I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, October 30, 2013

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.

28 comments

  1. Smokey
    October 31, 2013

    Oh Tremclad commercial, you truly are the greatest of us all.

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  2. dontpassjustshoot
    October 31, 2013

    Positives – Luongo looked great, and there’s no shame in a narrow loss to a really good team with a hot goaltender, like the Red Wings.

    I mean on a hot streak, or playing well. Goaltenders are just a bit too crazy to be actually hot. (Except Lundqvist. He’s actually hot.)

    [You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.]

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  3. akidd
    October 31, 2013

    yup, that was the game they hit the wall. better now than against the leafs(gotta keep that streak going:).

    it sure did seem like there was one line on the ice all the time. bless those boys of course but there were a few shifts against datsyuk’s line where they looked pretty beat drifting around in the d-zone. they created(and finished) some great chances too but it seemed like a long game for them.

    hey, they’ll catch a breath and come back next strong next game.

    but that 3rd(now 2nd?) line centre thing never really went away, did it? it’s not tortorella’s fault. He wants to stack the 1st line and i don’t blame him. it solves that ol’ helicopter issue for kesler too. pretty good idea. it’s gillis who should maybe get busy and finally get to that salo is your pal…i mean 3rd(2nd) line centre thing. it’s not like anybody forgets. still out of ketchup. yup.

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  4. Barry
    October 31, 2013

    Damn, you had double duty tonight with Puck Daddy and this blog. Much respect.

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  5. shoes
    October 31, 2013

    Just so you know guys, the lack of hits on your blog, has nothing to do with the high quality analysis. The Bruins and Flames lost last night and the Oilers the night before, and the Canucks score is actually flattering to their game last night, so chirping from the usual suspects is going to be almost 0. Although you would think Tom1040 would be on trying to look GM’ish.

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  6. shoes
    October 31, 2013

    Just curious, with 2 minutes left, the detroit player felt Danny’s stick come up somewhere near his pants. he took two strides and then “was shot down like the dog he was in the street” .. Oh wait my bad….I was thinking of the OK corral. I meant he took two strides and then flopped forward, while somehow twisting his head to look at ref.

    Any chance of mentioning the guys name so that he gets a rep as a diver and doesn’t get calls in the future, after all that is how reps are borne?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 31, 2013

      It could be argued that Alfredsson embellished, but I think he was just diving out to get his stick on the puck. Honestly don’t think he was diving to get the call.

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      • shoes
        October 31, 2013

        You are way to kind to Alfredson. Most players in the NHL dive on that type of contact and some are very good at it. In fact they leave the impression they are just “diving” for the puck. The thing is a reputation is made by calls and media and you can have two players who both dive or neither dives and the public perception can be manipulated by a few choice articles and or refs calling certain players. Not a great system.

        BTW, I am not lumping you in with media, just an observation.

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        • Tom1040
          October 31, 2013

          Ahhhhh….shloeser.

          More evidence of being de-shloes-ional.

          You are setting yourself up for a huge fall (again) with your North Korean-esque attachment to all things Canuck.

          No one is going to talk you away from the ledge; rather, they’ll want you to jump.

          I sincerely hope your lot in life will improve starting with finding gainful employment, so you don’t have to put all your eggs in the Canuck hockey basket.

          Indeed, the Canucks have done extremely well for the first 15 games and have a great coach in Tortorella – he has been one of my favourites since he called the NHL out for rigging the officiating in that outdoor game against the Flyers.

          What’s more, Luoser (rhymes with shloeser) has been much better than I thought he’d be though he still suffers from Mcsofty-itis.

          The next 6 or 7 games will be an extremely steep hill for the Canucks, and hence; I worry for you.

          Perhaps, just snuggle up to your life-sized Mike Gillis pillow and increase your meds.

          And stay away from open windows, shoes…

          :)

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          • Daniel Wagner
            November 1, 2013

            Keep calling people losers and you’ll be banned permanently from the comments section, Tom. Same goes for the completely inappropriate suicide jokes. You’re not getting another warning.

