Canucks 4 – 1 Blue Jackets

Breaking news! Cory Schneider is pretty good. The redheaded wunderkind affectionately known as Gingerbricks won his fifth straight and has given up only 4 goals in that span. He has stopped 164 of 168 shots in those five games, for an unreal save percentage of .976. The Canucks haven’t seen this kind of goaltending since, well, last season when Luongo won 6 straight starts, stopping 151 of 160 shots. Huh, I guess he’s pretty good too. In this particular game, Cory Schneider set a career-high with 47 saves. I watched every save because I watched this game.

  • Surprisingly, this was the Canucks first ever regulation win against Curtis Sanford, who had a 5-0-2 record in his career against the Canucks. All of those games came with the St. Louis Blues in the two seasons prior to the Canucks signing him to “back up Roberto Luongo”, a.k.a. “not play against them any more.”
  • Sanford has been on a hot streak recently, giving up only one goal in 4 of his 7 starts this season and currently has a .941 save percentage and a 1.61 goals against average. When career backups post stellar numbers like that over a short span of time, it should give Canucks fans pause before anointing Cory Schneider the greatest goaltender of all time.
  • I’m just kidding around: Schneider is on an unreal run and, quite frankly, I hope it continues throughout the entire season. I would be entirely happy with Schneider becoming the Canucks’ number one goaltender if it meant that he was going to post a .976 save percentage through the rest of the season, but that’s just not going to happen. Let’s enjoy the ride because, like Disney’s Alien Encounter, it won’t be around forever.
  • The Blue Jackets out-shot the Canucks 48 to 34 in this game, but don’t be too alarmed by those totals. The Blue Jackets tend to direct a lot of pucks on net from all areas of the ice rather than working for better scoring chances; it’s one of the main complaints Jackets’ fans have about Scott Arniel’s coaching style. In addition, after the first period the Canucks enjoyed a two-goal lead for all but a minute and a half of the game and could afford to drop back and play a more defensive style.
  • Still, giving up 22 shots in the third period is, like Marxism, not ideal.
  • Daniel Sedin, sick of seeing his brother ahead of him in goals, opened the scoring with a dazzling bit of wizardry with the assistance of his apprentice, Alex Edler. If there’s any doubt that Edler’s point shot was actually a pass, take a look at the velocity. Edler can shoot the puck around 100 mph, while that “shot” was an 87-year-old grandma in the slow lane on the highway. Daniel spun off his defender while simultaneously cushioning the pass with his skate before roofing the puck into the open net. Daniel should be wary, however, of asking Edler to fetch pails of water.
  • Take a look at the faceoff that leads to Daniel’s goal: it’s clearly a set play. Henrik wins the draw to the side, where Daniel immediately tips the puck back behind Henrik to Alex Burrows, who went straight to that spot off the draw. Burrows’ defender is completely bamboozled, as he skates aimlessly towards the net, unsure what’s happening. Because of his confusion, Henrik is double-teamed, leaving Salo and Edler all sorts of room at the point, allowing Edler the time and space to get creative.
  • Cody Hodgson has all sorts of offensive talent, but he’s had a couple terrible giveaways in the defensive zone recently as he seems reticent to make the simple play. Schneider bailed him out of his worst giveaway yet, as he set up Mark Letestu directly in front of the crease just a few minutes into the game. He also went just 1-for-8 on faceoffs. Unsurprisingly, he had the second lowest ice time on the team, just above Aaron Volpatti. Hodgson has played fewer than 14 minutes in his last 6 games and has just 2 points in that stretch: is it possible that he’s the odd man out when Mason Raymond comes back into the lineup?
  • Speaking of players whose names get mispronounced by announcers, John Garrett still calls Schneider “Snyder.” It’s possible that Garrett is a really big fan of Luongo and wishes Schneider would get eaten by a giant snake demon, but that’s just speculation.
  • The Blue Jackets had a chance to tie the game with 6-and-a-half minutes remaining, as their top line got sprung on a 3-on-1 against the double-slide-prone Kevin Bieksa. Through the neutral zone and over the Canucks’ blue line, everything looked perfect for the Jackets: Jeff Carter had the puck, the sizable Vinny Prospal was driving the net and forcing Bieksa to go with him, and Rick Nash was trailing in behind, just waiting for the pass. Then everything went wrong: both Prospal and Nash stopped skating and drifted aimlessly towards the net, allowing Bieksa to take both of them away as passing options simultaneously. Carter’s only remaining option was to shoot and Schneider made a much easier save than expected.
  • The fourth line was superb in this game, spending several shifts entirely in the offensive zone and setting the tone physically. Lapierre had a game-high 6 hits, with Volpatti contributing 4 of his own. Weise was only credited with 1 hit, but it was as solid as the Bluth Company. Have you seen their business model?
  • David “Bluth” Booth put the Canucks up by two late in the first period. Dan Hamhuis picked up an assist on the goal, continuing his hot streak, by throwing the puck towards the net from the boards. Higgins got a piece of the puck, causing it to deflect wildly in front of Sanford while Booth out-battled Fedor Tyutin to get to the rebound and backhand it in.
  • The second period was refreshingly boring, given the way the Canucks have occasionally struggled in the middle frame. Sure, there were 26 shots in the period, but it all seemed mostly harmless, like the earth.
  • I’m a little worried about John Shorthouse. He referred to the Canucks’ opponents as “Nashville” several times and then in the third called them the “Black Jackets.” I’m afraid he might be going a little Bob Cole on us.
  • Hey Edler, you might want to look behind you once in a while, just in case Sammy Pahlsson is sneaking in. Sure, the Blue Jackets were killing a penalty at the time, but they’re going to take some chances when they’re down by two. That was the only goal of the game scored on a powerplay. The cynic would say that the Canucks’ powerplay was terrible while the optimist would say that the Canucks’ even-strength play has improved. The realist – me – would say both are true.
  • Okay, they only technically scored each of their goals at even-strength. Kesler’s one-timer goal came just 4 seconds after the Canucks’ powerplay expired. Kesler broke his stick in a collision with James Wisniewski just after the Canucks gained the zone and almost immediately (he paused to throw his hands up in the air at the refs) skated to the bench for a new twig. While this should have been great news for the Columbus penalty kill, the Sedins kept the play alive. The Blue Jackets, like the 5 foolish virgins, were unprepared for Kesler’s return, leaving him wide open for Burrows’ perfect setup.
  • Incidentally, the reason it was Alex Burrows setting up Ryan Kesler’s one-time is because Salo tweaked his groin in the second or third period. He had only 4 shifts in the third period, with 3 of them lasting less than 20 seconds, and went to the dressing room about halfway through the third. Salo played just 13 seconds of the powerplay leading to Kesler’s goal before coming off in favour of Burrows. I think I speak for all Canucks fans (particularly a certain segment of Canucks fans on Tumblr) when I say that I sincerely hope he is not seriously injured and that he doesn’t miss any time out of the lineup. The guy has more body breaks than CTV.
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23 comments

