I Watched This Game: Canucks at St. Louis Blues, April 16, 2013

It took 65 minutes, but the Canucks finally got some good, clean looks on Brian Elliott. Granted, these looks came in the shootout, where you have to trade good clean looks with the opposition, but still. Let’s call this a moral victory. Considering the difficulty the Canucks had mustering shots on goal, let alone shots from areas where Elliott might have been remotely challenged, we can call breakaways the Blues were forced to allow them after overtime a win.

Granted, it’s a lot harder to call the result of the shootout a win, since the Canucks failed to score on the Blues as many times as the Blues scored on Schneider. Looking at it this way, it’s harder to call the shootout a victory. I’d be tempted to call it a loss, even.

I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 2 Blues (SO)

  • As badly as the Canucks were outplayed, it’s important to note that the they were on the second night of a road back-to-back and without Kevin Bieksa, whose absence tends to have a negative effect on this club. (You thought they missed Ryan Kesler? They’ve got just 1 win in 8 games without Bieksa this season, and it came in a shootout.) Now, I’m not blaming these two things for the loss, but they were Scary Movie 5 bad in this one, and I’ll bet that Bieksa and a day’s rest upgrades their performance to Scary Movie 2, at least.
  • I really enjoyed the Blues’ too many men penalty in the first, which came shortly after one of the earliest skirmishes in the Canucks’ end. This skirmish, like the innumerable skirmishes that followed, could have drawn several penalties, but no whistles were blown. One can understand why the Blues might come away from said skirmish thinking they could do use an extra skater for the rest of the period without getting a penalty. Unfortunately, they quickly discovered that using too many guys was the one thing they weren’t allowed to do in this game.
  • Cory Schneider very nearly picked up a shutout in this game, which could have been some spectacular point thievery if he’d pulled it off. Ocean’s Eleven-calibre thievery – but more impressive, since Danny Ocean had help. Basically, this game was Ocean’s Eleven if Ocean’s eleven spent the whole movie telling the casino staff what they were doing and where to find and kill Danny Ocean.
  • But while the Canucks didn’t do much to help Schneider, they sure stood up for one another. In my favourite moment, Keith Ballard looked ready to drop the gloves with David Backes when Alex Burrows suddenly decided Ballard needed saving and put Backes into a sleeper hold. It was very WWE, especially when Backes came away from the altercation bleeding inexplicably from the head. I felt sorry for Derek Roy, who has an Ultimate Warrior costume for just such occasions, but wasn’t able to change into it in time.
  • Burrows received four minutes for his part in the fray, because, when assessing penalties, Burrows starts with a two-minute handicap.
  • There are several reasons interrupting that fight was a silly choice for Burrows. First, Backes and Ballard have fought before and Ballard lived to tell the tale. He’d have done fine. Second, the only thing better than getting Backes off the ice for five minutes might have been taking Ballard with him. Ballard had a game-worst Corsi rating (plus/minus but for shots directed at the net) of minus-22 in this one. Basically, Ballard gave the Blues unlimited shots. He was like the best health care plan.
  • The Canucks got on the board with just 12 seconds to go in the middle frame, converting on a powerplay with Vladimir “Ziggy” Sobotka in the box for hooking. The shot came courtesy of Alex Edler, who threw a harmless-looking wrist shot on net, only to have it beat Brian Elliott just inside the post. In Elliott’s defence, Jannik Hansen was standing right in his line of vision, and Hansen is fully opaque, like all Danes. Except for the ghosts.
  • Daniel and Henrik Sedin both picked up assists on that goal, and they deserved to finish the night with points. While the Canucks were outshot 36-22 in the game, the Sedin line was the only group to finish with a positive Corsi rating. On the other end of the spectrum was the Andrew Ebbett’s line, led by an abysmal minus-13 performance from Ebbett himself. One of Ebbett’s problems: the Blues flattened him repeatedly. He was so flat by the end of this game you’d have thought he was Russell Crowe in Les Miserables.
  • One would assume that Ebbett’s rough night will be enough to see Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy on different lines again. In terms of phrases that have run their course, “The Ebbett Line comes over the boards” is up there with “We’ve got company!
  • As mentioned, Backes was a wild thing in this game, but at one point, he became a wild thing in the Sendakian sense — monstrous, yes, but also incredibly childish. Sent to the penalty box along with Zack Kassian, the cameras caught him mocking Kassian’s receding hairline. “You’re bald! You’re bald!” He was shown saying over and over. But cameras missed the part where Backes called him “Zack ASSian“ and then spent the rest of his time in the penalty box giggling.
  • But before we rip Backes for being a six-year-old, we should point out that, later in the game, Keith Ballard tried to stab him in the groin. Everyone was childish in this one. If there was a giant piano on the ice, they’d have forgotten about the game and spent the entire 60 minutes playing “Chopsticks” on it.
  • Backes probably deserved to be thrown back into the penalty box on the Blues’ game-tying goal. After a little whack to Cam Barker’s leg, which was enough to throw Barker off his game (because that’s all it takes, apparently), Backes went after Henrik Sedin in the neutral zone for a series of cross-checks. That was deserving of a penalty. Instead, however, the play carried on and Jay Bouwmeester beat Cory Schneider before celebrating like a guy that’s going to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in a decade in the NHL.
  • The silver lining in this one: with the win, the Blues’ chances of finishing 6th — and thus, facing the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs — decreased by 1%. Sure, the 1% may not seem like much, but you tell that to Occupy Wall Street, pal.
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47 comments

