I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks vs San Jose Sharks, May 1, 2013

The playoffs didn’t exactly open the way that the Canucks hoped they would. What they wanted, and what most in Vancouver wanted, I think, was for the Canucks to kick off the 2013 postseason with 16 consecutive wins. Instead, they started with one loss, meaning it will take them 17 games at least to win the Stanley Cup. Nuts. So close.

What went wrong in this one? Nothing whatsoever, if you completely discount the 3rd period, where everything went wrong. If the game were 20 minutes (and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period) the Canucks win this game. Unfortunately, playing 60 minutes is one of the rules of NHL hockey — even in the playoffs, when a bunch of other rules are abandoned — so the Canucks lost this game. And I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 3 San Jose

  • It’s not the optimal start, and Vancouver is prone to pessimism at the best of times (and the blurst of times), but there are plenty of reasons for optimism. First of all, the game we just witnessed was Game 1 of what most are projecting to be a seven-game series, so the Canucks are bound to lose a few either way. Second, while the Canucks were outscored, they did have the edge, possession-wise, at even-strength, which is a sign they can hang with San Jose. Granted, the Sharks probably have no interest in hanging signs with the Canucks. They’re not hosting a charity event together.
  • After 12 months of much ado, flurry, and travail (and about seventeen “this is the end” articles and a book from The Province), Roberto Luongo is still here, and thanks to Cory Schneider’s corporeal injury, Funny Bob got the start in Game 1. He was excellent, especially in the first, where he made four or five incredible saves to keep the game scoreless. There’s no reason to blame him for this loss, although that’s never stopped this city before. Luongo is to Vancouver as Canada is to South Park.
  • Ryan Kesler will also see his fair share of blame, for having the gall to play despite clearly not being 100%. (How dare he allow circumstances to befall him!) As for what ailed him, no one’s saying, save the amateur medical doctors on Twitter and in the press box who were suddenly skating stride and rotation experts. My best guess, however: the flu. Either way, Kesler was actually really good in Game 1. His plus-12 even-strength Corsi was the best among forwards on either team. Granted, he wasn’t the beastly Kesler that marauded about Nashville in 2011, but it’s important to note that Kesler was only that guy for six games. Most of the time, what he does well is what he did in the series immediately before and after that: lead the team on special teams, the penalty-kill, and at even-strength. He did that tonight.
  • The guys I would call out: Henrik and Daniel Sedin. They were outplayed tonight by Joe Pavelski’s line, and if that happens four times in this series, the Canucks will lose four times. Henrik seemed to get it. “We weren’t that far off,” he told the media after the game, “but everything has to be five times better.” Yeah, that about sums it up, although I would argue that if you have to multiply something by five in order to have enough, you’re pretty far off.
  • Only four Canucks failed to register a shot on goal: Andrew Alberts, Zack Kassian, Dale Weise, and Alex Burrows. That last name stands out. Burrows had a few nice shifts in this one, but he needs to show a lot more bite. Not literally, of course. Unless that’s what it takes to engage him. If it does, I am reluctantly for it.
  • The Canucks actually drew first blood in this game thanks to old friend Raffi Torres. During a scramble in the Sharks’ crease, Raffi tried to corral the puck, only to wind up pushing it under Antti Niemi. Poor guy. Raffi was all over the ice in Game 1, registering a game-high six hits, and reminding Canuck fans of the good old days when he was a staple on Vancouver’s third line. It was easy to picture him back there, especially when he hooked up with Vancouver’s third line for that goal.
  • Originally, Jannik Hansen was given credit for the goal, but once the scorekeepers recognized Raffi’s contribution to the play, it was marked as an unassisted tally for Kevin Bieksa. I didn’t like this, because I feel like Hansen deserved credit for his work on this play. His drop-pass to Bieksa was gorgeous. I guess you could say it was drop-pass gorgeous, which is like drop dead gorgeous, but with less Kirsten Dunst.
  • Also integral to that play: Mason Raymond, who shoved Antti Niemi down like a big meanie, which led to TSN’s Kerry Fraser suggesting that Raymond got away with one. It was, perhaps, the first time in history that Raymond was criticized for going too hard to the net.
  • Dale Weise couldn’t get a call to save his life in this one, probably because he’s a fourth liner and the officials didn’t really care what anyone did to him. Alain Vigneault tried to convince them that Weise was actually a second liner by swapping him and Kassian for several shifts, but the refs weren’t buying it.
  • Faceoffs are going to be an issue for the Canucks in this series, because the Sharks are better in this regard, and it showed. The Canucks won just 30 of 70 draws. Derek Roy and Maxim Lapierre struggled the most, going a combined 6-for-19, but no one was particularly good, save Ryan Kesler, the only Canuck centre to win more than he lost. Kesler went 13-for-25. Now, the stat line says he only won 12, but he was credited with a loss to Joe Thornton on penalty-kill draw that he actually won. Looking for a clear, Kesler got it by knocking Thornton’s stick back as the puck fell from the linesman’s hand, then shooting the puck straight ahead and out of the zone. It happened so quickly that the scorers and the announcers thought Thornton had won it cleanly. He hadn’t.
  • The green men were in the house, and they got under the skin of CSN Bay Area announcers Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda, the latter of whom called them “40-year-old virgins”. That’s ridiculous. I know those guys and they’re nowhere near 40.
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62 comments

