For a week now, we’ve been expecting the Canucks to look like a tired team. We thought it would happen at the tail end of the road trip, with back-to-back games in New Jersey and St. Louis. It didn’t. We thought it would happen in their first game back, versus the Washington Capitals. I was confident it would. But it didn’t.
On Wednesday, however, right about the time we thought the Canucks had just powered through the exhaustion and finally filled their tanks, the club appeared to run out of gas. They looked tired in this one. Dog-tired, and I mean that literally. They spent the whole night dragging themselves around the ice with their tongues hanging out, lapping water furiously from their bowls, sitting in their circular, plush beds, and barely even lifting their head when John Tortorella threw a stick into the defensive zone. I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 2 Red Wings
- Before we get into all the troubling stuff, let’s talk Sedinery, because this game had some. Daniel and Henrik combined like a Megazord to score the game’s first goal, bamboozling the Red Wings on what looked like a harmless 2-on-2. It was a classic Sedin play, in the sense that it made no earthly sense until it was over. Daniel flew into the zone, blowing by one Detroit defender and looking poised to go one-on-one with the other. Then he turned and passed back between two defenders, including the one he blew by, to give the puck to Henrik. Then he went to a terrible shooting area, where Henrik found him for a short-angle one-timer that he knuckled into the net. Seriously, If the Sedins weren’t so good at this game, you’d think they were new to it.
- As much as I want to believe that Jimmy Howard was just completely fooled by Henrik’s return pass to Daniel, since it was a completely implausible pass to make, I think he was actually screened by the two red sweaters between he and Henrik, as well as Tom Sestito, who was inexplicably on the ice here. That’s right: Tom Sestito contributed to this goal. I sort of wanted him to shout “I helped!”
- That was about it for positives in this one. Not only was that one of just 7 shots in the period, but the Canucks failed to improve on that weak number in both the second (6 shots) and the third (7 shots again, while they were trying to get an equalizing goal). It was like they didn’t even want shots. Guys: don’t be like that. Shots are good. They prevent measles outbreaks.
- Six of those shots came off the stick of Alex Burrows, who was clearly trying to shoot his way through the rust in his game in just his second outing since returning from injury. It didn’t entirely work. In the second, for instance, Burrows flubbed a shot on a glorious opportunity. If he’s in top form, he either buries that shot or, more likely, he spots a wide-open Kevin Bieksa at the side of the goal. That’s rust. My suggestion: Give it some Tremclad. Give it some TLC.
- I could only find the Tremclad commercial in French. Good thing I know the English version off by heart.
- John Tortorella has been enamoured with Chris Tanev since he arrived, but something tells me that the happy couple had their first fight postgame — Tomas Tatar’s game-winning point shot was blockable, and even headed straight for Tanev’s right leg before he lifted it, allowing the puck to get past him, and ultimately, Roberto Luongo. It was weird to see Tanev, who’s been trying to block a shot with his face for weeks, suddenly become a flamingo. Even weirder was when he did the Andean flamingo mating dance afterward. That seemed completely unnecessary.
- That said, Luongo should have had it, and he knew it after the game. “It’s a pretty [crappy] way to lose on a goal like that,” he said, and this is a guy that would know a thing or two about crappy ways to lose.
- John Tortorella wanted that game-tying goal in the third period, and he clearly didn’t think it was going to come off the stick of a bottom-six forward. So he just didn’t play any of them in the third. The busiest bottom-six guy in that final frame: Zack Kassian, with 1:54 of ice time. When he came back to the bench after his third shift, one assumes the other forwards whispered, “Coach’s pet.”
- Kassian’s icetime and linemates are a big discussion point now, as they often are after losses. Like Alain Vigneault, Tortorella has Kassian playing with players he’s supposed to be better than, and this has some people claiming he’s being mismanaged. I’ll say the same thing I said then: let him earn his icetime. Even if he’s playing with plugs, it should be clear that one of these things is not like the other, to borrow a term from Sesame Street. If he fits in, then isn’t he where he belongs?
- That said, it might behoove Torts to play Kassian and his line a little more than, you know, not at all. I like watching a Sedin on every shift as much as the next guy, but it’s tough for a prospect to play his way up the depth chart from the bench. Unless you want him waggling his eyebrows at you all night.
- Finally, since tonight was the night before Halloween, Fin attended this game dressed as a minion. Safe to say putting together that costume was the best show of effort we saw out of a Canuck all night.