Canucks 0 – 3 Blues

For the second game in a row, Roberto Luongo was the problem, letting in three goals on 31 shots, including two goals on 6 shots in the third period, when the Canucks desperately needed him to shut the door in order to have a chance at clawing their way back into the game. Clearly, it’s time for Cory Schneider to take the reins and – hmm? What’s that? You say that Schneider started this game, not Luongo? Oh.

Cory Schneider was outstanding against the Blues tonight, keeping the Canucks in the game through two periods, giving up only one goal on 25 shots. Unfortunately, the skaters in front of him were unable to provide him with any goal support and, while desperately pushing for a goal in the third, gave up some prime scoring chances at the other end that Schneider couldn’t possibly be expected to stop.

Ugh. I watched this game.

  • The perfect summation of tonight’s game: Alexander Sulzer was the Canucks’ best defenceman.
  • Okay, okay, that’s not exactly fair. The Canucks were clearly tired after just playing in Edmonton last night and it showed in the first two periods, as the Canucks were out-shot 25 to 15, but they turned up the heat in the third period, out-shooting the Blues 17 to 6. In addition, Kesler and Hamhuis both hit posts in the first period and had a number of other excellent chances, but just weren’t able to finish. The shots finished 32 to 31 in favour of the Canucks and the Blues blocked another 21 shots. The Canucks dominated possession in this game, but couldn’t get the puck past the Blues’ defenders and Brian Elliott.
  • It is nice to see that Sulzer can play on the right side, however. He and Ballard looked comfortable together, nearly combining for a goal in the first period. Unfortunately, the HamJuice reunion did not go well at all, as Hamhuis and Bieksa both finished minus-2. It was the worst reunion since Martin Blank killed a guy with a pen.
  • All of the rink ads in Rogers Arena were light purple for Hockey Fights Cancer, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the incredibly annoying ads super-imposed on the glass behind the goalies were also light urple, which managed to make them even more intrusive and distracting. Look, no one is going to be less likely to donate to cancer research if you keep those ads white or, better yet, remove them altogether. There’s no need to colour coordinate the ads that the people in the arena don’t even see.
  • On the theme of Hockey Fights Cancer, Dan Murphy let people know that the ties the crew were wearing tonight could be purchased on NHL.com, with the proceeds going to cancer research. Added Murph, “I don’t think John Garret’s game worn tie is up for auction.” John Shorthouse immediately replied, “It’s too covered in food…is that mustard?”
  • Shortly after, they announced the Safeway Score n’ Win participating product, prompting Garret to whine “Peanut butter again?” Easy, Garret, it’s not brussel sprouts.
  • I noticed that DJ Dave played “Young Americans” by David Bowie when the Booth-Kesler-Higgins line came out for a faceoff at one point. Kudos, DJ Dave. Unfortunately, the line didn’t stick together, as Vigneault experimented in the third period to try to kick the Canucks’ offense into gear. Hansen was promoted to the second line at the beginning of the third period and by the end it was Cody Hodgson skating with Kesler and Booth. And that’s why you don’t name a line before they’ve played a few games together.
  • I figured Higgins was in trouble in the first period, when he came in on a 3-on-1 from the blueline with the puck and made a low-percentage shot instead of passing the puck. Kesler and Booth are both shooters (Kesler had 260 shots last season, Booth had 280) and need someone who can get them the puck. Higgins is not a playmaker – he has 108 goals compared to 93 assists in his career – so a pass-first player like Hansen or a smart player with great vision like Hodgson might be a better fit.
  • Booth has certainly looked good (in more ways than one, ladies and certain gentlemen) in his first couple games in Vancouver, but he’s now played 8 games this season with no goals, 1 assist and after a minus-2 tonight is minus-8 on the season. He did, however, have 4 shots on net and 4 hits, so the lack of results is not for lack of effort.
  • Booth wasn’t really at fault for either of the goals scored while he was on the ice, either. On the Blues’ first goal, Booth led a rush up-ice, as Bieksa jumped up and went straight for the net. Unfortunately, both Kesler and Higgins jumped into the rush as well, so when none of the three Canucks could corral the rebound, there was no one covering for Bieksa at the point. Schneider was able to stop the first shot on the resulting odd-man rush, but couldn’t stop the second, as no one picked up Alexander Steen on the rebound.
  • Salo Intermission!

