Canucks 1 – 5 Flames
Much like last year, the Canucks and Flames kicked off the preseason with a home and away series that took place in one evening. If you’re confused, you’re not alone, but it’s very simple: what we had here is routinely known as a split-squad game. Effectively, you send a third of your guys to the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, a third of your guys to Rogers Arena, and keep the other third — the best third — out of the action entirely. Effectively, it’s the same principle by which one dunks an Oreo in milk.
Because PITB is two guys, we were able to pull a little split-squad action ourselves, and I drew the short straw that was this unentertaining road game. I watched this game:
- What’s worse than a preseason game in which nothing’s on the line and nobody good is in the lineup? A preseason game in which nothing’s on the line, nobody good is in the lineup and there are 12 minor penalties called against the Canucks. Ugh. If I wanted to watch an untalented cast taking calls, I’d have watched Outsourced. For the record: I didn’t watch Outsourced, because nobody did.
- A lot of people were upset when they learned that Cody Hodgson would be skating with Victor Oreskovich and Mike Duco (especially one message board user, who, in a moment of unintentional brilliance, wrote that Hodgson was being “thrown to the Wolves“). However, if the goal for the preseason is to get Hodgson looking like one of the most talented forwards on the ice, well, playing him with plugs is a pretty clever way to go about things. It worked. Hodgson was one of the top Canuck forwards tonight. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he looks faster, stronger and a great deal more confident with the puck.
- Wyatt (@TheStanchion) will be giddy to hear that Mike Mancari was also a contender for best Canuck forward. Mancari finished with a game-high 5 shots and the Canucks’ only goal, a rebound marker that came when he slipped in behind the defense and put home a Todd Fedoruk rebound. Watch out for the dreaded Fedoruk-Mancari combination. Seriously. If that becomes a thing, the season has gone to Hell.
- There was really no better evidence of the discrepancy in talent than when the Flames and Canucks switched netminders halfway through the game. While Matt Climie was stepping in for Manny Legace, Henrik Karlsson was replacing Miikka Kiprusoff. In other words: the Flames had their NHL tandem in net — the Canucks iced an AHL backup and an invitee. If that doesn’t do it for you, consider that the Canuck with the highest single-season point total was Anders Eriksson, who picked up 28 with the Chicago Blackhawks eleven years ago.
- Speaking of Eriksson, he was the lone Canuck to finish plus-one, but he didn’t look all that good. He took two penalties in first period, a hook and a hold, and he looked laggier than the live stream. Also speaking of Eriksson: did you know he was traded to the Blackhawks for Chris Chelios in 1999?
- It’s hard to judge the play of Manny Legace in this one, especially considering the defense didn’t play particularly well in front of him. Case in point: Legace made a beautiful save on a 2-on-1 after Alex Tanguay centered the puck for Rene Bourque, but he was unable to replicate the save when his defense collapsed and gave up the exact same play moments later, shorthanded.
- The same can be said for Matt Climie, who spent nearly the entirely of his half of the game behind the Canucks’ penalty kill.
- On the plus side, the steady stream of penalties (the only steady stream even remotely connected to this broadcast) gave the Canucks a chance to look at who amongst the forwards could eat up penalty kill minutes for the big club. In this regard, Mark Mancari and Steve Begin stood out.
- Midway through the first period, Mike Duco fought Lance Bouma. It was a pretty lame fight, but it bummed me out a bit when Duco brought his hands up like a boxer. I miss Ryp.
- Holy cow, Alex Tanguay looked good out there. We may laugh at his five-year deal, $17 millon deal eventually, but if tonight was any indication, it won’t be this year.
- Nathan Longpre was on the ice for all three Flames goals in the first period. While he looked faster than most in Penticton, he stood out a lot less with the sudden increase in speed at this level. Hopefully, he gets another chance to adjust and gear up. If he does and he doesn’t improve, he’ll also be surprised at the speed with which he finds himself on a plane to elsewhere.
- Kevin Connauton looked lost defensively at times during the YoungStars tournament, and that didn’t change tonight. He finished a game-low minus-3, and got caught standing still on a number of occasions. His ability to jump into the rush is nice, but it’s a secondary skill for a defenseman. Connauton’s two-way ability will mean a lot more once he improves on the first way.
- On a number of occasions, Andrew Alberts jumped into the rush and looked surprisingly power-forwardly doing it. He also played physically, as he often does, even coaxing a fight and an extra two minutes out of Tim Jackman. Alberts had a strong camp last season, making the team and punching Shane O’Brien’s ticket out of town. Have we forgotten about him in our projections for the Canucks’ top six on opening night?
- Plenty of credit to Todd Fedoruk who had some good shifts, an assist on Mancari’s goal, and played effectively and physically on the forecheck. Hate to admit it, but he looks like he belongs out there.
- Dave Tomlinson on a Begin shot block that broke his stick: “Hit him right in the shaft!” Thanks for making my job easy, Dave.
- Speaking of the broadcast team, I don’t think they were aware that we could hear them during the Team 1410 commercial breaks on the online feed. It was unfortunate, but more unfortunate is that they didn’t say anything offensive during this time.
, I Watched This Game