PITB’s annual Every Goal series compiles and examines each goal scored by a Canuck during the regular season, player by player. It’s a chance to marvel at some sexy scoring plays, get excited for the possibilities of the coming year, and appreciate and reflect on the players that made up the 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks.
Considering the circumstances, we thought it might be fitting to kick this summer’s series off with Christian Ehrhoff, the Buffalo-bound blueliner that tallied 28 goals and 94 points over two seasons in a Canucks’ uniform.
Ehrhoff will be greatly missed for his dynamic offense. While the German-born defender wasn’t much of a shutdown guy, his mobility, offensive awareness, and his shot made him a threat to score from just about anywhere. Seriously, anywhere. Ehrhoff has a tendency to put himself out of position on occasional forays into the untold depths of the O-zone, but he also has a tendency to score beautiful goals from those same spots (and don’t you worry: all these clips have happy endings).
Ladies and gentlemen: let every goal Christian Ehrhoff scored last season be his swansong.
Ehrhoff’s first goal also happened to be the Canucks’ first goal of the season, scored on Newell Brown’s new look, loaded-up powerplay. You’ll see a lot of powerplay goals today, but it’s worth noting where Ehrhoff scores this one: in the crease. Truthfully, though he played the point, Ehrhoff rarely quarterbacked the Canucks’ powerplay. Instead, he acted primarily as a roamer, as he does here, leaving the point and slipping into passing lanes to maximize the vision and precision of the Sedins.
That said, Ehrhoff can still wire it. Here’s an old-fashioned man advantage goal, scored after Ehrhoff’s point shot goes off the shaft of Cam Fowler’s stick and past Jonas Hiller.
Couple of things to notice here: the first is Mason Raymond making a nice centering pass from behind the net. Granted, it misses his intended target, Ryan Kesler, but Ehrhoff picks it up right in the center of the zone, and he’s not going to miss from there. The second thing to notice is Alex Burrows’ opportunistic screen. As soon as he realizes Ehrhoff is in prime shooting position, he darts past Ilya Bryzgalov to ensure there’s no way this puck can be seen and position himself for a potential rebound. Burrows is a smart player.
Another powerplay goal, this time scored on a wrist shot from the top of the circle. As I said, Ehrhoff is a true roamer; his goals come from all over the ice. Worth noting: this powerplay lasts all of four seconds. After a won faceoff, Edler moves it to Ehrhoff who puts it in the back of the net. That wasn’t uncommon for the Canucks’ PP last season, but can they be as effective next year without their wild card?
Five goals, five different locations. Ehrhoff scores this one just below the center of the blue line. The pass by Jannik Hansen is a thing of beauty, too. Hansen gets a bad rap for his hands, but he showed promising signs of softness at times last season. Can Hansen be the third Canuck (after Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows) to follow up a breakout defensive year with a breakout offensive year? He has it in him.
John Shorthouse’s call on this goal says it all: after the Canucks throw the puck around the zone like the Harlem Globetrotters on ice, he marvels, Somebody start singing Sweet Georgia Brown! Honestly, I don’t know what’s more impressive: the Canucks’ zone pressure or the fact that Shorty knows the actual name of the tune most people just call that Globetrotters song.
Ehrhoff may have chosen Buffalo because of the way he loves to roam. Here’s another example: he begins this play down along the wall, before drifting back to the point. Then, after Ryan Kesler backs the Washington powerplay way off, Ehrhoff drifts back to the blueline, then steps way in and wires the puck from the top of the left circle.
If you’re looking for a reason Ehrhoff’s numbers may decline in the East, it’s that he’ll now be relied on to create scoring chances as well as finish them. Consider this clip, where Ehrhoff rarely moves, for once, while Henrik Sedin skates a half marathon in the meantime. After just barely missing a give-and-go with his brother, Henrik collects the puck at the wall, circles back to the point, then makes like he’s going forward with it. Then, instead, he casually dumps it off for an Ehrhoff one-timer. Last I checked, Buffalo doesn’t have Sedins — Christian might have to do a little more work with his new team.
That said, it’s not like his shot will be any less lethal; this one’s a laser. During his tenure with Vancouver, Ehrhoff had a tendency to spray pucks all over the Lower Mainland, but if the puck was on net, it was a difficult save. Of note, these last two clips showcased what will be a common theme in this series: the Vancouver powerplay victimizing the Dallas penalty kill, which had a tendency respond to puck movement by freezing up like it had been touched by a Frost Giant.
Ehrhoff’s 10th of the season comes after some good work by… Cody Hodgson and Tanner Glass? Yeah, definitely not his usual setup crew. My favourite part of this clip is Ryan Kesler completely stiffing Ehrhoff’s attempt at a post-goal high five. Why so serious, Kes? Was it because Kesler believes (correctly) that this puck was offside and the goal shouldn’t have counted? Nope. In truth, Kesler had just come on to replace Hodgson, but Hodgson collected his first career-assist on the goal, and Kesler wanted to give the young centerman the opportunity to celebrate it with his teammates. In typically Keslerian fashion, however, he’s so seriously committed to this gesture that he buries his head, refuses to acknowledge Ehrhoff (an act that would constitute celebrating a goal he didn’t earn), and sends Hodgson out to join the group hug in his stead.
This is a good read by Ehrhoff, who originally leaves the point because he thinks Daniel Sedin might be able to find a seam as he circles the net. The Coyotes play it well, however, and that play never materializes. Then, just as Ehrhoff turns to retreat to the blueline, the puck comes to Samuelsson, and another seam opens up. Because Ehrhoff has never seen a seam he didn’t like (he’s the Betsy Ross of Vancouver), he stays, and it pays off. Samuelsson feeds it through, and Ehrhoff puts it past LaBarbera on the second whack.
This is a beautiful goal. After some great board work by the line of Raymond, Kesler, and Higgins, Ehrhoff jumps in off the blueline and Raymond makes a nifty backpass to find him for the goal.
This goal is created by some fabulous skating. After Drew Doughty jumps in off the Kings’ blueline and loses the puck, the Canucks turn back up the ice on a 3-on-1. Though they’re racing against the clock, they still take three gorgeous lines: Jannik Hansen skates his ass off to take the puck wide, Raffi Torres streaks up the wing and never quits moving his legs, and Ehrhoff takes a few strong strides, then drifts behind the wingers, opening up a passing lane. Hansen finds him, Ehrhoff makes a quick snapshot, and the goal beats the end of the period by less than a second.
Ehrhoff’s 14th goal (and 50th point, both career-highs) is also the overtime winner in Vancouver’s last game of the regular season, meaning he opened and closed the Canucks’ scoring in 2010-11. This goal comes on some excellent pressure, as the Canucks win a faceoff, then throw everything at the Calgary net. After Ehrhoff fans on a shot, the Canucks put three shots on net in three seconds. After Hansen hits the post and Henrik Karlsson stops Alex Edler, Ehrhoff’s shot beats him cleanly to win the game.
Ehrhoff, Every Goal 10-11, featured