  1. mac 'n cheese
    May 1, 2013

    At least we have the blog? It keeps me from eating my feelings after a loss.

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    • the olde coot
      May 2, 2013

      At the risk of your invective
      Let me wax a tad reflective
      Today ended a happy way
      For those who live in San Jose

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      Rating: -2 (from 8 votes)
  2. sarah
    May 2, 2013

    Ugh. And now I’m reminded that Blame Canada was robbed of the Oscar.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  3. Brent
    May 2, 2013

    Thanks for this, there is so much gold in here, I don’t know where to start. But please know I feel better for reading it. Yup, the Sedin’s need to step up, there were largely invisible. The only good thing about their invisibleness was the Glen Healy wasn’t in between the benches harping on it. Thank you TSN. In your mullet piece I expressed a desire for Kassian to have an impact in the playoffs, unfortunately his impact was of the negative nature with the bone headed hit that drew a penalty and also seemed to wake up Logan Couture. Actually other than that, and the lack of shots, I though he had a pretty good game. But then my expectations were low.

    My last point is somewhat whinny. So what is the rule when a SJ player is in the crease and stops Luongo from sliding to his left to even attempt to stop Boyle’s shot. I know Kerry Fraser didn’t like the incidental contact by Mayray (who I though had a strong game) on Niemi on the own goal, but this seemed way over the top. No one even complained about it. generally the officiating really sucked, but I have come to expect that for the playoffs.

    Lets hope they play 60 in like the second period on Friday, and less like the third. Oh yes, and please, put Schroeder in for Ebbett. Please.

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    • shoes
      May 2, 2013

      What is most disturbing about #10 for the sharks holding Luongo down, is the fact it was not mentioned by Ferraro or Cuthbert after a 30 minute non-stop on Raymonds interference sometime BEFORE torres shot the puck in his own net. When the puck went in the SJS net NO Canuck was in the crease.

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    • Zach Morris
      May 2, 2013

      Yeah, are we just not calling goalie interference on the second Sharks goal anymore, or what?

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    • Hockey Fan
      May 2, 2013

      Let me get this straight. It’s Goalie interference on the Sharks for their goal. But not for the Goal the Canucks score? And…. that means it’s bad officiating. Typical Vancouver Fans.

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      • Brent
        May 2, 2013

        I would say there is a difference between incidental contact while going for a puck and then leaving the crease, to someone who enered the crease not following a puck and having his stick on the goaltender, blocking any chance for him to move laterally. But hey, call me biased.

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  4. Josh D.
    May 2, 2013

    I will say one thing, being at a Canucks playoff game is pretty amazing.

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    • Tom
      May 2, 2013

      What’s with the empty seats at the game?

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    • cathylu
      May 2, 2013

      I’m gonna find out tomorrow night!! :)

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      Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  5. gumby
    May 2, 2013

    In other news, Oilvia Wilde thought she wasn’t pretty enough for Jason Sudeikis. Which breaks me up totally, for some reason.

