Canucks 1 – 4 Ducks

Four games into the preseason, the Canucks continue to hide their veterans in a cave in the mountains. As a result, tonight’s lineup was again a combination of AHLers, fourth liners, invitees, and animals dressed as people. Meanwhile, for the second game in a row, their opponents — tonight, the Anaheim Ducks — dressed something akin to their opening night roster. Needless to say, Vancouver did not win. The Canucks came out strong in the first, but by the second period, they’d run out of moxie (and some of the animals’ moustaches had fallen off). From that moment on, the discrepancy in talent was impossible for those that watched this game to miss. Hence, I saw it, because I watched this game.

  • I think it’s probably safe to say by now that the only training camp battle involving Alexander Sulzer and Ryan Parent is the one for the ninth spot on the defensive depth chart. Worse, neither seems particularly motivated to get it. Both played badly tonight, costing the Canucks two goals apiece.
  • Sulzer was the culprit on the opening goal, displaying poor gap control and giving Saku Koivu far too much room to enter the offensive zone with speed, then cut into the middle and shoot. He was at fault on the second goal as well, getting crossed up with a teammate at the high slot, then opting to chase Jason Blake across the crease. However, rather than shade Blake away from the goalmouth and take his stick away, Sulzer stopped directly in Cory Schneider’s line of vision. When the puck came through, Blake was free to redirect the puck, and Schneider couldn’t see anything. If the Ducks are smart, when Sulzer is waived, they’ll claim him to be a powerplay net presence.
  • Ryan Parent’s errors came under sixty seconds apart. On the third goal, Parent simply lost track of Corey Perry on the powerplay. Rather than stay near Perry (which is ideal, since he’s pretty good), Parent planted himself about a foot higher in the zone, where he was useless to prevent a cross-crease pass and tap-in. Then that happened. On his next shift, less than a minute later, Parent made a terrible pinch, giving Anaheim a 2-on-1 that began inside their own blueline.
  • Speaking of defensemen whose defending is suspect, Kevin Connauton scored the Canucks’ only goal — a beautiful powerplay wrist shot — and he had a number of standout forays into the offensive zone. He also finished the game a minus-2. Consider: the quality of Kevin Connauton’s game depends entirely on whether he’s jumped into the rush or he’s trying to defend it. If he’s the last man back, you’d better hope the puck jumps over a stick.
  • It doesn’t mean much when you consider his competition, but Cody Hodgson has been the best Canuck forward through four preseason games. Tonight was perhaps his best performance yet. He showed strength that we’ve never seen before, both in his stride and along the boards. His puckhandling and vision was excellent too. Hodgson appears to be getting better with each game. It’s weird — he should be getting worse, both because he’s played a lot of hockey this week and because Alain Vigneault’s been poisoning his quinoa since Monday.
  • All joking aside, it seems to me that Vigneault is doing his best to get Hodgson acclimatized to lots of minutes and difficult defensive assignments — suspiciously, Ryan Kesler’s second line centre role. Not only has Vigneault been throwing Hodgson out against other team’s top lines as much as possible, but he’s been sending Hodgson out for every second draw. Tonight, Hodgson took 22 of the Canucks’ 50 faceoffs, and he had a rougher time in the circle than Thursday, winning only 8. He especially struggled against Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu, going only 4-for-14 against the Ducks’ top two centres.
  • Speaking of Getzlaf, Mike Duco fought him, and it was sort of hilarious. Two nights removed from getting into it with Taylor Hall and Ryan Smyth, Duco took on Lubomir Visnovsky and Getzlaf at the exact same time, punching Visnovsky with his left hand while he punched Getzlaf with his right. Eventually, Getzlaf took offense to this and they dropped the gloves for real. Later, JF Jacques really took offense to this, jumping Duco with four minutes to go in the game. Duco curled into the fetal position like a champ, but Jacques continued to wail on him. In the end, he received 2, 5, and 10 for being a bonehead.
  • One day after Duco achieved a 4-Raffi rating on our scale of Raffi replacements, Mark Lee called him a bowling ball. Also, two nights after scoring a goal, he didn’t score one. Is it too early to call him streaky? Because if so, we have a streaky ginger bowling ball on our hands. All we need now is for Duco to start photo bombing his own photos and we’re set.
  • Keith Ballard looked good tonight. It was especially nice to see the return of Hips, Ballard’s hipchecky alter ego, when he stepped into Ducks’ winger Devante Smith-Pelly just inside the defensive blue line. It was lovely. Derek Jory had the money line here, so I’ll simply defer to him: Ballard with a solid hit on Smith-Pelly. He nearly broke the man’s hyphen.
  • Chris Tanev, Ballard’s likely partner on opening night, continues to impress. I thought he acquitted himself especially nicely on a 1-on-1 versus Bobby Ryan. Ryan has stepped around numerous defenders in just such a situation, but Tanev coolly poked the puck away before Ryan could get fancy.
  • And finally, I hardly noticed Mark Mancari, but he finished with a pretty solid statline. He had a game-high four shots on goal with another six attempted, three hits and a takeaway. He’ll need to be less invisible, if he wants to make the team, however. Unless his plan is to be so invisible the Canucks forget he’s at camp and he never gets cut.
Anyway, that’s what I saw. What did I miss?
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20 comments

  1. DubiousRhino
    September 24, 2011

    I think you mixed up the scores at the top.

