Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Watched This Game: Canucks at Flames, March 12, 2011

Canucks 4 - 3 Flames

Last night, the Canucks wrapped up their five-game West Coast road swing with a convincing 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, and I do mean convincing. Don't let the final score fool you; this wasn't a one-goal game. The Flames may have jumped out to an early lead after Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Hamhuis got confused about the game's start time, but the Canucks woke up immediately thereafter, perhaps buoyed by the Flames' damning two-goal lead, and spent the rest of the evening putting Calgary under pressure on the ice [ice, baby]. After the slow start, it was great to see them so immediately snap to life, and I did see, because I watched this game:

  • That's right. Two song references in one sentence, wherein the first song referenced is sampled by the second. PITB for the win, y'all.
  • Alex Burrows potted his 20th goal of the season on a tip in front that tied the game at three. I don't think we give Burrows enough credit for what he does in front of the net. He's not the biggest guy and he's not that strong on his skates, so the only way he gets space in front is by zipping around at breakneck speed. Watch the next time a Sedin gets the puck behind the net: cue Burrows, darting back and forth around the crease like a squirrel in the street. Also watch, on last night's goal, as he gets effortlessly moved from the area by Matt Stajan, then immediately scurries back there once Stajan thinks his work is done. In the split second between Stajan heading to the side boards and Steve Staios realizing Burrows has been left alone, Burrows is in the position to be found by Daniel Sedin.
  • Speaking of Daniel Sedin, he and Henrik were fantastic. They were on the ice for all four goals, combining for 5 points and completely dissecting Calgary's defensive coverage with Wizardous Sedinerie and fabulous vision all night. My favourite goal (Daniel Sedin's first of the night, above), comes when Rene Bourque drifts about a foot too high, and Daniel cuts through the middle of the offensive zone ice at full speed. That's a fabulous read, and it's matched only by Henrik's vision to get him the puck. The moment Daniel starts his sprint, it's obvious what's coming, too, as Henrik puts a backhand pass through the legs of Robyn Regehr (who seriously opens up to let it through), and Daniel one-times it past Kiprusoff. So good. Not so good: Rene Bourque practicing his first star twirl while this play is unfolding.
  • When the Sedins are going like this, the power play tends to trend upward as well, so it's no surprise that the special teams were spot-on last night. The first unit went 2-for-2, scoring just over thirty seconds into each powerplay (32 and 37 seconds, respectively). Daniel Sedin's game-winner was so effortless it was hard to tell who moved less when it happened, he or Miikka Kiprosoff. It came so quickly off the faceoff you'd have thought the linesman just chucked it into the net.
  • What a road trip. The Canucks went unbeaten in five games, all of which were against teams currently top 8 in the West. It was the best road trip since the one where that carful of girls literally punched Stuntman Mike to death.
  • Ryan Kesler played a fabulous game as well, finishing with a goal and an assist, both on the powerplay. It was great to see the return of his lethal wrist shot from above the faceoff dot. Kiprusoff seemed a little befuddled that it got past him, but Kesler's been getting behind everyone these days--it was inevitable. Of note: while Kesler was back there, he took his shirt off and offered Kiprusoff a half-eaten slice of pizza.
  • One thing Kesler does well is take hits to make plays. He got drilled three or four times last night, but the Canucks never lost possession of the puck.
  • In the broadcast booth, Garry Galley was a nice change of pace from Kevin Weekes. He made some good observations, including his call on the Alex Burrows goal, in which he dubbed Daniel Sedin's open ice "The Quiet Zone." It sounds like the title of a Cronenberg movie full of weird sex. I'm glad that Galley was good, because he's owed me one for fifteen years. He was the slowest player in NHL 94 and somehow, he was always on my team. I was so sick of his painfully slow sprite lugging the puck through the neutral zone. Anyway, now we're even.
  • By the by, Garry's son Wyatt is the star goaltender for the Langley Chiefs. They're in the BCHL playoffs right now and tickets are cheap.
  • You always hear criticism that the announcers are biased against your team, but you had to think Calgary fans were pulling their hair out as Galley marveled at the Canucks. It was somewhat inevitable, though. Vancouver's the best at everything right now. They'll be the first team to 100 points, and Daniel Sedin, too, will probably get there before any other team does.
  • Curiously, someone threw a fish on the ice. No idea why. Curiosities abound: why a salmon, and how does a salmon gets through security, anyway? They'll confiscate a Ziploc bag of goldfish crackers but they'll let a real freaking fish through? Ridiculous. But, perhaps the most curious element of this very curious action was that the fish found the ice late in the third period. Why wait? It's been my experience that, when you've got a fish in your backpack, you get rid of it as soon as possible (unless you're the shopping penguin). Suffice it to say, someone just ruined a backpack.
  • Thanks to Qris for covering this feature in our absence. We haven't missed an IWTG this season. Without him, that streak ends.
  • Chris Higgins is going to be a great addition to this team. He was good wherever he played last night, and he was all over the lineup, especially after Mikael Samuelsson got benched early in the first.
  • I understand the criticism that Mason Raymond's had a number of off-games without getting benched so summarily as Mikael Samuelsson did tonight, but I think Alain Vigneault wanted to whip Sammy with a sock full of batteries after that Michael Backlund goal. This goes back to Samuelsson's Borg-brainwashing in Detroit, but he often refuses to to give up possession by dumping the puck out of the zone. In this case, it bit him. How to win AV's love: make the safe plays. Why do you think Aaron Rome had more shifts (34) than any other Canuck? Hint: it's not his skating.
  • I liked Manny Malhotra trying that icing play the Sedins always do. He and Raffi nearly connected for some Plagiarized Sedinerie. We've actually seen a lot more of that this year, when players who aren't the Sedins try their hand at Sedinerie. It's very Mickey Mouse. Mind you, considering they're the top two scorers in the NHL, it's probably safe to learn from them. On the flipside, it's probably not safe to learn from Mary Kay Letourneau. Especially if you're Chris Tanev; he's quite young.
  • And finally, we often criticize the way Alain Vigneault metes out icetime, but he's managed his roster quite well. Nobody played under 11 minutes, and in the last game of a five-game road trip, icetime management matters. Know what else matters? Family.


