I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, January 15, 2012

Once in a great while, the Canucks play a game so indigestible, and so utterly heinous that the only thing the Vancouver hockey fan can do is block it from memory like some great horror. Were Sunday’s game not so fresh in my mind, I’d be at a loss to provide any examples of such a game at all.

Unfortunately, I can’t simply flush Sunday’s loss to the Ducks from my brain; I have to solidify and stabilize it, like any toxic waste. With that, I advise you to please put on your hazmat suits, because I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 4 Ducks

  • For the first time in what seems like ages, the Canucks gave up the first goal in this game, but it almost wasn’t so: Roberto Luongo made two massive saves on Nick Bonino — a glove save, and a kick save after the puck dribbled out of his glove — but Bonino swatted it home on the third try. The man to blame for the Luongo-Bonino affair? Henrik Sedin, last seen diving into the goal after forgetting he was Bonino’s man in front. Unrelated: Luongo-Bonino sounds like a distant relative of Chiquita Banana.
  • The Canucks tied the game up not long after Bonino’s goal. With Cam Fowler in the penalty box for slashing, Cody Hodgson once again showed off his penchant for picking the corner, beating Jonas Hiller with a wrister after Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins fed him from the half-wall. Unsurprisingly, Higgins was the first one to the hockey hug once the goal was scored. What’s hilarious is that Hodgson initially goes for a fist bump, but Higgins isn’t having any of it. Don’t you just hate when you go for the fist bump and the other guy goes for the ultimate squeeze?
  • Hodgson’s goal set off a chorus of woos, which isn’t unusual for Rogers Arena. It was unusual, however, when the wooing never stopped. For whatever reason, the crowd opted to woo all night, often without reason. You’d have thought the entire place had been rented out to a bachelorette party or something.
  • Through thirty-five minutes, the Canucks had only mustered five shots on goal. How bad were the Canucks tonight? If Jonas Hiller had curled up on top of his net for the first thirty-five minutes of this game, the Ducks would only have been trailing by three when he awoke.
  • Jason Blake had two goals and an assist in this game, but speaking of absurd shot totals, he also had 10 shots on goal Sunday night. In case it wasn’t clear how ridiculous that is, consider that, prior to this game, he had only taken 17 shots this season. Granted, he had only played 9 games, but still. He averages less than two shots per game, so, like, 10 is a lot and stuff. Clearly, the Canucks plan of ignoring him in the hopes that he’d go away didn’t work.
  • Aaron Rome was a minus-3 with 3 giveaways in this game, the third of which led to the eventual game-winner — Blake’s 2-on-1 goal to make it a 3-1 game. But, rather than try to explain in detail how bad Rome was tonight, I’ll let this statement sum it up: in the third period, Alain Vigneault demoted Rome to the bottom pairing in favour of Keith Ballard. That’s like Indiana Jones getting a pet snake.
  • I’m slagging the Canucks pretty hard, but let’s give credit where it’s due: the Ducks did a great job of getting in front of shots. The Canucks put 23 on goal in this game, but they had another 18 blocked, 10 of which belonged to Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa. They need to learn how to curve their shots, like in that movie Wanted.
  • There were four Canucks without a shot tonight: Manny Malhotra, Dale Weise, Alex Sulzer, and Ryan Kesler. One of these things is not like the other. (No, I’m not referring to Manny Malhotra.) Ryan Kesler normally has more than zero shots. Kesler looked downright off on Sunday, struggling to gain speed through the neutral zone and stopping up on rushes in which he normally goes full speed ahead. What was his deal? At the game’s end, he was seen removing a knee brace. Kesler’s missed a few practices lately with a mystery ailment, and I think we just figured out what it is: allergy to whatever fabric is in that knee brace.
  • But seriously, if Kesler’s hurting, he should be sitting. The Canucks need him in April, not January, and they have four perfectly capable centres without him, especially since the Cody Hodgson we’re seeing now is a far cry from the one that started the season. Additionally, the second line wingers we’re seeing now are a far cry from the ones that started the season. How far a cry? They live in Florida now. That’s pretty far.
  • Speaking of the second line, while it didn’t amount to much at even-strength, I thought David Booth and Chris Higgins looked good together. Higgins has looked a little slower since he spent a couple nights in the hospital with that zombie bite, but he seemed to be energized by playing on the same line as Booth. And Booth had some nice jump, especially gaining the blue line. If he crossed the line into the offensive zone any harder, he’d be asked to host the Golden Globes. And then never asked again. Unless the ratings were good.
  • Speaking of the offensive zone, the Canucks seemed unaware that, to score goals, it’s ideal for the puck to stay in there. I’ve never seen them so ineffective at gaining the zone and maintaining possession. They spent the final two and a half minutes of this game with the net pulled, and somehow, the puck spent most of that time in the neutral zone. You’d have thought the puck was a member of D.O.O.P.
  • In the third period, Keith Ballard was with Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis was with Alex Edler. This won’t last because it never does, but it’s once again an example of why I think the Canucks will bring in another blueliner before the trade deadline. When Sami Salo misses time, they have no one to take regular shifts with Alex Edler (and Edler played a game-high 27:30 in this game; that’s a long time to be without a dedicated partner). Since Salo missing time in the future is a certainty, the Canucks need a more reliable option.
  • Mason Raymond’s 4-2 goal would have been so much better received if it wasn’t the epitome of too little, too late. It was a savvy move and it was certainly helped along by Jonas Hiller stumbling and pushing off the wrong foot after buying the fake, but after watching the bumble like french detectives for 57 minutes, it was hard to get behind.
  • And finally, all three Canuck penalties in this game were assessed to Kevin Bieksa. While I don’t blame him for wanting to sit this one out, it would have been much more efficient to take one big penalty.
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26 comments

