Canucks 3 – 2 Blue Jackets

In case you don’t understand why Alain Vigneault puts so much stock into winning faceoffs, consider what happened after Manny Malhotra lost the opening draw of tonight’s game: the Canucks didn’t touch the puck for the next thirty-two seconds, during which time the Blue Jackets applied early pressure and drew a high sticking penalty. Then, before that penalty expired, Marco Sturm took a tripping penalty, and the Canucks wound up spending the first quarter of the period on the penalty kill. As a result, the Sedins didn’t see their first shift until four minutes in, the Blue Jackets held all the momentum for the first half of the period, and the Canucks didn’t register their first shot on goal until twelve minutes into the contest. If Malhotra wins that faceoff, Vancouver gets off to a better start. Thankfully, the Canucks finished better than they began, winning da turd and thereby collecting their first win of the season. And I watched this game.

  • Malhotra fared much better on his second neutral zone faceoff, winning the puck and starting the play that would result in the 1-1 goal, then picking up the first assist on it after Chris Higgins redirected his wrist shot from the point. While I’m sure he was pleased to tie the game, Higgins was of course more interested in the five-man group hug that followed. The man loves a good group hug. That’s why they call him Kiss Huggins.
  • Vancouver’s special teams were much better in this game, scoring a goal on the powerplay and killing off all five minor penalties they took. Of course, their improved penalty kill may be the result of Columbus’s abysmal powerplay: the Blue Jackets are 0-for-16 to start the season. The signing of James Wisniewski, who was third among defencemen last season in powerplay points, was supposed to help in this regard, but he’s still got five games of a suspension to serve. When he walks into the room at the end of the ban, everyone will just start sobbing with joy.
  • For the Blue Jackets’ 2-1 goal, Cory Schneider gave up a stinky wraparound to Vinny Prospal in the second period, failing to get his skate flush to the post. It would appear Schneider’s Roberto Luongo impression rivals his Jannik Hansen impression.
  • Schneider redeemed himself in the third period, stopping Maksim Mayorov on a penalty shot after Chris Tanev (unsuccessfully tried to) put his hand on the puck in the crease. It was hilarious listening to Shorty and Garretty, those most lovable of homers, argue the entire play. First, they argued that Tanev hadn’t actually covered it up. Then, when it became apparent that the puck might have crossed the goal line prior to the net coming off, they changed course, arguing that the ref had already blown the whistle for a penalty shot and it was too late to overturn the call. Hilarious.
  • Also hilarious: the Columbus fans on that play. No goal?! Boo! What’s that, penalty shot?! Yay! … No goal!? Boo!
  • Henrik Sedin led the way in icetime among Canuck forwards tonight, logging only 19:26. That’s right — there wasn’t a single Canuck forward that played over twenty minutes. That’s some quality minute management, Alain Vigneault. Missy Elliott would be proud.
  • Marco Sturm had no shots tonight and lost almost every puck battle he entered. Worse, for a guy that’s supposed to be fleet of foot, Marco Sturm looks painfully slow. Sprung on a partial breakaway early in the first, he was easily caught by both Columbus defenders. Then, when Kris Russell started the other way with the puck, Sturm reached out lazily and tripped him up. Granted, Russell went down a little easy (not sure why — the BJs are better at even-strength, he should have faked not getting tripped), but if Sturm were moving his feet, it wouldn’t have been an issue. The German forward has been a non-event through two games, and with Ryan Kesler slated to return as early as next week, if Sturm doesn’t pick up his play soon, he’ll be a non-starter.
  • The two Columbus fans dressed as referees really cracked me up. Also, there were two more guys behind the Columbus goal dressed in the same outfits.
  • Okay, the reffing wasn’t actually that one-sided. Sure, Chris Tanev never covered up the puck in the crease and Steve Mason initiated contact on the goaltender interference, but Vinny Prospal hardly touched Manny Malhotra on that first period hooking call. It was just bad officiating, like when the minister at a wedding makes puns.
  • There’s going to be plenty of chatter tomorrow about the Canucks’ lack of a “reaction” to Marc Methot hitting Henrik Sedin from behind, especially after a Stanley Cup Final where many feel Vancouver’s failure to stand up for themselves cost them the series. It will be relatively meaningless chatter. Yes, the Canucks need to send a message to the rest of the league, but if they react by losing their composure, the they’re sending the wrong message. I like that they remained composed and stayed focused enough to win the game.
  • Plus, sometimes reactions are just meaningless. Consider the way the Blue Jackets attacked Alex Burrows after he bumped Steve Mason in the first. It didn’t dissuade Burrows from going even harder to the net on the Canucks’ third goal, did it? And, when Burrows lay on top of Mason with the game-winning goal in the back of the net, Derek Dorsett’s reaction — a crosscheck to the back of Burr’s head for touching the goalie — didn’t erase the goal, it just made him look petty. Bad teams protect their players; good teams protect their lead.
  • Did Mikael Samuelsson lose his spot on the Canucks’ last powerplay, or was he simply given a shift off because of the hit from behind he’d taken to draw it? The way I see it, even if it was the latter, Alain Vigneault should claim it was the former. Samuelsson plays better when he’s angry.
  • If you’re wondering why Maxim Lapierre had fourteen minutes tonight, consider this: Jeff Carter, the Blue Jackets’ first line centre, went 1-for-7 in the faceoff circle against Lapierre, and all of these faceoffs took place in the Canucks’ defensive zone. That is some quality shutdownery.
  • And finally, a night after taking him out shopping for a new wardrobe, at least according to Kevin Bieksa’s Twitter account, Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis continued to make Cody Hodgson look good, feeding him slick passes all night. The two looked especially in synch on the powerplay, where they were unable to connect, but showed some promising chemistry. They got it done at even-strength, as Hamhuis streaked down the wing and centred to Hodgson, who tipped the puck past Steve Mason for his first goal of the season. Hodgson’s looked like the best member of the second line through two games. He’s also looked like a cactus; his arms and neck are as thick as his head, amirite?
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32 comments