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  2. Josh
    September 25, 2011

    Agree regarding Connauton, however I think he looked really good on the backend, especially on the Power Play, look forward to seeing what can become of him with a few years of refinement to his game.

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  3. peanutflower
    September 25, 2011

    I’m totally bummed that you missed the “Tanev had shoulders like a trout” comment. I even put that on my Facebook page it was so funny. Weirdly funny. That was truly a horrible/strange game to watch. Too disjointed. Did the Canucks even get set up in the PP once? If they did I missed it. It seemed like too many of the CAnucks know their chances are running out and they’re all trying way too hard. You know a game is bad when Lapierre looks like Kesler. Not that he’s bad, he’s just not Kesler.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      September 25, 2011

      Oh man, I wish I had heard that. Especially since it doesn’t make *any* sense.

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      • peanutflower
        September 25, 2011

        Sure it does. Trout don’t have shoulders that I know of.

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  4. Cathylu
    September 25, 2011

    I was at the game, in probably the best seats I’ll ever have in my life (the first row of real seats behind the goal). From there you really get a better sense of how big (or small) the players are (like that Parros guy – what a hulk!). I enjoyed the game even though we lost.

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    • peanutflower
      September 25, 2011

      So how small did Duco look? That’s an honest question, really.

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      • Cathylu
        September 25, 2011

        Yes he did look small but he’s scrappy for sure.

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  5. Immie_8
    September 25, 2011

    Great recap of the game, but surprised that the absolute awfulness of the commentating didn’t get a mention. My goodness, at one point they couldn’t even get the score right!

    Can’t wait for you recap of tonight’s game. I hear Nolan will be playing against his old team. Hopefully there’ll be a bit of fun to be had from that.

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  6. netdeepTroLLer
    September 25, 2011

    Even less fans watching live, and more season tickets for sale on craigslist by scalpers. It will be funny during the season to see all the sellouts announced but with no one in the seats, will the NHL get the message then?

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    • peanutflower
      September 25, 2011

      What message is the NHL supposed to get? I’m a little confused.

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  7. jenny wren
    September 25, 2011

    I also watched the Canucks
    losing to the mighty Ducks
    I thought Schneider was a sieve
    But preseason you forgive

    And say this was not the team
    Expected to complete the dream
    Coach AV just wants to see
    Who’s the greatest wannabe

    I thought Duco was not bad
    Some on D were rather sad
    Most still need a year or two
    Just to learn what they can do

    Preseason in the NHL
    I still think that all is well

    Jenny Wren

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  8. John Andress
    September 25, 2011

    So, I can understand that Getzlaf was pissed at Duco after he bumped Hillier (although he was helped into him by Visnovski) but after he came out of the box after serving his penalty he was jumped by Jacques who came off the bench and right after him, Is this the much vaunted grit and toughness that the Canucks are supposed to need or is it just bullshit? I vote for the latter.

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  9. joe
    September 25, 2011

    wheres “waste ur weekend”?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      September 25, 2011

      Sorry Joe, busy weekend. It’ll be back next week.

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  10. John in Marpole
    September 26, 2011

    Is there a worse Play by Play guy in hockey than Mark Lee? And I include community TV coverage of Christmas break Pee Wee tournaments as his peer group.

    I was hoping against hope that when HNIC announced they’d added Rick Ball to their PxP roster we’d get Ball here and Lee would be demoted to cover the Jets… but no, Ball will be doing Jets games…

    Lee is so bad that I prefer the annoying delay between the radio audio feed and the TV picture to listening to him fumble and mistake his way through a game.

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    • Dand
      September 26, 2011

      I wholeheartedly agree. Lee is brutal! Throw in Kevin Weekes and you’ve got an unwatchable game.

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  11. J21
    September 26, 2011

    “Chris Tanev, Ballard’s likely partner on opening night”

    Is Tanev really going to start the season in the top 6? I figured Alberts would be #6, and Tanev would begin the year in Manitoba, being called up when Salo is injured. Or are we assuming Salo’s injury already in your writeup?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      September 26, 2011

      I think Tanev starts the season over Alberts. The Canucks *love* him.

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      • J21
        September 26, 2011

        I realize I forgot about Rome. If his finger recovers, I assume Vigneault plays him ahead of either.

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