I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Washington Capitals, October 28, 2013

Here’s what some idiot had to say about this game when he was previewing it in last Wednesday’s Vancouver Sun: ”If you skip just one game this year, I’d make it this one. Teams tend to be at their absolute worst right after they return from lengthy road trips, and with the Canucks facing the high-flying, Alex Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals, this is probably your most likely candidate for an embarrassing, early-season blowout.”

Well then. That is most definitely not what happened in this one. Instead, we got a dominant performance from the Canucks and one of the most entertaining games of the year. I sincerely hope you didn’t listen to this idiot, and what an idiot he is. Does he even watch the games? The answer is yes, because that idiot was me a week ago, and boy did I feel like an idiot when I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 2 Capitals

  • The Canucks developed a nasty habit during their road trip of surrendering a goal on the first shot of the game. Tonight, they nearly did it again, but in a sort of wacky way. Just moments into the game, only four seconds after Washington’s first shot on goal, Alex Ovechkin stepped around Alex Edler and was taken down. The officials awarded him a penalty shot. Since penalty shots don’t actually count towards shots on goal, had Ovechkin scored, the Canucks would have surrendered a goal in the liminal space between their first shot and their second. Thankfully, Roberto Luongo made the save, preventing a dangerous time paradox. After he did it, he wisely dug into his pocket and fished out the photo of him, Leo and Fabio standing in front of that well, just to make sure they all still existed.
  • Daniel suggested just this morning that Zack “Degrassi” Kassian was due for some puck luck, and wouldn’t you know it, the big guy opened the scoring in this one. (Kassian, not Daniel.) It was a bit of a nothing play at first, with Kassian and Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins breaking out 2-on-2 and playing hot potato with the puck under pressure, but when Higgins poked it ahead of the Capitals’ defence and Nate Schmidt tried to kick it when he should have turned, Kassian blew by him, scooped up the puck, then beat Michael Neuvirth with a laser like Neuvirth had played rock, paper or scissors.
  • Asked about Kassian’s play after the game, John Tortorella said, “Good at times, crappy at times.” When the media reiterated that they were asking about Kassian, not popular AMC program The Walking Dead, Tortorella said, “Oh. Well, same answer.”
  • Also good at times: Darren Archibald, who Tortorella really liked. “I want him to take someone’s job,” he said. “There’s really something there.” Might we suggest Tom Sestito? Because Tom Sestito has been trying to give his job away for a month now. If you go to his house on Halloween, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll put it in your pillowcase.
  • Sestito had his usual forgettable game tonight, although it was a little less forgettable than it normally is because he made it onto the scoresheet. Not the good part. The part that lists the Canucks on the ice for goals against. Sestito makes an appearance there on two (otherwise known as all) Washington goals, which is about the sort of thing that happens when injuries force him onto your third line. He was directly at fault on the first goal. He had a chance to get the puck out, and instead, he gave it to Washington like Sarah Palin.
  • The Canucks really took this game over in the second period, outshooting the Capitals 16-3. But they couldn’t get the go-ahead goal, and a minute and a half into the third, Mikhail Grabovski made them pay. But rather than deflate the Canucks, it had the same effect that a Vincent Price rap interlude has on the dead: it only served to bring them to life.
  • Ryan Kesler tied the game up 59 seconds later, after a Ryan Stanton shot handcuffed Neuvirth. The Caps’ goalie knocked it down in front of him, but it came to Daniel Sedin, who brilliantly kicked the puck over to Kesler. Kesler stepped into the puck like it was actually a puck-shaped house. Heck, he didn’t just step into it — he went into the puck’s kitchen and fixed himself a snack.
  • Anyone else catch Brad Richardson blowing the zone on a penalty-kill when he thought Mike Santorelli — who continues to be amazing — was going to clear the puck? No way you do that unless you’ve been instructed to, unless you’re looking to get benched. The Canucks’ penalty-kill under Tortorella has a really aggressive counter-attack. He’s got his guys trying to score any chance they get.
  • This game had a little bit of everything — even slapstick. Midway through the first period, Kevin Bieksa broke Steven Olesky’s skate blade with a shot, and Olesky had to stumble and wobble off the ice on one skate. He looked like me on two skates. What a dope.
  • The game also had controversy. On a second-period penalty, Karl Alzner lost a glove, and while he was clearing it out from the front of the net, he took the opportunity to shoot it at Daniel Sedin. According to section 53.6 of the NHL rulebook, that’s a penalty shot, and it’s actually pretty flipping astounding that the official standing five feet away didn’t seem to know. I theorize that he was actually just a fan that dressed up as an NHL official for Halloween, then went in the wrong door. “What are you doing in here?” someone said, and before he could answer, they said, “You’re supposed to be on the ice! The game’s about to start!”
  • We might be more upset about that blown call, however, if the Canucks hadn’t won the game thanks to some of the most Wizardous Sedinery imaginable. Not satisfied with the subtle kick to Kesler for the game-tying goal, or perhaps fearing people wouldn’t notice it and appreciate them enough, the Sedins combined for a shift and resulting goal that was pure, unmitigated wonder. It was like a tour of the Wonka factory, except without all the kids getting murdered.
  • Listen to Shorty’s fond chuckle when Henrik looks off the open shooting lane to make that weird little toe-drag handoff pass to Daniel (which is super cool, by the way). That’s homerism at his finest, but it’s tough to blame a man for knowing and loving what the Sedins do when you watch it every night.
  • Finally, while we didn’t see Alex Ovechkin’s amazing goal-scoring ability in this game, he did give us a demonstration of his incredible floating ability. He’s like an elf in the snow! On the Sedin goal, he drifts into the zone late, then does nothing but yield space. He’s the reason Hamhuis is so open for the pass from behind the goal. He’s the reason Henrik has so much time and space. And he’s the reason Daniel has that massive lane to skate down before he blasts home the winner. Alex Ovechkin creates highlight-reel offence, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s not always his.
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44 comments

