I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues, February 17, 2013

There was a centenarian  in the crowd Sunday night, and before you picture a Roman or a man with a horse for a butt, I remind you that a centenarian is someone that’s been alive for a century. Yes, 101-year-old Herb Dawe was in attendance at Rogers Arena, taking in his first ever Canucks game.

At first this made me smile. But I kept thinking about it as the game continued. I thought about it as the Canucks jumped out to an early lead, squandered it on two separate occasions, pressed beautifully in the third then gave up a goal against the run of the play, wasted two powerplay opportunities, scored the game-tying goal, then lost the game in a shootout. It was all very stressful and in the end, disappointing.

Dawe has lived a Canuck-free life for a century, and after a game like this one, I hypothesize that this is probably why Dawe has lived for a century. I’m pretty sure I lost years off my life when I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 4 Blues (SO)

 

  • Early in the first period, Ryan Kesler was hit in the ankle with a puck. He left the ice in visible pain. For a moment, I thought maybe the Canucks had been dealt the worst luck imaginable. Could Kesler really miss more time with another injury after only one game back in the lineup? But then I remembered that it’s Ryan Kesler, who once played an entire Stanley Cup Final series even though his lower-body had become detached from his upper-body like a Ken doll in the hands of a brat. No way he was going out again. I guarantee you, if there was a camera fixed on him as he waited for his next shift, it would have caught him barking “NO. YOU SHUT UP.” at his throbbing ankle.
  • Good thing he stayed, too, because Kesler scored the game’s first goal. It came on the powerplay, which has looked excellent since he joined it, and certainly looked excellent on this goal. Henrik Sedin began the scoring play, making a perfect dish to Daniel Sedin in the slot. Daniel somehow improved on perfect, feeding Kesler with a quick back-pass so fair and lovely, Kesler got down on one knee to propose to it. (While he was down there, he one-timed it past Jake Allen.)
  • Considering he had a 12-game head start, it had to be embarrassing for Henrik Sedin when Ryan Kesler score a goal before he did. Thankfully, the Canucks’ captain used his shame as motivation to put the Canucks ahead late in the opening period. Alex Burrows was the facilitator, working a perfect give-and-go with Henrik to finagle the puck past Allen and Barrett Jackman, the last two lines of defence. With the point, Henrik became the leading scorer in franchise history, breaking the record set Friday by past-Henrik.
  • That’s right: every point Henrik scores from here on out sets a record, which creates time paradoxes as he continually surpasses himself. At some point, he’ll have to go back through history and kill all his past selves just to sort out the timeline. But he’ll have to be careful that he doesn’t inadvertently kill a Daniel, or he’ll erase his twin brother from the future, probably undo a lot of his future record-setting points, and cross over into the dark timeline where his goatee is as black as his heart.
  • Speaking of evil other selves, Evil Chris Tanev, who made his first appearance on January 30 versus Colorado, showed up briefly in this game. After Vladimir Tarasenko and Keith Ballard got into it at the side of the Canucks’ net, evil Tanev came to his partner’s defence, attacking Tarasenko with a high crosscheck. That’s pretty evil, even for Evil Tanev. I’m wondering if he died a few days back and Ballard buried him in Pet Sematery. They always come back evil when you do that, people. Stop doing that.
  • That clip is one of my favourite moments in movie history, by the way. Son, how dare you lie about your dog being dead. He’s right here, and he’s not unmistakably evil or anything. 
  • Midway through the second period, David Backes bowled over Roberto Luongo, who was deep in his crease. It’s the sort of thing that usually earns a penalty, but no penalty was called. See, what happened was, the official came over to Backes, and said, “Say, aren’t you David Backes? You can’t do that.” But the crafty Backes lied, “No sir, I’m the puck.” The referee seemed skeptical, but it made a lot of sense. “My mistake, puck,” He said. “All is forgiven,” said the puck, “and call me David.” The two exchanged smiles. “What a nice puck,” the official said, skating away.
  • Vladimir Sobotka put the Blues ahead eight minutes into the third period, carrying the puck down around the net, then coming out the other side and suddenly, swivelling and wiring one over Roberto Luongo’s shoulder. It was the most unexpected thing I’ve seen a Sobotka do since Ziggy brought that duck to the bar (NSFW).
  • Thankfully, the Canucks were able to get it back. Late in the third period, on a powerplay, Mason Raymond managed to pounce on a loose puck at the side of the goal and beat Jake Allen to send the game to overtime. Raymond’s really doing a great job of changing his reputation this year. Most Canucks fans know him as the guy that falls down, but not anymore! Actually, wait… yeah, he still fell down on the play.
  • At 22:49, Ryan Kesler played more minutes than all forwards except Alex Burrows. And that was with AV managing his icetime! If he hadn’t, Kesler would have played sixty-six minutes tonight.
  • Speaking of Alain Vigneault coaching decisions, Zack Kassian was bumped down to the fourth line tonight, which is the sort of thing that happens when you don’t play very well. I look forward to fans being upset with AV for not ignoring this fact and giving Kassian all the icetime, because they like him now.
  • Overtime solved nothing, which meant that we went to that coin toss we like to call the shootout. Unfortunately for Roberto Luongo, he already won a coin toss to get the start, so his odds of the coin toss going his way the second time were lesser, because that’s totally how probability works.
  • At some point, John Shorthouse spilled his water. Embarrassing. Of course, we wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t told us while trying to mitigate the embarrassment by owning the blunder, because WE CAN’T SEE YOU, SHORTY.
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37 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    February 17, 2013

