Spitballin’, (or Super Pass  It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a new feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because after a game like last night’s there are lots of things to find and colour. While we covered most of them in the I Watched This Game post, Daniel would have been writing for six more hours if he tried to hit absolutely everything. Here are a few more topics that deserve mention.

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At one point, a woman lifted her shirt
How can you tell hockey is a male-driven market? Because, in a game with about 1500 perfectly excellent storylines, the topic du jour this morning is that a woman gifted Ben Eager a perfect Janet Jackson impression. (I won’t link it here. You’ve already seen it.) But is that really the big story? Is that what Vancouver wants to talk about? Should we change our name to Pass it to Bewbs? The whole kerfuffle is somewhat ironic to me, especially since many men go to great lengths to avoid their wives and girlfriends, most of whom have two breasts, on game nights. If it’s breasts you want, turn off the television and spend some time with your lady — she might let you see them. If it’s hockey you want, shut up about the breasts. Granted, it was a somewhat unprecedented anomaly: between Eager and the woman’s exposed breasts, the penalty box briefly had three boobs. It was like Total Recall, but with plexiglass.

Alain Vigneault speaks freely
The media has been criticizing Alain Vigneault’s sparing answers to their questions throughout these playoffs, but he certainly didn’t mince words last night when Ben Eager boarded Daniel Sedin. No, I’m not referring to the postgame scrum — I’m referring to his reaction in real time. That’s a pretty easy lip read.

 

Gutless Sharks gutting themselves
After the game last night, Jason Botchford said the Sharks were so concerned with proving they weren’t gutless, they gutted themselves. Greg Wyshynski had a similar take on last night’s antics, arguing that Jeremy Roenick’s criticism of Marleau’s awful offal may have led to Marleau’s foolish decision to pick a fight with Kevin Bieksa. Between that and Joe Thornton’s out-of-character challenge to Ryan Kesler in the faceoff circle to open Game 1, it’s pretty safe to say the Sharks are a little more concerned with proving the doubters wrong than they are about winning the series. It’s a shame, too, because they might have a better change to accomplish both if they only focused on the latter. We’ve discussed, at intervals this season, how Vancouver revamped their character with a newfound Zen focus. The Sharks are like looking into a mirror of our own past.

Aaron Rome is better than Ryan Kesler
Aaron Rome’s goal last night — his second this year — was quite a surprise, but it also raises some interesting questions. Ryan Kesler faced criticism this season for only scoring 8 of his 41 goals (or roughly 20%) against playoff opponents. Rome’s two goals this season have come against the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver’s two most recent playoff opponents. In other words, 100% of his goals have come against cup-contending opposition. Is Aaron Rome five times as clutch as Ryan Kesler? I’m not exactly saying so, but consider this: Aaron Rome has 1 goal in this series. Ryan Kesler has none. Is Rome a better scorer than Ryan Kesler? Maybe, maybe not, but consider this: the Canucks are undefeated when Aaron Rome scores. Is Rome more valuable than Kesler? The evidence speaks for itself.

Kevin Bieksa would make a good defense lawyer
You might have missed this little gem from last night: not only did Bieksa wallop Patrick Marleau something fierce, but he made a genuine effort to screw the Sharks winger out of a good goal. When it became apparent Marleau’s goal was going to be reviewed, Bieksa tried to block the goal camera with his skate. It’s a good thing Bieksa’s a hockey player, because his degree in Finance and his complete lack of legal ethics makes it a pretty safe bet he’d be a white-collar criminal.

 

Sharks might want to tighten up the box
For all intents and purposes, the Canucks scored four powerplay goals last night (Mason Raymond’s came one second after the penalty had expired), so expect the Sharks to spend a little time working on their penalty kill. One thing they might want to investigate is that massive swath of space inside the four-man box — that’s where Vancouver scored all four of these goals. Raymond, Higgins, and Daniel Sedin all score in roughly the same place: directly between the faceoff dots. The issue is that the Sharks forwards were playing much, much too high. They were also barely trying. For example, watch Joe Pavelski and Dany Heatley on Daniel Sedin’s second goal. Pavelski goes for a skate at the blue line and Heatley falls asleep on his feet:

 

Niemi Just Wins
There’s this amusing stream of thought that, statistics be damned, Antti Niemi, who has yet to lose a playoff series, just wins. Of course, he wins all these series in spite of the team in front of him, which is why he won the Conn Smythe trophy last year, right? Wrong. More likely is that Niemi is the new Chris Osgood, good only insofar as he’s had the benefit of minding the net for skilled teams that can outplay his mediocre numbers. He now has a 7-7 record in these playoffs, with a .900 save percentage, and a 3.30 goals against average. Some might argue that these stats are inflated because of last night’s blowout, but Roberto Luongo suffered through two such blowouts, and his stats are still pretty impressive. Funny Bob has the best GAA of the remaining postseason goaltenders. Niemi has the worst. In fact, of all the goaltenders to play in these playoffs, only Ilya Bryzgalov, who spent much of the Coyotes first-round sweep thinking of reasons he didn’t want to move to Winnipeg, is worse. Niemi just wins indeed.

http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2011/05/19/i-watched-this-game-canucks-vs-sharks-may-18-2011/
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23 comments

  1. Doug
    May 19, 2011

    In reality, due to a math blunder, I must point out that Aaron Rome is only 80.5% better than Ryan Kesler. 80.5% better than a guy that just had 11 points in ONE playoff round? Hand that man the Conn Smythe!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 19, 2011

      That, my friends, is what happens when a person who is terrible at math does math without even thinking about it. 8 of 40? That’s 1 in 5, or 5%! #hurrdurr

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 19, 2011

        You should probably leave the mathing to me and I’ll leave the obscure literary references to you. ;)

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      • PetriSkriko
        May 19, 2011

        “Aww, twenty dollars?! I wanted a peanut!” “With twenty dollars you can buy many peanuts.” “Explain!”

