Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Watched This Game: Canucks at Wild, January 16, 2011

Canucks 0 - 4 Wild

Every so often, good hockey teams comes down with a case of bogusness. Suddenly, they flub passes, fan on shots, miss defensive coverages, and skate around like the walking dead, more suited to converging on the Monroeville Mall than the Xcel Energy Center. It can be terribly difficult to watch a team do hockey in these instances, as they seem to have forgotten how entirely. When this happens to your team, hockey fan, it is advised, for your sanity, that you A) stop watching, and B) do not continue watching. That is, unless you're committed to a blog that does game recaps for every game, even the awful ones that are more torturous than the last game you described as torturous. Sigh. I watched this game:

  • Allowing Henrik Lundqvist to shut you out: acceptable. Allowing Anton Khudobin (emphasis on the who?) to shut you out: less acceptable. Granted, Khudobin stopped 32 shots and deserves congratulations for his first NHL shutout, but he was vomiting rebounds like a fat guy out of a Monty Python sketch. Despite gift-wrapping some dandy tap-ins and putting himself out of position more than a few times, he never needed to worry, as the Canucks reacted to all yawning cages by yawning back.
  • How bad were the Canucks last night? Shorthouse and Garrett remarked--on two occasions--that Martin Havlat was having a good defensive game. When you make Martin Havlat look defensively sound, you are playing poorly.
  • Speaking of the broadcast team, we often rag on John Garrett for being an insane homer, but John Shorthouse has his moments as well. Consider, for instance, his liberal use of the word "shutout," from the middle of the second period onward. This can only have been a brazen attempt to jinx Khudobin into letting one past him, but unfortunately, Shorthouse is as terrible at cursing someone as Wendy, the Good Little Witch.
  • Also awesome homerism: when Shorty tried to wish his son a happy birthday, and the cameras went to random boys in the crowd. Shorty made sure to mention these kids weren't his kid, and when Garrett remarked that a boy in a Wild jersey resembled Shorty's son slightly, Shorty snapped back that his son wouldn't be wearing a Wild jersey.
  • If you want an example of how terrible the Canucks were, look no further than their 4th goal against: the Canucks control the puck for about a minute, seemingly incapable of making two crisp feeds. Passes are in legs, overskated, off skates and over sticks. Minnesota is content to sit back while the Canucks dick around, so they hardly forecheck during this comedy of errors. Then, after bungling for an entire shift, the Canucks finally dump the puck in and make a sloppy line change. Their forechecker, Jannik Hansen, is so slow to pressure that Minnesota is already in transition by the time he gets there. The Wild have the the puck for ten seconds. In that time, Alex Edler gives up the zone, then gives up the boards, and Raffi Torres goes for a skate while his man, John Madden finds himself open in front for a tap-in. I'm sure the team will be watching video of this sequence, as they looked slow, inept, and out of sync, and Minnesota made them look stupid.
  • My wife, upon watching that sequence: "Wow, Minnesota is fast." No, honey, they most definitely are not. But there was a time when people thought a 28.8 modem was fast, too. It just depends on what you're comparing it to.
  • Shorty and Garrett lauded Alex Edler on his strong play lately, noting that he hadn't been a minus player in ten games. In an effort to make up for this, Edler put in a minus-3 performance, including gift-wrapping a breakaway for Marty Havlat goal with a beautiful drop pass. Perhaps he realized he's not ready to be thought of as the number one guy, and was simply managing expectations?
  • This is two losses in three games, and while it's tempting to say the Canucks are so good the only way to beat them is to shut them out, let's be more damning. The Canucks are mired in a brutal scoring slump right now, shut out twice on this road trip and looking completely uninterested in scoring goals at times. Ignore the four they put up in Washington; there are Timbits minor hockey teams that could score on the Capitals.
  • Because our complementary scoring has been solid for two seasons now, People often forget that the Canucks' offense lives and dies with the Wizards of the Coast. Henrik Sedin has now gone three games without a point. The last time Henrik had three or more pointless games was last February, when he didn't get on the board in four straight. The Canucks went 1-3 in that span. Here's hoping a wide open game in Colorado breaks the slump before the Canucks repeat that exact scenario.
  • You know who needs offense? The Canucks. Know who's on a pretty impressive scoring streak? Sergei Shirokov. Know who doesn't have an extra forward on the roster right now? The Canucks. Know who they should call up? Mario Bliznak.
  • While there are no excuses for playing this badly, here's one: The Canucks are exhausted. After six games in nine nights, they immediately began a five-game road trip that's taken them across the country and back. You could say the dense January schedule appears to be catching up with them. Good teams can overcome a bit of sand in their skates, but there are going to be games like this one, where they simply don't have the legs. This is cause for concern, however, because the schedule doesn't let up for quite awhile.
  • Watch Christian Ehrhoff try to catch Matt Cullen on the shorthanded goal (2:50 of above clip). Daniel Sedin outskates him. Daniel Sedin.
  • The Wild's first goal probably shouldn't have counted. Last I checked, you couldn't score by having a super orgy porno party on top of the goaltender, then driving him into the net with a Shoryuken. Maybe this is a new rule.
  • People often criticize Alain Vigneault for juggling lines last night like Zack Morris trying to have three dates at once, but when every single one of your scorers suddenly becomes dead weight, you'll try anything. The truth is that the players hate line-juggling as much as the fans do. The coach knows this; it's an in-game punishment. The way to earn consistent linemates is to be consistent. When he mixes up the lines, Vigneault isn't just guessing or hoper-groping--he's sending a message to his team.
  • Speaking of AV, I love the way he chews gum when his team is crapping the bed. Slightly harder. Is that a tell or what? I want to play poker with Alain Vigneault. #PokerMeAlain
  • Ryan Kesler was 4-for-14 in the faceoff circle. His thumb is clearly still bothering him. I hope, for his sake, he takes care of that thing before he loses it, or he'll have to go through life unable to hitchhike or co-host film review programs.
  • Mason Raymond has regressed to the perimeter play he appeared to have grown out of early last season. Let's hope this is just temporary and he finds that other gear soon. He's not even on pace for twenty goals, and he's supposed to be an anchor on the second line.
  • Poor Cory Schneider has gone from being Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies to Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays. Poor guy could use some run support.
  • In the absence of Alex Bolduc, Tanner Glass spent some time in the middle. He was 3-for-5 on draws, which means he's been above 50% in both games as the 4th line center. I knew he was smart, but I'm concerned at how quickly he's learning. What else can he become proficient at in a short period of time? I need to go practice my Scrabble.


