I Watched This Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, March 23, 2013

On one hand, Alain Vigneault has to be frustrated by the Canucks’ continued struggle to ice something resembling a competitive lineup. Thursday night, the club was so shorthanded they were forced to deploy Keith Ballard as a top-nine forward, and somehow they managed to lose another key component in that one after Alex Edler was suspended two games for colliding with Mike “I step in front of cars and sue the drivers” Smith.

But on the other hand, the shorthandedness of Vigneault’s club means they have no choice but to go into full-blown shutdown mode, and I think we all know that Alain Vigneault descends into hockey vampirism — sucking the life out of games in order to survive — with unbridled, abject glee. The Canucks were unyielding in their defensive posture in this one, scoring early, then nursing a 1-0 lead so completely that, after the game, they had to burp it. I sort of felt like a creep when I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 0 Kings

  • The big story in this one was the play of Cory “The C-Wall” Schneider, who stopped all 20 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. He has now allowed just 3 goals in his last 3 games, all wins for the Canucks. Schneider seems to have settled into a groove, which helps to solve one of the big issues facing the club earlier in the month: subpar goaltending. Far from subpar, Schneider’s effort in this one was, to use a golf analogy, sub-par.
  • 20 saves may not sound like much, but Schneider was busier than the shot total indicated. The Kings were down low with the puck a lot, and there were several scrambles in the crease on which Schneider had to be sharp in tracking the puck and giving LA nothing to shoot at. He was taking the net away from the Kings like they had tried to access porn at the library.
  • The lone goal in this one came off the stick of Mason Raymond, and I can’t say enough about his presence of mind at both the beginning and the end of the play. After the puck deflects off of the boards to Jordan Schroeder, Raymond realizes he might be able to get a partial break and turns on the jets to get behind Jake Muzzin. Then, once he’s in alone, he reacts quickly to an attempted pokecheck by Quick, putting the puck five-hole for the goal. Great situational awareness from Raymond.
  • Not so much from Muzzin. Watch this play a few times and you can see exactly how he gets burned. Drifting out to the neutral zone, marking Raymond, he looks over his left shoulder to see where the puck is and watches it come off the boards towards Schroeder, who could hit Raymond with a pass. Muzzin instantly realizes that if Raymond is smart, he’ll be taking off towards the LA end. He looks over his right shoulder to check. Sure enough, Raymond is smart, so Muzzin takes off after him, but after a few strides, he makes the mistake of looking over his left shoulder again to see if Schroeder is going to attempt the pass. This causes him to lose speed, giving Raymond more room. That means that if Schroeder is making the pass, Muzzin is done. Here’s that moment, in a screengrab I call, “Jake Muzzin realizes he’s screwed”:
  • Great pass by Schroeder, too. It was enough to earn him his third point in as many games, and get Ben Kuzma to suggest he ”may be the club’s best passer.” As Nic Cage might says, “That’s high praise“, although, when your team is 11% Sedin most nights, it’s also kind of insane praise.
  • Normally, John and John’s half-hearted plugs for Dan Murphy’s Twitter account are the broadcasting equivalent of Homer Simpson saying “Ooh, they have the Internet on computers now“. But Shorty nailed it tonight. As Murphy’s Twitter handle flashed on the screen, Shorty quipped, “Dan Murphy, yet to be the subject of an Amanda Bynes tweet, but we suspect he’ll be next.” I would pay for Amanda Bynes to send out that same NSFW tweet with @sportsnetmurph in place of @Drake.
  • Chris “Logan” Tanev was boarded by Dustin Penner and skated it off, because he’s almost invincible. How is it that these guys with extraordinary healing capabilities always end up in Canada? Related: we really should fuse adamantium to Tanev’s bones. It would be wasteful not to.
  • We’ll probably hear a lot about the Canucks only testing Quick 13 times in this game, and sure, that’s a laughable shot total, but really, the entire group deserves praise for their defensive effort in this one. The Kings spent the majority of this game pressing for an equalizing goal, and the Canucks held them to just 20 shots. Even better, only 14 shots in the time after Raymond scored. One brief, exciting moment and then 49 minutes of burning the clock: basically, this game was an American Idol results show in reverse.
  • Speaking of the clock, who runs the one at the Staples Center? Samuel Beckett? A year after it stopped just long enough for the Kings to score a late goal versus Columbus, I was baffled when nearly four seconds were added before the final faceoff tonight for pretty much no reason. Thank you, nameless, existentialist game clock operator, for reminding us once again that time is a meaningless and arbitrary human construct.
  • In case you were wondering, the powerplay continues to be bad. According to Canucks Army, it generated two scoring chances, both of which were for the Kings. Getting a five-on-four isn’t supposed to make you look ridiculous. The only time having five guys should make you look ridiculous is when it’s Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and you’re this guy.
  • The two teams combined for 61 hits in this game, which is 60 more hits than Dexy’s Midnight Runners. But man, what a hit.
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41 comments

