I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Calgary Flames, February 9, 2013

The Canucks came into this game riding a 4-game win streak. The Flames came into this game playing, well, the way the Calgary Flames play nowadays. They’re simply not a good team anymore, and they’re especially not a good team when their centre depth is so depleted by injuries that their first-line centre is their first-line winger.

Of course, the worst injury the Flames are dealing with is in goal. Miikka Kiprusoff is out with a lower-body issue, so Leland Irving was in with a full body issue, the issue being that his body doesn’t get hit by pucks as often as Kiprusoff’s. The Canucks were able to use that to their advantage, putting 5 unanswered goals past Irving in the final two periods. Not unanswered, however, is the question of whether or not I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 1 Flames

  • We’ll spend some time talking about another Canuck to make personal history tonight, but first, a word on Chris Tanev, who made personal history the other night when he scored his first NHL goal. At 5:24 of the first period of this game, he had another first: he made what had to be his first ever bad pass, a no-look toss behind the goal that was easily intercepted. Tanev is always casual, but this pass was just too casual, like wearing Juicy Couture pants to the office.
  • Since this game had the feel of a 60-minute outperformance, it’s strange to think that there was a time when the Canucks actually trailed, but the Flames opened the scoring with just inside two minutes remaining in the first. Lee Stempniak was able to pounce on a loose puck without any interference from Alex Edler, whose stick had broken moments earlier, as it often does, so he was unable to lift or tie up Stempniak’s. Still, I wished Edler had just reached out and touched Stempniak’s stick with his hand. I suspect it would have come apart upon contact. Think of how many sticks break in his grip. Edler has “The Edler touch”.
  • Mason Raymond took a puck to the face in the first period, and wound up spilling so much blood that the game had to be stopped to clear out all the sharks.
  • Alex Burrows tied the game up in the second period, finishing off a little Sedinery from his usual spot in front of the goal. Burrows is practiced at getting a stick on pucks in the crease, and he showed his speed on this play, spotting the puck loose in front of Leland Irving and poking it like a Polkaroo. DJ Dave played “Electric Worry”, as usual, but I was secretly hoping he’d just play the Polkaroo song. How d’ya do? Polkaroo! How are you? Polkaroo! Whaddya say? Polkaroo! Pol-ka-roo!
  • The weirdest part of that goal: when Burrows goes to high-five everyone at the bench, Keith Ballard holds his glove out in the wrong direction, blocking the camera with his palm on purpose. Why? No idea.
  • The Canucks’ first powerplay gave us our first look at a new powerplay formation — one that replaced Daniel Sedin with Jordan Schroeder, then replaced the second defenceman with Daniel Sedin. It didn’t pay off on its debut, but it did in the second period, when Henrik Sedin somehow managed to lure the entire Flames penalty-kill to the half-wall before Alex Burrows sneaked in and fired a pass to Alex Edler. Showing his usual, impressive vision, Edler quickly threw it to Schroeder, who looked like a lost child standing in front, all tiny and unattended. He directed the puck past Leland Irving for his first career NHL goal.
  • You don’t tend to get a lot of credit when you’re the second assist on someone’s first ever NHL goal, but Alex Burrows really made that goal happen. First, he dug the puck out of the battle along the wall and fed it to Edler. But that’s not where his great play ended. One of the reasons Schroeder’s so unattended is that Dennis Wideman, who left the goalmouth to try to win the puck, can’t get back to the front of the net because Burrows rushes in front of him and runs some unseen interference to allow the Canucks to go one-up. It’s the best hidden block leading to a 1-up since the hidden block before the first gap in World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros.
  • The Canucks closed off a three-goal second period with Kevin Bieksa’s second of the season. His shot was nice, but I was much more enamoured with Daniel Sedin’s pass, which made Steve Begin look like a silly, silly man. Begin rushes to the wall, thinking he’ll be able to cut Daniel off. Instead, Daniel stops up, then makes a swivelling back-pass around Begin to Bieksa for the one-timer. I like the way Begin tries to rush back into the shooting lane, then realizes he’s been drawn too far out of it and gives up. You can actually see the moment where he’s like, I suck.
  • The only reason Alex Burrows doesn’t get hit with Bieksa’s shot is because he dives out of the way. But he dives forward. What’s that about? That’s like in the movies when someone gets crushed by a falling tree because they run in the direction its falling. People say Burrows is a diver, but if he was really that experienced, he wouldn’t be diving forward like a moron.
  • Man alive, the Sedins were good in this game. I’d say they benefited quite a bit from Bob Hartley’s curious decision to line-match them with the Flames’ first line, which featured non-center Alex Tanguay playing center. The result was a dominant night from the Sedins, who possessed the puck so thoroughly that it started spiderwalking down stairs and spinning its head all the way around (warning: both links super creepy).
  • I enjoyed Maxim Lapierre just taking a Flames’ player’s stick, then getting as penalty for it. They called it holding the stick. It was stealing. I half-expected to try to sell the stick on Craigslist.
  • The Canucks also got a little lucky in this one. Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins’ goal, for instance, was the result of a fortunate bounce, as Kevin Bieksa threw the puck on net, only to have it jump off Maxim Lapierre’s leg and right onto Higgins’ stick. Higgins wasted no time in tucking it home the way young Ben Stiller should have in There’s Something About Mary.
  • Eventually, one Flames fan had seen enough and decided to throw his or her jersey onto the ice in protest. Or maybe it was a Canucks fan making Flames fans look silly by throwing one on the ice to make it look like a Flames fan had given up. Either way, we support this. I was surprised the Flames didn’t get called for too many men when that thing hit the ice. It would have been easy to confuse it for an actual Flame since, for long stretches, the rest of the team was invisible too.
  • I really liked the line of Hansen, Raymond, and Schroeder. They’re fast, they do great work on the backcheck, and they combined for the Canucks’ 5th goal. Schroeder scored it, getting his second of the night and his career by collecting the rebound on a Mason Raymond shot and putting it past Irving. If you’re wondering how he was so wide open on the goal, remember that he’s very small. I mean, his helmet is one half of a Kinder Surprise capsule.
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46 comments

