In many ways, the pre-season is about finding out what doesn’t work. You find out which prospects aren’t ready for the NHL just yet, you find out which line combinations are unlikely to gel, and you find out which defencemen should never, ever, ever be paired together.
In this game, we got the latter. Andrew Alberts and Yannick Weber are, individually, reasonable depth options on defence: not NHL regulars, but players that can cycle in and out of the bottom pairing as needed. Together, they are an endless void of despair and suffering. I was provoked to hyperbole when I watched this game.
Canucks 0 – 5 Sharks
- I’m not exaggerating when I say that Alberts and Weber were disastrous in this game. The two of them were on the ice for four of the Sharks’ five goals and were directly at fault for most of them. They were the worst pairing since chardonnay with burritos.
- The Sharks first goal was credited to Tomas Hertl, but the puck actually deflected in off Weber’s stick, as he inexplicably laid his stick along the ice hoping to block an innocent-looking shot from the side boards. It’s not the first time that Weber has gone for an ill-advised shot block directly in front of the net on a shot that the goaltender would have had no problem stopping. He needs to learn, like I’ve taught my one-year-old, that life’s not all about blocks.
- The Sharks’ second goal came after a brutal giveaway by Weber in the defensive zone. Dan Boyle ended up with plenty of room to rip the puck past Eddie Lack’s glove. Weber needs to learn the difference between a good giveaway, like the Seattle police handing out Doritos at Hempfest, and a bad giveaway, like vuvuzelas at a baseball game.
- Alberts and Weber weren’t solely to blame on the Sharks’ third goal. While killing a penalty, Jannik Hansen jumped forward on a faceoff just outside the blue line when Richardson won the draw instead of playing it safe. The man he stepped past was Joe Thornton, who had a free path to the net, scoring easily. Of course, he only got the puck because Alberts was too slow getting to the won faceoff along the boards, partly because Patrick Marleau got past Weber too easily on the faceoff. Then Weber, instead of taking Thornton in front, put himself in no man’s land trying to block the pass.
- On the plus side for Alberts, he wasn’t on the ice for the Sharks’ fourth goal! Unfortunately, he was in the penalty box after taking a roughing penalty far behind the play. Welp.
- You could argue that Lack should have saved that fourth goal, however, as he went down in his butterfly far too early and slid across on his knees when the pass went across to Couture in the slot instead of staying upright and getting square to the shooter. Because he stayed on his knees, he couldn’t come across quickly enough. It’s definitely something he needs to work on.
- Lack struggled on the Sharks’ fifth goal, as well, though it’s harder to blame him. The Canucks struggled to get the puck out of the defensive zone, forcing Lack to make a couple solid saves. On one of those saves, he awkwardly struggled to his feet and wasn’t anywhere near set for Hertl’s quick shot. He’s got to track the puck better in those situations and recognize when he has time to get back up and when he needs to scramble to make an ugly save.
- Things weren’t all terrible in this game. The Sedins were fantastic. Daniel had a game-high 6 shots on goal, but just couldn’t beat Antti Niemi. The two of them even looked good killing penalties, picking off passes and creating a 2-on-1 opportunity the other way. It’s almost like they’re intelligent, talented hockey players who are capable of doing what their coach asks of them. Shocking.
- Tom Sestito continues to make Mike Gillis’s decision to re-sign him look really, really bad. His one contribution to the game was a pointless fight with Matt Pelech. The two of them even took their helmets off prior to the fight, getting an extra two-minute penalty in the process. It was probably the best thing he could have done, as it kept him off the ice for a full seven minutes. That may seem unnecessarily harsh, but all pre-season it’s felt like the Canucks were on a penalty kill whenever he was on the ice.
- Just to add some terrible icing to a disgusting cake, Bo Horvat took a puck to the mouth from a deflected Frank Corrado point shot. Horvat didn’t even miss a shift, coming out for the final shift of the game. Being tougher than 7-11 beef jerky will likely help him get into Tortorella’s good books.
, I Watched This Game