I Watched This Game: Canucks vs San Jose Sharks, March 5, 2013

This game was nail-bitingly, edge-of-your-seat-sittingly, passing-out-from-forgetting-to-breathingly thrilling. The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks traded scoring chances in a fast-paced affair, going back-and-forth all night, which makes the game sound significantly more lurid than it really was. It was truly exciting, as the Canucks battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the second period, with both teams coming agonizingly close to ending the game in regulation.

Instead, it ended in a dull and anticlimactic shootout. Ugh.

I wish every Canucks game was as thrilling as this one, but that would likely require the Canucks to give up a couple goals early so that they’re forced to open up and play a more high-risk game, which I don’t want. I would prefer that the Canucks are the club opening up an early lead, forcing their opponents to take more chances. But that’s not what happened in this game, and I would know, because I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 3 Sharks (SO)

  • This game was a perfect example of why Alex Edler gets a longer leash than Keith Ballard. Edler struggled to control and move the puck early on. For example, on just his second shift of the game, Edler mishandled a pass from Tanev at the blueline, putting the Canucks offside, then got easily knocked over in the subsequent puck battle and took a bad tripping penalty on Michal Handzus. His struggles continued through the second period and he was on the ice for both Sharks’ goals, though neither could be particularly attributed to him. People (rightly) pointed out on Twitter that Ballard would have been benched after those kinds of mistakes. But, by the end of the game, Edler led the Canucks in shots with 8 and had a whopping 17 attempted shots while playing a game-high 28:34. Overall, when he was on the ice, the puck was generally heading in the direction of the Sharks’ net and not at the Canucks’. Despite his mistakes, Edler’s impact on the game was overwhelmingly positive.
  • TL;DR version: You don’t bench a 40+ point defenceman when he makes a few mistakes, because he’s probably going to turn it around.
  • The most unlikely player opened the scoring for the Sharks: Scott Gomez. In case you are not aware, Gomez is not known for scoring goals. It was his first goal of the season and his first NHL goal in over a calendar year, though that’s cheating because of the lockout. He did score 6 goals in the ECHL during the lockout, so that’s something. Honestly, though, you wouldn’t know that Gomez isn’t a goalscorer judging solely from this game: he laced a slap shot top corner where teacher grades the paper. I have a feeling that metaphor isn’t going to stick like “top shelf where mama hides the cookies.”
  • That goal followed a pretty terrible shift by the fourth line and two of the members of that line don’t look particularly good as Gomez scores. Tom Sestito aimlessly drifts towards the front of the net, leaving the slot wide open, and Jordan Schroeder goes straight at Gomez instead of getting into the shooting lane and prevents Cory Schneider from picking up the shot off Gomez’s stick. It’s a shame, as Edler and Jason Garrison do a great job clearing the front of the net so Schneider could have a clear view. Unfortunately, all he could see clearly was the obstacle in his way.
  • The Canucks had 5 powerplays in this game, but the period in which they looked most dominant was the first, in which they had no powerplays. When the Sedins were on the ice, however, you could have been fooled. They seemed to treat every shift like it was 5-on-4, helping the Canucks to a 17-7 advantage in shots in the first. And yet, the Sharks left the first with a 1-0 advantage in goals. Sports, man.
  • Of course, the Canucks’ 5 powerplays didn’t help at all, as they went 0-for-5 and even gave up a shorthanded goal to Adam Burish, his first goal of the season. Cory Schneider then skated up to the San Jose bench and started pointing at Ryane Clowe, Brad Stuart, Douglas Murray, and James Sheppard — who have yet to score this season — while shouting “You get a goal! You get a goal! You get a goal!” Fortunately, it turned out that they would have had to pay $7000 in taxes on the goal immediately or forfeit it and none of them had it on them.