  1. Ken Johnson
    February 10, 2013

    First!

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    • Angry Canadian
      February 10, 2013

      You’re an adult, right?

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      • Mel
        February 10, 2013

        Dude, it’s Ken Johnson! He’s famous around here. So Ken, did the Wellwoods deliver yet?

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        • Ken Johnson
          February 12, 2013

          No, not yet. But it’s not been from a lack of chances. Like Dale Weise, I’m sure my puck luck will change sooner or later. My on-ice scoring % has been as low as Dales lately. *zing!*

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      • Ken Johnson
        February 12, 2013

        Sometimes I wonder. I really do.

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  2. Doop
    February 10, 2013

    Something about Tanev’s pass to Raymond during the play for Schroeder’s second goal made me feel so cozy.

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  3. Steve
    February 10, 2013

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention when Schneider got the puck pulled away by Bieksa as the whistle blew, and Schenider spent a good 15 seconds trying to find it in his equipment.

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  4. obituary mambo
    February 10, 2013

    I was so soundly asleep when my alarm went off (at 3:45am) to wake me up for this game that I momentarily considered sleeping through it. Glad I decided to get up as it’s fun to see a rout every now and again. As an added bonus, I got to witness Schroeder’s first career goal — followed fairly quickly by his second.

    Love the line about the possibility of an empty sweater being mistaken for a Flame. I know injuries played a role in their loss, but let’s not forget that the Canucks are battling a couple of key injuries of their own. While the Flames may not have been at their best, even their best is no match for the league’s elite teams. Irving allowed 5 goals but the handful of really spectacular saves he made early in the game prevented it from progressing well past a rout and into a full on annihilation. With all that in mind, it strikes me as odd that the Flames continue to resist the idea that they need to enter rebuilding mode pronto.

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    • peanutflower
      February 10, 2013

      who is this majority you speak of?

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    • Lenny
      February 10, 2013

      Most Canadians would want the Canucks to win the Cup if their hometown team is not able to. Fact.