  1. josiahbc
    April 17, 2013

    Great 1% line.

    And.. When does the podcast start?

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  2. Josh D.
    April 17, 2013

    I’m going to be a little sad if people panic after this one, when the Canucks earned a point after playing three games in four nights. Good thing I don’t seriously frequent the CDC, or every loss would spiral me into manic depression.

    I like the boys sticking up for each other though, that fire will be a big part in helping us go deep in the playoffs.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      April 17, 2013

      Especially when the game itself ended in a tie…

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  3. Tom 1040
    April 17, 2013

    Funny, I rarely hear about 2 in 3 or 3 in 4 when that is the opponent’s schedule.

    To be honest, I didn’t watch the game, but is what Burrows did – cool? I wonder how Ballard felt about it?

    I have never seen that done before. Any precedents? Youtube?

    I have grown to like Burrows as a player (before I despised him for diving and whining). Though he doesn’t fight (he just stops them) and does not seem to have an extra gear in the playoffs, he is a pretty good player.

    Having said that, he should not have done what he did. Ballard dropped his gloves to fight.

    To me, that’s bad business all around.

    Finally, I don’t see why certain people are whining about Backes. It is all entertainment.

    Would you prefer no hits, no penalties, no scoring (i.e. boring hockey) but 2 points, which is what we have seen for much of the season?

    Not me, anyway.

    Rats, will miss most of the Dallas game. That will be a good one. Why? Lots of emotion…like Backes brought.

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    • Andy
      April 17, 2013

      Waaaaaaaait. I just stopped reading your comment when you said that Burrows “does not seem to have an extra gear in the playoffs”. Alex Burrows has been one of our best playoffs performers, in my opinion. In recent memory, Game 7 vs Chicago and Game 2 vs Boston come to my mind. Mr. CLUTCH.

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      • tj
        April 17, 2013

        Yeah, I’m truly mysteified by that, too. Comments of that nature will earn a person a ‘troll’ moniker for sure. Sorry, Tom1040 dude, but the stuff you write sometimes is like listening to a guy at the pub, full of wings and cheap beer, spitting out food bits and bs to anyone who’ll listen.

        And just like 1040 radio, and aforementioned Canucklehead at the pub, the more thoughtful will just move on past.

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        • Tom 1040
          April 17, 2013

          You heroes don’t even know what his playoff stats are.

          Mysteified (sic)? How about clueless?

          Any negative moniker you give anyone is most certainly a badge of honour.

          Alex Burrows with the tag Mr. Clutch is high-larious much like your comments on hockey (or probably anything else for that matter).

          Mr. Clutch sure came up big last year.

          I’ll leave you to your pub references; you seem to spend a lot of time there.

          Dumb and dumber. Home and homer.

