Vancouver Canucks @ New York Rangers Preview: Hello, old friend

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      The Canucks take on the Rangers at 11 a.m. PST tomorrow

      It seems like a lifetime since Alain Vigneault was behind the home team bench at Rogers Arena, doesn’t it?

      Back before the “rebuild”, the Canucks fired Vigneault because they needed a fresh voice in the locker room. At the time, the decision seemed foolish but also predictable. Once teams start performing at a lesser rate, the pendulum almost always swings against the coach, despite the fact that the blame should definitely fall on the GM in pretty much every case.

      That was the case here too, as the Canucks effectively did a coaching trade with the New York Rangers. It was one of the worst transactions in Canucks history, as John Tortorella was brought in to light a fire up under the team and was gone the next year. The Canucks are now on their third new coach in the post-Vigneault era, and it’s fair to ask whether such an era should have ever begun.

      Some in the media started calling for Vigneault’s head during a rough start to the season for New York, despite the fact that the Rangers traded away their best centre in the offseason and don’t have much depth or talent throughout the lineup. That the Rangers have gone 8-2 in November probably saved his job. Rangers fans should be thankful. It could be much worse.

      Anders and the King

      The 35-year-old version of Henrik Lundqvist is prone to rough patches, as we saw at times last season and at the beginning of this campaign. But he’s still King Henrik, and he’s been on an absolute roll of late, posting a .937 save percentage this month.

      It’s likely that fellow Swede Anders Nilsson will get the start for the Canucks after he was solid against Pittsburgh and usual starter dropped the contest against New Jersey. It should be a good battle between the cagey vet and Nilsson, who’s hungry to get a bigger role in Vancouver’s crease.


      The 1000-point watch is on for Daniel Sedin, who needs two more points to reach the moniker. It’s hard to see Daniel reaching it against a tight Rangers defence and Lundqvist, but it’s possible.

      Planning for the Killer Bees

      The league is starting to take notice that rookie Brock Boeser is a true talent. One wonders whether Vigneault will line match his best defenceman Ryan McDonagh against Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser. Here’s betting he does exactly that.