With Daniel Sedin out with a sore back (hopefully not from picking up a cracker), Mark Mancari was called up from the Chicago Wolves and Mason Raymond was promoted to the top line. That turned out to be a good move, as Raymond was the Canucks best forward, leading the team in shots and picking up two points. His best play of the game should have led to the game-tying goal, were it not for Cam Ward making one of the best saves of the year.

Ward being incredible turned out to be the theme of the game, rather than a more Canucks-friendly theme like “Heart of a Canuck” or “Win da Turd.” I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 4 Hurricanes

  • The other theme of this game was questionable officiating, as the Hurricanes received 6 powerplays to the Canucks’ 1 and scored one of their goals during a delayed penalty call. While a discrepancy in powerplays could mean that the Canucks were just less disciplined, many of the calls simply didn’t make any sense. A massive scrum in which both teams seemed equally culpable somehow turned into an extra penalty for the Canucks. Burrows was tagged for a slash on McBain, but couldn’t go to the penalty box because he needed repairs on his own slashed hand. Ballard took a weak holding call in the third; on the same play, Kesler was high-sticked with no call. While calls were certainly missed both ways (Bieksa got away with a high hit on Tuomo Ruutu with a minute remaining), the bad calls weighed heavily against the Canucks.
  • One of the reasons the refereeing was so frustrating is because the Canucks were clearly the better team at even-strength, out-shooting the Hurricanes 33 to 26, out-chancing them 16 to 12, and dominating them at possession based on the advanced statistics Corsi and Fenwick. The one area in which the Canucks did not beat the Hurricanes at even-strength was, unfortunately, goals. Whoops.
  • The second line was frequently fantastic in this game, particularly Chris Higgins. On the Canucks’ first goal, he and Kesler combined for some great work in the corner, creating enough space for Higgins to set up Bieksa for a wicked one-timer while Jannik Hansen set a great screen in front. In fact, every Canuck on the ice for that goal made a contribution, except for Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis. To be fair, he was a little busy at the time organizing a charity dinner to benefit education for women in Africa.
  • Bieksa’s choice of celebration for the game’s opening goal? Rage. Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins had to force him into a celebratory hug, as Bieksa tried to go after Chad LaRose for giving Hansen a whack with his stick after the goal. We shouldn’t be too surprised: Bieksa’s a pretty angry guy.
  • As good as Raymond was tonight, his style of play is about as far removed from Daniel Sedin as is humanly possible. Henrik must have been a little frustrated: No no no, just gain the zone, spin off your check, then make a backhand saucer-pass through the slot! Have you never played hockey before?
  • The only time that the top line actually bore a resemblance to their usual self was when Henrik took control of the puck in Wayne Gretzky’s office (he encased 99′s stapler in jello before he left), which led to the Canucks’ second goal. Raymond managed to squirm away from Eric Staal in front of the net and, with four Hurricanes within a five foot radius of Raymond, Henrik put the puck on his tape and Raymond put it in the net.
  • That was Henrik’s 700th career point, which is, incidentally, 572 points more than Dave Bolland has scored in his career.
  • Apparently the proper pronunciation of Andreas Nodl’s last name is “Noodle.” John Shorthouse went out of his way several times during the progress to clarify that Nodl himself had asked for his name to be pronounced that way. If everyone just paid more attention to runforthecube’s YouTube channel, they would have known the right way to pronounce his name months ago.
  • As much as Ward was fantastic and the referees were not, the Canucks absolutely cannot give up a 2-goal lead. While some people would append “particularly to the Hurricanes” to that sentence, I would add “to any team.” Unfortunately, some shoddy defending led to 4 unanswered goals for the ‘Canes, which is all they (or any team, really) would need.
  • While Schneider could have been better on a couple of the Hurricanes’ goals, throughout the rest of the game, particularly on the penalty kill, he was superb. He stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period, giving the Canucks a chance to build a lead. He made 14 saves on the penalty kill alone and the only one that beat him shorthanded was on a delayed call that created a temporary 6-on-4.
  • That delayed call? A nonexistent slash by Burrows. Absolutely baffling.
  • On the Canucks’ third goal, it seemed like Henrik really did not want to take a slapshot. He lifted his stick in the air then held it there like the guy controlling him held down the slapshot button for too long. The explanation given by Shorty and Garrett was that he was waiting for Burrows to screen Ward, but he continued to hold off on the shot even with Burrows in front of the net. I suspect he had temporarily forgotten that Daniel wasn’t playing and was desperately looking to make a slap-pass to his brother. By the time he remembered Daniel’s sore back and took the shot, Burrows was ready to tap in the rebound.
  • In an unexpected turn of events, the best play of the game for both teams was the same play. Mason Raymond evidently loves 4-on-4 hockey: with 6:20 remaining in the third period, Raymond pulled a spin-o-rama on fellow #21 Drayson Bowman, then dragged all four Hurricanes (five if you count Ward) to the left side of the ice. Meanwhile, Keith Ballard cleverly skated across the grain, setting up himself up perfectly for Raymond’s surprise backdoor pass. Unfortunately, Ballard wasn’t able to one-time the puck into the open net and Ward dove across, blocking Ballard’s shot with his glove. What should have been a tie game instead turned into the highlight of the night.
  • It’s not really fair to drop Drayson Bowman’s name in without mentioning what a spectacular game he had for the Hurricanes. He had a game-high 8 shots, doubled his career goals with a 2-goal night, and would have had a hattrick if Schneider hadn’t robbed him on a breakaway. He earned himself some grudging kudos, so…kudos, I guess.
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20 comments

  1. Steven Ray Orr
    December 16, 2011

    Last year broke me. I can’t even watch us play Carolina or Columbus without thinking that everything that happens is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.