  1. natevk
    November 30, 2011

    The fact that you not only included a Body Break reference but so aptly fit it in at the end of this post is thoroughly commendable. I’m both amused and impressed!

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  2. Jezz
    November 30, 2011

    Is it me, or is there something odd about this video?(http://bit.ly/rCjAJx – Weise postgame)

    It’s like, not only do we have to demoralize our opponents by beating them on the ice, we will further mock them by doing squats and pumping iron later that night… and broadcast it on the internet.

    Could this be a trick to frighten the upcoming run of teams coming into Rogers Arena? Did we recently make a trade for Joseph Goebbels?

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  3. jenny wren
    November 30, 2011

    Daniel scores three minutes in.
    It’s then I think that we will win,
    But five shots on the powerplay
    And Sanford turns them all away.
    Booth then scores, we’re two ahead.
    “A damn good trade!” The Olde Coot said.

    He plays position oh so well,
    Best goalie in the NHL.
    Though surely that’s hyperbole,
    Schneider looks great as all can see.
    Sanford too is looking good
    As one might guess we knew he would.

    Then unexpected, “Oh my word!”
    They score short-handed in the third.
    I am worried I do confess
    But then I’m up and screaming, “Yes!”
    Kesler restores the two goal lead,
    Getting the goal we didn’t need.

    Jenny Wren

    PS

    Although I know it is agreed
    That Ryan’s goal helped us succeed.

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  4. Zach Morris
    November 30, 2011

    Gingerbricks has started the same number of games as Bobby Lu.

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  5. Rituro
    November 30, 2011

    Did anyone else find it annoying that twice during the Sportsnet broadcast, they cut to Luongo at the bench after a Schneider save? It’s like the old “cut to Schneider after a bad Lu goal” trick the national broadcasters used last season which aggravated me to no end, except now it’s our home(r) station — much worse. I’m wondering: how many times have they cut to Schneider after a Luongo save in previous seasons? My guess is “hardly at all”, since why would you? It made no sense then and it certainly doesn’t make sense now.

    Stop feeding the fake goaltending controversy, SN!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      November 30, 2011

      It was so pervasive that Don Taylor criticized it on Connected immediately after the game. When your own commentators are calling you out, you’re doing something wrong.

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  6. Jon
    November 30, 2011

    The 5 foolish virgins reference made my morning. Love it.

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  7. The Bookie
    November 30, 2011

    I Did Not Watch This Game …. so thank you for doing that for me!

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  8. Zach
    November 30, 2011

    always great reading IWTG. loved the arrested development reference. good work as always, favourite hockey blog by a mile.

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    • The Bookie
      November 30, 2011

      whoa i missed the AD reference on first read.

      unrelated, but do you think the Canucks blue themselves?

