I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, March 3, 2013

Unbeknownst to most, Jannik Hansen is actually a wicked sorcerer, one of the oldest and most powerful in Denmark. He’s kept his magic hidden for seven centuries, quietly escaping the Warlock Hunters of the Jutland Peninsula by assuming the form of a hockey player and coming to North America, but Saturday night, he had occasion to dust off the ol’ witchcraft. Sensing that his wife was about to go into labour, Hansen conjured a powerful storm that would ground the Canucks for 15 hours, giving him enough time to be present for the birth of his twin sons before heading over to Calgary.

But Hansen knew that the team would be thrown awry by the odd travel schedule, so he used a second spell to give himself an in-game boost and propel his team to a victory.

He registered two points through the magic, but then, unfortunately, his magic ran out early. You see, playing a full hockey game, becoming a first-time father, and manipulating the dark arts to summon inclement weather a province away tends to wear a sorcerer out, and by the time the third period of this one rolled around, Hansen’s tank was on empty. Sadly, he could do little but watch as the rest of his team ran out of gas as well, and the Flames pulled ahead for good. Same goes for me — not because I’m a weary sorcerer, but because I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 4 Flames

  • The Canucks got off to a great start in this one, as Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins was sprung on a breakaway by the aforementioned Hansen just 10 minutes in, and made no mistake, beating Danny Taylor for the 1-0 lead. Hansen showed great awareness to get that puck to a streaking Higgins, but Higgins showed even better awareness. When he saw the turnover unfolding, he took off early. He was like the opposite of the Canucks’ charter flight in.
  • Steve Begin is slow. That’s him turning the puck over at the Canucks’ blueline and then coming back at about half-speed, or, as he calls it, turbo speed. Guarantee you the whole time Begin was coasting through the neutral zone, he was like, “Help! I’m out of control!”
  • I should say: while the Canucks got off to a great start in the sense that they got the first goal, they didn’t get off to a great start in the sense that they took the game’s first penalty. It was Daniel this time, who no doubt saw Henrik benefit from watching the play in the box for two minutes in the Kings game and decided to do the same. But it didn’t work in the first period, where the Sedins weren’t very good, so he tried it again in the second. This time it worked, so expect the Sedins to start every game from here on out in a race to take the first penalty.
  • Speaking of that second goal, it was lovely. After a Cam Barker point shot got through to the goal, Hansen pounced on a mid-air rebound, and batted it into the goal. It was the best batting I’ve seen since the fake snow in my wife’s tinytown Christmas village.
  • Yes. Cam Barker was in this game. I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe he’s a sorcerer too? Somehow, Barker drew into this affair when Kevin Bieksa drew out, even though Keith Ballard continues to exist, to the best of my knowledge. Granted, with Tom Sestito taking number 29, it’s possible that Alain Vigneault feels it’s time to move on from Aaron Rome, so he’s auditioning new love interests, like the widower in Audition? If so, he’d be wise to watch how Audition ends. Barker is capable of that, except instead of paralyzing and torturing him with needles, he’ll just put up a really bad scoring chance differential, which for Vigneault, is worse.
  • Not a stellar outing for Roberto Luongo, especially on the Flames’ second goal, which came on a Mike Cammalleri wrist shot from the blueline that somehow deflected in off of Luongo’s glove. Here’s what I think happened: Luongo was supposed to catch the puck. Instead, he zoned out and started doing Beyonce’s hand flip from the Single Ladies video, turning his catching his mitt away at the worst possible time. You laugh, but we have video evidence of Luongo doing that dance.
  • Another rough part of Luongo’s evening, according to the Flames broadcast, via Thomas Drance: ”Luongo backed into his net as he had a face full of Lee Stempniak.” Gross. A face full of Lee Stempniak sounds like a movie you could order in your hotel room on a business trip.
  • From the time the Canucks left Vancouver to the time they got back was only nine hours. “So this is what it must feel like to be in the Atlantic Division,” I imagine they said upon landing in YVR.
  • Unsurprisingly, Tom Sestito dropped the gloves for the second time in as many games, fighting with newly-acquired Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan. It was completely inconsequential to the game. It just sort of paused it for a second. It was evidence that enforcer fights are to ice hockey as shouting “Car!” is to road hockey.
  • Jordan Schroeder had a rough night in the faceoff circle, finishing 3-for-11. The worst part is that he lost one of the draws simply by not getting there in time. Annoyed, the official just dropped it without him. This is the problem with being 5’7″. The officials just assume you’re some snot-nosed child wasting their time. Although it probably didn’t help that Schroeder was eating a Go-Gurt.
  • Speaking of officials asserting their authority, perhaps needlessly, the Flames’ third goal came at the tail end of a penalty to, of all people, Alain Vigneault. Frustrated with what he believed was a missed elbow on Chris Tanev, Vigneault said something to the effect of, “Respectfully, I believe that my good friend Chris Tanev has been struck by the elbow of a fiend. Please employ your whistles to signal that the illegality of this incident has been recognized.” But the officials had no time for Vigneault’s polite words. They cackled like a pack of Skeksis and hit him with the bench minor.
  • Okay, I don’t know what, exactly, Vigneault said to the officials, but I have a hard time believing he really said anything that forced their hand into assessing a penalty in the final 10 minutes of a hockey game. For what it’s worth, however, the Canucks didn’t lose this game because the officials decided to puff out their chests. They lost because they couldn’t put Calgary away in the first two periods, when they were dominating play and they still had something left in the tank. It was their legs, not Vigneault’s mouth that cost them, which is also true literally, since the game-winning goal went in off of Jason Garrison’s calf.
  • David Booth has picked up a reputation as a guy that never hits the net, and while he had one backhand in this game that was so far to the right you’d have mistaken it for Booth himself, he actually led this game in shots on goal with 5. His problem is he’s used to aiming for the vitals. Shoot past the goalie, Booth.
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27 comments

