I Watched This Game: Canucks at San Jose Sharks, January 27, 2013

The Canucks beat the Ducks on Friday, despite getting outplayed at even-strength, by essentially being jerks: they earned powerplays and cashed in with the man-advantage. You could tell right off the opening puck drop, or rather, before the opening puck drop, that they were going to try to do the same thing against the Sharks.

It half-worked: the Canucks did get outplayed at even-strength. Unfortunately, the powerplay floundered, fizzled, sputtered, and misfired, getting only 7 shots on 7 opportunities and Cory Schneider couldn’t bail the team out fast enough when the defence shot holes in the boat. I watched their gameplan fall apart when I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 4 Sharks

  • The chippiness started prior to puck drop: when Alex Burrows started crowding Logan Couture’s space on the opening faceoff, Couture pushed Burrows helmet out of the way. Burrows quickly shoved back, then Ryane Clowe, in what came to be a theme, stupidly jumped in and took a penalty. Somehow, in the midst of the kerfuffle, Jannik Hansen got away with a cross-check to the referee at centre ice. Hansen was lucky that he didn’t get a penalty for “violence” and “behaviour” when he “could not be calmed down”. Honey badger don’t care.
  • With Burrows and Clowe in the box, the game started at 4-on-4. The Sharks dominated, getting 5 shots before the Canucks even had one. How bad was it? The Canucks’ first shot came from Chris Tanev, who has as many NHL goals as I do. That’s not ideal, although I am a right-handed shot…
  • Tanev and Keith Ballard were easily the Canucks best defence pairing against the Sharks, which isn’t a good thing. It’s great that they’re playing well, but they are the bottom pair and should, by definition, be getting outplayed by the other four defencemen. It’s like if the bun is the best part of your burger: it’s nice to have a good bun, but it shouldn’t be better than the meat.
  • The Sharks opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game as Schneider kicked a rebound into the slot and Jason Garrison rushed his clearing attempt right onto the stick of Joe Thornton, who deposited it into the net like a $10,000 stipend cheque into an ATM, assuming the bank of goalscoring is closed in this belaboured metaphor. Garrison was immediately burned in effigy by Vancouver fans, as per tradition.
  • The Canucks nailed more posts than a troll on a message board, hitting 5 in total. It started with a Jannik Hansen breakaway, who made a nice move to the backhand to beat Antti Niemi, but clanked it off the post. Less than a minute later, Alex Edler made a brutal turnover to Joe Pavelski, who fired it past Cory Schneider before he could even get set. The early returns on Edler playing on the right-side have not been good, as he has a turnover rate like a minimum wage employer.
  • After scoring in three straight games, Zack “Streaky the Supercat” Kassian was largely invisible against the Sharks, other than a fight against Clowe, who clearly got the better of him. When he’s skating on a line with the Sedins, I’d rather he avoid fighting, particularly because Dale Weise ended up skating on their line while he was in the box.
  • Weise, for his part, had yet another solid game, finishing with 3 shots on net, 5 hits, 2 takeaways, and a blocked shot. His best work actually came on the penalty kill, where he stripped one Shark of the puck, then on the ensuing forecheck, intercepted a pass in the offensive zone, killing more time off the clock. I like Weise, but he belongs with the Sedins like Rob Schneider belongs in a P.T. Anderson film. I mean, Anderson might be able to make it work, but there are people better suited for the job.
  • That said, I greatly appreciated when Weise threw Clowe to the ground on the forecheck, causing Clowe to take yet another stupid penalty as he held Weise’s stick. The powerplay led to the Canucks best scoring chance of the first period, as Jordan Schroeder fed the puck out to Mason Raymond, who made a beautiful spinning backhand pass to Burrows, forcing an impressive save from Niemi.
  • Burrows appeared to be riled up during the game after his minor dust-up before the opening faceoff, finishing the game with a game-high 6 shots on net to go with 3 hits. He also scored the Canucks’ only goal, though most of the credit should go to Hansen, who fed the puck to Burrows then went hard to the net, taking Dan Boyle with him. Burrows’ shot from out wide was easily saved by Niemi, but the rebound deflected off Boyle’s skate and in. Considering the 5 posts that the Canucks hit, it’s somehow fitting that their lone goal would be scored off a fortunate bounce.
  • GIF BREAK!
  • Maxim Lapierre was just plain bad in this game. His most notable contributions were going 0-for-6 on faceoffs and taking a bad penalty shortly after Burrows cut the Sharks’ lead in half. The Sharks subsequently wore out the Canucks’ penalty kill with some sharp passing before pinballing a puck off Patrick Marleau’s skate and in. It was Marleau’s 9th goal in 5 games, but it was so lucky that he almost looked apologetic as he skated to celebrate with his teammates.
  • At one point in the second intermission, the Sportsnet broadcast showed Lapierre sitting alone in the hallway, like he had been exiled from the locker room for his momentum-killing penalty. I prefer to think he was called back in a few minutes later to be interrogated until he confessed to killing Ben Affleck in a convenience store with a pool noodle.
  • Aaron Volpatti had an eventful game, pretty clearly leaving his feet on a massive hit on Matt Irwin, then later steam-rolling Michal Handzus. The latter hit earned the ire of Douglas Murray, who took a penalty going after Volpatti with an elbow, then dropped his gloves and took down the smaller Volpatti in a fight. Of course, saying that someone is smaller than Douglas Murray is like saying that you like bacon: unsurprising.
  • I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen this happen before, but the Sedins got benched in the third period. Daniel didn’t play for over 8 minutes, while Henrik got just 2 shifts in that time, one of them 3 seconds long, the other 22 seconds long. What makes that significant is that the Canucks had a powerplay in that time. Vigneault instead sent out Andrew Ebbett, Chris Higgins, and Jannik Hansen, sending a pretty clear message.
  • Neither Sedin played particularly well, with both of them on the ice for the Sharks’ first two goals. They can’t be blamed for the Edler giveaway, but on the first goal, they got trapped in the defensive zone and lost puck battles prior to the goal. Daniel finished with no shots on net and just 2 attempts. Without Ryan Kesler and David Booth, the Sedins need to do more heavy lifting offensively.
  • Winning faceoffs used to be a key part of the Canucks’ identity, but they struggled with both Kesler and Manny Malhotra out of the lineup. None of the Canucks’ centres were over 50%, with Burrows struggling the most, going 2-for-8. The most damaging might have been Ebbett, who went 3-for-11 and only 1-for-8 in the defensive zone. Vigneault will be replacing him with Malhotra faster than I can complete this senten-oh, there he goes.
  • Ryane Clowe should have been the goat for the Sharks tonight, with almost five times as many penalty minutes as actual on-the-ice minutes, but the Canucks went 0-for-7 on the powerplay. Four of those powerplays were provided directly by Clowe, but the Canucks couldn’t make him pay. They were less effective with the man advantage than the English in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
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43 comments