  1. Kelvin Yu
    October 28, 2013

    Didn’t all the kids survive though? I thought the point of the story was that Willy Wonka taught all the kids lessons in a could-get-charged-for-attempted-murder sort of way.

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    • TubaNat
      October 29, 2013

      Survived with permanent disfigurement and mental scarring!

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  2. Old-Greg
    October 29, 2013

    It was a pretty long shift for OV.. he was still floating though.

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  3. Lyg
    October 29, 2013

    Ouch, what a zinger at Ovechkin’s expense! But it was well deserved in this game, especially on Daniel’s goal.

    Thanks for another entertaining and insightful IWTG. Now I’m looking forward to the breadowning of the Sedin goal…

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    • J21
      October 29, 2013

      Have there been any breakdownings yet this season? I want a breakdowning!

      Bonus points if introduced by MC Hammer saying “Break it down”.

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      • dontpassjustshoot
        October 29, 2013

        And a music video clip of Harrison dancing in Hammer pants! He’s firmly established as the musical one in PITB who is not afraid to wear any pants for the sake of authenticity.

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        • Brent
          October 29, 2013

          Speaking of awesome music videos (I mean really awesome videos, not something with Harridon in it), thanks for the link to MJ’s thriller. Say what you want about MJ but when that video came out it changed the landscape of music videos. It was like the Sedin Wizardry of music video’s.

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      • alviator
        October 29, 2013

        Yes, we need a breakdowning on this one. I’ve watched it 5 times and I’m still amazed how they have so much time and space. It’s like they warped the continuum.

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  4. Josh D.
    October 29, 2013

    I was at this game!

    I want to thank my lucky stars that I got to see Lui stop Ovechkin on that Penalty Shot, seriously, one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to see live.

    I thought our defense was half awesome and half not awesome. Garrison, Bieksa and Tanev were solid while I found that Hamhuis, Edler and Stanton were having a bit of trouble for one reason or another. I think Hamhuis’ underlying numbers were pretty solid, so I’m not worried too much. Always happy to see Burrows flying down the ice. I thought the rust wasn’t so bad, he was digging deep and retrieving pucks and looks like his old self. Santorelli and Richardson? Still awesome.

    Really, the thing that baffled me the most was the crowd reaction to the announcement that the 50/50 draw would be postponed due to technical issues. I mean, I love my chance at mostly free money as much as the next guy, but to have the whole place erupt in jeers caught me off guard.

    On to the next one!

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  5. Josh D.
    October 29, 2013

    Forgot to add in my haste that I wish CanucksHD was still making videos because I sincerely loved watching the 2013 edition of “The Shift” on Danny’s goal.

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  6. Tom1040
    October 29, 2013

    Well, Harry…

    First, stop trying to be me.

    Next, your assessment might have been correct if AV, the winningest coach in Canuck history, was still at the helm.

    But, he’s not.

    In fact, AV has more to work with than Tortorella and look at their respective records.

    Is it now okay to state that AV is a brutal coach?

    It wasn’t while he was padding his win-loss stats in the pathetic NW with the team that Burke/Nonis built.

    I mean, I took as much heat for saying that (repeatedly) as I did when I said Burrows didn’t have an extra playoff gear or that Kesler is a diver.

    You must stop being a troll, Harry.

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    • shoes
      October 29, 2013

      Well Tom1040…..AV was a good coach in some ways, not good enough in others. Torts was needed at this time and kudos for Gillis to see that was what was needed.