  1. jenny wren
    March 3, 2013

    Chris Higgins on a breakaway!
    Luongo lets one get away.
    Our second’s scored by The Great Dane!
    Calgary goal …. It’s tied again.

    Four goals thus far! As for the rest
    We see two goalies at their best!
    With golden chances at both ends,
    Each knows on whom the game depends.

    Which comes to be old Lady Luck,
    As off our five deflects the puck.
    So in the third we are behind
    And to this loss I am resigned.

    Calgary four, Vancouver two.
    Taylor’d more luck than Bobby Lu.
    That often is the way things go:
    Bad bounces hap as we all know.

    So there’s no need to make a fuss,
    Misfortune comes to all of us.
    To lose this way is no real shame
    And after all “It’s just a game!”

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    Rating: +8 (from 24 votes)
  2. DanD
    March 3, 2013

    Man, what happened to Jim Henson puppets in the 80′s? They got weird.

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  3. Gord R
    March 3, 2013

    another horsebleep officiating performance by the same clowns that did last night’s game. Would really like to be able to review a hockey game without the mongoloids in the striped shirts being one of the deciding factors one way or another…

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  4. Warpstone
    March 4, 2013

    Given the crap hockey officials usually ignore (you’d get ejected in most other sports for mouthing off in any capacity), I really would love to know what AV said that was a step too far. :)

    Too bad the Canucks will never be on HBO’s 24/7 :(

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    Rating: +10 (from 18 votes)
    • Brent
      March 4, 2013

      According to Kerry Fraser over at TSN, it was more about him standing on the bench and gesturing. Which seems a little lame, but whatever.

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  5. akidd
    March 4, 2013

    that’s some good booth jokes. heh-heh.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  6. Mel
    March 4, 2013

    If you had a drink every time Tanev got hammered, by the time the game ended you’d be hammered.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • Nick
      March 4, 2013

      Joking aside, it’s a concern. He’s a finesse player who is taking a lot of punishment lately. He’s getting too valuable to lose to injury, and I wonder if other teams are starting to key on him, thinking they can hit him with impunity (which is why I liked Kassian stepping up when Tootoo smoked Tanev).

