I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Minnesota Wild, March 18, 2013

I’m not panicking yet. I’m far too level-headed to go off the deep end for a loss in which the Canucks soundly outplayed their opponent for the majority of the game, not even when that loss is their 8th in their last 11 games and puts the Canucks at the edge of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, not when there are still 20 games left to be played in the season. No, I’m not panicking.

But I will admit to being concerned. I’m concerned because I know it’s possible, however unlikely, to flip a coin and have it land on heads 100 times in a row. I know that for all of the underlying possession statistics that indicate the Canucks are better than their record indicates, it’s possible that things never turn around this season.

It’s possible that the next 20 games will be exactly like this one: the Canucks outplaying, out-shooting, and out-chancing their opponent, but not out-scoring them, with the Canucks failing to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes, and their opponents making the Canucks pay for every mistake they make. In which case, I won’t need to watch those games, because I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 3 Wild

  • The Canucks out-shot the Wild 36-25. When you count missed shots and blocked shots, that becomes 79-39. That’s territorial domination by the Canucks and they created numerous quality scoring chances. Unfortunately, they ran into a hot goaltender in Nicklas Backstrom, who did well to anticipate passes, get square to shooters, and make difficult saves look easy. It was the most frustrating performances between a pair of pipes since Russell Crowe in-between Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables.
  • Jordan Schroeder was very good in limited minutes in his return to the lineup. He centered the fourth line for most of the game, but should see a promotion in the future, as he pushed possession and created scoring chances for Dale Weise and Tom Sestito. The only problem was that Weise and Sestito weren’t able to finish any of those chances. They were basically a couple of pigs pushing pearls around with their noses, trying to figure out if they were food.
  • I actually really liked how Weise and Sestito played, as they both had strong physical games with a number of big hits, but they were hitting with a purpose. Weise had one particularly nice shift where he wiped out Jared Spurgeon with a solid check at his own blue line, springing a Canucks rush. He followed up and had a great scoring chance on a Chris Tanev rebound, but was unable to put the puck past a sprawling Backstrom. Looks like the puck is back to being a jerk to Weise. I told him that breaking up with the puck by text was a bad idea.
  • Team trainer, Mike Burnstein, was working his 1500th game, which is mighty impressive. Clearly the Wild were also impressed, as they paid tribute to him by giving him plenty of work in the first period. First they high-sticked Alex Burrows, then Ryan Suter gave Henrik Sedin a stiff crosscheck in the ribs. It was a small gesture, but it was appreciated.
  • The best moment of the game came when Zenon Konopka got in Mason Raymond’s face and gave him his best tough guy staredown. Raymond responded by, no joke, tickling Konopka’s chin. Unfortunately, I am unable to find a single animated gif of this magical moment. I’m disappointed in you, Tumblr.
  • The Canucks coaching staff finally put Jason Garrison back on the first unit of the powerplay and it bore fruit on their third opportunity, as a Garrison one-timer deflected off Daniel Sedin’s leg onto his brother’s stick with an open net in front of him. Henrik ended the streak of futility at 0-for-36, but the Canucks then had one more opportunity in the third period to narrow the lead and failed to convert. So…
  • The Canucks almost scored on their second powerplay, only in the wrong net. After Luongo came out of his net to pass him the puck, Kevin Bieksa lost control of the puck and nearly stickhandled it into his own net. As is his wont, he casually reached out and pulled it off the goal line, while Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis lept into the stands and performed CPR on all the fans who had heart attacks.
  • The Wild tied the game with a powerplay goal of their own, setting up Jonas Brodin with some quick passes for a slap shot that beat a screened Luongo. Then in the third period, Charlie Coyle neatly tipped in the go-ahead goal off a slap shot from Clayton Stoner. Luongo had little chance on either goal, though you might hope for something special on one of them, perhaps. He needed to give the Canucks a chance to get a point out of this game with a save on the third goal, but he wasn’t able to do it. To be fair, it was on a guy all alone in front, but you still hope that Luongo is able to bail out his defence with a big save.
  • Why was Matt Cullen all alone in front of Luongo to score the Wild’s third goal? Keith Ballard made an inexplicably dumb play, going for the hit on Cullen as he and Setoguchi came in 2-on-2 on Ballard and Chris Tanev. It was the wrong play to begin with, but Ballard made it worse by flubbing the hit, allowing Cullen a straight path to the net. Somehow, Michael Russo, beat reporter for the Minnesota Wild, managed to find some blame on that play for Tanev, who he called “Vancouver’s worst defender by far tonight.” No, I don’t know what game he was watching.
  • Finally, we’d like to send out a hearty Happy Birthday to Jan Bulis, who turned 35 on Monday. We’re sorry this couldn’t have been a happier IWTG for you, Jan, but we still remember you fondly. Well, mostly fondly.
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50 comments