  1. Cory Kent
    January 28, 2013

    Hey, this is my first time reading and article from you, and it was terrific! I thought it had the right amount of detail, and really was fun with all the similes and metaphors. How can I be sure to catch any future game recaps you publish?

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    • Fuzzysheep
      January 28, 2013

      Ah welcome to the fold, you’ve stumbled across a great sporting blog. My advice would be add this site to your favourites and check it daily (that’s what I do). You won’t regret it, even when they lose I find PITB is an oasis of calm, rational thinking and makes me smile and feel all right again. They also have a twitter account you could follow if you’re that way inclined.

      In other news, I think Tanev has allowed Ballard to blossom and start playing like the D man that someone was inspired to spend $4M on. I worry about Edler / Garrison (or should that be Garrison / Edler? No, no it shouldn’t – I think that’s part of the problem) but Hamjuice will sort themselves out and when they do we should have two pairings that we can trust with bug minutes. When Hamhuis was injured against Boston that put a massive hole in our defense for that series, now, with Tanev and Ballard playing like this (long may it continue) it would be less devastating to lose one of our top 4.

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    • Paul MacKay
      January 28, 2013

      Just bookmark the website Cory! When You wake up and have Yer coffee, check the weather, maybe Your E-mail and then click on PassItToBulis. It’s a great way to start Your day with only half the calories of Your other leading Hockey Blogs.

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      • steveB
        January 28, 2013

        Thank you for saving me typing the exact same advice!
        After a Canucks game, that’s my morning in a nutshell..
        /now how do I get out of this nutshell?

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      • Cory Kent
        January 28, 2013

        Thanks everyone, bookmarked!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 28, 2013

      Welcome to the fold, Cory. There are lots of ways to keep track of us, from a) following us on Twitter to b) liking us on Facebook to c) bookmarking us to d) checking the website regularly, since we publish every day.

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      • Nee
        January 28, 2013

        E) Make PITB your home page.

        Though that may be taking it a bit too far…

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    • channerman
      January 28, 2013

      There’s also RSS feeds if you’re into that.

      http://vansunsportsblogs.com/feed/

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    • shoes
      January 28, 2013

      Cory….is that you Harrison? LOL

      Kidding…it really is a refreshing way to look at a game, and for me it helps me keep the highs lower and the lows higher throughout the season.

