I Watched This Game: Canucks at New Jersey Devils, October 24, 2013

You had to know that at some point on this road trip, the Vancouver Canucks were going to hit a serious wall, and the quality of their play would suffer. After all, you can only play so many bad teams before you forget how to be good.

Sure enough, that’s what happened Thursday night versus the New Jersey Devils. For two periods, the Canucks hung in there, clinging to the memory of a decent hockey club. But in the third period, visits to Buffalo, Columbus, Philadelphia, and now New Jersey finally caught up with them, and they just forgot how to do hockey. It was bad. Fortunately, Roberto Luongo was there to bail them out, shutting the door the rest of the way to salvage the two points this type of hockey normally fails to yield. I watched this game.

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Is David Booth ‘not doing enough to play’?

David Booth will be back in the lineup Thursday against the New Jersey Devils after he was a surprise healthy scratch on on Tuesday. Against the Islanders, John Tortorella elected to go with 7 defencemen instead, dressing Andrew Alberts, then only giving him one shift, 37 seconds long. It was seen as an indictment of Booth’s play to start the season. Also seen as an indictment of Booth’s play: Tortorella’s indictment of Booth’s play.

After the game, Tortorella spoke to the gathered media and addressed Booth’s stint in the press box and he didn’t mince words. He was about as frank as The Punisher, saying “He’s not doing enough to play. Plain and simple.”

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Stick in Link: Schneider is no longer Luongo’s problem; Manny Malhotra update

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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No suspension for Frans Nielsen headshot on Kesler, because Kesler dove

The Department of Player Safety has been busy early in the season, handing out heavy suspensions for a number of dirty hits. In the last two weeks alone, Cody McLeod, Michael Grabner, Maxim Lapierre, Ryan Garbutt and Patrick Kaleta have been suspended for a combined 27 games, and that’s to say nothing of the impending John Scott suspension, which is likely to be the lengthiest yet this season. There has been little hesitation to drop the ban hammer, and the DOPS is only getting more aggressive.

All that in mind, you can understand why Vancouver Canucks fans would be somewhat surprised to learn that Frans Nielsen won’t even get a hearing for what appeared to be an elbow to the head of Ryan Kesler Tuesday night on Long Island.

Why no hearing? Why, when the Department of Player Safety is looking to crack down on headshots, especially picking the head, and when Alex Edler just returned from a three-game suspension for doing something fairly similar?

Simple. It’s a dive. Kesler dove.

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