Canucks 2 – 3 Blues

Just as we predicted, the Canucks followed up an ugly game in Minnesota with a slightly less ugly game in St. Louis. It’s amazing, however, how a one-goal game can seem so lopsided. When the Blues were in the offensive zone, it constantly seemed like they were on the verge of a gorgeous scoring chance, while the Canucks seemed to have trouble getting the puck towards the net with any regularity. In their post-game comments, however, the Canucks seemed positive, saying that they played a more complete game and stuck with their process, which brings to mind a game from last season.

On November 21, 2010, the Canucks lost 3-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second game of a back-to-back following their worst performance of the year, the infamous Voldemort Game. In the IWTG for that loss to the Coyotes, we bemoaned the absence of Sami Salo, the shoddiness of the defence, and the lack of cycle to the Sedins game. The players, however, felt like they had performed well and stuck with their system. This should sound familiar for anyone who watched this game, and it therefore sounded familiar to me, because I watched this game.

  • Alain Vigneault made a host of changes to his lineup after the debacle in Minnesota: Jannik Hansen lined up with the Sedins, Maxim Lapierre was promoted to the third line in-between Cody Hodgson and David Booth, and Manny Malhotra was bumped down to the fourth line with Dale Weise and Andrew Ebbett. Switching out the big and physical Volpatti for the smaller, more-skilled Ebbett was an odd choice given how physical this game turned out to be.
  • The line juggling reunited Burrows and Kesler, tripling the dynamic duo with Higgins on the second line. They played the first shift of the game and it was worlds apart from the Canucks’ first shift against the Wild.
  • The new-look second line also created the game’s first goal, as a shot from Burrows went off Brian Elliott’s glove and straight up in the air. That’s when Chris Stewart decided to swipe at the puck with his glove, knocking it straight into the net. Clearly, this is karma for Chris and his brother, Anthony, constantly trash-talking PITB on Twitter. Either that, or Chris Stewart would rather bat the puck into his own net than pass it to Bulis.
  • Unfortunately, Alex Burrows was knocked out of the game with an injury, possibly after a collision with the aforementioned Stewart. He finished the game with just under 7-and-a-half minutes of ice time, and given how he, Kesler, and Higgins were playing together, it’s possible that this could have been a different game. Instead, his minutes had to be spread throughout a tired Canucks lineup in the second game of a back-to-back situation.
  • The Canucks didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy their lead, as T.J. Oshie tied it up just over a minute and a half later. The goal came just 45 seconds after David Booth missed the net on a breakaway. It would have been infinitely preferable to have a 2-goal lead, but it would also have been preferable to force Elliott to make a save and perhaps have to cover it up for an offensive zone faceoff.
  • The real problem on that goal, however, was Daniel Sedin leaving Scott Nichol to attempt to check Roman Polak as he started to go around the net. This started a chain reaction of missed coverage: Hamhuis had to leave the front of the net to check Nichol, leaving Oshie wide open in front. Hansen and Edler were the closest players, but Hansen was clearly moving down to pick up Polak after he came around the net and Edler was coming back from the point after following his check there. If Daniel stays with Nichol, that goal doesn’t happen.
  • The Canucks dominated the Blues on faceoffs in the first period, winning 71% of the draws. They were led by Kesler going 4-for-4 and Henrik going 3-for-4. Unfortunately, it all fell apart by the end of the game, as the Blues won the vast majority of the faceoffs in the second and third period, finishing the game with 54% of the faceoff wins. After winning 3 faceoffs in the first, Henrik only won 3 more the entire game, finishing 6-for-17.
  • The Blues wasted no time adding to the Canucks’ second period woes, as Oshie scored his second of the game a minute-and-a-half in. The puck squirted out of a scrum in front of Luongo right to Oshie, who was able to beat Luongo over his left pad. It’s no surprise that Oshie got the puck out of the scrum: he played scrum-half in rugby at the University of North Dakota. Tru Fakt™.
  • It was an odd sequence of events that led to the goal: Andrew Alberts broke his stick, possibly from blocking a shot, but more likely when David Backes fell on it during a battle along the boards. It appeared that he didn’t notice right away, however, as he discarded his stick just as the Blues broke in 2-on-2. Without his stick, Alberts could only go down to block the initial shot. Then, as Henrik went to check Backes, Alberts stopped him to borrow his stick, leaving Backes with all sorts of time to try a wrap-around: it didn’t work, but it led directly to the scrum that resulted in the goal.
  • Speaking of Alberts blocking shots, he led all players with 6 blocked shots. He was blockier than Minecraft.
  • Jannik Hansen playing with the Sedins is an experiment that seems unlikely to continue: while the top line was occasionally able to put together some sustained pressure in the offensive zone, more often than not their passes failed to connect or Hansen seemed unsure where to go. While it’s advisable to give a new line time to gel (particularly with Burrows potentially missing games with an injury), there are other players that might be a better fit. Also, the Sedins still hold a grudge with Hansen over the Great Northern War. Tru Fakt™.
  • Starting the third period on the powerplay, Ryan Kesler briefly went into Beast Mode, or rather Beast Wars mode. He transformed into Quickstrike, scoring 23 seconds into the period like a speedy combination of a scorpion and a cobra. I think this is the furthest I have ever gone for a joke. Kesler knocked in the rebound on a Dan Hamhuis one-timer, then, like a needy bro, looked around desperately for someone to fist-bump.
  • Other than the goal, however, Kesler was not particularly good, ending up more like Waspinator.
  • After watching David Booth fight Scott Nichol, I have concluded that Booth should not fight. It was only the second fight of his NHL career and it showed. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his compound bow with him or it would have been a different story.
  • Here’s the thing: Booth has a couple concussions in his history. He shouldn’t be tempting fate by inviting punches to his face. The Bible talks about protecting Christians from snakes and poison, but it doesn’t say anything about face-punches. It should. Although Booth certainly turned the other cheek several times during that fight.
  • While it would have been nice to get a quicker whistle on the game-winning goal, or perhaps a consistent application of the rule that you can’t push a goaltender into the net while scoring, the fault does not lie with the referees. Andrew Ebbett had a brutal shift, taking too long to move the puck out of the zone, then standing around like a male mammary gland (ie. a useless tit) while Backes stood wide open in front of the net.
  • Finally, Dan Hamhuis was spitting blood on the ice after getting high-sticked in the mouth by Alex Steen, yet Steen did not receive a double-minor penalty. I am absolutely baffled by this. While the rules do allow some leeway in judging injuries, I have never seen a player spit blood and not earn a double-minor. Did the refs think Hamhuis had bitten open a hidden blood capsule in his mouth? Do they think his nickname of The Hammer is evidence of a past in professional wrestling? The Community Man would never stoop so low, unless it was to drop some money in a beggar’s coffee cup.
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22 comments