  • It figures that after all the nice plays the Sedins made earlier in the game, Henrik would score on a lucky bounce. To be fair, it looked like Daniel was hoping for a lucky bounce when he flung the puck towards the net from a bad angle, but it’s hard to give the Sedins’ wizardry any credit when the puck bounces off a Shark defenceman, off Henrik’s gut, and lands right on Henrik’s stick. That’s just pure luck. Unless…perhaps Daniel imbibed some Felix Felicis on the bench prior to that shift. That would be wizardous. Also, illegal. Felix Felicis is a banned substance in sporting competitions. For shame, Daniel.
  • The Canucks’ second goal was the polar opposite of the first, the result of hard work and determination rather than luck. Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis gave everything he had, winning a puck battle along the boards against two sharks, then made a pass to Mason Raymond while getting tackled by two other sharks. Later that night, Hamhuis gave everything he had again, this time emptying his wallet to save a single mother of three from a crippling debt to two loan sharks.
  • After Hamhuis did all the hard work, the second line of Raymond, Jannik Hansen, and Chris Higgins swept in to combine for the goal itself. Raymond created space with his skating and a drop pass, Higgins set a perfect screen to force Antti Niemi to lean to his glove side, and Hansen provided the finish, firing the puck past Niemi’s blocker. Meanwhile, poor Garrison just hung out by the blue line, making sure that the Sharks didn’t get a breakaway the other direction. Safe is boring, Garrison. Breakaways are why you have a goaltender. Get to the front of the net for a rebound, already.
  • Keith Ballard left the game late in the third with a lower body injury that turned out to be a charley-horse, which is the goofiest sounding name for what is really quite painful. I’ve had them pretty frequently while playing soccer and it basically means you’re instantly done for the rest of the game. It’s too bad, as he was playing much better and seemed to fit pretty well on the right side of Cam Barker. I know, I’m as shocked as you.
  • Barker did have one particularly bad moment, getting his pocket picked behind the net by Clowe, forcing Schneider to make his best save of the game, robbing Logan Couture with his glove. He later made up for the error with a game-saving block on Clowe, who had a wide open net. Then he went back to the bench and said, “That was a Clowe-se one, eh coach?” and Vigneault immediately benched him for the rest of the game.
  • The Canucks’ powerplay looked nigh-unstoppable in the third period, but the “nigh” won out, as the Canucks just couldn’t put the puck past Niemi despite numerous chances. Then, in overtime, they got a 4-on-3 powerplay thanks to soft goaltender interference call on Gomez, but only managed a paltry 2 shots. The Canucks’ powerplay is now 0-for-15 over the last 6 games, which is inexplicable given how good that third period powerplay looked and how much talent they have at their disposal.
  • The worst part of the powerplay in overtime was when Henrik took an Edler slap shot to the face. Granted, it was deflected and he turned out to be okay, but it was still frightening. Not, like, The Thing scary. It was more of an existential angst.
  • Chris Higgins was 1-for-10 prior to this season in the shootout. This year, he’s 2-for-2 and looks like he’s money in the bank. He beat Niemi with a perfectly placed wristshot just inside the far post. Unfortunately, he was the only Canuck who scored, as Edler’s deke didn’t work and both Hansen and Burrows tried to distract Niemi by waving their stick over the puck like it was a Theremin.
  • The Canucks were the better team in this game: the difference was the powerplay, which gave up a goal, albeit one that Schneider should have stopped, and couldn’t score any. As good as it looked in the third period, they don’t award points for good looks. Which is fortunate, really, because the Sedins are a little weird-looking.

