I Watched This Game: Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning, January 10, 2012

You had to know the Canucks were going to correct some aspects of their game after the 2-1 loss to Florida on Monday night; it was impossible to come away from that one without having learned a lesson, right? Right. A lesson was indeed learned, and, as best as I can gather, it was as follows: before you quit, score more goals.

Not unlike the game that preceded it, the Canucks jumped out to an early lead and let their opponents back into the game with some sluggish play afterward, but the difference Tuesday was simply that the early lead was bigger, and they sustained it for longer. By the time the Lightning tied tied things up, it was too late to jump ahead, and the Canucks eked out a shootout victory to leave the Sunshine State on a positive note. And as for me, like the few Floridians sick and tired of that infomercial, I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 4 Lightning (SO)

  • The Canucks scored early in this one, with Henrik Sedin winning a puck back to Alex Sulzer, who immediately fed Alex Edler for a shot and a goal. Initially, it looked as though Alex Burrows tipped it, meaning the scoring play would have been Alex, from Alex and Alex. It also would have been the rare scoring play where the two Canucks on the ice that didn’t get a point were Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Unfortunately, Burrows never tipped it, meaning Henrik got a point, and the Canuck version of Ed, Edd n’ Eddy never came to fruition. Lame.
  • Not long after, Jannik Hansen made it 2-0 after some quality forechecking with the Canucks shorthanded. Two things to notice here: 1) Hansen wins possession of the puck in the corner by slap-chopping Marty St. Louis’s stick out of his hands. 2) If you’re wondering why the stick winds up behind the net, it’s because Manny Malhotra just happens to kick the stick a little further away when he pivots. It’s a very tactical pivot. Ross Gellar would be proud of that pivot.
  • Malhotra’s sneakiness is very underrated. Case in point: his second period goal, which comes after he outsmarts Eric Brewer in front. Brewer has Malhotra fully covered before Mike Duco’s centring pass, but just as Duco receives the puck along the half-wall, Malhotra gets in close to Brewer and fakes like he’s going right. The moment Brewer bites, Malhotra goes left instead, getting in close and bringing his stick to the other side by lifting it over Brewer’s head. The sudden juke jams Brewer up, leaving him out of position. Furthermore, because Malhotra’s in so tight, Brewer can’t get his stick in to take away Malhotra’s stick or to clear the puck, allowing Malhotra multiple whacks at it for the goal. Like Lisa Simpson, Brewer was unable to stop the whacking. What he needed was Barry White.
  • After Vincent Lecavalier brought the Lightning to within one, the Canucks would restore the two-goal lead only seconds before the middle frame expired when Ryan Kesler jammed home a loose puck on a late odd-man rush. It’s interesting to note that this play develops after Alex Edler crushes Steven Stamkos along the near wall in the Canucks’ end. Stamkos is slow to get up, and with a player down, the Lightning’s 1-3-1 neutral zone trap falls apart. Suddenly, there’s space through the neutral zone, and the Canucks invade the space like space invaders. Except far more efficiently.
  • Speaking of Edler’s hits, he had 5 of them in this game. He’s looked a little shaky on this trip, especially once Sami Salo was hurt in Boston, but he was excellent Tuesday, with five hits, three blocked shots, and a goal. I don’t have anything funny to say about that.
  • Congratulations are in order for Mike Duco, and not just for collecting his first career point on Manny Malhotra’s goal. After his hit on Ed Jovanovski Monday night that led to the Dale Weise goal, he’s created a goal in two consecutive games now, and has to be making a good impression. Safe to say he’s done more with his brief callup than any of the other fourth liners have done with theirs. He’s also done a good job of playing smart, and I don’t just mean agitating within the rules: his average shift length Tuesday was a miniscule 23 seconds. Short shifts please the coach, and pleasing the coach is playing it smart.
  • Just as last season when the Canucks played the Lightning and Cory Schneider got the start, people began speculating that, perhaps, this was Mike Gillis’s attempt to showcase Schneider for Steve Yzerman, whose Lightning need a goaltender that isn’t old enough to call movies “talking pictures”. Schneider was fantastic, making 27 saves and stopping all 3 shootout attempts, but this whole line of thinking is silly. Maybe there was a time when you showcased a player when you visited a city, but if Steve Yzerman doesn’t have a scouting department, Centre Ice and the Internet, the Lightning have larger needs than a goalie.
  • The Sportsnet Intermission segments have been unbelievably bad for a couple years now, but the “Are You Kidding Me?!” bit reached a new low when Nick Kypreos took off his shoe and showed us his bunions like he mistook the television audience for nursing home orderlies. Shortly after, his grandson showed up and they spent the rest of the segment playing backgammon.
  • Did anyone else see Daniel Sedin throw a hipcheck in the third period? That would be an unexpected new wrinkle to their game.
  • Tampa Bay’s game-tying goal bore a suspicious resemblance to a certain 2010 playoff goal versus the LA Kings that was disallowed, which irked a great many Canuck fans upset when they got the call correct this time around. It made me chuckle. Fans only want the rules to apply when it benefits them. Otherwise, they provide precedent for disregarding it.
  • If it wasn’t apparent that the Canucks don’t take shootouts all that seriously, consider the selection of Kevin Bieksa as the first shooter in the shootout. That made very little sense. Amazingly, Vigneault’s initital shootout roster made even less sense. Rejected by referee Paul Devorski, it read: 1. Roberto Luongo. 2. Newell Brown. 3. Paul Devorski.
  • Anyway, Vigneault’s second shooter was no joke, as Mason Raymond won the game with that spin move he likes to do. Remember when Nikolai Khabibulin punched Ryan Shannon in the back of the head for it? Those days are long gone. Now goaltenders are used to it. After the move, Dwayne Roloson just dusted himself off like the antique he is.
  • And finally, Cody Hodgson played 16:41 in this game, a career-high for the kid. Maybe they were showcasing him?
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37 comments