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            • Tom1040
              November 2, 2013

              What ‘Suicide joke!”? Daniel, I guess I gave you too much intellectual respect.

              There was nothing in my post joking about suicide. It was a metaphorical reference for someone (shloeser) who puts way too much of his existence into whether the Canucks win or lose.

              He lives and dies on all things Canuck. The league, the refs, Harrison with his take on Kesler diving and so on is indeed evidence.

              He needs to calm down and recognize how much of a ridiculous ‘fanatic’ that he is and that the world is not against the Canucks/him.

              I am completely surprised to have to explain this to a philosophy major.

              Further, you are a hypocrite. I am completely with you on cleaning up comments and eliminating ad hominems.

              But where were you before?

              All I ever wanted to do was to state my opinion and if necessary support my comments with facts.

              I have had enough of others’ impolite responses. Funny, I never saw you ‘drawing the line’ with shoes or others, then.

              Please, don’t believe me but go back and review my politely stated opinions and mr. shoes’ responses.

              An enlightening endeavour to say the least.

              But, it is your blog, so ban me if you like.

              I was happy to simply state my opinion once or twice a month; I just refuse to accept rudeness and insults from a select few.

              Especially from the rude and non-sensical – shoes.

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              • Daniel Wagner
                November 2, 2013

                I have no interest in getting into this with you, Tom. Suffice it to say, you repeatedly cross the line into direct insults, usually disguised as some sort of pun on the person’s user name. It stops or you’re banned. Simple.

                If you somehow don’t see that talking about encouraging someone to jump out of a window is making a suicide joke, then it might be better to just refrain from commenting altogether, as you apparently don’t understand how words have meanings and putting them together in certain combinations creates other meanings.

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  7. cal
    October 31, 2013

    Now how the hell am I supposed to enjoy Halloween?

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  8. jay
    October 31, 2013

    I love the fact that you reference the Simpsons regularly. Gives me a chuckle in the morning. Keep up the good work.

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  9. whisky jack
    October 31, 2013

    tonight i watched both of these games
    no not the leafs against the flames
    rather saint louis and the sox
    that bunch of amish looking jocks
    and after that also like you
    the more important of the two

    while bean town fans wax delirious
    as boston wins the world serious
    vancouver’s first to put one in
    the younger from the older twin
    much less pleasing to my mind
    we’re to the third a goal behind

    and thanks to lu that’s how it stayed
    as throughout three we were outplayed

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  10. Cathylu
    October 31, 2013

    Thank you for this IWTG. Even though I was at the game I couldn’t figure out what was going on. And we were sitting in the last row of the upper bowl so the skaters also looked very tiny. In any case I thought Daniel’s goal was very nice and Lu made some very, very nice saves. But the highlight for me was Finion the Minion also.

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  11. Mel
    October 31, 2013

    There’s something meta about a person already in a costume wearing another costume. Go Fin. Or whatever you are.

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  12. mb13
    October 31, 2013

    To steal a couple of soccer analogies:

    - The Canucks were chasing shadows during this game… wow, was Detroit impressive.
    - If there was a straight possession stat like in soccer, I think Detroit would have had like 70% of the puck, if not more.

    I know the Canucks have the twins who are an absolute pleasure to watch, but Pavel Datsyuk is utterly ridiculous. People talk about Ovechkin but that guy is all flash. Datsyuk is just an unbelievable player for 200ft.

    And the winning goal – yikes. For a “best goalie in hockey”, Luongo lets in too many bad goals. If he gets the start for Canada at the olympics, that tells me one of two things: Canada’s goaltending situation is a disaster or they no longer give starting goalie jobs out on merit.

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  13. Warpstone
    October 31, 2013

    The mascot last was Finion. :P

    Thank you. Thank you, my joke is in keeping with the Canuck shot totals for 2/3rds of that game.

    I’ll be honest though, when a loss comes down to freak bounces rather than being dominated, it’s easier to take. The Canucks did generate quite a few decent scoring chances that could have gone in on any other night and Luongo was very good with the notable exception of the weak 5-hole misplay with Tanev.

