I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers, April 4, 2013

Don’t let the 4-0 score fool you — this was a very different game than the last time the Canucks faced the Oilers. For one thing, the team that scored four goals was the Canucks, which was nice. For another, Cory Schneider made one save. He didn’t do that last time. He followed it up with several more, too.

But if there’s one stat that really demonstrates how different this one was from last time, consider the following: On Friday night, when the Canucks faced the Oilers, the game was effectively over by 7:15. This time around, the game hadn’t even begun by 7:30. Just think about that. That’s some improvement right there. I watched this game.

Canucks 4 – 0 Oilers

  • Kevin Bieksa put the Canucks on the board in this one with that rarest of jewels this season, a powerplay goal. Even rarer, it came via a 5-on-2. Allow me to explain: after Magnus Paajarvi took a high-sticking call and the Oilers exacerbated the issue by pretending he didn’t and putting five dudes on the ice, the Canucks found themselves on a 5-on-3. It became a 5-on-2 when Jason Garrison’s first attempt at the goal hit Jeff Petry, doing to him what Randy Johnson’s fastball did to that bird.
  • The Canucks outshot the Oilers 13 to 5 in the first period, looking like a danger to score several times. It was weird. In recent games, they’ve looked like they could grace the cover of Lisa Simpson’s favourite magazine.
  • One reason for the difference: new Canuck Derek Roy, who was fantastic in his debut. According to Canucks Army, the Canucks outchanced the Oilers 10-2 with Roy on the ice. Roy skated with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, looking dangerous all night, and giving the Canucks two lines for the first time in over a month. And when Ryan Kesler comes back, they’ll have three lines, which is a recipe for success both in hockey and in haikus.
  • The Canucks doubled their lead in the second when the Oilers briefly forgot there were two Sedins. As all three defenders down low watched Daniel at the far circle, Daniel spotted Henrik camped out at the side of the Oilers’ goal and fed his brother with a nifty saucer pass. Henrik responded with a saucer pass of his own, right into the Oilers goal. The craziest part, for me, was that both of Henrik’s skates were below the goal line when he shot the puck. Henrik practically had to curve the shot like Angelina Jolie. He should have written “goodbye” on the puck. He had time.
  • It was a great night for John and John in the booth. In an early highlight, Garrett mentioned Ilya Bryzgalov’s Yoda mask, which led to Shorty inexplicably giving viewers at home the worst Yoda impression of all time. It didn’t sound like Yoda. It sounded like a demon had taken over Shorty’s body. I half-expected his next line to be, “What an excellent day for an exorcism.”
  • Shorty’s best moment came in the third, however, when Chris Tanev walked a puck into the slot and was hooked off the puck like a rainbow trout. Seriously, after the snag, I thought someone was going to bang his head against a rock and throw him into a bucket. But there was no call. It was baffling enough to break Shorty, who went silence for a good five seconds. I’m told bits of his head exploded like a game of Perfection.
  • Back to Roy, who combined with Higgins for a perfectly executed 2-on-1 to put this game away at 3-0 early in the third. The feed from Roy was sublime, as he drew in the Oiler defender before making a perfect pass to Higgins for the tap-in. And after the goal, Higgins showed Roy why he’s known around these parts as “Kiss Huggins”.
  • Trivia: the point made Roy the first deadline acquisition to record a point in his Canucks debut since Ossi Väänänen, who played as many games for Vancouver as there are umlauts in his name.
  • Derek Roy wasn’t the only Canuck making his debut tonight. This game was also the first appearance of the new and improved Zack Kassian, who played all evening like he had something to prove, with 5 hits and 3 shots in just over 15 minutes of icetime. He was active and noticeable all night, although, he didn’t always make the right decisions — on one 4-on-2 with the Sedins, he looked off the Sedins and passed to Cam Barker. That’s the hockey equivalent of getting Joey Fatone to sing the lead vocal on Bye Bye Bye.
  • Another fun Kassian moment: with Pavel Bure in the house, and not long after the Russian Rocket received a massive standing ovation from the crowd, Kassian paid him tribute by attempting his classic skate-kick move as he came across the crease. It didn’t work, but it would have been cool if it did.
  • But Kassian was rewarded for his hard work in the end. With only seconds remaining in the game, he pounced on a loose puck thrown on goal by Max Lapierre and put it past Khabibulin to make it 4-0. It may have been a meaningless tally, but for a guy that hadn’t scored an NHL goal since January, it was anything but. Kassian celebrated by singing “Finally” by the unfortunately named CeCe Peniston.
  • Cory Schneider picked up his fourth shutout of the season in this one and the third in his last 7 games. He was a wall, even though he didn’t have to be all that spectacular. The Canucks put in a strong defensive effort, meaning the Oilers shots weren’t too taxing. Also not too taxing: Mexico. That’s right. The Oilers were Mexico, and Schneider was a wall. This game was a Republican dream.
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34 comments