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      • Nee
        January 28, 2013

        “highs lower and the lows higher”

        Very true. And one of the things I like the most about PITB, and the commenters here, is that even when the Canucks have a really terrible game, or lose the most important game in their history (/sobs) I can always count on this place to bring some perspective and humour to the situation.

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  2. Dave
    January 28, 2013

    Have you got a sweet vid or gif of da Honey Badger giving the ref the business?

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    • Cory Kent
      January 28, 2013

      What is this nickname honey badger? I’m just hearing it for the first time over last night and today, and I’m not clear who it’s applying to, and where it came from. I’d like to enjoy it a little more myself ;)

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      • obituary mambo
        February 9, 2013

        Hi! I know this is a late response, but I just got around to reading this IWTG. Also, if you’ve already read the “Jannik Hansen crosschecks a ref, because he really doesn’t care [VIDEO]” post, you’ll already have learned the answer: Jannik Hansen is the Honey Badger, a nickname inspired by the delightful video from Randall’s Animals. Note: there is swearing so it might not be appropriate to watch at work, but is is pure genius.

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        • obituary mambo
          February 9, 2013

          …it is… Grumble, grumble.

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  3. Ben
    January 28, 2013

    “Edler playing on the right-side have not been good, as he has a turnover rate like a minimum wage employer.”
    Gold.

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  4. The Bookie
    January 28, 2013

    Nickname Nomination Time:

    Chris “SAFE” Tanev
    (steady as fcking ever)

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  5. Angry Canadian
    January 28, 2013

    I’m putting this one down to one of those Bizzaro World games that seem to happen one or two times a year. Sedins didn’t do anything? 0-7 on the PP? 5 frickin posts? All in the same game? Meh. Considering our record against the Sharks over the past few years, a bad one was eventually going to happen, just as sure as Adam Sandler will one day win an Honorary Razzie.

    Also, on a slightly different tack, since I don’t really want to discuss today’s game any more, is anyone else noticing a bit more Lu love around? (this is honestly not a comment about Cory’s performance today – when your D should be getting assists on opposition goals, it doesn’t matter if Cory, Lu or Ken Dryden is in net, bad things are going to happen) I mean, I know the even-tempered fans that PITB attract would never mercilessly bash any of our players but it seems to me that the calls to trade Lu away seem to be slowly fading, sort of like my furious hatred toward the Rangers. But living in Melbourne as I do, I don’t get a chance to really smell the effigies or watch the parades on a daily basis, dependant on how the team has done.

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    • Fuzzysheep
      January 28, 2013

      I thought this would happen and I’m glad. Lu, one of our all time greats, deserves some respect and love before he goes. The fans have had some time to think about what they would be losing and realised he’s pretty special.

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      • Frank N
        January 28, 2013

        Plus some people finally realize that Schneider is merely mortal, just like Lu, or any other goalie for that matter.

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    • Nee
      January 28, 2013

      “I don’t get a chance to really smell the effigies ”

      No, I think you’re right. The media has certainly toned down the coverage (locally at least) of the “controversy” and their criticism of Luongo. There have actually been some pretty complimentary things said about Lu recently by the media.

      There are still a fair number of people anxious for Gillis to sort out the trade though, if Canucks.com message boards and twitter are any indication.

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  6. TheGilchy
    January 28, 2013

    May be a crazy suggestion, but could some of Kassian’ s “invisibility” be due to the Sedins’ play in this one. They continually gave the puck away in cycle after cycle (including the sequence leading to the first goal). If your two linemates are in the corner losing the puck, it’s hard to look to good.

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  7. Mt
    January 28, 2013

    I personally couldn’t believe that over the top Honey-badger move on the ref and find it hard to imagine that he gets away with it. I wouldn’t be surprised by a suspension for ‘behavior’.

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  8. tj
    January 28, 2013

    I didn’t watch this game, and could barely even read IWTG. However I did, and I’m glad for chuckles between the blows.

    Perhaps the Canucks were cranky and put off by having to fly coach? I know I have a much better day when I fly Business Class (that’s about as good as it gets in my world, alas…)

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    • tj
      January 28, 2013

      (Hmm… Does using the flying excuse mean we can officially blame ‘the coach’? Badabing!)

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  9. the olde coot
    January 28, 2013

    I’m glad i didn’t watch this game
    My reffing soccer was to blame
    Then tutoring grade eleven math
    So I’ve no need to vent my wrath

    I hear, “They didn’t have no luck!
    As off the iron they rang the puck
    At least five times and maybe more!”
    Which rather helps explain the score

    “How often when it’s two to none
    And then the lead’s reduced to one,
    A really stupid penalty
    And now the score is one to three?”

    I guess that happened yesterday
    Way down south in San Jose.

