I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Buffalo Sabres, March 3, 2012

There were a number of storylines heading into Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada match-up versus the Buffalo Sabres. There was the obvious one, as Cody Hodgson returned to Vancouver less than one week after being traded to Buffalo, but there was also the undercard of the Olympic re-match between Roberto Luongo and Ryan Miller in the same building where Team Canada won the gold medal two years ago.

Oh yeah, and Christian Ehrhoff returning to Vancouver for the first time since leaving for a bigger contract in the summer. And Alex Sulzer was there.

But it turned out the real storyline was a desperate team battling for a playoff spot coming out firing on all cylinders against a complacent team sitting comfortably in first place. The game was essentially over after 5 minutes, but my job wasn’t. I didn’t just watch the first period, I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 5 Sabres

  • The first five minutes of this game were more painful than Billy Crystal in blackface. While part of the blame has to be placed on the team in front of him, Roberto Luongo was shakier than the handheld camera in Paranormal Activity, allowing Ville Leino of all people to score two quick goals. The first was a weak one-timer through Luongo’s legs, while the second came on a bizarre rebound that saw Luongo swat at the puck with his blocker right to Leino in front of the net.
  • Brad Boyes sent Luongo packing with a perfectly placed shot that rang off one post and into the net in the opposite corner. The puck flew out of the net so quickly that it initially appeared to ring off both posts, but was clearly in on further review. Though Zack “Bic Mac” Kassian has showed good defensive awareness in his first few games with the Canucks, he completely missed checking Boyes in front of the net on this one.
  • Cory Schneider coming in to the game seemed to be the wakeup call the Canucks needed, as they outshot the Sabres 34-17 through the rest of the game. That’s the trouble with playing at home. When on the road, they can just have the front desk call them in the morning.
  • Spotted an early three-goal lead, Ryan Miller had a relatively easy time of it in the Sabres net. Considering this was the first time in 5 games that the Sabres have scored more than 2 goals in a game, Miller must have appreciated the support. He likely appreciated the way his teammates collapsed back towards the net to defend the lead. The Sabres’ skaters were like rickety scaffolding: plenty of support, but ready to collapse at any moment.
  • In commemoration of Ehrhoff’s return to Vancouver, Alain Vigneault experimented with an Ehrhoff replacement on the first unit on the powerplay. Marc-Andre Gragnani took on the roamer role, but mostly set up in the slot looking to deflect a slap pass. His best moment came when he didn’t touch the puck, allowing a cross-seam pass to slip through to Henrik, who unfortunately couldn’t beat Miller. The jury’s still out on whether this new wrinkle on the powerplay will be a permanent fixture.
  • It was the second powerplay unit that got the Canucks on the board, though it came just after a penalty (on Alex Sulzer, natch) expired. After a great zone entry, David Booth found a soft spot in the Sabres’ penalty kill while the rest of the powerplay unit worked the puck around. Alex Burrows got the puck behind the net and metaphorically loaded Booth’s gun backstage.
  • According to Kevin Weekes, Burrows learned how to make plays from behind the net from “number 22 and number 23.” Defenceman Alex Edler, of course, is well known for setting up plays from behind the opponent’s net. Really, he’s the biggest innovator of the position since Bobby Orr.
  • Maxim Lapierre was once again a physical presence for the Canucks, recording the second highest number of hits in the game, with 5. Mark Lee claimed that he was “hitting everything that moves.” Apparently, like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, Lapierre’s vision is based on movement. If you stay absolutely still, you’re safe.
  • Christian “This was supposed to be my return to Vancouver” Ehrhoff seemingly put the game out of reach early in the third period, as his point shot deflected in off Aaron Rome’s skate in front of the net while Rome boxed out Corey Tropp. It was the kind of lucky bounce that the Canucks just couldn’t buy in this game.
  • Of course, no one informed Zack “Sea Bass, Jr” Kassian that the game was effectively over. He once again joined the second line in the second period, this time replacing Mason Raymond, who took on a checking role. Booth, Kesler, and Kassian formed the B2K line so they could bump, bump, bump. Kassian finished with a game-high 7 hits and made up for his early defensive lapse with some offensive output in the third period.
  • First, he picked up a pass from Kesler and pulled off a nifty toe-drag before snapping a shot on net that handcuffed Miller. Booth jumped on the rebound and lifted it over the sprawling goaltender to pull the Canucks within two. It was Kassian’s first point as a Canuck, Booth’s first multi-goal game with the Canucks, and Booth’s 100th career goal. It was also the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Kassian and Booth.
  • Zack “Casablanca” Kassian then scored his first goal as a Canuck, picking up a loose puck in the slot and whipping it top corner past Miller. It was a perfectly placed shot, but I’m more impressed by the speed of his release, as he wasted no time getting the shot off once he had an opportunity. Kassian was pumped, and showed off some celebratory moves that he learned from Bill Nye and the High Five’n White Guys.
  • David Booth had a great game, snapping his goalscoring drought at 8 games, but he has to be held responsible for the empty net goal that sealed the victory for the Sabres. Booth had possession of the puck through the neutral zone, giving Vigneault confidence to pull Schneider from the net for the extra attacker. Unfortunately, instead of getting the puck deep, Booth attempted an ill-advised backhand pass that was immediately picked off and sent back the other way so Tyler Ennis could tap the puck into the empty net.
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62 comments