  1. Lyg
    April 5, 2013

    Love it! Love all of it–the game, IWTG, everything.

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    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  2. jeremy
    April 5, 2013

    i will take this moment, on a day that has special meaning for paying tribute to insightful journalism, to just say how much i love i watched this game, and the brave new institution that is pass it to bulis. the fine humour and style is always consistent, the tone balanced and and erring towards – strangely enough – actually taking joy from the games, and the net effect is something that all great writing should aim for: an acute and soul-filling sense of shared experience.

    thanks heaps, harrison and daniel.

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    Rating: +27 (from 29 votes)
    • Chako Mika
      April 5, 2013

      Yeah, what he said. Thanks Guys.

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  3. Nicole
    April 5, 2013

    No mention of Pinizzotto’s failed trust exercise?

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  4. Kevin Z
    April 5, 2013

    I think it’s fair to say we have the best (most bizarre) broadcast team in the league.

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    Rating: +36 (from 36 votes)
  5. Josh D.
    April 5, 2013

    Oh man, Derek Roy, deadline steal of the year? This team is gonna be DEEP when Kesler gets back.

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    Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
    • Jaxsun
      April 5, 2013

      Can’t really say he’s a steal, a second round pick and Connauton is hardly a return to scoff at, but he was definitely a very good pick up.

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      Rating: +3 (from 9 votes)
      • kenahoa
        April 5, 2013

        You got that right…

        At least the chemistey is spot on…
        Remember Derek Roy is playing fir a new contract…let’s see what evolves.

        The standing ovation for Bure was …less- than….

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        Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)
      • ikillchicken
        April 5, 2013

        It…kinda is actually. Connauton’s odds of ever finding NHL success seem low at this point. He’s never found his defensive game and now his offence has diminished. And a 2nd isn’t nothing but it isn’t a lot compared to what was being thrown around. I mean, Clowe went for a 2nd, a 3rd and another conditional 2nd. Rob Reghr went for two 2nds. Jordan Leopold for a 2nd and a 5th. Douglas “the glacier” Murray went for TWO 2nds. So no, I’d have to say that looking at the quality of player vs price payed, the Canucks pulled out the best deal of the deadline or at least the best rental deal (I say this because it’s simply tough to compare rental deals to deals for guys who still have years left on their contract).

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        Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  6. kenahora
    April 5, 2013

    Noteworthy…the four lines were active and churning.
    Still there is a need for more bodies and visual obstruction in front of the opponents nets.

    CANUCKS now know how ti handle any opponent…if they want to win the day.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  7. Zach Morris
    April 5, 2013

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    Rating: +37 (from 37 votes)
  8. whisky jack
    April 5, 2013

    there is surely no denying
    winning’s much more satisfying
    that losing when one must recall
    those things that led to one’s downfall

    there’s pleasant time after one wins
    the praise the “d” and laud the twins
    and just forget the losing streak
    which caused bandwagon fans to freak

    the future’s now in our control
    it’s clear the team is on a roll
    there’s peace inside the locker room
    dismiss thoughts of impending doom

    the game tonight removed all doubt
    vancouver shut the oilers out

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  9. Cathylu
    April 5, 2013

    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!! A true 60 minute effort! I could tell how important each of those goals were by the intensity of the Hockey Hugs afterwards, my favorite being the one between Kiss Huggins and New Guy Derek.