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      • Rituro
        November 30, 2011

        Oh, Bookie, you blowhard.

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        • The Bookie
          November 30, 2011

          Looks like I got a thumbs down, probably from the guy in the $3000 suit.

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          • Rituro
            November 30, 2011

            Yeah, right, the guy in the $3,000 suit is going to waste time thumbing *you* down. COME ON!

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  9. Justin
    November 30, 2011

    I’ll have to re-watch my recorded PVR…but I could have sworn at some point, late in the 2nd period, or near the beginning of the 3rd…either Shorty or Garrett called Schneider “Casey Printers” because they were talking about the Lions

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  10. akidd
    November 30, 2011

    you know, on that hodgson giveaway was just a quick stickhandlle that got away from the kid. it happens. I preferred to dwell on his oh so slick feed to hansen which went just wide. yes, i have my favourites, just like AV. if you want to examine booth’s game more closely for instance, and his slack efforts away from the puck, go right ahead. you will get no lip from me.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      November 30, 2011

      I love Hodgson, but I’m also realistic. That quick stickhandle shouldn’t happen in the defensive zone. His play in his own end needs to get a lot more simple and a lot more safe.

      As for Booth, while I’m not fond of how he looks in the defensive zone, I have to admit that the underlying statistics are overwhelmingly in his favour. He consistently creates more possession in the offensive end of the ice, and for that I have to give him credit.

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      • akidd
        November 30, 2011

        hi daniel, hodgson has defensive instincts that booth will never have. i’ve been watching booth recently and most nights he just coasts without the puck. and he puck-bobbles quite a bit too. he has some work to do, needs to de-pantherize.

        and I like the funky statistics you guys are brining out on this blog. stuff to think about. but to say that statistically booth “creates more possession in the offensive end of the ice” and leave it at that seems like a bit of a loose argument. especially when you choose observation as the method to critique hodgson.

        i don’t know the criteria of the stat you describe but if it’s offensive zone faceoffs won then i did notice that booth is not one to keep the play alive. stats are tricky as you know, i’m sure. also anyone playing with higgins this year is going to have good stats.

        sorry to be so frisky. some gentle, agreeable folk on this site, don’t want to disturb the tranquility too much;)

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        • Daniel Wagner
          November 30, 2011

          No worries, I’m a big fan of reasonable discussion. And you’re right, I wasn’t clear about what statistic I was using and didn’t apply it equally to Hodgson and Booth.

          The statistic that is most used for judging possession is called Corsi, named for Jim Corsi, the Sabres goaltending coach who came up with the statistic. Essentially, it expands the normal plus/minus statistic to include all shots rather than just shots that result in goals. This includes shots that get blocked and shots that miss the net as well. What this does is increase the sample size, so we have more events to judge from. So, you add up all the shots the team has at even-strength when a certain player is on the ice and subtract all the shots the opposition has at even-strength when that player is on the ice and you get his Corsi number. If a player has a positive Corsi number, that means that the team has more shots for than shots against when that player is on the ice, which means they have the puck in the offensive end more often and it has been shown that Corsi correlates well with scoring chances as well.

          Long story short, the higher the Corsi number, the better that player is at moving the puck into the offensive end of the ice and the better he is at creating scoring chances for his team. The number is usually pro-rated over 60 minutes, I believe, so that it’s easier to work with.

          Ryan Kesler currently leads the Canucks in Corsi, with Daniel and Henrik close behind. The next best player on the Canucks is David Booth. Cody Hodgson is 11th on the team. His Corsi is still positive, so he’s still creating more offensively than he gives up defensively, but David Booth pushes possession in the right direction better than any player on the team other than Kesler and the Sedins.

          The question then is why does Booth have only 9 points and a minus-3 rating? The answer is that when he is on the ice, the Canucks have a shooting percentage of only 4.7%, the lowest on the team, and a save percentage of .868, also the lowest on the team. Research has shown that these numbers simply will not continue at such a low rate and will eventually increase: it’s a statistical inevitability because those numbers are largely influenced by luck. The shooting percentage and save percentage when Hodgson is on the ice are at a respectable 8.96% and .918 respectively. Those numbers are unlikely to deviate too far away from that over the course of the season.

          You can read more about Jim Corsi and the statistic he created here: http://www.coppernblue.com/2009/03/jim-corsi-and-his-statistic.html

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          • akidd
            December 2, 2011

            just checked back. thanks for the very thoughtful reply. well-articulated.

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  11. madwag
    November 30, 2011

    i heard it as well, and danielson, the “best polar bear ever” picture is absolutely perfect in capturing kesler’s celebratory antics!

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    • madwag
      November 30, 2011

      the preceding is a reply to justin’s hearing schneider called casey printers.

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  12. J21
    December 1, 2011

    Madwag, I finally have to ask: is your use of “Danielson” a reference to “Daniel-san” from The Karate Kid, or is there something I’m just missing?

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    • madwag
      December 1, 2011

      yes

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