44 comments

  1. chicken chick
    March 6, 2013

    Prologue

    Vancouver versus San Jose
    And should the playoffs start today
    The Sharks the team that we would play

    To tell the truth is not unkind
    While Minnesota’s much maligned
    The Wild are just two points behind

    A loss tonight and we could be
    In ninth or tenth quite easily
    Which hateful trolls would love to see

    Should we not win well then I guess
    The green and blue we reassess
    As not elite but something less

    Act I

    First Edler shoots one five feet wide
    Then cannot keep the puck onside
    Later he gives the puck away
    And it’s one-nothing San Jose
    When soon he loses it again
    “Bench him, AV!” scream Jenny Wren

    Seventeen shots we had on net
    Niemi’s not been beaten yet
    And down by one The Flock agree
    The blame belongs to twenty-three

    Act II

    With Booth for slashing in the box
    Schneider stops too many shots
    Vancouver on a power play
    Short-handed goal by San Jose
    John observes we are “deflated”
    How ’bout we get motivated
    So now at last we’re on the board
    Fourteen to Twos and Henrik scored

    The score’s now tied I will explain
    That Higgins screens for The Great Dane
    As Raymond drops it to the slot
    And Hansen wrists a perfect shot

    Act III

    Cam Barker finds himself unsure
    But Cory robs Logan Couture
    A power play to take the lead
    But we can’t get the goal we need
    And then the Sharks are five on four
    With Edler off but they don’t score
    One minute left and the “almost”
    Garrison rings one off the post

    Into OT the game is tied
    “Interference” the refs decide
    To put Vancouver four on three
    A bit unfair it seemed to me

    Epilogue

    Chris Higgins “off the post and in”
    But San Jose’s the shoot out win
    This final word from Chilliwack
    We’re really glad that Ballard’s back

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    Rating: +15 (from 23 votes)
  2. Brent
    March 6, 2013

    I almost stopped watching this game when it was 2-0, but luckily I held on. They MUST solve the power play. Agree it looked better in the third, but if I remember correctly, I don’t think they had any shots on the first two. But I agree with Gary Valk. put Garrison on the first unit instead of Schroder, he has a big shot, which they need. Happy for Ballard he had a pretty good game until he left.

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    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
    • Paul from YT
      March 6, 2013

      I also agree with Valk that Garrison needs to be on the 1st PP unit. When the opposition knows that the only shooters will be either Edler or Daniel it’s kind of an easy PP for the opposition to kill. Hank needs to shoot more to throw teams off and to make them question which Sedin to cover the most – in addition, what happened to the slap pass deflection that the Sedins used so well years back?
      With Garrison at the point with Edler the PKers must spread out looking to block either players shot vs two players blocking the shooting lane for the lone shooter in Edler.
      Make a PP line of H & D Sedin, Kassian as a big body to screen the G (and happens to have good hands in tight for a big guy). On 2nd line unit use Booth (shooter), Burrows in front of net, MR as a puck moving passer, JS on that point (not on 1st PP unit) and Bieksa when back.

      As for wanting to change the channel/turn of game doesn’t mean you’re not a ‘die hard fan’, it just means you would rather not waste your night watching your favorite team lose another game they should win.

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
      • Rob
        March 6, 2013

        The Sedins should shoot more….. what a novel concept! Hank has a great shot when decides to use it, EVERYBODY expects him to pass. If the Sedins have Burrows/Kesler/Kassian parked in front with both Edler and Garrisson on the points everybody will assume that when Hank or Daniel get the puck they are passing back to the point or across the ice to eachother, that will and does open up more shooting lanes for them so for @#$% sakes SHOOT THE PUCK!

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        Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
    • akidd
      March 6, 2013

      i can’t remember ever not agreeing with valk.

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      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  3. Rob
    March 6, 2013

    Canucks fans everywhere are flipping the pool this morning on basically every media outlet they can find calling for AV’s head. I agree with them that something has to change on the PP, but I dont think it warrants a coach getting fired.

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    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
    • Brent
      March 6, 2013

      Maybe they will compromise and just fire Newel Brown?

      Not sure what the answer is, but AV is definitely on a short leash this year. I suspect that he was almost let go last year and Gillis delayed until LA won the cup, and the owners were somewhat mollified. If the Canucks make an early exit this year, he is gone. I really doubt they would get rid of him part way through the season. Unless they really plummet in the standings and Gillis decides to flip the pool big time.

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      Rating: +1 (from 7 votes)
      • Rob
        March 6, 2013

        Too me it seems like the coaching staff is stuck on the strategy that worked so weel for them in ’10-’11. It worked fo rthem then an it appears that they are convinced it cna work for them now too. Unfortunately they do not have Ehrhoff on the point to make those really good heads-up decisions and other teams in the league have had 2 seasons of game tape to watch and learn. They should get some slack right now becasue without Kesler the PP is a totally different animal, and in a condensed schedule they have little to no practice time. The Canucks have looke dlike they are gripping their sticks very tightly on the PP this year like thye are trying ot force something to happen and other teams have caught on to their strategy and have been very effective at shutting it down. They have to make some fundemental changes and start trying something new to throw other teams off and maybe find a spark somewhere in the line-up that will give them some confidence back, and if that means firing Newel to make it happen then fine, but this is a great coaching staff and they should be able to recognize when something isn’t working and make the necessary changes.

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        Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
        • Amor de Cosmos
          March 6, 2013

          I’d have a hard time supporting any coach losing his job in what is basically a freak season. Coaches do most of their work at practice and tactical meetings. If the team is playing every other day and traveling between them there’s precious little time for either. This season has basically a play-off type of schedule, but before the real play-offs you have almost 100 games to figure stuff out. This year should be treated as a Mulligan for all NHL coaching staff.

