Monday, January 24, 2011

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Stars, January 24, 2011

Canucks 7 - 1 Stars

Friends, Romans, countrymen, I ask you, humbly, what is the cure for an offensive slump? Don't answer; this is a rhetorical question. The solution, as everybody knows, is an opponent with porous goaltending and crap defense. It's a fairly simple remedy, but the real trick is finding a major league team willing to provide it. Short of scheduling a shinny with the Washington Generals or the South Park Peewee Team, you can only hope that some NHL club is going to fly into town and generously lay an egg. Lucky for Canucks fans, that's about what happened in tonight's game which, by the way, I watched:

  • What a welcome return to form for the home team. The Canucks played with the energy and pace they'd hinted at during the Calgary game and then some. We also saw a recommitment to limiting shots against (only 26 for a high-scoring Dallas team), and a renewed offensive potency (7 goals, y'all). They played much better than they have in quite awhile, more in keeping with the level of which we know they're capable. Still, before we get ahead of ourselves, it wasn't only a return to form that caused tonight's result; Dallas also played sloppier than a loose meat sandwich. What we saw was the Canucks' get better and the Stars come apart at the same time, and this beautiful coincidence resulted in a nasty shellacking.
  • A number of slumps were bumped tonight, but none more important than the goals scored by both of Ryan Kesler's wingers. Mikael Samuelsson's was an especially nice wrist shot. Word is he broke his goal-scoring slump by imagining a logo in the top corner of the net, then hitting it dead center. Perhaps more impressive than the goal, however, were his game-high five shots, equal to how the number of shots he attempted. None were blocked, and none missed.
  • I'm not sure if Mason Raymond's goal will stay his. The scorekeepers seemed so eager to declare another slump busted that they seemed to give it to him just because he was near it. Looks like Edler blasted it clean through to me; Raymond might be more deserving of a takeaway for stealing credit. But I won't quibble over whether or not it's his; I'm not Maury Povich. Let's just hope it's the first of many.
  • Speaking of blasting pucks, let's take a moment to celebrate the long-awaited emergence of Alex Edler's deadly slapper. He had two assists tonight, both on redirected slapshots (the aforementioned, from Raymond, and one from Kesler to take a 2-1 lead). Christian Ehrhoff also had a goal on one that got clean through. Ehrhoff's been the member of this pairing most willing to shoot this season, which has always seemed silly to me. Edler's got the hardest shot on the team. Now, they're both shooting regularly, and it's made them a lethal tandem on the blue line, with 12 points in the last six games. Letting them fire away seems like a wise move, especially after they broke the power play's two-game mini slump by these very means.
  • Aaron Volpatti had a strong game tonight, and it's possible that you hardly noticed. First there was a solid hit on Tom Wandell behind the Stars' net. Then, Krys Barch tried to respond by drawing Volpatti into a fight, but Volpatti was smart enough to realize it wasn't the right time. Instead, he responded by shouting, "F*** you, Barch!" loud enough for the cameras to clearly pick it up.
  • Later, Volpatti assisted on the Henrik Sedin 5-1 backbreaker halfway into the 2nd, skating well and centering a puck that would go in off Steve Ott's boot after a touch from Henrik. If the assist wasn't enough, Volpatti then "accidentally" tripped over Ott as he circled the net to celebrate the goal. It was a smart, sneaky play, and don't be surprised that Volpatti's a sneak; everybody knows Ivy Leaguers are shifty. I mean, they steal entire social networks from one another.
  • If you're wondering why Henrik Sedin already has a mind-boggling 50 assists on the season, look no further than his puck movement on the power play. Watch him on either power play goal. On Kesler's goal, he draws three defenders to him with a simply head fake before making a brilliant saucer pass to Edler for a one-timer. On Ehrhoff's goal, it's much a simpler feed, but this time Henrik uses a head fake to back his defender off. Opponents are so terrified he's going to pass, you'd think they were auditioning for American Idol.