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      • Colby
        March 4, 2013

        I think Tanev has Sedin like qualities, in that he can absorb hits or shift at the last second to avoid them.

        I am actually pretty sure that with every hit he builds up energy to use on an overtime game winner.

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        Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  7. Awful Refs
    March 4, 2013

    Bruins were also upset with the calls today, the difference between Vignault and Julien is that when AV is pissed off about the calls, he complains about the Refs, and when Julien is upset, he blames the other team for diving…

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    Rating: +8 (from 12 votes)
    • chinook
      March 4, 2013

      Did you listen to Julien? To my ear he put most of the blame on the refs for not calling embellishment. He said that is the way to stop Montreal diving, PK subban in particular.

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  8. Realistic
    March 4, 2013

    Can you just admit you got beat???Whiners.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      March 4, 2013

      I’m curious where you see people claiming that the result was the opposite of what it was?

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      Rating: +17 (from 19 votes)
  9. Amor de Cosmos
    March 4, 2013

    Lack of control behind the blueline may very well kill us this year. No Manny, no Kesler and our top line falling about in front of goal like intermission clowns at Icecapades. Lapierre’s never going to be better at face-offs than he is right now, Schroeder will improve, but with practice days at a minimum it’s unlikely to be this season. Who else we got?

    O woe! woe! woe! is us.

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  10. Brent
    March 4, 2013

    Congrats to Jannik on the birth of twin boys. I know that sometimes we are critical of the cushy, well paid lives of sports starts, but missing the birth of your kids to play a hockey game would suck big time. Two of my best memories are holding my daughters right after they were born. Glad Jannik was able to pull the Viking magic even if it meant we lost the game. We will win the next one.

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    Rating: +35 (from 39 votes)
  11. bea
    March 4, 2013

    I sure hope the Canucks win the next game just so I don’t have to read troll comments from Kesler’s nose.

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    Rating: +8 (from 14 votes)
  12. Nick
    March 4, 2013

    Ballard didn’t play, but I liked the way you referred to it as a “disappearance.”

    Seems like the mainstream media writers are trying their to generate controversy by starting up the AV “doghouse” story again.

    Ballard’s been good this year, and I don’t think he’s in AV’s doghouse like in previous seasons.

    He’s just the #6 guy, and the first one to be bumped when Barker and/or Alberts are brought in.

    These guys need to get some playing time … can’t have them sit out the entire season, and then be expected to perform well in the playoffs.

    Against LA, playing Alberts made sense … biggest team in the league.

    Ballard has done ok … not really in the doghouse as the Sun and Province guys are writing.

    He’s just a 3rd pairing guy who is not as good as Hamhuis, Edler, Tanev, et al.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  13. Nick
    March 4, 2013

    One thing I’m enjoying about this season is watching some of the younger players blossom. Hansen, Tanev, and Schneider are turning into beautiful players. Kassian is showing signs of it, and Raymond seems to have figured things out too.

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  14. Rob
    March 4, 2013

    This weekend I had to choose which game I was going to watch – Saturday vs. LA or Sunday vs. Calgary, I could get one but not both. I thought Vancouver was going to have a rough outing against LA, and since the Canucks have basically owned Calgary the last 4 years I figured Sundays game was the one to watch…. Hindsight is always 20-20 I guess.

    I thought the Canucks played fairly well in the first 2 periods. I was impressed by the 4th line of Weise-Schroeder-Sestito, they controlled the play when they had the puck, they didnt really spend much time in their own end and when they did there were no huge mistakes. There was one shift in the first period that stood out, they cycled like the Sedins and kept the Flames hemmed in their own end for a full shift, Schroeder really needs to work on winning faceoffs though, thats probably one of the reasons why he isnt playing on the 2nd line. I was also very impressed with Raymond and Hansen in the first two periods as well. When did Rayond learn to shoot like this?!? They were fast, making good passes, and generating chances. The Sedins seemed a bit out of sorts though, their passes not as wizard-like as they normally are.

