I Watched This Game: Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, March 12, 2013

After the Canucks put in a disastrous effort against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, panic gripped the streets of Vancouver. Also, hyperbole gripped the streets of Abbotsford. The Canucks entered Columbus on a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jackets came into the game on a five-game winning streak. They were streaking in opposite directions — if they looked over their shoulders, they would see each other’s naked butts.

Thankfully, the Canucks ended both streaks by winning the game in a shootout, so I didn’t have to see any naked hockey players when I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 1 Blue Jackets (SO)

  • The Canucks got off to another bad start, as David Booth was called for slashing just 23 seconds into the game. It was the weakest slashing call of all time, as Booth gently knocked the stick out of Dalton Prout’s hand. Singular. As The Blue Rajah would say, “Two hands there, son.” John Garrett was not impressed.
  • It seemed like the refs knew it was a weak call, as they came up with any excuse to avoid calling any more penalties through the rest of the game. When Henrik had his own stick hacked in half in the third period, Wes McCauley lodged an official complaint with Nationwide Arena about their termite infestation.
  • The Canucks dominated possession in this game, but couldn’t seem to get the puck into the slot to create high-quality scoring chances. The Blue Jackets forechecked hard, clogged the middle of the ice, and were a general pain-in-the-neck. Normally, the Canucks would turn to their powerplay against a team playing such a tight, defensive game. Unfortunately, they only received two powerplays and spent their first almost entirely in their own end. They were less effective with the man advantage than Dora Ratjen.
  • Booth actually didn’t have as good a game as he has previously, but that hit and another in the second when he ran over Derrick Brassard will stick out in people’s memory. While he did get 3 shots on goal, the Canucks were outshot when he was on the ice, which is a rare occurrence.
  • Mark Letestu opened the scoring 3 minutes into the second period, picking up his own rebound and backhanded the puck past Luongo like he was Virgil Tibbs. Letestu caught Andrew Alberts flat-footed to beat him to the rebound and Zack Kassian wasn’t quick enough to cover for Alberts’ mistake. It’s a shame, as Kassian was directing traffic just prior to the goal, alerting Chris Tanev to Vinny Prospal sneaking in at the back door.
  • When Alain Vigneault isn’t laughing uncontrollably, he’s normally pretty stoic behind the bench. Not in this game. Just before the end of the second period, he went apoplectic on the refs, likely due to the lack of calls throughout the game, the most concerning coming when Jared Boll hit Cam Barker with what appeared to be a blindside headshot. Barker was bent down at the time, however, and there was no injury, so play continued.
  • The Canucks’ second powerplay opportunity looked a lot better than the first, forcing Sergei Bobrovsky to make a number of nice saves, particularly a pair on Dan Hamhuis. The Community Man’s addition to the first unit on the powerplay looked like a positive change, much like the positive change he made when he volunteered with L.A. Green Grounds to plant gardens in South Central L.A.
  • While the Canucks didn’t score on the powerplay, they did score two seconds after one ended. Cam Barker faked a slap shot, then sent a hard pass cross-ice to Jannik Hansen, who corralled the puck, then set up Jason Garrison for a blistering one-timer. With Mason Raymond providing the screen, Bobrovsky couldn’t see the puck come off of Garrison’s stick and so had no chance to stop it. Garrison is now on pace for 13 goals, were this an 82-game season, so maybe now everyone can get off his case. Besides, all his clothes are in that case. He’s been wearing the same outfit for nearly two months.
  • The Blue Jackets came out firing in the third period, hemming the Canucks in their own zone for extended stretches. How bad did it get? Alain Vigneault actually called a timeout to get everyone settled down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him use a timeout for anything other than giving a line a brief rest after an icing call or to draw up a play in the final minutes of a game. Shouting and swearing at refs, calling a timeout at a tactically appropriate time, giving a young player like Zack Kassian 15 minutes of ice time despite an early defensive miscue…the Canucks don’t need to fire Vigneault — he’s already a completely different person.
  • Roberto Luongo was as good as he needed to be in this game, making 26 saves, then stopping all three shooters in the shootout. His most vital save, however, came with just 14 seconds left in the game, as R.J. Umberger found himself all alone at the side of the net. Henrik Sedin, who should have been covering him, managed to deflect the pass to Umberger, giving Luongo enough time to come across and get square to make the save.
  • For some reason, spin-o-ramas in shootouts are still controversial, despite the NHL rule book specifically saying they’re okay, even using the word “spin-o-rama.” Raymond put his own personal spin on the spin-o-rama by roofing the puck after sending Bobrovsky sliding right out of the crease for the shootout winner. I’m just glad he didn’t pull a Craig Smith.
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23 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    March 12, 2013