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

    Seriously, bad goal by Schneider and utter fail by everyone in the shootout made this a frustrating one to watch. Canucks should show more desperation in OT, because we know there’s a better chance they’ll win there than in the skills comp.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
    • Wetcoaster
      March 6, 2013

      I hope Schneider hasn’t picked up Luongo’s old snack goal habit.

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      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  5. DanD
    March 6, 2013

    Bahahaha! Clowe-se one! That almost made me laugh out loud in class. I probably shouldn’t be reading this in class. It’s just not classy.

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    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  6. Snepsts
    March 6, 2013

    I am not an alarmist, nor am I a proponent of firing/trading left and right when things are awry. But how Brown is still the special teams coach after the power play fizzled in the last quarter of the season last year (remember?) and is seemingly irreconcilably broken this year. Niemi robbed us last night, but no goals is no goals. Sorry, but replace Brown. Or is he the Andrew Alberts of Canucks coaches?

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  7. garden tractors
    March 6, 2013

    Situation 1: You are trying to convince a naysayer that hockey is actually a lot of fun to watch, so you pick out what has potential to be the most exciting game of the year. This game would feature who?

    Situation 2: This is the game no one cares about. There is no scoring, no fans…it would basically turn any non-avid hockey fan off of the game. This game would feature who?

    This only applies to current teams in the NHL, although I guess you could come up with the all-time most boring or exciting combos for kicks.

    My opinion:
    Situation 1: San Jose Sharks vs Vancouver Canucks. Was just proven last week.
    Situation 2: Florida vs St. Louis

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    • Evan
      March 6, 2013

      Situation 1 has to be Flyers vs Penguins. That playoff series last year was insane.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  8. chinook
    March 6, 2013

    “in a fast-paced affair, going back-and-forth all night, which makes the game sound significantly more lurid than it really was.” (in my best Eeyore voice) … Oh well, I just don’t have an exciting life.

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  9. Cathylu
    March 6, 2013

    I got to go to this game and yes it was exciting. Nemo was just too good last night. When we got the man advantage in the OT I thought the game was ours. Dang! At least one point is better than no points.

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    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
  10. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 6, 2013

    Gotta say, I’m starting to lose my sense of humour about David Booth’s dry spell. Between him and all of the other non-scoring forwards on the team, goals are looking really hard to come by. Complain all you want about AV and Newell Brown, but Gillis has given them the Sedins to lean on, but after that mostly a large group of two-way, gritty, modestly skilled forwards who are going to struggle to muster much secondary scoring, and that’s just what we’re saying. It seems like every game where the Canucks dominate for stretches but can’t find any finish. In other news, did anyone see Cody Hodgson’s (T-23 in NHL scoring) second goal yesterday, an unassisted shorty? If not, I strongly recommend looking it up.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    • Rob
      March 6, 2013

      I too am starting to get frustrated with Booth’s lack of goal scoring. Yes his Corsi numbers are the best in the league and he drives the play but the arguement to keep him based on “well eventually his luck will change” is starting to run thin. Most of Booth’s shots are not quality shots, they are just plain shots. which is why his luck may never change. I would take a lower corsi and less shots if he actually found the back of the net every once in a while – in a tight game like last night for instance. It doesnt matter if the Canucks – outside of the Twins – are built from gritty two-way forwards and dont score much, what matters is clutch scoring. I dont care if all of the middle 6 score only a dozen times a year each but if 1/4 of those goals are GWG’s then it doesn’t matter, and thats one thing they seem to be lacking. Right now the Nucks are gripping their sticks way too tight, they have been all year and the pucks just arent going in. If they continue to play hard and keep pushing for scoring chances eventually the bounces will start going their way.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
      • Daniel Wagner
        March 6, 2013

        Goodness gracious, have you actually been watching Booth lately? He hasn’t just been taking shots from the outside, he’s been driving the net and getting scoring chances from in close. According to Canucks Army’s scoring chances from the last two games, Booth had 4 against Calgary to lead the team and 2 against the Sharks. Seriously, he’s doing all the right things right now. Even the standard criticisms that he takes too many shots from the outside don’t apply to his last couple games.