http://azirae.tumblr.com

  • Tying with Booth for the team-high in shots was Alex Edler, who had an additional 5 shots blocked and 3 more hit the net. That’s a problem; as much as it’s great that Edler had possession of the puck to take those shots, he has to start getting them through traffic and on target. The quiet cannon has no goals yet on the season despite a lot of powerplay time, though he does have 6 assists.
  • It doesn’t help that Edler hasn’t been stellar defensively: coming out of the box after a penalty, Edler first failed to check Pietrangelo, then wasn’t sure who to cover as he was filling a forward’s role. Instead, he headed directly for the slot, where he would normally play as a defenceman, and was too slow to react to the puck going to Steen along the boards. While Schneider could have (and perhaps should have) stopped Steen’s shot, he had to try to pick it up through Edler, who still hasn’t figured out how to turn translucent.
  • Edler didn’t look too great on the Blues’ third goal either, ending up on his rear end while attempting to block a shot or a pass or…really I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish. Everyone else on the ice looked completely disinterested, vaguely waving at the puck or half-heartedly sliding in front of it, giving Schneider very little chance to make the save. It’s almost like the Canucks’ issues early in the season have been their defensive breakdowns and not the goaltending. Imagine that.
  • I could do with never seeing Aaron Volpatti on the third line again. I like Volpatti a lot – as a fourth-liner. While he has slightly better hands than Tanner Glass – who we loved but didn’t want to see on the third line – he’s also a good deal slower. While the third line did have one phenomenal shift in the offensive zone, Volpatti just doesn’t seem like a good fit. Honestly, I hope he proves me wrong.  But for now, no third line for Volpatti.
  • Finally, don’t look now, but the Canucks are currently 4th in the Northwest Division behind…Colorado, Edmonton, and Minnesota. I said don’t look now. Aw heck, I’m going to get blamed for a lot of laptops getting shorted out by tears.
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29 comments

  1. invisibleairwaves
    October 27, 2011

    Does getting shut out by Brian Elliot qualify as “rock bottom”? I sure hope so.

    Oh yeah and #NoThirdLineForHodgson.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 27, 2011

      Considering Elliott is currently fifth in the NHL in save percentage, it’s unfortunately not rock bottom. He’s played really well so far this season. It won’t last, of course, but he’s on a hot streak.

      And yes, I’d much rather have Hodgson on the second line than the third line. It made me very sad to see him playing alongside Volpatti.

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    • Steven Ray Orr
      October 27, 2011

      While I was one of the advocates for Hodgson and Kesler being line mates, I don’t feel the same after watching Silent H play a few more NHL games. He just seems so small on the ice and every time I look up, he’s been thrown around.

      Boy needs some meat on his bones!

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      • J21
        October 27, 2011

        “Silent H”? In East London, maybe.

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        • Steven Ray Orr
          October 27, 2011

          You win this round, good sir…

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  2. Steven Ray Orr
    October 27, 2011

    I enjoyed the Johns talking about theories as to why the Canucks are playing so poorly: “I don’t have a theory. I’m just used to it.”

    That might have been the best part of this game, though…

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  3. The Bookie
    October 27, 2011

    So when do you think is a good time to challenge Volpatti to a scrabble match?

    unless he’s more of a twister guy…

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  4. Chinstrap Joe
    October 27, 2011

    The only word that describes the Canucks offense last night is “impotent”…

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    • Nlee
      October 27, 2011

      Yep.

      Everyone just seems out of sorts right now. Including the Sedins/Burrows. Not good.

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  5. Matt
    October 27, 2011

    According to Garrett, the Canucks have some guy named “Snyder” in goal. I can’t wait for the return of Schneider!

