Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Watched This Game: Canucks at Ducks, October 13, 2010

Canucks 3 - 4 Ducks

Beautiful goal by Daniel, but penalties (and lack of penalties) ultimately did the Canucks in.

It's never fun to write a game review after a loss. On the one hand, there's plenty to criticize, which is the blogger's delight*; on the other hand, there is the existential despair that accompanies the seeming loss of self when a group with which one has allied oneself so closely faces pain and suffering. Still, I watched this game and I have thoughts about it. Let me share my existential angst, so as to share suffering and thus, in a sense, relieve it.

I am reluctantly without cable. Frequently I will watch Canucks games at Harrison's house, sometimes on the online feeds from, and occasionally, as tonight, I will head out to a local sports bar to watch the game. Harrison was AWOL, but managed to track me down at the sports bar despite my not mentioning it by name to him. It was freaky. He could only stop by briefly, but he assured me he was recording the game and would watch it and comment on it tomorrow. After procuring cheap burgers and a pitcher of Sleeman's, my wife and I watched the Canucks lose. Ugh. Here are some thoughts, which are truncated as I have a presentation to make in Philosophy of Mind tomorrow that I need to prepare for.

  • As much as it pains me, the reffing needs to be mentioned. I'm a firm believer that calls even out over time and that bad calls are unavoidable. What was painful tonight was that they so directly affected the result of the game. The first Anaheim goal came after a 5-on-3 powerplay caused by a delay of game penalty that had no business being called. It was incredibly clear on the replay that Kesler's clearing attempt deflected off Selanne's stick. The last Anaheim goal came off a turnover created by Bobby Ryan, as he came off the bench and played the puck before the player he was replacing came off the ice. It was clearly too-many-men, but it went uncalled and was exacerbated by a sloppy change by the Canucks defence: 3-on-1 = goal.
  • That said, the Canucks put themselves in a position to lose this game by not burying the Ducks when they had the chance. Samuelsson missed the net on one chance that immediately came back and turned into a Ducks goal. Daniel Sedin had a glorious opportunity to put in a wraparound into a wide open net but instead tried to centre it. The Canucks dominated the game for long stretches, but just weren't able to finish.
  • The second line has created chances in all three games this season, but hasn't been able to find the net. The Sedin line has been getting goals, but just hasn't been clicking. This game is an example: both Sedins were a team-worst minus-2 on the night, when normally their puck possession game keeps them ahead at even-strength. Once the two top lines get their acts together, the Canucks will be just fine in terms of goalscoring.
  • Raffi Torres got a goal tonight and had three hits, but he still doesn't seem to be gelling with his linemates. Part of the problem is that he tried to do too much. Instead of making the simple play, he will frequently try a riskier cross-ice pass, which frequently gets picked off. He needs to simplify his game and he will be more effective.
  • His riskiness paid off once, though, as he made a nifty little back-pass to set up Henrik, who tried to Wellwood the puck into the net. It didn't turn into a goal, but it was a nice play by Torres and some shifty work by Henrik.
  • Kevin Bieksa will get some flack after this game. After all, he took a slashing penalty that put the Ducks on their second two-man advantage that became a goal and also was caught chasing the puck instead of taking his man on Corey Perry's goal. I was going to follow that previous sentence with a defence of Bieksa and why his mistakes tonight weren't that bad, but that's pretty damning, isn't it? Fine, Bieksa was bad tonight. He'll make up for it, you'll see.
  • Rick Rypien only played 6:56 in this game, but he did go 3 for 4 in the faceoff circle, threw a hit, and blocked a shot. Reasonable work for that amount of time. One of the concerns with him slotting in at fourth-line centre was his faceoff ability (his career win percentage is 43.4%). Obviously this is a small sample-size, but hopefully it's a sign that he's improved in this area because he will need to fill in while Bolduc is injured.
  • So, the Canucks have their first regulation loss of the year. Had to happen at some point, but it's too bad that it happened against the hapless Ducks. To be fair, there was no way that Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan were going to be held scoreless for too long, as they each scored their first points of the season. I just hoped it wouldn't happen tonight. Here's hoping that the two third-period leads the Canucks have blown don't turn into a trend. I would much prefer last season's tendency to constantly come back in the third, please.
*This video must be watched through to the end, if only for the sudden realization that it was created by Todd Bertuzzi in a reveal of Shyamalanian proportions.

