I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets, March 26, 2013

This was easily the worst game of the season. It’s not that the Canucks were bad at all — in fact, they dominated the Blue Jackets from start to finish — but the entertainment value of this game was nearly non-existent. This game was duller than a beach ball. Construction workers had to turn off the game on the radio so that they could operate heavy machinery.  It was like Waiting for Godot with less Godot.

I regret to say that I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 0 Blue Jackets (SO)

  • The Canucks out-shot the Blue Jackets 34 to 17 and controlled puck possession in the offensive zone for vast stretches of time. The difference in shots was even more stark through the first two periods, as the Canucks had 25 shots to the Blue Jackets’ 8. The Canucks attempted 75 shots, while the Blue Jackets only attempted 38. If it weren’t for Sergei Bobrovsky, this game could have easily been a blowout. Bobrovsky now has a .930 save percentage for the season, which should make Philadelphia Flyers fans break down in tears.
  • Maxim Lapierre had just 11:22 in ice time in this game but somehow ended up providing most of the highlights. He had two glorious chances to score during the game, both times in all alone. On the first, he tried to go five-hole and was stymied by Bobrovsky and on the second, he sent the puck over the net after a great pass from Andrew Gordon. He was also credited with a game-high 7 hits, though I don’t recall a single one. Most importantly, he actually propelled the puck over the opposing team’s goal line, albeit in the shootout. I had almost forgotten that was the entire point of the exercise by that time.
  • Every single Canuck got a shot on goal in this game except for Chris Tanev. When asked why he refused to get a shot, he just mumbled something about Jenny McCarthy and took off.
  • It seemed like there were a lot of missed penalties, with the worst coming in one shift as both Jordan Schroeder on one side of the ice and Jared Boll on the other side got hit from behind dangerously into the boards with no call on either. Two other times a blatant penalty happened directly in front of a referee who happened to be literally looking in the wrong direction at the time. That said, I find it pretty hard to blame the refs for not paying too close attention to this game. I’m pretty sure it killed more brain cells than all the alcohol I have ever imbibed.
  • Considering the penalties that were missed, Keith Ballard’s penalty for slashing was pretty absurd, considering he only had one hand on his stick. When Ballard’s stick hit him, Derek Mackenzie snapped his head back as if he had been shot simultaneously from a school book depository and a grassy knoll. Hilariously, Ballard skated right up to Mackenzie and repeatedly snapped his head back as if he were listening to heavy metal played backwards.
  • I’m honestly not sure if the refs were worse than normal or if the complete lack of anything else happening on the ice made their missed calls more obvious. In my notes from the third period, I have four straight bullet points about blatantly missed calls. In a more exciting game, those notes might have had a goal or a nice save to distract me from writing down those missed calls or they would have at least appeared further apart.
  • Alain Vigneault is trusting Jordan Schroeder more and more. Against Columbus, he took most of the defensive zone faceoffs, going 6-for-8. Vigneault even sent him out a few times late in the game just to take the defensive zone faceoff and get off the ice, similar to how Manny Malhotra was used. As for why Schroeder got the job in this game, consider that Maxim Lapierre took just 4 faceoffs and lost all of them.
  • Schroeder’s line with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen was easily the Canucks’ best, though the third line of Alex Burrows, Andrew Ebbett, and Keith Ballard gave them a run for their money. The second line combined for 8 shots on goal and had 9 more blocked. Hansen got the best scoring chance out of all of them, using his speed to create a breakaway in overtime and making a nice move only to get robbed by Sergei Bobrovsky, who I will now refer to as Robrovsky until I realize how dumb it sounds.
  • …and there it is. Wow, that’s dumb.
  • Cory Schneider was only called upon to make 20 saves, included the three in the shootout, but he was still remarkable, making a superb save in the third period on Nick Foligno after Kevin Bieksa turned the puck over, then stopping Foligno again in overtime. Personally, I’m just impressed he was still awake after the Blue Jackets only managed 2 shots in the first period. During the first intermission, Bieksa had the line of the night: “Schneids made 2 huge saves for us. Just kidding, I can’t even remember what they were.”
  • The Canucks’ biggest save of the game, however, wasn’t made by Schneider. With just over a minute remaining in the game, Chris Tanev’s clearing attempt hit the linesman, leading to a wraparound attempt by Ryan Johansen that slid straight through to Foligno at the back door, who had an empty net. Dan Hamhuis, with his back to Foligno, kicked out his right skate and just got his toe on the puck to deflect it wide. He didn’t just prevent a sure goal, he also prevented this game from becoming outright soul-crushing.
  • With realignment coming next season, the Blue Jackets will be joining the Eastern Conference, meaning fewer games in the Pacific Time Zone. Shorthouse noted how tough it was for Columbus fans: “Overtime begins at 12:29 Eastern. But you’d have to stay up. I mean, there’s no way you could’ve gone to sleep watching this.”
  • Shorthouse did his best to enliven the game with his commentary. Dan Hamhuis made a great play to gain the zone and centre the puck for Andrew Ebbett, but Fedor Tyutin tipped the pass, preventing Ebbett from making solid contact with the puck. Shorty nailed the call: “Darn Tyutin.”
  • Maxim Lapierre scored the only goal of the shootout with a slick move to the backhand after head-faking like he was Mikael Samuelsson. It was a very nice goal, which is why it was only appropriate that the game actually ended with Matt Calvert losing control of the puck on his shootout move and having it slide harmlessly and anticlimactically into Schneider’s pads.
  • What a dumb hockey game.
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37 comments