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        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          March 6, 2013

          But Daniel this is exactly my point. David Booth is a hard-working player but is very bad at finishing off his chances. In general, the Canucks are a fast and tough team but they don’t have enough elite scorers to turn a 2 goal lead into a 3 goal lead. I’ve been making this same basic point with regularity, which is that Gillis seems to think it’s easier to teach a 2-way checker to score than it is to teach a skilled forward to play defence. Sure, it worked for Kesler, and Burrows had a lot of untapped finesse ability when he first joined the Canucks that he was able to develop, but by and large the team’s forward corps also has Higgins, Hansen, Lapierre, Booth, Kassian, Weise, all guys that give their all every game and generate chances and are mostly defensively responsible but that don’t really have reliable top end scoring talent. Look at the Hawks forwards in comparison: management there went out and got Hossa, and locked up Kane and Sharp and Toews and have groomed their prospects with potential to score. And Boston, as much as Harrison thinks they won the Cup by the virtue of two way play (that was part of it) actually relied heavily upon their skill forwards (Krejci led them in scoring that year) to beat us.

          The Canucks have the Sedin twins, Burrows (who is admittedly slumping), Kesler when he’s healthy and the maddeningly inconsistent Mason Raymond, and no other forward has a 20 goal season in a Vancouver uniform. For their careers, only Higgins (6 years ago in Montreal) and pre-concussion Booth have ever done so with their previous teams either. That Gillis has actually diminished the team’s depth in the most vulnerable area, which I feel is in scoring forwards, is something that makes me pessimistic about this squad in its current form.

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          • Daniel Wagner
            March 6, 2013

            I already know this is a pointless argument, Mr. Curmudgeon, so I’ll leave it at just saying that I disagree.

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            Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
            • akidd
              March 6, 2013

              fwiw, i thought booth played a heck of game too. skating and hitting hard. nice shot too off the sweet bounce pass from kassian. it’s probably too bad for booth that he has his contract to live up to. if he was making 1.5 mil and playing hard checking minutes on the fourth line and pk he’d be everyone’s favourite player. he does put in an effort.

              it’s a fast game out here. and he’s surrounded by guys who are extremely skilled and have to be to play the phonebooth possession game that not just the sedin line but almost all canuck lines are now playing. booth is simply not as skilled or as fast-thinking as most of his extraordinary teammates.

              now on a tight-checking, grinding team like nashville or phoenix or many others i think booth would be a great fit. there he could just work hard and not be expected to pull off a harlem globetrotter routine on every shift. the rub is still just the contract, because few teams wouldn’t want some goal-scoring with their 4. whatever million.

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              • Daniel Wagner
                March 6, 2013

                See, I disagree with this as well. Booth has plenty of skill. You just need to look at some of the goals he scored last season for proof of that. Speaking of, I’m confused by the notion that he doesn’t score goals. No, he doesn’t have one in 7 games this season, but given the scoring chances he’s had, that has less to do with him than puck luck. Last season, he scored 16 goals in 56 games. That’s a 23-goal pace over 82 games and it’s hard to blame him for getting injured when it was a knee-on-knee hit that earned the other guy a hefty suspension.

                I’m just really confused as to what player you guys are seeing out there.

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            • gumby
              March 7, 2013

              I’m with you. I see a lot of flash and dash, but I don’t see playmaking. It’s all one chance and done. Compare with Hansen, another speed player with the moves and the skating and the whatnot. You are aware he has, like, linemates. That second goal last night was as terrific a 45 second sequence I’ve seen. Possession, pressure, unpredictability and creativeness. Booth you see the one-on-three-almost-heroic but not quite foray that ends in a clear. As someone else said, for less dollars, Booth is awesome. But he’s not an anchor for a line, or a foundation for a strategy. I’d pick Hansen over him any day.