  1. chuggo fizzins
    January 11, 2012

    I was caught more off guard by Daniel’s hipcheck than I was by the twist in 6th sense.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 11, 2012

      NO SPOILERS

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      Rating: +23 (from 23 votes)
  2. invisibleairwaves
    January 11, 2012

    I’m guessing Keith Ballard pulled some kind of prank where he taught the whole team how to do hipchecks, and then…well, he hasn’t really figured the rest out. He’s not great at pranks.

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    Rating: +59 (from 61 votes)
  3. poobear
    January 11, 2012

    16:51 and one measly assist? i expected a hattrick. back to the minors kid.

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    Rating: +33 (from 33 votes)
    • Justin
      January 11, 2012

      New rhetoric: Hodgson does not know how to handle increased ice time. Is AV wrong to bump him up so quickly? Would an AHL conditioning stint help?

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  4. Mike H.
    January 11, 2012

    hehehe. Roloson’s old.

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    • Shade of Blue
      January 11, 2012

      I admire guys like Rollie. At 31, after two seasons with Buffalo (and only 3 seasons total in the NHL), the guy found himself playing in the AHL, again. His chances for a regular NHL career at that point were looking slim, but he won 32 of 52 starts and played his way onto the Minnesota Wild.

      My favorite Rollie moment was the first playoff game of the 2005-06 playoffs. His Edmonton Oilers, with final playoff berth in the west, were horribly overmatched by the President’s Trophy-winning Red Wings in the first round. Rollie faced 57 shots and kept the Oilers in it before yielding the game winner in the 2nd overtime. By giving his team a chance to win — and basically daring them to do so — Rollie sparked (and backstopped) a run all the way to game seven of the finals.

      Also, he’s one of the only players left who is older than I am.

      Get off my lawn.

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  5. Nee
    January 11, 2012

    Have the trolls finally gone? : )

    The team looked pretty bagged in the 3rd. The St. Louis game will be interesting.

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  6. Zach Morris
    January 11, 2012

    I feel the same way now as I did in October:
    I have playoff hangover after watching The Game Of The Year.

