On Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t travel to Nashville to face the Suter-less Predators. They didn’t dole out the usual clichés about playing a simple road game and getting in on the forecheck. They didn’t show the game on TSN, Sportsnet Pacific, or Sportsnet One.
On the plus side, Henrik Sedin didn’t suffer a career-ending injury, Zack Kassian didn’t get suspended for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs for roundhouse-kicking Ryan Ellis in the face, and Cory Schneider didn’t come to blows with Alain Vigneault in the dressing room, leading to Schneider being traded to the Blackhawks just one day after Luongo was traded to the Leafs, leaving the Canucks with just Eddie Lack between the pipes.
All of those things would have surely happened during this game, if not for the lockout. I didn’t watch this game.
Canucks 0 – 0 Predators
I don’t have any highlights to show you, so instead you get a video that visually explains why Dubstep exists. The third dancer in the trio is Cyrus, who was the runner-up in the most recent season of So You Think You Can Dance. You will likely see him everywhere very soon.
Many fans are filling the Canucks void by playing EA’s NHL 13 or, if they’re following along with Wyatt Arndt’s fake season, watching a computer play NHL 13. I, however, do not own a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, so I don’t have NHL 13. What I do have is a Nintendo Wii and a copy of NHL 2K11. It is not very good.
I am clearly a glutton for punishment, as I have played through several seasons as the Canucks in franchise mode in NHL 2K11, cussing up a storm the entire time. Whether it’s my AI teammates pulling up at the offensive blue line while on a 2-on-1 or a defenceman pinching down the boards while the puck is in the neutral zone, the only Canucks hockey that has graced my television is frustrating beyond belief. So, in many ways, it feels just like a normal Canucks season.
Fortunately, the lousy AI extends to the general managers, who allowed me to constantly fleece the rest of the league in the trade market. My current Canucks team has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, and Tobias Enstrom and every season I sign useless free agents and trade them to the worst teams in the league for their first round draft picks. I am utterly shameless.
Right around this time last year was when the first sign of the trends that would define the rest of the season would occur, particularly weak second periods. It looks like that won’t be stopping any time soon, if the Bieksa’s Buddies game was any indication. After splitting the first period 3-3, they gave up 4 unanswered goals in the middle frame. They need to figure out how to give the second period more attention before it develops middle child syndrome. You love the third period more than me, admit it!
Almost exactly a year ago, the Canucks faced the Predators for the first time in the 2011-12 season and dominated, scoring 4 goals on Pekka Rinne in the first period, chasing him from the net, and coasting to an easy 5-1 victory. There are no guarantees that would have happened again in their first meeting of the 2012-13 season, but it definitely would have happened exactly like that. The lockout stole a 5-1 beatdown of the Predators from you, Canucks fans. May I recommend a stupid and completely meaningless gesture? No. No, I may not.
The main thing I wanted to see in this game is how well Shea Weber would perform minus his normal partner, Ryan Suter. I remember reading a short story when I was younger in the vein of a Matt Christopher novel, where the top team in some generic Junior league eagerly drafted a hotshot offensive defenceman, while the “good guys” drafted his longtime D-partner and best friend who was completely unheralded. The hotshot completely fell apart in his rookie season and the “good guys” grudgingly traded for the bust, stuck him back with his best friend, and magically got the hotshot back. Turned out he needed his steady, stay-at-home D-partner to enable his much more flashy game. In my mind, the same thing is going to happen to Weber, as he suddenly turns into a poor man’s Keith Ballard without Suter around.
You remember Matt Christopher novels, right? I exhausted the local libraries collection of them as a kid. They were terribly formulaic and frequently got bogged down in the minutiae of games, but they were a quick read and revelled in sports and what they mean to kids. I devoured them and still get nostalgic about them from time to time. I’m actually afraid to go back and read them now, because I know they won’t measure up to what I remember. If the season gets cancelled, however, I’m doing it. I’ll get a big tub of ice cream and a stack of Matt Christopher novels and eat and read away my grief.
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