  1. a four-three hyperbole

    most certainly a game to see
    canucks and flames in calgary
    within minutes a shot went in
    shortly later they scored again

    the home side scrapping for one more
    when kessler's shot beat thirty four
    the score two one it was intense
    who scored next could prove immense

    then suddenly it was two two
    the home team would their lead renew
    and 'ere a most dramatic third
    in which no fan was left unstirred

    it was vancouver scoring twice
    to win this epic match on ice

    chicken chick

  2. Oooh, where is our Hamhuis-is-a-community-man reference? 2 in the box shoud suffice for him to help in Japan, no?

  3. Wow, Chicken Chick did not take long.
    A post, a poem, a chicken song
    Night in, night out with no reprieve.
    I now suspect you'll never leave.

    May I suggest you poet-trolls
    Have been transfigured in your souls
    And now, our side is lady luck's:
    You're fans of us, and our Canucks?

  4. @TBCF I wrote one, but then I decided that this IWTG was long enough, and that I'd rather save the community man joke for another time.

    Dan "Community Man" Hamhuis had a great game, though. He broke up three or four odd-man rushes. That said, the best rush he broke up was when he counseled a teenage couple to wait.

  5. Apparently the fish being thrown was in response to Hank's hooking call. Some obscure reference to a McD's Filet O'Fish ad about gettin' hooked.

    Flames fans are very odd!

  6. Plagiarized Sedinerie. Love it.

  7. Harrison,
    I agree that Rome didn't get the most shift because of his skating. But you left out a couple of other reasons. It also isn't because of his hitting, offensive talent, puck handling, puck moving OR his scrabble skills.