  1. Angry Canadian
    March 19, 2013

    The Canucks seem to be running into a lot of hot goaltenders lately. Backstrom. Howard the other day. Bobrovski. Backstrom last week (at least I think it was Backstrom. The red is dulling my senses, which is exactly the way I’d like it right now).

    I guess my statement is: with a team with the Sedins, MayRay, Burrow, Hansen and others that are offensively capable (in a good way) – why have we scored two or fewer goals in seven or our last nine? And don’t get me started on the powerplay…I’m not preparing to flip pools, but frankly, I’m not used to this sort of mediocrity…are we that spoiled with success from the past few years that a poor streak such as the one we are experiencing is capable of giving the Canuck Nation a collection nervous twitch above the eye?

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 19, 2013

      At some point, we need to admit that shots and scoring chances are not tantamount to goals. When you trade away or allow to walk all of your players with finish, you get a team that gets scoring chances but not goals.

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    • ikillchicken
      March 19, 2013

      It’s not really surprising when you do the math. The Sedin line has basically been good for a 5 on 5 goal a game as usual. Hansen, Higgins or Raymond have generally been good for one more…two games out of three? With nothing coming on the PP though and no second line scoring to speak of (between Kesler’s injury and Booth and Kassian’s drought) that squarely translates to about 1-2 goals a night. If we want to score more we either need to get the PP going or start getting something out of some combination of Kassian and whoever our second line is now that Booth is out.

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  2. Brent
    March 19, 2013

    Agree that we “should” have won this game, but we didn’t. Actually I feel better now that a few games ago, that was a good effort, the coaches tried something different on the power play, it worked!, and other than the one bonehead play by Ballard, the defence was better(or my standards are lower now and I didn’t notice as much stuff). I suspect Ballard will be a healthy scratch again for that one.

    Be tough against the Blues tonight, but if they put in a solid performance like that, and Schneider plays like he can, we have a good chance.

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    • Nick
      March 19, 2013

      I’m starting to feel bad for Ballard. He was having a solid game with Tanev, and then he decides to go high-risk with that hip check attempt and becomes the goat. Back to AV’s dog house he goes for a few weeks.

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  3. Nick
    March 19, 2013

    Can’t fault Lu on any of the goals. Tony G’s assessment, however, was that his play was “tolerable.”

    Tony G was also arguing, during the TV broadcast intermission interview, that the AV should be fired.

    My sense is that this guy is not really happy unless the Canucks are struggling, and he can rip into everybody from top to bottom.

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    • Port Tack
      March 19, 2013

      Listened to Tony G for one of the first times… he’s way off. If that guys thinks he is ‘seeing patterns’, well he is, they’re just not there. Worse though, he’s got a bully pulpit to push for solutions to the ‘patterns’ he’s seeing… that’s how humans were cavemen for so long.

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      • Unknown Comic
        March 19, 2013

        The most ironic thing is Gallagher uses the word “stale” to describe the team. “Stale” -from the guy who’s been writing the same stuff for 30 years.

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      • BakerGeorgeT
        March 19, 2013

        That’s crazy. He might not use Corsi in his analysis, but is it really wrong to look at the way this team has performed over the past 14 months and say “that’s some great coaching”? I can’t believe anyone would look at the team and think that this squad is reaching its potential.

        Maybe of some of that is on the general manager. I know there is a fan crush on David Booth here on this site, but let’s get real with this. The guy scored 1 goal (an ENG) in 12 or 13 games, and has been injured twice this season — after being injured twice last season. What has Gillis done successfully to address this team’s shortcomings? How is the farm looking? Why are they still paying Roberto Luongo to play net?

        By the way, happy birthday Jan!

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  4. Nick
    March 19, 2013

    My sense is that a coaching change, even if it was a good idea and a better candidate was waiting in the wings, is not going to happen.

