Chicago Blackhawks Face Canucks, Can Send Message To Reeling Team

Jeff HicksCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2010

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 18: Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his seocnd goal in the 3rd period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on October 18, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Blues 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The last 18 hours have been interesting in hockey, eh?

As the Chicago Blackhawks appear to be picking up steam after stringing together two wins, the visiting Vancouver Canucks are heading in the completely opposite direction.

In a heated, mostly one-sided game last night, the Minnesota Wild beat up the Canucks on the scoreboard and literally. The eye-opener about the game was not the 6-2 score, but Vancouver blowhard Rick Rypien trying to throw down with a Minnesota fan, as well as pushing a referee.

The fan and his father were moved to another seat after the altercation, in which all the fan did was clap as Rypien left the ice. Something could have been said, but we may never know.

With the talks of Vancouver being a favorite in the Western Conference, removing the "C" from goaltender Roberto Luongo and their now slow start to the season, the B.C.-based team could be in for a world of hurt when they visit the west side tonight.

Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp have been nothing short of scorching hot. Hossa was recently named a "Three Stars" of the week for the NHL, and Sharp has potted a fistful of goals in less than five days.

To add to that, young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are starting to heat up.

Tonight's matchup poses one large question: which team's defense will step up?

Chicago is having issues on the blue line, as lethargic defensemen Jassen Cullimore and John Scott have been asked to carry a large work load, despite their glaring holes. Scott has also been asked to play forward minutes. Jordan Hendry has been less than stellar to start the year and has been more effective in a suit and tie.

All three will more than likely be in the lineup against what is still an above average scoring team in the Canucks.

Marty Turco has shown flashes of his glory days in Dallas, keeping the Hawks in games early on, but he has also let up some frozen yogurt-like soft goals.

Vancouver was touted as having one of the strongest back lines in hockey, yet the team is scuffling. The road has not been kind to the Canucks, either. In three road games, Vancouver has potted six goals, while giving up 14.

Luongo is not looking so hot to start the year, even after being rid of the "burden" of being a captain. Just in the Minnesota game last night, Luongo gave up six goals while saving an anemic 12, good for a .667 save percentage.

Tonight's 8:00 p.m. puck drop will be another loud, raucous affair in a budding rivalry. It is just a shame that one team is on the up and up, while the other is nose-diving.

Well, maybe not.


In case you have not seen the fight, enjoy the attached video.