  1. thankgoodnesswestillhaveschneider
    March 4, 2012

    I am glad that we didn’t trade Schneider, like many have suggested was a good idea in the past month or so… jury is still out on who would be better (Luongo/Schneider) in my opinion and I really like what Schneider has shown us so far.

    Schneider deserves a chance to compete for the number role in Vancouver.
    (Don’t get me wrong, I think that Luongo is an elite goalie, but maybe Schneider is even better.)

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    Rating: +52 (from 72 votes)
    • Nick
      March 4, 2012

      I agree. He deserves a shot. That’s not a popular sentiment on this site though, and will probably get lots of thumbs down by the Luongo’s fans.

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      Rating: +23 (from 27 votes)
      • Melissa
        March 4, 2012

        quite frankly, i think the luongo’s shown us time and time again what he can and can’t do. for the amount he’s paid and all of that, 3 goals in the first 6 minutes is unacceptable. luongo’s fans can hold him up like simba in the lion king but i don’t think he’s entirely reliable all the time. if they keep kidding themselves, they’re only hurting them. whenever schneider’s in net, i think the boys step up and play a better game. they can trust him to make the saves he needs too. when lu’s in net i think that they all take on a sort of role as part-time-goaltender, since luongo clearly can’t do it all on his own. schneids is a soild goalie (hellOOOOOOOH boston game?!) and i think he deserves to be put in more than the couple of times a month he’s been getting. :)

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        Rating: +7 (from 41 votes)
        • Daniel Wagner
          March 4, 2012

          On November 16th, Schneider started against the Blackhawks. The Canucks gave him a one-goal lead to work with, but Schneider gave up two goals in the second period. Then in the third period, when the Canucks needed Schneider to come up big to give them a chance to come back, he gave up three goals in the space of 4 minutes. The Canucks didn’t seem to “step up” with Schneider in net, scoring just the one goal.

          Look, Schneider’s a fantastic goaltender, and it would be unfair to judge him based on one or two bad games over the course of a season. Deciding that Schneider is unreliable because he gave up three goals in 4 minutes against the Blackhawks would be completely unreasonable.

          Prior to last night’s loss, Luongo pitched a shutout against a tough St. Louis Blues team in which the Canucks scored just one goal on Brian Elliott, adding an empty netter to seal the victory. Given a performance like that and the way he has been playing recently while the Canucks’ have had issues scoring, he deserves to not be beaten up for the occasional bad game.