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  6. akidd
    May 2, 2013

    well…um…i see…um, you gotta generate chances to score goals. you gotta score goals to win games. so my advice would be for the canucks to try to generate some chances next game.

    i could muse about putting kesler back withy roy or some other lineup shuffle but if the top line doesn’t play like a top line then it really doesn’t matter.

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  7. Tom 1040
    May 2, 2013

    Ehhhh, kind of a boring, I thought, though I got home 1/2 way thru’ the 2nd.

    Torres was really good from what I saw.

    The good news for the Canucks is that they still have a chance. In fact, they played better than I thought.

    What’s more, I think they would have won this game if Schneider was in goal. This is not to say that Luongo was to blame, indeed, he played quite well.

    The difference is, as I also stated during and post Boston 2011 playoffs, the team plays better in front of Schneider because they play with so much more confidence.

    I don’t think they trust Luongo to come through for them given his past fails often epic.

    Canuck fans better hope for a healthy Schneider in Game 2.

    The bad news is that SJ didn’t play that well (except for Niemi), in my mind. However, they got the split they needed.

    SJ’s home record is impressive though the playoffs are always different. This should concern Canucks as much as the lack of scoring and often fire-drill defense.

    Anyway, my pre-series prediction still stands (without revision): SJ in 6.

    But, what do I know?

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 2, 2013

      You don’t have to end every post like that Tom. You’re probably mostly right and I gave you a +1.

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  8. paul wodehouse
    May 2, 2013

    Did you know? In best-of-seven series, the Game 1 winner has gone on to win the series 68.4% (405-187) of the time in NHL history.
    SHARKS IN SIX!!!

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  9. BBoone
    May 2, 2013

    I was born and raised in Vancouver but am not retired and live in USA and had to watch game on NBS Sports network .They used the CSN feed. You cant imagine how bad they are as hockey announcers. They driveled about past and future, occasionally stopping to call a play or two and then back to the drivel. Hockey needs to be announced right on the puck each and every time while also helping the viewer with the periphery
    When the play stops then the colour guy can come in. You who are able to watch Canadian hockey broadcasts, even the mediocre guys , have no idea how lucky you are. I had to mute the sound to enjoy the game. (The only thing missing , really , is the crowd noise. )

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    • sammyinvancouver
      May 2, 2013

      friend, you can watch on mute, and at the same time you can log into team 1040 internet site and listen to live radio—- they broadcast all games :) enjoy

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    • smj
      May 2, 2013

      I had this feed too – did you notice how they referred to Dale Weise as Henrik for an entire shift?
      Terrible.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 2, 2013

      Play by play isn’t that bad, but Drew Remenda the colour guy is categorically awful.

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    • Hockey Fan
      May 2, 2013

      You guys are hilarious. Listening to these guys is so much better than the many mandatory feeds that we are forced to listen to in the States. I’m so sick of the East Coast Bias from Doc, Pierre McGuire and gang. Listening to Canadian broadcasts is much the same. I love the humor mixed in by the CSN feed. If you can’t follow a hockey game without the announcer telling you exactly what is happening each step of the way then maybe you should find another sport to follow.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        May 2, 2013

        Surprise of the century, a Sharks fan like his homer broadcasters. The announcers aren’t just there to tell you what’s happening, they are there to enhance the entertainment value of the product. When the audience is national rather than regional, the product should be tuned towards the national audience, plain and simple. Most hockey playoff broadcasts feature different crews than the regular season and that should extend to the Sharks/Canucks.

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    • cathylu
      May 2, 2013

      We also mute the TV (I’m in the US) and listen to the 1040. Listening to the NBC people is horrible.

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    • antro
      May 2, 2013

      Yeah, I didn’t find their call and commentary that great. Also, the camera work. For half a powerplay, they didn’t have the pointman in the frame, so you couldn’t see what was happening when he got the puck…unbelievable.

      But beyond saying the green men are 40 yr old virgins, Remenda also said they probably live in their mother’s basement…so I guess they must also be hockey bloggers?

      So they were definitely irritating, but I was also unimpressed by the ignorance. At one point Randy Hahn (I think it was him) said that Corrado had played most of the season in the AHL in Chicago…come on, how hard is it to read some Vancouver area coverage and get ready to inform your viewers…

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  10. BBoone
    May 2, 2013

    Sorry, I meant to say I am retired. Have followed Canucks since the mid fifties. All the best.