  1. Jezz
    November 4, 2011

    Far be it from me to judge you guys, the kings of off-the-cuff pop-cult injections… but ‘the Hammer’ and blood capsules is a pro wrestling reference? Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee would be livid…

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 4, 2011

      Ha! You’re right, that would have been the ultimate reference. Consider the ball officially dropped.

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  2. Gavin
    November 4, 2011

    First off, love the blog, first time post. I rarely have anything to disagree with here, but this, I found amusing:

    “…The goal came just 45 seconds after David Booth missed the net on a breakaway. It would have been infinitely preferable to have a 2-goal lead, but it would also have been preferable to force Elliott to make a save and perhaps have to cover it up for an offensive zone faceoff.”

    While I get that you’re trying to hedge your bets here, you’re still suggesting that perhaps, just maybe, Booth should have been thinking “gosh, maybe I should just pop it into Elliot’s pads so he covers up for faceoff, then maybe we’ll have an even better chance at a goal than this here breakaway I’m on…”.

    For people in the crowd/on tv/in the booth/etc/whatever, sure, but this begs the question… have you ever been on a breakaway? I can guarantee you no hockey player this side of the Sahara thinks “…I should put it in his pads because a faceoff is a sure bet for a goal!” whilst having zero defenders between themselves and the goalie…

    Either that or you’re suggesting he missed the net on purpose… god I hope not. My sense of what is right and wrong in the universe will never be the same.

    Now I will read the rest of the post :P

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    • Daniel Wagner
      November 4, 2011

      I just want Booth to get the puck on net on a breakaway, that’s all. I don’t want him to put it in Elliott’s pads, I want him to put the puck on net and force a save. I get the feeling that Booth is sometimes trying a bit too hard to pick a corner or make the perfect shot instead of trusting his well-honed instincts. He desperately needs a goal to remind him that he can score.

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  3. invisibleairwaves
    November 5, 2011

    So does this mean we can put the “Canucks need to score first” narrative to rest?

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  4. Fisher__10
    November 5, 2011

    I’d like to take this opportunity to officially kick off my “RECALL TANEV” campaign. Slogan: “If not now, when?”

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    • invisibleairwaves
      November 5, 2011

      WE WANT TANEV *clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*

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      • The Bookie
        November 5, 2011

        he’s injured

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  5. Nee
    November 5, 2011

    I think it’s obvious: the Community Man was trying to donate blood. Why would the officials want to get in the way of that?

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  6. The Bookie
    November 5, 2011

    Maybe I’ve just been spending too much time on cdc recently, but it really annoys me how much the Blackhawks game of last Nov. is brought up. It feels like people are anxious for the team to get their ass kicked, just so everything will magically get better and we will run away on the rest of the league.

    I feel like the majority have forgotten that that was predicted in advance (though only revealed after the fact) to be the most difficult game of the season for the Canucks. For fun, I recently tried starting a topic on cdc where users could play sleep doctor and predict what the most difficult game of this season would be. Of course, it got buried within hours under trade Luongo and ___: do we need him? posts. Maybe you guys could run with that.

    For the record, my pick is the Sabres game.

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    • Tengerez
      November 5, 2011

      Yes, Bookie, you are spending too much time on CDC.

