning of February 3rd, the Canucks announced a trade with the Montreal Canadiens: in exchange for Dale Weise, the Canucks have acquired defense-man Raphael Diaz. All the best to Dale Weise as he begins a new chapter with the Montreal Canadiens. Raphael Diaz brings a right-handed shot that has been missing on the Canucks combined with all of the injuries on the blue-line will be a great addition to the team. Down the stretch after the Olympics and come playoff time, you can NEVER have too much defense.

Did I mention that TORTS is back? It has been a very long quiet 15 days in his absence…but here is a collection of some AWESOME Torts moments from this season [Spoiler alert…its awesome!]:

“I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the league. It hasn’t been a great two weeks. I didn’t help matters for this team and we’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back. We had meetings this morning, we have a long list of things we need to improve at. We need to start over on the mental side” – Tortorella [February 3, 2014]

Look out NHL, you’ve released a DETERMINED John Tortorella -and it looks like just as Torts has always stood by his team, his players will continue to stand by him:

“He’s our coach, he’s our leader and we’re excited he’s back. This will be a process, starts with the right mindset” – Kesler [February 3, 2014]

That mindset is where it will begin and they hope to put it into motion starting with their final 4 games before the Olympic break vs. Detroit, Boston, Montreal and Toronto and continuing for the rest of the season.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Columbus Captain is now –>Ranger NASH

Wow…its official. The Columbus Captain(former face of the franchise) is now RANGER NASH! The New York Rangers acquired Rick Nash today from Columbus in exchange for Erixon(defenseman), Dubinsky(centre) & Anisimov(centre) & a 2013 first round draft pick. A lot of teams have been rumored to have been in the hunt for Nash(since last year’s trade deadline) & it has been known that Nash has wanted out of Columbus. The Rangers have acquired a great forward in Nash, and when he is surrounded by players that are also capable of being play makers & goal scorers creating a lethal combination. In Columbus, Nash was depended on to score as often as possible in order to win games with hardly any support from his team mates, but in New York he has the support of players like Callahan, Gaborik, & Brad Richards. It is Columbus that will be hurting in the loss of Nash’s offensive prowess. Columbus acquired some great hard working players who hopefully can help to bring back some excitement in hockey to Columbus(that has been missing since their playoff appearance in 2009). The Rangers with this trade have become one of the big players in the off-season, along with Minnesota(Suter & Parise), & the Weber drama still to unfold. Congratulations to the New York Rangers & to Rick Nash who finally got his wish to leave Columbus.

Its still quiet on the Nashville front regarding Weber with time quickly dwindling down & no decision has yet to be made. There is no winning this battle for Nashville either they say good-bye to the 2nd 1/2 of their defensive pair having already lost Suter, leaving no certainty on the defensive core. OR they keep Weber by matching Philly’s offer but as I mentioned before that doing so would cripple them financially & prevent them from being able to afford the pieces to build a quality team around him. Ultimately by Weber signing this offer sheet, it states pretty blatantly that he DOES NOT want to be in Nashville any longer now that Suter is gone.

Rumor has it that Ryan Kesler could be ready for the Vancouver Canucks 2012-2013  season opener October 11th. That could be amazing if it is true. As he had surgery much earlier this year(end of April rather than June), returning in time for the season opener is certainly plausible(*4-6 months recovery). However I would like to state that should he not be 100% for the opener then I would rather he waits & comes back when he is 100% & able to fully activate beast mode.If Kesler is 100 % & beast mode ready that would be AWESOME but that day comes in later October or early November that will just make his debut more exciting.

That is all for now as the NHL still awaits the final word from Nashville and any other off-season drama to unfold. October 11th cannot come fast enough for me:)!!! Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.