  1. zolltan
    March 27, 2013

    Oh come on, it wasn’t so bad. It was pleasant to see the nucks dominate a team for once, even if it wasn’t reflected in the score.

    Also, you of all people should be pleased with this game: everybody finished with a PDO of 1000! Meaning clearly that this was an ideal hockey game – no luck involved whatsoever! ))

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  2. MLee
    March 27, 2013

    The game was so boring I put it on mute after the first period and watched QI on youtube the rest of the game. Or I’m just a horrible fan :(

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  3. Ginger
    March 27, 2013

    Nothing like winning a hockey game without actually scoring a goal!
    I knew you guys would come through though. That last point has me laughing out loud in the middle of my living room. It really was a dumb hockey game.

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  4. best behaviour
    March 27, 2013

    Bieksa always has the line of the night.

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    Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
    • tj
      March 27, 2013

      Alas, sometimes of late, the only good line Kevin Bieksa has is his intermission line.

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      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • best behaviour
      March 27, 2013

      Hey, I saw on the recap – Lapierre was not one of the three star selections, even though his play was good throughout. I do appreciate Hansen’s work, especially that late rush, but Lappy had some really great attempts as well, replay-worthy even in a game with scoring. Anyone have any thoughts?

      If thepeople who make the selections had just had to sit through the six-round shootout that Habs/Boston just had, they would probably have been more eager to reward Lappy for ending it.

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  5. Angry Canadian
    March 27, 2013

    Boring, exciting…who cares? It’s another win for the good guys. Consider a mere two weeks ago, AV was being fitted for a tar/feather suit and most of the players were being allegedly traded for a bag of pucks or the entire Calgary team due to the lack of said wins.

    Besides, let’s face it…it was Columbus. We all knew what was coming…

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  6. Tom 1040
    March 27, 2013

    Ummm, a touch of sensibility if not rationality if not too troubling for Canuckland.

    Ever since the Bostom SC loss, in addition to Luongo’s predicable unpredictability, the Canucks have had a hard time scoring goals.

    Hence, this is not a new (and concerning) phenomenon.

    0 – 0 against the team the has only won once on the road (Detroit), in addition to the above,
    this does not bode well.

    Cory Schneider, a true elite goalie, makes a huge difference in how sweet the fruits of Canuck success will be (as I have stated for 3 years now and predicted last year that he would be a Vezina trophy nominee with a SVPCT of .931 if he was named as No. 1).

    Great goalie, weak team. Goalie mask has a brand-new meaning.

    Canucks will not a contender be, so don’t get any hopes up – period.

    Blow it up, including trading the Sedins before they have little value left.