      The problem with you and your constant and repetitive criticisms of the Canucks is that most are wrong. Like Burrows not having a playoff gear or Kesler constantly diving. If you repeat something enough and your soapbox is high enough sooner or later it gets into folklore, but it doesn’t make it right. I would suggest that Kesler dives no more and a lot less than most players in the NHL…..he is just terrible at it and it becomes obvious. Rookie watchers and newbies, with their howling of indignation is quite amazing to listen to.

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      • Tom1040
        October 29, 2013

        So, Burrows was lights out last year against the Sharks?

        He showed up 1 of 4 games.

        And, Kesler, well…shloeser, he’s got a rep for it; hence, he doesn’t get the calls (often). He’s been outed often for his acrobatics.

        That makes me wrong, according to you.

        I remember you from the days of the Province and the Sun before Facebook.

        ‘Sat next to Sawyer’ ring a bell?

        You made me laugh (at you) then and continue to now.

        Like, ‘Kudos to Gillis’ ha ha ha. 3 or 4 years too late to see AV was a bum.

        You are a fine North Korean, shloes.

        By the way, Canucks will not be a playoff team this year.

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        • Pavo
          October 29, 2013

          It’s really quite touching to see how much the Canucks mean to you.

          Win or lose, here you are – pouring out your deepest feelings about the team.

          Yep, we are all Canucks!

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        • shoes
          October 29, 2013

          I always admire the posters that “love” a team, but hate the “fans, players, coaches, management, beer vendors, owners, blog writers, etc”

          No Canuck was very good against the SJS last spring, hence the sweep. By singling out Burrows, you,……………why you fail, thats what you do, you fail !

          And as to your prediction on the Canucks not making the playoffs this year, it really means nothing. They may and I like to think they will, or they may not, but a guy that “hates the Canucks” is a poor guy to ask his opinion. Back to ‘Berta with you.

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  7. BBoone
    October 29, 2013

    Careful on those visions of the future that star the big “Me”.
    Megalomania starts just like that . One Don Cherry is enough thank you very much .

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  8. jeremy
    October 29, 2013

    guys. i understand this blog is like a comedy thing more than anything, but you’ve got to stop with even the pretensions of legitemate analysis. really, you’re just embarrasing yourselves when you start to talk as if you have some expertise.

    i mean, the walking dead is “sometimes good”? were you even watching the same show as everyone else? that thing’s a red hot mess! you might know your hockey, but you need to go back to lit school…

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    • J21
      October 29, 2013

      Methinks some PITB readers may have missed the tongue sitting in the cheek of the above post.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 29, 2013

      IT HAS ITS MOMENTS OKAY

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      • jeremy
        October 29, 2013

        rolling stone put it best: until the macquarie dictionary comes up with an entry for “hatewatching,” the walking dead is the best definition we’ve god…

        GOD that show is dumb.

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  9. shoes
    October 29, 2013

    Man that Kesler is a beast. And the Sedins just get better every game. BUT Santorelli and Richardson are exactly the type of energy players that this team has needed for a long time. Burrows was good but those Sedins transformed him into a scoring machine and ruined everything. The remainder of our ‘energy’ guys were slow. Really good pickups for Gillis.

    The guy I feel sorry for is Jensen. His time to shine would have been now, but for the injury. And Booth needs to get healthy, stay healthy and play well or be shipped out or down.

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    • Kenji
      October 29, 2013

      The recent Canucks have had energy players who could play – Hansen is a model of that. But everyone seems to be playing a bit quicker.

      The guy I feel sorry for is AV!

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      • shoes
        October 29, 2013

        Hansen is about the only example of energy guy that could play. We have missed the bigger guy in Richardson and the buzz saw model in Santorelli. Those two are really impressing me.

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  10. the real bob
    October 29, 2013

    The Canucks had 6 powerplays this game…I didn’t know if I was dreaming or not.

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    • Andre
      October 29, 2013

      Not that it mattered much…..

      Perhaps I am too harsh, because there were some quality chances on some of our plays. However, Washington’ provided a keen contrast in PP effectiveness.

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      • Matt
        October 29, 2013

        They did? How’s that?

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  11. J21
    October 29, 2013

    “It was like a tour of the Wonka factory, except without all the kids getting murdered.”

    Hey now, that was only manslaughter.

    Awesome effort by the Canucks. Didn’t expect them to dominate in the notorious first-game-back-after-the-roadtrip. They have really hiked up their socks now (is that the expression?) with all the injuries they’re facing. I’m still worried about the top players hitting a wall — and I also think Kesler’s strong offensive play of late is owed about 99% to the Sedins — but it’s good to scoop up all the points they can before we get to that point.

