I Watched This Game: Canucks at Dallas Stars, April 18, 2013

The last time the Canucks were in the playoffs, things didn’t go so well. Poised to make like Janet Jackson and go deep, Vancouver’s first draw was an LA squad that had, unbeknownst to anyone, somehow managed to find the postseason settings and switch the difficulty to “easy”. As a result, the Canucks were hapless, and when they finally repossessed their haps, they were on the verge of elimination. Five games after they had begun, they were out.

That trauma in mind, you could understand why the Canucks might be reluctant to go back there, and why, with a chance to clinch a return to the postseason with a win over the Dallas Stars, they gave in to their fears in the third and descended into self-sabotage instead. They lost this game to the enemy within: themselves. Also Dallas. They lost to Dallas. I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 5 Stars

  • Truthfully, the Canucks weren’t terrible in this one, unless by “this one”, you mean the third period. Then they were indeed terrible. They made so many miscues in the final frame, it looked less like a hockey game and more like a Kevin Lowe press conference. The Canucks have struggled in their last four thirds. This is a problem. Everybody knows that if you aren’t mindful of your thirds, your photo composition just goes straight to crap.
  • Midway through the first period, Andrew Alberts lost his giant stick while the Dallas Stars were pressuring in the Vancouver end, so Derek Roy gave Alberts his tiny one. A few seconds later, Roy happened upon Alberts’ giant stick in the corner and picked it up. He spent the tail end of his shift skating with the giant thing. I kept hoping he’d try to lift it over his head and then collapse under the weight of it.
  • One of my favourite things about Dan Hamhuis is that, occasionally, Shorty trips over his name and calls him “Damn Hamhuis”. Every time this happens, I imagine it’s the name of a Damn Yankees-style musical. The plot: One day, Hamhuis says “I’d sell my soul for a Norris season,” and then a slick salesman appears and offers him exactly that. And then Hamhuis screams, “GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN.” And then Satan leaves, and rest of the production is just 90 minutes of gospel music.
  • Speaking of Roy, he scored the first goal in this game, skating onto a bouncing puck in the Dallas zone, then chipping it past Alex Goligoski before beating Kari Lehtonen on the backhand. Poor Goligoski. The only thing more frustrating than being beaten by a chip is being beaten by Chip and Dale. Just ask Donald Duck. Or Fat Cat.
  • The first assist on that goal went to Ryan Kesler, who was Roy’s centre for the third straight game. Look: the duo has produced a couple goals since being paired together, but so long as this experiment is propped up by Andrew Ebbett as the third line centre, I hate it. Only two Canucks finished without a shot on goal in this game: Henrik Sedin and Andrew Ebbett, and Henrik gets a pass because, speaking of passes, he’s really good at making them. Ebbett, on the other hand, is just a complete nonentity right now. I move that we call a third line centred by Andrew Ebbett either “The field goal kicker line” or “The lower-back pain line” because it should never be iced.
  • Lest we only pick on Ebbett, Mason Raymond was a minus-three in this game. It’s amazing he was on the ice for that many goals because I never noticed him at all.
  • In the absence of Kevin Bieksa (whose MVP case saw yet another boost as the Canucks moved to 1 shootout win and 8 losses without him), Cam Barker skated alongside of Alex Edler for the second straight game. He wasn’t terrible, except for the unfortunate moments when he totally was. On the Stars’ 2-1 goal , rather than taking his man, he took his bags and showed him to his room.
  • But, lest he be overtaken in the “blunders that lead directly to goals against” category, Keith Ballard did Barker one better just two and a half minutes later, overskating a puck at the top of the Canucks’ zone and allowing Jamie Benn walk in alone. When he returned to the bench, he gave Barker a long, evil eye and sneered, this doghouse isn’t big enough for both of us, pal.
  • Alex Burrows picked up his league-leading 25th minor penalty of the season in this one. This guy draws minors in a way I honestly cannot fathom. He’s hockey’s Justin Bieber.
  • There weren’t a lot of highlights in this game, but the play of Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis was fantastic. TimeOnIce.com crashed, so I don’t have their Corsi rating, but traditional plus/minus tells us they finished even and plus-one, respectively, in a 5-1 loss. Furthermore, they had a combined 15 shots attempted. I think it’s safe to say they spent the night above water, and not just because they play on ice.
  • Steve Pinizzotto had a little feud going on with Aaron Rome early in this game. He seemed to be operating under the notion that you become Alain Vigneault’s favourite the same way you claim the iron throne: by killing the last guy.
  • Speaking of Rome, that was him breaking up the Zack Kassian/Andrew Ebbett 2-on-1 by intercepting Kassian’s pass across.  Watching a young player fail and Aaron Rome succeed at the same time? I’ll bet AV had to eat a whole raw potato just to calm down.