      From all the comments about that black hole of negative energy, I’ve concluded that ANY time there is too much.

      As for looking forward to the game in Chicago tomorrow: it’s a great rivalry, which should make for a fun game to watch. Also, anything that gives the Canucks a bit of jump, emotion, and motivation is welcome; if it’s some good natured ‘Hawks Hate that’s fine with me.

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  7. Dawn Duck
    November 5, 2011

    Come Friday night versus the Blues
    We understood the Nucks could lose
    But please not like against the Wild
    When it was Chicken Hawk who smiled
    In fact he outright laughed aloud
    At ev’ry goal that they allowed
    I watched this game with Jenny Wren
    Toulouse Toucan and Chicken Hen

    (Whose younger daughter Chicken Chick
    Went shopping for a hockey stick
    At Walmart with her cousin Clay
    And elder uncle Steller’s Jay

    Young Clay pretends he’s David Booth
    Out on the road and it’s the truth
    In fifty shots he has not yet
    Directed one into the net)

    And Jenny joked he shot a bear
    While aiming at a snowshoe hare
    But no one laughed for in our house
    We wouldn’t think to kill a mouse
    All life’s holy so we surmise
    God winces when whatever dies

    (The Olde Coot’s out with Whisky Jack
    And Heaven knows when they’ll be back
    They’re drinking down at Duke’s Corral
    The cowboy pub in our locale

    It’s draft beer and buffalo wings
    And ogling all the sweet young things)

    When once again Booth did not score
    The Olde Coot talked of days of yore
    When pretty women came and went
    With eyes that spoke of their intent

    And then within the present tense
    says, “I like Sulzer on defence.
    He doesn’t give the puck away
    As Daniel did a lot today.

    “And David Booth was weak tonight.
    A Christian bloke he’ll be alright.”
    “He shot an arrow into the air
    It came down and killed a bear.”
    Meanwhile back home sweet Jenny Wren
    Asks when the Nucks will win again

    Dawn Duck

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  8. madwag
    November 5, 2011

    Is Ryan Nugent_Hopkins the best 18-year old in the NHL? See Danielson’s post on Backhand Shelf for a Questionable answer.

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  9. Lynsey
    November 5, 2011

    Hey Daniel. Great analysis (as always) but I have one critique. Can the Christian jokes cease? I know they are not mean-spirited, but intended to be humorous, but as a Christian, I still find them a bit disrespectful. I appreciate that Booth stands up for his faith. It is slightly funny that you wrote Booth can both “tempt fate” and be protected by God, since they are mutually exclusive. Just a thought from a reader that loves your blog.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      November 5, 2011

      I appreciate the comments, but rest assured that the Christian jokes are not intended to be disrespectful in the slightest, considering that I am a Christian myself.

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  10. Jyrki Lumme
    November 5, 2011

    While I understand what Lynsey’s saying in the comments above, as a Christian I’d like to encourage you, Dan, to keep poking fun. Too many Christians take themselves waaay to seriously and/or are too sensitive about what they believe, thus restricting a dialogue about faith, as opposed to encouraging one. One of the reasons we get picked on so much is because we can’t handle a joke. It’s great that Grizz and Community Man are Christians and I appreciate them as hockey players who proudly live out and speak about their beliefs. If that brings some mild-mannered jabs then so be it. For Crike’s sake (literally), keep the jokes comin’ PITB…..

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 5, 2011

      In response to both of you, as Christians ourselves, we are delighted by Booth’s outspoken faith, and we’re not offended by the jokes we’re making. So we’re probably gonna keep making ‘em. :-)

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      • cambo
        November 6, 2011

        praise “jeebus”…….

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  11. CanuckFanInSF
    November 5, 2011

    If anything – the team came through with my request from the last IWTG post: it wasn’t a shut out! Yay!

    Good job on jinxing the game Mr. Sportsnet commentator whose name eludes me right now. “the Canucks haven’t lost when Ryan Kesler scores a goal” Yeah. Thanks. From what sample size?

    Sreriously though. AV needs to settle his lines down in preparation for tomorrows game.

    I need more moments of Sedinery! But How can this be achieved with an injured Burr against the hawks?

    If I had a dollar from every miscue that Booth made in the last games he’s played……

    I will watch tomorrow’s game. Win or lose.

    #gocanucksgo!

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  12. Fisher__10
    November 5, 2011

    Yes Tanev has been dinged, but he’s expected back in the lineup within the next few games. He’s a cool as the other side of the pillow and his presence on the ice would be a positive influence.

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  13. Henry Gunterman
    November 6, 2011

    When I first started reading the ” I was at the game…” columns, I was impressed by the originality and humor of the comments. I thought that the writings of Harrison Mooney were especially direct and refreshing.I was nice to see investigation put back into sports writing and to read well thought out observations. Lately, however, this site seems solely intent on creating a place for the writers humor at the expense of content. Its kind of sad when the reporters make themselves the story.

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    • Fisher__10
      November 6, 2011

      You have confused these pages with the rest of the Vancouver Sun. Blog > Newspaper

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