  1. chinook
    March 23, 2013

    Great defense Canucks! Viva Schneider!

    About the clock – where was it that some seconds vanished from the clock a few years ago? Was it LA?

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    • Zach Morris
      March 23, 2013

      They don’t call him Dean “Recalibrating the Coulombs” Lombardi for nothing

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      • chinook
        March 23, 2013

        So, Lombardi had those lost little coulombs in his back pocket all along eh? The opposing team lost a key goal in that game.

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        • Zach Morris
          March 23, 2013

          I like to think it’s Hollywood’s version of “piano tuner”. The Kings employ a retired Geordi La Forge to run their clock

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  2. Dougster
    March 23, 2013

    Hansel? Han-sale?! Yes he is hot, but I prefer this version :) http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=iOxekpmGWPs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DiOxekpmGWPs Hansen’s contribution to the goal was not as significant as Schroeder’s Sedinerous pass or MayRay’s great finish but hey, someone has to start the play. I thought the canucks had no chance in this one–great to see the team grind one out and Schneider play so well.

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  3. Kyle
    March 23, 2013

    I usually love reading this blog and I still do but…the Not so much from Muzzin bullet – I think that was a whole Province sports section in one bullet.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 23, 2013

      Not sure what that means, exactly. Too long?

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      • Dougster
        March 23, 2013

        I liked it… A mini breakdown was sort f a bonus to IWTG

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        • DanD
          March 24, 2013

          Yeah I liked it too. I hope to see a full breakdowning segment on this goal. Please?

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  4. JD
    March 23, 2013

    How does Shorty know about that Amanda Bynes tweet? Does he have a secret Twitter account? @shortbone1?

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  5. Brent
    March 23, 2013

    Ah can’t believe we won this one being so short-handed. Oh man, those anti-Canucks trolls must be gnashing their teeth! Oh yea! Schneider is in the zone!

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    • Nick
      March 23, 2013

      Yup. The Schneider is “on the block” rumours have died down considerably. Thank goodness.

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      Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  6. best behaviour
    March 23, 2013

    I liked this IWTG and this game The game I saw with an alien duo (the NHL.com duo, blatantly cheering for LA with pretend-balance in favour of Canucks) doing the announcing, and Henrik was the one they picked for the token praise and honours for the team they didn’t want to win. Actually the scrappiest Canucks – Kings game this season, and with non-Canucks commentators praising Henrik changing his game, playing a physical game instead of just skill, I wasn’t sure if it was legit acceptance or an attempt to lure Henrik away from using his skill in future games. Except the play-by-play guy insisted on calling Daniel “Daniel” and Henrik “Sedin”. Dude, we need to talk.

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  7. jenny wren
    March 23, 2013

    Canucks against the LA Kings,
    I should be outside doing things.
    Instead I choose to watch the play
    And write this little resume:

    J. Schroeder shows his first round class,
    Freeing Raymond with his pass,
    And faking Quick while breaking in
    He gets the goal we need to win!

    Throughout the first it’s clear to me
    The refs are choosing not to see,
    ‘Til one in two they can’t ignore -
    Short-handed Schneider shuts the door!