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    • Chinook
      October 29, 2013

      Well, I disagree with Kesler’s good play being 99% due to the Sedins. I see it as mutual benefit – they are enhancing each other’s play.

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    • NarkusMaslund
      October 29, 2013

      I think that might sell Kesler a little bit short, in that he’s being allowed to play a more offensive oriented game now in addition to being paired with the Twins. I certainly think that playing with the Sedins helps a player dramatically, but Kesler has put up big offensive numbers while playing difficult minutes without the Sedins. Certainly, this present pace is greatly assisted by the Sedins, but it would appear to me that Torts seems intent on maximizing the value out of his players. I think it’s likely he sees more offensive upside in Kesler than any other non-Sedin on the roster, so he’s trying to get guys like Santorelli and Richardson to pick up the tough defensive minutes instead of getting Kesler to do that and asking Santorelli and Richardson to put the puck in the net. So far, so good.

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  12. Chinook
    October 29, 2013

    For me, best chuckle in the piece: the Hallowe’en-dressed fan inadvertently becoming a game official, and not making the penalty shot call. Good one!

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  13. jenny wren
    October 29, 2013

    In Monday’s game against the Caps
    I feared we’d come out stale perhaps
    That our success out on the road
    Some complacence might have sowed

    I also hoped the two days rest
    Would have them playing at their best
    To start this home stand with a win
    On goals by Kesler and a twin

    Though first to score was Mau Mau Kass
    Converting a Chris Higgins’ pass
    ‘Twas Kesler tied the game at two
    Just after they beat Bobby Lu

    And what was hoped for then occurred
    Dank scored from Hank late in the third

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  14. Collin
    October 29, 2013

    I went to this game with the lowest of expectations. Somehow this team got the W. But how?
    Their 1st line RW features a defensive centerman.
    Their 2nd line is mostly a collection of 3rd liners.
    Their 3rd line is the 4th line, with Kassian who randomly plays at a 1st to 4th line level.
    Their 4th line is not even an NHL line.
    How in the name of lord baby jesus is this team actually winning?

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    • dontpassjustshoot
      October 29, 2013

      Wizardry… or should we say *wizardous Sedinery*!

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  15. Sean
    October 29, 2013

    The ref who missed the penalty shot was probably not a dressed-up fan.

    Everyone knows that the best costume this year is to be a duck who is also a ref.

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  16. mb13
    October 29, 2013

    So Luongo managed to drop his save percentage down some more stopping only 17/19 shots… tell me again why people think this guy is good?

    He’s 26th in save % and 17th in GAA.

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    • shoes
      October 29, 2013

      Lou is good. If you follow hockey for any length of time and not just the canucks, you would take him over just about every other goaltender in the league. Contract excepted. Just askin’ did you watch the penalty shot by the grinder, OV?

      Every time the poll the GM’s on goaltenders, Lou is top 5. he will likely get the Olympic nod……

      Did I just tell you why “people” think this guy is good?

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      • mb13
        October 29, 2013

        Funny how far a reputation can take someone.

        I would not take him over “just about every other goaltender in the league”. Off the top of my head, I would take at least 10 other goalies over him. And yes – one of them would be the former starter in Vancouver.

        Every poll? http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=432765

        I see 5 other goalies on this list… I don’t see Luongo… but hey, anytime you can get a guy that ranks 16th in GAA and 28th in save %, you gotta think he’s the best. *rolls eyes*

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  17. cathylu
    October 29, 2013

    I was so worried about how we were going to contain Ovi, but our guys figured it out. Or maybe the Caps went to the Roxy the night before? In any case I’m glad we won (in regulation!). I’ll be at Wednesday night’s game -can’t wait! Woo!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 29, 2013

      “Or maybe the Caps went to the Roxy the night before?” They actually did, which is pretty funny.

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      • Brent
        October 29, 2013

        Doesn’t everybody go to the Roxy the night before?

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  18. nice
    October 29, 2013

    Awesome line: he gave it to Washington like Sarah Palin.
    Best part of the article.

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  19. Tim
    October 29, 2013

    Anyone else look back at the 2007 Memorial Cup stats and laugh.

    Tom Sestito tied Milan Lucic in points while outscoring James Neal, Tyler Ennis, David Perron and Darren Helm.

    Forget the third line, put him with the Sedins!

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  20. Bookie
    October 29, 2013

    Hey! That’s not a ref, that’s Enrico Palazzo!!

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  21. DanD
    October 29, 2013

    I love how adamant Garrett was in complaining that penalty shots don’t count as a Shot on Goal. Some people just can’t let things go sometimes.

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