I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers, December 26, 2011

After a pre-Christmas performance so stingy and humbugged it would make Ebenezer Scrooge proud (insomuch as that old coot can be proud of anything), the Canucks returned from the break as though they had been visited Christmas night by a trio of ghosts portending doom if they continued to be a team that loses to the Flames.

Here’s how it probably went down: the Ghost of Christmas Past took them to Christmas, 1987, when they were in the midst of a horrible stretch in which they won only once in 10 games. The Ghost of Christmas Present made them watch game tape from Friday night versus Calgary. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed them a horrifying future in which there is actual debate over whether or not the Sedins’ numbers should be retired.

Needless to say, the Canucks were forever changed by this harrowing experience, and they were thus far more generous versus the Edmonton Oilers, giving fans five goals to cheer about, and even anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home. I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 3 Oilers

  • Only moments after the Canucks had failed to convert on their first powerplay, Andrew Ebbett opened the scoring when a Chris Higgins’ shot deflected off Alex Plante’s leg, then off his skate and in. It’s worth noting that Ebbett’s first of the season, scored versus the Los Angeles Kings, came on a similarly lucky bounce off Willie Mitchell’s skate. Clearly, Ebbett prefers to light the lamp with a leg, like the Dad in A Christmas Story.
  • Speaking of Alex Plante, the poor guy had a rough night. Not only did the puck deflect off his leg for a goal, but he left the game bloodied after being run hard into the boards by Dale Weise. Weise was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, which put Plante’s face directly into the glass. Will he be suspended? I doubt it. Ugly as the hit was, Weise connected with Plante shoulder-on-shoulder, but Plante was turning. Brendan Shahanan has been very clear about the mitigating factor of “sudden movement immediately prior to or during contact”, and this is one such case. You hate to blame the victim, but Weise isn’t at fault here.
  • Frankly, I was far more offended by the run Ryan Kesler took at Taylor Hall in the first period, for which he rightfully received a charging penalty. Granted, he didn’t connect, but if he had, that could have been dangerous. If you’re wondering why they call Kesler “Bull”, take note of that insane charge. No, Canuck fans, it’s definitely not because he prefers to sit under a tree and smell flowers.
  • Best Shorty and Garrett exchange on a night full of gems: With the time it took to rebuild the glass after Ryan Kesler tried to play Red Rover with it, Shorty started joking about how long it takes to build LEGO on Christmas morning. Garrett: Oh, you got them the Death Star? That’s a project. Of course, everybody knows you don’t finish the Death Star. You build three-quarters of it and then blow it up.
  • I liked Ebbett’s goal celebration on the first goal, which Shorty referred to as a “Pumped Up Kick“. I didn’t take him for a Foster the People fan, but there you go.
  • Ebbett added his first clean goal as a Canuck, second of the game, and third of the season on one scoring play later in the period, lunging to swat home a feed from Jannik Hansen, who is almost as much of a sure thing to pass on a 2-on-1 as Henrik Sedin. But I think the play of the play goes to Cody Hodgson, who made a nifty little stickhandle to wrap around Corey Potter and start the rush the other way. I’ve only seen someone undress a Potter like that in fan fiction.
  • That was Daniel’s joke. Mine: I haven’t seen someone undress a potter like that since the Unchained Melody scene in Ghost.
  • Two theories as to why renowned flashee Ben Eager beat up the penalty box camera. Theory 1: he blames the camera for humiliating him the last time he was in there. After all, any time a woman exposes her breasts, that’s a private moment. Why couldn’t the camera respect that? Theory 2: he’s a Luddite.
  • Henrik’s saucer pass to Daniel for the Canucks’ second goal is typical Wizardous Sedinerie. It’s a backhand saucer through Tom Gilbert’s legs and right onto Daniel’s stick. That said, I was amazed that this goal was allowed to stand, especially since Lennart Petrell definitely wasn’t. Daniel wipes him out on the way to the goal, which is a large part of why he’s so open. Of course, you can’t expect the refs to see it when Daniel’s using an invisibility spell.
  • The Oilers scored twice on the major powerplay given to them after the Weise hit, which could have made this a very different game had Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler not combined for a very pretty shorthanded goal. Burrows takes a circuitous line into the offensive zone to allow Kesler to get in behind him, then drops the puck and heads to the net. Then Kesler draws all three Oiler defenders to him (sort of — Ryan Jones just sort of drifts around) before centring the puck back to Burrows for the goal. It’s always fun when these two get some icetime together because, despite playing apart most of the time, they still have more chemistry than an episode of Breaking Bad.
  • Of note: the shorthanded goal was Burrows’s 14th goal and Kesler’s 17th assist. As you may know, they wear the numbers 14 and 17, respectively. This is the greatest synchronicity since Synchronicity.
  • Speaking of the Police, Kesler and Burrows’ 5-2 goal really had to Sting (ha ha, get it?). The Oilers still had a flicker of hope early in the third period, but Frick and Frack stamped it out when they stretched the lead to three for a second time, although this time with the roles reversed: Burrows drew all the Oilers to him, freezing both Khabibulin and Tom Gilbert with a fake slapshot at the side of the goal, then centered to Kesler for the score.
  • Between role reversals and synchronicity, Burrows and Kesler’s relationship is very Jungian.
  • With Andrew Ebbett’s two-goal performance, I was surprised that there weren’t more people clamouring for his icetime to be drastically increased at the expense of the Canucks’ other superstars (a.k.a. the Cody Hodgson Principle). Mind you, while Ebbett only played 8:03, he did get a few opportunities on the third line in place of Manny Malhotra. This was also something of a reward for Cody Hodgson, as Vigneault showed the rookie centre that he trusted him to be without the faceoff safety net of Malhotra for a short while.
  • Mind you, neutral zone faceoffs against Ryan Nugent-Hopkins aren’t exactly high stakes. If you lose, you don’t lose much, and chances are you’re not gonna lose anyway. The Nuge is one of the league’s worst faceoff men. He went 0-for-2 versus Hodgson and 2-for-10 versus the Canucks. RNH draws like he’s using MS Paint.
  • And finally, Alex Edler had six hits tonight, which is three more than any other player on either team and two more than Synchronicity.
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  1. CanuckHero
    December 27, 2011

    Hey, Ebbett’s also a centre. Otherwise great post

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  2. Zach Morris
    December 27, 2011

    I like the Christmas references!