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  11. Bob
    May 2, 2013

    surprised nobody calling out Kassian…nearly invisible on that second line except for the soft dumb penalty he took that allowed the Sharks to tie the game

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    • whisky jack
      May 2, 2013

      Yes, if you need some one to blame,
      Then ’twas his hit cost us the game

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    • whisky jack
      May 2, 2013

      Yes, if you need some one to blame
      The ’twas his hit cost us the game

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    • rob
      May 2, 2013

      Kassian wasnt invisible he was taking the body a lot and he was pretty good at getting the puck up ice and into the Sharks zone. He wasnt able to do it on every shift but I would say that he was effective in 65%-70% of his shifts. And that penalty was very stupid, the Canucks had control of the game and that penalty and goal suckedthe life right out of them.

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    • ktownfan
      May 2, 2013

      Yeah, Kassian din’t have a stand out game, but really, the Sedin/Burrows line was even more invisible. Burrows with zero shots on net? Sure you hope a kid like Kassian can find a gear and surprise with some stellar play, but if the Canucks hopes rid on him, well…..

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      • rob
        May 2, 2013

        I don’t really mind the fact that the Sedins were held off the score sheet, they were smothed by the Pavelski line but they were smothering the Pavelski line too and that line for the Sharks did nothing of note either. I dont mind if the Sedins dont score so long as they aren’t getting scored on (a la 2011). I know they are working very hard on the defensive aspects of their game and I can appreciate that but at some point they need to step up and find a way to score some goals.

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        • ktownfan
          May 2, 2013

          Sorry but it’s not enough for them to just not get scored on. That’s the bar you set for the 4th line, not the 1st line. Going back to the Boston series the Canucks have scored 1.3 goals per game. That is going to win exactly zero playoff series. The Sedins & Burrows HAVE to be the difference. They are the leading scorers in Canucks history.

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  12. chicken chick
    May 2, 2013

    I watched this game and this I saw:
    Kesler win the opening draw,
    Weise take a stupid roughing call,
    Six shots and Lui stop them all,

    The game played at a frantic pace,
    Quick passes used to create space,
    A truly awful Old Spice ad
    And one for Buick twice as bad,

    After a dismal five on four
    R. Torres help Bieksa score,
    But with Kassian off for two
    Couture put one by Bobby Lu,

    And in the third Sharks score two more.
    I felt that I’d been here before.

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  13. Jonnysweats
    May 2, 2013

    Prob is 2 fold. Mental defensive errors and no scoring. First, Bieksa again screens own goalie- just imagine if bieksa was standind to the side of luongo, his right side, the puck woulda hit hit and luongo woulda seen the shot….happens too often in nucksland…………second, 1 goal a game for is not gonna win nothing, only if it’s boring 1970′s hockey when bernie parent stole the finals from boston……and tieing goal was offside by a mile—–so many uncalled offsides last nite- pathetic….good win NHL good work again by refs to ensure the nhl team won

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  14. laughingatbettman
    May 2, 2013

    bettman had me RoflmaO when the ref called wiese for the head tap….reminded me again of marchand doing the punching bag on sedin”s head in the finals—–and the refs watched it and bettmans b u m buddies on cbc and tsn were laughing bout it…..it does also bring up again the fact after 2 seasons of playoffs for the sedins when they were used as punching bags that they didnt this past season with sucha big layoff take MMA fighting or self defense fighting in sweden….as drakes song goes….repeating the same and expecting a different result is it insanity or sign of a loser???……..

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  15. Rob
    May 2, 2013

    2 keys for Canuck success: Play a full 60 minutes, and dont take stupid penalties *cough Kassian cough*. That penalty was stupid stupid stupid. The Canucks had full control of the game up to that point and that penalty (which was marginal at best) and esuing goal sucked the life right out of them. Faceoffs are important but to that point the Canucks were doing fine. They have got to stay out of the penalty box and they have to play hard for a full 60.

