Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Watched This Game: Canucks at Kings, October 15, 2010

Canucks 1 - Kings 4

Last night started off on a sour note, even before puck drop. I invited Skeeter to come watch the game with me in my new townhouse in Maple Ridge and, at about 8pm, I was beginning to wonder where he was. I found him out in the parking lot, not entirely sure what unit I lived in because I forgot to tell him. He was kinda visibly (understandably) upset. Well, the Canucks had as much trouble finding the net last night as Skeeter had finding my house. The Kings, on the other hand, got a few lucky bounces, and a tight defensive game turned into a 4-1 trouncing. I've only had cable in my place for three days, but the game was so infuriating I nearly snapped at my wife, then called Shaw and canceled their service, like Richard Beech famously did once. Regrettably, Skeeter and I watched this game, and fought back our primal urge to quit watching it because of our faithful reader:

  • It goes without saying, but the Canucks might want to try scoring. I've seen Christian stand-up comedy more offensive than this. Ugh. Maybe.
  • Daniel Sedin is on pace for 82 goals this season. The rest of the Canucks are on pace for 60. Combined. Jus' sayin'. Daniel's goal was beautiful. I love, in the clip above, how you can see him make the drop pass then just take off across the ice and down the far wing. The camera crew last night had some questionable moments, but this is excellent camera work.
  • Speaking of the crew, did the Sportsnet guys forget there was a game last night? Explain to me why the intermission segments were all recycled from the Prospects camp, for goodness sakes. I've seen more original material from Carlos Mencia.
  • How can you tell I'm in a bad mood? I'm taking cheapshots at bad comedians, as though their lives weren't worthless enough already. The only thing you contribute to society is humour, and you're terrible at it.
  • As a Canucks fan during the Vigneault era, there is nothing more infuriating than when the team is stinking up the joint and, coming out of the second intermission, Vigneault debuts new lines which are akin to throwing in the towel. It's like throwing rotten tomatoes at the fans. Skeeter was teasing that we'd probably see Tanner Glass on the third line, a very specific pet peeve of mine, but AV went one step further and punched us right in my fansack: Peter Schaefer on the second line? Really? He's done nothing to merit a trip to the scoring lines. That's like rewarding a guy just for existing, and I thought only Glen Sather did that. Earlier in the game, Skeeter noted, "I'm ready to see Peter Schaefer on the fourth line." And I agree. He's a checker who accomplishes very little five-on-five. On the penalty kill, he's excellent, but that's about it. He doesn't create scoring chances, and playing him with a struggling Ryan Kesler is kind of like putting a guy on a sugar-free diet while injecting him with maple syrup.
  • Know who does create offense? Kevin Bieksa. I can only speak for myself, as Skeeter is much more reasonable about these things, but... here's the thing. I'm already sick of Bieksa. I know AV likes the offense he creates--problem is, so does the other team. Bieksa was a minus-2 on the night, got beat on the 2-on-2 with Kopitar (who beats Bieksa with such regularity you'd think they were Ike & Tina), and made a number of boneheaded plays and turnovers. I think Bieksa plays for the Canucks too much (and I'm not talking about minutes). It's four games in and it's apparent that the only thing he's got going for him is that, apparently, he creates offense. This despite the fact we're not getting any right now, and that his created offense is available to everybody, like a mother's love. Vigneault on the Kings' third goal: "It was a simple 2-on-2 and two of their good players (Kopitar and Brown) beat our two good defencemen (Bieksa and Hamhuis) and that's going to happen." Fair. But have you noticed how often it happens with Bieksa? He leads the team in giveaways, and while there's really no distance between him and the others in that category, it's still indicative of his overall play that he's already at the top of the list.
  • Speaking of line juggling, is there some reason Mikael Samuelsson is not allowed to go back on the second line? Is there a rift? Did he say something drastic and profane to Kesler, as he tends to do? Last game I pointed out that Raymond and Kesler are struggling to score and Samuelsson was the best fit for them last season. Tonight, going into the third period, Samuelsson was finally taken off the first line and placed: on the third line. Meanwhile, Mason Raymond was bumped up to the first line. I feel like I follow this team closer than our coach does. Everybody knows Raymond's style does not work with the Sedins. Infuriating.
  • Also infuriating on a night like tonight: John Garrett, when he's not talking about goaltending. At one point, he suggested Raymond and Kesler just needed to get a few lucky bounces, and then the lucky bounces a regular goal scorer gets would start to come. That's right: you need to get lucky to be lucky.
  • I, for one, am tired of the Canucks' slow starts in October. I'm glad, however, that Luongo is playing noticeably well, because now we can see that the problem hasn't been him. It's been that, for some reason, the whole team isn't ready to play come October. That's got to be on coaching, though I'm not calling to fire Vigneault (despite all my basest urges on a bewilderingly bad night like tonight).
  • What was up with Raffi Torres tonight? A team-low minus-3, and two absolutely boneheaded penalties to sap all possible momentum in the third period. Raffi, I declare you the team's second-string whipping boy. Whip.
  • I'm pretty choked, but I urge you all not to panic. If we win the next game, we're 2-2-1, which is the same record Chicago has right now. That means we're the same as Chicago, and they just won the cup so, if we win the next game, we win the cup. Then we can finally tell the smug 1915 Vancouver Millionaires to shut up.
  • The Beckhams were in the audience. I didn't care. If the earth had opened up and sucked them both into the soul-logged waters of the River Styx, I might have cared. But they managed to stay on the surface of the earth, so I shrug my shoulders at their continued existence.
  • I muchly enjoyed the fight between Simmonds and Alberts. Sidebar: it's four games in and we haven't seen Rypien turbofist anybody. This is why we're losing. Rypien fighting is the fastest way to get your team's momentum bar to fill all the way up.
  • And finally, as Missy pointed out, it's only October. As the angel Gabriel once said, "Be not afraid.... btw you're pregnant with God's baby."


  1. Great post. I thought the same thing when we got the juggled lines in the third. Seriously, what does AV do, draw the names out of a hat and throw them together?

    Raymond with the Sedins reminds me of when he had Naslund playing with them. It's a waste of so much talent, everyone wants the puck, and they do nothing to compliment each other.

    And Raymond and Kesler were working WELL together! Why would you split them up, of all people! Well said on Samuelsson as well, he had great chemistry with those two last year - why the hell is he not on line #2.

    At one point in the game, Garrett proclaimed that Torres was having a strong game. I said to myself, "yeah, about as strong as Peter Schaefer's." Pylons last night.

  2. You're right on the "Bieksa plays too much" call. Other team's stars are treating him like a rag doll.

  3. I still can't believe you didn't give me your actual unit number. Seriously.

    That was a tremendously crappy game to watch. The Canucks have no flow right now: passes aren't connecting, shots aren't hitting the net, and the defence is scrambling instead of playing their positions. It's frustrating to watch, especially because we know the Canucks can play with such impressive flow and can control the puck and play a possession game much better than they are currently.

  4. Normally I'd be mad at AV for messing with the lines, but sometimes it works. A good example would be putting Samuelsson with the Sedins in the playoffs, when they took off. Third period line juggling is probably behind another good line combination or two, but I can't remember because everything that doesn't happen in the playoffs disappears from my memory.

    I said the loss to the Ducks was my favorite kind of loss. This is my least favorite: A loss where everything went the wrong way and players were dry because Alain Vigneault tempted fate and gave an interview during the Canadian anthem. Never do that again, dude.


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