  • Andrew Raycroft's mask is as sparkly as a preteen girl's binder. Or a preteen girl's idea of a vampire.
  • How to make a player lose his mind: eye gouge him in a scrum. Just like the Rypien incident, you can clearly see Burish raging, "he was eye gouging me," after the referees finally pull Burrows and him apart. Not to go all "Ron Maclean" on you guys, but, considering Burr's reputation, he's probably guilty here. That's a finger to the peeper and a stick to the peepee in the last two weeks. He needs to be careful he doesn't get a reputation as a dirty(er) player.
  • If he's not careful, he'll undo all the goodwill the Zen Canucks have built up towards officials this season. Seriously, the Canucks successfully argued for a call to be overturned tonight. When the last time that's ever happened? I think we're more used to the "On second thought, the Canucks lose" type of calls. Especially recently.
  • Dan Hamhuis dropped his gloves tonight. Dan. Hamhuis. What could Mike Ribiero have possibly said or done to make Hammy drop the mitts? Ribieiro: Frankly, I don't think Haiti deserves our relief. And the children can read to themselves. Hamhuis: I'll kill you!
  • Congratulations to Chris Tanev, who picked up his first career point, an assist on Hamhuis's goal, the seventh and final goal of the evening. Tanev showed impressive poise tonight, finishing a plus-one with two blocked shots in just over sixteen minutes of icetime. Granted, everyone (in blue) looked good tonight, but Tanev is beginning to look like he might belong in the NHL, which is more than I can say for tonight's opponent.
  • All credit to Tanner Glass, who spent some time tonight as the fourth-line center, and some time as the third-line winger. When he earned third line icetime last season, it was more an indictment of the Canucks' lack of forward depth. This season, however, he's been so defensively responsible and so smart with the puck that he's earned every extra minute he's been given, and I'm happy to eat crow when it comes to his stints in the top nine. I'm still not sold on his scoring ability, but I think, when your third line hasn't scored in ten games or more, Tanner Glass certainly can't make you offensively less potent.
  • Kevin Bieksa's eye doesn't look too bad... if he's planning a trip to McDonaldland. His face is so purple he could pass for The Grimace. Speaking of passing, Bieksa did take advantage of the distinguishable mark for some brilliant duplicity. Rather than serve a second period penalty, he traded places with a wax #statueofbieksa (hashtag credit: @RE4713), and nobody noticed because, like the real Bieksa, the replica had a black eye.
  • The Canucks dominated the faceoff circle tonight, winning 40 of 65 draws. All four centres finished over 50%, with even Glass winning 4-of-7. He's won 17 of 31 on the season now, which is pretty impressive, considering he was 3-for-18 last season. He's developing this skill really quickly.
  • This is the second consecutive game versus the Canucks where the Stars have lost their composure, and you have to consider their sources of leadership. First, Marc Crawford's teams have never been known for being particularly mentally tough (and Crow's never been good at knowing when to pull his goalie, either). Second, Brendan Morrow's captaincy might be a good cautionary tale for those who think Kesler should have gotten the "C" in Vancouver. Like Kesler, Morrow plays an intense, gritty game that's a nice example when he's focused, but he has a tendency to get overemotional and lose focus. When he does, the team follows him. He's simply not a calming force.
  • Henrik Sedin, on the other hand, knows how to channel his emotions. He digs so deep, you might say he chunnels his emotions. He was solely to blame on Dallas's only goal, but rather than beat himself up about it, he simply upped his resolve. He looked downright determined to atone for the remainder of the period. Then he did. Not since the award-winning film based on the novel Atonement have I seen such atonement.


