I Didn’t Watch This Game: Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers, October 13, 2012

The start of the NHL season is a magical time: hope springs eternal, as even the worst teams in the NHL can put together a couple early victories and leave their fans convinced that this is the year the turn-around begins. Speaking of the worst teams in the NHL, the Canucks were scheduled to play the Oilers on Saturday night.

It was also set to be the first Hockey Night in Canada of the year, with eager fans tuning in to see Don Cherry not mention the Canucks at all. It would also be the first Don Cherry suit of the season and, perhaps more importantly, the first Kevin Weekes suit of the season. I suspect it would have been baby blue, with a smidge of dark brown.

Fans were deprived of such glorious sights by the NHL lockout. Instead of watching the Canucks take on the Oilers, I played road hockey for hours in the pouring rain and now I have a cold. Thanks a lot, lockout. I didn’t watch this game.

Canucks 0 – 0 Oilers

  • There are no highlights from the first HNIC Canucks game of the season, so I instead present this video of the fever dream that was “Hockey Scores,” an entry into the HNIC anthem contest that was both the worst and most popular entry of the lot.
  • While this game would have been the second for the Canucks, it was the Oilers’ season opener, which means we missed the opportunity to see the first career NHL game for both Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz. Since Yakupov has been compared to Pavel Bure by some scouts, it would have been intriguing to see him make his debut in Vancouver. As for Shultz, after he spurned an offer from the Canucks to instead sign in Edmonton, it would have been nice to see what all the fuss was about. Is Schultz a hot fuss, like The Killers debut album, or a hot mess, like every other Killers album?
  • Losing the start of the season may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Canucks, as the news was made official that both Jason Garrison and Alex Edler are injured. That’s both members of the Canucks’ second defence pairing gone, leaving Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev to play big minutes in their absence. In the meantime, Andrew Alberts would be relied upon to anchor the bottom pairing alongside one of Kevin Connauton, Yann Sauve, or Adam Polasek. If that prospect doesn’t terrify you, then you overrate the prospects of the Canucks’ prospects.
  • Another blessing: not having to hear the same Canucks fans who complained about Alain Vigneault giving Aaron Rome more ice time than Keith Ballard complaining that Gillis didn’t re-sign Rome, leaving the Canucks’ thinner than the plot of 50 Shades of Grey on defence.
  • With Ryan Kesler out as well, 3/5ths of the Canucks’ first-unit powerplay would be on the IR right now, assuming that Garrison and his Salo-lite slap shot were put on the first unit right away. This would leave the Sedins with Alex Burrows up front, with the reliable pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa on the point. The second unit would combine Jordan Schroeder at centre with David Booth, Chris Higgins, Keith Ballard, and Kevin Connauton. Two games into the season, the Canucks would have yet to score a powerplay goal, leading to the early murmurs of discontent that could lead to full-blown, pool-flipping panic.
  • With the powerplay struggling, Canucks fans would start to point fingers: is it the Sedins’ fault as the only remaining members of the first-unit? Is it Newell Brown’s fault for his stale schemes? Is it Gillis’s fault for trading away Cody Hodgson? Is it the fan’s fault for being so loyal that the Canucks take them for granted and don’t feel any pressure to score on the powerplay? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, yes.
  • Technically, Garrison, Edler, and Kesler are the only current members of the Vancouver Canucks as they cannot be locked out while injured and unfit to play. Makes me wonder how that trio would match up against other team’s non-lockedout players. I suspect they’d dominate, though they might need to injure one of Schneider or Luongo to shore up their goaltending situation.
  • The Oilers may have one of the most exciting cadres of top-six forwards in the league, what with Yakupov joining Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ales Hemsky, and Sam Gagner, but they still have a questionable defence corps and an unproven Devan Dubnyk in net. I figure the Canucks take this one, even missing an entire pairing on defence, with Cory Schneider standing butterflying tall and allowing just one goal, while Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian score a greasy goal each in a tight, hard-fought, and entertaining game. Too bad we missed it.
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  1. Zach Morris
    October 14, 2012

    So, basically, our defence is still better than the Oilers’.

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  2. Zach Morris
    October 14, 2012

    And even during the lockout, Cherry is still not mentioning the Canucks, so take solace

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  3. jenny wren
    October 14, 2012

    The NHL can go to hell:
    There’s baseball and the NFL;
    The Chiefs are home in Chilliwack;
    And World Cup Soccer’s coming back.
    The only thing that is a shame:
    I cannot read, “I Watched This Game.”

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    • Kenji
      October 15, 2012

      yeah rationalize and make excuses
      drown old sorrow in new juices
      give Faceoff a colder shoulder
      let my Hockey Newses moulder

      wash my hands and say that’s that
      embrace the pigskin, ball and bat

      but still…I miss the stick and puck
      and thus, can take a flying (leap)

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  4. Brent
    October 14, 2012

    So do you guys still get paid?

    Not saying that I was not entertained by the game that never was.

    On a totally unrelated note, can’t the players and the owners just split the difference? I think that would work out to about 50-50. Then they could sacrifice Bettman to the Volcano God and start the season. Everyone would go home happy. Well except maybe for Bettman., but I could live with that.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 14, 2012

      Thing is, neither the players nor the owners think that 50-50 is a fair split.

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      • Brent
        October 14, 2012

        True, but when there is a negotiation you never get everything you want, unless you are bargaining from a position of strength. I don’t think either side has the “strength” they think.

        Just tell them to end it, and spilt it 50-50. I know you have pull.

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        • James W.
          October 14, 2012

          I think both sides know a 50/50 split is inevitable – look at the nba.

          The difficulty is getting there – the owners want it now, while the players want it gradual, to ease the damage. Keep in mind that just because someone is signed for 4 million, it doesn’t mean they’re getting it. Part of their pay goes into escrow, and depending on league revenues, they may not get all of it back – or they might get more on top it.

          One major contention between both sides is how hockey related revenue is defined. Sure, jersey sales and tickets are included, but what about team themed concession cups? Beer companies paying the nhl to include team hats in cases? From the owner’s side, operating expenses didn’t use to include personal chefs, sleep testing, hd scoreboard technicians.

          The point is – hrr needs to be redefined. The problem is that neither side will agree to a new hrr definition until they know what it will work out to for them, and neither side knows that because they don’t want to commit to a percentage, because they don’t know the new hrr definition. See the problem?

          The thing they’re gambling on is that the league will not only recover, but continue to grow when hockey is back. The longer the lockout goes on, the less likely growth will be, meaning everything will need to be renegotiated all over again.

          It’s frustrating as a fan to watch this happen, but I do understand why it is happening. It’s easy for us to say to just split it 50/50, but we, the owners, or the players don’t know what is actually being split, and we are the only group who doesn’t get a say in that.

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      • Brent
        October 16, 2012

        Way to go Daniel, I knew you had pull! 50-50 is on the table, although I suspect the devil is in the details.

        Great insight by the way James W! Enjoyed your post.

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  5. tom selleck's moustache
    October 14, 2012

    I guess a positive about the IDWTGs is that the Canucks can go 82-0 this season. I think the Sedin’s should break long standing records: Daniel scores 50 in 34 games, Henrik gets 164 assists, both end up with 216 points etc… Fun times.

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  6. Rituro
    October 15, 2012

    “Is Schultz a hot fuss, like The Killers debut album, or a hot mess, like every other Killers album?” I high-fived my monitor right there. Classic PITB.

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