    It’s always great when the Canucks win but it’s harder to get into the middle of the week games.
    It’s gone from (dramatic movie trailer voice)
    “Watch as the Canucks take revenge on the Boston Bruins, in a game that Pass It To Bulis called “The Game of The Year”, that was nominated for four NHL awards and that we will never hear the end of…”
    to
    “Tune in next week as the Vancouver Canucks take on the new-look Panthers! Same time, same channel!”

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  7. jenny wren
    January 11, 2012

    Most of The Flock was at The Nest
    To watch the Nucks’ most recent test
    Just hoping that they’d better be
    Than the last game that we did see
    And we agreed in fact they were
    Only Clay Pigeon wasn’t sure
    “In both the games we were ahead.
    You have to hold a lead,” he said

    He has a point one must admit
    But Tampa showed a lot of grit
    More than the Panthers I would say
    Who caught the Nucks on an off day
    Tonight we watched a different team
    The one for which we have a dream

    Chicken Chick

    The Lightning struck four times tonight
    But Cory Schneider made it right

    Whisky Jack

    Canucks were up for Tampa Bay
    ‘Twas clear that Hansen came to play
    He simply confounded St Louis
    And scored short-handed did you see

    I guess you did you watched this game
    So of The Dane do think the same
    And thought each Nuck was rather good
    Each hustling like you hoped he would

    And he who seldom leaves his feet
    The reason why he’s rarely beat
    Cory flashed pads both left and right
    And despite four was sharp tonight

    And there was never any doubt
    When it was time to shoot it out

    Jenny Wren

    Versus the Lightning

    Few silly scrums after the fact
    At least this team knows how to act
    Malone Stamkos and St Louis
    Now there’s a line it seems to me

    I’d like to see this team again
    As they too play with Canuck Zen
    Bet they’re a joy to referee
    As the Bruin goons will never be

    Try to “protect” a one goal lead
    The chances are you won’t succeed
    Try to increase the lead by two
    Just really is the thing to do

    Although with Schneider in the net
    A shootout win you’ll likely get

    The Olde Coot

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  8. cathylu
    January 11, 2012

    I like that Mason Raymond kid. He’s pretty good. :)

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    • tj
      January 11, 2012

      Yeah, he’s all right, that one. Heard he used to have a purdy face.

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  9. J21
    January 11, 2012

    “Fans only want the rules to apply when it benefits them. Otherwise, they provide precedent for disregarding it.”

    While this is no doubt true in a general sense, I think people here were simply ridiculing the inconsistency. It was so obviously the wrong call in 2010, but if they’re going to make that call, they have to stick by it. And they didn’t, ergo, ridicule.

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    • mex
      January 11, 2012

      “It was so obviously the wrong call in 2010, but if they’re going to make that call, they have to stick by it. And they didn’t, ergo, fans only wnat the rules to apply when it benefits them. Otherwise, they provide precedent for desregarding it”

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    • Waepstone
      January 11, 2012

      It was a long time ago though. When Chiarelli brings up an old grievance about Raymond’s ducking hit to Marchand in the playoffs, most people can see it for what it is: a late and out of context way to justify a claim of being unfairly treated. The current call is still good and thank heaven professional dissembling can’t undo this.

      Yes, the refs get calls wrong all the time and they do affect results. But they actually made the right call last night and wouldn’t it be much better for everyone if the correct interpretation of the rules was actually recognized broadly? Nothing is going to bring those blown calls back, but we can at least hope that we’re on the same page now and that skillful soccer players are properly rewarded in the future. :)

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    • Chris
      January 11, 2012

      Yep, I’m going to disagree with you Mooney. Fans want the rules to be the rules, period. Ergo, when the officials put their whistles in their pockets in the Finals, people just want to know why the NHL suddenly has a new set of rules that just happens to fit the opponent’s style of play.

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  10. Chinstrap Joe
    January 11, 2012

    Funny quote from the Tampa broadcast:

    Chris Dingman (remember him?) commenting on the Edler stiff-shoulder to Stamkos – “If that isn’t suspension-worthy, then I don’t know what is.”

