I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks, April 22, 2013

There’s a lot to take away from this game, but let’s begin this recap with something no one can EVER take away: with the win versus the Chicago Blackhwks, the Canucks clinched their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title! Five in a row, baby!

Say what you will about the division title. Sure, it’s as easy to get as your first Pokemon. But the Canucks were the 1956-1960 Montreal Canadiens of the Northwest Division: that’s a half-decade of pure, uncut domination. I watched the Canucks cement a mother-flipping dynasty when I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 1 Blackhawks

  • Safe to say the Blackhawks didn’t bring their A game in this one. The Canucks outchanced the Blackhawks 19-8, outshot the Blackhawks 32-25, and attempted 65 shots to Chicago’s 46. (Also they scored more goals.) I think we all know Chicago can be better than that, but even still, it’s hard not to get a little excited at the sight of the Canucks outplaying them like this, because it reminds you that this can happen. It’s like when it rains frogs at the end of Magnolia. Sure, it’s not an everyday thing, but it did happen.
  • Here’s an even better movie reference: in attempting to describe how he was feeling about the Canucks after the second period, reader Rob Cormack sent us this compilation from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which is wholly appropriate.
  • Frankie Corrado made his debut for the Canucks in this one, playing 17:20 of impressively steady hockey alongside Alex Edler. It seemed like a tall order, expecting the 20-year-old to look like a top-four defenceman against the league’s best team in his debut, but he didn’t look overwhelmed in the slightest. I suspect someone reminded him the order wasn’t quite as tall as it seemed. He didn’t have to look like a top-four defenceman — he just had to look more like one than Cam Barker, and that’s easier.
  • Corrado’s standout work came in the first, as he surprised Marcus Krueger by using his body to staple the Blackhawks’ forward into the boards, then used his body again on the next shift by allowing Andrew Shaw’s stick to hit him in the head. Veteran presence right there. That’s using your face. Domo arigato, Frankie Corrado.
  • Midway through the first period, Niklas Hjalmarsson charged Daniel Sedin at the Canucks’ blueline, only to discover that the officials were calling that a penalty in this game. Rather than flip out and run the risk of losing the man advantage — a high risk, considering Alex “The Whistle-Maker” Burrows was on the ice — the Canucks quietly took the powerplay and responded there. As it often is, the goal was the result of a Jason Garrison shot. It deflected off the skate of Jannik Hansen, so he gets credit, which feels a little like giving credit to the wall after a hole in one at the L-shaped course of the mini-putt.
  • In the third period, Henrik Sedin collided with Corey Crawford behind the Blackhawks goal, and Crawford was given an interference penalty. If you’re wondering how Alex Burrows leads the league in minor penalties, it’s because if that’s him and not Henrik, that’s his penalty.
  • Zack Kassian skated on the fourth line tonight, save for a few shifts where he totally didn’t. In the first period, he had a great 82 seconds with the Sedins, and you got the sense that he might combine with them to score a goal if he was given another go. Sure enough, Kassian got the post penalty-kill shift with the twins and made it count, banging home a centring pass from Daniel. John Garrett talked about Kassian’s little push-off on Duncan Keith, but I was more into the way he absorbed a cross-check from Niklas Hjalmarsson like he’d been welded to the ice.
  • With the assist, Daniel Sedin did as Henrik did back on February 15th, passing Markus Naslund on the Canucks’ all-time scoring list and receiving a standing ovation at the first commercial break. Amazingly, he did it in his 905th game — just like Henrik. But when Dan Murphy pointed that out after the game, Daniel disclosed that Henrik said he got his milestone point two minutes faster. He totally did, and the fact that Henrik knew that off the top of his head is proof positive that the Sedins are hilariously competitive.
  • Knowing he wasn’t going to be able to make a play on Daniel, Duncan Keith just slashed the younger Sedin from behind on the breakaway because hey, why the heck not. I’d say it was the most inappropriate slash I saw tonight, but I spent some time on LiveJournal after the game.
  • Cory Schneider was excellent in this game, posting 51 minutes of shutout hockey before surrendering a snack goal to Daniel Carcillo. Yes, a snack goal. Longtime readers of this blog will know that the snack goal is a goal given to the opposition late in a game to ensure they won’t be too hungry next time. I wanted to be upset when it happened, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen one. It was like saying hello to an old friend.
  • Derek Roy and Ryan Kesler played well together, but Roy seemed far more energized by the return of Chris Higgins, who appears to be the Earth’s yellow sun to Roy’s Kryptonian metabolism.
  • And finally, the pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison was tremendous in this game. Garrison had a team-high 5 shots on goal and another 7 attempted. Hamhuis was his usual, quietly effective self. Together, the pair was going so steady they exchanged a letterman’s jacket and a class pin.
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54 comments

  1. best behaviour
    April 23, 2013

    Awesome. The Whistle-Maker. Burrows has a new nickname. Any chance there’s a Whistle Whisperer out there anywhere to neutralize the effect? Actually, we didn’t do badly this game. Could it be… Corrado?

