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.

Canucks 3 – 2 (SO)

  • The Canucks came into Thursday night’s game with a 2-1 record when surrendering a goal on their first shot against. Two out of three ain’t bad, as they say, and extrapolated over a full season, that’s 54 wins. Not too shabby. So you can understand why the club decided it was worth spotting the Devils a goal on their first shot. That’s thinking outside the box, as opposed to Maru, who is constantly thinking inside the box.
  • Patrik Elias scored the goal on a play that was started by the legendary Jaromir Jagr. It’s tough to be mad at these two guys, since they’re just so old and so wise. They are, after all, the only two NHLers that were born in Great Moravia.
  • That said, Zack Kassian must not have gotten the memo that Jagr is a highly-revered elder statesmen of the game. The Canuck winger tried to mix it up with Jagr in this game and was caught on camera shouting, “Shut up, you [expletive] goof.” That is not what you say to Jaromir Jagr, Kass. Show some respect. It’s “Shut up, you [expletive] goof, sir.”
  • The Canucks tied this one up thanks to a terrible miscue between Cory Schneider and Andy Greene, who were attempting a handoff at the side of the Devils net and wound up with something more closely resembling the butt fumble. Greene headed behind the goal, thinking Schneider would leave the puck there, but Schneider pushed it forward instead… to Henrik Sedin, who immediately fed Ryan Kesler, who tapped it home like The Artist.
  • Best part of that play: watching Andy Greene give up on it. The moment he realizes Schneider gave the puck to an ex-teammate, he just quits behind the goal, possibly due to jealousy. “I thought you said you were over Henrik. I knew you were lying.
  • The Canucks lost both David Booth and Dale Weise to injuries in this game, and finished the game with just nine healthy forwards on their bench. That’s still enough to roll three lines, but John Tortorella is stubborn — he refused to let circumstances shorten his bench for him. That’s his job. So he shortened the bench even further. Eventually, he was skating Daniel and Henrik Sedin with Daniel Sedin. “You’re both wingers, Daniel!” You could hear him shouting from the bench. “Pick up the pace!” To be fair, it was at 4-on-4 in overtime.
  • How quiet was it in the Prudential Center? At one point, someone whispered, “This library sucks. It doesn’t even have any books.”
  • The Canucks surrendered the go-ahead goal midway through the first, but the Sedins gained it back in the second on a nifty play, as they often do. After gaining the red line, Henrik banked the puck diagonally off the end boards to Daniel, who skated onto it and stepped into a one-timer like it was a clean pair of pants. It caught Cory Schneider completely off-guard, which is understandable. Unlike Bridon Gueermo’s dad, Daniel’s not much of a slapper.
  • I know I already said the Prudential Center was quiet for this one, but The Gentlemen were in the audience and they had a really pleasant evening.
  • In the third period, the Canucks finally succumbed to exhaustion and completely lost their legs, which is bad news, because you need those to skate. While they dragged themselves around the ice, however, Roberto Luongo stood tall, shutting the door from then on, stopped 17 shots in the lopsided final frame, then carrying the Canucks through the shootout as well. It was Luongo’s first stolen game of the season, and I suspect it will go over much better than Bart Simpson’s first stolen game.
  • The shootout featured my favourite moment of this game, when John Tortorella decided to learn the hard way that the Sedins, despite all their talents, are just terrible at shootouts. He sent Daniel Sedin out as his second shooter. Sure enough, Daniel skated the puck in, stopped in the crease, then handed it to Schneider and looked tentatively to the bench to see if he’d done it right. No. No Daniel, you have not.
Tags: , ,

23 comments

  1. mac 'n cheese
    October 24, 2013

    Oh, hell no- the Gentlemen- just in time for Hallowe’en! I’m so creeped out! Thanks for the Buffy :)
    It was eerily empty in the stands for this game.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • Chinook
      October 25, 2013

      Camera panned Canuck fans in the crowd several times, and each time caught the same guy totally engrossed in his hand-held. Even those in attendance wished to be somewhere else.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  2. Jacob
    October 24, 2013

    I had to watch this game on the other feed, and after Santorelli’s goal the colour guy said “when you hit the water bottle from the top of the crease you’re going to score most of the time”. Seriously. I’ll never make fun of Garret and his peanut butter Triscuits again.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +28 (from 28 votes)
    • Bookie
      October 25, 2013

      Also from the NJ feed tonight, after the second goal:

      “You know there’s dump-ins, and then there’s … extra special, real good dump-ins …. and that’s what happened here.”

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +22 (from 24 votes)
  3. chicken chick
    October 24, 2013

    I didn’t get to watch this game
    (The World Serious was to blame)
    Until I discovered 302
    A channel of which I never knew

    Little left in the middle frame
    And Schneider tied with Bobby Lu
    For goals they each allowed the same
    The Devils and the Green and Blue

    And now it’s halfway through the third
    “12 shots on goal,” is what I heard
    Thus I’ve to think it is not Cory
    But Roberto is the story

    Who takes his team into OT
    And in the shootout stops all three

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +15 (from 17 votes)
  4. KevinZ
    October 24, 2013

    That “You’re both wingers, Daniel” paragraph was one of the funniest things I’ve seen all night. And it should be noted I saw John Cleese’s show tonight!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  5. Bookie
    October 25, 2013

    Jaromir ‘Sir Goof’ Jagr

    make it happen, PITB

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  6. NarkusMaslund
    October 25, 2013

    Any internet article that provides me a link to the Butt Fumble gets an automatic thumbs up from me. Unquestionably one of the best sports GIFs of all time.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  7. Chinook
    October 25, 2013

    Harrison, I love that description of Daniel looking to the bench after his so-weak shoot-out attempt!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  8. PB
    October 25, 2013

