The moment I knew Henrik Sedin was going to have a great night came just 10 seconds into the game. Anze Kopitar was ahead of him in the offensive zone, looking to create a scoring chance, and Henrik reached out with his stick, got it in Kopitar’s hands, and gave a little tug. With that, Henrik was off to the penalty box for hooking and also off to a great start to the game.
Captain Hook is back, I thought to myself, and sure enough, Henrik dominated the rest of the game, stickhandling around opponents with impunity and creating numerous scoring chances for his linemates. It was like the two minutes in the box spent just observing the game were exactly what he needed, as he discerned the pattern of the game and decoded it. Similarly, I did exactly what I needed to do when I watched this game.
Canucks 5 – 2 Kings
Right after Henrik got out of the box for his early hooking penalty, he combined with his linemates for a superb shift, culminating in the opening goal. Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis started and finished the play, picking up a loose puck before the Kings could clear it, then making a nice pass down to Henrik, who held the puck just long enough for all the Kings to get really worried about what he was going to do with it. He found Burrows at the side of the goal, who made an incredible pass to Hamhuis, who was waiting at the back door. Normally when he waits at the back door he’s picking up food donations from grocery stores to deliver to soup kitchens; this time, he one-timed the puck into the net.
Don Cherry was in the building for this game, wearing a relatively sensible suit and a completely ludicrous hat with a giant stuffed orca whale on it. He was happy that his “favourite player in the National Hockey League” was back in the Canucks lineup, namely Kevin Bieska. Also back was Kevin Bieksa, who returned from his recent injury to finish second in ice time on the Canucks, just short of 23 minutes. Regrettably, he didn’t play with a giant stuffed orca attached to his helmet.
I didn’t think it was possible for the Burger King King to get any creepier. The Green Men proved me wrong.
The 6’5″ Tom Sestito made his debut for the Canucks, playing alongside the 5’8″ Jordan Schroeder on the fourth line. I really want them to start a magic act, now.
Sestito did what he does, hitting and punching people, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he wasn’t a liability on the ice. I also appreciated that he didn’t start a fight just for the sake of getting into one in his first game as a Canuck, but sparked it with a solid open-ice hit, then answered the bell when Jordan Nolan challenged him. It was the best opening weekend for a goon since Goon.
During last week’s game against Detroit, Zack Kassian got inexplicably called for goaltender interference when he didn’t even touch the goalie. What was missed was that he high-sticked the defenceman at the same time. He deserved a penalty, just not the one he received. It happened again in this game, as Kevin Bieksa dumped Anze Kopitar dangerously into the boards. He could have easily been given a boarding minor, but instead, he ended up with an interference penalty, even though Kopitar was touching the puck as he was hit. Do some refs have a bizarre form of dyslexia, where they see a penalty and somehow transpose the wrong call?
At least five times during this game Chris Tanev did something deceptively simple on the ice that made me say, “Ugh, Tanev, you’re so good,” out loud. He didn’t have a single point, shot on goal, or hit, but I thought he had a fantastic game. My favourite moment from him came when Kevin Bieksa poked Colin Fraser with his stick from the bench and Tanev ended up being the guy holding Fraser back from going after him while Bieksa laughed. That made me think that Tanev would be a really good friend.
The Kings began taking over the game early in the second, tying things up with a Justin Williams one-timer on the powerplay, and generally dominating possession. Then, completely against the flow of play, Mason Raymond burned rubber through the neutral zone, took a nice pass from Jannik Hansen, and sniped a wicked wrist shot over Quick’s glove hand. I haven’t seen a shot that sick since my son got immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella.
One of the weaknesses in Cory Schneider’s game is his puckhandling. Sometimes his errors behind the net lead to ridiculous saves, while other times they lead to easy goals. This game was the other times, generally referred to as the worst of times. Fortunately, the rest of the game was the best of times, as Schneider shut the door after two goals with some beautiful saves and avoided a fifth straight game of giving up three or more goals.
The Third Law of Sedinery is that they will always make one more pass than is absolutely necessary. Well, rules are meant to be broken, and the Sedins bamboozled the Kings by making a grand total of one pass on a 2-on-1. After a heads-up outlet pass from Alex Burrows, Henrik fed the puck across to Daniel, who, instead of sending a spinning, blind, backhand saucer pass back to his brother, loaded up the slap shot and drove the puck blocker side on Quick. It’s hard to blame Quick: who actually expects a Sedin to shoot from there?
Raymond filled in for the injured Ryan Kesler at center and, apart from going an atrocious 1-for-9 in the faceoff circle, did pretty well. On Hansen’s 4-2 goal, Raymond gained the zone, then battled with Slava Voynov, allowing Hansen to swoop in, pick up the loose puck, and whip it past Quick. Meanwhile, three Kings players hovered around Hansen like green shells, ensuring that nothing could hit him.
At one point, Jim Hughson called Maxim Lapierre “The Artful Dodger,” so I assume that Hughson found out about Lapierre’s gang of children that roam the bowels of Rogers Arena, pickpocketing the Canucks’ opponents. Sorry, Max, the jig is up.
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