    Immediately after his goal, Raymond was given a boarding penalty for sending a defenceless Bobrovsky careening into the corner

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 12, 2013

      Ha, nicely done.

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  2. Brent
    March 13, 2013

    That is the kind of game the Canucks will have to get more comfortable with come playoffs, as it was “playoff officiating”. Refs put the whistle away, and ignored huge amounts of obstruction.

    ON the other hand, Henrik is lucky he didn’t get 5 min for trying to take off the goalie’s head.

    I thought we were generally out-chanced and were pretty lucky to win this one. Thanks Roberto!

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  3. Tom
    March 13, 2013

    if they looked over their shoulders, they would see each other’s naked butts.

    Got a laugh from me, great post Wagner. Since I don’t post on the Smylosphere often, I’ll ask the obvious question: Are we still thinking of this team as a cup contender? Goaltending won the President’s Trophy last year. This year we’re talking about a mid-season win over the Blue Jackets as a big two points. I know doom and gloom is the default for Canucks nation, but I’m not finding it easy to be pie in the sky optimistic right now.

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    • chinook
      March 13, 2013

      Don’t loose heart Tom, its gonna be a sneaky Cup-run this time. The front-runner thing is so last year(s). We will hide in the pack till the last moment. We will invent a new paradigm – the Two Goalie System in the playoffs so that no matter which is traded, Bobby Lu AND Schneids will have a Cup ring.

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  4. TubaNat
    March 13, 2013

    I was so shocked when I found out that the reason teachers play “Heads down, thumbs up” (or Seven Up apparently for Canada I have now learned) was to find out which of the kids are the cheaters. Tricky stuff…
    Also hooray for a win.

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    • obituary mambo
      March 13, 2013

      I don’t think it’s strictly a Canadian thing. We played the “Seven Up” version at my Californian school. Interesting tidbit on the reasoning behind the game; thanks for sharing. ^__^

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  5. jenny wren
    March 13, 2013

    The shortened season’s halfway through
    They’ve still not traded Bobby Lu
    Some other things you’d not have guessed
    Vancouver’s sixth place in the West
    Their PP’s O for twenty-four
    They seldom shoot and rarely score

    Whisky Jack says they’ve lost their zen
    “They’re too uptight, Ms Jenny Wren.
    Forgetting soon they have to try,
    They find success not knowing why.”
    He talks like he’s a Taoist monk
    Why not just say, “Of late they’ve stunk.”

    In this their first game of the week
    Vancouver ends the Jackets’ streak
    It’s deja vu they’re down by one
    They will be up when all is done
    First our twenty-seventh shot goes by
    Bobrovsky and the game’s a tie

    Although outplayed all through the third
    A shoot out win and then I heard
    Old Whisky saying, “You’re not to worry
    They finish first who do not hurry.”
    I know not what to make of that
    I rarely know where Jack is at

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  6. obituary mambo
    March 13, 2013

    I actually stayed up to watch this game. With the weird time differential it was a midnight starting time out here. Luckily, I don’t have to work until this evening, so slinking into bed at close to 3am wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, in summer that would be typical, but this time of year I have classes in the morning, so eastern time zone starts aren’t the type of thing I can usually manage. It’s fortunate for me this road trip came during Spring Break — although, days on which there’s a fresh dusting of snow don’t really seem very “Spring” like to me. Then again, I don’t suppose missing any of the past three games would have been much of a disappointment. Wow, all of that is completely off topic. Moving on…

