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.

Canucks 3 – 2 Flames (OT)

  • Zack Kassian was the deserving first star of this game, scoring the Canucks’ first goal (above) and then icing the contest in the shootout. He wouldn’t be the first guy to have a breakout game in his formal debut with the Sedins, so there’s reason to temper our expectations a little bit, but the most impressive thing about Kassian Wednesday night was that his strong performance really had very little to do with playing alongside the twins. He looked great with them, sure, especially the way he held onto the puck down low and kept their cycle going, but he also made a lot happen on his own. His goal, for instance, was a one-man job, as he got Miikka Kiprusoff to bite on a shot, then attempted a wraparound. It didn’t take, but like the cast of American Pie, he was determined to score. After Mark Giordano slid the puck right back to him, he made like Jason Biggs with the pie and… well, you get the idea.
  • If you haven’t seen the pie scene, by the way, go rent the film. Gandhi loved it.
  • I know he got a penalty for it, but I also liked how hard Kassian went to the net on his rush with the Sedins in the third. Alain Vigneault liked it too. The cameras caught him attempting to stifle a smirk at the bench. It was that “I can’t stay mad at you” look. I think someone’s got a crush.
  • That might explain why Vigneault played Kassian so much. The big lug logged more minutes than any forward not named Sedin with 19:14 of icetime. While we’re on the subject, Jordan Schroeder also played 14:49 in his NHL debut, including 3:21 on the powerplay. For all the talk of how Alain Vigneault hates young players, he sure played Kassian and Jordan Schroeder a lot. Is it possible that he only hates young players if their Dads annoy him?
  • One more thing on Kassian. His shootout move was so nasty, twelve-year-old Harrison would have wanted to ask his Dad what he just saw. That’s how nasty it was. It was downright inappropriate. Fifteen-year-old Harrison would have been trying to make it out through the static on a pay-per-view channel. That’s how inappropriate it was.
  • Kevin Bieksa is perhaps the Canucks’ savviest pincher, but his instincts got the better of him on the Flames’ first goal. With the puck coming up the boards in the Flames’ zone, he initially jumped ahead, hoping to push the puck down the wall, but then he realized he couldn’t get there in time and backed off. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. The Flames moved the puck past him, broke into the Canucks’ zone on a 2-on-1, and Alex Tanguay put the puck in off the post. But don’t panic. It was very un-Bieksian, but his timing on pinches will get better as he gets back into game shape. Plus it could be a whole lot worse. Ill-timed pinches will cost you a goal during an NHL game. In a co-ed setting, they’ll cost you a job. Trust me.
  • That was probably the most egregious unforced error, although Alex Edler’s penalty for concealing the puck on the penalty-kill was a close second. Sure, it’s a new amendment to rule 67 — so new that it screwed up the coding on the Canucks’ website — but Edler was just so obvious about it too. He probably didn’t need to snarl “Must have the precioussssss”. And biting Dennis Wideman’s finger off was totally uncalled for.
  • Speaking of being shorthanded, Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis was dynamite during the Canucks’ lengthy penalty-kill sequence in the middle frame, which is ideal, since he was out there for most of it. Hamhuis was on the ice for 2:59 straight. But Hamhuis’s longest shift of the night was the graveyard shift as a volunteer firefighter that began immediately after the game.
  • This was the second consecutive game where the Canucks have staked a 2-0 lead only to see the game go to a shootout. They won’t get far this season if they keep blowing ledes like Rosie DiManno.
  • In my notes on this game, I wrote down “Raymond has turned a corner”. Why? Because he did it without falling down. I kid, I kid. But it’s worth noting that he didn’t fall down even once versus Calgary, and he also scored the Canucks’ other goal, jumping off the bench, taking a feed from Daniel Sedin, and tucked the puck under the crossbar. It was the ninth of his career versus Calgary, more than he’s scored versus any other team. I don’t know what it is about the Flames that makes him so effective. Perhaps he’s as incensed by the Alberta flag and how much it clashes with the rest of their jersey as I am?
  • John Garrett was in fine form tonight, making no sense much of the time. But he did make one fine dig at Jay Bouwmeester. “Bouwmeester has a goal already,” Garrett said, “So he’s already way ahead of his usual pace.” Ba-zing. Garrett was really on in the shootout, however, when he called every single one of the Flames’ shootout moves. I’d say put Garrett in net for the shootout, but if you’ve ever seen tape of him play, you know that he still wouldn’t have stopped it.
  • Jordan Schroeder didn’t look out of place at all in his debut, apart from that time he was in the penalty box, which is totally not where he was supposed to be. That was definitely his worst moment, as he put the grab on Sven Baertschi and Baertschi spun around, selling a pretty obvious hold. Other than that, though, Schroeder had a fine game. I enjoyed when he tried to leap out of the way of Mason Raymond’s shot on the Canucks’ second goal and barely cleared the crossbar. He’s tiny. I think it’s cute when he taps his stick on the ice and screams “down here!” But I was worried for him when he was attacked by that scorpion. Thank God he befriended that ant.
  • Great night for Manny Malhotra in the faceoff circle. He went 9-for-10, and 8-for-9 in the defensive zone.
  • Speaking faceoffs, new centre Alex Burrows even went 5-for-8 in the circle, although he was 0-for-3 inside the blue lines. But while he was just passable on faceoffs, he was more than passable on passing. His saucer feed to Jannik Hansen to spring his linemate on a partial breakaway in the first was pretty. Where did he learn to pass like that? Oh right, the Sedin School of Wizardry, where he was also a star member of the Quidditch team.
  • Cory Schneider’s second game as the Canucks’ no. 1 was much better than his first, which probably goes without saying since he was able to finish it. He still had a few adventures, most notably while attempting to stickhandle, but he kept the Canucks in the game during a few defensive breakdowns and he showcased his superior ability to do the splits twice or thrice. It was crucial that he went post to post, because the posts were not helping him out in this game. Both Flames goals pinged in off of them. Clearly, the posts are having a hard time adjusting to the new situation in goal. I swear on the second goal, I heard one scream, “You’re not my real dad!”
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39 comments

