I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Colorado Avalanche, January 30, 2013

Alain Vigneault shocked the city of Vancouver Wednesday morning when he announced that Roberto Luongo would get the start versus the Colorado Avalanche. The controversial decision led to a boatload of speculation on what it meant. Was Vigneault simply riding the hot hand? Had Luongo reclaimed the starter’s job? Or maybe the Canucks were playing him against an inferior opponents in the Avalanche in order to showcase him to potential trade partners?

Nevermind that the showcase theory makes no sense whatsoever. Roberto Luongo has been in the NHL for more than a decade. He’s played 730 NHL games — 789 if you count the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, he’s gone to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s played in the Olympics. If you’re in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team and you aren’t sure who Roberto Luongo is and what he’s about in 2013, then you shouldn’t be in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team.

But if there really is a General Manager out there so braindead and incompetent that he needs to be reminded Roberto Luongo plays goal and does so fairly effectively, I’m sure he was pleased with what he saw when he, just as I, watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 0 Avalanche

  • Poor Roberto Luongo can’t win. For the controversial second straight game, he was controversially excellent, but unlike Monday night, the Canucks defence gave him some help. The result? A controversial 24-save shutout. Luongo’s most memorable came on a point shot from Jan Hejda, which got through Luongo, but was swept out of the danger area by the knob of Luongo’s stick. It was the biggest knob save since Doctors James T. Sehn and David Berman spent nearly 10 hours putting John Wayne Bobbitt back together.
  • But seriously, this is a huge controversy. How can the team deal with the distraction of both their goaltenders posting shutouts? It must be a nightmare for them. Speaking of shutouts, rather than panicking over the Canucks complicated goalie situation, feel free to take note of the fact that only Vancouver and St. Louis have already posted two shutouts this season.
  • Jason Garrison finally got his first goal as a Canuck, which should calm down some of the people concerned that, after 6 games, he had yet to make a millionaire of someone in Safeway Score & Win. The goal was the result of an excellent pass off the boards from Erik Johnson, who took too long to move the puck, then threw it away with Chris Higgins bearing down on him. Garrison immediately showed Johnson how to move the puck quickly, pouncing on the loose puck at the blueline and stepping into it like a bra. (That’s how women put on bras, right?)
  • After his worst outing of the season, Maxim Lapierre had a strong bounceback game, going 6-for-10 on faceoffs and registering 3 takeaways, one of which led to the goal that made it 2-0 late in the second period. Lapierre began and ended the play, stealing a puck from Greg Zanon in the neutral zone before leaving him in the dust and putting the puck through Semyon Varlamov’s five-hole. Now, I hate to take anything away from Lapierre here, but it’s worth noting that Zanon’s not nearly as fast since he has to cart his beard around in a wheelbarrow. And Varlamov left so much space between his legs that Lapierre could have crawled through like John Cusack in Being John Malkovich.
  • Chris Tanev and Keith Ballard have so much chemistry they can’t bear to be apart. After Ballard took a penalty for holding late in the second, Tanev suddenly developed a mean streak and got himself thrown in the box for boarding. It was boarding in Tanev’s typically casual style, of course. He did it one-handed. Yeah. It wasn’t much of a board. Still, it was the darkest thing he’s ever done and it changed him forever. He became Evil Tanev. When he exited the box, he had a black paper goatee.
  • It was a rough night for Cody McLeod. He was crunched along the boards by one of Keith Ballard’s classic hipchecks in the first, then he caught a Mason Raymond high-stick to the face in the third. Unfortunately for him, the refs didn’t catch it, and when he told them off, he was sent to the box for his impertinence. It wasn’t a great night for the refs: they also fell for Keith Ballard’s dive in the third period, which was about as believable as Russell Crowe’s singing.
  • The Sedins didn’t get on the board, but they had a strong night. Daniel Sedin led the way with a game-high 5 shots on goal for the Canucks, and while they didn’t get on the scoresheet, they were on the ice for Zack “Degrassi” Kassian’s fifth of the season, a powerplay marker that iced the game by pushing the Canucks past that dastardly two-goal lead. The play was really made by Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis, who looked poised to shoot, but instead found Kassian camped at the side of the net and fed Kassian a pass. Then, after the game, Hamhuis found a family of four camped at the side of the road and fed them too.
  • Earlier today, I wrote about Jordan Schroeder showing well in the faceoff circle. Then he went 2-for-8 tonight. (I cursed him. Apparently, I can curse. Stay tuned tomorrow, when I gush about how well the Chicago Blackhawks are playing.) Manny Malhotra, on the other hand, had another great night on faceoffs. He went 10-for-13. Don’t look now, but he’s leading in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at a gaudy 70.6%.
  • This was the first game this season where the Canucks really dominated their opponents from beginning to end, and yes, I remember the 5-0 drubbing versus Anaheim. They may have dominated that game on the scoresheet, but they didn’t have control of it quite like they did versus Colorado. The shots may have been 24-23 in favour of Colorado, but the Canucks attempted 61 to the Avalanche’s 41.
Tags: , , , ,