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              Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
              • Daniel Wagner
                March 7, 2013

                Personally, I’d take Hansen over Booth as well. I prefer Hansen’s two-way play and vision. Fortunately, we don’t have to choose between the two. ;)

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            • akidd
              March 7, 2013

              scoring takes a special creativity. that’s the word they use in soccer and it applies to hockey too. sure a team can also just put bodies in front of the net and fire away too but the main draw in sports seems to be witnessing that spark of creative intelligence manifest itself physically in the heat of competition.

              that’s why the skill guys get paid the big bucks. some creativity is practised but most of it is innate, how fast are the reflexes? how good is the peripheral vision? how well does the brain record previous events and make adjustments? can the player predict where the puck will go? can the pre-frontal cortex accurately predict the likely possibilities of an action, a pass, or a turn, a shot? it’s all creative intelligence.

              yes, there’s a place for the hard worker and certainly there’s a place for the hard worker in the current blue-collar sports narrative that has been popular for quite awhile. as there is a place for sheer will and stepping up under pressure. it’s all part of the sport package. but some stuff folks are just born with. and those guys end up getting paid well in pro sports.

              so ya, booth shows flashes of skill but not consistently enough to merit his remuneration. he’s not at hansen’s level, or raymond’s or burrow’s or kassian’s or higgin’s. on the skill depth chart he’s down there because the canucks are so skilled. yet his salary is up there. and in a cap world it’s hard to ignore.

              what kind of a player do i see? a bottom six checker that could score 10-20 per and earn 1.5-3 mil. and there’s nothing wrong with that. it takes all kinds.

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              • Daniel Wagner
                March 7, 2013

                Booth was voted by the fans last season as the “Most Exciting Player.” That sounds like he was a draw and that fans enjoyed witnessing what he did on the ice.

                As for him being a bottom-six guy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any 20+ goalscorers in a team’s bottom six. Players that score that many goals are always going to be on a team’s first or second lines. When Booth is healthy, he’s scored at a 20+ goal pace. Know who are bottom six checkers that can score 10+ goals? Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen. Both are skilled enough to step into the top-six and do a good job, but they are essentially two-way guys that can put up some points, but shouldn’t be relied upon for secondary scoring.

                That’s what Booth provides: secondary scoring. No one’s expecting him to score 30 goals (or they shouldn’t be), but he should be able to provide 20+ goals, which is what you expect from a complementary second line player. Is he overpaid for that role? Yeah, he is, but nowhere near as much as people think.

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            • akidd
              March 7, 2013

              fan attic has a booth article. the writer and the commenters there seem to agree. that booth hasn’t shown a 4 mil benefit to the team. if you like stats, there’s an interesting one there that states the canucks winning % is higher without booth(.700) than with him(.625).

              anyway, i’ll try to get off booth’s case for a while. he’s trying and there’s not much more a player can do. in other news, how about that raymond? he’s doing a great job at centre imo. he’s clearly on the bounceback. nice to see.

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              • Harrison Mooney
                March 7, 2013

                Because Fan Attic is under the same umbrella, I will refrain from saying what I think of that blog. But hopefully, my doing so implies it.

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      • chinook
        March 6, 2013

        Here’s an idea for all you Booth-bashers. And one I wouldn’t mind myself considering the anguish of next season’s budget crunch. If Booth is still not scoring by The Deadline, trade him to Detroit. Power forwards Samuelson and Bertuzzi are out with injuries, Detroit may be desperate to make the play-offs, we won’t have to vie with them next year as they will be in the East and of course Booth is a hometown boy. If you’re in favour, your task is to figure out who the Canucks should get in exchange.

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        • Sandra
          March 7, 2013

          As a Wings and Canucks fan, that’s not gonna happen. Wings are not gonna take on a guy that’s paid 4+ million for 2 more years when they have young guys like Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson showing they can put up points.
          Wings’ problem at the moment is Babcock insisting on playing Cleary and Abdelkader with Datsyuk, which has turn the 2nd line into a 4th line. Samuelsson will be back in about 2 weeks unless White decides to take slapshots at him in practice again. Filppula will hopefully be back in a week to force one of the 4th liners off Datsyuk’s wing.

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          • chinook
            March 8, 2013

            Sandra, a Canucks AND Wings fan! You are a rare person, or empowered by a split personality.
            Weill, I prefer to see Booth remain a Canuck but I got exasperated with negativity shown by kidd and chris c. So goodonya for constructive input. I think Canucks and Wings play in about 2 weeks so (and I like Samuelsson) so will pay attention to who plays with Datsyuk. Cheers!

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  11. JW
    March 6, 2013

    Any IWTG with The Thing in it is a win, no matter the outcome of the game.

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  12. Lucky
    March 6, 2013

    Harry Potter reference…yesss!!!

    Great game, glad I was there. Obviously not the end we wanted but man was it entertaining to watch!

