I Watched This Game: Canucks at Dallas Stars, March 22, 2012

With Duncan Keith scheduled to go before the Shanaban committee Friday afternoon for his elbow on Daniel Sedin, the Canucks flew into Dallas on Thursday with one goal and one goal only: play a hapless, soulless, sad-sack game of hockey that underscored just how vital Daniel was to their identity and how badly they missed him.

But, as usual, they choked. Led by a two-point night from Mason Raymond, who can never do anything right, the Canucks scored more goals than the Dallas Stars like idiots, winning the game and giving everyone — the Department of Player Safety included, unfortunately — the impression that they might survive without Daniel in the short-term. It was an unacceptable effort, since the team was supposed to be playing without any effort at all. Instead, they screwed up big-time and played a sound road game. And speaking of sound, I listened to this game. While I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 1 Stars

  • Here’s a sentence I never expected to write: with Daniel Sedin sidelined, Mason Raymond replaced him and the line didn’t miss a beat. Raymond played his best game in months, picking up a goal and an assist. The goal, which saw Vancouver open the scoring for the 50th time this season, was the result of a fabulous pass from Henrik Sedin, who did well to move the puck from the boards to an unguarded Raymond at the side of the net. But there were two other great efforts on the play: Zack Kassian screened Kari Lehtonen so well that the Stars’ netminder didn’t even see Henrik pass the puck. Also, Dan Hamhuis did well to lift his right leg to facilitate the pass, a move he learned on the open road. Nobody eases off the gas to let cars into the lane like Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis.
  • Man alive, did Shorty ever botch the call on Raymond’s goal. He calls Raymond Hamhuis. He calls Hamhuis Booth. And I couldn’t believe it when he said Flergh! instead of Scores!
  • If you’re wondering why Raymond was left wide open at the side of the goal for three whole seconds, you’re not alone. You can see Glen Gulutzan thinking the same thing at 0:15, complete with a disapproving “WTF.”
  • Raymond and Sedin would connect a second time, setting up Kevin Bieksa for what turned out to be the game-winner. Having enjoyed passing the puck through a defender’s legs so much on the first goal, Henrik does the same thing here, making a wizardous pass through Adam Pardy’s skates to Raymond. But Henrik’s not done victimizing Pardy, as he follows Raymond into the zone, then cuts through the middle of the ice, drawing both Pardy and Radek Dvorak out of the lane. This leaves it clear for Raymond to find Bieksa, who fires once, then picks up his own rebound and buries it like Louis Creed resurrecting his son at the Pet Sematery.
  • I think “picks up his own rebound” should be a flattering euphemism for going back to an ex-girlfriend.
  • Cory Schneider was excellent tonight, stopping all 25 shots he faced, including an early flurry of chances in the 1st to rob Mike Ribeiro of a multi-point night. He also stymied Ribeiro on a penalty shot in the second to remain a perfect 5-for-5 on penalty shots in his career. It’s worth asking if Schneider is the best one-on-one. The other candidate? The 1982 Hall & Oates classic. Tough call. Hall & Oates are soft rock legends.
  • Sadly, the Stars took 26 shots in this game. Schneider wasn’t in goal for a Vernon Fiddler shot, you see, having ventured behind the net to make a play with the puck then fanning on it and falling down. What could make Schneider do these things? Perhaps he and Mason Raymond underwent a body swap, like in Freaky Friday (1976), Prelude to a Kiss, The Hot Chick, Freaky Friday (1995), The Change-Up, Goosebumps novels “Why I’m Afraid of Bees”, “The Barking Ghost”, “Switched”, Freaky Friday (2003), or the “Body Swap” episode of Red Dwarf?
  • Schneider is a fabulous goaltender, but his puck-handling still needs some serious work. At this point, he is where Roberto Luongo was when he first arrived in Vancouver: abysmal. The Canucks should see about imprisoning him in one of those invisible boxes sorcerers trap mimes in occasionally.
  • Speaking of Vern Fiddler, has he become the Canucks’ greatest frenemy, the Shane O’Brien to their Alex Burrows? It’s clear everyone in the locker room hates him, but he always seems to make then laugh. And speaking of other hateable guys, is it any wonder Maxim Lapierre is the guy more NHLers would like to punch than any other? He does everything with that big, maniacal grin of his. He’s like the Joker on ice. I fully expect him to show up for a game in a purple tail suit flanked by a girl in a spandex jester outfit.
  • Alex Burrows needs to pull a Keyser Soze and come up with a sympathetic alter ego, because the dude gets penalties just for being himself.
  • And finally, while I suspect the Canucks are still trying to avoid blocking shots wherever possible, Alex Burrows really wanted this one, throwing himself in front of a puck in the dying seconds to seal the win. Can you imagine if he had gotten hurt there? Yeah, great meaningless two points guys! Oh, by the by, I shattered my ankle in several places to secure it.
  • Alain Vigneault and Rick Bowness have been working through some alternate defensive combinations of late, and the one they refuse to let fail is Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa. Tonight, for the first time that I’ve ever seen, it worked, which is a positive sign for the defensive core. If injuries force the Canucks to go to that pairing in the playoffs, it won’t look like ass. Hooray!
  • According to the scoresheet, Alex Edler took and lost a defensive zone faceoff to Mike Ribeiro 3:30 into the second period. Since this would have basically negated everything we’ve ever told you about Alain Vigneault caring strongly about who takes those, I checked. It was Samme Pahlsson. The scorekeeper must have written 23 instead of 26. On the bright side, according to the scoresheet, Pahlsson went 2-for-2 against Ribeiro in the defensive zone. Oh, what’s that? He actually lost one? No, you’re thinking of Alex Edler, that bungling clown.
  • Finally, Henrik Sedin had a brutal night in the faceoff circle, going 2-for-14. Aw, he misses Daniel.
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43 comments