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  2. Josh D.
    April 23, 2013

    Best game we’re played all year, bar none, can’t be happier to see the playoff switch can be flipped. If we can keep up playing like this? Watch out.

    Frankie impresses in his debut! The d-core is looking pretty solid now and in the future.

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  3. TubaNat
    April 23, 2013

    It was simply great to watch a game that I could enjoy from start to finish, and what a perfect time in the season to be doing it!

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  4. Stevsie Zissou
    April 23, 2013

    Nice Magnolia reference. Love it. Patiently waiting for an Aimee Mann “the Canucks need to Wise Up” plug now…and GO!

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  5. kenahora
    April 23, 2013

    NOW…if we can wake up the comatose- fans the Canucks have endured all season…and longer…MAYBE good things can happen….!

    The CANUCKS were firing and flying…Barker…Lapierre…Kesler…Higgins…Sedins’….Alberts… Edler…smart and in the thick of things Corrado…Roy…Hanson….Burrows…Hamuis.. .Kasian…Stetto…and literally every other blue jersey against formidable opposition. AGAIN the stellar Schneider…the backcheckers…the forecheckers…the skill set and the relentless pursuit of a team… YES, WE CAN.

    A PROUD NIGHT…CAUSE THE MEDIA CAN NOW USE NEW WORDS IN THEIR DICTIONARY…IN THEIR ARSENAL…THAT THEY NEVER KNEW TO BEGIN WIRH

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    • Stevsie Zissou
      April 23, 2013

      Seriously agree. We won the division (who cares, but seriously, one of the only regular season games that you can actually conjure any sort of meaning from) and beat Chicago (arguably our greatest foe and the best darn team in the league) and you hear crickets 90% of the night. Rogers Arena needs a serious shot in the arm in the regular season. People need to start treating every game like a playoff game. Fans in this town are spoiled and don’t realize that the last five years has been some of the best hockey this franchise has ever iced. Do you remember the late ’90s? Horrendous. If you’re lucky enough to come across a ticket for these games, in which the Canucks present a fairly entertaining product, do your part. Yell and cheer (and maybe cat-call and jeer a little) like a real Canucks fan. Thanks.

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      • ktownfan
        April 23, 2013

        It’s very hard to judge the crowd noise level on TV. They filter it out so you can hear the announcers etc. I would interested to hear from someone who was at the game.

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        • Karen
          April 23, 2013

          I was up in 317, and actually found it to be one of the most high-energy games I’ve ever been to. Much heckling, booing every time asshat Keith touched the puck, many taxi driver jokes to Kane (or was that just me?). Lots of love for Corrado, too – and well deserved! Though, if that wasn’t Corrado’s first game, Roy would have gotten that star – the boy made Crawford work, all night long.

          Seriously, though – there was lots of cheering last night. Definitely not the flatline experience that many previous games have been.

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        • best behaviour
          April 23, 2013

          I’ve been to a few games (not that one) and considering how popular and passionate hockey is in this city, I was really surprised at how quiet the building was. I kind of felt awkward cheering. Even in playoff games! Most concerts are way, way more noisy. Let’s start a campaign to cheer more – I think it gives an advantage to the home team!

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      • smj
        April 23, 2013

        Seriously the only “trick” in the Canuck fan book is the goalie serenade, which they often do when the goalie is midway through a shutout….so boring and inappropriate. We need someone to create a “how to” list for fans at the game…playoffs are usually good though so I guess that is fine…

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 23, 2013

        I’ve noticed that TSN tends to filter out far less crowd noise than sportsnet, and as a result Canucks fans always look way better on TSN (also necessitating Gord Miller’s yell-talking though). You can’t take everything from the appearance on TV. Plus, there’s no way for any regular season game, even against Chicago, to match the feeling of a playoff game, nor would I want it to: that’s part of what makes the playoffs so special.

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      • nuxgirlinTO
        April 23, 2013

        so i’ll admit that i’ve not had the pleasure of catching as many of the canucks game on centre ice this season (damn the lockout for not allowing eastern conference games!) but i will say after having gone to a multitude of Canucks games live when i lived there, it is a very loud, lively venue. i’m not sure if they’re quieter this year but from what i recall, they’re one of the louder buildings. i’ve been to some leafs games here (occupational hazard) and boy is it ever muted. same with the saddledome.