    Gillis is the owners’ hand-picked guy, Gillis is a strong supporter of AV, AV is practically best friends with Bowness, and there’s got to be some kind of love for Newell Brown by someone influential because the PP has floundered for close to a year and he’s still here.

    Tony G and impatient fans are greasing the skids for AV’s departure, but I just can’t see it happening unless things a lot worse.

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    • Rob
      March 19, 2013

      Tony G is a crusty old blow-hard. I don’t know why anybody even listens to that guy anymore. Even when the Canucks were having one of the best seasons in NHL history the guy was calling for AV’s head and a complete dismantling of the team at times. He never has anything positive to say about the team and probably never will. His constant senseless drivel does nothing but feed the ‘flip the pool’ mentality of the bandwagon jumpers and casual fans. I’m glad there are blogs like this and Canucks Army that take a reasonable and sensible approach to analyzing the team.

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      • best behaviour
        March 19, 2013

        Thank you! Can we address thisÉ I`ve never had a single insight from anything he says. He reminds me of how the government wrote songs for the proles in 1984, with those big kaleidoscope machines that jumbled together a whole bunch of oft-used fragments into slightly different combinations. (Or I may be thinking of the boy bands of the 90s). But why is he considered an authority exactly – did he used to be a hockey player? He doesn’t sound like he has any unusual inside knowledge, & his voice doesn’t carry any authority.

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        • John in Marpole
          March 19, 2013

          Believe it or not, Gallagher was the President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association within the last couple of years

          That’s as close as he has ever come to being a hockey player. I don’t think even the Canucks allow him in the dressing room any longer. His stock in trade is rumors and conspiracy theories.

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      • cathylu
        March 19, 2013

        Yeah, I’ve pretty much decided I can’t listen to Skelator anymore. He’s just too depressing…and none of us need to be more depressed.

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  5. smj
    March 19, 2013

    I also thought Ballard was better – did more puck handling than recently – but still seems a bit reluctant to carry the puck out of their end – or maybe I just think that since reading your article about him being benched due to always giving the puck to Alberts…

    I thought Luongo kept them in it a bit in the beginning of the game – we thought it was about 5 chances to 1 to start off?

    As long as we start to get a few bounces I’m sure we will pick up momentum right when it counts….

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  6. jenny wren
    March 19, 2013

    Nine goals against in their last two
    But once again it’s Bobby Lu
    Who really robs Cal Clutterbuck
    As from the slot he fires the puck

    When facing O for thirty-six
    Brief joy because the PP clicks
    A shot’s blocked by the younger twin
    And Henrik wrists the rebound in

    Now with Vancouver five on four
    It’s Minnesota ties the score
    An early goal to start the third
    Another loss is thus assured

    The Flock’s feeling the frustration
    That’s pervading Canuck nation
    We know it’s not that they don’t try
    They just can’t score we don’t know why

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  7. Rob
    March 19, 2013

    I’m still holding out hope that the Canucks can turn this thing around before it’s too late. It’s not like they are playing really bad, they just have no puck luck, no bounces, no love from the hockey gods. What the Canucks need now is a hero, whether its a goaltender, or a Sedin, or somebody like Hansen or Raymond who will step up their play and be mr. clutch and carry the team or provide the spark they need to turn things around. In all my years of watching the Canucks I dont ever recall I time where they have played this well and were losing games, but the fact that they are playing well gives me hope – even if its just a slight glimmer right now.

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    • whisky jack
      March 19, 2013

      Mister Valk points at faceoffs lost
      Unwillingness to pay the cost
      By blocking shots and making hits
      Easy to say from where he sits

      Although I think he’s really right
      I watched this game on Monday night
      While I’ll not say they ever quit
      I didn’t find them into it

      You’d think by now they would be mad
      So many times that they’ve been had
      On Tuesday night someone must choose
      To truly take it to the Blues

      Because unless somebody does
      They will remain a team that was

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      March 19, 2013

      They played better last night than they have in some prior games, but the notion that they’re “playing well” does not seem very intuitive. They seem to be getting outworked game after game, and their Corsi edge has resulted in a lot of long, unscreened shots (which they tend to when going up against tight defensive teams. This absolutely does skew the numbers).