  1. Shade of Blue
    March 23, 2012

    *If watching the occasional game from the press box leads to this kind of game from Raymond, AV ought to sit him out more frequently.

    *Hansen had another strong game. I thought he played one of his best games as a Canuck in Chicago (and not just because he hit one of the Hawks hard enough to knock a pane of glass into the expensive seats).

    *Aside from the cock-up trying to play the puck behind the net, Schneider was great. After the stellar performance from Luogno in the previous game, I’ve got to say I’m feeling good about the Canucks goaltending right now. Indeed, Canucks fans have never had it so good in goal. And my god, we have so often had it so, so much worse.

    *Twice when the Canucks turned the puck over in the Stars’ end, the play looked to be heading back up ice when Gragnani jumped up, grabbed the puck, and moved back towards the Dallas net. High risk, but potentially high reward plays that require an excellent read on the play. Tonight was the first time watching him play where I’ve thought…this could be interesting to watch this kid develop.

    *I, too, liked that the experimenting with the defensive pairings seems to be paying off. Thinking of the last 10 games or so as an extended tune-up/game-situation prep for the playoffs has kept me from flipping the ottoman (I don’t have a pool in the living room) while watching the games. I did swear rather louder than I intended when Chicago scored in OT the other night.

    *For a night when they would have been forgiven a lackluster performance — second night of a back-to-back, third road game in four nights, playing without one of the top line guys — the team put in a pretty awesome performance. I’m glad IWTG.

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    • Shand
      March 23, 2012

      IWTG within the IWTG

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    • Canuck In Oz
      March 23, 2012

      Reading your comment about the goaltending…I completely agree with you. I think Schnieder & Lu can do great things in the months ahead. But reading your summary, I realized something that will stop me from being such an angry man. For most of the time, anyway. I’ve made mention before on these pages about my hatred for the knuckleheads on Facebook etc that continuously call Cory the second coming of Ken Dryden and call for Lu to be traded to…well, somewhere else. But I realized…they at an age where they don’t know any better. Do they really remember the days of Frank Caprice? Cory Hirsch? Troy Gamble? They don’t know how good they’ve got it now.

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      • hockeyispretty
        March 23, 2012

        In the pre-game summary for the Stars game, the Canucks’ own website wrote: “They are also receiving inconsistent play in net from Roberto Luongo, who suffered his fourth straight loss Wednesday. ” and “With Luongo slumping, Vancouver could turn Thursday to Cory Schneider.” No one who watched that game could think he’s in a slump… could they? Sigh.

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      • Superreggie
        March 23, 2012

        Dan Cloutier! Ugh the pain!

