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Sports Patrick Johnston: Suddenly, the Canucks are fighting mad

11:25  16 february  2020
11:25  16 february  2020 Source:   theprovince.com

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Patrick Johnston More from Patrick Johnston . Published: February 15, 2020. The Canucks have been in a fighting mood of late, a stretch that seems to come out of nowhere, especially given the extreme decline of fighting in the NHL as a whole.

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a group of people that are skiing in the snow: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy fights with Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Gaudette in the third period Wednesday at Rogers Arena.© Bob Frid Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy fights with Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Gaudette in the third period Wednesday at Rogers Arena.

Before Jake Virtanen could answer the question of whether he was the original spark in the Vancouver Canucks’ recent outburst of fisticuffs — six fights over the last four games — his teammate Tanner Pearson spoke up.

“No, no. Don’t give him that credit. Not allowed,” he said with a laugh.

Virtanen shrugged his shoulders and then replied: “Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s just that time of year. It’s getting down to the stretch and that stuff happens I guess, when things are on the line and we want to make sure we’re winning and it’s just emotions get high and that’s what happens. It’s part of the game.”

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The Canucks have been in a fighting mood of late, a stretch that seems to come out of nowhere, especially given the extreme decline of fighting in the NHL as a whole.

The consensus from the Canucks is it’s just that time of year.

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Virtanen stood up for Antoine Roussel after his teammate was the victim of a borderline hit by the Minnesota Wild’s Jason Zucker on Feb. 6. Later that game Zack MacEwen squared up with Marcus Foligno.

MacEwen’s was more about him just making a statement.

“I knew I was going to before that game for sure,” he said. “It’s a way to make a statement and also yourself into the feel of the game. It helps get me in the game and keeps me on my toes too and … it gets the guys going too so it’s a win-win.”

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Patrick Johnston More from Patrick Johnston . Published: December 31, 2018. Less notable for goals, more notable for fights . The 1980s were a mad time in hockey, with fights , fights , fights . The Canucks won the game at the Coliseum 2-1, but the real story was a combined 296 minutes in

The next game, a Saturday night contest at home against the Calgary Flames, J.T. Miller dropped the mitts with the Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, right after Pearson had opened scoring seconds into the game.

“All of a sudden these little slashes hurt a little more and you want to get back at guys and it’s just part of the game. I think it’s cordial on both sides for the most part … you’re trying to win. Intensity is high, tempers are going, I think it’s great. It’s been around the game a long time, it’s nice to see from time to time,” Miller said.

 Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers fights with Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson (51) during the second period in a game at Rogers Arena. © Bob Frid Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers fights with Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson (51) during the second period in a game at Rogers Arena.

Tyler Myers fought Austin Watson last Monday after the giant Canuck threw a cross-check on Watson’s teammate Calle Jarnkrok.

Myers was the most willing to consider the notion that maybe there was a bit of the subconscious at play.

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Patrick Johnston is a journalist on The Province. Read and subscribe to the latest news and articles from Patrick Johnston . Patrick Johnston . Been at the Province, writing and doing web things since 2013. The Vancouver Canucks are flexing their depth as the wins keep mounting.

Patrick Johnston More from Patrick Johnston . The Canucks ’ blue-line corps needs puck-movers and would be better with Gardiner on their back end. He’s from Minnesota, which, of course, is hockey- mad , but he’s spent his whole career in the fishbowl that is Toronto and he’s learned plenty

“Maybe,” he said with a laugh.

“You can tell the atmosphere during the games is getting into a playoff feel. And it’s just a matter of going into the hard areas and sometimes doing that just creates a lot of battle.”

a hockey player with a football ball:  Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson fights with Chicago Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula in the second period at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.© Bob Frid Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson fights with Chicago Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula in the second period at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.

Wednesday night, both Pearson and Adam Gaudette got into tussles against the Chicago Blackhawks. Gaudette challenged giant Chicago defenceman Connor Murphy after taking a high hit.

“I thought it was a high hit and I didn’t even have the puck and he lunged a bit. I kind of got ticked off a bit and it happened,” he said.

“No chance,” Pearson declared when asked if it was possible that the run of fights, started by Virtanen, might have been sitting in his subconscious, pushing him to get into his fourth career scrap.

Mostly it was about getting back at Drake Caggiula, who’d knocked him down from a funny angle.

“I just was still mad about the offside,” he joked.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

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Canucks' Markstrom undergoes 'minor' procedure, will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks .
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