I hate to say it, you guys, but it’s over. It’s done.
I’m not talking about Wednesday night’s hockey game. It’s over and done too, of course, but that’s a good thing. I celebrate it’s completion, as this was preseason hockey at its finest, which is to say that it was particularly not fine. What I am talking about is the Canucks’ 2013-14 season. It’s done. Finished. I’m calling it right now.
The Canucks are now 0-2 in the preseason, leaving them in serious danger of not making the regular season, and I think it’s safe to say that the John Tortorella experiment is a wash, the kids aren’t all right, the Sedins have lost a step, and it’s time to blow it up. All of these things were evident when I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 4 Oilers
- Our good friend Wyatt Arndt warns you that, if you PVR’d this game, you should throw your PVR into the deepest ocean. But that won’t work. This thing you recorded is an evil, evil piece of programming. It will find you and it will mangle you like that girl in the closet in The Ring. The only way to survive at this point is to make a copy and end the curse before preseason Luongo crawls out of the well, his wet, greasy hair hanging menacingly over his face, his soul gnarled with a desire for vengeance.
- Yeah, Roberto Luongo looks like he’s ready for the season to begin, which is another way of saying that he totally doesn’t. The Canucks de facto starter struggled to find the puck for much of his two periods of work, especially on Jordan Eberle’s wraparound goal, where the Oiler forward had so much space I thought I was watching the trailer for Gravity. It’s hardly a cause for alarm — although his struggles were literally cause for alarm four times — since this start wasn’t really about Funny Bob being amazing. It was about him finding his rhythm and whatnot. But amazing would have been cool too. It’s way more fun than contextualizing the starting goalie’s poor performance.
- The good news is, after Luongo came out, his backup, Joacim Eriksson, looked really good, so don’t expect the Cory Schneider trade to leave us without a Cory Schneider.
- After losing two defencemen to injury in John Negrin and Patrick Mullen, Jason Garrison was pressed into some serious action. The blueliner played a game-high 33:03. That’s a lot of time for such a meaningless game. Granted, there are worse ways to waste half an hour. The pilot of Dads, for instance.
- More Garrison is fine with me, though, because he plays for the team I like and I don’t have to get in the way of any his shots. Boyd Gordon and Devan Dubnyk do, however, and they both regretted their career decisions after being hit with 2 of Garrison’s 11 shot attempts. The dude steps into shots like they’re Slim Jims.
- I liked Brad Richardson’s game a lot, and I suspect that the coaching staff’s search for a third line center will somewhat more focused after witnessing both his two-way game and his 8-for-9 performance in the faceoff circle. As tough as it will be for Tortorella to put his faith in someone with “Brad Richards” in his name, you have to think Richardson is the frontrunner there.
- It was weird to see the Sedins out killing penalties, but there they were, the first forward duo over the boards on the very first Vancouver penalty-kill. But they looked good out there, intercepting passes, winning battles along the boards, and even creating a few chances on the counter attack. I firmly expect to see some very slick shorthanded goals from those two this year. Granted, in order for that to happen, they, like Luongo, need to find their rhythm. They had a lot of passes picked off tonight, and you could see the frustration building as the night wore on. Friendly reminder to both of them: pass to the guy you remember from the womb.
- Looking slightly better, albeit not literally, since he looks weird with short hair, was Zack Kassian. I was especially into his passing on the powerplay, where his soft touches and control down low really showed. That’s ideal, since the powerplay, like the art of lovemaking, is mostly about soft touches and control down low.
- Brendan Gaunce scored the Canucks’ lone goal in this game, his second of the preseason. Gaunce hasn’t been the prospect that’s impressed me the most — that award goes to Hunter Shinkaruk, who had his moments again tonight — but he’s been the most productive thus far, and he’s shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. It’s more than I can say for Dr. John.
- It’s weird to see the Oilers and the Canucks swapping deployment ideologies: while Henrik took five defensive zone draws tonight, unheard of under Alain Vigneault, the Oilers kept new defensive centre Boyd Gordon to the d-zone. He took 9 of his 11 faceoffs inside his own blueline, and none inside Vancouver’s.
- Finally, here’s hoping Nicklas Jensen musters the courage and fortitude to throw the One Ring into the fires of Morder soon and doesn’t spend his next game wearing it like he did tonight. You’re trying to make the big club, bud. Now is not the time to be invisible.
, I Watched This Game