I Watched This Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, November 9, 2013

If you’ve been wondering what it would take for John Tortorella to refrain from giving the Sedins 20+ minutes a night, we found out the answer in this game. All it took was for the Canucks to be down 4 goals heading into the third period with no hope whatsoever of coming back to win on the first night of back-to-back games against divisional rivals. So, maybe don’t expect it to happen too often.

This was the first time this season that Daniel Sedin has played fewer than 20 minutes and only the second time for Henrik. The Sedins played just two shifts in the third period, with only one of those shifts played together. Essentially, a few minutes into the third period, Tortorella quite understandably gave up on this game and began looking ahead to Sunday’s meeting with the Anaheim Ducks. I wish I could have done the same, but then I wouldn’t be able to truthfully say, “I watched this game.”


Canucks 1 – 5 Kings


  • The first half of the first period was pretty enjoyable, with both teams trading chances and a total of 18 shots on goal between the two teams. It looked like it was going to be the type of game that fans love and coaches hate. Instead, it turned into something that only Kings fans loved and Canucks coaches hated. To be fair, Tortorella hates anything that isn’t a shot block or a dog, so something like that is not hard to find.
  • The Kings opened the scoring with a pretty goal made possible from some lax defending by three normally reliable players. Dan Hamhuis couldn’t keep the puck in at the Kings’ blue line, then fell down trying to knock the puck back into the Kings’ zone. Brad Richardson was there to cover, but got schooled by rookie Linden Vey, who put the puck right between his legs before feeding Jordan Nolan, whose shot appeared to glance off the sliding Chris Tanev and past Roberto Luongo. I haven’t seen something that uncharacteristic since Mario the plumber inexplicably became a doctor.
  • Late in the first period, the Kings came in on a 3-on-2, with Daniel Sedin skating hard on the backcheck. Jason Garrison and Alex Edler got their signals crossed and both went to check Mike Richards, the puck carrier, who simply chipped the puck to Drew Doughty, who had plenty of room to pass it across to Tyler Toffoli in front of the net. Daniel, regrettably, took neither Toffoli nor the puck, which deflected off Toffoli’s skate and in. They reviewed the goal, but it had less kick than salsa made in New York City.
  • Jonathan Quick was frustratingly good in this game, making glorious save after glorious save to keep the Kings ahead in the first half of the game. He made a stick-save on Alex Burrows so incredible that all stick saves were renamed Quick Saves in his honour, then immediately changed back to stick saves when everyone realized how dumb that sounded.
  • Burrows had another chance in front shortly after and managed to get the puck past Quick, albeit with his skate. His blatantly obvious kicking motion was the most absurd motion since Washington v. Alaimo, when Matthew Washington filed a “Motion to Kiss My Ass.”
  • The Canucks got within one midway through the second. After a nice shift by the fourth line of Jeremy Welsh, Darren Archibald, and Zac Dalpe that kept the puck in deep, giving the Sedin line an easy entry into the offensive zone, the Canucks created a flurry of chances that culminated in a Hamhuis slap shot Quick, who was screened by a leaping Daniel Sedin in front. The assists went to Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler, meaning the Sedins have been held pointless in two straight games. Clearly, it’s time to freak out.
  • If this game was on TSN, the TSN Turning Point would have come a minute after Hamhuis’s goal. Since it was on CBC, it was just a random occurrence in the meaningless wasteland of human existence. Kevin Bieksa reversed the puck behind the Canucks’ goal when he shouldn’t have, with Alex Edler unprepared to receive the pass. That mistake kept the Kings’ possession going: Bieksa was unable to contain Dwight King behind the net and Edler couldn’t get to Richards when Mike Santorelli left the front of the net to help with King. That left Richards more open than the limitless possibilities of untethered free will in a narrativeless world and he scored easily.
  • After the Kings scored a fourth goal when Justin Williams was completely open in front of the net, Luongo was pulled from the game in favour of Eddie Lack, because it’s impossible to pull an entire team and replace them with a backup team. While you could argue that Luongo could have made a ridiculous save or two, the Canucks were shoddier than an overworked cobbler when it came to the defensive zone.
  • As a sign of how bad the Canucks were defensively, they immediately hung Lack out to dry on a 2-on-1. The first shot Eddie Lack faced went in: Tanev went down to block the pass, but had it slid underneath him, taking him completely out of the play, allowing an easy pass back from Richards to Toffoli and an open net.
  • To be fair to the Canucks, Dan Hamhuis was wiped out behind the net a moment before that 2-on-1 with a clear hit from behind into the boards from King behind the Kings’ net. It’s a little much to complain about the refereeing in a 5-1 loss, but the refs seemed to tune out of this game as much as the Canucks did. Either that or they were chuckling to themselves that a guy named King plays for the Kings. What a delightful coincidence! they thought as Hamhuis’s head rammed into the boards, Imagine if a guy named Duck played for the Ducks!
  • Some people might be talking about the clipping penalty Hamhuis took on Dustin Brown early in the third period, as that penalty can sometimes lead to a suspension. I don’t think Hamhuis is in trouble, however, as on the replay it looked like Hamhuis made contact a little higher than it first appeared, hitting more of Brown’s thigh than his knee. The clipping penalty seems fair, but it seems unlikely Hamhuis will face supplemental discipline, particularly since Brown wasn’t injured on the play.
  • One of the few bright spots for the Canucks was the play of Eddie Lack, who stopped every shot he faced after the first one got past him. His best came after a truly terrible giveaway by Zack Kassian in his own end, setting up Trevor Lewis alone in front. Lack bailed out Kassian with a fantastic leg save, demonstrating the lankiness that earned him the nickname The Stork. He then flew off and delivered a bunch of babies.
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  1. peanutflower
    November 10, 2013