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    • Zach Morris
      December 27, 2011

      I must say, it wasn’t exactly a goaltending duel.
      Several of the goals on both goalies were of the stinker variety.
      But, as long as we win, it could be 16-15!

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      • Zach Morris
        December 27, 2011

        I’m a huge Luongo fan, but that was not a great game for him, or for Khabibulin.

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  3. chicken chick
    December 27, 2011

    Boxing Day

    While it is not to be ignored
    That in the second Finland scored
    It serves to keep the record straight
    To indicate that we got eight

    Then Denmark met the USA
    And Nicklas Jensen with his play
    Revealed the time is very near
    He’ll start his NHL career

    (Only twenty-four seconds in
    It looks to be an easy win
    But Jensen helps the Danes reply
    Then Zucker ends a short-lived tie

    And soon the score is three to one
    So it appears the Danes are done
    But Jensen on a power play
    Again helps Denmark find a way

    But as it goes as it will do
    The US once more leads by two
    And then by three and then by four
    And soon to be a whole lot more

    So since it is that this game sucks
    It’s read a book or watch the Nucks)
    I think mayhap that I will read
    But the Nucks take an early lead

    Then Daniel puts us up by two
    We could get more before we’re through
    Ebbet’s second a sweet surprise
    Sometimes it is I love these guys

    And then a game within a game
    For which Dale Weise must get the blame
    The Oil get two and Burrows one
    It’s four to two when two are done

    The final score is five to three
    Vancouver looked just fine to me

    Chicken Chick

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  4. peanutflower
    December 27, 2011

    Help me to understand why Kesler was given a penalty for charging if he didn’t even make contact with his intended chargee. As Tony Gallagher said, what, he was charged with vandalism? I’ll give you that if the hit had connected it would have been brutal, but it didn’t. How is that a penalty? Good old Kes was evidently trying to set the tone of the game, and good on him, I say.

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    • Brentals
      December 27, 2011

      I think this will clear it up:
      “Rule 42 – Charging
      42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.
      Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.”

      Charging is a physical foul, ergo requires contact with another player, i.e. check. I didn’t see this hit but I assume since nobody is talking about Kesler actually contacting Hall that he didn’t actually contact him, just the boards/glass. This would mean the refs blew the call.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 27, 2011

      He made *some* contact. I think he got a piece of Hall’s jersey. But yeah, it was basically a miss.

      It might not have been the right call because it didn’t actually happen, but I’m cool with a foul here because that was dangerous. That would be like if Kesler took a McSorley-esque swing with his stick and missed. Would you say “no foul” because he didn’t connect or would you send him to the box because that crap is *not* okay?

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  5. Dave
    December 27, 2011

    Great post, as usual! Just a note, though. The Calgary game was Friday night. If it were Saturday night, the Canucks’ horrible play may have been more excusable, as they would have been understandably anxious to get into their beds so Santa could come down the chimney and deliver another President’s Cup to the locker room.

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  6. John Andress
    December 27, 2011

    I must say that I am very impressed by your on-going campaign to educate the hockey-loving masses in Vancouver. The Luddites and Carl Jung in the same game re-cap? Impressive. Now if you could only do a potted precise of the Theory Of Relativity the collective intellect of the great unwashed might be raised to the point at which they won’t be tempted to do anything silly after the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals this season.

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  7. jenny wren
    December 27, 2011

    While to hit him Weise was yearning
    It’s not his fault the guy was turning
    Too bad it was Plante’s second game
    But Weise is surely not to blame

    Now Kesler on the other hand
    Most surely needs a reprimand
    Thank God he only hurt the glass
    But his intent was truly crass

    It’s not acceptable at all
    His blatant charge at Taylor Hall
    If he’s going to be a goon
    Then I suggest they trade him soon

    If they need crap to win the Cup
    Then I suggest they give it up

    Jenny Wren

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    • peanutflower
      December 27, 2011

      But… Boston had “crap to win the Cup” and the Canucks apparently did not. Or maybe their “crap” was hurt, I don’t know. So how to strike the balance between “crap” and “no crap”?

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  8. Don_Rocko
    December 27, 2011

    >I’ve only seen someone undress a Potter like that in fan fiction.

    Absolutely brilliant. Well done.

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    • Nee
      December 27, 2011

      And so much better than Harrison’s ‘Ghost’ reference. Boo Harrison, Boooooo!

      ; )

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      • Sj
        December 27, 2011

        Daniel’s joke was super unexpected and yet perfectly apt. I give it to Daniel by a wide margin.

        ps. No mention of the hundreds of hearts breaking at Shorthouse’s announcment that Max Lapierre was engaged over the break? Or was that just me and my viewing buddies who had to rewind that part to make sure we heard it correctly? [and then pause the pvr to get more wine...]

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  9. DanD
    December 27, 2011

    Great recap! I don’t know which Potter joke I liked better. Daniel’s had a nice subtle touch, but Harrison’s was accessible to the masses. I call it a draw.

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