  1. I made a comment to someone the other day about almost hoping for one solid loss, to put things back in perspective. Last night though I spent the entire 3rd period and rest of the night so mad at the world for the way the game went, Id never regretted saying something more than that. We've been so spoiled with the Canucks play this season, guess it was alright to be slapped back to losing still sucks.

  2. footnotes

    minnesota 4
    vancouver 0

    i saw the score.
    but refuse to gloat.
    even though
    chicago go go go
    beat nashville today,
    i have nothing more to say!
    i’ll just add a footnote*
    or more.


    *a sonnet in iambic quadrameter

    i want to make it short and sweet
    (and in a style to make you smile
    although the rhymes be “infantile”)
    i know who are the teams to beat

    bears beat the hawks and that is good
    (hawks lost to preds** oh gosh egad
    how things can go from good to bad)
    things are evolving as they should

    vancouver is the best to date
    (when all their lines participate
    all other teams they do frustrate)
    their team play i appreciate

    and I just love PITB
    where i can ventilate for free

    **thursday in OT***

    ***a single point is more than none
    and now we are but ten behind
    and now begins the final grind
    don’t count your wins before they’re won

  3. Canucks have a tendency to take a massive dump in Minnesota lately. Loving the Street fighter reference! Are the guys at PITB proficient in Street Fighter?