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    Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
  10. rsen9
    April 5, 2013

    I was hoping for a one hour loop of the power rangers intro.

    Great game though, loved the standing O Bure received.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  11. Brent
    April 5, 2013

    What one win a difference makes. Everyone is SO upbeat.

    Unfortunately I only watched part of the third period. Liked what I saw, but remember it is the Oilers, who are wildly inconsistent, and just played the night before. Lets say I am cautiously optimistic.

    Actually the only thing I did not like was Kassian sticking his leg out to take down an oiler player sometime late in the third. Play with intensity kassian, but don’t be a jerk. Nice he scored a goal though, that will help his confidence.

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    Rating: +22 (from 22 votes)
  12. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    April 5, 2013

    I don’t always Watch This Game, but when I do, I want them to be like this one.™

    Best start-to-finish contest I’ve seen this year from the Canucks, but we should also be realistic, as the Oilers had played the night before (and as the score indicates, put too much effort into a game against Calgary). And even if they’ve been on a roll, they’re still the Oilers. That’s not a burn on the team (unless “Naturalmystic” is reading this, in which case it is) so much as a recognition that their style has suited the Canucks better than most for quite some time.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      April 5, 2013

      That guy doesn’t come around after Canucks wins. Trollery at its finest.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
      • best behaviour
        April 5, 2013

        Yeah, just a request here for a block on that guy. What he writes isn’t good enough to offend anyone, but if people keep posting super-aggressive stuff, it does change the tone of the comments board here. I vote for mild policing – nothing stringent, but if people repeatedly come to post for the sole purpose of using girl names for hockey players (which I hate for many reasons) or some derogatory name for Canucks fans, I say they go. Anyways, let’s all try to ignore, even if the thumbs-down button looks tempting.

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        Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  13. Unknown Comic
    April 5, 2013

    Vancouver appears to have decided to nap until the trade deadline and then give an effort.

    Looking forward to the next trade deadline when Sestito, Pinizzotto and Ebbett are traded for Kesler, Raymond and Booth. I’d say Vancouver will win that trade.

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    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  14. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 5, 2013

    Did a little research, and it totally cleared things up for me:

    NHL Rule 49.1G: Hooking is no longer an automatically penalizable infraction in the NHL. Officials will be instructed to ignore selective cases and not to halt play. The choice to ignore will not depend on the severity of the case.

    Considering that their fanbase loves to harp about diving, I hope the Oilers got a really good look at that Lapierre-Jones hit too, because that was embellishment at its worst by Jones.

    Also have to give kudos to Derek Roy. Very impressive debut. While it was a little cute for my blood, the Bure tribute from Kassian was pretty funny. I hope despite all of our diverse takes on Zack’s abilities we can agree that he does not have Bure hands (few do).

    I’d like to see Luongo get the start vs Calgary.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  15. Chinook
    April 5, 2013

    Derek Roy is truly a Canuck after the huge Higgins hug. Roy must learn to brace himself – the embrace nearly took both of them to the ice. A great game by all Canucks, I specially liked Garrison’s play.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  16. Tony K
    April 5, 2013

    “on one 4-on-2 with the Sedins, he looked off the Sedins and passed to Cam Barker.”

    I noticed this also. I hope he learnt his lesson when Barker completely missed the pass. Even Cam Barker thought Kassian shouldn’t have passed it to Cam Barker

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    Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      April 5, 2013

      On Twitter, Wyatt Arndt was soliciting some sort of backstory-implying, esoteric nicknames for Barker to confuse opposing fanbases. I suggested “The Question”.

