I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks, January 19, 2013

As if you didn’t already feel sort of dirty about your unqualified excitement for Game 1 of the Canucks’ season following yet another NHL lockout, consider the following factoid from Matt Baker: the last time the Canucks opened their season against the Ducks was in 1997, in Tokyo, with Mark Messier scoring in a 3-2 win.

Disgusting, right? I mean… Tokyo. I’ve heard it’s very overpopulated.

I kid. Anyway, despite the fact that the Canucks iced Mark Messier, the 1997 home opener was a much more successful outing than this one. If you were, as mentioned, a little uncomfortable with your excitement heading into Saturday night’s affair, the Canucks did their best to stomp all of that passion right out for you, serving up one of the worst stinkers in recent memory. This game was so bad, I almost missed the lockout. Almost. As bad as it was, it was still Canucks hockey. The circumstances could be better, but for the first time in nine months, I’m pleased to say I watched this game:

Canucks 3 – 7 Ducks

  • No Mark Donnelly tonight, as Sarah McLachlan sang the anthem in his place. And then every Canucks fan was given an orphaned puppy, whether they wanted one or not!
  • Mason Raymond took his first spill only two minutes into the game. It might have annoyed some people, but I took it as a gesture to Canucks fans that this was still the team we know and love. Thanks, Raymond. It’s worth noting that this was pretty much the only time I noticed the second line tonight. They were so nonexistent, someone told Manti Te’o they died of leukemia midway through the second period, and he believed them.
  • You had to know the Canucks were going to be a little slow when the Sedins kept getting checked before they could make that final, nifty pass. It happened four or five times in the first ten minutes alone. Clearly, their brains were working a little faster than their bodies. They’d have been dynamite Saturday night if this entire game could have been played out virtually, like sex in Demolition Man.
  • The best Canuck on the ice: Dale Weise, who had 4 hits and 4 attempted shots, second-most among forwards. Either his Dutch league experience has given him a newfound confidence in his abilities or he’s just in better game shape because he played in actual games while most of the rest of his teammates just skated around in circles at UBC. It might be a little of both. Looking around the league, a lot of the guys that had good first nights played during the lockout. But Weise also looked stronger on the puck and more willing to go to the net. Granted, it was clear a few times that he’s gotten used to being unstoppable and uncatchable, so a marginal reality check is still in the offing. Luckily, he’ll be used to his linemates not looking for him in no time, since Aaron Volpatti doesn’t have the vision to look for anybody. Seriously, when Volpatti taps his stick on the ice, it’s so he can feel where he’s going.
  • Another thing that helped Weise stand out: everyone else was just terrible, especially the defence. I’ll give the D-corps this much: it’s great to see them all on the same page by Game 1. Granted, I’d prefer it was a good page, like Ellen Page or Sports Page. But it wasn’t. I’ve seen better defending from that weird rooster-lawyer on Futurama.
  • Alex Edler completely lost Daniel Winnik on the Ducks’ first goal, partly because he turned the wrong way when Winnik spun towards the net. It may take Edler a few games to adjust to the right, and it’ll be little things like turning in the opposition direction, playing the puck on his backhand, and young-earth Creationism.
  • All credit to the Ducks, however, especially Teemu Selanne. He’s 42. He looked 22 Saturday night. Effectively, he is to hockey as high school girls are to Matthew McConaughey. That’s what I love about Teemu Selanne, man. I get older, he stays the same age.