  1. BeCanucks
    January 16, 2012

    Urgl…
    Let’s hope we’ll forget that one…

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  2. chuggo fizzins
    January 16, 2012

    Thank you for making a great IWTG to read out of a terrible game to watch. I feel like I should have had a comma in that sentence.

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  3. fromthecorner
    January 16, 2012

    “If Jonas Hiller had curled up on top of his net for the first thirty-five minutes of this game, the Ducks would only have been trailing by three when he awoke.” Classic. Sad, true, and classic.

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  4. Willy
    January 16, 2012

    You’re obviously so traumatised by the result that you simply refuse to award the goals to the right teams. Double check your subheader – I wish it was the right way round!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      January 16, 2012

      Ha, that’s my fault too. I read it checking for errors when it went up and somehow missed that one. Whoops.

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  5. akidd
    January 16, 2012

    yes, the best possible recap i think. for the canucks to be that bad they must have tried. some silly milk and hot dog-esque bet. $100 to whoever makes the most defensive turnovers. $200 for the most bobbled passes. and you gotta pay $50 into the kitty for every shot on net. it’s a long season…they’re getting bored.

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  6. Kim
    January 16, 2012

    Too much good in this IWTG so for brevity:

    *applause*

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  7. Nee
    January 16, 2012

    IWTG is a great balm for games like this. I reallllllly hope they get a big win on Tuesday, since I don’t want to spend the rest of the week stewing until their game on Saturday.

    Woo!

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  8. Zach Morris
    January 16, 2012

    -Anybody else notice “Wake Up” being played in the second period? Even DJ Dave thought the Canucks were listless.
    -Was it just me, or was that rendition of Oh Canada really bad?
    -The Legend of Cody Hodgson continues, as he scored his tenth goal of the year on a singer (which is the new name for a off-the-post-and-in goal. He didn’t score on Gene Simmons.)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 16, 2012

      Ha. I heard “Wake Up” too, but I didn’t realize DJ Dave was editorializing until just now. That’s brilliant.

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  9. Rituro
    January 16, 2012

    Well, we finally ruined the “woo!”. Good job, overenthusiastic (drunk?) cheering section!

    (Seriously, that got annoying really quickly. Good try by John & John to make a joke of it but wow, annoying.)