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          • tj
            April 17, 2013

            It amuses me how often the defensive mock a spelling error then subsequently make their own gaffs, a la ‘high-larious’. Clever and original. Yep, I spelled mystified incorrectly after having to re-type my comment to post three times on this server. You’ve made many spelling errors, presumably by accident, and no one here was CDC-fuelled enough to mock you for it. It’s as childish as ‘I know you are but what am I?” Eat some wings, buddy, drink some beer. Go away.

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            • Tom 1040
              April 17, 2013

              Actually, I wasn’t mocking your spelling genius, I was mocking you a la clueless, which you clearly are.

              I don’t really care about typos (we all make them) but was simply identifying it as incorrect spelling.

              You missed the point – not surprising.

              High-larious was not a gaff. Duh.

              And, speaking of defensive…you feel compelled to re-spell myste…mystei…mystified. Funny.

              In closing, pot-kettle-black (I hope that is not too difficult for you to understand).

              You remind me of Tony Gallagher…gag.

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          • shoes
            April 17, 2013

            Quote some playoff stats that show Burrows is not clutch then, genius. You calling someone dumb about hockey stats is a real laugher. I see nothing in your posts to back up your Burrows has no 2nd gear in the playoffs. He and Kesler carried the team most games and if you don’t remember the OT goals then you probably were not even watching. Which makes sense, as you were probably “fixing’ your mullet for a night on the town on in Red Deer or the Lucky Horseshoe Saloon line dancing competition in Stettler.

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            • Tom 1040
              April 17, 2013

              Ahhh,..it’s either mullets or the ref’s fault, shoes.

              Here you are, shoes:

              In 63 playoff games he has 29 goals, 37 assists with a +22.

              Clutch?

              You tell me. :)

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              • Daniel Wagner
                April 17, 2013

                Um…if Burrows actually did have 66 points in 63 playoff games, then yes, you could consider him clutch.

                Personally, I’m not a big believer in the concept of “clutch,” but you can’t deny that Burrows has been good in the playoffs and scored some big goals. His 17 points in 25 games during the 2011 playoff run was 4th on the team and his 9 goals were tied with Daniel Sedin for first on the Canucks.

                His 29 points in 63 playoff games is definitely solid and is hardly worth your criticism that he doesn’t have an extra gear. But, since you played the game, I guess you know better than everyone else. Of course, every time someone plays that card, I remind myself that P.J. Stock also played the game.

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              • Tom 1040
                April 17, 2013

                Ummm, Daniel,

                First, it was a joke. Certainly, you must have recognized that and that it was intended for the less than polite, shoes.

                Next, I agree with you completely about the ‘clutch’ concept except for goal-tending.

                Also, I know the stats; they are one click away. And, I didn’t exactly criticize Burrows. I find his play in the playoffs consistent with his play in the regular season, which is pretty good.

                However, he doesn’t seem to have that extra gear for the playoffs (IMO), which some players seem to. This includes physical play. There are examples of players who do and perhaps you could name them much more readily than I. Please do.

                It is indeed shocking the bile that my comment has produced – though instructive.

                Finally, you are distorting my comment about playing the game. I am not surprised though.

                Once again, I said that I could tell who never played the game by some of their comments because if they had, they would know that certain observations are not asinine. Never did I say that, “I know better than anyone else.” You did.

                By the way, I never got an answer. Was my ‘flawed logic’ correct? Did Harry or you ever play? Competitively?

                Nevermind, I already know the answer by some of your comments.

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              • Daniel Wagner
                April 18, 2013

                Goodness gracious, that’s your idea of a joke? I am at a complete loss.

                No, I’ve never played competitive hockey, but at least I can successfully tell a joke. Sheesh.

                And I certainly don’t need to have played competitive hockey to know that your opinion regarding Alex Burrows’ playoff performance is simply and profoundly wrong. You’re talking about a player that led his team in goalscoring in a run to the Cup Finals, including two overtime gamewinning goals, one a series winner against a rival that had beaten them twice in the previous two seasons and the other capping off a three-point night against a seemingly unbeatable goaltender. What in the world would constitute an “extra gear” in your books if that doesn’t count?

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              • Tom 1040
                April 18, 2013

                Haven’t you pretty much just mentioned 1 series and 1 other game?

                He’s a pretty good player regular season and playoffs – not clutch, I don’t see much of a extra gear.