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      • Rob
        March 19, 2013

        “Playing Well” is more of a relative term, I meant that in the context that they arent playing really poorly or they arent playing as poorly as their record indicates. They are playing like 20 other teams in the NHL – some prolonged streches of dominating possession and generating chances followed by prolonged stretches of the exact opposite – lately it seems (with the exception of last nights game) to be about 50/50. The difference maker being that other teams are able to capitalize on their chances, and the Canucks haven’t. The Detroit game is a prime example. The Canucks dominated play for the first half of the game and could have probably put detroit away if they had been able to score one more early, but a simple centering pass goes off a skate on a lucky bounce and detroit ties the game. Those are the breaks when they play 50/50 hockey, sometimes the puck goes in, sometimes it doesn’t and right now the puck just isnt going in for them.

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  8. Good Effort
    March 19, 2013

    but you won’t win very often if you only score one frickin goal…

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  9. MB13
    March 19, 2013

    At the beginning of the year, everyone pretty much agreed the Canucks outperformed their record with great goaltending. Now they are getting average goaltending and they are losing.

    Newsflash – maybe they aren’t THAT good. Everybody looking at these “signs” of improvement or feeling better after this loss makes me LOL. Sounds more and more like grasping at straws.

    Seriously people – how could Gillis come into this season knowing (along with the whole city) that they were disastrously thin at centre and not address the problem? And people want to blame AV?!?! If Gillis is so smart, why isn’t he making another one of his forwards a 30 goal man (like Hodgson was last year) – he made it seem so very easy last year and took virtually 95% of the credit for Hodgson’s great season. I wonder if MG is ensuring Cody gets sheltered minutes in Buffalo too? He’s top 20 in goal scoring this season. No need for him on this roster.

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  10. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 19, 2013

    Cody Hodgson

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    • John in Marpole
      March 19, 2013

      Hodgson is on the first line & 1st PP unit in Buffalo, that’s why he has the numbers he has.
      He would *never* be on either playing in Vancouver.

      While so many seem to think Hodgson would make a significant difference if he was here, in spite of his admittedly good numbers this season the Sabres are mired in 14th place in the East, only the pathetic Panthers are worse.

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      • Rob
        March 19, 2013

        @John – dont even bother going there with Chris C, it’s an argument you will not win. The only thing you are going to accomplish is putting us through another 1000 word essay on why he thinks this team isnt elite and how Coho would be the saving grace of this season. Just let it go and let Chris C rant to himself about how much he misses Hodgson.

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          March 19, 2013

          Thanks for replying for me Rob, that’s really swell of you.

          Bottom line, this team can’t score. They can take shots but they don’t go in. Cody Hodgson has more goals this year than anyone on our team. You do the math.

          It’s not necessarily about CoHo specifically, though I obviously liked him as a player, but it’s the fact that Hodgson is a symbol of how Gillis has screwed up this team by completely eschewing talent for grit. The end result is a game like last night, where the Canucks had plenty of possession, but just one goal and 0 points.

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      • MB13
        March 19, 2013

        Hodson on 1st line means he sees other teams top D pairing and shutdown line. So he is getting goals against the best other teams have to offer. I think it’s more impressive he’s doing it on the 1st line. And it’s not like Vanek was Malkin before… Hodson has made Vanek better while maintaining his own production.

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  11. chinook
    March 19, 2013

    Daniel, I was surprised you were “unable to find a single animated gif of this magical moment” when Mason Raymond tickled Konopka’s chin. Previously you likened Weise and Sestito’s play to “pigs pushing pearls around with their noses” so that I immediately thought of “not by the hair on my (your?) chinny chin chin” from The 3 Little Pigs. So I laughed anyway, because I know thats what MayRay did say to Zenon K.

    On a more serious note – if the Canucks keep losing you’re gonna have to work even harder of Th Funnies in order to keep our spirits up. Its getting so bad I’m beginning to give credence to the talking heads that bleat The Goalie Situation is a distraction in The Room.

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  12. Zach Morris
    March 19, 2013

    Okay, but how did the Southsiders do?

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    • Evan
      March 19, 2013

      I was at the game, but down the other end of the ice from the Southsiders. My conclusion is that we could, if charitable, credit them with one puck mishandle from Backstrom. They were chanting at him for about the last 5 minutes of the second period, during which at one point he mishandled the puck. Other than that I didn’t notice them at all.