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          Rating: +32 (from 36 votes)
      • Brent
        March 4, 2012

        Although I have had my doubts and angst over Luongo, I am now totally comfortable with him being #1. He does have some flaws though. One of these is being somewhat fragile in certain situations: like playing in Boston or sometimes Chicago, or letting in an early softie. It seems to mess him up beyond whatever help his sports psychologist can give him. Having Schneider ready to come into a game or start in an arena that luongo has previously struggled in gives us great options during the playoffs. As long as AV is ready to make that difficult call.

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        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
        • Dave
          March 4, 2012

          And they are still the number 2 goaltending duo after Rask and Thomas.

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          Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
  2. Canuck in Oz
    March 4, 2012

    I was trying to race home from a previous engagement I had today so I could watch this game. I ended up listening to it on the radio, and I think I’ll have bruising on my forehead from smacking my head on the steering wheel from the first six minutes. Hard to come back from a 3-nada deficit against someone like Miller…

    I’m really impressed by how well Kassian (Special K?) has slotted into the team…but I’m starting to think that all the attention afforded to Hodgsongate over the past week has really papered over the lack of production from the Sedin boys.

    I’m having trouble remembering when they’ve had two good games in a row lately (see what happens when we get spoiled with these two in the lineup?). And, I know it’s a long season and they can’t be expected to score three points each & every game, but with fifteen games to go, it’d be nice to see them (and the powerplay, too) start warming up for the real season…

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    Rating: +29 (from 29 votes)
  3. beano
    March 4, 2012

    “Evil” Raymond is surpassing himself every game!
    Banking a shot off Luu’s head during pregame warmup, almost shooting one into own net in the 1st.
    He’s finding subtle ways to redirect the attention off his falling forwards & backwards thing and lol he’s succeeding.
    The one time he could have redeemed himself a lil in the 3rd, when he fell right infront of the Buff net, he failed to take out Miller nor the D.
    Raymond must be trying real hard to foil CDCs from using him as their new drinking game. ;-)

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Mcallister
      March 4, 2012

      On replay it seems MayRay nailed Luu’s collarbone and not the helmet which got Luu really frustrated along with the huge welt.
      So lucky Luu didn’t get a broken collarbone like Ebbett otherwise he’d be out indefintely.

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      Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  4. obituary mambo
    March 4, 2012

    Even though the ‘Nucks didn’t get a point, I was far less disappointed with this outing than the one in Dallas. The energy they displayed in the 2nd and 3rd periods was wonderful and I hope to see much more of that in the future. If they had come out of the gate with that level of intensity, there’s absolutely no way this game would have gone down the way it did.

    And three cheers for the Almost Live reference. I haven’t seen that since I moved away from Washington. What a wonderful little piece of nostalgia.

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    Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
  5. Josh D.
    March 4, 2012

    So I didn’t just think that I heard Mark Lee say “Rapes of Grath”?

    I’m horrified that it actually happened.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  6. biznow
    March 4, 2012

    I was enlightened by High Five’n White Guys.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  7. Dan
    March 4, 2012

    Is it any wonder everyone outside of Vancouver hates the Canucks. Anyone who thinks they have shed the pathetic diving and head whips to draw penalties should have watched last nights game vs. Buffalo.

    Burrows should be embarrased to call himself a professional hockey player. His head whip on the phantom high stick by Sulzer in the second period might have drawn a penalty but it just reinforced the ugly reputation of the Canucks.

    I always thought the Leafs were the most hated team in Canada. Well, they now have company.

    Dan

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    Rating: -49 (from 53 votes)
    • Chazz Ranger
      March 4, 2012

      Haha! Sure, guy. Hey, thanks for comin’ out! Buh-bye now.

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      Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
    • Canuck In Oz
      March 4, 2012

      Canucks are the most hated team in Canada, eh? Surprised you didn’t mention anything else original like (a) Lu is a sieve (b) the Sedins are sisters (c) Canucks fans like to riot after every game (twice after an afternoon game).