                An extra gear is not just stats alone or moments. It is one’s play all through the playoffs. I would be willing to say that Kesler has an extra gear in his ability to shut down number 1 centers. He can shut down, for example, players like Toews, who we both know to raise his compete level when it counts.

                Would you agree to that?

                So, almost think of it (Burrows) as a compliment. I didn’t say he disappears in the playoffs.

                Next, see, I was correct. I can see who has played hockey (or not) based on their comments, which is all I said.

                In closing, indeed inflating Burrow’s stats to ridiculous was funny and would have been funnier if you have let shloeser respond because I am sure he would have believed it.

                “Goodness gracious”? OMG – you’re a Christian to boot.

                Okay, Jesus was clutch. Feel better.

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    • Rg
      April 17, 2013

      You sure do enjoy the sound of your own voice, huh?

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      • Tom 1040
        April 17, 2013

        Not at all.

        I just ‘voice’ my disapproval of people being impolite.

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        • Chicken Chick
          April 18, 2013

          We think mayhap the pot is black
          This from The Flock in Chilliwack

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  4. kenahora
    April 17, 2013

    Guess the St Louis Blues brought their referees with them. CANUCKS JUST DON’T TAKE SECOND SWIPES AT ANY OF THEIR SHOTS IN THE GREASY AREAS…RARELY DO 9N A GOOD NIGHT.

    Meanwhile the other teams are cranking up their muscle. A further penality should be issued for yelpibg …once 8n the oenalty box…!

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  5. J21
    April 17, 2013

    “Basically, this game was Ocean’s Eleven if Ocean’s eleven spent the whole movie telling the casino staff what they were doing and where to find and kill Danny Ocean.”

    Gold!

    And (former Canuck signee) Backes was seriously shouting “You’re bald” (without any follow-up, even) at Kassian? This makes Kesler’s taunting in the 2009 playoffs seem downright clever by comparison.

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  6. JDM
    April 17, 2013

    I feel vindicated in two positions I’ve taken recently after watching that one.

    First, Kesler and Roy on the same line is a bad idea. Despite 2 points each against Nashville, they were underwater by the chance data in that one against a bad team. In this one, against a playoff team, they were significantly underwater again, but so were all the Canucks. However, last night the other, larger problem reared its ugly head: this deployment robs the team of all centre depth. There is no viable third line without one of those two guys on it. I recognize the injuries on wing are a problem, and this may be temporary. But there are six games left – start icing the lines as you would in the playoffs, or as close to as possible.

    Second, I had an argument with Daniel about the Blues, which he saw as a lesser threat than some of the other first-round opponents the Canucks might face, and was comfortable saying the Canucks should win in 6 against them. In my view that game shows exactly why, in playoff hockey with the whistles away, I think the Blues would defeat the Canucks in a 7 game series. Sure, the Canucks are missing a key player in Bieksa and some depth in Higgins and Tanev, some of which should be back for the first round. But it’s not the Canucks I’m worried about, it’s the Blues. That team is frightening, physically and possession-wise. I want no truck with them.

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    • Frank N,
      April 17, 2013

      Agreed. If we play the Blues, watch for AV to get out-coached by Hitchcock, the Canucks to get completely outmuscled by the Blues, and the Canucks be underwater possession data wise. Our best shot would lie with Schneider outplaying the Blues. Not a sure bet to make it to the next round. And even if we did, we might be down a player or two or three after all the physical punishment we take. So good luck turning that into a deep play-off run.

      Our best bet is for them to finish 4th or 5th if the Canucks can clinch the NW title.

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    • mb13
      April 17, 2013

      Blues were missing Oshie.

      That’s the problem with Canucks fans… they like to focus on the Canucks back to back, or three in four nights, or injuries. Like they are the only team that has to deal with these issues.

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      • shoes
        April 17, 2013

        Huh, yeah Canucks fans focus on their teams issues. As do the the fans of the other 29 teams. But yeah it is a “problem” only for the the Canucks fans… Sheeeeeeeeeeeesh!

        It was the 2nd night of a back to back. Sometimes you don’t win those games. Other teams have the same problem, but NOT necessarily on the same night. Like for example ….if St Louis loses the 2nd night of a back to back against LA, Canucks fans don’t care or maybe even know, why should they. Not like it helps them somehow.