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    • obituary mambo
      February 10, 2013

      Seeing as Vancouver is pretty much undeniably one of the league’s elite teams, my primary concern upon reading your response to my comment was that I had forgotten to use an apostrophe in my post. I’m relieved to see that wasn’t the case and will now be on way as your pathetic attempt at a post is not worth my time, nor the time of any of this blog’s regular visitors. See ya!

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    • tj
      February 10, 2013

      I don’t know. When do we get to call a team ‘elite’? How many Stanley Cup playoff games, or finals, do they need to be in, consecutively, to be called an ‘elite team’? It’s not as though they were called Top 6 (and can we say that currently all Top 6 are actually elite? I.e., does one presuppose the other?)

      Anyway, I think it’s the overconfidence that borders on smugness that gets ‘the majority of Canada’ (an oft-used and rarely-proved sweeping statement) negative about the Canucks. Perhaps the ‘majority of Canadians’ have a distaste for unseemly smug (i.e., ‘classless’) behaviour. Which is sort of funny, given the tone some of the Leafs and Canadiens fans spew. But then, I suppose only Top 6 teams’ fans are allowed to use that tone.

      It’s all pretty silly, is what I’m saying…

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      • obituary mambo
        February 10, 2013

        The funny thing is, I wasn’t even referring to Vancouver as one of the league’s elite teams in my original post. I was merely trying to emphasize the fact that Calgary doesn’t stack up to those teams — whichever ones they may be; I suppose that has to be left up to a certain amount of interpretation. Kesler’s Nose chose to read my statement as my saying the Canucks were an elite team and I went along with it, though I don’t think there was any smugness in my comment. Unless, of course, you’re referring to my perception that Calgary just isn’t very good. I see that less as a statement of Vancouver’s awesomeness than I do one of Calgary’s ineptitude.

        Speaking for myself, I would call any team that routinely finishes at or near the top of the standings and which features multiple players and staff not only nominated for league-wide awards but who also win a fair number of the awards for which they were nominated an elite team. But that’s just my take on it. I’m sure there are those who would disagree.

        PS~ I’ll be off the grid for quite a few hours (sleep then work), so please don’t be offended if it takes me a while to respond. That is, considering anyone is interested in continuing this conversation. If not, please disregard this post script.

        obituary mambo AKA Sleepy in Jičín

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        • tj
          February 10, 2013

          Oh, I wasn’t referring specifically to any one post, just the general discussion of ‘elite’ teams and ‘majority of Canadians hate Canucks’ memes. I agree that it should be safe to say a team is elite if the team consistently makes it to or near the playoffs for several years in a row. Your added point about teams with members that regularly are included in Olympic or World teams is well-taken. I concur.

          Some people can’t abide by, say, the Canucks being considered a top team in any way. After so many years of being a fan of, shall I say, a lower echelon team, even I feel awkward and shy about confidence in the team. That says less about the team and bandwagon, than it does about gun-shy personality traits ;)

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          • obituary mambo
            February 11, 2013

            I remember those lean years. However, seeing as they’re behind us for the time being, I choose to focus on my pride in how far they’ve come and celebrate the joy of watching them succeed (at least to a certain extent). I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I lived in the area (and even when I did live up there, I was on the wrong side of the border — perhaps you’re familiar with the San Juan Islands?). Now that I live in Europe I have virtually no contact with Canucks fans apart from on this site, which seems to draw a pretty reasonable group of people — those who are happy to celebrate the team’s accomplishments without being obnoxious about it and who are willing to admit that there is always room for improvement. Have our peers really become as bad as all that?