      Frankly, Dan…we’ve heard it all before, and we just don’t care anymore…

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      Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
    • JimmyAAA
      March 4, 2012

      Usually I give a thumbs down to the usual Canuck hater drivel that is always the same. Tonight I will not even give that. I am hoping eventually we don’t even respond. No rating – nothing.

      I am fully aware of my team’s strengths and weaknesses (in part – thanks to PTIB). You do not need to keep cutting nad pasting the exact same thing week after week.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  8. peanutflower
    March 4, 2012

    Honestly, I got all settled down to watch the game and I turned it of at 3-0, which was pretty quick. I’m a traitor, I know. I had it PVRd and returned in the third for a bit just to see, so the boys made a decent come back, no doubt. Two things, I’m glad Hodgson didn’t score because that would just have been a lot of salt rubbing; two, let’s just stop the talk about Schneider taking over Luongo’s position — typical fans, just forgetting what kind of numbers Luongo’s been putting up over the past month or so and focus on a bad game. Just stop that; three, after hours was hilarious. Kassian must be disconcerting to the interviewers as he stares right at them while they’re speaking. We’ve all met someone like that, am I right? Unblinking. He seems like a nice thoughtful boy. Sad to hear his dad died so young. And then we had the return of Bieksa. Hilarious. He doesn’t give anything to anyone. He has a career in tv after hockey. And who picked out Weekes’ suit anyway?

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    Rating: +19 (from 31 votes)
    • Phileo99
      March 4, 2012

      during 2nd intermission, HNIC showed a highlight of Zack “Lucian” Kassian give a rather nasty werewolf snarl to a former Sabres teammate as he passed by the bench. Almost had me hurling my cocoa puffs, the way he is defending his pack ….

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      Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
      • Kate
        March 4, 2012

        Yes! That was hilarious, does anyone have a video or gif of this?

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        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. whisky jack
    March 4, 2012

    Buffalo Sabres came to town
    And put Vancouver three goals down
    So AV took Luongo out
    As if the game was still in doubt
    Or mayhap more was his intent
    To save Lu from embarrassment
    As three quick goals on seven shots
    Renewed for some past playoff thoughts

    The Sabres kept their hopes alive
    By playing more than fifty-five
    Which is how most fans will spin it
    Saying you must play ev’ry minute
    Or listening to the very few
    ‘Twas Cory three and Miller two

    Whisky Jack

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  10. Cathylu
    March 4, 2012

    Once we were down 0-3 I kinda got distracted and instead tried to find out how tall linesman Mike Cvik is (6’9″!) and look at twitpics of his giant skates. I do think Hodgson-gate probably was affecting some of the players, and I did hear them saying that Lu got nailed a couple of times during warmup with the puck – maybe he wasn’t feeling quite right. In any case I liked that we actually made an effort in the 2nd and 3rd to pull off a miracle. Congrats to Kass on his first goal.

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  11. sarah
    March 4, 2012

    The weirdest part of this game was after the 3rd Sabres goal when play carried on until a whistle, meaning that they had to replay that time following the goal. I like to think that it created an alternative timeline in which the Canucks won this game.

    Frustrating about those first 5-6 minutes. Without them, this game would have been one of the more entertaining of the year.

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    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
    • Amor de Cosmos
      March 4, 2012

      Maybe, but it could also have turned into the kind of low-scoring defensive battle we’ve become used to in the past few weeks. I actually enjoyed this game for that reason. It showed a side of the Nux we haven’t seen in a while, one that can push back hard when they’re several goals behind against one of the best goalies in the league.

      But, as was mentioned up top, I’m getting a teensie bit concerned about the Hank and Dan’s, lack of productivity. They had PPs tonight which usually kick them into their groove, but no. They don’t seem to be reading each other as well as they usually do. Are their spidey senses out of alignment or what?