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  13. Shade of Blue
    March 19, 2013

    How does missing Kesler, a Selke-award-winning, power-play driving, penalty killing, number two center and, ever more obviously, most valuable player, count as showing the team’s true colors?!

    And Booth is missing, too, though one could argue he’s missing even when he is in the line up.

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    • Shade of Blue
      March 19, 2013

      I see I’ve replied to a comment that is no longer here. Or I’m talking to myself. *adjusts tinfoil hat* Maybe both.

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    • MB13
      March 19, 2013

      You’re right – Canucks are only team with injuries. Boston wasn’t missing Horton and Savard when they won the cup. Senators aren’t missing their top centre and a Norris caliber d-man while holding a playoff spot in the east – aren’t they missing their top goalie too? Hawks weren’t missing Seabrook when they came back from 3-0 down. I can go on and on – but Canucks fans prefer excuses. If it’s not injuries, it’s travel… when it’s not travel, it’s referees.

      Except when the other teams have the same issues to fight through. Like Canucks waiting for the Wild in the twin cities for a Sunday game while the Wild had to play the Predators in Nashville on Saturday. Or when the refs missed such a blatant high stick by Bieksa last night (even Garret commented!) when they hadn’t taken a penalty yet and had 3 power plays. Excuses , excuses excuses.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 19, 2013

        No one’s making excuses. But if you think you can deny that missing Kesler might be affecting them on the ice, then you’re delusional. There’s a difference between an explanation and an excuse.

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        • MB13
          March 19, 2013

          What’s the Penguins excuse without Malkin? Sorry… what’s the Penguins explanation without Malkin?

          Explanations, excuses or whatever you want to call them are for losers. If by missing one player the team falls apart, how good of a TEAM are they?

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  14. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    March 19, 2013

    It was also Cory Schneider’s birthday, no?

    The Canucks have not been generating a ton of grade-A chances of late (Corsi advantage or not — it is absolutely possible to take low-percentage shots, and they do), so while they looked a bit better last night, they are still rarely outplaying opponents for significant stretches. When you combine this with getting outduelled in the goal crease, as they have been with regularity, it’s not a big surprise they’re losing games.

    This is feeling a lot like the 2007-08 season. Injuries are playing a big part, but the team also looked disorganized from the get-go, and have had very few runs of solid play. The deadline approaches (later this time) with the prospect of giving up a lot just to make the playoffs, which is unpalatable for a variety of reasons, so the team ends up more or less standing pat (since they can’t go into full-blown sellers mode while the Sedins are still in their productive years). I think we’ll see another Cooke-for-Pettinger type swap, a lot of spin, and ultimately the team whimpering toward (possibly into, but not certainly?) the postseason.

    Followed by calls to “blow it up”, which are just as silly as the insistences that everything’s going to be just fine once an offseason-shape Kesler rejoins the team.

    Also re: Ballard — people will use his gaffe to say “This is why Vigneault benches him!” Honestly, if the guy is getting the steady ice time that he has more than earned, he is going to be way less tentative and prone to errors. That is a self-made problem. If Bieksa’s leash was that short, he’d be benched all the time too.

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  15. Carlo
    March 19, 2013

    You guys missed the glaring stat of 23 blocked shots by Minny compared to just 5 by the Canucks. Defence is sputtering and Lu and Schneids’s stats are both suffering, not to mention our record.

    I want to be optimistic but Vancouver’s just not cutting it this year. They’re no longer the Cup contenders from the past two years and they’re not creating quality chances at the net. Stats may show that they outshot the Wild 79 to 39 but how many of those were just random one timers to the net with no real strategy or conviction.

    It pains me to watch them this way so I’m quietly reserving my hopes for this year. I’ll still watch them though.

    Oh and btw it was Cory Schneider’s birthday as well yesterday! :)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 19, 2013

      The reason the blocked shots favoured Minny so much is the puck was in their end all night.

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      • MB13
        March 19, 2013

        When it wasn’t in the Canucks net.

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    • Nee
      March 19, 2013

      Chicago is dead last in blocked shots of the 30 teams. Blocked shots doesn’t mean much of anything. It’s a defensive strategy. Not all teams deploy this strategy as much as the Rangers and Minnesotas of the league. Canucks defensive strategy, to my eyes, appears to be a combo of stick work, positioning, and possession.