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  7. Nee
    April 17, 2013

    “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” I haven’t posted in several days… : /

    Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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  8. toulouse toucan
    April 17, 2013

    “You are commenting too quickly”
    I’m confounded cussing “prickly”
    Like “peckish” , “testy” and “uptight”

    Not having posted yet tonight
    This spurning me cannot be right
    So back I go and press submit
    It says “Slow down” lickety split

    I am perplexed but will not quit
    I try again and what is this
    Simply nothing a blank dismiss
    Just empty space a blog abyss

    I’m return to my poem in haste
    No longer there must be misplaced
    Though I’m not beat I just repaste
    So now it claims I “duplicate”
    But prints my post at any rate

    And leaves me here to ruminate
    That nothing is as it appears
    Like unheard music of the spheres
    Or truth beyond a dozen beers
    Confusion rains on rabbit ears

    And so my friends I think it best
    I be returning to my nest
    Mayhap beyond this veil of tears
    Laughter is the acid test. Cheers

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    • Taco
      April 17, 2013

      Ahh… first poem I enjoyed. Good work.

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  9. yobbei
    April 17, 2013

    “Jay Bouwmeester beat Cory Schneider before celebrating like a guy that’s going to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in a decade in the NHL.”

    [slow claps]

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    • shoes
      April 17, 2013

      I love Jay Bouwmeesters perpetual dazed and confused look on his face. Even after he scored the goal it was like ….”wha happene’ , was it good, did I do good? yay”

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      • Tom 1040
        April 17, 2013

        ho..ha…ha…ho..ha

        …so funny…I can’t stop laughing …ha ha…ho.

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        • tj
          April 17, 2013

          Please, I beg of you… Go find your kin. They are not here. Someone must want your ‘brilliance’ but it is not here. Go away.

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          • peanutflower
            April 18, 2013

            Yes, the enjoyment factor and class level of the comments on PITB certain took a hit when Tom1040 and Cambo found it.

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  10. the olde coot
    April 17, 2013

    I was reffing a soccer match
    Just now got home in time to catch
    Edler breaking the scoreless tie
    Though later on the Blues reply
    Then the wide open four on four
    During which neither team would score
    And Cory stopping one of three
    Like the Mariner in poetry

    In conclusion could I choose
    Then in round one we’d play the Blues
    Because in fact this fan delights
    In watching games such as tonight’s
    From what I saw it seemed to me
    This game had great intensity

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  11. Cathylu
    April 17, 2013

    The Kassian-Backes thing was pretty hilarious! Backes – what a maroon!

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  12. Chinook
    April 17, 2013

    Intense game!

    Random observations – Raymond fell down. Thats not new but this time it was nearly on the centre-ice dot (when he stopped too abruptly to recover the puck he dropped).
    The penalty Kesler took was really dumb, but Hamhuis’ work on the PK was stellar.
    The drop-pass on the PP has been working well lately, EXCEPT (as Edler found out) when there is a Blue waiting for it behind you. Sheesh, I saw it coming and said, nononono, not this time!

    You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

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  13. Rob
    April 17, 2013

    All the talk in the West is about STL, CHI, and LA and how dominant those teams are at 5-on-5 and how hard pressed it would be for the Canucks to beat any of those teams. The Canucks would be in tough against those teams for sure but if you look at how the Canucks have played against those teams this season in 8 games against LA, CHI, and STL they are 4-0-4 with all the loses coming in the shootout. They have basically played these teams to a draw and if we can assume that if the Canucks meet any of these teams in the playoffs we can expect more of the same thing which means that the Canucks are at-best a coin toss to win a 7 game series.

    If the Canucks hope to make it out of the west they are going to have to have a few things. They will absolutely need the out-of-this-world goaltending to continue, without above average goaltending they don’t stand a chance. Scoring is going to dry up so they are going to have to make the most of their chances and the most of their power plays, and most importantly they are going to need some good puck-luck.

    I’m not going to say I’m optimistic about the playoffs but I’m not pessimistic either, it’s going to be either a very exciting or very disappointing spring, either way it should be interesting.