    All through the third my fingers crossed
    To help ensure that LA lost.

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    • Tom 1040
      March 23, 2013

      Well done.

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    • gumby
      March 23, 2013

      Canucks against the LA Kings
      I WAS outside doing things
      A brilliant day on the lower coast
      Hit the slopes, with those I love most
      A sunny 4 degrees at Callaghan,
      Made me feel a lucky man.

      Had given up the LA game
      as lost, with players lame
      or suspended thru fickle discipline;
      The ranks, they are grown so thin!
      As Tanev’s glove, shot worn and hole-ey,
      But could we have the better goalie?

      Returning home, highlights delight me,
      Schneiders pads, flayed so lightly
      From side to side, with time a ticking
      Could it be these Kings we are kicking?

      And it holds, the tenuous lead!
      Canucks beleaguered, yet they’ve done the deed!
      And I have had a such lovely day,
      Such good skiing under the fickle sun,
      And a win, that was not undone,
      By that lackwit, Shanahun (sic).

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  8. gumby
    March 23, 2013

    Man, I hate Come on Eileen.

    I’m done here.

    ….not really.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 24, 2013

      Come on Eileen is excellent. FACT.

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        March 24, 2013

        Indeed so. But, pedantically speaking, Dexy’s don’t really count as one-hit-wonders, with four top singles in the UK, and two in the Billboard 100.

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        • Amor de Cosmos
          March 24, 2013

          sorry that should read “four top ten singles”/pedantry

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        • Harrison Mooney
          March 24, 2013

          Yeah, well, just one top ten hit in the US, Amor. That’s good enough for me.

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  9. Nick
    March 23, 2013

    That’s the kind of goaltending that gives me hope for a good playoff run.

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  10. JP Davy
    March 23, 2013

    A legitimate question: why don’t they check and reset the clock after EVERY stoppage in play?? Does 4 seconds need to be put on every time? Maybe we can introduce ‘stoppage time’ like they do in soccer? This needs to be investigated. I feel ripped off. Think of all the extra hockey action I’ve missed over the years due to timekeepers with mediocre reflexes.

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  11. ajhockey
    March 23, 2013

    lol

    Mike “I step in front of cars and sue the drivers” Smith.

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  12. James W.
    March 23, 2013

    Aside from the Raymond goal and the win, my favourite part of this game was shorty getting frustrated with the LA fans who were banning

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    • James W.
      March 23, 2013

      Whoops, hit submit too soon.

      … banging on the glass. Seriously, it was pretty annoying.

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      • peanutflower
        March 24, 2013

        it was incredibly annoying. i don’t get it….

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  13. Adam
    March 24, 2013

    One hit?! Come On Eileen might be a great song, but its no Geno – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnoUlZnwYy4

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  14. obituary mambo
    March 24, 2013

    Schneids was out of this world AMAZING in yesterday’s game. And the one goal we got was a beauty, so consider me a happy lady.

    BTW, there are some particularly awesome lines in this IWTG. Great write up. ^__^

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    • Nick
      March 24, 2013

      yup … Vancouver sure has been blessed with great goaltending since Nonis brought in Lu and drafted Cory

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  15. Cathylu
    March 24, 2013

    Man oh man, that was not the game I expected to see. I loved Mason’s goal – it was a thing of beauty! And I’m happy to report that Canuck Nation was well represented in Staples Center – the cheering after MayRay’s goal was loud and healthy. It looks like we’ve figured out our defense, now if we can get the offense part we’ll be good to go. (I got totally side-tracked by that “Five Guys” burger review. Funny!)

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  16. smj
    March 24, 2013

    The Autotuned version of the 5 guys review is also entertaining.

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  17. Le Ben
    March 24, 2013

    Sub-par indeed!

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  18. steveB
    March 24, 2013

    I didn’t watch this game, so thanks very much for this IWTG!
    It was a beautiful sunny day and 1:00 in the afternoon is way too damn early for hockey.
    I spent it at Garry Point park, but had TEAM 1040 doing the play by play on my Old Skool Sony AM/FM Walkman- the ancient thing still works!
    I did not expect a win with the depleted line-up, but I’m glad the Canucks were able to do what needed to be done.
    2PTs F.G.