  • As much as the Canucks were abysmal defensively, I really liked the look of the powerplay. As expected, Jason Garrison is doing some roaming, but both he and Edler were firing shots from the point, either of the “slap” or the “wrist” variety. It paid off twice, with Edler scoring a goal and setting up another on quick shots from the top of the zone. The assist came on a Daniel Sedin tap-in after Jonas Hiller lost the puck while trying to look through Jannik Hansen in front. (Like most Danes, Hansen is mostly opaque.)
  • A word on the Daniel goal: as he scored, he took a crosscheck to the back, as he often does, and I loved the way it just propelled him behind the net instead of bowling him over. We’ve pointed out numerous times that the twins convert crosschecks to kinetic energy like no one else, and that was further evidence of it. You know, you can probably power an entire house just by crosschecking the Sedins in the back.
  • But enough talking about other things: the big story, of course, is the fact that the Ducks managed to chase Cory Schneider from the game with three quick goals early in the second. It was, as you might imagine, not exactly the first start as the incumbent starter that Schneider would have wanted. It was, however, great evidence of exactly what he’ll expect, as Luongo was cheered like a freed refugee as he left the bench. Pretty sure DJ Dave played Lover, Come Back to Me.
  • Okay, it wasn’t quite that simple. Even more amusing than Schneider getting the axe, actually, was the uncomfortable chorus of Luuuuu’s that rained down on Luongo when he made saves after entering the game. You could practically hear the voices in the Rogers Arena crowd go up at the end of the cheers, as though they were asking someone — anyone — for permission. What did it mean, this unexpected Luuu-ing? Did cheering Luongo mean they still had feelings for Luongo? Have they been unfair to Luongo? Was it time to rethink the approach to goaltending in this city? Or did it mean both goalies were terrible and it’s time for Eddie Lack? Probably the third one, since it shuts down the cognitive dissonance and saves us from learning any lessons about all this.
  • There will be a lot of talk about who should start Sunday night versus Edmonton, but really, there shouldn’t be any. Alain Vigneault had every intention of starting Roberto Luongo, his backup, in the second night of a back-to-back, and I think he still should. Why deviate from the plan over one game, let alone the first one? Of course, by sticking to the plan, people will interpret it as some sort of slight against Schneider, which makes no sense since it was the plan all along… This whole thing is so stupid. It won’t matter in the slightest who the Canucks start tomorrow if their defence continues to play this poorly, especially against a skilled Oilers core that’s been skating together in Oklahoma for months — both guys will still get some time in the goal.
  • Before everything fell off the rails and the masked men became the story, I thought Jannik Hansen had a nice first period. The third line did a great job setting up the Dan Hamhuis goal, with some strong work along the boards, including a great little stutter-start by Chris Higgins to shake his man before throwing it back down low. Eventually, Hansen fed Hamhuis for the goal. Hansen, too, looked somewhat buoyed by his experience overseas. And he was probably happy to be wearing a jersey that wasn’t weighed down in eight pounds of advertisements.
  • The best moment of the broadcast: on the increasingly ridiculous Hotstove, when Elliotte Friedman suggested that we need to consider the one-game sample size before freaking out over the goaltending situation and anything else in Vancouver, and Kevin Weekes followed that up by saying “THIS IS A NIGHTMARE SCENARIO FOR THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS.” Friedman is to that panel what Mr. Kotter was to the Sweathogs.
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32 comments

