Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Watched This Game: Canucks at Flames, April 10, 2011

Canucks 3 - 2 Flames (OT)

For the third time in the last four years, the Canucks and Flames found themselves paired up for game 82 with little on the line. Considering the lopsided outcome of the previous two season-enders, with the Flames walloping the Canucks 7-1 in 2008 and the Canucks matching that goal total in a 7-3 rout last year, one might have assumed that this contest wouldn't be lively or close. But it was. Like extramarital sex with a ghost, this one was a spirited affair. After falling behind by two, Vancouver needed a third-period comeback and an overtime marker from Christian Ehrhoff to head into the postseason on a winning note. I watched this game:

  • Also a winning note: C.
  • Just like last year, Daniel and Henrik combined for an absolute beauty in the final game of the season, setting up Ryan Kesler for the game-tying goal (above). This one adhered to the Third Law of Sedinery, which says that the Sedins will always make one more pass than is necessary. Consider: Daniel is in behind the defense. Most other players cut to the net in this instance for what is routinely called a breakaway. Instead, Daniel goes wide, drawing both defenders to him, then makes a backpass through four guys to Henrik, who finds Kesler trailing the play. Seriously. The Sedins are the only guys that find trailers on breakaways. These guys love trailers. They have to be a half hour early for every movie, that's how much they love trailers.
  • The assist was Daniel Sedin's second of the night, after a centring pass that allowed Alex Burrows to cut the lead in half. With that, Daniel finishes the season with 104 points, good for the Art Ross trophy. He truly was out for blood. Now, it may be eight less than his brother scored last season, but it's also ten more than his brother scored this season. Suck on that, Henrik.
  • I love Kevin Weekes' liberal use of the word literally. He's like Rob Lowe in Parks & Recreation. Consider this Weekes-ism, following an early third-period assault from the Canucks: Alain Vigneault obviously did some fine work in this intermission because the Canucks have come out on fire literally. Hmm. I can tell you that, if the Canucks came out from their locker room and they were literally on fire, the broadcast would have taken a markedly different turn.
  • There were seven slashing penalties in this game. Seven. Seven! This one had more slashes than a complicated URL. The worst of these was a Henrik Sedin two-hander that seemed relatively out of character Captain Hook, typically known for more passive stick infractions. Slashing is more of Mikael Samuelsson's thing. Now, one might argue that, if Sammy's so slashy, how come he wasn't called for a slash in this slashiest of games? Remember that his third period roughing penalty came when he was pulled out of a scrum he started with a slash. Yes, Mikael Samuelsson slashes like Wal-Mart. Know what else has a lot of slashes? This paragraph. Slash slash slash.
  • Alex Burrows isn't known for his skating, but it's hard to miss his improvement in this area. It really stood out during a first period penalty kill, where he won a puck battle, then took the puck around his net and blew the zone with possession. Then, after putting a shot on goal, Burrows managed to be the first forward back, in perfect position to intercept a weak pass from Olli Jokinen. Some beautiful strides during this sequence. For a guy who used to look like he was the only player on the ice wearing roller blades, Burrows has come a long way.
  • That said, he's still Alex Burrows. Consider a third period altercation with Jarome Iginla where he goaded Iginla into dropping the gloves, only to forget to reciprocate. Whoops. I suspect Burrows' passion for winning turds stems from the fact that he sort of is one.
  • It was fabulous to see all six members of the Canucks' defense finally combine to form Mega Dragonzord. They were a little too reliant on stretch passes last night, but the promise of this group is hard to ignore. Any one of them can spring a guy at any time. Another good way to spring a guy? Have a girl walk in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face.
  • Congratulations to Christian Ehrhoff on collecting his 50th point of the campaign on the overtime winner. Ehrhoff has had a fabulous season, and now becomes the first Canucks' defenseman in 15 years to reach the 50-point plateau. Henrik Karlsson was upset about the goal, feeling he'd been interfered with. Unfortunately, the refs didn't buy it, maybe because claiming Mason Raymond interfered with you is a little like claiming Jesus drank all the wine.
  • Aaron Rome actually didn't look too bad playing wing on the 4th line. He had 3 shots, 4 hits and a takeaway, as well as a few decent scoring chances. In truth, Rome acquitted himself nicely enough that this could potentially be an option in the playoffs. It might be a nice way to ensure that the Canucks don't find themselves, after an injury, playing with five d-men in the late stages of an important game. Sidenote: at one point, I was concerned Rome's strong play might earn him a few extra shifts, somehow managing to give him more minutes than Keith Ballard, even as a fourth-line winger.
  • There was a brief scare during the first period, when Ryan Kesler headed to the dressing room with an apparent knee injury. Mind you, you had to know he was coming back. When I was a child, I had a posable MC Hammer doll, and my brother popped off its legs, then reattached them backwards, so Hammer's knee bent up towards his stomach. If that had happened to Kesler's knee, he would still have returned. Rule of thumb: if Kesler doesn't leave the game via medicopter, he'll be back soon.
  • This was Cory Schneider's 25th appearance of the season, and by allowing fewer than eight goals, he has officially won a share of the Jennings trophy with Roberto Luongo. Schneider's play this season has been fabulous, but I hope this was his last game as a Canuck. A playoff appearance means something has gone horribly wrong, and a return as Lou's backup next season would be beneath him. One could easily argue Schneider is the best rookie goalie in the NHL. He finishes fifth in the league with a 2.23 goals against average, and his .929 save percentage is good for third. In fact, his performance last night bumped his save percentage one point better than Luongo's, dropping the Canucks' starter to fourth in the category. This parting blow may affect Luongo's outside shot at a Vezina nomination, as the "top three in wins, GAA, and SV%" argument is now dead. Think Luongo regrets lobbying for Schneider to get 25 appearances now?