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  16. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    May 2, 2013

    So, here we are one game into the playoffs and the next one is already, functionally, a “must win”. This is the one downside of having home ice advantage – hope lasts a little longer if the road team’s fortunes aren’t great after the first two.

    Do you seriously think Kesler has a virus, though? For a player that has been pretty banged-up non-stop since 2011, I would go with Occam’s Razor on this one.

    Derek Roy, Logan Couture and Andrew Desjardins all have such Ottawa-ish names (even if Roy is the only one actually from here) that if they were to ever collide at center ice, I’m pretty sure the rink would be flooded with proclamations of national unity and golden mean fallacies.

    “It was, perhaps, the first time in history that Raymond was criticized for going too hard to the net.”

    I’m sure some Blackhawk fan has alerady posted a video on Youtube about how that “goon” Ray Mason of the Canada Hockeys deserves a MASSIVE SUSPENSION for his goonish goony tactics (including a “flying elbow” and “baseball swing”).

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  17. vertigo
    May 2, 2013

    poetry overload

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  18. Amor de Cosmos
    May 2, 2013

    OK there were pluses. We’re decent in defence and in goal. No real worries, either last night or for the long-term. But at the other end of the ice… Ugh!

    I seriously question whether Dan and Hank can play at the tempo required for play-off hockey. They’ve not been great in the past and, on last night’s evidence, they’re even slower now. On two occasions Daniel was left alone with the puck so long I did the laundry and walked the dog, yet he did absolutely nothing with it. Why? What’s the issue, other than slowing responses? There are a bunch of other things but I don’t want to bring everyone down, and yes, it is only one game. Finally however, is anyone else disappointed by Derek Roy? Maybe it was the hype, but I just don’t think he offers that much. His face-off production is average at best, and though he brings energy to the line he’s on it doesn’t actually show much on the score sheet.

    Anyway, enough whingeing, on to Friday eh!

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    • ktownfan
      May 2, 2013

      Yeah, idk what’s up with Dank but man. That one play he was so wide open it was crazy and he did exactly zero with it. That’s not the sniper Daniel has been most of his career.

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      • just imagine
        May 2, 2013

        dany not 1 time, but 2 times, had that opening, and not sure why he didnt go hard to the net then…if he didnt wanna shoot right away….then he woulda drawn a penalty and or others woulda crashed the net and a bounce coulda happened….goes to prove marchand punching bag and last years punching baggings have him scared….scaredy cat

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    • smj
      May 2, 2013

      I wonder if Daniel was hanging on to the puck so long because the Sharks are such good shot blockers? Expecting the block he is trying to wait it out? I still can’t help yelling “shoot the puck” at the tv, but I try to remind myself he probably has better decision making skills in that situation than me.
      Also, no discussion on Hansen the repeat offender and his “headshot”? I was glad there didn’t seem to be much discussion from Canada on that, on CSN they called it a clear head shot.

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      • bm
        May 2, 2013

        There was no one to block his shot on that one though. He was by his lonesome and so wide open!!! I was 100% sure that was going to be a goal! If only he shot the puck… :(

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      • Harrison Mooney
        May 2, 2013

        What headshot? I don’t even remember one.

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      • brent
        May 2, 2013

        In terms of the Hansen hit, could have been boarding but I don’t think the head was principle point of impact, i think it was his shoulder, but then I am biased.

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  19. Colby
    May 2, 2013

    I was watching the American feed, the announcers had a huge hate on for the Canucks and Hansen in paticular. The color guy would just shout random penalties every time the Canucks touched the puck. High Sticking! Hit from Behind! Danish!

    Also loved when the Sharks scored it was “Just what the doctor ordered”.

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    • ktownfan
      May 2, 2013

      What was funny was watching the CBC feed for the Boston/Toronto game. You could tell Hughson was struggling a bit with the change in direction. For the last couple years Boston has been the CBC team of choice. They called all the Boston playoff games with a slant towards them. Last night they had to switch that and it showed.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        May 2, 2013

        I’ve always, always hated Jim Hughson. The guy was auditioning for the national job even when he was calling Canucks games for sportsnet pacific. I find him intolerable to listen to. In comparison, just about any other commentator would be preferable.

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    • MB13
      May 2, 2013

      Sorry – I could have sworn you were talking about John Garret or Tomlinson.

