I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Calgary Flames, January 23, 2013

The Canucks really needed this win. It wasn’t just that they were 0-1-1 heading into it. It was much worse than that. As a colleague who will remain nameless because I’m about to make fun of him pointed out to me, they weren’t just winless in their first two. They were 1-4-2 in their last seven, dating back to last postseason. Ah, but I pointed out to him that if we’re just going to trace the Canucks’ record back to arbitrary dates, we should point out that they’re actually 52-26-11 dating back to the beginning of last season. Perhaps, my colleague responded, but they’re a mediocre 1353-1455-391-83 dating back to the beginning of the franchise.

That’s almost 100 games under five hundred. You can see how badly they needed this win. Sure, it’s a big hole to crawl out of, but you’ve got to take these things one game at a time. Tonight was one such game, and I watched this game.

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‘Dale Weise follies’ proves at least one Canucks fan isn’t sold on Weise’s strong play [VIDEO]

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Vancouver Canucks through their first two games, but I think most observers can agree that Dale Weise has been one of them. His strong play versus both Edmonton and Anaheim came as a surprise to just about everybody, Dutch fans excluded. It was so noticeable that Mike Gillis mentioned him in a recent sitdown with Cam Cole, and on Tuesday, Alain Vigneault promoted him to a line with Mason Raymond and Jordan Schroeder. (Or maybe he demoted Mason Raymond. We’re not quite sure.)

Weise even landed on the front page of NHL.com Tuesday, although, unfortunately, it was for the image you see above. Yes, Weise had a few lesser moments as well over the Canucks’ first weekend. Granted, it was easy to overlook them when he was making things happen at both ends of the ice, but apparently, one Canucks fan decided it was time to throw a little water on all the Dale Weise love. Youtube user “4skinWillie” — who we’ll infer from his username is 12 years old — has put together a brief collection of those lesser moments Sunday night versus Edmonton. It’s totally uncalled for. But it’s also pretty funny.

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Is a lack of lockout activity to blame for the Canucks’ slow start?

On Saturday against the Ducks, the Canucks looked flat-footed, ill-prepared, and lethargic. They looked, in fact, like they hadn’t played a hockey game in 8 months. Sunday was better, but only slightly, as the Canucks still made numerous uncharacteristic errors.Still, we’re just two games into the season. It feels odd to say that the Canucks have had a slow start; they’ve barely started at all.

With that said, the Canucks certainly haven’t been their usual selves, even taking into account the lack of Ryan Kesler and David Booth. They also had very few players active during the lockout, with only Dale Weise, Jannik Hansen, and Cory Schneider playing in Europe for any significant length of time. Beyond those three, Zack Kassian and Chris Tanev played in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves, and Mason Raymond played a grand total of two games for Örebro in the Swedish Elite League.

The rest of the Canucks skated on their own, with the largest group the one that stayed in Vancouver and practised with the UBC Thunderbirds. Is the lack of game action to blame for the Canucks’ lacklustre performance on the weekend?

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