Sports

VIDEO: Free-falling Vancouver Canucks visit slumping Jets in Winnipeg

The theme for tonight: something's gotta give.

Tonight, the Vancouver Canucks will play the Winnipeg Jets. Trying to get you excited for that would be like trying to get you to see a movie where Tom Hardy and Chris Pine fight over Reese Witherspoon... and that movie has 24% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tonight, the Vancouver Canucks try to reset a torturous 2014, the new year's latest lashing coming on Monday night, when the Orcas blew a three-goal lead and surrendered seven scores in the final period, losing 7-4 to a normally pretty impotent New York Islanders team.

The loss leaves the Canucks six points back of the Dallas Stars, with two more games played.

"As a coach, this is my responsibility," said Vancouver head coach John Tortorella on Tuesday, the day after Vancouver's heartbreaking, pretty shocking loss to the Islanders (NHL.com). "I'm going to try to turn this around."

Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets are trying to invert their own spiral. While the Canucks are depressed, the Jets are desperate – Winnipeg is a pedestrian 4-3-3 in its last 10, and has lost four in a row.

Winnipeg's last outing, also on Tuesday, was a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Writing in the Winnipeg Sun, reporter Kirk Penton called the Jets the league's post-trade deadline "model of mediocrity"...

When the going gets tough in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets – and the Atlanta Thrashers before them – get, well, fairly average.

Doesn't exactly get you fired up, does it?

In the last four seasons the Jets and Thrashers have been a combined five points out of a playoff spot at the NHL trade deadline. They have exactly zero playoff berths to show for it.

Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

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The infuriating fact for tonight's two fanbases is that, with a couple more complete games this season, either the Canucks or Jets could be playoff teams. But they're not, and that's a sad and succinct truth for a good portion of the NHL each season.

For Vancouver, a ninth or worse in 2014 would be the team's first year out of the playoffs since 2008, when injuries similarly derailed what was otherwise an originally hopefully campaign.

In Winnipeg, the Jets haven't made the playoffs since moving to Manitoba, and the franchise – formerly the Atlanta Thrashers – has only made the postseason once in its history, in 2007.

So it's not a marquee matchup, not right now.

But what's the good news?

One of them, at least, will finally win a game.

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VIDEO: Tonight is Henrik Sedin's 1000th NHL game, all of them spent with the Vancouver Canucks

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