I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, February 11, 2012

Going into this game, the Canucks hadn’t lost in regulation in 8 games and had gone to overtime in 5 of their last 6 games. According to their record over their last 10 games, the Canucks were the hottest team in the NHL. According to anyone who actually watched those games, the Canucks were playing some of their worst hockey of the season.

Hey, I watched those games. Then I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 3 Flames (SO)

  • This game was completely different from how the Canucks have been playing recently. The Canucks actually dominated this game after the first period, outshooting the Flames 12-5 in the third, 4-0 in overtime, and 31-18 overall. Unfortunately, like Lord Timothy Dexter, the Flames made the most of their chances and got a little lucky, jumping out to a 2-goal lead, ensuring that the Canucks would once again end up in the shootout.
  • Mike Cammalleri got the Flames started, banging in his own rebound after a solid save by Luongo. Instead of deking Luongo out of his jock strap, Cammalleri put the puck in off his own.
  • The Flames went up by 2 early in the second period as Roman Horak took advantage of a fortunate bounce and a misread from both Luongo and Cody Hodgson. Both Luongo and Hodgson expected the puck to come out the far side, giving Horak all the time in the world when the puck came out the near side instead. Turns out the puck isn’t a Gary Larson fan.
  • Fresh from the high of posting his 300th NHL win, Miikka Kiprusoff commemorated the milestone fittingly: making a series of ridiculous saves to give the Flames a chance to win while the team in front of him, largely composed of AHL-level talent, could barely get the puck out of the defensive zone.
  • Mike Duco seems intent on staying in the Canucks lineup, throwing 3 hits and getting into a minor dust-up with fellow AHL call-up Lance Bouma. The two threw a lot of punches, but made less contact than Charlie Brown with a football. To recap: to stay up in the lineup, Duco stepped up and got into a dust-up with a call-up. The two got their dukes up, but the result was a toss-up.
  • Duco continued his strong game by contributing to the Canucks’ first goal. After a prolonged couple shifts in the Flames’ zone, Alex Edler whipped a wrist shot on net from the boards. With Duco wreaking havoc in front, Kiprusoff was unable to cover up and Cody “Silent G” Hodgson was first to the puck, chipping it just inside the far post on the backhand. It was the best chip since Tiger Woods birdied the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters.
  • While the Canucks put together a more complete effort than we’ve seen from them recently, it’s clear they’re still a little out of sync as they hit each other more than The Three Stooges. It got started in the first period, when Lapierre took out Kesler, who instinctively made an off-colour joke about Lapierre’s fiancé. The biggest collision, however, was in overtime when Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis ran over Luongo from behind. Luongo, of course, had a mosquito on his back, and we all know about Hamhuis’s concerns regarding malaria.
  • Andrew Alberts shouldn’t expect anyone in Calgary to buy him drinks in the near future. He picked up penalties for boarding, charging, fighting, and twice for roughing. He came close to knocking Roman Horak and Blake Comeau out of the game when they fell awkwardly out of and into his hits, temporarily sent Tim Jackman to the dressing room with a bloody nose after their fight, and did knock Mikael Backlund out of the game when he assumed that Backlund was trying to fight him. You know what happens when you assume things… upper body injuries.
  • It was funny when Cory Sarich tripped over his own blue line. I laughed. That is all.
  • David “John Wilkes” Booth tied up the game midway through the third thanks to a fortunate deflection on a Hamhuis point shot. The puck bounced right to Booth, who, like the fine folks at the DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary, corralled it and released it into its natural habitat.
  • The Canucks would have gone up a goal 30 seconds later were it not for the larceny of Kiprusoff. With Jannik Hansen playing the role of Daniel Sedin, the Canucks’ top line combined for some Wizardous Sedinerie on a 3-on-2, unfortunately ending with Henrik’s shot getting snagged by Kiprusoff’s glove.
  • Though Luongo had less to do than Kiprusoff in this game, he was not to be outdone, pulling off a larcenous glove save of his own on a Jarome Iginla breakaway. There was just no way that Iginla was going to beat Luongo one-on-one in this game.
  • Before that happened, however, we got a chance to see what 3-on-3 overtime would look like for nearly a full two minutes, as Jay Bouwmeester and Daniel Sedin took offsetting penalties. 3-on-3 overtime has been trumpeted as an alternative to the shootout, but it did nothing for me. Going to 3-on-3 in overtime strikes me as just as gimmicky as the shootout. There’s more white space out there than on Robert Rauschenberg’s “White Paintings” and it just doesn’t feel like proper hockey.
  • Mason Raymond had a blast, however. With his tendency to circle the outside of the offensive zone, it’s no wonder that he took to 3-on-3 hockey right away: there was a lot more outside to work with.
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26 comments

  1. invisibleairwaves
    February 12, 2012

    Geez, the Saddledome really seems to be turning into Rogers Arena East judging by the crowd noise. Seems like the cheering gets more and more pro-Vancouver every time they play there.

