Chris Tanev thinks he’s a road hockey goalie

You may have noticed that Chris Tanev is getting beat up in front of the net recently — Not by opposing players, but by the puck. It seems to be a nightly occurrence for Tanev to block a heavy shot, drop to the ice in pain, and then make his way to the dressing room, get attended to by Mike Burnstein, and come back to the game. It’s happened so often that I’ve taken to calling him Chris “Walk it Off” Tanev.

For instance, he took a Shea Weber slapshot to the knee that cracked his knee pad during the Canucks’ game against the Nashville Predators on March 14th. He went directly to the dressing room and I thought his night was done. That’s the same Shea Weber that shot a puck through the net during the Olympics. Instead, he walked it off and came straight back to the bench. He ended up not missing a shift.

Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues, Tanev took a shot to the side of the head on Patrik Berglund’s goal and left the game. There was good reason to be concerned: a puck to the head can break a player’s jaw or orbital bone or even cause a concussion. But, after the game, reports came in that Tanev was fine.

Why does Tanev keep getting (temporarily) injured by shots? It’s because he seems to think that he’s a road hockey goalie. By all indications, he’s a pretty good one too.

I didn’t actually play much ice hockey growing up, but road hockey was another story. I played a lot of road hockey growing up and my favourite position was goaltender. If you were lucky as a road hockey goalie, you had a baseball glove. If you weren’t, you had a baseball hat. If you were really luck you had foam pads. I was really lucky. Mine had Ed Belfour’s famous eagle mask on them and they saved me from numerous bruises and road rash.

It seems like Tanev spent a long time as a road hockey goalie growing up without the benefit of pads, a glove, or even a hat. Take a look at his ridiculous kick save against the Detroit Red Wings from last Saturday:

That’s a classic kick save and a beauty. But if that’s not enough proof for you that Tanev thinks less like a defenceman and more like a road hockey goalie, how about his attempted glove save on Dustin Brown during game two of the playoffs last season? Jim Hughson was convinced that Tanev made the save and was soundly ridiculed for it. But take a look at Tanev’s form and tell me that you wouldn’t have made the same mistake.

Everything about this picture screams “road hockey goalie.” Holding a non-goalie stick as if it were a goalie stick. Going down on one knee and kicking out the other leg. The attempted rainbow glove save. If Tanev had a baseball hat, he would have saved that shot.

Tanev is currently second on the Canucks in blocked shots with 50, just two behind Alex Edler, but Tanev plays about 6-and-a-half fewer minutes per game than Edler. Normally blocking a lot of shots isn’t a good thing, as it’s an indication that the opponent has the puck and is taking shots, neither of which are a good thing. But Tanev also leads all Canucks defencemen in Corsi, indicating that when he is on the ice, the Canucks have the puck and out-shoot their opposition.

Tanev leads all Canucks’ defenceman with the lowest shots on goal against when he is on the ice. He’s not just blocking shots because the opponents are taking a lot of shots when he’s on the ice. He’s blocking shots because he’s damn good at it.

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14 comments

  1. EllynBleu
    March 20, 2013

    I’m glad to hear that Tanev was fine after the puck hit to his head. That could have been a nasty injury!

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  2. Zach Morris
    March 20, 2013

    Tanev, Tanev, he’s our manev!

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    Rating: +26 (from 28 votes)
    • steveB
      March 21, 2013

      the new Salo is your Pal-o?
      I like it! :-D

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  3. Danabeth
    March 20, 2013

    Please don’t call him Chris “Walk it Off” Tanev… It keeps reminding me of Brad Ziemer’s tweet typo..
    Actually, do.. It’s still hilarious.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  4. Tom 1040
    March 20, 2013

    Tanev is awesome.

    Almost always a thumbs-down for Gillis, but two-thumbs up for that find.

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    • RG
      March 20, 2013

      Really? Aren’t you on the “MG can’t draft/scout” bandwagon?

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • Tom 1040
        March 21, 2013

        I am not on any bandwagon. I am quite objective…as can be seen.

        Are you saying Gillis has a good track record on draft/scout? I’d love to hear your opinion (supported, of course).

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  5. Denise Hsiah
    March 20, 2013

    How come there’s a large hole in his glove?

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • EllynBleu
      March 20, 2013

      I also wondered about the “hole” in the glove, but didn’t have the guts to ask. lol

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        March 20, 2013

        Lots of players like having gloves with holes in the palm. It lets them “feel the puck” better. It’s why Bieksa and some other players were luke-warm about the Millionaires kit. It meant they’d have to be wearing new gloves.

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        • Rob
          March 21, 2013

          The hole in his glove was created when the puck you see in the picture deflected off of his hand and into the net. Tanev was trying to make the miraculous glove save on a puck that was shot hard enough to rip open his glove. Too bad the puck went in, or it would have been a candidate for save of the year.

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  6. Nick
    March 20, 2013

    big sigh of relief … more and more, Tanev is becoming a key part of the D, and I’m glad he’s ok

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  7. Carlo
    March 20, 2013

    Big fan of Tanev. Underrated defenseman for sure!

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  8. TestingTesting
    March 20, 2013

    I worry about my little Tanman. I feel like his over protective mother sometimes. “Oh look, he god hit in the head again”, “oh look, someone just ran him from behind again”. This poor kid has the luck of gumbi.

    But he’s a damn good d-man. Not only does he take care of himself, he always takes care of his d partner. Mostly Ballard, or Alberts, or Connauton in Chicago this yr – whatever scrub they throw beside him instantly looks like an allstar. Gallagher said it best “they’ve been using him as a psychiatrist defenseman for whoever is struggling”. It’s true. And it’s funny.

    Tanev for MVP.

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