      Again – Canucks fans can only see one side of a story. The whole world revolved around the Canucks. yawn

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        May 2, 2013

        You mean like all sports fans? Or it’s just the world’s biggest coincidence that the team you love to hate (because you happen to live amongst its fans) is TOTALLY TEH WURST objectively!!!11!!

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        • MB13
          May 2, 2013

          Sorry – Where did I say Canucks fans are “TOTALLY TEH WURST”?

          Anyways – all I’m saying is that you can’t complain about visitor commentators when ours are just as guilty.

          Whatever happened to Larscheid? He was a homer but at least would call it like he saw it. Tomlinson is a puppet.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 2, 2013

        It’s important to note that Garrett and Tomlinson aren’t calling the Canucks playoff games on TV, though. Yes, they’re homers, but when the playoffs come around, they’re not on the TV broadcast. There’s an expectation of unbiased commentating in the playoffs and it’s a little jarring to hear the Sharks regular commentators calling the game.

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        • MB13
          May 2, 2013

          Why is it jarring to hear the Sharks commentators? Do they change the outcome of the game?

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          • Chris the Curmudgeon
            May 2, 2013

            They change the fans’ enjoyment of it, and fans from both teams should get to enjoy the game. It is entertainment. If you’re going to broadcast the game nationally on NBCSports, you should find an unbiased crew to call it evenly.

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  20. Alex
    May 2, 2013

    Correct me if I’m wrong but basically the Canucks didn’t score the entire game?

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  21. Chris the Curmudgeon
    May 2, 2013

    As much as I’d like more out of the Sedins, I really need to bring up Kesler. The fact is, this guy is counted on to score in the playoffs and it’s been a long time since he did. One can cite his health as part of the problem, the only thing is that his health is ALWAYS a problem. I wonder how much longer the team can tolerate having its fortunes hang on a guy who simply cannot produce at the level expected of him, regardless of what the underlying reasons are.

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    • ktownfan
      May 2, 2013

      According to the stats break down over at Canucks army, The Canucks out shot the Sharks 9-2 at even strength when Kesler was on the ice. Further he spent the majority of his time head to head with the Thorton line.

      Yes, some production is needed, but overall his line handled their assignment, had the edge in puck possession and shots. If that holds up over the series it should equate to more goals from his line.

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  22. meetyourmako
    May 2, 2013

    “If the game were 20 minutes (and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period) the Canucks win this game.”

    Actually I’m pretty sure if the game were 20 minute and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period, then the Canucks would have tied this game.

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  23. Prophet
    May 2, 2013

    Let’s face the facts, the winner of this series in really going to decided like an AV coin toss, except that if he loses this one, he might be tossing them for another team come next season. No pressure at all. As much as we’d like to think the Canucks are the superior team, the Sharks are their closest mirror image, talent wise and in physical presence. They also carry the same amount of psychological baggage. Both are perennially good teams that have *cho… cough* umm… fallen a bit short of expectations once the real dance starts, and both have first line centres that are by now notorious for not being able to quite find Stanley’s gear.
    Fittingly, it will likely be another flukey occurance like an own goal or stanchion bounce to decide this one. Canucks in 7 only if they bury a toonie at centre ice at the Rog.

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  24. #1Sharksfan
    May 2, 2013

    nice how the Sharks put in 3 quick goals on the Canucks. in retrospect they put in every goal with Torres scoring the lone goal for the home team.
    The Sharks have let go of a bunch of pylons and replaced them with legitimate speed and grit. allowing Couture to set up from that spot on the ice is bad news regardless who might be playing goal. those are hardly the goalies fault. about as much fault as Boyle’s goal was after 3 saves and the puck left on the doorstep for 3 seconds with the goalmouth yawning. at some point its up to the guys who play in front of the goalie to clear it away.
    quite frankly the Sharks carried the play most of the night save for about a 5 minute stretch halfway through the 2nd and were fortunate the Sharks had squandered numerous prime chances to even have the final score look close.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 2, 2013

      You have the right to your opinion but I don’t know which game you were watching. The flow of play was largely even on balance until the second half of the third period. And I watched the CSN feed so I don’t think I can be accused of feeding off the home call or something.

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