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  12. JDM
    March 4, 2012

    While the first goal was one he should have had, the Canucks were completely out of whack right out of the gates. On the second goal Luongo made a ridiculous kick save to bail his team out. They then proceeded to completely fail to accept this new lease on life, allowing the Sabres to keep the puck in the zone and get it into a scoring area. This was not Luongo’s fault. Leave Luongo alone. Schneider, however, played very well for the remainder of the game. I would like to see even more of him in terms of starts down the stretch. Keeping guys fresh with little to no downside in quality of play is a good thing.

    Max Lapierre has suddenly decided he’s going to hit people. Constantly. And hard! The thing with Kassian is, some of his hits are mean, but a lot of them are pretty soft, like he’s pulling up. He needs to hit more like Max. Max’s hits have that satisfying “crunch” sound to them. He is setting the right example.

    I don’t know whether I like Kassian more on 4R being physical and keeping the puck along the boards in the offensive zone or on the 2nd line. Booth/Kesler/Kassian is definitely a 3-player shoot-first line, though. It worked yesterday, I expect we’ll see it for a few games. I just don’t know if he’s more effective in one role or the other. His play will determine that, I guess. MayRay would I think be better on 3 than 4 but I think in AV’s mind the Pahlsson line is set.

    Interesting to see lines 3 and 4 battle for supremacy. There’s not much to choose between them. But the last couple of games I have preferred Manny’s line. They are hittier and seem to get a disproportionate number of offensive zone finishes. Good little internal competition. Too bad Sami P didn’t get a shot at HIS first goal as a Canuck on the shorthanded break. My brain said tripping, my heart said PENALTY SHOT, the refs said “no no that’s totally fine”.

    Lastly, give MAG some time to find chemistry with the PP. They’ve been together for 2 years. He just got there last night. It’s gonna take a few practices and games to get up to speed. But that’s what the stretch drive is for when you’re leading your division by a million points.

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    Rating: +13 (from 19 votes)
    • The Bookie
      March 4, 2012

      Hmm, let’s see, could it be that Max Lapierre is suddenly going all out because he has someone on his wing who can actually defend him?

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      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  13. Steeeve
    March 4, 2012

    I understand that Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes have gotten better over time together as a tandem, but they really lack that big league excitement. Still too many errors, dead air, and awkward exchanges. Not to mention that they’re stiffer than a freshly starched Kevin Weekes suit.

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    Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)
    • John in Marpole
      March 4, 2012

      I can’t agree that Lee & Weekes have improved, to the contrary I think they are even worse than they were – and that takes some real doing.

      So bad, in fact, that I muted the HNIC audio and decided that the annoying lag between the 1040 audio and the HNIC visuals was much less irritating than LEe & Weekes.

      I highly recommend that everyone do the same.

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      Rating: +8 (from 14 votes)
      • Nee
        March 4, 2012

        Why, oh why, must Mark Lee always be SHOUTING?

        “Kesler takes the PASS FROM BOOTH, STREAKS UP THE MIDDLE, FIRES THE PUCK!!!!!……..but it goes wide, skims the boards, and out of the zone…..”

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        Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
        • Steeeve
          March 4, 2012

          His shouting seems meant to compensate for a lack of true color or feeling in his voice. Because his delivery really is just, so, B-O-R-I-N-G.

          Kevin Weekes is a work in progress, there is no doubt. He still fumbles and he does sound awfully stiff at times. But listen to him paired up with Scott Oake on After Hours, for instance, and its easy to see potential (different venue, granted).

          Its Mark Lee. He’s a veteran broadcaster that can’t even make the rookie color guy a little looser because he himself is so stiff.

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          Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      • Chazz Ranger
        March 4, 2012

        Couldn’t agree more. Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes make me want to punch babies. Actually, any game not voiced by Shorty and Garrett quickly irritates the hell out of me. Also, this.

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        Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
        • Chazz Ranger
          March 4, 2012

          My link doesn’t work? Lame.
          Explaining a joke makes it not funny, but the “this” was supposed to link to http://www.johngarrettdrinkinggame.com

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          Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
      • tj
        March 5, 2012

        Used to be, I thought the CBC had the best coverage of the games. They were the first to introduce multiple camera shots in hockey–a very revolutionary move at the time–and had the best analysts once upon a time (we all remember a time when Ron Maclean was actually respected).