    What I don’t understand is how the Sedins can look so good coming in on a breakaway/partial break during a regular game with some guy possibly hacking or holding them and look so incredibly inept at the skills competition. It’s like the channel Al Macinnis when they do the shootout. Also, enough of the Alex Edler Experiment on the shootout. Either he skates in way too fast and loses control of the puck, takes a slapshot from directly in front or telegraphs the backhand like last night. I have to think that even with all the injuries and lack of Burrows and predictability of Kesler, one of Higgins, Kassian, or even Garrison would be better. Or he isn’t injured maybe Dutch Weise.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
    • NarkusMaslund
      October 25, 2013

      Considering how often the Sedins get hacked/held/obstructed during the game and manage to fight through that despite their lack of size, maybe the Canucks just need to petition the league to allow an opposing player to follow them up the ice during their shootout attempts?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +19 (from 19 votes)
    • Terrence
      October 25, 2013

      What Alex Edler experiment? Of the players who were in the lineup, he’s the #2 shooting percentage player (among anyone who has even a passable sample size). Better than Kesler, better than Higgins, better than Daniel. Who would you want instead?

      http://www.nhl.com/ice/shootoutstats.htm?fetchKey=20142VANSAZALL&sort=shootingPctg&viewName=shootoutSkaterCareerTotals

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  9. sara
    October 25, 2013

    Mooney must have enjoyed the horrendously anti-Canuck reffing! Of course no mention of any of that in this blog. What a surprise!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -7 (from 11 votes)
    • NarkusMaslund
      October 25, 2013

      If you are looking for a blog that you agree with every single time, you probably should just write one yourself and read that.

      I disagreed with Harrison’s take on the Kesler/Nielsen issue, but I certainly appreciated the fact that he put thought into it and wrote an article that he had to have known wasn’t going to be tremendously popular. He’s entitled to his opinion, it’s his blog, and it’s doing pretty darned well for him (and Daniel), in that it is the best Canuck blog on the internet, and has led to opportunites for the writers elsewhere. I could never begrudge someone for expressing opinion on a blog (it actually seems somewhat ridiculous to me to, considering the definition of the word “blog”).

      If you are looking for content that only ever talks about one side of the story, there’s a variety of Canuck options for you out there, but I’d be surprised if you really enjoyed them for any significant length of time.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +26 (from 26 votes)
      • shoes
        October 25, 2013

        well said, however I did notice that they never commented on Kesler flopping on top of Schneider after he scored. Could it have been a dive? You bet, from certain camera angles and from under the safety of a mullet.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. J21
    October 25, 2013

    So after being gassed and banged up in Newark… the Canucks get to fly about a thousand miles away for another game today! Fantastic scheduling, guys.

    When the Canucks get pounded tonight, I’m sure we’ll hear about their “effort” or “compete level” or some such BS. (And no doubt this blog will light up with the likes of NaturalMystic and his ilk gleefully proclaiming this and that). Biology is biology. Proto-blogger Tom Benjamin would always have these games circled on his calendar because they were obvious scheduling losses.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
    • NarkusMaslund
      October 25, 2013

      Don’t forget the fact that the team they are playing tonight has played a total of 7 games to date, has been off for a week, and was even able to go on a “team bonding trip” in the middle of the first month of the season thanks to their early schedule. It’s pretty bizarre.

      I’d expect the Canucks will come out hard, play decently over the first 20 (while the Blues work off the rust), and then the legs will be gone and the Blues will skate to an easy victory over the last 40. And I’d like nothing more than to be proven wrong.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
    • mb13
      October 25, 2013

      Yep – the Canucks are surely the only team in the NHL that has difficult portions of the schedule and surely never benefit from their opponents playing many nights in Calgary or Edmonton then flying to Vancouver for a game the next night.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -10 (from 12 votes)
      • J21
        October 25, 2013

        How did you interpret “This game is going to be near-impossible to win” as “only this one team ever finds themselves in such situations”?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
        • mb13
          October 25, 2013

          I was responding to:

          “So after being gassed and banged up in Newark… the Canucks get to fly about a thousand miles away for another game today! Fantastic scheduling, guys.”

          Sounds like complaining about a schedule to me.

          OK – I’ll wait for all the comments about how the Canucks beat up a tired team next time they thrash a team that played in Edmonton the night before and got cuaght in a snowstorm. Usually the response to such circumstances is planning a parade route.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: -3 (from 7 votes)
      • NarkusMaslund
        October 25, 2013

        Everyone has tough games on the schedule, but one team playing their 5th in 8 nights, all on the road, with 12 over the course of the season versus a team playing 7 over the course of the season and sitting at home for the week prior without a game (except when they travelling for a fun team-bonding thing) is pretty strange. Not even from a complaining about the schedule perspective, just wow. Regardless of the team it would happen to, it would be bizarre.

        Needless to say if the situations were reversed, I’d be expecting a thoroughly dominant effort from the Canucks and an easy victory. Really, any team in the Blues situation has no excuses for anything less than a great performance.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
        • John in Marpole
          October 25, 2013

          In January the Blues play 4 on the road in 6 days. That’s pretty much the same pace as Vancouver is doing on this trip.

          The simple fact is, western teams will have a tougher road schedule than eastern teams because of the numbers. More teams in the east means more games to play when a western team heads east.

          It is economically logical to play more games on each eastern road trip than to make more trips east. And once a team is in the east, the travel between games is often not much of an issue.

          And if the Canucks did make more shorter eastern swings they’d pay for it by coming home to play better rested teams here at home.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. DanD
    October 25, 2013

    I’m not so concerned about the Canucks playing back to back. I’m more concerned about PITB having to do back to back IWTG’s at the end of writing about a long road trip like this. I hope your literary fitness level is up to par boys!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)