    Oh well. At least it’s not a conference loss anymore. :D

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  14. Chris the Curmudgeon
    October 31, 2013

    You guys really have it in for Tom Sestito, huh? Dude is an enforcer who’s been pushed into even being in the lineup regularly on account of injury and lack of depth. Goons are typically the worst players on their respective teams; yeah I know Tiger Williams and Bob Probert could play but they were the exception rather than the rule. Or perhaps you have it in for him because he got a contract that he shouldn’t have, or for his wacky political views (similar to David Booth’s, whose right to them you have defended in the past). I don’t particularly love Sestito but would really love to read a IWTG that didn’t slam the guy for no reason, because it’s getting a little monotonous.

    As for Kassian, let’s not forget that the coach sees him a whole lot more than the 10 minutes a game the fans do. If Tortorella had any sense that having Kassian play more (at the expense of other players) would help the team, it would happen. As it is, Kassian looks basically like a 3rd/4th line forward when we see him, so that’s where he should play.

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    • Brian
      October 31, 2013

      I’m normally a defender of Sestito, and have no issue with his politics, but…I think he actually got hit in the arm with a pass. This is not soccer. He’s allowed to use his stick. Or even his glove, to knock it down. Sometimes he’s not atrocious, but last night was not one of those times.

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    • akidd
      October 31, 2013

      sestito is pitb’s official sacrificial lamb. official and sacrificial. but somehow booth’s ineffective play gets a 2-year(and counting) free pass. arbitrary?

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      • Daniel Wagner
        October 31, 2013

        You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re kidding…

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  15. RobG
    October 31, 2013

    At the beginning of the season I quietly predicted a 9 win October, I’m glad they came out of it right on the number because the next 6 games (and most of November) are no walk in the park and there is no guarantees the Canucks are going to come out of them above water. I’m very much looking forward too and at the same time dreading the next 6 games because they are going to make or break the Canucks season to date.

    With half of the games in November against the Pacific Division I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Canucks will need to win 7 or 8 (of 13) games to keep pace with the top teams in the West. It’s an unlikely task given Luongo’s mediocre 5-on-5 save % and the streaky (suddenly non-existent) secondary scoring, but stranger things have happened.

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  16. Taco
    October 31, 2013

    Is it just me or are the wings simply the master of the road game.

    They seemed to take one look at the wizards play in the first and then gum up the rest of the game. It was like skating though mud any time the nucks got the puck. There was always a wing on them with just a little contact to slow them down. When they want to be those guys can be damn ugly to watch. Especially with those dark red wet spots on their bums. ugg…

    Also, poking a hole in torts system, how many times did we see 1 or 2 forcheckers going in hard only to have the defense get it past them onto a neutral zone wings stick for a resulting 4 on 3, or 3 on 2, the other way?

    As they say, it works great; until it doesn’t.

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  17. cathylu
    October 31, 2013

    I just remembered something that happened at last night’s game. A Redwing fan that was sitting down near the glass threw his hat over the glass onto the ice. The ref just picked it up and gave it to the guys that oversee the penalty box. Nothing else happened. Then the guy started to wave his arms around in the aisle and get the other ‘Wings fans near him worked up. Then he took off his jersey and threw it on the ice. Right after that he was escorted out. Don’t know if they talked about it on the TV or radio.

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  18. iain
    November 1, 2013

    canucks did look bushed in this one. i also think that for the last few games against the wings they have given in to the temptation to stand around and enjoy datsyuk and zetterberg while they still can. at the start of the third there was one shift in their own end where all they did was stand and watch hank and pavel play rings around them, like they were cycling around blue and green pylons.

    hopefully they turn in a better showing tomorrow; it’d be awful if the leafs were to win bure’s testimonial game.

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  19. tom selleck's moustache
    November 1, 2013

    Thanks for the recap. I went to this game with higher hopes and expectations after the Monday’s outcome. Alas, as mentioned in previous comments, the Canucks just looked gassed out there. The only players that seemed to be able to get anything going were Welsh and Richardson, although Burr had his moments as well. The goal was nice and Finion was pretty funny as well. Otherwise, it was pretty painful to watch the Detroit playing a well executed road game.

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