    Go Nucks

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    • Taco
      April 17, 2013

      Except of course that in the regular season all we are seeing is the “first” game of the series. In a best of 7 it’s not the first which is going to kill us, it’s what happens after 3 games like this one, or the one before or any of the LA, CHI, and STL games. That’s when the collapse happens.

      You can see the seeds already; giveaways in our zone caused by big men for-checking hard. We don’t have an answer for that my friends.

      What about Kassien? These sorts of games should be his bread and butter but he is making no physical impact at all that I can see. He should be raging around like a bull in a china shop, drawing penalties and pissing off the opponent.

      And what is wrong with MayRay? There was one point in the game where he got the puck on his blue line and then “sprinted” to the next but clearly there was no pull-away from anyone. His acceleration seems totally gone and the falling down is back again. To me this speaks to either a lower body injury or just plain cumulative fatigue to a weakened back.

      And then to Roy. I think in this game we saw a number of times why he hasn’t been burning up the league. Hi is pushed off the puck too easily. Quick step moves work once or twice but against a determined bigger opponent I am not expecting too much. Hope to be surprised.

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  14. Bean
    April 17, 2013

    Listen to the morning show, pretty obvious that the day AV is canned is going to be the happiest day in Tony G’s life. Once again didn’t like the way AV ran the game.

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    • Chinook
      April 17, 2013

      There will inevitably be a game when AV is no longer an NHL coach, but so far Tony G is 0 for 534 (for Van) and 0 for 800 overall.

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    • John in Marpole
      April 17, 2013

      That’s the same Tony G who wondered aloud on 1040 how the Canucks could add the emergency replacement university goalie to their lineup last week without him clearing waivers, or how he would fit under the NHL salary cap, and just how much they would be paying this amateur, signed to a one day amateur tryout contract, for his appearance.

      Yes, he’s just *that* ignorant about the game he supposedly writes about.

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      • tj
        April 17, 2013

        I hold him personally responsible for much of the stupid sh** that comes out of pub-drunk Canuckleheads. How does he get so much credence with MSM?

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  15. kenahora
    April 17, 2013

    Beano…that’s why you are a bean-counter…and Alain Vigneault is acclaimed for much success. His record speaks for itself.

    Obviously you do not attend games..!
    The Canucks played 4 games in 5 nights. St. LOUIS is a big physical team. C AN’T fault the coaching staff….yet you are big into the blame game…Good thing it’s only for a lifetime…eh…!

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    • Brent
      April 17, 2013

      Think you need to read Bean’ comment agin. He is basically complaining about Tong G’s opinion of AV.

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  16. Brent
    April 17, 2013

    I watched this game as well. Kind of made me somewhat sad about the playoffs. I know I have to expect it, but the rules just change so much, and a finesse team like the Canucks just has trouble getting space and the ability to make passes when they are being smacked around so much. There is definitely a weight differential between the two teams. They just totally kicked our ass in the neutral zone, turning the play back towards our end with seeming ease. I was foolishly hoping that Kassian with his size may make his presence felt more, but was sadly disappointed. The majority of the team is just not yet at playoff intensity and the Blues were certainly there. Only a few games to get it there. Still cautiously optimistic, but it would be way better to play the wild first round. Make it so.

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  17. `e blacha
    April 17, 2013

    Ballard was with Alberts, and Ebbets line which can help account with the worst corsi rating. I like his game, he played rough and tough; as my grandfather would say.

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  18. shoes
    April 17, 2013

    I’m surprised that PITB missed the fact that when Burrows reached around Backes mouth he slid a 16 oz block of Armstrong chedder into Backes yap to balance his constant whining during this game. he is a big tough player but he also yaps to much and plays to the officials far to much and definitely needed the face full of cheese.

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  19. kenahora
    April 17, 2013

    Mindful the Canucks are missing BOOTH…TANEV…BIEKSA… they will be ok….once the playoffs begin.
    The officials have to be better…certainly better than the Colin Campbell brown – nosers from the Bruins Canucks tilt.
    CANUCKS can improve their power-play opportunities by getting in the greasy areas for second swats….which for whatever reason …they just don’t. ..????

    This is not rocket -science….and the sooner they recognize this shortcoming…the further into the playoffs… in their quest for sterling silver.

    YES…THEY CAN…!

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