40 comments

  1. Kevin Zecchel
    January 31, 2013

    I was at this game. It was the third Canucks game I’ve been to in the past three years. In all three of those games, Luongo posted a shutout. Clearly, I need to go to more games.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +24 (from 26 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      January 31, 2013

      I had a similar record with Grizzlies games. If I had season tickets, they never would have left Vancouver.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
      • Kips
        January 31, 2013

        If more people had season tickets (or even tickets for that matter) the Grizzlies wouldn’t have left.

        :(

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +17 (from 19 votes)
      • Yobbei
        January 31, 2013

        You mean the grizzlies were posting shutouts?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
    • junk
      January 31, 2013

      That’s awesome. You should contact Canucks management and ask for season tickets.

      Beware though, once Luongo gets traded and his new team comes to town they’ll lock you up in your basement :-) .

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Andre
    January 31, 2013

    First complete game of the season, from our goal mouth to their boards. Power play looked more like its normal self, as well as penalty kill.

    Maybe we don’t need Kesler after all.

    Then again, maybe we do.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  3. Josh D.
    January 31, 2013

    You know, if Luongo wants to pull a Tim Thomas and take his starting job back, capping it off with a Conn Smythe win, I wouldn’t complain…

    Really happy with how complete a game we played tonight, if we’re able to do this with some consistency, we’ll be in pretty good shape with Booth and Kesler back in the lineup.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 16 votes)
    • Frank N
      January 31, 2013

      Yes, a complete game it was. The most complete so far. But that has to be due in part to the quality of the opponent. After all, it was against Colorado, and not against the likes of the Blackhawks, the Kings, the Blues, or the Sharks. Those are the 4 teams the Canucks will have to beat to make it out of the West. A tall order. But definitely a good showing early in the season.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  4. Angry Canadian
    January 31, 2013

    I’m enjoying this current run of very good goaltending. Not only are the Canucks winning – mostly – but I’m also getting to lay down beatdowns on FB and other social media to all the trolls that are up in arms (still!!) about how Cory should be number one and how Lu should be traded to, I don’t know, Anchorage or something. OK, I’ve just admitted my life is mostly pathetic.

    It’s also helped me realize that I probably wouldn’t have made a good teacher, like I wanted to be, because the way I’m telling these morons about sharing and working together – like Lu & Cory seem to be – probably would not be accepted in any school system.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)
  5. John Andress
    January 31, 2013

    Come on people, a win is a win is a win but let’s not get carried away. They were playing the Colorado Avalanche who were described by one Vancouver journalist as being “Avalanche uniforms filled with air.” Lot’s of positive progress and good signs but just as things weren’t as bad as many nervous Nellies were thinking them to be in most games earlier this season, this performance against an injury depleted Colorado team does not mean that the Canucks are out of the woods yet. But it was a step in the right direction. (This comment is directed at the great grey mass of Canucks fans, and not, specifically, at this IWTG or any of the above commentators on it.)

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  6. Spencer
    January 31, 2013

    A Mighty Boosh reference? It’s like you guys like the same weird things that I like.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  7. Zach Morris
    January 31, 2013

    “Keep Luongo. Deal Schnieder. The Canucks will be keeping the better goaltender and dealing the guy that will fetch way more in a trade since he’s only on a 3 year deal and has youth on his side. Don’t forget Schnieder got to pad his stats as a backup the past 3 seasons since he got the starts against most of the weak teams to give the starter, Lou, a rest.”