    Not a great shootout :(

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    • Zach Morris
      February 18, 2013

      Honestly, I feel like we’ve been lucky to win as we have on the strength of our goaltending. Our wins don’t feel hard-earned (NW division), and our play against playoff-bound teams seems to depended on one line getting hot and our goalies shutting it down.

      Last night against St. Louis was one of the few games in which the Canucks put forth a sustained effort. Luongo did not play brilliantly, and the team worked hard for most of the third to make up for that and get it to overtime. In addition, the powerplay looked much better with Kesler back.
      If we play like we did for the latter half of the third, and our goalies get back to their excellent selves, I feel good.

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  2. Cam Charron
    February 17, 2013

    “he’s already won a coin toss to get the start, so his odds of the coin flip going his way the second time were lesser”

    I’ll admit I twitched before reading the second part of that sentence.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 17, 2013

      Probability!

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    • zolltan
      February 17, 2013

      you laugh, but this is what I hear every time someone goes “he’s about due for a regression”

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    • chicken chick
      February 18, 2013

      lesser?

      the canuckles in defeat
      looking lesser than elite

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  3. Kit Leroux
    February 17, 2013

    That was an astounding recap, Mooney. It might be the best of all time, so look out for time paradoxes and past selves.

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    • Shade of Blue
      February 18, 2013

      No kidding! <> *slow clap* bravo!

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  4. jenny wren
    February 17, 2013

    “Too many men!” and Kesler scores
    Assists to Burrows and Sedin
    His brother Henrik gets one more
    With Oshie scoring in between

    McDonald ties the game at two
    The Blues are quicker to the puck
    Dave Backes takes out Bobby Lu
    The fans start chanting “Refs you suck!”

    Sobotka puts the Blues ahead
    Just like we saw a game before
    Throughout the third St Louis led
    ‘Til Mason Raymond tied the score

    As for the shootout what’s to say
    Beyond, “Jake Allen did okay.”

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  5. joe___
    February 17, 2013

    Hi, Bieksa pushed Backes into Luongo. Thus, no call. Weird how that works.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 18, 2013

      Ha, that’s cute that you think that the 6’3″, 225 lb David Backes could get pushed 5 feet without being able to stop or change direction.

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    • shoes
      February 18, 2013

      Hey Joe, thanks for the comment.. Are You the J in TJ Oshie? or just another Albertan?

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  6. Cody
    February 17, 2013

    Oh community, hank with the goatee made me laugh so hard

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  7. akidd
    February 17, 2013

    is anyone else as thrilled as i am that hitchcock’s blues and all their scintillating hard work very likely stands in the somewhere in the road to playoff success. boardbattling extraodinaire. admirable but not exactly beautiful. a game called, “goalie” indeed.”

    speaking of which, have lou and schneider made some kind of agreement? it looks like they have teamed up and plan to do whatever they damn please with this town. and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

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    • Not Panicked
      February 18, 2013

      Not a respectable performance by the Blues, a lot of theatrics to try and trick the refs into making calls. Oshie sticks out in my mind as one of the worst. Blues fans should be a little embarrassed for their team in that sense. (not as though they even needed to try and trick the referees into making bad calls as the refs made enough of them on their own)…

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      • Warpstone
        February 18, 2013

        I don’t see how the Blues did anything worse than every other NHL team to mislead the refs. It’s not like Backes is going to volunteer to serve a goalie interference call that the ref did not have the stones to call.