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  5. Shade of Blue
    February 10, 2013

    *I thought Schroeder, Schneider, and Burrows were the Canucks’ three stars tonight, the former two for obvious reasons; Burrows because he was everywhere, most notably on Bieksa’s goal, which doesn’t happen without Burrows digging the puck out behind the net and then creating a huge distraction in front it.
    *while it was great to see the Sedins cranking up the wizardry, it seemed particularly sporting of the Flames to play the role of the Washington Generals, effectively giving the Canucks a chance to earn points in a practice game.
    *Spare a brief moment, if you will, to pity those poor, poor Flames fans. (Older Canucks fans once siuffered as they do now; we called it ‘the 1980s’.) Then laugh, because Flames fans deserve it, for lo, Otto kicked the puck in for that heart breaking double OT winner in ’89 and older Canucks fans have long memories and bitter souls.
    *Victory may salve twisted souls, but even better is the laughter evoked by the mental image of the open Schroeder as a lost child, lonely and alone. Comedy gold!
    *Schroeder may be small, but sometimes those guys play harder because they have too. Cliff Ronning was about as small as hockey players get, but he made a huge contribution to the early ’90s edition of the Canucks. Early days yet, but I hope Schroeder has a similar impact.
    *The Canucks have skipped their traditional slow start (at least in the standings) and have moved directly to winning!

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  6. Angry Canadian
    February 10, 2013

    I’ll bet you could have got a very good quote from the Vegas preseason on both Tanev and Schroeder scoring a goal this year before Henrik did.

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  7. mac n cheese
    February 10, 2013

    It makes me feel bad that I get SO much satisfaction from trouncing the Flames. What does this mean? Am I evil? huh. Oh well!

    Great recap! :)

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  8. chicken chick
    February 10, 2013

    game eleven

    …………finally Burr puts one away
    Then Schroeder on the power play
    For the Canucks a bit unnerving
    The solid play of Leland Irving
    As it could be we’d need a third
    Before the win would be assured

    Which very soon the fans would see
    From their flu-bitten number three
    (A stalwart soul too much maligned
    By some who watch but still are blind)
    Chris Higgins scored to make it four
    Then Schroeder added to the score

    Which was his second of the night
    (There is so much that he does right
    The fans sure feel he’s here to stay
    Though it’s MG who’ll have the say)
    So five real wins we’ve now compiled
    And Tuesday night we’ll tame the Wild

    Chicken Chick

    PS

    Hansen regressed towards the mean
    As Skeeter Pundit had foreseen
    Although he made his presence known
    Sly Lady Luck left him alone

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  9. peanutflower
    February 10, 2013

    Schroeder is 5’9″ Ronning was an inch shorter and Fleury three inches shorter. I don’t think 5’9″ is of a size that he can be called child-sized. Come on now. Of more significance in my mind is why his last name is pronounced that way when clearly not spelled the way it’s pronounced.

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    • chinook
      February 10, 2013

      Did you notice when Schroeder’s team-mates congratulated their arms went right over his head? I feared he might be suffocated among all the jerseys. And then Henrik patted the top of Schroeder’s head. So maybe its not that Schroeder is short, the rest of the Canucks are tall.

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    • chinook
      February 10, 2013

      Apparently the telecasters are pronouncing Schroeder the way his family does – which is the proper Germanic way.

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      • tj
        February 10, 2013

        I appreciate it when announcers make the effort to pronounce a player’s name the way he prefers. Like Parise’s recent pronunciation request (John and John were talking about it the other night).

        It bothers me, I admit, that he requests the ‘American’ pronunciation–to rhyme with ‘cheesy’ –(I guess Canadians pronounce it the way ‘his Quebecois father does’), but it is entirely his prerogative to pronounce it however he chooses. It just sounds odd to this quasi-bilingual Canadian…

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        February 10, 2013

        Well, no, the Germanic way is Schröder (where ö is a front, rounded, mid-high vowel, like French “oeuf” or somewhat like British “er”). The Anglicized way is often “Shrayder”, though, not unlike former Raiders’ quarterback Jay.

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  10. Zach Morris
    February 10, 2013

    I wanna say, props to Leland Irving. I thought he had a solid game, so far as you can have a solid game whilst allowing five goals.

    Also, anyone else watching on CBC catch Ron McLean saying, “Kevin Bieksa. Gotta be headed for the Olympics.”?
    What was that about?

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    • Brent
      February 10, 2013

      Totally agree with you about Irving. He made some great saves. It he had some more support from the team, this would have been a much closer game. Well, maybe not. It is good we are playing the flames a lot this year.