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  13. obituary mambo
    March 6, 2013

    If there were any justice, Higgins’ goal would have counted toward his stats. He so deserved it. Sadly it was not to be. This was an incredibly frustrating loss; the Canucks were definitely the better team tonight. All that said, I can’t deny having been entertained. More games like this one, please. Only, I’d like to add the caveat that they go the other way and are won in regulation — OT if necessary, but no more shoot outs.

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  14. iceman
    March 6, 2013

    I had my fingers crossed all the time during the OT, ‘Please don’t go shootout, don’t go shootout…” Then when the horn went off at the end of OT, I said to myself “DANG it, there goes another point!” And sure enough, it did.

    This is probably the fourth or fifth time I watched us losing in the SO, which means letting at least 4 points slip away. Of course no team wins them all, but I just don’t have any confidence in our team’s collective ability whenever a games goes to SO. I know AV doesn’t take shootout seriously but I can’t help but thinking that toward the end of this shortened season all these ‘lost’ points will come back and bite us in the rear.

    We have many guys who can score, but not a pure goal scorer who has the skills & go-to moves when pacing the goalie one-on-one. Yes, Burr has his Blue Steel but when everyone knows about it and that’s your only move (not counting the awkward 360-spin move he pulled a few weeks ago) it’s not that hard for a goalie to stop you, is it?

    It was an entertaining game indeed, but still left a bad taste in my mouth. It isn’t just because we lost — it’s because we had all those grade A chances to end the game in regulation and in OT, yet still let it come down to the predictable skills competition with predictable result.

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  15. Nee
    March 6, 2013

    Nearly had a heart attack when Henrik got hit with the puck in the face. That was scary.

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  16. Square Ball
    March 6, 2013

    I would like to disagree with you on wishing the Canucks getting early leads this year, Daniel: it seems to me that they are not quite able to hold leads as well this year as in the past.

    For example, it seems that they lose quite a few games where they score first. They have also lost games where they were up after the second period (which is something they would rarely let happen in the last two years). On the other hand they seem to be better when the other team scores first.

    It would be interesting if someone likes to look into this.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 6, 2013

      Fortunately we don’t have to look far. NHL.com actually keeps track of how teams do when they score first or trail first. The Canucks have point percentage of .571 when scoring first, placing them 24th in the league. Not good at all. When they trail first, it drops to .375, which is actually 12th in the league. So they’re in the upper half of the league when it comes to coming back from an early deficit.

      Still, it’s far better to score first.

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      • Square Ball
        March 7, 2013

        Oh, you’re right… I blame the lockout for not knowing nhl.com anymore.
        The Canucks are also 25th when leading after the first period (.545), 22nd when leading after the second (.700).
        I suggest they start scoring first, but only in the third period. Maybe second period is ok occasionally.

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  17. Tripple P
    March 6, 2013

    That thing link was amazeballs wow. Thanks for that.

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  18. akidd
    March 6, 2013

    wow, great game! what skill and speed!!! gotta appreciate a bout with one of the few remaining teams that still plays an entertaining style. the canucks in particular were burning it up. great effort. except for giving up a few pretty dam good late chances(schneider looked fantastic late) that was pretty flawless stuff for the most part. three good games now. this squad is heating up. i can’t ignore though how this team seems to play better without kesler. weird. it shouldn’t be but…

    and nice to have some friendly refs for a change. i’m sure the shark fans weren’t too pleased though.

    it seems like the whole team is playing sedin hockey now. holy smokes, that was an impressive display of skill. the hansen goal and the 45 seconds of possession that preceded it was dynamite. canuck fans should be thankful we get to watch such skilled forwards. sedins, burrows, (kesler,) raymond, higgins, kassian, hansen, shcroeder, are some pretty skilled guys to pull off all that cycle-possession game. the ice is so tight but still they find ways to hold possession in a phonebooth. hank and dan have changed the way the whole team plays hockey. pretty extraordinary contribution from the sedins, i’d say.

    ya, fun game. they’re all like that right? next up…blue jackets…then the wild, then blue jackets again, the the preds….oh well… gotta savour the good stuff when you get it. did everyone remember to savour?

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  19. Brian
    March 8, 2013

    Just wanted to let you know that this was my favourite line from today’s article:

    Then he went back to the bench and said, “That was a Clowe-se one, eh coach?”

    Well done.

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