    If we don’t win the Cup this year, the blame rests firmly on Ballard’s shoulders for The Ballard Incident.

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  2. chuggo fizzins
    December 16, 2011

    I had to watch this game with the hurricanes feed. During the game their announcer said 3 times “that was Cam Ward’s best save of the season!” Daniel wasn’t injured, he was on Endor trying to shut down the force field surrounding the Hurricanes net. As much as I love him, hurricane goal 3 seemed to be on Hamuis.

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    • Blair
      December 16, 2011

      I watched that feed too. I had to mute it after the first period.

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  3. peanutflower
    December 16, 2011

    “Have you never played hockey before? ” Hilarious. How do I get rid of the italics?

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    • peanutflower
      December 16, 2011

      oh, hey, wait, the italics are just in the comments box. I see now.

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  4. Mallick
    December 16, 2011

    Skeeter, mistaken
    Higgins breakaway linked twice
    Refrigerator

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  5. akidd
    December 16, 2011

    a very enjoyable read, daniel. %100 in agreement tonight. and entertained too.

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  6. akidd
    December 16, 2011

    oops. just read your reply and link about lou in the shootout. wanted to get back to you. hope here is okay.

    just to make it clear, i’m anti-shootout. i don’t think it’s hockey so I don’t evaluate lou’s ability based on the shootout, in the same way, i don’t evaluate daniel. the game slowed down to a player’s leisure isn’t the game. daniel could write a novel in his head while skating in from centre ice. if he forgets what day it is by the time he gets to the goalie, i completely understand. same goes for goalies.

    i still hold my opinion though that lou isn’t great in the shootout. the stats in your link were very average. and i’d be curious to see lou’s stats post groin-injury. my guess is they’d be much worse. that plus lou’s quickbite reactions don’t seem to be working out too good. and it’s fraying on the nerves and can be humiliating too, all alone out there. if wellwood and hodgson can be shootout specialists why not give schneider a whirl too.

    i know it’s just not done but am just saying….

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  7. Cody
    December 16, 2011

    That game was frustrating.

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  8. Zach Morris
    December 16, 2011

    so, has anyone noticed the tendency the Canucks have to make opposing goaltenders look good?
    it feels like we run into a hot goaltender once every couple games…

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    • tj
      December 16, 2011

      Ah, so the goaltender controversy is so huge, it has exploded and now affects other franchises. I’m willing to go with the evil forces theory…

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  9. chicken hawk
    December 16, 2011

    You’d blame the refs I was so sure
    And many readers would concur
    But after all is said and done
    It was the better team that won

    Chicken Hawk

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  10. Cathylu
    December 16, 2011

    All I can say about the last two games is that the Canucks are such nice guys that they feel the need to boost the spirits of the bottom dwelling teams. And they made the scores close so it wouldn’t be too obvious what they were up to. They’re giving their Christmas gifts a little early. Hopefully they are now done with all that.

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  11. Chinstrap Joe
    December 16, 2011

    Don’t mean to be “Mr. Poo Poo” here but gaining one point in two games against two teams that are at the bottom of the NHL standings should temper the idea that everything is right in Canuckland. Our boys have a ways to go.

    I’m wondering where out depth went when dressing a defenseman is the best option to injuries at the forward position…

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  12. Julia
    December 16, 2011

    “That was Henrik’s 700th career point, which is, incidentally, 572 points more than Dave Bolland has scored in his career.”

    Nice.

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  13. Cathylu
    December 16, 2011

    BTW my last comment wasn’t serious.

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  14. Harrison Mooney
    December 16, 2011

    Stop spamming us, Hockey Bias.

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  15. Kate
    December 16, 2011

    Ugh don’t want to think about the game. All these injuries have decimated the depth and I would like them to stop now. Maybe that’s why Bieksa has seemed so damn GRUMPY the past couple games….not complaining, just observing.

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  16. Chazz Ranger
    December 17, 2011

    I was stoked when I saw The Office reference, remembering how hilarious it was when Tim encased Gareth’s stapler in jello. Then I clicked the link. Meh. That version is funny too, I guess.

    There’s two kinds of goaltenders in the NHL. Some goalies cannot handle the awesome offensive assault of a Canuck team firing on all cylinders. Other goalies can raise their game to the level of absurdity and steal a win for their team. He stole it from us, sneaky little goaltender. Wicked, tricksy, false!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 17, 2011

      Oddly enough, I haven’t actually seen that episode of the American versions and have seen that episode of the UK version. It’s pretty clear which version YouTube prefers.

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