    It was great to see the Canucks actually dominate a game for once, even if the final score didn’t reflect it. It was also great to hear Jim Hughson calling a Canucks game without Glenn Healy blathering away. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough. I’d forgotten how excellent he is when he’s calling his team’s games.

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    • VanFan85
      February 13, 2012

      I moved to Calagry from BC a few years ago, Saturday night was my 6th Canucks/Flames game at the Saddeldome and game after game there are more Canucks fans in the building. I had been lucky up to Saturdays night, I had never witnessed the Canucks lose in the Dome – so my streak came to an end. It was nice to see the Canucks dominate the 3rd period and overtime but Kipper was there to hold the fort. A few observations from watching the game. Dan Hamuis is th emost underrated defencemen in the NHL, MAx Lapierre is a factor on every single shift – he is solid defensively, can be a threat in the offensive zone, he hits, and can now suddenly hold his own in a fight. The most glaring observation that I took away from last night is the Canucks need to get better at crashing the crease. They controlled play for most of the third but a majority of their quality chances came from off the rush. The Sedins in particular are great at creating open ice but they would be more beneficial if they had a player wreaking havoc infront of the net. The way Kipper was playing they werent going to score a pretty one yet it seemed nobody on the firts line was willing to go to the front of the net – I hate to say this but it makes me long for the days of Todd Bertuzzi crashing the crease. Hye what are the odds of bringing him back?….. On second thought, maybe not.

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      • J21
        February 13, 2012

        Don’t think you can really say you saw the Canucks “lose” when they could have “won” after playing the identical 65 minutes of hockey. In other words, you saw a tie with a shootout point awarded.

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  2. Josh
    February 12, 2012

    I mentioned to my friend how the crowd would cheer louder for Luongo in a game where Kiprusoff was getting honoured.

    I wasn’t wrong.

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  3. Daniel W.
    February 12, 2012

    Loved the Tiger and the Baldwin references!
    Great job as ever. And yeah, I thought this was an away game, not a home game…

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  4. peanutflower
    February 12, 2012

    Hah, right about the 3 on 3 and Mayray. I thought exactly the same thing. Tons of room for him to do his thing. Kipper won this game for the Flames, there’s no doubt. The Flames defence looked completely bewildered out there at times, with their heads spinning, as Hughson said.

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  5. the olde coot
    February 12, 2012

    From this fiasco I just saw
    A trite conclusion I will draw:

    For half the game they were on cruise
    Control ’til it dawned that they could lose
    It if they didn’t start to play
    This hockey night on Saturday.

    Down by two they needed three
    And did get one from Silent G,
    A second one from David Booth,
    But lost the Shootout so forsooth:

    If they’re not trying ev’ry minute
    It well could be they’ll not win it.

    The Olde Coot

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 12, 2012

      I like this one a lot, especially all the enjambment in the first half. It made it very sexy, rhythmically.

      My only minor criticisms: I’d lose “control” and lengthen ’til” to until”, and I want a “that” before “they’ll not win it”. That would make it really tight, but really, it only matters if you read it with speed. If you read it all slow and nasal like a T.S. Eliot wax recording, then it’s perfect.

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      • the olde coote
        February 12, 2012

        I thought to lose “control” but it’s not something I like to do. Always appreciative of your thoughts as well as your posts. Cheers!

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  6. chicken chick
    February 12, 2012

    Just after twenty I was gone
    I went and watched the Telethon
    Because it was you’ll pardon me
    I started cheering Calgary

    I think it is a real concern
    That the Canucks have yet to learn
    A game is sixty minutes long
    And playing less is really wrong

    They have to get they can’t rely
    On Lui to preserve a tie
    By making his save of the day
    On Iginla’s breakaway

    Which was a save I did not see
    I was not watching CBC

    Chicken Chick

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  7. jimbob
    February 12, 2012

    finally! a farside reference! ive been waiting for one of those.

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    • J21
      February 13, 2012

      I will fully admit I didn’t understand the relevance of that particular comic to the game, though.