        It will be interesting to see if this crew of officials gets post-season assignments though. Goalie protection is something that just about all the powers that be want enforced strictly. I’d love to see the officials grades on this game report. ;)

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  8. The Bookie
    February 17, 2013

    Probably the only worthwhile part of watching Blues games is the Sobotka/Wire references afterwards.

    I mean damn, they really need to start handing out delay of game penalties when a team ices the puck so many times in a 5 or 10 min. window. Especially once they have the lead, they don’t make an effort to carry it out of their zone. It’s just pound it down the ice, another faceoff, smother any momentum. I get that it works, but it’s a travesty to the game.

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  9. tom selleck's moustache
    February 17, 2013

    Great recap as always. One correction though, on the Kesler goal, it’s Henrik that makes the pass to Daniel in the slot.

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  10. Drew
    February 17, 2013

    I really enjoyed how happy Henrik was about the pass from Burrows. Henrik is usually on the other end of the tap in, but love to see him get his first of the season. Maybe next time he can put it in with a bit of force though. Or maybe just saucer pass it into the back of the net.

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  11. Meg
    February 18, 2013

    Evil Hank and Evil Dannnnny!

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  12. Mcnutty
    February 18, 2013

    We can blame the Greek, but he ain’t even a Greek.
    Ivan.

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  13. Nee
    February 18, 2013

    I believe Shorty actually called Tanev evil when he did that cross check. Said something like “that was pretty evil for Tanev”. I laughed.

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    • Brent
      February 18, 2013

      He definitely did, maybe he reads this blog. But then, who doesn’t.

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  14. Brent
    February 18, 2013

    “Most Canucks fans know him as the guy that falls down, but not anymore! Actually, wait… yeah, he still fell down on the play.”

    Actually saw him fall down what seemed to be a bit more than usual last night. However in response to a question about how well Raymond was playing in the post-game interview, coach AV said “well he is falling down less”. How can he say that with a straight face?

    Speaking of AV, what will the magic coin say for next game? Not like Lou of Schneider played terrible, but surprizingly, I would say they were both outplayed by the opposition goalie last two games. My GUESS is Schneider.

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  15. Amor de Cosmos
    February 18, 2013

    Does anyone else think that the past two games have reflected a serious lack-of-Manny? We aren’t winning face-offs in our own zone. Consequently we’re spending more time chasing oppo players around in there trying to get it back. Which, in turn, leaves less time to get into the other end of the rink which is the place where most goals tend to be scored.

    We’re a puck possession team, it’s how we roll. Now we have much less of it and we’ll lose more games.

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  16. Skaught
    February 18, 2013

    Best part of the game: Henrik’s barely-goal. Seriously, he touched that puck so lightly it almost looked like he was hoping another Canuck would swoop in and score it, like a shy person whispering a joke to his neighbor hoping that they will tell it, but he speaks a little too loudly, gets credit and is thoroughly embarrassed.

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  17. Guy@HockeyBias.com
    February 18, 2013

    It would be fun to see a bit more fo this sort of thing in the NHL Shootouts.!

    ALEXANDER BARKOV SICK AND BACK*SSWARD SHOOTOUT GOAL …BROUGHT TO YOU BY DOZENS OF HIS SPONSORS (VIDEO)

    http://www.hockeybias.com/hockey-news-past/2013/February/Alexander-Barkov-Shootout-Goal-NEW-SICK-MOVE-HD-video.html

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  18. chinook
    February 18, 2013

    I disagree with you about Ed Willes being a good interview. His TV presence is better suited to radio. Or perhaps you were being sarcastic, after viewing the Jiminy Glick – Jon Stewart video. I do enjoy Iain McIntyre, though they both flubbed the question of “what happens to Schroeder when Booth comes back into the line-up?”

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  19. rvtBC
    February 18, 2013

    It’s a bit troubling that Kassian has fallen off in being prominent (for the right reasons) in the game. I don’t expect him to be a big point producer but I do expect that he put forth a solid effort and get involved, at least, on the forecheck and delivering some big checks so players are reminded of his presence out there. He’s been too much like Taylor Pyatt the past few games for my liking. Even though he is young, playing like a perimeter player will get him demoted to the 4th line and then back to the Wolves.

    C’mon, Zack – hustle and throw your weight around out there a bit more and don’t always look to pass to Kesler!