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        • eastvanhalen
          March 24, 2012

          Bah, Cloutier wasn’t a bad goalie. Potvin, on the other hand…shudder.

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      • Shade of Blue
        March 23, 2012

        * No kidding. The Canucks have had long stretches where the net was a revolving door of inconsistency and awfulness.

        * John Garrett was considered a big deal when he started playing with the Canucks — I remember a friend sending me a letter with a hand drawn picture of Garrett’s mask — and Garrett was an upgrade on Bromley, but he was no Dryden. http://www.gameworn.org/garrett/mask.html

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      • Shade of Blue
        March 23, 2012

        “the knuckleheads on Facebook etc that continuously call Cory the second coming of Ken Dryden”

        *I like Schneider — a lot — but I watched Dryden play; Dryden was one of my first hockey heroes; Schneider is no Ken Dryden.
        *Dryden had the 1970s era Canadiens in front of him, which often allowed him to stand in front of his crease with his arms folded on top of his stick. But he was an amazing goalie. He had almost as many shutouts (46) as losses (57) during his 397-game career.
        *He played a handful of games late in the 70-71 season, then won the Conn Smythe in leading the Habs to the Stanley Cup.
        *He won the Calder the next season (his first).
        *He followed that up with 5 Vezinas and 5 more Stanley Cups

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        • Canuck In Oz
          March 23, 2012

          Like you, Dryden was one of my favorite players when I was growing up…despite the fact that I was following Vancouver – hey, I was 8, he shared my birthday and I hadn’t learned the concept of other team = puppy killers. I used Dryden’s name only as an example of the stunning lack of logic that some of our fellow Canuck fanatics use in their misguided arguments of why Cory is going to lead us to the Promised Land, and Luongo couldn’t lead us to the toilets.

          Dryden used to lean on his stick, apparently, as a big middle finger to the opposition, and basically say, that’s all you’ve got? Maybe Lu could do something like that…hmmm…

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    • J21
      March 23, 2012

      If watching the occasional game from the press box leads to this kind of game from Raymond, AV ought to sit him out more frequently.

      I was waiting for someone to say this, but it doesn’t really hold water. If Raymond’s problems were an effort thing, OK, maybe. But no one accused him of not trying — they just wanted him out of the lineup because he was ineffective.

      I didn’t see much of this game, but I assume the only real difference is this time a couple of chances came to fruition.

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    • Superreggie
      March 23, 2012

      You know, I wouldn’t have read this if it wasn’t for those little stars at the beginning of each paragraph.

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  2. Brandon
    March 23, 2012

    Has there ever been a line of more contrasting players than Sedin, Raymond, Kassian? I feel like they should throw these guys in a house and make it a sitcom.

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    • Lenny
      March 23, 2012

      Raymond = Chandler Bing

      Henrik = Ross Geller

      Kassian = Joey Tribbiani

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  3. hockeyispretty
    March 23, 2012

    I Watched This Game with the Dallas commentators. My hat’s off to them – I think they’re even better than our guys, the best I’ve heard. They were as balanced as any I’ve ever heard, and genuinely appreciative of wizardous Sedin saucer pass on the first goal, which is really gracious. Also very funny guys: “Weiss acted like the ice was a trampoline!” “Sami Salo has that elephant gun shot from a distance” etc. And even when a soft call goes in their favour, they’ll say outright it was a bit soft, which always gets my respect.

    Great IWTG too, but why no mention of how we’re slowly improving from being soft pansy-*ss whiners to being violent hardened criminal-minded goons (which, I’m told, is far superior)? Was really impressed with Weise’s fight, how he kept getting up and definitely held his own, and Jannik Hansen delighted and amazed us all when he suddenly calmly decided he must be in a fight since he kept getting hit in the head and should therefore start swinging. JANNIK HANSEN. He did not do badly at all. I love how the refs decided everyone should pretend it’s a roughing call on both sides. No fight here, no sirree. Like when a senile granny lets out a big string of curse words at Christmas dinner and everyone just pretends not to hear.

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    • Chinstrap Joe
      March 23, 2012

      Daryl Reaugh (who was working last night on the Fox Sports broadcast and a Prince George native) is the finest color commentator since Harry Neale. The CBC should make it manditory for their on-air apprentices to sit in a room and listen to him for the whole summer. Whenever I turn on a game and see he is in the booth, I know it will be an entertaining night, no matter what happens on the ice.