  1. "Alex Burrows isn't known for his skating, but it's hard to miss his improvement in this area."

    Really? In my opinion he's one of the better skaters on the team. Not quite as much acceleration as Kesler or Raymond, but he's strong on his skates.

  2. Also,

    Voltron > Megazord

  3. You're right, anonymous. That's the point I'm making. He isn't known for his skating, but he's gotten very, very good at it.

  4. I think Henrik's slash was just his way of getting in touch with his inner Viking for the playoffs: he just forgot the difference between a hockey stick and a battle axe.

  5. Listen, I agree about your salmon argument, but really...

    The Orca hungers.

  6. Throwing fish on the ice is a long-standing tradition at Cornell when they play Harvard. Maybe these people just want Vancouver to be more like Cornell. Completely understandable.

    Also, I'm reading this from Sweden. It's kind of blowing my mind.

  7. The Vikings were Danes and Norwegians, not Swedes. Just sayin'.

  8. @Anonymous(1:29 pm)

    That video is amazing. More hilarious than all the tossed salmon, however, is the sex doll. Let's start THAT tradition.

  9. @Harrison Yeah, because we dont catch enough flak already. lol.

  10. Nice one Sir-Blog-alot. Next time be sure to tell your brother "You can't touch this...

    Also, more slashes then a G'n'R tribute band competition...okay I'll stop now.

  11. "The Vikings were Danes and Norwegians, not Swedes. Just sayin'."

    Same idea.

    They'll all linked, and shared the same culture - the same warrior culture. The swedes were less raidy and piraity, but while their danish and norse cousins were raiding, they were fighting quite a bit of civil war with themselves.

  12. @Wisp Fair enough.

    On another note: I'm running a huge risk of being laughed at here but can someone explain what a "pick" is? The Sedins are always accused of picking and I can't figure out what a pick is; even using google.

  13. Steve, only Kevin Weekes says "pick", right after he says "literally". The other guy loves to say "pinch". These two are literally, and I mean literally, the worst two guys anyone could pick to commentate, unless you're in a pinch. There, I did it.

  14. @ Steve Lockhart

    A pick is when Offensive player B stands directly in the way of the defensive player( an interference of sorts), so that offensive player A who has the puck has space to cut around the defensive player. If you youtube Steve Nash Pick and roll, you'll see some good examples of the pick as a basketball play.

    Hope that helps!