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    • rogers arena is pathetic
      April 23, 2013

      I actually got kicked out of the game for cheering. Secruity and vpd told me I was cheeing too loud.

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  6. kenahora
    April 23, 2013

    The coaching staff earned their salt tonight…the players bought in…and some…!
    What a determined effort to rise above crowd…and sh9w what this very good team is made of…

    Bravo

    Thanks CANUCKS organization….

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  7. Jaxsun
    April 23, 2013

    Hey, we won a game in regulation without Bieksa. Does that mean Frankie Corrado is the new Bieksa? Does Bieksa still exist? Can we check to see if Corrado punched out any Russian prospects in a Chicago parking lot? Is it too late for me to think of relevant things that Bieksa is/does?

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    • Josh D.
      April 23, 2013

      Depends, can Grapes pronounce his name?

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      • Neil B
        April 23, 2013

        I’m anxiously awaiting Grapes’ first public praising of that “good Toronto kid Frankie Caldera”.

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        • Chinook
          April 23, 2013

          Or Frankie Colorado

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 23, 2013

        My money’s on Frank Coronado personally.

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  8. Carlo
    April 23, 2013

    VERY happy about this one. Bodes well for the playoffs I hope!

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    • G. Mcrae
      April 23, 2013

      I’d rather take the first 45 games as a larger sample for a better predictor of what the playoffs will look like. I know injuries were part of the dreadful season, but injuries happen in the playoffs too. Get ready for a lot of 1 goal games with superb goal tending.

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  9. Adam
    April 23, 2013

    The comments aside, has anyone else noticed how Keith seems to be making it his mission to take Daniel out just prior to the playoffs?

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  10. TimmyGee
    April 23, 2013

    Seriously, no mention of Lappy? Talk about a quiet crowd except when Max was crushing opponents with hits we haven’t seen since 2011. He was an energy ignighter out there and a main contributor to our win!

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    • Chinook
      April 23, 2013

      Agreed! Lapierre came to play!

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    • Lucky
      April 23, 2013

      Lapierre was great! I was at this game and man his hits got the crowd excited! And so did Frankie!

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  11. jenny wren
    April 23, 2013

    Gee willikers and holy cow!
    T. Ten-forty what say you now?
    Not a good time to be a troll,
    For our Canucks are on a roll,

    As once again they are the best,
    Finishing first in the Northwest!
    Preparing for their playoff run,
    Vancouver met the Hawks and won!

    And they looked great while doing so,
    Just like they did two years ago,
    And so tonight all hopes are up,
    That we will win Lord Stanley’s Cup!

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    • Chinook
      April 23, 2013

      Is “Gee willikers” a conscious tribute to Howie Meeker? Either way, I like it!

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  12. Nee
    April 23, 2013

    I love the Sedins. : )

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  13. cathylu
    April 23, 2013

    Thank you Canucks for finally giving us what we want – a great game start to finish!

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  14. Brent
    April 23, 2013

    Ok, I am back on the bandwagon now.

    At least until next game.

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    • Andre
      April 23, 2013

      One games does not a trend make, but it sure brings relief to know that the Canucks are still able to play a complete game.

      Even so, their bad habit of giving the puck away in their own end was still in full display, despite Bieksa being out of the line up. On the flip side, I’ve always felt that they play their best hockey when they hit hard, and this was their best hockey.

      May the Canucks play Jekyll and Hyde hockey to taunt their neurotic fans…..

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  15. Rituro
    April 23, 2013

    “Domo arigato, Frankie Corrado.”

    Cannot unread that. Brilliant.

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  16. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    April 23, 2013

    The Corrado Avalanche! Good on him for a solid NHL debut. If the Canucks managed to pull another Tanev out of slightly-less-nowhere-than-Tanev-but-still-relative-obscurity, this would be a very good thing given their draft position over the years.

    Jason Garrison: anyone out there still lamenting the signing? Anyone? Bueller?

    Duncan Keith: still a jackass. Good to know. If you were to swap the jerseys on the Blackhawks and Canucks, but otherwise have the rivalry play out the way it has, the red team would be considered saints and the blue team the worst abomination ever known to man. I don’t understand why Original Six teams — especially Canadian players on them — get such a pass. Well I do understand it, but it makes me lose a lot of faith in the league.

    “Sure enough, Kassian got the post penalty-kill shift with the twins and made it count, banging home a centring pass from Daniel.”

