I Watched This Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, January 28, 2013

I always enjoy the atmosphere the Staples Centre brings to a telecast. It’s a boisterous enemy area. But if there’s one thing I still can’t handle about the Canucks’ visits to LA, it’s that execrable, heinous bumper video in which South Park sociopath Eric Cartman screams “Go Kings go!” over and over and over. It’s the worst. “Chelsea Dagger” is “Strawberry Fields Forever” compared to that thing. If you’ve ever read Hamlet, and wondered how, exactly, one perpetrates an ear poisoning, wonder no more. Seriously. You could commit regicide with this video.

Speaking of regicide, the Canucks did their best to off the Kings on Monday night, if by “did their best” you mean played badly, but were fortunate to have Roberto Luongo in goal. However, while they were fortunate in this sense, they were unfortunate in the sense that Luongo’s incredible play wasn’t quite enough to overcome their mediocre play — which, if you watched Luongo’s performance, should make clear how truly mediocre their play was. It was clear to me, because I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 3 Kings (SO)

  • Luongo’s reward for his best game of the season? A shootout. He did well for himself, too, stopping 2 of 3. Unfortunately, none of the Canucks scored, so way to not be clutch as usual, Luongo.
  • For the third time this season, the Canucks managed to blow a two-goal lead. There’s a reason they call it the worst lead in hockey, although I’d argue an even worse lead is being down by six.
  • Hockey bloggers know “Down Goes Brown” as one of the most consistent and engaging voices in sports comedy writing. Hockey watchers know it as the LA Kings’ Plan A for drawing a penalty. But while he’s one of hockey’s worst divers, he’s also its best, because, despite all the flopping, he still tends to get the benefit of the doubt. Seriously. Remember that time he drank out of the water bottle the wrong way? The water bottle got two for instigating.
  • Brown also sold a Chris Tanev high-sticking call that occurred as Tanev was falling onto his backside in the Canucks’ crease, but I wasn’t quite as annoyed by that as I was when I noticed that NHL.com writes “high-sticking” as “hi-sticking”. Come on, NHL. Spelling “high” that way is for fruit punch.
  • Anyway. Everybody hates a diver, but you have to appreciate how good Brown is at it. It’s impressive, especially when juxtaposed with bad diving, like Anze Kopitar’s brutal acting at the tail end of a Canucks’ powerplay midway through the third. The refs didn’t buy it, largely because it was about as convincing as Keanu Reeves’ British accent in Dracula.
  • The Canucks were awful in the faceoff circle early this game. They lost 7 of 8 defensive zone faceoffs in the first. Luckily, they got a lot of immediate practice, spending most of the game taking defensive zone faceoffs, and they improved as the game went on, eventually getting their faceoff win percentage closer to 50%. But they were downright lucky they were still in the game by then, because there are two places where being that bad on draws typically means you’re finished quickly: versus an elite hockey team and while playing Hogan’s Alley.
  • Further evidence of why faceoffs matter: Henrik Sedin went 0-for 5 at the dot versus Anze Kopitar through the first 50 minutes of this game, but it’s worth noting that he lined up against Kopitar not five times during this stretch, but six. On the sixth, Kopitar was thrown out of the circle. Here’s what happened: it forced Dustin Brown to come in and take the draw in his stead. He lost it clean, as Henrik drew the puck back to Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis fed Alex Edler, who one-timed it, but the puck never reached Quick. Instead, it bounced to Zack Kassian, who was camped at the side of the net (and camped is the correct word here, since Kassian always look like he’s spent the last four days in the wilderness). Before Quick could get over, Kassian put the Canucks on the board like the board and the Canucks were both made of felt.
  • That wasn’t the only time Quick was beaten to the post, as Alex Burrows extended the Canucks’ lead to two with a surprise wraparound in the second. It was a race to the post, much like what you see in the Trades, Rumours, Signings subform of the Canucks.com message board after a player acquisition. The difference was that Burrows’s goal didn’t result in 10 identical threads.
  • Burrows was the goal-scorer, but a lot of the credit on that goal goes to his linemate Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins. They worked together well in this game, registering 4 shots apiece, and they did some nice work together on the goal. Higgins caused the turnover that started the sequence, then he got Jonathan Quick looking the wrong way by shading out to the near post while Burrows went far. Quick needs to brush up on his nears and fars. Grover can help.
  • Burrows wasn’t quite as good during the shootout, trying out a new move where he goes forehand instead of backhand. But it’s not just the same move to the other hand. Burrows only goes forehand after coming in wide, doing a spin, stopping time, making a sandwich, voting, then making one final deke and shooting. It needs some work.
  • Chris Cuthbert is hockey’s best play-by-play man. Proof? Just after Chris Tanev took a high-sticking penalty, the camera found Pat Sajak sitting near the glass. “The Kings’ powerplay has not been a wheel of fortune.” I imagine he has a list of lines for any game show host that might be in attendance. If it had been Alex Trebek, he’d have said, “The Kings’ powerplay has been in jeopardy.” If it had been Chuck Woolery: “The Kings would love a connection on their powerplay. Regis Philbin: “The Kings are hoping their powerplay can be the final answer. Anne Robinson? “The Kings’ powerplay has been their weakest link.”  Bob Eubanks, host of the Newlywed Game? “The Kings are looking to make whoopee on this powerplay.”
  • Mason Raymond has been a different player this season, but if you missed the old, familiar MayRay, you got to see him in overtime. He had the best chance of the extra frame, with a puck sitting on the doorstep and Jonathan Quick out of position, but instead of shovelling it home, he was checked, and then he fell down. I’d have been upset if it didn’t make me feel so nostalgic.
  • Via Jeff Paterson, the Canucks had just 7 shots through the final 36 minutes. You’d think they had volunteered to be the designated driver.
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27 comments