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  2. Erik
    May 19, 2011

    I think Vigneault says something along the lines of “That little F#@K!”

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    • Erik
      May 19, 2011

      or “What the F#@K!”

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  3. peanutflower
    May 19, 2011

    “Funny Bob”. Hilarious. “Bob” is just not a name I would give to Roberto. Anyway, I’ve been roaming around on the various forums — never a good idea as they seem to be idiot magnets, but maybe someone can offer some insight into why the forumers (that’s a new word) and even the media to a greater degree like to refer to the Canucks as cowards, cheaters, divers, sisters (god I hate that one) and other like names, and they have the worst fans in the league. Why? I fear my perception is seriously clouded by fan love until PITB serves up their usual serving of reality, but I really don’t see that the Canucks are any worse or any better than any other team. Why is this the perception? Or is it reality? Anyone?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 19, 2011

      There are many answers to your questions of perception and reality, as many as there are perceptions of reality.

      Like true zen warriors, the Sedins understand that it takes far more courage to stand firm in the face of adversity, refusing to yield, and yet refusing to respond in like kind. This refusal is frequently characterized as weakness. It is not.

      Kevin Bieksa understands his true role is found on the ice, not in the penalty box.

      Also, jerking your head away from a stick or elbow that is hitting you in the face is evidently unsporting. In the future, the Canucks should clearly move their faces towards any projectiles to prove their manliness.

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      • DanD
        May 19, 2011

        Agreed. In fact when I play hockey, I go out of my way to whack my face in to sticks, just so my friends won’t think I’m a cowardly diver. I recommend this for the Canucks.

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    • Chazz Ranger
      May 19, 2011

      I honestly think it amounts to nothing more than jealousy, directed at the fact we are one of the best cities in the world to live in, if not THE best. Clearly some of the hate is simply a regional Canadian thing – because every other Canadian city knows how much pride Vancouver now has in itself since the Olympics. They all liked us fine when we were quiet and unassuming, but since the Olympics, Canadian cities everywhere suddenly dispise us. Likely because most of their population have cleared out and moved here. And now, to add insult to injury, we have the best hockey team in Canada, and soon, possibly in the entire league. Talk about a kick in the balls! Hey, If I wasn’t born and raised here, I’d hate here too, just for being so damn awesome!

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  4. John
    May 19, 2011

    On that first point, way to alienate your fanbase that’s single. Sigh…

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 19, 2011

      For the unattached: plenty of boobs on the Internet.

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      • Michael Diana
        May 19, 2011

        Wait, there are boobs on the internet….Nooo, you spread LIES!!

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  5. marpolejoel
    May 19, 2011

    Simply brilliant grammar. Thanks.

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  6. Art
    May 19, 2011

    Niemi also had two blowouts in the LA series inflating his numbers.

    Having watched every Sharks playoff game, and every goal against, Niemi has been very good. So many of his goals allowed were defensive breakdowns that he could not do much about.

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  7. pinner
    May 19, 2011

    Another thing to note about last night’s game; in the midst of the ridiculous number of great storylines was lost the fact that Cody Hodgson had perhaps his best game in the big league. Exciting!

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  8. shoes
    May 20, 2011

    Bulis….in response to the “boobs” thing it is not so much that anybody is pumped about seeing them…..it is simply the fact that this woman was having so much fun that she spontaneously flashed them. The grin on her face was as priceless as the ‘twins’ flash. 10 minutes after watching it, I forget exactly what the pair looked like, but not that grin….that will stay for awhile. This is a woman that is no wallflower at parties, and I tip my hat.

    About Niemi, I have always said he is over rated. He can win a game 6-5 and be considered a hero, while Luongo can be called a goat for losing 2-1 in 3rd OT. Just the way fans look at things. Also you find the Vancouver media is harder on Luongo and the SJS media is harder on Niemi.

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    • Bob
      May 20, 2011

      Good point – who cares about boobs when you have something that goes much deeper: the fact that drunk b*tches are ka-razy!

      From reports of how intoxicated she was, I think the deeper concern isn’t the poignant innocent glee of a confident woman, but whether she got to the hospital safely to have her stomach pumped.

      Very unfortunate that the flashing story took the spotlight away from a fascinating game.

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  9. Canuckles
    May 20, 2011

    “Should we change our name to Pass it to Bewbs? ”

    Yes

    What? you asked!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 20, 2011

      I woke up this morning and realized “Pass it to Boobies” might have been a better joke. What’s your take on that one?

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  10. Bob
    May 20, 2011

    Laughed so hard when Juice blocked the goal camera! Great presence of mind.

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  11. juan
    May 20, 2011

    An unsubstantiated rumour out there that the flasher gal got fired from her job and a lifetime suspension from GM Place. Seems a little harsh for some harmless fun ….

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  12. Melissa W.
    May 22, 2011

    Rewatched the Eager hit on Daniel, and yes the lip reading on AV was very obvious, even to me, who really can’t read coach’s lips all that often.

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