    A direct quote from the enchanting TSN article: “It’s Your! Call: Who should be the Canucks number one goalie?”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • John Andress
      January 31, 2013

      Like in Boston last season, right?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      January 31, 2013

      I don’t have the figures in front of me, but I don’t believe Schneider faced particularly weaker competition than Luongo last season. He certainly didn’t have a “backup schedule”, anyway. (And he was outstanding when Luongo was injured and he made several consecutive starts). And even if there’s a bit of “padding” in there (nearly impossible in a capped league), the discrepancy between them was substantial enough that anyone with objectivity will acknowledge that Schneider had the better season.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  8. jenny wren
    January 31, 2013

    a classic hip by number four
    before and after not much more
    except a save by Bobby Lu
    and a first goal from five who’s new

    i hope soon but if not later
    we get one from Jordan Schroeder

    ten minutes in a one goal lead
    perhaps two more is what we’ll need
    for the next ten we dominate
    because we are allowed to skate

    the Avalanche unlike LA
    don’t take the body when they play

    “Colorado five-eight board!”
    the puck moves well but no one scored
    ’til Lappy with the puck is off
    and fires five hole on Varlamov

    the Avalanche when five on three
    see Burrows great defensively

    then a shorthanded breakaway
    has Lui there to make the play
    and Hamhuis gives a pass so fine
    deflected in by number nine

    with seconds left a standing “LUUUU…!”
    so in my room i stand up too

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 19 votes)
  9. cathylu
    January 31, 2013

    Please include Garrison’s post-goal hug in your next Hockey Hugs! Congrats to him on his first goal as a Canuck. I enjoyed the win; it was good to go to bed not being pissed off. I had to do a double-take when I noticed Zanon on the ice with that massive growth on his face. That beard is epic. Too bad for the Avs that beards don’t win hockey games.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 9 votes)
  10. John Wong
    January 31, 2013

    Kassian is now tied for second in league scoring and a 33.3% shot percentage (5 goals on 15 shots), but he should be traded because he’s a puck hog (not a team player) because he has zero assists.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 10 votes)
    • Flippin the Pool
      January 31, 2013

      He plays on the wing with two of the best passers and setup men in the NHL. He’s not there to assist goals, he’s there to create havoc in front of the net and keep his stick on the ice for the easy tap-ins that the Sedins (and Hamius) will be feeding him.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
    • zach
      January 31, 2013

      I get you John, that’s called sarcasm right? NOBODY UNDERSTANDS US

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  11. Flippin the Pool
    January 31, 2013

    I hope AV continues to play the hot hand and starts Lu in Chicago tomorrow. It would be a big statement game for Luongo. If he plays like he did yesterday and gets the W he may solidify his spot in net for a while, if he plays terrible and gets lit up, it will once again give Schnieder a chance to get back in. Either way, I think Luongo should be playing in Chicago tomorrow night.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
    • Flippin the Pool
      January 31, 2013

      I agree, they do tend to get into his head but thats why I see it as an important game for Lu. It will give AV, Mike Gilles, the fans, and the media an opportunity to see where Lu’s head is at. We know he has a habit of blowing up in games like this and playing tomorrow will go along way in either a.) showing he has his head in the right place or b.) showing that nothing has changed. Either way it would be a big game for him.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  12. Lenny
    January 31, 2013

    Oh man, Boston has 4 guys in that NHL face off chart. Peverley, Bergeron, Kelly and Krejci. No team should be allowed to have that many good face off men.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • Paul from YT
      January 31, 2013

      Nevermind the fact that Bergeron is 65.5% on 116 FO’s vs Malhotras’ 34.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. yobbei
    January 31, 2013

    Is Kassian eligible for calder?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -4 (from 4 votes)
  14. Tengeresz
    January 31, 2013

    WAS I DREAMING?

    Or did I actually see Manny take an offensive zone face off, and stay on the ice?
    That’s after certainly did see the Ham-Juice split up, which made the team D better.

    Our world is being turned upside-down. We live in dangerous times….