  1. sarah
    January 28, 2013

    What! This game literally just ended!

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    • madwag
      January 28, 2013

      and a simply superlative post as well!

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      January 30, 2013

      Once the Canucks were up 2-0, it was probably really easy for them to write the rest, since we all knew what was going to happen.

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  2. bestbehaviour
    January 28, 2013

    OK, Jannik-Hansen style speed on this article – very impressive, and very funny! Some frustrating game play, but it is an exciting time in Canucks history, two fantastic goalies to watch, and great that they can save each other’s strength and keep each other sharp. Come on, rest of team, catch up…

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    Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
    • Brent
      January 29, 2013

      Agree, love having two #1 goalies! The rest if the teams are envious.

      As long as the rest of the team catches up by lets say, at least half way through the season. I have heard a rumour, that as long as you make the playoffs, you can win the stanley cup. Go figure.

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  3. Jenny Wren
    January 28, 2013

    While Ray runs on as is his way,
    Why we must feel for Bobby Lu,
    And what he says is nothing new,
    Our Mau Mau Kass is first to score!
    (Let color back the play by play -
    There comes a time when less is more.
    If it needs be I will explain:
    Do spare me please comments inane.)

    And now another two goal lead,
    Though LA dominates the play.
    That they’ll not score there seems no way,
    But as ev’ry someone shot it,
    (When a third goal we dearly need!)
    Chris observes, “Luongo’s got it.”
    Until at last the PP clicks -
    LA’s now one for twenty-six.

    The Kings much better five on five -
    We often seem a step behind,
    And I don’t mean to be unkind,
    But when not scoring two on one
    (We will need Lui to survive!)
    I fear a loss when this is done.
    With seconds left as cynics knew,
    The puck deflects past Bobby Lu.

    Re the shoot out, I’m simply sick
    That no one scored on Johnny Quick.

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  4. Zach Morris
    January 28, 2013

    “Via Jeff Paterson, the Canucks had just 7 shots through the final 36 minutes. You’d think they had volunteered to be the designated driver.”
    I dunno what kind of designated driver you’re used to, but…

    Also no fear of a goalie contorversy arising from tonight; angsty fans will see the shootout loss and pin it on Luongo, so Schneider’s job is safe

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    • Kesler's Nose
      January 29, 2013

      You can’t put that loss on LOU. That loss is pinned on the “so-called elite” forwards. 7 shots in 30+ minutes? Men against boys and that’s why the Kings are the defending Cup champs and Canucks are again also rans.

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      • John in Marpole
        January 29, 2013

        Zach was using something called sarcasm. Google it.

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        • Kesler's Nose
          January 29, 2013

          Know it well, Einstein!!

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  5. Warpstone
    January 28, 2013

    “…so way to not be clutch as usual, Luongo.”

    LMAO. Oh so true it hurts.

    I wonder how many points an anemic team is going to need saved by great goaltending in all its games this year… :D

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  6. steveB
    January 28, 2013

    Luongo deserved better.
    What a lacklustre effort by most of the Canucks tonight.