  15. I gotta say... Iginla did nobody any favors by losing his shit.

    A little trash talking from Burrows and Lapierre, and the flames completely unraveled. I was impressed. The had a tiny window of opportunity to needle the flames, and did maximum damage.

  16. Maybe someone should offer Kevin Weekes a mnemonic: Kevin Weekes is literally weak every week.

    Great IWTG! Thanks again. Looking forward to seeing what you are going to do for the Playoffs.

  17. @Wisp, too right. Iggy lost it, and then it sort of went downhill from there for the Flames. That just goes to show you how Canucks Zen is the difference this season. Canucks may be zen-like or zen-ish, but they want to make sure no one else is.

  18. My theory on the slashing calls is that they're generally a pretty easy call (well, with these refs you never know what an easy call is...) and the Canucks wanted to kill those penalties so that they can pass the Pens in PK. It didn't work. Pens are still first.

  19. Kevin Weekes is literally weak every week

    thats fricken amazing. best mnemonic ever. btw lets do the blow up doll toss. its 'bout as class as us nucks fans

  20. Thank you anonymous for educating me and passing on the chance to mock me for not knowing my shit. Appreciated.


    I've gotta say that this is a better example of the 6 D-men activation...notice the 6 Power Rangers in the cockpit, rather than 5. Also, the robot they morph into is part dinosaur....can't beat that!

  22. @Steve Lockhart - There were Swedish Vikings, they went East into Russia rather than West, but they're still considered Vikings.

  23. OK, I'm an idiot but in the novels I've read the Vikings are usually Danes or Norwegians. Shout out to Bernard Cornwell.

  24. I've read the same books :) - Thing to remember is he's not writing about all Vikings, just the ones who would interact with his characters.

  25. I have to argue against the Ultrazord being a better analogy for the 6 d-men activation as, with the addition of Titanus, there are a total of 7 "Zords".
    However, if you count Rome in there as the 7th, you could give credit to this reference.

    To clarify though, Rome is no Titanus... I would credit the addition of Dan Hamhuis back in the line-up as the proverbial calling of Titanus.
    Edler of course, would be the addition of the Dragonzord to the Megazord structure...
    Ehrhoff and Ballard would obviously be the Triceratops and Sabretooth tiger (Two strong, durable legs to stand on)
    Bieksa would be the Tyrannosaurus for no other reason than that he is big... and tough... and kinda mean sometimes...
    And Salo would be the Mastodon because they both have a cannon.
    Rome would probably be the Pterodactyl because, let's get real... he's a crappy pink zord whose merchandise is wanted by none of the audience, he acts as a chest plate which is essentially there for safe play/to get beat up on... in turn protecting the body of the megazord aka the true core of the D corps...

  26. I actually don`t mind weekes normally, but as a colour commentator, he is atrocious

  27. @J.S. Topher
    Mad props for the well thought out Power Rangers nerdity. You win the comments.

  28. @JS Topher

    What he said. I selected the Mega Dragonzord for this reference because, unlike the Dragonzord's five-zord structure or Titanus's seven-zord structure, Mega Dragonzord is a six-part zord.

    Never let it be said that PITB is not meticulous in its pop culture referencing.

  29. AAArgl, I'm last at commenting on IWTG! Caramba!

    The boys did well, and I'm astonished you don't mention the Burr post game interview where he explains he was just asking Iggy a signed stick!

    On another note, brought chocolate from home, I'm going to test playoffs&choc combo from heaven...

  30. @TBCF: I definitely didn't see that interview, or I would have mentioned it. That sounds hilarious.

  31. I've been thinking about this snce Saturday, and I've come to the conclusion that the Calgary arena staff is clearly about as good at their jobs as the Flames were at theirs this year (didn't quite make the cut).

    It just baffles me that someone was able to get another fish into the building. I've worked for several sports teams, and I can certainly say that if a fan of the opposing team were to do anything like that in a Vancouver venue, the next time that team rolled through town, security would be given instructions to give any of their fans further scrutiny before allowing them access to the building.

    That being said, I'd be interested to hear from whoever threw it this time around, just to know what their experience getting into the building was.


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