Harrison's Thoughts:

I too watched this game, but very, very late at night and after a long day of packing and unpacking boxes after a move. I barely have the energy to add much, and I have even less upon discovering that the Canucks lost. Still, here are a few things of note:

  • Skeeter delicately stated that the refs might have played a role in this loss. Let me go one step further and say I've seen poachers and negligent zookeepers with better game management. The Canucks did well to have sustained offensive pressure, and Anaheim played an undisciplined game, especially in the first period, but apparently the refs weren't paying attention. I'm going to say there were about four egregious missed calls in the first period alone, not to mention the bad call on Kesler and, of course, the missed too many men call that gave Bobby Ryan the game-winner. Unacceptable reffing.
  • Four is a solid number of goals, but we should have scored more. There were long stretches in this game when it looked like Anaheim thought they were playing half-court.
  • Expect to see a few more goals from Raffi Torres' exactly like this one. You'll note that it's just like the one he scored in the preseason against the Sharks. Little known Torres fact: he has above average puck-tipping skills. Torres tips like the waitress is pregnant.
  • Speaking of Torres, you might notice he wagged his tongue when he scored. A little nod to Kyle Wellwood, perhaps? Golly, I miss Kyle Wellwood.
  • I've probably overused this observation, but Dan Hamhuis = good at hockey. I love watching him play. I don't remember the last time the Canucks had a defenseman who played with such poise.
  • How good are the Sedins? They weren't very good tonight, but they still got three points between them. And Daniel Sedin is on pace for 82 goals, primarily because he's out for blood and sick of getting the shaft. He gets more shaft than a film class on Blaxploitation.
  • Put Samuelsson back with Kesler and Raymond. They need him more than the Sedins do right now. The Sedins can play with somebody else (so long as it's not Tanner Glass). Put them with Jannik Hansen for the time being, I don't care. Samuelsson isn't the reason the Sedin line is getting points, and it's time to get Kes and Ray going.
  • Something to think about: Ryan Getzlaf may have scored four points tonight and won in the short-term, but he's also going bald real fast, so, in the long run, he loses.


  1. "Daniel's on a point per goal pace!"

    -Rachael (+ 1/2 pitcher of Sleeman's)

  2. Also on a point-per-goal pace: everyone. ;)

  3. I just wanted to give a general compliment to you guys for your excellent blog. I've been reading since the playoffs last spring and yours is easily the best Canucks blog going. The humour and passion remind me so much of my fan friends. Keep up the good work and GO 'NUCKS GO!

    And thanks,

  4. Great review - love the site!

  5. Compliments are like a good pair of jeans: they make your butt look awesome.

    Wait, that analogy didn't go where I meant it to...

  6. Let me try, Skeeter. Compliments are like a good pair of jeans. They make your butt look awesome.

    Holy crap, there's no other way for that to go.

  7. This one was actually my favorite kind of loss: The kind of loss where when you ask yourself, "What does this mean for the team?" The answer is pretty much, meh.

    The second line needs to produce more, but it will. The second line is looking like Mason Raymond when he was first playing with the big club, where he was constantly getting his chances but not showing up on the score sheet. He didn't look dangerous at first glance, but once things clicked, they clicked in a big way. The same thing will happen for the whole line -- if it starts burying only a quarter of the monstrous chances it gets, instead of none of them, it'll be a huge threat to score every night. They've had some great chances and some terrible puck luck. I'm not concerned.

    The reffing of course was atrocious but oh well. It won't always be. What's important is that the Canucks didn't clearly get frustrated or lose composure. How great an improvement is that over last playoffs?

    The main problem I have with the team last night is that they just weren't used to playing against a team that was playing that poorly. There were so many chances that the Canucks didn't capitalize on because no one should be stupid enough to allow it in the first place. Daniel's centering the puck instead of the wraparound was a good example. Against a composed team and a goaltender who isn't begging for some Keith Ballard-style motivation, you're never going to put that puck in. Occasionally you see something so mind-numbingly stupid that you don't know how to respond at first. That was the Canucks' response to many defensive breakdowns.

    Bieksa was the exception to that. Bieksa is the Canucks' resident expert on boneheaded plays, and clearly knows not only how to make them, but how to punish them. The main problem I had with him was that when the Ducks adjusted, he didn't. Still, the first Duck to wake up was Hiller. But for some solid saves, Bieksa would have been responsible for burying the Ducks early.

    All told, if the Canucks play the way they did and the Ducks play the way they did, nine times out of ten, the Canucks win, so I don't take this loss to heart. These losses happen sometimes. It was very appropriate that Ferraro was talking about how much mistakes are magnified early in the season. If this kind of game happens mid-season, everyone shrugs it off, but since we want a strong start, we worry more. This game didn't worry me at all about the team, which is my favorite kind of loss.


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