    I believe the Canucks could have and should have won this game. Vancouver did a good job of not letting up after that stinker by Cammellari, and I thought the Canucks would seize control of the game after Lu made that huge save and Hansen scored coming back the other way, but the Stempniak goal really swung the momentum. By about 5 minutes into the 3rd it was clear the Canucks were out of gas and everything was going sideways. Daniel had that great chance to tie it up late but other than that it looked like the Canucks were barely alive out there.

    Gotta give the Flames credit, when they sensed Vancouver was running out of gas they kept up the pressure and kept pushing. Good on them for actaully going for the win instead of trying to limp it to overtime or SO.

    With that loss the Canucks are just 2 points ahead of Minnesota and only 4 points from being out of a playoff spot. They have to string together some wins here, or things could start getting a little dicey down the stretch.

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  15. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    March 4, 2013

    It was evidence that enforcer fights are to ice hockey as shouting “Car!” is to road hockey.

    Shouting ‘car!’ at least serves the purpose of facilitating traffic flow and preventing injury to players. Enforcer fights are just a waste of everyone’s time.

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    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  16. amie
    March 4, 2013

    The thing with Kesler’s Nose is that he’s not even remotely interesting or amusing, but you can tell he thinks he is, which is really sad and embarrassing for him. He can’t even troll properly b/c nothing he says incites anything other than boredom. Luckily, usernames appear above the comments here so his drivel is easy to skip over.

    As for the IWTG: I look forward to Dark Crystal-induced nightmares tonight. Thanks, Harrison!

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    Rating: +5 (from 9 votes)
  17. LaLou
    March 4, 2013

    I made the mistake of looking up the Wikipedia entry for Audition. Now I hate you, Harrison.

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  18. chinook
    March 4, 2013

    Its often said when you don’t know what to say, talk about the weather. This game didn’t provide much exciting material, so Mr Mooney, you did well indeed turning the weather into a tale about Danish wizardry. Now, instead of wondering about defensive pairings in the next game or who will be in goal, I’m just curious whether Yannick’s twins are fraternal or identical and whether wizardry is an inherited trait.

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    • Brent
      March 4, 2013

      I would guess fraternal, otherwise he would have names them Daniel AND Henrik.

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      • chinook
        March 4, 2013

        Oh I get it – only one of them is an identical twin!

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  19. Gene
    March 4, 2013

    Same old same old. The Sedins did not score. No backup offence. Things were offensive. Luongo’s forgetting to close his glove. Schroeder on the 4 th line. Kassian wasted. Calgary was targeting the Sedins. Thank God for Sesito. It’s kassian time with the Sedins. Schroder should be the 2nd line Center. It’s time to bring up some youth. Connaution, Sauve and Anderson.

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    • Rob
      March 4, 2013

      The 2nd line chipped in both goals last night, the 3rd and 4th lines had some good chances, and forced the play into the Calgary zone, what more do you want?

      Kassian was playing on the 3rd line last night and got 14.5 minutes with time on the PP and the PK. That’s not exactly being wasted. At the moment Burrows is best suited to play with the Sedins because he is a better passer and playmaker and can read the Sedins better than any one else on the team, to suggest replacing him with Kassian for the sake of some toughness on that line is just a knee jerk reaction to the Sedins being pushed around a bit. Sestito did his job by stepping up and fighting McGratton and given the way the Flames were going after the twins I would have like to have seen more push back from the Canucks physically, but at what point do they give up playing hockey and focus on gooning it up? If the game was getting out of hand and Calgary was blowing them out – sure, but the game was still up for grabs and going after the Flames physically and probably giving the Flames more power plays in the process…. Its not worth it.

      Schroeder is on the 4th line because he is only winning 44% of his faceoffs, if he was over 50% he would be playing between Raymond and Hansen on the Second line. And I’m not expert but if Sauve, Connauton, and Anderson were better players than anybody currently on the Canucks blue line, they would be in the line-up already. There is a reason those guys are in the AHL and not in the NHL.

      I bet you weren’t saying same old same old after the Kings game on Saturday night.Typical knee-jerk, blow-up-the-team reaction to a bad game.

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