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      • Lenny
        March 23, 2012

        Apprentices? Half of them working there now should learn from the guys in Dallas.

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  4. hockeyispretty
    March 23, 2012

    Unsung hereo of the last 2 games = Pahlsson? I’m really impressed with how he’s meshed here & his unexpected contributions offensively.

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    • akidd
      March 23, 2012

      sammy went 13-3 in the faceoff circle vs. the hawks. he ate kane for breakies.

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  5. hockeyispretty
    March 23, 2012

    I love Schneider. I do. Now, does anyone else find that his sick save at 1:08 makes them think of playing games as a kid when someone goes “bang, bang, you’re dead!” and you fling yourself on your back and stick out your arms and legs to show how dead you are? I knkow, I know, classic snow angel save position. Still – bwa ha ha!

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  6. WorldTravels
    March 23, 2012

    Without a doubt, the Dallas commentators are the funniest guys in the business! I was unable to get their feed tonight, but I literally watch as many Dallas games as I can – just to hear them yak it up.

    I’m not sure who they are, or what their names are, but I laugh every time. They have their own brand of language and wording to apply to any scenario. I should keep a running quote log of these guys, best one liners out there.

    Great stuff Dallas commentators!

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  7. hockeyispretty
    March 23, 2012

    Their names are Ralph and Razor. They’re awesome.

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    • J21
      March 23, 2012

      “Razor” in this case is Daryl “Ray” Reaugh, right? Learn to pronounce your own name!

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  8. akidd
    March 23, 2012

    thanks for the hall and oates link. now THAT’s a drum machine.

    and you can tell lappierre is gearing up for the playoffs because his eyes have changed from run-of-the-mill insane to completely-raving insane. that look has gotta scare some guys. to complete the package i suggest he chant, “all work and no play” while chasing guys down in the corner.

    and kudos for the schneider ‘proper recognitions’. way to lay off the mute button. agreed on the mime prison too. i think when gillis suggested getting rid of the trapezoid what he wanted was NO legal area behind the goal-line where goalies could play the puck.

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  9. Brent
    March 23, 2012

    Thanks for the IWTG since I didn’t watch this game, so just watched the replays provided. Any chance Fidler knocked Schnider down? Hard to tell on the reply.

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    • hockeyispretty
      March 23, 2012

      He definitely touched him on the shoulder, but Schneider was already out and headed down. I thought it wasn’t worth a call.

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  10. Daniel W.
    March 23, 2012

    Turns out I may have to watch a Stars game – Wow, never thought I’d say that!

    On an unrelated note: I can’t help but wonder what the outburst would’ve been if Luongo had made the same (admittedly only) mistake Schneider made in this game!

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  11. Warpstone
    March 23, 2012

    In soccer, what Henrik did to Pardy is known as a “Nutmeg” :D

    Since we’re in experimentation time, I would really love to see Kassian parked in the blue paint for at least a few powerplay shifts. It’s not that I expect him to become a PP key, but having a changeup tactic–especially once shot blocking becomes more prevalent in the playoffs–would be very handy.

    BTW, Gragnani had a pretty solid game playing on the right-side if I barely noticed him. Didn’t pinch too deep and seemed to play it simple in his own end.

    P.S. did anyone else catch how the 1st intermission Sportsnet panel seemed completely oblivious to how Hodgson asked his way out of Vancouver? Marek has gone on record a few times to say he loves the kid, but are you seriously going to still make a big deal of the trade when the player you’re gushing about is understood to have been so self-interested that he squandered a cup run for more minutes this year?

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  12. J21
    March 23, 2012

    It’s worth asking if Schneider is the best one-on-one. The other candidate?

    According to George Michael lyrics, it’s “sex”.

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  13. Nee
    March 23, 2012

    “And I couldn’t believe it when he said Flergh! instead of Scores!”

    Okay, this is one of your funnier IWTG’s in quite awhile. I LOL-ed many times. Nicely done.