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  10. Flippin the Pool
    January 28, 2013

    The curious case of the Vancouver Canucks. One night they look like world-beaters, the next they look like they couldn’t play their way out of a paper bag. This wild inconsistancy will be the death of them in a short season when they dont have 82 games to recover from a typical slow start. I know they have only played 5 games which is basically pre-season but these games count, It’s not time to flip the pool yet but at some point they are going to have to figure this out and find some consistancy.

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  11. Brent
    January 28, 2013

    Maybe their poor play is a case of target fixation? Maybe they are looking ahead to some big game, hhhmmm, wonder who it is..let me check the schedule…oh yea, LA.

    So who starts in net?

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    • Rituro
      January 28, 2013

      Lack.

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      • Kesler's Nose
        January 28, 2013

        We all want to see Lou for the LA game!!!

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  12. Zach Morris
    January 28, 2013

    Did anyone else feel like this was gonna happen?
    I mean, I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but this feels more like parallel universe Canucks rather than Vancouver Canucks.

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    • Frank N
      January 28, 2013

      When they went on their current road trip, I felt like it was wholly possible that they would go 0 for 3. I guess they are already ahead!

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  13. Snepsts
    January 28, 2013

    Every game the Canucks have lost this year is a) a game I haven’t properly watched/paid attention to and b) a night various Canucks happen to show up where I am out.

    Last night it was a grumpy looking Kesler and a goofy, wide-eyed David Booth at Local in Kits. It was funny that they had to wait half an hour for a table to watch their team-mates lose a horribly disciplined game. They did fist-bump when Hansen scored, which was almost unbearably cute (according to my female companion, of course–I would never, ever say that myself).

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    • tj
      January 28, 2013

      There is just all kinds of adorbs in this observational post. The image of Kes and Booth fist-bumping in a bar has left a Chloe Ezra-tinged image in my head.

      And I too have a ridonculous theory that my volunteer work which has been causing me to miss games is partially responsible also for these losses… Welcome back, irrational hockey brain. Laters, sensei-cortex.

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  14. shoes
    January 28, 2013

    If they play decent tonight, then it gets chaulked up to a bad game. The inconsistency is troubling, but I am not panicking about a bad game or three. I do not expect the Canucks to get very good until Kesler is back. He is a major part of the machine, both on PP and PK, not to mention his regular line. The Canucks are not a Presidents candidate this year, but I expect they will win the division with Minny right in there. The unnamed flat teams and Colorado will be the dumplings of the West. As to Lou….if he goes….I want something good back,, because in spite of the fans from the aforementioned flat place beaking off about his “terrible” contract, it is actually quite a good contract for a number of reasons. If he can play 5 more productive years than back up for another 4 it will be one of the all time great contracts in the salary cap era. Notice you hear fans from Alberta and Ontario, yip-yapping about this contract but you never hear GM’s or anybody of merit speaking of it being bad, because they know it isn’t

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  15. Chris the Curmudgeon
    January 28, 2013

    Being that I live in the Bay Area and refuse to give the NHL any money for Center Ice, this was the first Canucks game on my TV this season. I should have just watched the Pro Bowl.

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  16. Canuckfaninsf
    January 28, 2013

    Hey Chris, you live here too? What sayeth you about the commentators?

    No mention of Bieksa going Hulk-smash mode on Desjardins? Those were some angry punches.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      January 29, 2013

      Meh, I’m fairly indifferent to them. When watching the Canucks play like they did on Sunday I’m grumpy but my ire is fairly unfocused.

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  17. cathylu
    January 28, 2013

    My hubby and I were thinking of going to last’s night’s game but in retrospect it was good we stayed home. It would have been a sad drive home. That was a pretty rough game. Hoping for a better outcome tonight – I’ll be at Staples in the lower bowl. Pray for me (I’ve had a couple of bad fan experiences there).

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    • Canuckfaninsf
      January 28, 2013

      I’m watching the one on April 1st!

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  18. Smokey
    January 28, 2013

    You’re sounding a little down on the Canucks in this one, Wagner. C’mon that was a fun game, sure we lost but it was entertaining.

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  19. andrea
    January 28, 2013

    I have Sharks season tickets but I’m not going to games this (abbreviated) season. I switched over to the SAG awards at one point.

    Aside to Harrison, I heard “Call Your Girlfriend” while buying makeup at Nordstrom and was earwormed with “Call the union” for the rest of the day.

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  20. Owen
    January 28, 2013

    Yes…that Bieksa is so impressive with two after the whistle blind side hits. Takes a man! His peers will not appreciate that style of play. There will be a reckoning and he will miss time.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      January 28, 2013

      Neither hit was blindside and only one of them was after the whistle and it was far closer to being simultaneous with the whistle. So…relax.

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