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    Rating: +30 (from 32 votes)
  7. TheGilchy
    January 29, 2013

    Think we’ll be seeing a lot of performances from all teams this year where a team pulls a Licoln, and loses its head in the third act. A game every two day will make for some exhausted hockey players.

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  8. Chris the Curmudgeon
    January 29, 2013

    Well that was a bit of a lackluster performance last night against Anaheim, oops I mean Edmonton, Calgary, San Jose…oh right, last night was Los Angeles. Had to think about which lackluster performance I wanted to discuss. True to form, the Canucks have had some quality goaltending this year. Wondering when we’ll get to read an IWTG where the gist isn’t “the goalie kept them in it”?

    I’d say that because Jeff Carter was able to get closest to the net to shoot the puck (without it going over), he was able to showcase the Kings power play.

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  9. steveB
    January 29, 2013

    Did anyone else find the camera work simply awful?

    The guy who chooses the camera shots must’ve gone to compare tanning & skin care products with Pat Sajak a few times. Using the camera by the Goal Judge for a long sequence and watching the players vanish over the horizon really lost the flow of play.

    The cameraman on the view-from-the-nosebleeds angle was unable to follow the play, so he simply used wide angle and hoped most of the action happened within its panoramic view. It’s great watching a game featuring 30 rows of the fans’ backsides and a rink that looks the size of a basketball court. :-\

    As to Cuthbert, he needs to work on his cardiovascular fitness- he always sounds out of breath.

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    • Kesler's Nose
      January 29, 2013

      Cuthbert is great compared Homer Hughson and Homer Simpson!!

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  10. cathylu
    January 29, 2013

    I was hoping for a much better outcome for this game. Thank God for Lu, he was great. I thought the boys played a little better but obviously not good enough. (I totally agree about Cartman. I’m a huge South Park fan but seriously why can’t Cartman be an Avs fan? How annoying!) And someone please remind me not to listen to the 1040 after a game like this. If I believe them, after just 6 games, we have no chance to go for the Stanley Cup and we might not even make the playoffs! Holy crap, is the situation really that desperate?

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  11. KC23
    January 29, 2013

    King’s fan here. Good write up although I do find it a bit ironic a Vancouver writer putting down another team for diving and that was a flat out stick to the face that cost Vancouver the game.

    Have to agree to this:

    “…heinous bumper video in which South Park sociopath Eric Cartman screams “Go Kings go!” over and over and over.” That being said now you know how the rest of the league feels about the green guys in the penalty box area. That stopped being amuzing a long time ago and now is just kinda sad.

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  12. Dave
    January 29, 2013

    I was actually at the game, and Lu’s performance was lights out. Would have been a blowout if it weren’t for him. Also, as Canucks fan in L.A. I can definitely tell the difference in the behaviour of Kings fans this year compared to previous seasons. They used to be (for the most part) fairly decent and respectful. Last night, I was pretty much verbally abused all night, including some serious taunting after the game. It’s obviously not the most hostile place to play, but it’s interesting to see how cocky they are now they’ve won a cup.

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  13. Smokey
    January 29, 2013

    The Kings actually dive the way that people who despise the Canucks say that the Canucks dive.

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  14. DanD
    January 29, 2013

    Does anyone else feel like this is shaping up to be a .500 hockey kind of season?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 29, 2013

      It’s still pretty early.

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      • chicken chick
        January 29, 2013

        let’s not wait
        ’til it’s pretty late

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      • DanD
        January 29, 2013

        I agree – it is definitely early. I don’t know if I could quantify it, but I just wonder if they’ll be able to bring it together like they have in past years. There might be too many serious weaknesses. Especially if Kesler takes too long to come back.

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    • Flippin the Pool
      January 29, 2013

      It’s way too early for that kind of prediction, since the ’07-’08 season the Canucks have not won more than 5 of their first 10 games. 4-6; 5-4-1; 5-5; 5-3-2; 5-4-1.

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    • bestbehaviour
      January 29, 2013

      Already in the third game of the season, the announcers were talking about people’s results in the season so far… it wasn’t a season so far, it’s 2.2 games! It’s just our usual October drawing to a close, but I think the team seems to be doing it on an accelerated basis. Poor Luongo, he seems to have missed October altogether. #beastinnet

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  15. jrc
    January 29, 2013

    “Kassian always look like he’s spent the last four days in the wilderness”
    I’m kinda hoping to see us play Nashville in the playoffs, just for a Beastman Kassian vs. Beastman Weber Playoff Beard Showdown.

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