    Better hope Raymond will get traded, Ballard will be bought out, and Luongo will be in the
    minors (or a couple of 2nd rounders) because no one wants him (also as I stated last year).

    I stand by my predictions and always have – not many do.

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    • RG
      March 27, 2013

      …and this is why Canucks fans tend to have a less than favorable reputation: ridiculous forecasts of the future, poor following of the game (you’re talk about last year’s Blue Jackets, not the ones that just came off a 12 game point streak) and worst of all, kitschy sentence structure (“Canucks will not a contender be”).

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      • tj
        March 27, 2013

        I’m still bending my mind around a call to trade Raymond and send Luongo to the minors. Is this Kesler’s nose in disguise? I understand the 1040 guys are fools, so this must be Tom Foolery…

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      • Nick
        March 27, 2013

        Canuck sports reporters are worse than the fans when it comes to ridiculous forecasts of the future.

        Loose a few in row and they say … “they may never win again”; “AV has forgotten how to coach and should be run out of town”; “the window is closed, and it’s Gillis’s fault”.

        Win a few in a row and they say … “they may never lose again”; “the Vezina is Schneider’s”; “start planning the parade”.

        Far more than the fans, the media in this town hyper over-react.

        And fans get caught up in it.

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      • Unknown Comic
        March 27, 2013

        This person is not a “Canucks fan”. Instead, they are someone trying to get his/her emotional and psychological needs met in an odd way.

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        Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
    • akiddd
      March 27, 2013

      that’s cold, tom1040, cold. don’t you realize yet that it’s not all about simply winning the cup. it’s how you get there, too. and whether or not this team ever wins the cup you have to admit it’s been a pretty thrilling ride. imagine if you were a predator fan or a coyote fan. a bluejackets fan, a wild fan? or a leaf fan? being a canuck fan has been pretty good for a while now. it’s good hockey.

      would you seriously choose not to watch the sedins? that is high, high art out there. it’s uncanny twilight zone magic. even if it were true(and it’s not) that they weren’t ‘built for the playoffs’ who cares when you get to watch, almost every other night, what is arguably one of the best playmaking duos ever.

      and raymond? have you been watching recently. he’s on what might be the fastest line in the league. and they’re getting a goal a game. speed is fun too..

      step back, tom. relax. enjoy the games. enjoy the show.

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  7. Mel
    March 27, 2013

    I liked the Tanev/Jenny McCarthy joke, but shouldn’t you link to the Jenny McCarthy body count too?

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  8. Amor de Cosmos
    March 27, 2013

    I not only watched the game I was there.

    It couldn’t have been that bad because there was no “wave.” The ice-sweepers were excellent and showed far better organisation than the Nux PP.

    Scoreless games are unusual — it was my first — so there’s a collective sense of frustration/anticipation in the crowd which is kinda energising in itself. When the goal did finally arrive it was with as much relief as enthusiasm.

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    • EllynBleu
      March 27, 2013

      I knew how it felt to be watching the game on TV, but am glad to hear that there was “a collective sense of frustration/anticipation in the crowd which is kinda energizing in itself.” Thank you for explaining how it felt to actually be there.

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        March 27, 2013

        You’re welcome. I was with my stepson from the UK, it was his first game and he’d never watched it on TV either. But he apparently knows as much about the sport as some of the officials. After the Sedin to Sedin icing call, when the Jacket’s player committed the absolute textbook definition of interference, he turned to me and asked “They’re not really allowed to do that are they?” I wasn’t really sure what to say.

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  9. jenny wren
    March 27, 2013

    You have to love Bieksa’s style
    Emergent in his stingy smile
    Knowing should Calvert choose to dance
    He have far less than half a chance
    Expressing his satiric awe
    For sterling saves he never saw

    You might not love but must respect
    Bobrovsky’s skill and its effect
    For after two it’s twenty-five
    Shots he’s stopped to keep alive
    The chance that they can put one in
    And thus his team go on to win

    But after three a scoreless tie
    Sergei two-thirds the reason why
    For Cory also played his part
    Resolute in his latest start
    And in the shoot out Lapierre
    Maximized with abundant care

    From Chilliwack a joyful, “Woo!”
    Vancouver gets another two

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    Rating: +17 (from 21 votes)
    • Chinook
      March 27, 2013

      Bravo Jenny Wren! for highlighting Bieksa’s staredown of Calvert. His look said, “forget about it kid, it won’t make your day”. And a nice turn of phrase on “Lapierre Maximized” – what a sweet move!