        Watching this game I was struck by how amateurish the coverage seemed, like I was watching it on access cable. It sounded hollow, both in audio and in colour commentary. I even think they’re using one less camera. (Nothing, though, is as bad as the SNP cameraman who tries to follow the puck, swinging back and forth and making me dizzy every time he’s on. I do hope they remedy that.)

        Anyway, the rest of the regular season is CBC HNIC coverage (I suppose that’s why Seeking Stanley is on earlier this year). It’s going to be odd watching Canucks on CBC so much. Wonder if they’ll run out of nice things to say about them.

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        Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  14. CanuckFanInSF
    March 4, 2012

    I just love how how you’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink in Finding Kassian his nickname, D-Wag. Hilarious!

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  15. Phileo99
    March 4, 2012

    Here’s a telling stat:
    Canucks were a league leading 23.8% on the PP heading into the Bruins game, and now we have fallen to a rather pedestrian 21.0% on the PP. Although pinning the 1st unit woes onto the Sedins would be a bit unfair, as they were the ones that got us to 23.8%, but at the same time, the 1st unit lives and dies with the Sedins. They’ve got 16games to figure it out.
    I get that offense has fallen off league wide this season, but that just speaks to an ever increasing need for an effective 2nd Unit PP to relieve some of the pressure off the 1st unit. With the 1st unit sputtering, AV can’t just randomly throw players at the 2nd unit as an afterthought any more.
    I can’t disagree with sticking with the bread and butter 1st unit that got us to 23.8% (Edler/Salo/Sedins/Kess), but I think we should try Kass/Booth/Raymond/MAG/Hammer on the 2nd unit PP. Kass entrenched in front of the net is obvious, Booth is the shooter, and give Raymond a crack at QB’ing the PP. Hammer would be their to compensate for MAG’s roaming.

    Everyone is rooting for Kassian to become a permanent fixture on the 2nd line. I’m all for that, but if it does come to fruition, where does that leave Raymond? With 16 games left, it’s a problem that can’t be swept under the carpet any more.
    The problem is choice. We all know that Weise/Bitz can easily slot into the 4th line, AV has clearly expressed the need for a shutdown/checking line, so I can’t see moving Hansen/Higgins off the 3rd line.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  16. Lenny
    March 4, 2012

    What’s happening with the Sedins?? I thought we have 2 scoring lines after the trade deadline, but it looks as though we only have 1.

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  17. RG
    March 4, 2012

    …and Wagner’s favorite movie of all time must be Jurassic Park.

    By the way, I have no sympathy for the Sedins’ lack of scoring at the moment. They are expected to carry this team, and come through when the times are tough. Malkin and Stamkos are carrying their respective teams on their backs, so why not the Sedins? Time to step it up.

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    Rating: +6 (from 12 votes)
  18. rvtBC
    March 4, 2012

    I don’t mind Kassian moving up and down the lines but what’s AV thinking shelving Higgins on the checking line? He had good chemistry w/Kesler and Booth before. And Raymond is just taking up space on the 2nd line. I really liked the way Lappy and Kassian played together (and Manny – oh, poor Manny, where have you gone?).

    I think a good, balanced line configuration would be:
    1. Twins + Burr
    2. Higgins, Kesler + Booth
    3. Hansen, Sammy + Raymond
    4. Kassian, Lapierre + Maholtra/Weise/Bitz (if called up)

    The 3rd and 4th are really interchangeable in priority; just depends on the assignment.

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  19. Nick
    March 4, 2012

    Gragnani is one scary defenseman … like a Keith Ballard jonesing on crack

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
    • akidd
      March 4, 2012

      i heard mag was a converted forward. i’m not sure if he’s fully converted yet. i think he’s created a whole new position–berzerker. i imagine him loudly speaking in tongues and frothing at the mouth while he runs around on the pp. he’s completely off his rocker out there. it sure is a hoot watching him though.