  1. Kevin
    January 23, 2013

    What, no mention of the Shorty/Garrett Dora the Explorer exchange?

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  2. Lucky
    January 23, 2013

    Man I missed these!!!

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  3. akidd
    January 23, 2013

    aaah, back to the artificial highs and lows.

    that big guy with the goofy grin sure looks like he’s having fun out there. raymond too. grins all around.

    sure edler had 7 shots but he’s getting walked on that right side. lots of bobbles too. good thing it was the flames.

    nice to get the win though for sure. it looked like AV was trying to lose the shootout on purpose but schneider was having none of it. sweet.

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  4. bestbehaviour
    January 23, 2013

    IWTG is up already! NOW the game is finished and I can stop analyzing and move on to accomplish other stuff.

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  5. zach
    January 23, 2013

    “Ill-timed pinches will cost you a goal during an NHL game. In a co-ed setting, they’ll cost you a job. Trust me.” hahahahahahahah best part of the whole post.

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  6. Warpstone
    January 24, 2013

    Not sure if the broadcast caught something special, but Schroeder was pretty underwhelming from the stands. He tried, but he just never seemed to have the strength to win a puck battle. Still, it’s only a first game. Hopefully it’s up from here.

    Regarding Kassian, good grief what a beast of a performance! Everyone in the crowd was expecting something important every time the Sedin line came on, but not from a swede. If there’s one player who I hope does not regress to the mean, it’s Kassian.

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    • Cody
      January 24, 2013

      I normally hate fist pumping players, but Kassian seems to have some strange power. I can’t not dislike him. The goofy grin, the hair, and the way he leaps goalies in a single bound. This is also my explanation for why Vigneault likes him so much.

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  7. Daniel Cohen
    January 24, 2013

    well we got one.

    PITB, no mention of Burrows Blue Steel?

    Ive missed these, i read em in the short time between econ and bistory

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  8. Anonymous
    January 24, 2013

    But Hamhuis’s longest shift of the night was the graveyard shift as a volunteer firefighter that began immediately after the game.

    I’ve missed these so much! The Dan “the Community Man” Hamhuis anecdotes are one of my favourite parts of IWTG!

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    • LaLou
      January 24, 2013

      At one point in the third period, Hamhuis managed to hit two Flames players at once. My boyfriend explained that it was “because he didn’t want either of them to feel left out”.

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  9. Josh D.
    January 24, 2013

    I’m so happy, you have to keep in mind that playing with the Sedin’s can put up numbers you wou;dn’t otherwise manage, but what Kassian gains in confidence will pay off in dividends for us. This is only the start of what I believe to be a beautiful thing for the Canucks.

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    • Josh D.
      January 24, 2013

      God, my spelling is atrocious tonight, I should stop reading these after work. ><

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  10. Charles Knox
    January 24, 2013

    Who else thinks a Burrows-Kesler-Booth line could be utterly beastly. With Burrows’ acolyte knowledge of the Arch-Wizard’s skills, Kesler all-round Kes-lordiness, and Booth’s (literal) killer instinct, I think it could be quite something. Think of the truculence!

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  11. cathylu
    January 24, 2013

    Finally a win! I’m glad because to my inexperienced eyes that was an ugly game – lots of scrambling, falling down, almost desperation. But it was fun watching Zack. I guess he’s going to keep that fist-pump thing going – whether it’s after a fight or a goal. Hopefully I’ll be in the arena for the Ducks game on Friday and we can have some payback for that first game.