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  6. Zach Morris
    October 27, 2011

    Almost as many whistles as a CFL game last night.
    I feel bad, Harrison and Daniel, that you have to watch not only the fun 4-3 wins over Edmonton but the midweek 3-0 losses to St.Louis

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  7. JDM
    October 27, 2011

    Colour me glad I missed this one. Looks like it would’ve been frustrating to watch. From the highlights, what the hell was Hamhuis attempting to accomplish on that second steen goal? He completely bounces off Backes. Our top D pairing looks staggeringly mediocre. Edler has had flashes but isn’t consistent.

    Your assessment of Higgins on the second line mirrors mine from the Oilers game, unfortunately. Hodgson is the right guy for that job, he just needs to play decisively and with confidence, as he occasionally does.

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  8. Kate
    October 27, 2011

    I am kind of glad I can’t watch some of these games (don’t get the channels, homework etc) but looking at the standings…the majority of the teams that went far in the playoffs are in the middle/bottom of their divisions and many teams that didn’t make the playoffs at all are doing really well, makes sense! All will turn around.

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  9. John Andress
    October 27, 2011

    My wife had laser surgery on her eye yesterday so she listened to this game without watching it. She was struck by the number of times that Shorty said something to the effect of “He shoots wide” or “He shoots and misses the net.” One would hope that this dismal effort, both offensively and defensively, would finally put the Luongo bashing to rest as the fact that this is a team problem and not an individual issue was manifestly clear for everyone to see. This, unfortunately, is unlikely to be the case as rational thought does not appear to be a part of the anti-Luongo campaign. Regardless, it is time for our much vaunted “leadership group” to get a grip on this situation and get things moving in the right direction before the group digs too deep a mental hole to climb out of.

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  10. Lynsey
    October 27, 2011

    Daniel, I agree about Volpatti on the third line. I thought Weise should have gotten a chance there first. What do you think? Sulzer was the best defenseman. He plays simple and makes a good first pass. I also agree that the Canucks need to work on “help” defense when a dman jumps in. Thanks for a great review!

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    • J21
      October 27, 2011

      This will take some heat off Rome when Vigneault plays both him and Sulzer ahead of Ballard and Alberts.

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  11. J21
    October 27, 2011

    Finally, don’t look now, but the Canucks are currently 4th in the Northwest Division behind…Colorado, Edmonton, and Minnesota. I said don’t look now. Aw heck, I’m going to get blamed for a lot of laptops getting shorted out by tears.

    It’s almost like we’ve seen this all played out before… oh yeah, last year. I’ll bet a lot of TEAM1040 callers had extremely short memories last night.

    I actually had a dream that the coaching staff got fired last night, and I was like “What the hell?! Don’t listen to these idiots, Gillis!”

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  12. Don_Rocko
    October 27, 2011

    A Grosse Pointe Blank reference! *fistpump*
    My John Cusack movie of all-time.
    It’s only disappointing that it could not have come during a recap for a better game.
    Though the dark humour would seem to fit with the current gallows’ humour that Canuck fans are using to wade through these October doldrums.

    “What do you do for a living?”
    “I’m a professional killer.”

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    • John in Marpole
      October 27, 2011

      One of the best black comedy flicks of all time. Cusack was never better.

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  13. Whisky Jack
    October 27, 2011

    The favored word of each Canuck:
    It starts with “f” and rhymes with yuck.
    First muttered when he scored almost
    By ringing one right off the post.
    It’s time they had a little luck.

    And just because they lost the game,
    There must be someone we can blame:
    A dozen times he lost the puck
    And was by far the worst Canuck.
    They’re three or four that I could name.

    Saturday night on CBC,
    A different game I do foresee.
    The “D” will finally step up;
    They’ll all forget they lost the Cup.
    A shutout win I guarantee!

    While wishful drinking bathtub gin
    Thinking and hoping they will win
    The Olde Coot spoke of Lapierre
    “He’s a Canuck I do declare
    He’s Gino Odjick with a grin.”