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  20. Nee
    March 4, 2012

    Lu had a bad night, but he gets a pass, IMO. His stellar play (particularly during our slumping-ish Jan and Feb) has kept us in games and allowed us to win games when we weren’t playing very well.

    And Lu was very contrite after the game, taking responsibility for his play.

    So he gets a pass. He deserves it. He earned it.

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    Rating: +34 (from 34 votes)
  21. Brent
    March 4, 2012

    Very similar start for the Canucks this game as against the Blues. But this time the pucks were going in the net. Lou did look shaky on the first goal but not sure we can blame him for the next two, especially the third, that was a perfectly placed puck, so perfectly placed hardly anyone knew it was in. On the second he lost his stick when interfered with in the crease (I think it was a Buffalo player that got tangled up with it). Although in hind sight it looked bad flipping it out to Leino in most cases a canuck is supposed to have their man and move the puck out of harms way. Luongo is getting ravaged on the CBC post game comments, most people want him traded NOW. How short are their memories.

    I am completely over the Kassian-Cody trade now. Looks like Kassian will fit in now and will be able to contribute this playoffs. That has to be one of Booth’s best games. He seemed less one-dimentional and had better puck feel and play making ability. Lets just not talk about the empty net goal.

    Hoping they come out a little stronger at the beging of next game!

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  22. Amor de Cosmos
    March 4, 2012

    Lou’s brownouts are OK at the moment, because of where we are in the league, and we’ve also got the best back-up in the known universe to call on. But next season? Tough, tough decision for MG in the summer which ever way you cut it.

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  23. Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
    March 4, 2012

    One thing I tried to pay attention to, despite Mark Lee, was the impact Hodgson and Kassian had on the game, and I think Kassian won this round. Not just the goal and assist, but he seemed to be driving play more than Hodgson.

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  24. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 4, 2012

    Stojanov had a good couple of shifts to offset his otherwise very pedestrian effort yesterday. They cut out before the 3 star selection on my blurry stream of questionable legality, but was Kassian actually named 3rd star? Less than 11 minutes of icetime, and full value for his -2 earlier in the game. Then he takes a wiffleball of a shot that Miller mishandled for no apparent reason, and Booth popped it in. On his goal, I’ll give him credit for going to the right place at the right time, sure. But those plays are hardly enough to anoint him the next Bertuzzi in my view.

    I was left asking, like a scientist without enough sodium hydroxide to titrate his buffered acidic solution, “where’s the chemistry”? (ok that was bad, but the best I could come up with) You start shaking up your lineup at the deadline and you look like a team out of sorts. One of the league’s best power plays has been completely reworked with Gragnani, and predictably, it’s been unimpressive to say the least. The guy seems completely unaware that he is, in fact, a defenceman.

    I will concede that after the first 5 minutes yesterday, the Canucks were the better team in this game. But I still think the team looks easier to play against than they were a week ago.

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    • Lenny
      March 4, 2012

      The jury is still out. Give them 10 games or so and we’ll see then.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 4, 2012

        Let’s hope those 10 games don’t contain enough growing pains losses to alter playoff positioning.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 4, 2012

      Kassian was named first star, which means we won the trade. THAT IS WHAT THAT MEANS.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 4, 2012

        Really? That’s an absolute travesty. David Booth was spectacular yesterday, easily the best player for either team. 3 star selection in Vancouver needs a little bit of work, IMHO.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          March 4, 2012

          It’s also completely meaningless. So…y’know.

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        • Nee
          March 4, 2012

          Pretty homer-ific star rating, but then again, they always are. They’re chosen by the media guys, and usually the home broadcast crew, if I’m not mistaken.

          Case in point: Kassian got a star last game too. Now, his physical effort was pretty nice against St. Louis, but that’s a wee bit silly.

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          • Frank Nelissen
            March 5, 2012

            Funny though that the CBC would be the homers in this case then. Cheech and Shorty are normally very fair in choosing the 3 stars and will give them to members of the opponents team if and when earned! As it should be.