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  12. Flippin the Pool
    January 24, 2013

    It appears that Kassian is in much better shape this year than he was last year. He was strong on the puck – especially down low, and he took it to the net with authority. I hate comparing current players to past players but I couldn’t help but see glimpses of a younger Todd Bertuzzi in Kassian. I had to watch the game on SN West and one of the pro-Flames sportscasters had the line of the night “Remember Anson Carter scored 30 playing with the Sedins, this guy could get 40 or 50, he has a set of hands!” I almost fell off the couch.

    I was not impressed but not dissapointed by Shroeders first NHL game. He was at least(unlike Ebbett) noticable. He tried to make things happen and he seems to play a lot bigger than his size and weight suggest, he has pretty good wheels and he seems to have good chemistry with Mason Raymond. Hopefully he will continue to see enough ice-time to improve, and earn a full-time spot.

    Outside of the top line, the lineup is a dogs breakfast. Hopefully after a few games AV will settle into some set line combos and the guys will be able to find some chemistry and some rhythm because lines 2-4 seem to be all out of sorts.

    The Edler Garrison Pairing is headed for a disaster, the Canucks are trying to set up Garrison on the left side and tbh he looks a little out of place. I’m not sure if that is a product of learning to play with a new defence partner in Edler, but having two left-handed shots on the top line is not ideal, During one very dominant Sedin shift last night Tanev ended up on the left side and he was able to keep the play alive a few times just from being able to intercept clearing attemps up the middle and being able to get his body up against the boards a litle faster to keep the puck in. It might not be a bad idea to try Tanev on the left side with Edler but I dont see AV ever consenting to that….EVER. But so far, I have not been impressed by Garrison. Maybe I’m being too hard on the guy, maybe my expactations are too high and he just needs some time to adjust to new teammates and new systems.

    Ohh yeah, and no mention of Burrows scoring with Blue Steel?!?!…. Where’s a pool, I need to go flip something.

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    • akidd
      January 24, 2013

      i agree that an edler/tanev pairing would be definitely worth a look. edler does not look comfortable on the right side in the defensive zone. a more skilled opponent would surely have capitalized more on his bobbles. a work in progress i suppose. tanev otoh is making ballard look better than he has for quite awhile(as far as i can tell with my rusty hockey eyes.) cool-hand chris looks pretty dam smooth out there(again with the rusty eyes caveat.)

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      • Flippin the Pool
        January 24, 2013

        We should at least give Edler/Garisson some time but the leash shouldnt be too long. I don’t really buy into the “I cant play the right side” business. These guys are professionals, it shouldnt take more than a few games to adjust to the new posiiton. I know its tough to break habits but these guys are professionals and it shouldnt be an issue. Tanev looked pretty smooth out there but he still had a few bad passes and a few really bad give aways/turn overs, which is inexcusable considering he played during the lockout and is seeing 16-18 minutes per game of ice-time so he has no excuses. Maybe playing on the top pair with the Edler and getting some more ice-time with the Twins might give him a shot of confidence, but then you have to bump Garisson down to the 3rd pair with Ballard and that has bad news written all over it. Leaving Tanev with Ballard and giving Edler and Garrison some time to get to know each other is probably the best thing to do for the time being.

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        • akidd
          January 24, 2013

          was that tanev? cause it seemed like over the last half of the game just about every mistake on d was from number 23. over and over it seemed. and he looked slow. but like i said. i is rusty. still reading the ads on the boards sometimes.got no pvr so i will defer to those who do or who don’t get as distracted by all the commotion out there.

          not sure why the canucks loaded up on left-handed d-men but it is what it is. i figure the highest-paid dman should play on his proper side. tanev’s defensive calmness mixed with edler’s offensive prowess could be a very good thing.

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  13. jenny wren
    January 24, 2013

    ’twas scoreless in the op’ning frame
    a rather ho hum hockey game
    ’til Kassian scored and then MayRay
    as the Canucks controlled the play
    but soon the Flames got one and then
    it seemed like Sunday night again
    when it became a two-two tie
    dumb penalties the reason why

    it’s not the way they will succeed
    getting and blowing a two goal lead
    arrived the third and we would see
    if someone scored or then OT
    and after all was seen and done
    a shootout win two goals to one
    first star was surely number nine
    with both his goals especially fine

    the missing tooth does not give up
    he’ll take us to Lord Stanley’s Cup

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  14. yobbei
    January 24, 2013

    “Is it possible that he only hates young players if their Dads annoy him?”

    **Slow claps**

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    • peanutflower
      January 24, 2013

      many slow claps.