    See, here’s my issue with this particular quirk of Commonwealth spelling — everyone in North America (rightly) pronounces the word “centering”, with three syllables. So in “centring”, is it one of those syllabic Czech Rs?

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  17. Kyle Good
    April 23, 2013

    Seeing the replay I do see that the ref’s arm went up on the Keith slash. Watching the replay also made me much less concerned about it. It really wasn’t much of a slash. I had heard it was a vicious two handed slash to the ankles but the replay clearly shows it was too his hip area and was a glancing blow.

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    • best behaviour
      April 23, 2013

      I was a little more concerned about earlier in the game, when someone went for Daniel’s head with the elbow and he dropped to avoid it, thank goodness. The refs didn’t like it either & called charging, but that elbow was definitely in a place of bad intentions.

      Now to hit submit… gah. What will it do this time? I’ve had three different errors here this week alone.

      Roy? Wow. That guy is smart. I’m in for the airport blockade.

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  18. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 23, 2013

    Well, I have to concede that I underestimated Frankie Corrado around here yesterday, so I want to give him credit, he certainly held his own last night. Also, as much as he’s my usual whipping boy, Kassian played well in limited minutes yesterday. Plus, I gotta say, the dude is hilarious to watch in interviews (NHL Network talked to him after the game). Plus with that hairdo and his dental…issues,..he does a good Ogie Oglethorpe. His Bertuzzi imitation was better than his Bure imitation.

    More than anything, I think I was impressed with the cohesive effort by everyone last night. Unlike games where you might say only one line or one d pairing showed up, it seemed like every line was humming yesterday. Bodes well for the playoffs. As much as the third pairing was used very sparingly, I was even happy with Alberts and Barker for keeping their game simple and not making mistakes.

    At this point, I hope the Canucks keep the foot on the gas until the playoffs, but spread the icetime out a little more too being that there’s nothing left to play for. Probably wise to keep Corrado in there too to see if he can actually help the team in the playoffs if called upon.

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  19. akidd
    April 23, 2013

    nice one!!! we got a glimpse of the team we’d all like to believe is the real one. energy. lappy and kes and the gang were banging. and it paid immediate dividends. even after the ‘unassisted’ 3-1 goal there was no pushback from the hawks. it was the canucks that kept pushing. bode-acious!

    but ya, not the hawks best game so…too bad for them. if they’re feeling the P-cup ebb then tough for them. they can hit the golf course with the warm snuggly memory of a new record for consecutive undefeated games to start the season. enjoy. i’d love to see a wings/hawks first round series but not as much as i’d like to see the hawks and nucks in the conference finals. and you can’t have both because the wings would take them down if the hawks play like they did last night.

    two things stick out. the canucks have finished out of a good draft spot for half a decade now but managed to pick up two young nhl-calibre dmen. and they’re both right-handed. who’s responsible. would the scout(s) who green-lighted tanev and corrado(shall we call him ‘junior’?) please stand up and take a bow?

    the other thing is i’m wondering now how the canucks will manage to fit roy in under the cap because…he’s not going anywhere. canuck fans will blockade the airport if they have to. if he wanted to get out of town he’d have to take the greyhound and that would mean a 45 minute stopover at tim horton’s in chilliwack. let’s just say it would be much better for everyone if he stayed.

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  20. akidd
    April 23, 2013

    and almost forgot alberts. is he playing the best hockey of his career? dependable and physical all while covering for barker. keep it going, andrew!

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  21. bergberg
    April 23, 2013

    Woohoo! Awkward handshakes all around!!

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  22. iceman
    April 23, 2013

    An awesome, true 60-minute effort put in by the Nucks since… 4-0 win over the Oilers earlier this month, I guess? It’s been a long overdue and I couldn’t be happier to see them pulling it off against none other than Blackhawks (against Bruins might be just as sweet).

    See, it’s not really that much about the injuries, 6 left-handed defencemen, or even AV’s coaching (or a lack thereof) that decides how you perform on the ice. They all can be used as an excuse sometimes, but last night we saw what this team is truly capable of — a full 60 minutes of continuous skating, hitting and shooting hockey while not giving up an inch against the No. 1 team. Forget about all the stuff that people say why you can’t/shouldn’t win, and bring the best game you possible can out of yourself whichever line you play on.

    It’s more about having the mental strength and the will to force it upon your opponent. This is how you win in the playoffs, and I keep my fingers crossed our guys won’t forget this when the time rolls around in a week.