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  25. akidd
    March 4, 2012

    is someone gonna stick up for lou here? first goal was a changeup(i believe) 2nd was a scramble/bounce. the 3rd was labelled. someone has to make post-game excuses since lou won’t (and ron wilson is now out of the league.)

    there’s a lot of luck in hockey. the canuck goalies haven’t had much of the bad variety in a long time and were due. lou is still team mvp but…what has he done for us lately?:)

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  26. akidd
    March 4, 2012

    and man, was i ever impressed with kassian on ‘after hours’. somebody better check his birth certificate because i just can’t figure how someone who just turned 21 can seem so smart, composed and mature. at a glance he seems to have at least all the ‘character’ of coho, with more truthfulness. good stuff indeed.

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    • Steeeve
      March 4, 2012

      Just less toothfulness. ZING.

      Its all facade. He sure licks his upper lip a lot. Tell-tale sign of a maniac.

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      • akidd
        March 4, 2012

        good one,steve! somewhere on a language blog they’re making hockey jokes.

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        • Nee
          March 4, 2012

          He does seem to be very mature, especially considering what I knew of him before he came here (suspensions). When that’s all I know of a player, it got me a bit worried.

          I was quite impressed. He could use a little grooming from Juice to become a suave interviewee, but I thought he acquitted himself quite well in his first time representing the team in the national spotlight.

          And I like that he said that his family is just supportive/happy for him regardless, and doesn’t get involved in the hockey ops side of things. Nice difference from Cody, who many sources had suggested had a very active father (and agent) behind the scenes.

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  27. mikulpepper
    March 4, 2012

    Am I the only person that noticed how Vigneault was shaking up the defense pairings? He’s looking for a partner for Gragnani, I guess, but breaking up Salo/Edler and Bieksa/Hamhuis seems a bit off. So far I’m not a Granny fan; I’d rather see Tanev or Alberts. Maybe that will change as Gragnani learns the system.

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    • J21
      March 4, 2012

      I think Gragnani-Tanev would work for much the same reasons Ballard-Tanev does. Gragnani-Rome, by contrast, is a disaster waiting to happen.

      I remain certain that Vigneault will play Gragnani ahead of Ballard in the playoffs (and Rome ahead of both), and I think this is ridiculous, all things considered.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        March 5, 2012

        I think it might be a little soon to say that Gragnani slots into the lineup ahead of Ballard, considering Ballard is currently on Injured Reserve. I think we’re just seeing some experimentation right now with Gragnani to see where he fits. It could be that Gragnani settles into a role on the bottom pairing or it could be that he ends up heading down to the AHL. I think it’s too early to judge how AV will treat him. I’d say it’s even too easy to judge how Gragnani will play.

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  28. J21
    March 4, 2012

    An Almost Live! reference?! Holy crap, I love this blog even more. I didn’t even think you guys were old enough to appreciate those wonderful 30 minutes of television. Thanks, Simile School!

    Not to diminish his rather emphatic performance, but Kassian — shouldn’t it be “Kassablanca” rather than the traditional spelling, by the way? — was also something of a goat on the first goal. Not that that goal should ever go in on anyone (save perhaps Bob Mason during spot injury replacement duty in the 1990-91 season), but the play only started because Kassian decided to watch rather than attack the puck right as it was approaching the blue line.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2012

      I love Almost Live! and Bill Nye the Science Guy. King 5 still airs re-runs of Almost Live! after SNL on Saturday nights.

      And I made sure to note Kassian’s defensive failure on that first goal. I’d say there’s plenty of responsibility to go around on that one, as the Canucks failed to clear the zone a few times prior to that.

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      • tj
        March 5, 2012

        My understanding is they’ve not had a full practice as a team with the new players yet (or hadn’t, by Saturday night). Not sure if that’s true, but some of the bad gaffes could be attributed to not having found a rhythm yet, too.

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