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.
, Everyone Sucked Tonight
, I Watched This Game
, Minnesota Wild
, Tanner Glass