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  20. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 18, 2013

    If I could go back and change the past, I’d undo the trade of Cody Hodgson for Zack FatKass Kassian, who looked invisible once again. At the risk of inviting a whole bunch of thumbs downs (which would totally ruin my day), I have to ask, anyone else miss Cody?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 18, 2013

      Hahahaha, no.

      Just bugging you, of course, but I haven’t found myself missing Hodgson at all. Kassian has a tendency to be a bit streaky offensively (it was something I noticed even with the Wolves), but he’s still tied for the team-lead in goals. There’s not doubt in my mind that his offensive game will come back around again.

      As for Hodgson, he’s doing pretty well this season in terms of points, with 14 in 16 games, but it helps that he’s playing on the top line with Thomas Vanek, who is the NHL’s leading scored with 25 points in 15 games. It’s pretty difficult to make a direct comparison between the two because of who they’re both playing with. If Kassian had stayed with the Sedins, it might be easier to make that comparison and, in fact, when he was the two of them were very similar in scoring. Oddly enough, it seemed like Kassian was taken off the top line not because he was struggling but because the Sedins were struggling and the familiarity of Burrows has helped them find their game again.

      But honestly, it’s awfully convenient that you’re making this comment now and not after one of his three-game point streaks from earlier this season.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        February 18, 2013

        I was doing my best to be openminded about Kassian, and would have been thrilled to death if I was wrong about him. However, I watched two hockey games yesterday, and saw Cody score a beautiful goal against the Penguins in the morning (Sulzer played well too incidentally), and later saw same old Kassian in the evening (and no Gragnani). Unfortunately, just reinforced my old views about this topic, and after a loss I’m grumpy and curmudgeony, you know how that goes.

        Easy to just credit Vanek for Cody’s success, but that wouldn’t be fair to the strong season Cody’s had so far as the Sabres number 1 center. Meanwhile, it seems to me that Kassian just had a little headstart on game speed by playing in the A up to now. Bottom line, former top prospect is an NHL number one center on a near PPG pace, and all we’ve got now is a guy with an imminent date with the pressbox.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          February 18, 2013

          The bottom line depends on where you draw it. For me, bottom line is that Hodgson is greatly benefiting from playing with the hottest player in the NHL, in a position that he would not have been able to play on the Canucks. The Sabres are current 6-9-1 and are last in the Northeast Division. They’re a bad team with poor depth at forward, particularly at the centre ice position. Hodgson benefits from that lack of depth. The Canucks are a good team and are currently rolling three offensive lines. Because of their depth at forward, it’s going to be tough for Kassian to stay on one of the top two lines. He’ll get back there before too long, however, because he’s a very talented player.

          And it’s very easy for me to credit Vanek for Hodgson’s success. How could you not? The guy is on fire right now.

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          • Chris the Curmudgeon
            February 18, 2013

            You’re effectively saying “Vanek is the reason Hodgson is doing well” while “the Sedins are the reason Kassian is now doing poorly”. It’s so easy to write off a player’s performance by crediting their linemates, and belittle their own individual contributions to it. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, and performance amongst members of a line tends to be mutual. Write all you like about Hodgson’s “protected” minutes, he’s a superb playmaker (we saw plenty of that in Vancouver too) and Vanek is clearly benefiting from that too. For as “hot” as he is, Thomas Vanek is off to the best start of his career, and perhaps some of the credit could go to Hodgson too. Cody is also an excellent scorer, and like I said I was reminded of that yesterday when he scored a very nice goal.

            Hodgson may benefit from that lack of depth, but he has more goals and more points than any player on the Canucks, and it’s him, not one of their other centres, who’s manning the top line and facing the top pairings, ie: he’s still the cream of that crop. Buffalo has scored on a similar pace to the Canucks this year too, it’s their goaltending and defence that have been suspect (and before you somehow put that on Cody too, Tyler Myers has been getting h-scratched, so what more do you need to know about where the problems are). Sorry, but you can spread the credit around all you like, Cody Hodgson has been a significantly better player this year than Zack Kassian, and there really are no facts to refute that.

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            • Daniel Wagner
              February 18, 2013

              If you say so.

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  21. Sean
    February 18, 2013

    Beautiful prose:
    “Henrik Sedin began the scoring play, making a perfect dish to Daniel Sedin in the slot. Daniel somehow improved on perfect, feeding Kesler with a quick back-pass so fair and lovely, Kesler got down on one knee to propose to it.”

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  22. TheWellwoods
    February 18, 2013

    I like that you chose to say Sobotka “wired” his goal. Don’t ever change.

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