  4. I agree with you about the fatigue factor. January has been a bitch of a month for the Canucks. Having said that though, I find myself wondering whether other winning teams, the Detroit Red Wings for example, are instantly subjected to such microscopic analysis when they lose mid-season games. Because they do. Regularly. At this point in time they have lost one more game than the Canucks have. Yet, at the end of the year, there they are in the playoffs and will be chosen by a good many pundits to hoist the cup again. Is there growing panic in the Motor City? Do we hold our favourites to an unrealistically high expectation. As I say, others teams lose skirmishes and even battles but perhaps other fan bases wait to see who wins the war before passing judgment. Or is it that we have just been Canucks fans for too long?

  5. Kenny, I can only speak for myself, and I'm terrible at it. My older and younger brothers, though, are so ridiculously good as Blanka and Chun-Li it's stupid.

  6. Ahhh Blanka and Chun Li those are interesting choices, I myself am a Ken diehard. I used to have the arcade here at work. Now I settle for SNES.

  7. I'm sure the team will be watching video of this sequence, as they looked slow, inept, and out of sync, and Minnesota made them look stupid.

    Ideally sped up and synched to the Benny Hill theme. With at least one slide-whistle.

    The reality is that both the Canucks' strong play and weaker play now could have been (and were, by many) easily foreseen based on their schedule. All we can hope is that the "neutral" team resembles the one that was putting such boot to rump before.

  8. 16/1/11

    Mr. Mooney, sir:

    As Winston Churchill whimsically observed, “A preposition is a poor word to end a sentence with.” I’ m certain you understand. Appropriate sentence structure, the sign not only of the educated man but also of the conscientious writer, is essential to the sophistication of your excellent blog. Thus you shall (Note the correct imperative usage of shall.) not write, “It depends on what you are comparing it to,” but rather state, “It depends on to what you are comparing it,” thereby creating the adverb prepositional phrase on to what you are comparing it modifying the verb depends and having as the object of the preposition on the noun clause to what you are comparing it which in turn has the adverb prepositional phrase to what modifying the verb comparing. Avoid separating the preposition from its object. Doing so is only slightly less sinful than divorce, unless you think like Churchill that there is a time for everything. Maybe what should end its relationship with to and consider an engagement with with. When you’ve a need to know....


  9. I believe I am about to die laughing, Madwag. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Though if I were to die, I suspect that laughing along the way would be better than many of the alternatives.

    In other news, I certainly have never been good at Street Fighter. I am more of a Soul Calibur aficionado, but I have never been particularly good at fighting games. Give me a good real-time strategy game any day, particularly Age of Empires II.

  10. no comment on hansen's inability to score into an open net? just because you have a man-crush on him doesn't make him immune to criticism no?

  11. Arrgl, you failed to mention that the Wild began by dislocating our favourite Albert! Please ;o)

  12. Madwag: ridiculous. The "don't end sentences with a preposition" rule is antiquated. While I try to avoid it most of the time, I will occasionally end a sentence in this fashion if I feel it flows better. AND YOU CANNOT STOP ME.

  13. Also, Swizzler: everybody misses wide open chances. When this chance-missing reaches Steve Bernier levels of occurrence, then well rip him. In the meantime, everyone played badly, so I didn't feel it was worth the rip.

  14. good point. i think it just stood out because it was maybe the only grade A scoring chance they had all game. thank goodness no one on the team is as brutal at missing open nets like steve "couldn't hit the broad side of a barn-ier"

  15. I was thinking about going to this game, but they didn't have a student ticket deal (and I'm poor and cheap), so I decided not to. And I'm glad I did because Wild fans are not "Minnesota nice" at Wild games when their team is winning and you are wearing a Canucks jersey. Hopefully they will pick it up in Feb when they are here and there is a student ticket deal!

  16. Mr. Mooney, sir:

    Old is not to be equated with bad. And while I "cannot stop" you from writing inferior prose, I can and will take the time to do so when you do so.


  17. MW, I agree old is not bad, but neither is it always good. Consider that my youthful body affords me the luxury of THREE chin-ups. Can you do three chin-ups?

    Case closed. /debate

  18. with one arm and a ladder


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