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  23. rogers arena is pathetic
    April 23, 2013

    I was at the game cheering for the canucks and booing kieth like the rest of the arena. But yet I got kicked out because people were uncomfortable with my cheering. So I looked into this and appeeently they are trying to make canucks games “suit and tie” events. I was actually very calm compared to a lot of people there and was cooperative with the police and rogers arena secruity.
    Last time I checked this was a sporting event not a ballet. Has anyone else had this experiance? If so I think we should do something about it. Without true canucks fans there wouldn’t be canucks

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  24. Angry Canadian
    April 23, 2013

    Tom1040? Naturalmystic? Hello? Hello? Ahh the silence is golden.

    A very good, complete game. Corrado was super impressive to me…as mentioned, did not seem out of place, and considering a game vs Chicago is about getting your feet wet as you can get…

    Very happy to see the Canucks starting to get fired up just before the Finals. I really must get my passport renewed very, very soon…

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    • Andre
      April 23, 2013

      Ya, the absence is striking. Still, let’s stick to arguments about hockey and not about people.

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    • Tom 1040
      April 24, 2013

      Sorry, out of the country right now. Back on May 1.

      I agree with Andre: one game does not make a trend.

      Not much time to be a fan or critic right now.

      Best,
      T.

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  25. Fhftyv
    April 23, 2013

    Enjoy it while it lasts, last win over the Hawks for a long time

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  26. McBruceWX5
    April 24, 2013

    The outcry over Keith’s comments has overshadowed the simple fact that the slash was an attempt to injure, made in the knowledge that there was little downside. Keith was not trying to hit ankles, skates or stick, this was a high two hander to a player too far ahead to impede which was dangerous as hell. If Daniel had ducked at the wrong moment it could have suddenly been a head or neck shot with tragic consequences. It’s ridiculous that the referee saw this as a minor and not an angry, out of control act by a player with a previous suspension for violence against Daniel. Careless, gratuitous violence needs to be removed from the game before there is a serious, needless injury.
    It’s the reputation, carefully cultivated by fan bases in Chicago and Boston, of Vancouver as whiners and cheap shot artists that likely prevents the team from asking for the league to look at this dangerous incident. The code says suck it up, you scored, didn’t get hurt, no harm no foul: complain about this and you will see no PP time in the playoffs until games are decided. How long will it be until the obligatory slash takes out a player for a significant amount of time? Oh yeah, it happened last year, Keith sat for five meaningless games in late March and Daniel was out for most of the playoffs and not the same when rushed back in. Wake up, NHL. This crap has to stop.

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    • cambo
      April 24, 2013

      Ahhh poor Daniel.. Is he crying in his stall? It’s hockey and it’s part of the game. Do you not think that is the game plan from any team that plays the Nucks? Take out one or both of the Sister’s and chances are the rest of the team will fold like a cheap suit.

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      • shoes
        April 24, 2013

        Cambo….you sound like your being bothered by that particular Alberta bitterness that sets in when hockey season ends and the greens still have 3 feet of snow @ -20. Oh sure you can go sleddin’ up Main Street, dead drunk, shouting something that sounds like “we are number 1″ …..but it clearly is not the same as watching your team in the playoffs. Did I miss anything? You should chill bro….their should be playoff hockey back in Alberta before another 5 years go by.

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      • McBruceWX5
        April 25, 2013

        Your comments have no basis in facts, Cambo. It is NOT hockey, NOT part of the game that infractions can be committed after the whistle without punishment; it is only the wilful neglect of the NHL to make sure that brain dead fans like yourself have their nightly intake of gratuitous violence, even if this choice often affects the playoffs when people get hurt. As for this game plan of making the Canucks ‘fold like a cheap suit’ by taking out one of the Sedins, when has this ever worked? Henrik’s production went up when Daniel was out for a month a while back. If you want your comments taken seriously you should try making points that make sense and abandoning the derogatory comments. But if you can’t resist the temptation, ‘sisters’ needs neither a capital nor an apostrophe.

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    • Baldrick
      April 24, 2013

      I couldn’t agree more. That is exactly what I saw as well and came to the same conclusion regarding a Canuck response.

      And speaking of cultivators, trolls like Cambo come along to kick up a little soil and spit in it, thinking it’s rain. The sheer stupidity of your comment leaves me breathless.

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      • madwag
        April 24, 2013

        “The sheer stupidity of (his, ie Cambo’s) leaves (you, as well as me) breathless” would seem to be the gist of you parting comment.

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        • madwag
          April 24, 2013

          “your parting argument”

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  27. Baldrick
    April 24, 2013

    Uumm, yes, what you said Madwag. Thanks for batting cleanup for me!

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  28. shoes
    April 24, 2013

    I wonder what “part of the game” he is referring to? That is twice that Keith has attacked a very mild mannered non-fighter from behind. What kind of a hockey fan cheers for that?

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