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  19. akidd
    March 24, 2013

    I didn’t watch ALL of this game because, like steveb said, it was a beautiful sunny day. and with 10 minutes left in the third i was pretty sure it was going to end 1-0. not 2-0 on an empty net because david ‘snipe’ booth was out of of action. and sure enough when i got where i was going i casually inquired about the outcome and i didn’t miss a thing. a win and sunshine. 2 points AND a very pleasant early-spring afternoon. score.

    yup, schneider looks really good. so comfortable and alert it appears. am looking forward to seeing lou answer him today. nice little luxury knowing that if lou falters they can go right back to schneider and if lou shines they can also go right back to schneider. nice to know AV no longer has the clout to leave a hot schneider on the bench for long stretches.

    and the second line continues to carry the offence. which really does make you wonder how in the heck AV could send schroeder down to the wolves and how it took arniel to vouch for schroeder being the wolves’ best forward for him to be brought up again. perhaps it’s the “abject glee” that AV is going through. that’s gotta be a really confusing emotion:)

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    • John in Marpole
      March 24, 2013

      It isn’t just the coach that makes roster decisions.

      Gillis has mentioned more than once how the management team has input in roster moves. Ultimately, as the boss of hockey operations, Gillis is responsible for the movement of players between Vancouver and Chicago.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 25, 2013

      Blows my mind the lengths to which we’ll go to not give Vigneault credit for his players’ successes. Perhaps Schroeder was sent down because his play had fallen off due to him being a young player that still struggles with consistency, and once he had re-found it and re-established himself as the best callup option, he got the return call? It seems like a leap to assume AV’s ineptitude is simply being overridden by everyone around him.

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      • akidd
        March 25, 2013

        I never said AV wasn’t good with ALL young players. kesler, burrows, hansen, raymond all became very good players under him.

        but i question whether punishment/demotion is always the best teaching tool. there are some guys who might respond to better to other methods. it seemed like schroeder was a kid that needed some confidence and a shot. he seemed more or less stagnant in the AHL. he got his shot and i think repsonded very well. the schroeder/raymond/hansen line looked dynamic out of the gate with speed, skill and chemistry. it might be the fastest line in the nhl. nice one, thought I, a keeper. then booth came back and line-juggling to fit him in and poof, the speed line was gone.

        schroeder didn’t have any chemistry with booth because…no one has chemistry booth(and if you’re going to respond with a ‘with-or-without-you’ how about a ‘with-or–without-you’ on the canucks record this year with and without booth?) and he didn’t make anything happen on the 4th line because those guys aren’t skilled enough. naslund didn’t score many goals on the 4th line either.

        so schroeder sagged. lost confidence and was demoted to the wolves. it could have been avoided. that coulda been it for him in the nhl. who knows. he could’ve gotten injured or just gone into a confidence tailspin or something. risky and not the best asset management imo.

        maybe AV could try some different approaches with certain types of players. that’s not really an unreasonable point to make. I like AV a lot. when i criticize him i’m just having fun being analytical. I’m not concluding that he is a terrible coach or anything. what’s wrong with that?

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  20. KC23
    March 24, 2013

    Actually the clock operator FAVORED the Canucks and it was the REFs who went to the scorers table to fix the clock operator’s error in giving the Canucks 4 more seconds than they deserved. Saw it live.

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  21. Snepsts
    March 24, 2013

    This game was classic Canucks trolling. Canucks are like, we’re going to score one goal on 13 shots, and it’s the only one we’ll need. You will score none in a shut down boring game at home. Oh, and it’s a home game in the afternoon when the rink is full of more children than usual. So, former Stanley Cup champions, lose at home to a minimalist effort in a boring game without scoring with your arena filled with kids. Lol.

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  22. akidd
    March 26, 2013

    testing 1,2….

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