  1. invisibleairwaves
    October 11, 2011

    After Hodgson’s goal, Garrett mentioned that it came against the Jackets’ top line, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the only time the second line was out against Nash, Carter, and Prospal. Pretty cool to see that CoHo has not only earned AV’s trust against tough opposition*, but that he was able to thrive in that role.

    *….or AV wanted to destroy Hodgson’s confidence and ruin his development. Fortunately, the friendly neighbourhood Community Man was able to foil Vigneault’s dastardly scheme.

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    • Canucks Island Girl
      October 11, 2011

      Thank you for watching this game and every game, I hope, at least until December 15. That’s the worst thing about being in Oxford this term; I miss my Canucks! But at least we have you to watch it for us. . . Will be checking in every post-game.

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  2. invisibleairwaves
    October 11, 2011

    Oh, and I kinda thought Tanev had a shaky game, besides the hand-on-puck-in-crease thing. Seemed like he was trying to do too much with the puck and messed up a few times.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 11, 2011

      Yeah, he definitely made a few mistakes. It was interesting watching Bowness and Ballard counsel him on the bench after he’d make ‘em. Kid’s in good hands.

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  3. BeCanucks
    October 11, 2011

    aaaaarrf, excellent, IWTG is my favorite column. I just love the Dan-I’m-a-Community-Man comments. Just Thank you.

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  4. TubaNat
    October 11, 2011

    Great IWTG, 1 star for the referee line, 2 stars for the luongo impression reference, and 3 for the ‘probably had to pause to consider appropriateness but I’m glad you went for it because I was thinking similarly when I saw his name’ Clitsome-Love concept. Polite applause all round.

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    • Ntat
      October 11, 2011

      Agreed….and the last comment about Hodgson made me LOL.

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    • Brosef Stalin
      October 11, 2011

      Wont somebody think of the children?!

      I’m actually kind of surprised you can post that on a Sun associated website… (not that I’m complaining, I find this humorous) Is there any censorship on their part if they think you guys have gone a little too far in an article?

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      • Harrison Mooney
        October 11, 2011

        I’m sure that, if the Sun has a problem with it, they’ll ask us to take it down. And we’ll comply. In the meantime, just walk and whistle.

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        • J21
          October 11, 2011

          Is this something you have taken down now? I see no such reference.

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          • Harrison Mooney
            October 11, 2011

            Yup. The boom was lowered shortly after I posted the comment.

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            • Chicken Chick
              October 11, 2011

              And rightly so / Do see below

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  5. bergberg
    October 11, 2011

    I will never tire of the Jannik Hansen impression. Pure gold.

    Thank you for the IWTG. Unfortunately, I could not watch this game as we cannot subscribe to sportsnet pacific out here. I know you mentioned a few bad calls, but I was just wondering if the reffing was particularly bad? We’ve had some moderately heated debates in my household about the reffing so far this season. There seem to have been a lot of bad calls in a lot of the games. Is this a fallout from the Shanahan suspensions – the refs are more likely to call things “just in case”. Or is it just plain old poor reffing? Just wondering what people’s opinions are.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 11, 2011

      The reffing wasn’t awful, but it was tough to swallow the cavalcade of penalties against the Canucks in the first period, particularly when there seemed to be a fair amount of embellishment on the part of the Blue Jackets. But it’s just too easy when there are actual Columbus fans in the stands dressed as referees…

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  6. jim
    October 11, 2011

    Has anyone else noticed that Hamhuis hasn’t been credited with an assist on Hodgson’s goal? My fantasy team is a sad panda currently.

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    • The Bookie
      October 11, 2011

      Yeah there were like 5 threads created on that subject last night on CDC. I’m sure one of the crazies over there will kidnap Bettman and hold him hostage until its fixed or something.

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  7. Darin
    October 11, 2011

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the Schneider look-a-like. That was simply uncanny!