    But seriously: I’m very happy that AV feels he can roll four lines, and see scoring from a variety of role players.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to the injured warriors returning, and hope that we’ll end up with an even strength offence and power-play to live up to the great goaltending and improving D corps.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  15. madwag
    January 31, 2013

    “there are” if you please.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +20 (from 22 votes)
  16. Chris the Curmudgeon
    January 31, 2013

    I’ve been saying it quite regularly since last season ended, and I’m going to say it again: what’s to say that Luongo is automatically the one to be traded? I see the braindead and attention-starved Vancouver sports media morons (ie: everyone who writes about the Canucks aside from this blog) drumming up that story line ad nauseum, and I see a lot of talk from Gillis and Luongo et al that’s dripping with PR spin. But seriously, why wouldn’t you consider trading the guy whose stock is high (Schneider, though his unspectacular start to the season might hurt that a bit) and keeping one of the best goalies of his generation who still has a good-sized chunk of his career left and under club control to boot? Sure, odds still seem better that it’s Lu that goes, but it’s amazing to me that after 5+ years people are back to waking up to the fact that Roberto Luongo is actually pretty good.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      January 31, 2013

      Yup. Odds are it’s Luongo, but if a Schneider trade went down, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to me.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • Frank N
        January 31, 2013

        Yikes, just imagine how pissed of Luongo would be if Schneider got traded to Florida!?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
        • Brent
          January 31, 2013

          Who is left in Florida that we would want?

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • Frank N
            January 31, 2013

            Bjugstad. Florida was unwilling to give him up in exchange for Luongo.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
            • madwag
              January 31, 2013

              he’s big but 62 points in 69 games for the university of minnesota? i don’t understand their unwillingness.

              VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
              Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. BakerGeorgeT
    January 31, 2013

    Did everyone forget Luongo’s meltdowns versus Chicago (twice) Boston and even Anaheim (though that meltdown was more like a poopdown). He posts a shut out against a team that is clearly not very good and everyone is losing their marbles like lost boys. Trade Schneider? That’s a really dumb idea.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -4 (from 10 votes)
  18. Jacob
    January 31, 2013

    Am I the only one who read “then you shouldn’t be in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team” and reflexively shrieked “Jay Feaster!” out loud and then the Starbucks got really quiet and awkward and you had to slink out?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  19. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    January 31, 2013

    ◦You can look now.

    Ah, Bryan Bickell’s 1-for-1 effort has pushed him to the top of the list now, unfortunately. (Someone might want to teach NHL statisticians about minimum sample sizes).

    A couple of thoughts:

    (1) Every time I hear the media describe anything Canucks-wise as controversial, I think of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word…” I don’t think they know what it means. (Much as most fans don’t know what “conspiracy” means, but toss it around liberally any time suggests that humans are not always impartial.)

    (2) Keith Ballard may complement Chris Tanev nicely, but Pierre LeBrun complimented him last night on Twitter, noting that he’s never seen Tanev have a bad game. Pretty high praise from one of the better hockey minds out there… and pretty close to the truth, too.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  20. Smokey
    January 31, 2013

    Chicago delenda est!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • chicken chick
      January 31, 2013

      Chicago is to be destroyed
      A major crisis to avoid:
      Our losing there would overshadow
      This past win in Colorado!

      Chicken Chick

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  21. Angry Canadian
    January 31, 2013

    I’m starting to wonder if you shouldn’t change your name from Kesler’s Nose to Horses A**….

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  22. Nee
    January 31, 2013

    Favourite parts of this game:
    -Burrows on the PK, especially the 5 on 3…he was fantastic, poke checking like a mad man
    -Garrett observing Cody McLeod going after Weise after Ballard hip-checked him. Asks “I wonder why he’s fighting Dale?”. Shorty replies “He’s just mad” and chuckles. Reminded me of the way a grumpy 2 year old might behave, for some reason.
    -Garrison’s post-goal hug. That was some serious love he shared with Higgins.
    -Crowd luuuuu-ing Roberto and giving him a Standing O at the end of the game. A nice moment and a nice gesture, given Lu’s complicated past (and present, future) in Vanxoucer

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  23. junk
    January 31, 2013

    “biggest knob save since Doctors James T. Sehn and David Berman spent nearly 10 hours putting John Wayne Bobbitt back together”

    OMG how could I forget the infamous “historic” event! It’s been 20 years already? It was such a shocker that I think they actually added the word ‘bobbitt’ to a dictionary as a verb, later that year.

    LOL you guys are the masters of references!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)