  1. steveB
    January 19, 2013

    I’ll read this in the morning, I’m too depressed by the Canucks’ lacklustre effort tonight.

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  2. Brent
    January 19, 2013

    How did you get this done so fast? Awesome.

    Agree with you on Friedman on the Hotstove panel, always appreciate his insight. We should do a poll on who we hate the most: PJ or Glen Healy. I generally vote for Glen, but it is a very tight race.

    I also figure it is going to be Roberto, he basically said as much on After hours. That tattoo of AV on his arm was the kicker.

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  3. Kirk Anderson
    January 19, 2013

    Correction on your best moment of the broadcast: it was actually the Flaman Fitness commercials. They’re definitely this year’s Cheetah Power Surge.

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  4. Beninvictoria
    January 20, 2013

    Please tell me that opaque Dane comment was a reference to the Ghost from Hamlet.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  5. Gord R
    January 20, 2013

    2nd line was brutal tonight. And Ebbett was not good in the faceoff circle either. #freeSchroeder #Schroederunchained

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  6. Warpstone
    January 20, 2013

    BJ Stock also was amusing. It’s as if he’s paid to present the voice of ignorance to the panel’s discourse. Zone starts… are not rocket science.

    I sense a storybook season here somewhere. He was broken, but he will return to save the city that forsook him. The Luongo Rises! :D

    Seriously though, how many idiotic Vancouverites are going to be calling for both goalies’ heads by the end of this week? Schneider wasn’t great, but AV must be ready to tear a good strip off the skaters for the breakdowns that led to most of those goals.

    It’s only up from here folks. :D

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    • Zach Morris
      January 20, 2013

      Luongo, on allowing two Selanne goals after Schneids being pulled:
      “…in general, I felt pretty good. I think I made some good saves. I was seeing the puck pretty well. If only (Selanne) could retire now, I’d be all set.”

      LUONGO SHOWS CLASSLESSNESS AFTER REVEALING GRUDGE AGAINST SELANNE

      Schneider said of being in the spotlight. “If I played this way, it would be unacceptable anywhere in the world. So I’m not too concerned about where I am right now.”

      SCHNEIDER HATES VANCOUVER, REFUSES TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR POOR PLAY

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      Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  7. sarah
    January 20, 2013

    There were some positives to be taken from this game. I didn’t have an overactive freakout and we got to see Chris Higgins abs during Jersey giveaway…that’s all though….

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  8. Nee
    January 20, 2013

    “Seriously, when Volpatti taps his stick on the ice, it’s so he can feel where he’s going.”

    Lol. Thanks for the laugh. You guys always cheer me up after stinky games.

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    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  9. Nee
    January 20, 2013

    FWIW, I think Cory should start tomorrow. Give him a chance to mentally put this game behind him as quickly as possible.

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    Rating: -3 (from 9 votes)
  10. shoes
    January 20, 2013

    When a team plays that badly , nobody should be even speaking of goal tenders, but we are in a unique situation and the media in Vancouver will follow the National media into blowing this up big time.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Nick
      January 20, 2013

      Well put. The goalies will be fine. I’m more worried about Edler returning to form, Kessler coming back healthy, and the scoring amnesia at the end of last season showing signs of continuing.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  11. Not Panicked
    January 20, 2013

    Sad game, but I Canucks will improve after a couple of weeks of playing together. Hard to fault the goalies, and you know a lot of the players are playing for jobs right now, this is more about the time off and limited prep time than anything. Probably best to reserve judgement on this team til early Feb… Obviously missing key players doesn’t help either…

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    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
    • John Andress
      January 20, 2013

      Do we have a couple of weeks to spare? It could be all over but the crying then. That’s the down side of such a shortened season.

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      Rating: +2 (from 12 votes)
      • shoes
        January 20, 2013

        I won’t feel like we have a couple of weeks to spare with a poor start, but at least 1/2 the teams will join us and I suspect the Canucks are going to end up lower than Prez this year, but they will make the playoffs. its just that in 2 weeks the Vancouver media, by and large will be calling for trades and stating over and over and over again “the fans are panicking”

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        Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  12. Joshua
    January 20, 2013

    My favorite part of this entire game was the absurd commentary from everyone on CBC. Anytime they talked about the Canucks it was, “It’s only the first game of the season, and there is no reason to panic. But seriously, everybody panic!!!” Or it was, “It’s only one game, there is no goaltending controversy. But seriously, this puts the coaching staff in a bind. It is totally a goalie controversy.” I like Hrudey analyzing things. Not so much his colour commentary. Also, when did PJ Stock become Milbury part 2: the electric boogaloo?

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  13. AJ
    January 20, 2013

    Sarah’s orphaned puppies could have done a better job for less.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  14. chicken chick
    January 20, 2013

    “Oh my goodness,” sweet Jenny whined
    Six minutes in and we’re behind.”
    And when the Ducks tied it at two,
    “It’s time to bring in Bobby Lu.
    And now that we are down by three
    At last Luongo we will see.”
    Then “On that shot he was so slow.
    Perhaps we should with Cory go.”