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    • chinook
      February 10, 2013

      In an earlier segment of the CBC telecast McLean hosted discussion of Team Canada 2014. He wound that up with something like: “Where is the respect for Vancouver? Hamhuis and Beiksa should be one of defense pairings. And Burrows on the team too.” Not sure I trust his sincerity, he may just be sucking up to Vancouver fans. He knows he is disliked a LOT.

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    • rob
      February 10, 2013

      I think MacLean’s line was the funniest of the night. ‘I don’t know why Vancouver doesn’t get any respect….’ then he goes on to mention Hamhuis, Bieksa, and…Burrows, as his Olympic pics!

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    • Zach Morris
      February 10, 2013

      Let’s be honest, there’s no way Burrows should make the Olympic team, unless we’re doing Nagano 1998, part two. He is a great player, but he’s top 15 Canadian forwards in the world.
      Hamhuis and Bieksa are good, but I don’t know if they’re a good enough pairing to supercede Keith, Seabrook, Doughty, Letang, Weber, Pietrangelo or Staal.

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    • tj
      February 10, 2013

      I never believe Ron MacLean when he compliments Burrows. And I only half-believe his sincerity when he speaks of most of the Canucks.

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  11. Nee
    February 10, 2013

    “his helmet is one half of a Kinder Surprise capsule”

    Okay, that made me laugh out loud. I hope you’re going to make this into a regular thing, like Dan ‘Community Man’ Hamhuis. : )

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  12. sarah
    February 10, 2013

    Leland Irving sounds like the name of a man who should write the next great American novel

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  13. akidd
    February 10, 2013

    thank you bob hartley. the west got rid of carlyle and now duane sutter. gotta love a team that runs and guns without proper ammunition or footwear. these new coaches are opening up the west faster than the cpr did.

    and you know what’s a good line? that schroeder, raymond, hansen line is a good line. those guys are fast!!! i think schroeder is one of those guys who needs to play with top-level talent in order to do his thing properly. guy is a playmaker. did you folks see that perfect vision and execution at high speed as he dished to hansen and hansen missed point-blank? pretty elite stuff when a brain can keep up to those legs.

    and he may be 5’9 but he doesn’t look small on the ice, what with that wide stance and low centre of gravity. he looks pretty dam solid on the puck imho. is there a faster line in the league? can’t think of one.

    don’t want to get too giddy as the competition hasn’t exactly been the toughest recently but man, this canuck team is showing signs of ’11. once kesler gets back and parks himself between higgins and kassian and lappy bumps down to the fourth line we should be looking at three pretty dangerous scoring lines.

    just like the high-end, extra coffee-making apparatus which i’m saving in case my go-to one breaks, that’s some good bodem for the future.

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  14. best behaviour
    February 10, 2013

    Thanks for the post, and for proving that Burrows will always be blamed for diving even by our own fans, even when he wasn’t diving at all. :) Look at the replay – the goalie gives him a little shove from behind (I would too, in fairness, in his place) and Bowmeester (his play isn’t worth looking up the spelling of his name) finishes it off. Burrows loses his balance and falls; he doesn’t get to pick where.

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  15. Dane
    February 10, 2013

    I was driving from Canberra to Sydney during this game and chanced upon another driver who had a canucks bumper sticker. I have no idea how he was doing it but he must have been listening to the broadcast (streaming from a 4g laptop, playing over stereo via FM transmitter?) as when I was behind him I was also able to tune into his FM transmission. It was a fantastic drive! For most of it. I got a bit over zealous towards the end and when Schroeder scored his second I honked in celebration and waved my fists in the air. Bad idea. Must have freaked out old mate in front of me and he pulled over and I continued past. No more Broadcast for me. Static for the last hours drive…..

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    • tj
      February 10, 2013

      I love this story. Hearing about Canucks fans abroad makes me so happy. What commitment it must take.

      Sorry you lost the feed. I get blind crazy when a feed lags or staggers, so this might have sent me over the edge. I think I would have intro’d myself, though, and asked to continue feeding off the stream, as it were.