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  8. cathylu
    February 12, 2012

    Have we set some kind of record for shoot-outs yet? Seriously?! I really think the Canucks need to follow John Garrett’s advice (see the article he wrote on the Canucks website – sorry I don’t have a link – that’s because I DON’T have mad computer skills). Start some intensive shoot-out contests with prizes for the winners. Anyway, at least 1 point is better than 0 points. Here’s the silver lining for me though: I’m still looking forward to Monday night’s game. I know I’m new at hockey but I’ve learned that on any given night any team can win. Maybe that will change after I’ve been a fan for another 10 or 20 years but I hope I’ll still be excited about it.

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  9. peanutflower
    February 12, 2012

    Oh hey, I forgot, no mention of Scott Hanna dive? Daniel even called him on it and Hanna had the indignation of the guilty. That was such a total dive. Hanna wasn’t even touched by anything. Through the magic of the PVR I watched it a dozen times. And Simpson’s lame “even up” crap. Seriously, that guy is such a homer for eitherAlberta team.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 12, 2012

      Yeah, it was a dive. Although I thought Mason Raymond dove in a third, too. I forget who hooked him but the guy had the stick around his waist and then — poof! — Raymond’s legs were three feet off the ice.

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      • akidd
        February 12, 2012

        but it was a top notch dive by raymond. he put some flail into it. even after watching the replay it was hard to determine it was a dive because of raymond’s gusto.

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    • Brentals
      February 12, 2012

      I very much enjoyed Simpson commenting on Bouwmeester’s holding call. I mean really, why should the ref call a guy for holding when all he did was take his hand of his stick, wrap it around the guy he is defending, and make sure he couldn’t move. The nerve of those refs for making that horrible blunder!!

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  10. sarah
    February 12, 2012

    What was going on with all the Canucks running into each other. Seriously, there must have been 3 or 4 times when two Canucks crashed. That was strange.

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  11. Manservant Hecubis
    February 12, 2012

    Hey, Daniel. Great stuff as usual. Loved the Far Side reference. Have to correct you though. Kiprusoff was being honoured for his 300th career win, not his 1000th game. Only Brodeur and Roy have played 1000 games among goaltenders. Kiprusoff is at 577 games played at this point.

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    • Brentals
      February 12, 2012

      but it feels like Kipper has played 1000 games, hasn’t it?

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  12. Body Schmautz
    February 12, 2012

    Alberts – 2/3s of a Lapierre hat trick?

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  13. piker
    February 12, 2012

    Totally agree with your 3v3 observation. It looked contrived: far too much skating and not enough passes. It actually slowed down the transition game, because by the end of the shift, both teams changed at exactly the same time.

    That said, a savy team sure could take advantage of the line changes for a long break outpass. Imagine a turnover behind the net. The top forward immediately rushes to the bench, with the new skater coming on at the far blue line. He would have at least a one zone lead of open ice on the defence. (That, or they will be called for too many men…is 3v2 possible?)

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    • J21
      February 13, 2012

      Nope, they’ll never go down to 2 men, they just make the next minor penalty start when the last one ends.

      Which means if you’re down to three men with less than two minutes to go in overtime, you should really be slashing, hacking and tripping your way through the other team as much as you can, unless your team is controlling, or might control, the puck. No downside.

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  14. Nee
    February 12, 2012

    That Cory Sarich stumble would have been that much funnier (in a crawl-under-a-rock-and-die kind of way) if we had scored immediately thereafter.

    I thought we played quite well in this game. Kipprusoff stole the 2 points for Calgary. Would have been nice to get the win, but these things happen sometimes. 9 times out of 10 you win with that effort.
    Especially in the 3rd period…it seemed like the Flames barely had possession during that 20 minutes.

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  15. akidd
    February 12, 2012

    ” The great Byron Bitz story wasn’t so great on Saturday.”

    –Jason Botchford

    Bitz played with the sedins pretty much the same as he did his first two games on the top line, except the line didn’t score. down two goals it was inevitable that AV would go back to the trio that was responsible for a few hundred points over the last couple of years.

    i wonder if botchford thinks for himself sometimes. the mainstream media got more than a few headlines in about bitz over the last few days and then just turn on the guy(botch also called him ineffective) after half a game when he did nothing wrong. kinda sad.

    the sedins with burrows went on to have some long possesion shifts in the calgary zone. interestingly though while wearing down the flame defenders these forays didn’t generate much in shots or chances. i don’t think that bitz is the answer but there may be something to the idea of changing up the endless cycle and heading more directly to the scoring areas.

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  16. Tengeresz
    February 13, 2012

    The Duco fight round-up was delightful. Keep it up.

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