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      • the olde coot
        March 27, 2013

        Three grinned at him with such disdain
        Like he were loathe to cause him pain

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  10. Andre
    March 27, 2013

    OK, watching paint dry might have been more interesting/fun, but this was a win with a low body count. Just imagine what would happen with Kesler, Booth, Kassian, and all the others (I’m forgetting who’s in the infirmary) were playing. I mean, we’re getting excited by an Ebbett/Burrows/Ballard line for Pete’s sake.

    Didn’t Lapierre’s goal looked like the mirror image of Burrow’s deke?

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    • Chinook
      March 27, 2013

      Yeah, you’re right. Must be the French Shift.

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  11. Lenny
    March 27, 2013

    Where is Kesler’s Nose now??

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  12. Shade of Blue
    March 27, 2013

    An uneventful game, sure, but it is wonderful to see Hansen and Raymond playing their best hockey as Canucks. If the team can ever get healthy, we’re going to be able to roll three scoring lines.

    Is it just me, or does Garrison seem to be playing better of late?

    I think Ballard is out-thinking himself on defense. He’s so worried about making a mistake, that he’s over-thinking everything and making mistakes when he freezes or takes too long to decide. You can see the difference when he’s playing forward — he feels less pressure and it really shows. Maybe the stint at forward will help him regain his confidence. (I suspect it is buried under AV’s doghouse.)

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  13. Cathylu
    March 27, 2013

    All I can say is that Goalie Bob was very good – he singlehandedly got his team a point.

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  14. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 27, 2013

    This game epitomized what is wrong with the Canucks. In terms of possession, carrying the play, pushing the tempo, they’re one of the best in the league. However, even on this current winning streak it is blatantly obvious the team just doesn’t have the scoring depth it needs, and help probably isn’t waiting in sickbay either. In true Gillis fashion, don’t expect any help in that department at the trading deadline, which apparently is a time to add grit but not scoring or playmaking skill. I’m sure a good number of my fellow commenters are sick of me saying this and being the purveyor of doom and gloom, but I bleed Canucks blue as much as anyone and I am deeply concerned that this core’s best years are being wasted. Has anyone seen any indication that this team will be able to keep up with the big boys in the West come playoff time (a group that not long ago included us)? I haven’t.

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    • tj
      March 27, 2013

      I’m curious: why do you even bother being a Canucks ‘fan’ when you clearly hate — and have for the length of time I’ve seen you here on PITB — almost everything about them?

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 27, 2013

        A true fan isn’t just a yes man for the team. If there’s something wrong with the team or when they lose, a true fan is down about it. I may be more vocal than most, but it doesn’t make me less of a fan. I’d actually ask the same question about people who get excited by wins but shrug off losses, or who approve of the GM even when he’s doing a poor job. A true fan doesn’t jump off the ship just because they disapprove of the team’s direction, that’s called the bandwagon my friend.

        I have been generally pessimistic about this team since last season, because it was clear to me that Gillis had lost his way in building the team. We narrowly lost to Boston but he misread the reasons why, and allowed Ehrhoff to walk without replacing him, traded Cody and still couldn’t find a winger for Kesler. Some Canucks “fans” decided to give him a pass for that first round flameout “the team was tired after a long previous year/LA got hot/couldn’t win without Daniel/etc”, whereas I did not. In the offseason, he coudn’t get a Luongo deal done and he did nothing to address our glaring needs for a playmaking forward and a puckmoving right side defenceman, instead trumping up our size and grit and paying far too much attention to advanced metrics while ignoring primary ones (eg: goals). Predictably, we have a mediocre team that appears headed for another early offseason, despite the optimism a couple of narrow wins over flawed opponents might foster.