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  14. Zach Morris
    March 23, 2012

    Good guy Schneider: lets in a stupid goal to remind us that Luongo isn’t the only goalie in the universe who has mental lapses

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  15. Cathylu
    March 23, 2012

    I watched this game AT the game. It was my first time in Dallas at the AAC. I thought the beginning of the game seemed like a replay of the night before in Chicago. But then the fights started. Holy cow, I thought we weren’t ever going to get back to actually playing some hockey (though good for Jannick – he definitely needed to respond to being punched in the head ). Cory was great except for that one little incident. I liked the way he talked about it after the game, the “oh crap” moment when he watched the puck go in. It was a messy game but 2 points is good. And after following the team on the road for the past 3 games I’m worn out. Back to my sofa for Saturday’s game.

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    • Frank N
      March 23, 2012

      Just imaging having to play hockey too! ;-)

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      • cathylu
        March 23, 2012

        I know! But they’re young and in great shape and I’m old enough to be their mom (well, most of them).

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  16. peanutflower
    March 23, 2012

    The two older women at the end of the rink are an embarrassment to the sisterhood. Who buys tickets to a game with the express purpose of standing up and pounding the glass every few seconds? They looked ridiculous. What is the thought process behind that?

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    • Shade of Blue
      March 23, 2012

      What is it with the people who pound on the glass like they’re trapped and trying to escape from a velociraptor every time the play happens to be near by? Have people always done this? Or am I only noticing it now because I’m becoming a grumpy, old because they’ve placed the microphones at rink level (often on top of the glass) which means it gets picked up more on the broadcasts?

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    • hockeyispretty
      March 23, 2012

      The worst was some game back in January when this one woman kept screaming. Giving women at hockey games a bad name! About every thirty seconds, just a high pitched puck bunny scream of excitement. I wanted to beat her with my handbag until I was perfectly sure she was dead. And I wasn’t even there.

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  17. Andre
    March 23, 2012

    How does “picks up his own rebound” not rank as one of Harrison’s most memorable metaphors??? It is far less cryptic, far more visually rich than most he comes up with. We cannot leave such talented wit under-appreciated.

    As for Raymond, there seems to be a tangible difference in his play. Maybe a confidence boost was all he needed, along with an admonishment to not “over-try” but to simply let his talent shine through.

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  18. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 23, 2012

    Happy Freaky Friday everyone…do you think they might eventually stop making remakes of that stupid movie over and over again?

    The last time we’ve seen goalie goofs of that magnitude was during Cory Schneider’s effort in game 6 against Chicago last year. For all the talk about the Canucks coughing up a 3-0 lead in that series, Vancouver was the far better team in that game but for a couple of puckhandling miscues by Cory, and an OT goal past a cold Luongo. As far as I can tell, the only glaring weakness in his game at this point.

    We all know what Mason Raymond is capable of. But I thought Henrik Sedin also put forth a very solid effort again yesterday (albeit not in the faceoff circle). His Hart Trophy cred a few seasons ago came from a stretch of games where he shone without Daniel and asserted his ability as an elite individual player: perhaps he can re-harness that for the playoffs, when hopefully Daniel Sedin can come back no worse for wear. *Fingers crossed* And maybe the solution of playing the Sedin twins separately when they’re in a slump just to wean them from an occasionally occurring excess of co-dependence is the tonic against some of these periodic funks they go through. Though admittedly, it’s been only one game.

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  19. SteveB
    March 23, 2012

    I watched this game too and really enjoyed the camera work and shot choices by the director.
    The main camera position was like sitting in the ‘good seats’ and the close-ups were great.
    A nice change from the usual view where you see the first 50 rows of spectators and a rink that looks the size of a basketball court.

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  20. Nick
    March 23, 2012

    Cory Schneider is now second overall in save percentage at .934

    There’s not enough games left for Cory to catch Elliot before season’s end, but he’s got a good shot at beating out Lundqvist for #2 in the league.

    Very cool !

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  21. the real bob
    March 23, 2012

    the way they were out for blood, you could have sworn each Dallas player was wearing a Chicago #2 Jersey.

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  22. Nick
    March 23, 2012

    5 games for Keith seems too light … particularly if Daniel misses significant time

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  23. Jay bouw
    March 23, 2012

    You guys gotta be careful with the “leg up learned on the road” comments. I had a brief flash of Hamhuis flashing some skin on the side of the road to catch a lift. Maybe I’m just twisted that way, but the image of the “community man” in that pose was undeniably scarring. With great power comes great responsibility…

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