    I’m not completely sure what happened in the 3rd period and OT; I’m just grateful the Canucks managed to hold on for the shootout. *shakes head* Never thought I’d read myself write that (does that make any sense?). Anyway, the Canucks were clearly the dominant team in the first two periods. If not for Bobrovsky’s performance, this would have been a blow out. I worry that, even though the circumstances of this game almost exactly mirror those of Vancouver’s last game in Columbus (a 1-1 game decided in OT), this will be used to assert that the starting position should be given back to Lu. While it’s true that he’s let in a couple of weak goals, I’m not sure how Schneids can be expected to win when the team in front of him plays like complete and utter crap. I know that some will say the team played better because they “feel more comfortable” with Lu in net. I disagree. It seems clear to me that the team stepped up their game because they’d finally been shocked into realizing how horrifically they’d been playing. And even then it only lasted 2 periods. I’m not sure what the solution is — meth for all? Surely that would be a bit extreme. ~__^ However, these guys to be motivated in the worst way. Perhaps bringing it all back home will be the only tonic required.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      March 13, 2013

      No, I think the meth solution is a good one. We can at least try it out for the Minnesota game, since, you know, it’s Minnesota.

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      • obituary mambo
        March 13, 2013

        Just as long as it’s Heisenberg Blue. That might be just the thing to put some pep in their step the next time they face Minnesota. ~__^

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  7. cathylu
    March 13, 2013

    It’s nice to regain the top spot in the Northwest (thanks Ducks for the help!). Hopefully this game gave our guys a little boost in confidence. The upcoming homestand will be pretty challenging; I’m hoping we will rise to the occasion and play like we did against the Kings (the game on March 2nd – not last season’s playoffs!).

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  8. Nee
    March 13, 2013

    I haven’t thought of that children’s game probably since elementary school. Thanks for bringing back fun memories. : )

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  9. Rob
    March 13, 2013

    Boy Kassian sure screwed the pooch on the Columbus goal – talk about being caught flat footed….. At least he realised he messed up after the goal but still – it was a bad effort. Mason Raymonds SO goal was pretty, nice little back hand but I thought Luongo’s poke check on Letestu was just as nice. Goalies need to be playing with a lot of confidence to do that and Lu made it look like just another save with the game on the line. Good game by Lu, hopefully he gets more starts, some confident goaltending will go along way in settling this crew down.

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  10. chinook
    March 13, 2013

    Love that you used the game clip of Garrett’s rant on the Booth penalty but wish you’d let it run a few seconds longer to when (with Garrett still raging) Shorty quietly said, “Let it go John”.

    John and John are really great, even from their vantage point high above the ice, Shorty saw how Henrik gave Daniel “the glare” for giving him a bad pass on the power play. Really! a glare from Henrik! With that kind of admonishment I predict a fresh outbreak of Sedinery next game with a multi-goal performance from Daniel.

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  11. Unknown Comic
    March 13, 2013

    So, the GMs are going to meet next week to discuss ways to increase scoring. Goalie pads and bigger nets are the topics, while reffing like last night is ignored.

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  12. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 13, 2013

    Amazing that the team can win a game in a fashion not to quell a single fear or silence a single critic. They can’t generate good scoring chances, they can’t bury the ones they do get, Booth still can’t score, Kassian is a useless plug, AV’s not starting Ballard for reasons not understood by us mere mortals…I think I saw that same cat walk by the doorway just a second ago. But hey, I guess it’s better than losing.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      March 13, 2013

      Plus there’s the fact that they didn’t actually “win” the game. They won a shootout after a tied game, so anyone quelling any fears over it doesn’t have much by way of fears.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        March 13, 2013

        This win is definitely nothing to crow about, but I’m just thankful that they looked better than their game against the Wild, which was atrocious.

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  13. yobbei
    March 13, 2013

    Thank you for one of the best opening paragraphs I have seen.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 13, 2013

      Any time you get a chance to use “naked butts” in a blog post, you’ve gotta do it.

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  14. Kenji
    March 13, 2013

    Peerless use of reference to Dora Ratjen – difficult to think of a better analogy for her situation; I was thinking of comparing her to Microsoft but cannot quite make it work

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  15. Bg
    March 13, 2013

    The Canucks still need a big , young first line that can score in regular games and under pressure if they want to to go anywhere in the play-offs other than the golf course. We can’t keep expecting the defense men to be the major source of goals.

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