35 comments

  1. Vyas
    April 18, 2013

    Not sure how well the “Alex Burrows is the Justin Bieber of hockey” thing will go over, unless by that you mean everyone hates him.

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  2. Naturalmystic
    April 18, 2013

    “Ha-Ha”

    -Nelson Muntz

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    • Angry Canadian
      April 19, 2013

      You’re an unoriginal dumbass.

      -Angry Canadian

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      Rating: +11 (from 15 votes)
  3. John Andress
    April 18, 2013

    Dallas Stars 5 – Keystone Cops 1

    A not so comedy of errors. I think that Alain Vignault will need to re-write the script or this already shortened season will be far shorter than we ever imagined.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  4. Lucky
    April 18, 2013

    andrew ebbett needs to goooooo away

    come back kevin!

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  5. Cathylu
    April 18, 2013

    We ended up going out to dinner with some friends and missed the third period. I checked my phone for the score a couple of times and wish I hadn’t. What the hell happened?!?! At least my meal was good.

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    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  6. The Bookie
    April 18, 2013

    Alas! If only we had a speedy centre within our depth, one who might be able to keep up with the elusive Mason Raymond!

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    Rating: +4 (from 8 votes)
  7. Amor de Cosmos
    April 18, 2013

    The third period was the doppelganger of that first period in Edmonton a few weeks back. We just collapsed like a wet Kleenex on a windy day. Edler… Argh! Kassian… Arrrrrgh! Ballard… Arrrrrrrrrrgh! Roy would’ve got an Argh! too but for his pretty goal, how many times did he try to put the puck on a Dallas stick in his own end?

    Please, please, please let Bieksa and Tanev be ready for the play-offs. Right now the prospect of Ballard, Edler and Barker making up half our defence gives me hives.

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    Rating: +7 (from 11 votes)
  8. Brent
    April 18, 2013

    Uugg. Had a bad feeling about this. Although I thought the Canucks outchanced Dallas in the first period, there was a lot of bad play in their own end. This came back to roost in a big way in the third, mainly because Cory was not his spectacular self for a change. At this rate we are going to lose home ice advantage.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  9. whisky jack
    April 19, 2013

    A trolling poem perhaps unfair
    Asking how much they really care
    For I’ve reason to be callous
    Vancouver really stunk in Dallas
    Do we at home want more than they
    I think so when I watch them play
    I know that we here in The Nest
    Wish them to prove they are the best

    It’s possible I’m just a jerk
    But I perceive some guys at work
    Who earn a whole lot more than I
    And often I must wonder why
    They rarely play the way they could
    Or is it that they’re not that good

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    • Tom 1040
      April 19, 2013

      The last two lines are perfect.

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  10. Tom 1040
    April 19, 2013

    And here’s the bad news…

    Schneider is masking how bad this team really has been this season.

    By the way, all the negative comments I have received have hurt my feelings.

    Please stop attacking me and my opinions, or I will stop posting.

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    • Angry Canadian
      April 19, 2013

      As someone who was watching the Canucks in the 70s & early 80s…this hasn’t been a bad season. Not as great as the last couple…but not a bad season.

      As far as feelings goes…well, a group therapy session like they had in Fight Club might be more your speed…not PITB.

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      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
    • John Andress
      April 19, 2013

      Promises! Promises! We should be so lucky. But you solicited that response, didn’t you?

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      Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  11. Chinstrap Joe
    April 19, 2013

    Before we look to the skies for the “Return of Bieksa” as the savior to our losing streak, let’s not forget that he was in the front car on the defensive blunder train his last few games.

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    • Rob
      April 19, 2013

      I think Bieksa is one of the worst offenders and his poor decisions trickle down throughout the entire defence. His play this year has been very inconsistant and filled with bad decisions, poor passes, and overall just LAZY. I swear sometimes by the way he plays he figures he doesnt have to work hard or play hard to help the team win anymore. It wasnt all that long ago when he was the hardest working, hardest hitting, toughest guy we had, now it looks like he barely breaks a sweat anymore. His play embodies the struggles of the Canucks this year. No determination, no compete, and no heart – figuring they dont have to play hard to win games. The sooner they get out of this weak division the better.

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      Rating: +3 (from 7 votes)
      • Amor de Cosmos
        April 19, 2013

        Bieksa has always made the occasional Junior B bone-headed play, it’s in his DNA. But he’s also capable of making something out of nothing, of seeing things on the ice that no one else behind our blue-line does. He’s also the closest thing we have to a defensive captain right now, and extremely important. Look at our results when he doesn’t play.

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  12. J21
    April 19, 2013

    “blunders that lead directly to goals against”

    Now in present tense, this works. But I suspect you were looking for “led”, Mr. English Major.

    Oh yeah, I just Madwagged the $@&!)# out of this board!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      April 19, 2013

      Actually, no. I’m talking about an active (albeit fictional) stat category, not just last night. So I wanted the present tense there.