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  10. chicken chick
    January 16, 2012

    We watched the Giants trounce the Pack

    (It seemed to me the Giant D shared a special common goal
    As Rogers tried but was denied his expected second Super Bowl)

    Jenny Wren, I and Whisky Jack,

    (And all the rest who in the Nest watched this very crucial game
    Quite loudly cheered as the much feared Green Bay Packers came up lame)

    High-fived ourselves and for more kicks
    Changed the channel to forty-six,

    (After of course to my remorse we’d to see the Golden Globes
    For which one needs as it proceeds a patience nearly matching Job’s)

    Where playing the once mighty Ducks
    We watched those much despised Canucks:

    (Whose whining diving cheap conniving so upsets the NHL
    That many thus although not us can never really wish them well)

    Because compared to all the rest
    There is no doubt they are the best!

    (It’s jealousy it’s plain to see that garners them so much abuse
    So don’t complain try to explain or even wave a towel of truce)

    Though they tonight as times before
    Weren’t all that good and did not score

    (It made me nervous like Robert Service coming to the furnace where
    Old Sam McGee from Tennessee sits in heated comfort there)

    The needed goals to save their place
    Atop the standings in the race.

    (As early today in San Jose the Chicago blackbirds won again
    Which caused the Hawk to rudely squawk in a manner quite inane)

    Of six home games this was the first
    I truly hope it is their worst.

    Chicken Chick

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  11. tj
    January 16, 2012

    I was feeling pretty good going into this game, ’cause the BB lost to Carolina the night before. But that was a short-lived smug. It would be interesting to know the stat on first-game-back-from-roadtrip losses. But if AV were to get it, he’d might insist the team never live with their families again.

    Thanks for the great IWTG.

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    • Phileo
      January 16, 2012

      from @imacVanSun: first-game-back-from-roadtrip: 3-3-1 http://bit.ly/wgxWA3
      Bieksa needs a benching as a wake up call. Too often he’s playing like he’s apathetic. Henrik was just brutal on the first Ducks goal.
      Canucks are 4-9-2 when opposing team scores first. Definitely not as good as last year’s edition of the canucks, who I believe had a better record of coming from behind.

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  12. J21
    January 16, 2012

    “One of these things is not like the other. (No, I’m not referring to Manny Malhotra.)”

    You could have been, though — the only one without a German name!

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  13. Cathylu
    January 16, 2012

    What a terrible sports day. First my beloved Pack got beat then the Canucks …well we all know what happened there. I hope they can regroup so that the (hated) Kings get the beat down on Tuesday. As for the game the only bright spots were the two goals. Good job Cody and Mason.

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  14. Superreggie
    January 16, 2012

    I can’t believe you didn’t reference the last PITB post on Hodgson, he obviously read it, because his goal was rung hard off the post and in…

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  15. obituary mambo
    January 16, 2012

    Pure brilliance — the game re-cap, that is. The sorry excuse for a game we witnessed last night could never be mistaken for such a thing. Reading this article almost makes up for the fact that I woke up at 3am to watch this abomination.

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  16. tom selleck's moustache
    January 16, 2012

    Interesting speculation that Kesler may be hurting. If that’s the case, then he definitely needs to be sitting out. The playoffs are far too important and they’re not going to go very far with a less than 100% Kesler.

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  17. The Bookie
    January 16, 2012

    I thought a ‘Luongo Bonino’ was an Italian term for one with long stamina in the sack?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 16, 2012

      I’ve been called a Luongo Bonino a few times in my day… no I haven’t.

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    • Zach Morris
      January 16, 2012

      your joke is bad and you should feel bad.

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  18. Nick
    January 16, 2012

    They’re a significantly better team with Salo in the lineup. And Edler is significantly better when paired with him. More should be made of the fact that the Canucks drop off in play since Boston coincides exactly with their missing, arguably, their strongest defenseman.

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  19. obituary mambo
    January 16, 2012

    Agreed. I always notice a huge difference in overall team play when Salo isn’t on the roster. Hurry back, Sami — the team needs you!

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  20. goldtrail
    January 17, 2012

    Where is Tanev ? Did he lose all his talent from last year?

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  21. Yainerman
    January 17, 2012

    As bad as the game seemed, the last call on Bieksa was ridiculus. Perry grabbed his stick, then ran Luongo.
    It should have at least been 4 on 4, if not a Canuck power play.
    The Ducks 4th goal on said powerplay really gave the Canucks no chance or time to mount a comeback.
    So, even though it was a tough outing, we still should have had a chance to come back.
    Hopefully the refs will do a better job tonite!

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