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  8. peanutflower
    October 11, 2011

    I don’t understand the chitter chatter about the Canucks not standing up for Henrik — Burrows obviously tried to get involved and was held back. What would be the point of any retribution after that? Methot got a penalty, may face a Shanaban. I’m still of the naive believe that the rule book should take care of the infraction, not the players, but I seem to be in a minority there.

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    • Frank Nelissen
      October 11, 2011

      I am with you peanutflower. The rule book should take care of it. And the new sheriff of course. Seems that there will be no suspension for Methot though and that is a bad sign, I think.

      Also, is there nothing that could have been done about Derek Dorsett cross-checking Burrows after he scored the third goal and was down?

      Now, regarding headshots and bad hits in general. The NHL seems to want to protect it’s players. Should they not also get some co-operation from the different NHL teams? I mean, Columbus could hand out a suspension to Methot themselves. As long as teams and players do not take their own responsibility towards preventing bad hits, it will not change.

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  9. MelT
    October 11, 2011

    I have an idea, once we’re well into the season, you should do an IWTG using only nicknames you’ve developed, like “Silent G”, “Community Man.” It will be incomprehensible except to diehard PITB fans and so you can say whatever you want, and trolls from the other team will not be able to protest whatever insults you dole out. And hopefully, there will be many. Maybe you can save this for a Chicago or Boston game.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 11, 2011

      That would be hilarious and awesome, if the plan were to completely disorient our casual readership and thereby lose valuable traffic.

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      • MelT
        October 11, 2011

        No, no, you’re not thinking long term enough. A secret society always attracts those rejected for membership, you’d have a newly dedicated readership combing through your back catalogue and swearing allegiance to the awesomeness that is PITB.

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  10. Jenny Wren
    October 11, 2011

    They win away the green and blue
    Hodgson was good and Burrows too
    Schneider was just fine in goal
    According to this blogging troll
    He stopped the penalty shot
    Nine tied it with the goal he got
    Then Fourteen on the power play
    Put the Canucks ahead to stay

    Down two to one into the third
    ‘Twas clear a win was now assured
    Each ‘Nuck did all was needed done
    To guarantee the game was won
    This team’s as good as it needs be
    ‘Twill win the Cup it’s clear to me

    Jenny Wren

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  11. Chicken Chick
    October 11, 2011

    Your profane and puerile pun
    Managed to offend this one
    Who feels it simply has no place
    In this Pass It To Bulis space
    It is not funny nor is it cute
    Neither enlight’ning nor astute
    Surprised by this lack of class
    I deem your pun both crude and crass

    I do not think I am a prude
    I enjoyed seeing Kesler nude
    But your pun is downright lewd
    And chauvinistic I conclude
    You should hang your head in shame
    Then edit this I Watched This Game

    Chicken Chick

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    • Chicken Chick
      October 11, 2011

      Which I see you did. Thank you from all those who don’t need to consider something that is there but doesn’t need attention drawn to it.

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      • david setoguuuuchiiii
        October 12, 2011

        While I respect that the pun may have been adult-oriented, it was funny and clever and frankly, anyone offended by it may be a bit of a tender snowflake. Seriously, now. You’re not a prude? Yeah, okay.

        But I get why it had to be removed.

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        • Chicken Chick
          October 12, 2011

          “Clever”? If you’ve an IQ under 90. It was common and crude.

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          • Harrison Mooney
            October 12, 2011

            As the writer of said joke, I take some offense to this.

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            • Chicken Chick
              October 12, 2011

              Be my jest.

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  12. The Bookie
    October 11, 2011

    Aww, first sportsnet game of the season and I had to watch it in a bar with no sound. I was missing the lovable hilarity of Garret & Shorty the whole game! Sometimes they remind me of Joe Pesci and Danny Glover in Gone Fishin’.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119214/

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  13. J21
    October 11, 2011

    It was hilarious listening to Shorty and Garretty, those most lovable of homers, argue the entire play. First, they argued that Tanev hadn’t actually covered it up. Then, when it became apparent that the puck might have crossed the goal line prior to the net coming off, they changed course, arguing that the ref had already blown the whistle for a penalty shot and it was too late to overturn the call.”

    First off, Shorthouse is way more impartial than most play-by-play guys who sound like their puppy died when the opposition scores. Shorthouse will put plenty of gusto in his “scores!” for the other team, especially if they are the hosts.

    Secondly, what you’ve described above just sounds like following the rulebook to me. They disagreed with the penalty shot call (for good reason, it sounds like), but as long as it’s been made, then a whistle does indeed stop the play. Not unlike if football refs incorrectly rule a ball dead on a fumble. You may be annoyed that they botched the call, but if the other team recovers and runs it in for a TD, it still doesn’t count.

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  14. Allan
    October 12, 2011

    Keep up the excellent work. I remember when the Canucks signed Jan Bulis to some minor fan fare about the sniper they had been missing. I can’t remember if he even scored a goal here but he did have those graceful Murray Hall wide circles always, of course , behind the play.However if this blog is his legacy then all is forgiven.

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