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    • Brosef Stalin
      January 11, 2012

      was that on the Fox Sports feed? I was tuned into that for the first two periods and while the guys didn’t make absolute fools of themselves, if you actually stop and think about some of the things they say you realize that oftentimes they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about or that their analysis makes John “Low Dinner Expectations” Garrett seem like an unbiased model of professionalism.

      (For the record, I love Garrett and his comments. Even with the obvious homerism it makes for a fun commentary of the game and he does provide some decent insight into many plays)

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      • tj
        January 11, 2012

        …and some decent insight in many snacks.

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        • tj
          January 11, 2012

          *into

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        • Chris
          January 11, 2012

          Yes.
          (in the words of John Garrett)

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      • akidd
        January 11, 2012

        “get that orange radioactive cheese powder, heat it up with some margarine, pour it over those macaroni noodles…yum, yum, yum.”

        john needs to change his dietary habits. unfortunately there’s no better guy to pump up the safeway ‘score and keel over’ .

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        • Ginger
          January 11, 2012

          This whole exchange made me laugh. Out loud. I woke up my roommate, but it was worth it.

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    • stathead
      January 11, 2012

      I was watching that on Fox. They both predicted there would be a phone call to Edler from Shanahan, saying he’d raised his shoulder. Then early in the third, when one of the Tampa players jumped with both feet to hit Edler (I’m pretty sure, tho’ there was no replay), they chuckled indulgently and said something like “ah, that’s payback for that hit to Stamkos late last period. Quite right, too.”

      The commentary was mostly fine to good, and I don’t mind bias in terms of who they’re cheering for as long as it’s declared, which it always effectively is when guys can’t tell the Sedins apart; I never understand why these guys don’t just memorize the roster, as it takes five minutes and they’re paid to know this stuff.

      But when it goes beyond the cheering to demonizing players, stating as fact that they’re dirty or cowardly, I think that’s pretty ugly (and in Britain it would be a real moneymaker in a libel suit; I wish it weren’t allowed here). Same goes for thinking illegal hits by one’s own team are spirited, awesome pushbacks. It may be natural, but it’s not professional or very pretty.

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  11. Chris
    January 11, 2012

    The Salmon played over 16 minutes? What will Skeletor write about now?

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    • John in Marpole
      January 11, 2012

      This morning he was on 1040 claiming that AV never talks to the players on the bench, therefore the players have tuned him out.

      Tony just knows this kind of stuff…

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  12. sarah
    January 11, 2012

    Hmm…I guess it’s nice to get two points vs. a non division rival in the middle of January…

    Hate to call out a couple of favourites but, going to have to do so anyway.

    First up, Bieksa. Sometimes I get the sense that Bieksa is simply too cool. It shows a bit in his play where at times he seems too lackadaisical and maybe lacking a bit on the intensity. On his shootout [which admittedly was hilarious] his grin the entire time said “this is hilarious’. It would be nice to see him bear down a little…

    Second, Higgins. Since he returned from his injury, he’s been practically invisible, which of course might be a byproduct of the zombism. He hasn’t been impressive lately, so hopefully he starts contributing or, you know, showing off his abs some more. In other words, I guess, it would be nice to see him bare down a little [oh worst! I know, but it too obvious].

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  13. Shade of Blue
    January 11, 2012

    “The Sportsnet Intermission segments have been unbelievably bad for a couple years now, but..”

    This is one of my favorite reasons for recording the game, the other being that I can’t make the early start for games in the eastern time zone. The intermissions flash by in just a minute or two.

    The downside is that I almost missed the Kesler goal. Disgusted after the late Tampa goal, I had already pressed fast forward a couple of times to zip through the 2nd intermission when I had to stop and back up.

    Small price to pay to avoid the intermission inanities.

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    • John in Marpole
      January 11, 2012

      I wish that SN used 2 local segments between periods; Shorty & Cheech and then Taylor and Valk. No need to go to a Toronto panel, who often talk about stuff that is unrelated to the game they are broadcasting.

      Kypreos kills viewer brain cells every time he opens his mouth.