    And on and on throughout the third
    Who should play goal is all I heard
    I wish I hadn’t watched this game,
    But only have myself to blame.
    I could have sat with Whisky Jack
    Not caring on the porch out back.

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    Rating: +3 (from 7 votes)
  15. jdm
    January 20, 2013

    It’s nice that they got their worst game of the season out of the way early. It’s also nice that they play tonight so we don’t have to have a bad taste in our mouths for a couple of days.

    Those are the only things that are nice right now.

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  16. John Andress
    January 20, 2013

    Nice to have my opinion of the CBC talking heads reinforced by everyone here. I thought that they were pathetic. But it was amusing to note that in the early game, Toronto v Montreal, all three of the Leafs punted about in the Luongo trade speculation performed very well. No wonder Burke/Nonis stepped away from such a transaction. It would have gutted their team. Who knows if Schneider would have played as badly had Luongo not been on the bench last night but the talking heads did get one thing right – it is only one game and too early to jump to conclusions. Unfortunately, in this shortened season, the Canucks don’t have the luxury of a lot of time to sort it out. As a golfing buddy says after one of my notoriously bad first holes, “Interesting start.”

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    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  17. Cathylu
    January 20, 2013

    Living in the U.S. I don’t get to “enjoy” the CBC broadcasts. At our house we spend the first 5 minutes of the game trying to sync up the TV with the audio from the 1040. If only the game could have ended after our second goal….

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  18. Rituro
    January 20, 2013

    Desperate for positives here, so… how about that nifty drag-spin move by Weise in the first period? Oh, and Hrudey talked up the BCHL team he co-owns, the Nanaimo Clippers, into some sort of hockey-producing powerhouse. He’s horribly wrong, but hey — dude owns my hometown team. Let him talk it up.

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    • Zach Morris
      January 20, 2013

      I said to my dad, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Nanaimo Clippers described as a storied franchise before

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  19. Boxman
    January 20, 2013

    It’s too early to panic Nuck fans. Wait until after the Oilers kick your butts tonight and then panic.
    Bwah ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!

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    • Brent
      January 20, 2013

      Considering that many of your young guns played in the AHL and had some experience at the world juniors in Russia, combined with the pathetic defensive effort displayed last night, it could very well be that the Oilers win tonight.

      Should be an exciting fast paced game, looking forward to it.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • shoes
      January 20, 2013

      The oilers may well be a good team this year, BUT as an Oiler fan of some renown, I assume you already researched and know who “the 1st pick overall ” is ….again. But hey I am with you on that sooner or later 23 x 1st picks overall in the lineup should work wonders.

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      • Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
        January 20, 2013

        You know, if a team gets enough first picks in a row, they’re eventually going to run into a situation where they are losing some to retirement as the new ones come on –

        Scary thought

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  20. Bitterover2011
    January 20, 2013

    Maybe we can start 0-5 and at least get rid of this coach

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  21. Geoff-C-
    January 20, 2013

    Hard to take any positives out of last nights game, the only one I can come up with is that AV’s head didn’t explode when he saw Ballard on the ice.

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  22. Wagman
    January 20, 2013

    Big difference between Luongo and Schneider? Lu had years of experience playing on a defensively deficient team in Florida. I like Schneider, but he has looked good on a top team. Make of that what you will.

    You have to be a fan of Selanne. 42 years old with the speed and skill to keep pace at the top level and he still has a wicked snap shot. It will be a sad day when he announces retirement.

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  23. Doop
    January 20, 2013

    While it was definitely a poor showing all around, Dale Weise kept me in high spirits all night. Seriously, his blue line spinorama dangle into shot in the first period was so plucky that I cracked up every time he touched the puck after that.

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    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  24. TeeJay
    January 20, 2013

    Let the guys watch the THANK YOU FANS video they made for 2012 so they will be reminded of what have occurred last year.Everything happenned for a reason.Maybe the intro song was not the appropriate song to start with.

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