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      • J21
        April 19, 2013

        OK, I’ll let it slide this thyme.

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      • Tom 1040
        April 19, 2013

        I can tell that this guy has written competitively in the past.

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  13. Rob
    April 19, 2013

    I don’t believe the Canucks struggles have anything to do with the skill of the personnel on the ice, and have everything to do with their effort/compete level and heart. This is a good team, but they have become arrogant and believe they are an elite team and they no longer need to work hard for their wins. I think playing in such a weak division for so long has completely destroyed this teams’ work ethic. I’ve been saying all year that they need to wake the !@#$ up, I can count on one hand the number of games they have played a full 60 minutes. They won’t be able to hind behind Schnieder and Luongo once the playoffs start.

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    Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)
    • J21
      April 19, 2013

      Fans like to tie everything down to “effort” and “wanting it more”, etc., but if that were really true, because of games like this (and poor games have hardly been rare this year), then they would just “try harder” or “want it more” afterward. The silly premise can be turned on its head really easily.

      These are guys living their dream and playing their favorite game for a living. I really don’t think effort or drive are issues 99% of the time. In a physical occupation, I think physical factors have a lot more to do with it. Though it’s baffling how many fans refuse to accept that (“injuries are no excuse!” “the bounces somehow even up in the world’s smallest sample size!”)

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    • SuperreggieRolf
      April 20, 2013

      Or maybe it’s that they no longer think they have to work hard for their twins.

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  14. JDM
    April 19, 2013

    “Look: the duo has produced a couple goals since being paired together, but so long as this experiment is propped up by Andrew Ebbett as the third line centre, I hate it. Only two Canucks finished without a shot on goal in this game: Henrik Sedin and Andrew Ebbett, and Henrik gets a pass because, speaking of passes, he’s really good at making them.”

    This. And I will continue to blow this trumpet until Alain Vigneault hears me and shouts, “I will kill that man!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EsgQ_MztS0

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      April 19, 2013

      The problem isn’t Roy with Kesler. It’s that Lapierre is on the fourth line instead of the third. Why doesn’t AV just switch him and Ebbett?

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  15. Chinook
    April 19, 2013

    A bunch of our guys had a bad game and I’m glum too. But it was the fifth game on the road and there are 4 important players out of the line-up so untwist your knickers and get in the right frame of mind for the next game.

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    • Body Schmautz
      April 19, 2013

      Stop making sense fisheye. Like OMG we lost to the Dallas Desperados and now we must die. There is no hope. It’s OVER. Wah!

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  16. Romankol
    April 19, 2013

    I really think they don’t give 100% effort every night to be ready (and healthy) for the playoffs. In games that “had” to win this season there was a lot more shot blocking and a lot more effort. They might just have learned that being the best in the regular season is not worth it.

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  17. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 19, 2013

    The inconsistency in effort and the consistency of boneheadedness is very disconcerting with this team right now. Sure, the Stars are desperate, but so is everyone when you make the playoffs. Nearest I can tell, the team got a brief boost from adding Roy at the deadline and Kesler’s return and now it’s back to same old lackadaisical play. And before we blame injuries, let’s realize that the Stars gutted their core at the deadline and are driving towards the postseason without Jagr, Roy or Morrow.

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  18. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 19, 2013

    We’re going to learn a lot about this team on Saturday. It’s a must win for the Red Wings, while the Canucks will be looking to effectively cement the 3 seed.

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  19. akidd
    April 19, 2013

    well, the canucks said themselves that it’s very important to be on a roll when the playoffs start. and no cup hangover excuse this year. yes, there are injuries but there are a lot of uninjured players too. so what gives? is it all just slippy-sliding away? if this were a cup team they would be crushing the occasional opponent, winning handily most of the time, and occasionally coming up a bit short due to hot goaltending and puckluck. instead they get crushed fairly occasionally themselves, rarely win handily and often come up short due to being outplayed.

    anyone know the vegas line on the canucks in the playoffs? i’m guessing that the odds are getting better for the bettor for the canucks.

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  20. Robert Kron
    April 19, 2013

    Remember when our best line was the Raymond-Shroeder-Hansen line for a few games. Ebbet has been quite the passenger recently and needs to be sent back down. The return of Shroeder on the third line could spark “Slip-n-Slide Raymond” to regain his scoring touch alongside the “always hard working great Dane”. Worth a shot before the playoffs don’t you think??

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  21. iceman
    April 19, 2013

    Just one question — and it’s been lingering in my head for quite some time now.

    Is the left or right-handed defencemen playing on whichever side that much of an issue for the other teams too, or is it just Canucks? I’m getting tired of keep hearing about it like it’s a grandmother of all the problems we have…

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  22. Dani
    April 20, 2013

    I was at this game. It was depressing. And embarrassing.

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