      In reality, the backstory isn’t even really invented. He does raise a lot of questions, like, “Why did the Canucks sign him again?” “Wait, if Vigneault is so loathe to play Ballard, why does he play Barker?”, etc.

      Ladies and gentlemen, Cameron “The Question” Barker.

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      • NewVanFan
        April 5, 2013

        I like “The Question”.

        I’ve just been calling him Cam “The Doofus” Barker. Pretty much for the same reasons.

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    • ikillchicken
      April 5, 2013

      Possible blog name there? Pass it to Barker? It’s got a nice ring to it.

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  17. Andre
    April 5, 2013

    The Canucks played with as much purpose as an infamous Boston game last year. They hit hard, battled hard on the boards, were tight defensively, and skated fast with the puck (except for Henrik’s failed breakaway, which seems inherently impossible for him).

    Unfortunately, this game follows an all-too-familiar pattern with the Canucks: towards the end of the season, they lose a few games, one of them badly, bounce back with a sublime effort, then play inconsistent hockey until the end of the season (even if they win a lot). This is a pattern that we must finally break, hopefully with Kesler’s return. He is not our Messiah, but our source of adrenaline.

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  18. ColbyD
    April 5, 2013

    So is Roy one of those rentals that we can claim we returned but secretley keep? Maybe the late fees are worth it?

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    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  19. steveB
    April 5, 2013

    I was surprised to hear Cam Barker’s name during the game.
    I thought I heard that he’d been waived.

    Thanks for all the thought you put into IWTG, I was just thinking of jobs that would suck and doing IWTG for the Nashville Predators or Florida Panthers would be near the top of the list.

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  20. JeremyOK
    April 5, 2013

    I love it when Henrik passes the puck into the other team’s net. He seems to be doing more often than usual. It opens up the possibility for a new statistical category — something in the grey area between a shot, an assist and a goal. In fantasy hockey, it could be called a SHAG, and only awarded to point-per-game playmakers who score accidentally on less than two shots per game (Sedin, Thornton, Backstrom, and apparently Kopitar this year).

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  21. BedBeats
    April 5, 2013

    Oh…just to add:

    When Kes gets back, AV will have 4. FOUR LINES TO ROLL!!! We may be in for some good Canucks Hockey in the next few weeks.

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  22. Abby Heat
    April 5, 2013

    When Tanev got hooked, Shorty’s like, “Are you kidding me???” Hahaha

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  23. gumby
    April 5, 2013

    At one point, the Canucks had good possession in the Oilers end, set up nicely, out to the point, D (forget who) passes D to D across the blue line to Barker and… rather than put it on net or find a pass, Barker dumps it in the corner, Oilers recover, end of offensive zone possession. Nice!

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  24. kenahora
    April 6, 2013

    Whoaaaa.

    Easy to criticise …and to pick on Cam Barker is shallow minded.

    The player is parachuted into the lineup….minimal interaction…and you dare to ridicule him…????
    How about the entire season whereby the power-play is nill and void…and the Cabucks are relunctant to crowd / obscure the opponents net….!!?
    No carom…no greasy dirty goals….everyone away from the shooting range…
    This is a constant…very few crowd the area…

    I like Cam Barker…Canucks are missing Sami Salo’s.

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  25. kenahora
    April 6, 2013

    It’s a tough business…really tough.

    The equipment today is from a Stone Age…not protecting the players…
    Why can’t players wear full cages…preventing broken jaws and noses and cheek b9nes and orbital bones and loss of teeth…???
    Skates today cannot, and Do Not protect the players.
    Leggings must be devised to protect against knive-sharp skate blades.
    The equipment today is mediocre at best…poorly designed to do what it supposedly to do….PROTECT THE PLAYERS…!!
    Helmets have to be spongey…to absorb knuckle punches.

    Everyone sits on the fence…and the players are much to blame…
    The only thing important to them is the money..???
    Lemmings unto the sea…EH…?
    So much is ignored and swept under the carpet when it comes to safety issues.Helmets should be spongy

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