    Whisky Jack

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  14. CanuckFanInSF
    October 27, 2011

    “Ugh” indeed.

    Six words: Wake. Me. Up. When. October. Ends.

    I just want to play the blame game right now. Just let me vent real quick.

    1) Blame Lou… nope.. not his fault it’s awful defence 2) Blame defence.. nope you can’t win games without offence to score the goals 3) Blame offence… wait, but they have new guys in and it’s hard to make plays with the new guys who are just trying to get their mojo in the Canucks system 4) Blame AV for the ever changing 2nd/3rd/4th line permutations…. it’s going to take time before he finds the right combination… or the formula to the fountain of youth 5) Blame Gillis for his acquisitions and for letting Ehrhoff go.

    Ugh.

    The road to the the playoffs is long and winding and I expect more heartbreaking games in the future. I believe in this team and I would love for the sticks to wake up and score more goals and for the D to play smart and shut the opposition down.

    It is only a matter of time. Trust.

    Thank you, Daniel for the Salo intermission. The lone bright spot from the remnants of last night’s miserable outing.

    #GoCanucksGo!

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  15. BeCanucks
    October 27, 2011

    Let’s remember that last year we were playing so-so until the big voldemort game AND the next game against Nashville we lost 3-0 and the media were mocking Henrick because he said: “we played way better” The team never looked back after that.
    That was the third week of NOVEMBER! So the good news is: they are going to turn this around, the bad news is, it’s probably going to take one more month of bad hockey.

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  16. cambo
    October 27, 2011

    Reason’s Nucks won’t win a Cup, or for that matter, won’t make it past the first round. Lou, H & D Hygiene Product, Bieksa and AV. 0-41

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  17. George Stevens
    October 27, 2011

    Can we please get more respect for Brussels sprouts? (note the final ‘s’ in Brussels)

    They are tired of being victimized. They should not be the butt of food-jokes. I’ve won over my family, you can win over yours.

    Wash and peel the outer layers of leaf,
    Boil them for 6-10 mins then drain
    Pan-fry with olive oil for 2-5 mins until lightly browned
    Add to serving dish and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan

    Guaranteed good

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    • madwag
      October 27, 2011

      even good raw with a bit of dip. and also especially good for you. right on, george!

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  18. Canuckled
    October 27, 2011

    Just had an email from a Flames fan. He pointed out Calgary is only 2 points back of the Nuks with 2 games in hand. After the game against the Oil, and last night the one against the Blues. I think it’s time to look at this as more then the usual Losstober that the Nuks serve up. Coach V needs to get this team back to the basics. Keep the working defensive pairings from last season together, until something is developed. Returning to them after the game is lost, is like rearranging the deck chairs on a ship after it has hit the iceberg to get a better view of the sinking. The rest of the league has noticed if you hit the Sedins they become shadows of themselves. During the Oilers game I watched as the Oil blocked shot after shot, last night during the Blues game, I watched the Nuks, it looked more like they were getting out of the way of shots, not blocking them.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 27, 2011

      The Canucks are one game under .500. They are tied for 8th place in the Western Conference. The Sedins, who are apparently shadows of themselves, are third and fifth in league scoring.

      Relax. Yes, there are problems, but they’re not insolvable and they’re not reasons to panic.

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  19. Wagman
    October 27, 2011

    Finally the Canucks demonstrated that they could lose in front of Schneider just the same as in front of Luongo. What was that? They called up Eddie? I guess the goalie controversy is over… :)

    But seriously, you win some and you lose some – watch the Canucks go 7-2-1 in the next ten and be near the top of their division. October will start to seem like a distant memory. No wait, let’s push the panic button NOW!

    Bring on the Caps.

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  20. peanutflower
    October 28, 2011

    Strangely, I was waiting for “tell Kelly I said hi” all game. It was that kind of game. But seriously, there are some really good comments here. October ends on Monday. THAT’S what I’m waiting for.

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