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  15. bergberg
    January 24, 2013

    Saw a couple comments related to having two left-handed shots paired on D, so this seems as good a place as any for my hugely unfounded and unresearched rumour reporting:

    I heard from my non-existent sources that the team Gillis referred to having a deal in place with was the Montreal Canadians, and the issue they need to wait for them to sort out is the signing of PK Subban. The deal would involve Loungo and Edler heading to the Habs for Price and PK. I’m sure there would be some other odds and ends thrown in. I think PK shoots right, so on some level this seems to make sense for the Canucks. And they would be getting a tested NHL goalie as well. Don’t know if they would trade Edler right after signing his extension, or if I really think it is a good idea or not.

    Thoughts?

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    • Brent
      January 24, 2013

      Not sure they would trade Edler after signing him (apparently) below market value. I suspect the selling point was to be on a competitive team and play with the Sedin’s. Likely cause some ill will in the dressing room if he gets traded right after.

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    • shoes
      January 24, 2013

      Not sure how this trade could work. Price for back-up? Meantime Edler is playing like the type of D-man that peaks a bit later. Lidstrom is a good example. And maybe AV has to get Edler back to where he is comfortable and tell Gillis to get himself a right handed guy.

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    • Lenny
      January 24, 2013

      This will never happen. And Subban shoots left.

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      • bergberg
        January 24, 2013

        As previously mentioned, this is not well researched on my part but I did check wikipedia and it says he shoots right.

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        • Lenny
          January 24, 2013

          Dang he does indeed shoot right. My photographic memory failed me.

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    • Rituro
      January 24, 2013

      A totally legit source I know within the Canadiens says they’re minutes away from wrapping up Luongo for Subban + 3rd rounder. Bank it.

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      • steveB
        January 24, 2013

        I was sceptical about that rumour until you mentioned the Third Rounder.
        That totally seals the deal, I’m banking on it.
        /orders #76 PK Subban Canucks jersey.

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      • Brent
        January 24, 2013

        Well it’s been minutes and still no announcement. Or did you mean 2-3000 minutes?

        But maybe like Steve I will order a jersey just in case.

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      • Rituro
        January 24, 2013

        I’m hearing again from my totally, undisputably reliable source — who is most definitely real and not made up — that a deal for Subban + 3rd is minutes-ish away. That should clear things up.

        Good idea on getting the jersey now, Steve and Brent — better get in before the rush.

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    • Tengeresz
      January 24, 2013

      Edler took a home-town discount that came with a “No-Trade Clause”

      That’s sort of the whole point of taking the home town discount : getting to stay where you want to play, and live, and raise your family, and (hopefully) win the Stanley Cup.

      Even Luongo for Subban sounds fishy to me: We’ve already got five big money D-men.

      Granted playing in front of his family would probably appeal to Lu, but everyone seems to think that GMMG is looking for goal scoring forward(s) and good prospect(s) coming back.

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  16. Brent
    January 24, 2013

    Speaking of annoying Dad’s, what is the word on how Cody’s dad is interacting with Buffalo management?

    Great IWTG by the way. Didn’t get to watch much of the game, but watched the shoot out. After blowing the dreaded two goal lead, I was sure they would lose in the shootout. Really happy to be wrong! So why was Daniel in the shootout? Is he going to be on the penalty kill next?

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  17. TeeJay
    January 24, 2013

    Ducks on the butt no movement,then Oils on the butt still no movement, then Flames comes,now we moved.I wonder why? (There is a Joke there.)

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  18. Canuckfaninsf
    January 24, 2013

    Clearly, the posts are having a hard time adjusting to the new situation in goal. I swear on the second goal, I heard one scream, “You’re not my real dad!

    LOL. The goalposts are a result of a bitter divorce and it shows.

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  19. dougster
    January 24, 2013

    Great to have IWTG back! But the guys don’t look ready for primetime yet. The D especially as a group were getting beat wide too often–my impression is they better get into game shape fast! Edler and Biesksa looked especially out of sync at times. That said I love K’assassin, that move on Kipper was SWEET!

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  20. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    January 24, 2013

    I haven’t yet taken a look at the message-board reaction of Canucks fans, but I’ll bet that it will be far more upbeat and positive than the last game, even though both games produced an identical result: a blown 2-goal lead and a tie. And this one wasn’t even the second of a back-to-back.

    Again, folks, shootouts have no impact on how well or poorly the team played in the 65 minutes leading up to them. Every time someone feels better about the team following a shootout win than they do following a shootout loss, Gary Bettman eats one of their children.

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    • zach
      January 24, 2013

      he wants their baby back baby back baby back ribs

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    • Tengeresz
      January 24, 2013

      What you say is intellectually true, but emotionally stupid.

      I didn’t get too down on the SO loss, but I cheered my head off and felt a rush of euphoria on the SO win.

      That probably reflects on my emotional bias: I’m quite the optimist.

      I suspect you are a bit of a pessimist, no?

      And while I hate the loser point, and the skills competition, the world we live in gives a bonus point the the SO winner. I’d rather have it than give it to the other team, especially in our division.

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