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      • Dane
        February 10, 2013

        The most frustrating part of being an overseas fan for me is being at work when the majority of games are on. Most home games start about 2pm which is a good hour for watching these games on the weekend but using the NHL Ice tracker at work is incredibly frustrating.

        There is a good hockey community here in Australia. The Australian Ice Hockey League has a good following and the quality is getting better each year. A lot of Aussies who visit Canada fall in love with Ice Hockey (as I did) and carry that interest back home. I have a rink near my place and when ever I watch the local team, there is always a fair amount of NHL jerseys in the crowd.

        We also stole this:
        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hockey-Night-in-Sydney/222498081097367

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        • Angry Canadian
          February 11, 2013

          Dane, I feel your pain. As much as I’d like to watch the game via NHL Gametracker @ work, I suspect that a one-on-one with my manager would put a kibosh on that. So, I listen to Team1040 (no bad thing), and my colleagues have to put up with either fist pumps or whispered curses.

          Oh, yes, and thanks for the FB link…I was a bit annoyed that it was Hockey Night in Sydney, but a quick check showed, yes, Melbourne isn’t left out, and I now have details about the next HNIC gathering for Aussie fans and/or expats such as myself. Hopefully there’s more Canuck games than naught…

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          • Daniel Wagner
            February 11, 2013

            I’m loving the Aussie hockey talk. I lived in Australia for a year when I was 6, in a little town a couple hours out of Sydney called The Oaks. I also lived a year in New Zealand when I was 15, where they apparently have a growing hockey scene as well.

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            • Dane
              February 11, 2013

              The New Zealand Ice hockey scene is very fast growing and the Australia – NZ rivalry is growing just as quickly. NZ national team are often over in Australia to play games and warm ups before World Championships. The Trans Tasman Champions Tournament also helps the quality of our game. If you’ve got nothing to do during the northern summer, head down to Sydney or Melbourne and check out some AIHL. Would love to see an IWG Aussie Edition.

              If you, our anyone, is interested in Aussie hockey, check out this series if you can. It’s a doco following the Melbourne Ice hockey team during there recent campaign for a 3rd straight championship.

              http://www.ice3peat.com/index.php

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              • madwag
                February 11, 2013

                fair dinkum, mate. did they 3-peat?

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 10, 2013

      Wait, so you’re a native-born Aussie who cheers for the Canucks? That’s fantastic! I just assumed you were an expat. I even have a suspicion who was in the other car based on one of the users at Offthepost.org, heh.

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      • Dane
        February 10, 2013

        Aussie lad through and through. There are lots of canadian/US/Euro expats in the hockey community though.

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        • J21 (@Jyrki21)
          February 11, 2013

          That’s really, really cool. What drew you to our team?

          (Though I don’t watch, I declared the Parramatta Eels my Rugby League team of choice just because of the high number of players who shared my first name at the time I saw a broadcast).

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          • Dane
            February 11, 2013

            I came to be a Canucks fan a bit by chance actually. I learnt most of the rules of Ice Hockey via a video game (Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey) on the N64. Anyone, that got me into it, At the time, the internet wasn’t as we know it, I wasn’t able to watch or stream hockey online and we didn’t have cable tv so the only way for me to keep up with players/teams etc. was through video games. When the xbox came out, I bought it along with NHL03. I decided to start a season but didn’t know what team to choose. I pressed the ‘random’ button and the first team that came up was Vancouver. Didn’t know anything about the team or players at the time so I went along with it. That was 10 years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since! I would credit Naslund and the Sedins as a big reason for that. Watching those guys play when they’re on their game is breathtaking. Anywho, since then I’ve bought every incarnation of the NHL series, have visited Vancouver a few times and seen a handful of games and watch as many NHL games as possible via Game centre.

            Parramatta Eels are my local team! They’ve got a rich history but unfortunately haven’t gone too well recently.

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  16. yobbei
    February 11, 2013

    I like the idea of keeping the line of Schroeder, Raymond and Hanson together and have a line with Kes, Booth and Kassian. That would be an ultimate power line.

    Schroeder and Mayray have shown some chemistry too.

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