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  16. steveB
    March 19, 2013

    We’ve been spoiled by very good Canucks teams for the last several years.
    This current roster’s performance is starting to remind me of the late ’90s.
    Not a joyous time for Canucks fans.

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  17. Bolderevolution
    March 19, 2013

    Ebb and flow, people. Ebb and flow.
    (and I’m not naming their new second line).

    Recall the nasty slumps last year of both Chicago and L.A.

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    • Bolderevolution
      March 19, 2013

      I’m not saying they are, or that the Nucks are Cup favourites. I’m saying hockey sometimes ebbs and sometimes flows. And we’re really ebbing up right now.

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  18. cathylu
    March 19, 2013

    I think we’re missing Manny too. He was so great in the face-off circle.

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  19. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 19, 2013

    So which are they, middle of the pack or underachieving?

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  20. akidd
    March 19, 2013

    calling an opponent ‘lucky’ after he wins isn’t going to get one into the Snappy Comebacks HOF but …the wild were lucky.

    if the wild were truly a defensive juggernaut then they wouldn’t give up 39 shots. the canucks took some low-% shots but they also generated some pretty good scoring chances. the wild didn’t bother with chances and just took the goals instead.

    the canucks dominated possession while going 32% in the faceoff circle. how does that happen? valk was on about blocked shots and hits but i gotta side with pitb on this one. How do you block shots when the opponent never has the puck? and to a lesser degree how do you hit a guy without the puck?

    it was a funny game. the wild certainly didn’t look like division challengers at any point in the game yet they won easily. strange.

    this team was looking good just before kesler(and booth) came back and they looked like they were returning to that form. i’m optimistic still. now get schroeder on that 2nd line. he can’t do any worse than 2 for 23 in the faceoff circle.

    but the wild aren’t a top-tier western team. there are a handful of teams that are pretty dam good and one of them is coming to roger’s arena tonight. this will be a test.

    for this team to be true contender(not for the division but for the conference) they need to win some faceoffs, get superior goaltending, play with a physical edge and start putting some of those ‘chances’ in the back of the net.

    we’ll see what this team is made of a lot sooner than the first round of the playoffs…which is not a bad thing. this next week will be pretty telling. it should be fun(than you lockout for ‘dosing me down’.)

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    • akidd
      March 19, 2013

      “than you”= thank you

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  21. jeremy
    March 19, 2013

    There was a point during this game – the first time I’ve felt it in recent memory as a Canucks fan – that I thought the team simply wasn’t equipped to win. It’s not that we don’t have fine goal scorers or an excellent defensive core; the problem was that we were frankly unable to win faceoffs, and the squad was putting so much energy into regaining possession that they burned out as they were bringing it to the net and they were burned out coming into the third period. They fought as hard as they could, but they had to do too much fighting at times they shouldn’t need to.

    AV echoed this sentiment in his post-game interview, responding to a question about faceoffs with essentially “They did what they could.” It sounded like he had no notion that the puck-winning guys existed in the team. His suggested solution was that the guys ‘scrum it up’ more, I guess meaning turn each face-off into a tight, messy battle. That’s going to work sometimes but it’s a draining way to play, and if you’re in search of the elusive “60 minute game” it’s not going to come often.

    I think there was reason to believe the right mixture existed within the organization – that between #33, Lapierre, Schroeder, Ebbett and a utility guy like Higgins, we could find pivots for four winning lines. It was this game that I finally thought, the shuffling has not worked. We need a centreman.

    I mellowed out on this a bit as the game wore down. That said I’m very eager to continue this line of thought while I’m watching them play against the Blues.

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  22. SFCanuckFan
    March 19, 2013

    The Mason Raymond – Zenon Konopka incident was hilarious! It was like Mason was saying, “You’re so cute when you’re upset.” Konopka was too embarrassed to fight anyone for the rest of the game.

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  23. Tom 1040
    March 19, 2013

    First, ‘Hi, Chris.’

    Next, I’m lovin’ it.

    Guess what folks, this is a continuation of the decline that started last year. President’s Trophy, you say? Last year goaltending (mostly Schneider) masked the team’s futility.

    Injuries? Gimme a break…what a ‘shallow’ response.

    So many are surprised, which is absolutely unbelievable.

    Old core, (Burke and Nonis built), weak coach, and bonehead GM.

    Cup contender? Blow it up.

    Say it again, Danny; say it again…

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