  8. Heeeyyyyyyyyyy PITB got KESLURKED!!!!!!

  9. A couple of weeks ago, I was hoping the Canucks would get to practice their coming-from-behind. Last year, they were the best at it. No lead was safe from them. This year? They suddenly forgot how the 2-0 was the worst in hockey. Hell, even a 1-0 lead seemed insurmountable for this year's team. Now, after two games coming back from 2-0, it's all changed.

    I think Kesler is showing the rest of the team how it's done. That's the real purpose behind his interview bombing.

  10. Didn't the game start at 7? Or did daylight savings time start on Saturday.

  11. About the fish, it's apparently "because there is a special on McDonald's called "Get Hooked" with a Filet O Fish. So Henrik Sedin took a hooking call late in the game so they threw a fish on the ice."

  12. Good catch, Tom. I forgot the game started an hour later than usual because it was the CBC late game. Sentence amended.

  13. I am petitioning a change of the term the Sedin Wizardry to the term of Sedin Warlockry

    Cause they're winning.


  14. On the Nucks Misconduct blog, one of the commenters mentioned that a relative of his was the one who threw the fish....apparently he smuggled it in his pant leg. Gross.

    Also, what if there hadn't been a hooking call in the game? Guy goes home, disappointed, with his fish?

  15. If there's one thing you can count on, it's a hooking call on a Sedin. That's why we call them Captain & Assistant Captain Hook.

  16. dear harrison (i may call you that?)

    i thank you for you little poem
    residing here here so far from home
    vancouver games are all we see
    although a fan i'll never be

    that does not mean i cannot see
    their players are of quality
    i appreciate sedinerie
    and an outstanding power p

    alex burrows has his appeal
    he plays with a feisty zeal
    and kessler too i cannot hate
    though to his abs I can't relate

    to only you i must confess
    ballard hip checks with rare finesse
    and sure hamhuis would be catch
    a kindly soul with balls to match

    raffe torres is more my type
    he never smiles but does not gripe
    and tanner glass of scrabble fame
    is always there to play his game

    jannik hansen rates all too fine
    his forechecking A-plus divine
    and salo's shot ehrhoff's as well
    make goalie's lives a living hell

    the others too each play a part
    their coach vigneault is very smart
    and bobby lu and his backup
    may take them close to stanley's cup

    but i've no flags upon my truck
    and don't believe in lady luck
    I'll cheer canucks those times i can
    because i am a hockey fan

    but know when push becometh shove
    it's still the blackhawks that i love

    chicken chick

  17. I say you get bonus marks not only for the two songs/one bassline/one sentence triumph but consider as well, that within those songs, there are 3 separate musical entities and dare I say cultural icons... Kudos

  18. Haha, I just noticed that PITB got Keslurked/bombed. No one is safe!

  19. I doubt the fish had anything to do with McDonald's... there have been a few thrown on the ice at Canuck games over the years (going back at least to the 1995 playoff series against St. Louis), as kind of a West Coast response to Detroit's octopus.*

    I'd be shocked if it were a Flame fan who threw it.

    * Octopuses, of course, being native to the detached homes of suburban South Bloomfield, MI.

  20. I was going to ask about the Dan Hamhuis reference. That's hilarious, I love it! Please, keep it going!
    *Actually, I love PITB. You guys are amazing!


  21. @J21, allegedly the smuggler was a Leafs fan. Naturally. I don't think any other fans in the league are crazy enough to smuggle a fish in their pants to a game they have zero emotional investment in!

  22. Maybe I am the only one but if I am the ice worker at the Saddledome that picked that fish up off the ice I am pumped about the cedar planked Salmon I am eating for dinner the next night.

  23. You spelled Mary Kay Letourneau wrong.

  24. Dammit, I tried to spell it from memory. Shoulda looked it up. Fixed.


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