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        • tj
          March 27, 2013

          Fair enough, I suppose. Personally, I think there is more pleasure in being excited by a team, and perhaps cautiously supportive than being solely pessimistic, but to each his own…

          It’s funny to me, if the Canucks were a band I once loved, and they started regularly putting out stuff I disliked and questioned, I’d no longer be such a bigfan of the band. I’d put my energy elsewhere, and remember the good times but remain hopeful they’d return to a former glory. I wouldn’t harp on about how they used to be so good, but now they’ve sold out or become dull (I’m talking to you, U2). But I suppose in sport some say that’s bandwagoning, whilst kvetching about a team at every turn is called being a fan.

          I appreciate a true fan isn’t a yes man, but if something’s happened that can’t be undone, what does it do to hold onto that old chestnut and hurl it over and over again? Are you going to change Gillis’ mind? Are you going to bring back your beloved Cody Hodgson?

          You live up to your moniker, for sure, at any rate. Hope the team one day becomes worthy of your full support, but something tells me you will never be happy with the team, even if they were to win a SC ;)

          Cheers, mate.

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          • J21 (@Jyrki21)
            March 28, 2013

            But you like a band specifically because you like their music — not because they are from your hometown and you want to see them do well for success’ own sake, as a hobby. If a fan disagrees with a team’s direction, simply stopping to be a fan is silly (in fact, as you noted, that’s the definition of the so wrongly-used term “bandwagon fan”).

            Chris raises perfectly good points. He cheers for the Canucks because he is (I presume) from British Columbia and wants them to do well. I would be disappointed if we started losing Canuck fans left and right for, like, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had the amazing foresight to have their worst years right as the available draft picks got stupendous. If being a fan was about blind faith that they would win a 1-in-30 lottery, or agreeing with every personnel move, then fans of about 2/3 of the league would constantly be rotating, and there’d be no point situating franchises in set cities.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 27, 2013

      Fun Fact: there are 3 teams in the NHL without at least one 10+ goal scorer. Ottawa (who have been winning thanks to the statistical best goalie), last night’s opponent who are last in the league in goals, and your Vancouver Canucks. Say all you like about scoring by committee, to win in the postseason you need reliable, top-end scoring talent.

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  15. the real bob
    March 27, 2013

    it was essentially the Vancouver Canucks vs the Columbus Bobrovskys

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  16. JanBan
    March 27, 2013

    I watched this game (and all games) from Toronto, and let me tell you, staying up isn’t easy even when the competition is steep.
    But this game, oh lord. I normally doze during Minnesota games but last night put those games to shame.

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  17. steveB
    March 27, 2013

    Forbidden

    You don’t have permission to access /wp-content/w3tc/pgcache//2013/03/27/i-watched-this-game-canucks-vs-columbus-blue-jackets-march-26-2013//_index.html_gzip on this server.

    …jeeze,, even the VanSunSportsBlogs server hated that game.

    Towards the end of the game, with OT looming and a shoot-out a strong possibility, I felt a twinge of pain for whoever had to write this IWTG.

    Talk about taking one for the team: writing about paint-drying in an entertaining manner.

    I wish that I could think of a good synonym for kudos, but kudos.

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  18. John Andress
    March 27, 2013

    I suppose that you are right if the only criteria for “excitement” is your team putting the puck in the net but I saw lots of excitement…end to end rushes, Canucks pressure, some great passing movements, big saves and good defensive plays from the home team. I suspect that because some media and bloggers are flogging the line that the Canucks aren’t an exciting team at this point in time the great unwashed are predisposed to thinking that this combined with the Columbus’ kitty-bar-the-door style make for a bad game. Just looking at it from a Canucks perspective, I found lots of entertainment in this game. I can see, of course, that it has been decided that we should all knock the Canucks and their play at the moment for not being exciting and that may have been the case sometimes of late mainly due to their depletion through injury. But not last night.

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  19. Nick
    March 27, 2013

    Have to feel for Columbus fans … they see that type of game most nights I’ll bet.

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  20. Scott
    March 28, 2013

    I dunno if you’re curious, but alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells. it might prevent the growth of new neurons though. If it does you’d not only have a hangover, but two week down the road you’d have one of those days where you forget to pick up eggs, drop everything you hold, and forget your boss’s birthday.

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