  1. Admittedly the Stars werent great, but a lot of that had to do with Henrik suddenly awakening and making the whole opposition look foolish.

    He really took over after fumbled the puck. I really loved and respected what i saw.

  2. Did you steal the Haiti line from HFBoards, or did you post it to HFBoards? :)

  3. “say hey, our team just won!
    a new streak has now begun,
    a sure thing like pocket aces.”
    see the smiles upon their faces:

    some fans are mental cases.


  4. Bang on about Tanev and Glass!

    BTW Nick Kypreos predicted the same thing for the Sedins at the ASG. At the time I thought it was just garden variety disrespect. Is the idea that no one wants one but not both?

  5. Samuelsson's snipe reminded me of the first round of the playoffs last year

  6. Yeah, I think it's the same phenomenon which leads to seemingly almost no Canuck fans having a Sedin on the back of their jersey -- (in addition to the garden variety disrespect, because there's no shortage of it) no one really wants to pick which one.

    Of course, if people actually opened their eyes and acknowledged that they're both really good players in their own right, I'm not sure why it should matter. I mean, would a GM or All-Star captain be reticent to take Kane without Toews even though the two have chemistry? It seems dumb.

    In the case of the All-Star Game, this seems all the more idiotic, because (1) it's the All-Star Game, who cares? and (2) isn't it kind of a fun setting to see what happens when they play against each other anyway?

    I hope Vigneault coaches the team that gets them, anyway, so that they will actually get showcased in this thing as much as they deserve to.

  7. @j21 Did someone snipe my Haiti line? I don't go on the HFBoards, so it definitely wasn't me. But I tweeted the joke immediately, so either someone else took it from me, or two people had the same idea.

    Give me a link.

  8. . It was a smart, sneaky play, and don't be surprised that Volpatti's a sneak; everybody knows Ivy Leaguers are shifty. I mean, they steal entire social networks from one another.


  9. @J21

    We're getting Canucks jerseys prior to going on our California road trip and I'm planning on getting a Daniel Sedin jersey for precisely that reason. He's out for blood this season and I plan on commemorating that.

  10. Hamhuis: I'll kill you!

    dude way to soon. the russian bombing was yesterday, where 131 people were critically injured after a suicide bomber shouted "i'll kill you all"

  11. “more in keeping with the level we know they're capable.”

    harrison! at the very least include the preposition. better still, put it where it belongs: “more in keeping with the level of which we know they are capable.”



  12. Will there ever be video footage of the "F*** you, Barch!" The one time I turn my head away from the game, of course this would happen (at least I didn't miss the Bieksa statue though, aah pricless)

    Great review of a great game!

  13. @10:44 Anonymous

    Really? That's what jumped into your head? You assumed Harrison was making reference to a suicide bombing? Seriously, man, you're reaching like crazy.

  14. Harrison -- it's possible someone simply posted your tweet with full credit, I just remember reading the line in their game-day thread.

  15. Good eye, Madwag. For some reason, I struggled with that line and I suspected I'd gotten it wrong.

    @10:44 Anonymous - Definitely not the reference I was making, don't be silly. That said, if we stop using the phrase "I'll kill you" for rage-based comedy, the terrorists will have won.

  16. @Skeeter & @J21
    Re:Sedin Jersey

    Now you're talking about something very close to my heart. I was "the" guy sporting a Daniel #22 circa 2001. Full disclosure I won it in a draw at (the now sadly defunct - awesome Mojitos)Bukowski's on the drive.

    Anyway it is (was) a home white which I wore with obstinate oddball pride though I was often ridiculed, even by so-called 'Nuck fans. Slightly more amusing was the two-part question "why a Sedin but also why that Sedin?"

    Worse yet was the Leafs fan who pointed and laughed at me in the Shark Club before the game. Then Tie Domi mugged Bryan Allen and we lost (I think) 5-3. I couldn't speak for 43 hours. BTW 'Nucks haven't lost at home to the Leafs since. Who's laughing now random Leafs fan?

    Then there was the night I ran into "the" guy with the Henrik jersey at the Anza club while watching the game. We literally ran across the room to hug each other. Neither of us had either seen anyone wearing any Sedin jersey.

    In the intervening years this club has gradually become less exclusive but until recently it was still easier to find a Bertuzzi jersey at a home game (BTW please people: retire those SAP). The fact remains that the Bros still don't get the respect they deserve. So be it: Daniel is out for blood and maybe a Hart and/or a Richard trophy or maybe, just maybe a trophy they can both put their names on. Regardless, I'll be watching and wearing my jersey with pride.

  17. My mom got my little brother and I last minute tickets to this game and I'm so glad she did! On the Mason Raymond goal, the screen initially said it was Edler but when it showed the time, assists and everything it said Raymond had scored leaving us very confused.

    Great post once again!


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