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      • stathead
        January 11, 2012

        Of course, during go-slows like Monday’s game, they would have been very hard-pressed to find things to say, so you can see why they sometimes talk about other stuff. :)

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  14. Nick
    January 11, 2012

    During the off-season, the Sedins, like NBA great Larry Bird, have been known to focus and work intensively on one particular aspect of their game (improved speed, stronger on the puck, better slapshot), and to come back with a noticeable improvement to that element.

    I wonder if Daniel’s body check, which caught me by surprise too, is a sign that they’re going to spend some time this coming off-season working on and figuring out how to do a bit more of this in the future?

    Or maybe it’s a one-off because Daniel’s still riled up from playing his good friends in Boston?

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  15. HockeyFan
    January 11, 2012

    One thing is certain.. every time that Schneider plays, his stock goes up while Luongo’s stock goes down. Schneider is humble, doesn’t complain and doesn’t embellish plays (which eventually leads to a bad reputation).

    It’s pretty safe to say that Vancouver fans would rather see Schneider as the number one goalie rather than Luongo. Although that won’t happen, it’s fun to watch the ‘controversy’.

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    • Nick
      January 11, 2012

      I’m praying that somehow Schneider stays and Luongo goes. I wonder if Gillis is now kicking himself for making Luongo virtually untradeable and, as a result, is forced to lose one of the league’s rising stars between the pipes? There’s a chance that moving Schneider could, very soon, look like a major (major) blunder.

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    • Shand
      January 11, 2012

      Speak for yourself. Luongo is #1

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    • Raftgeek
      January 11, 2012

      I don’t see it that way. I do think Schneider’s stock is pretty darn high, I don’t think Luongo’s goes down. I think had it been Luongo in goal last night and he gave up four goals people would be screaming for his head. I’m still uncertain why so many fans don’t recognize him for the good goalie he is. I didn’t think he had a terrible game against the Panthers the team as a whole just didn’t play. Same thing last night I put more blame on the team then Schneider for the four goals but again if RL was in goal pretty sure people would disagree. I think the fans of Vancouver should shoulder a lot of the blame for it’s reputation as a goalie graveyard. Nothing less then 98-0 is good enough for a good section of your fans.

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      • stathead
        January 11, 2012

        I think it’s because Luongo has been our guy for some years now, while Schneider is a young guy with unknown potential. Some people who are married to someone really attractive just stop noticing them after a few years and start lusting after every young thing that comes their way. If Schneider had been in net Monday and Luongo tonight with the same results, comments would include “Miracle we won in shootout – Luongo never wins those (won one in December, people)”, “why did Luongo let in four friggin’ shots in the first place, he should have preserved our lead”, etc.

        I love Vancouver but the fans don’t seem to understand we are here to support our team to win, and so:
        1) They think Luongo feels the psychological pressure of the playoffs so much it throws off his game.
        2) They know he cannot be traded for years to come. It’s a legal agreement, a contract, it won’t go away. So he will be here for years.
        3) Let’s increase the psychological pressure on him by calling on him to go away, baying for his head and his blood, ignoring his good stats, and dismissing his shutouts and successes in the playoffs!
        4) Because this pressure will throw him off his game more, we will lose more games in the playoffs for years to come! Yay! Well done, us!

        Added bonus: we will be unable to get any goalie to come here willingly if he has another option because we have a case of the goalie crazies worse than any actual goalie does. Come to our city! We think you’re world class! If you start losing games, we’ll make sure you know how hated you are, every game and every day!

        It’s like we don’t want to win the playoffs. We’re a generous fanbase, we want to give wins to others, apparently.

        I’m with Raftgeek: I think it’s only a vocal & very intense minority who want Luongo gone, but intense vocal minorities start chants and boos and do everything they can to shake him up so that one extra gamewinning goal can get past Luongo. Then they yell at him some more. Must be satisfying but I’d rather see them cheer our team on, rather than try to pull them down, especially when Luongo’s already in net for the game.

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  16. tom selleck's moustache
    January 11, 2012

    “Amazingly, Vigneault’s initital shootout roster made even less sense. Rejected by referee Paul Devorski, it read: 1. Roberto Luongo. 2. Newell Brown. 3. Paul Devorski.”

    LMAO, that’s good stuff.

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