    No, Harrison, it’s just that some players are better at camouflaging “a distinct kicking motion” than others. Whilst no “distinct kicking motion” was evident in Toffoli’s goal he pretty much guided it in with his skate and he had plenty of time to do it in. That was a kick in without a kick in if there ever was one. I can recall at least two Canuck goals in the past that have been disallowed for pretty much this exact same lack of “distinct kicking motion” but that have been deemed to be goals as a result of a “distinct kicking motion.” Look at Toffoli’s expression on the bench after. He knew he kicked it in and that he got away with it. That should have been a non goal. I still think the rules should be if it goes in off a skate it’s a non goal. end of story. Too many players are too good at directing pucks in the net with their skates and the refs and TO cannot seem to make a consistent decision. So take the decision out of their hands. If it’s in off a skate it’s a non goal. It was a terrible game after that. Yucky.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 10, 2013

      You’re arguing with the wrong guy. Daniel wrote this IWTG.

      That said, while you;re right Toffoli guided it in with his skate, he didn’t kick it — not in the way Burrows did. The point of the distinct kicking motion rule is to prevent players from kicking with knife-feet around goaltenders. That’s how horrible skate cuts are born. So if you can kick by stopping, effectively, you can make it count, and that’s what Toffoli did. Burrows, on the other hand, kicked for real. While I have seen the Toffoli goal disallowed in the past, it shouldn’t be, by NHL rules, and they made the right call on both kicks in this game.

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      • peanutflower
        November 10, 2013

        I realized that after, yes. I’m not arguing anyway. I just think it’s like lots of other things in the NHL — they can’t get it consistent so the rule should be changed.

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    • dontpassjustshoot
      November 10, 2013

      Manny Malhotra had a goal disallowed that was less kicky than that, and it wasn’t even by the refs – it was by the office (or as they like to feel important, the “war” room or office or whatever.) I don’t remember whether it was last season or the year before, but it was right after the Canucks beat the Leafs something like 5 or 6 to 1 or 2. (Coincidence? Of course!)

      When a rule is very inconsistently applied, I don’t feel like there’s much merit in sometimes applying it the way we interpret as right. (‘Specially when that goes against my team. Curse youuuu, refs!)

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  2. Naturalmystic
    November 10, 2013

    Vancouver fell apart like a cardboard suitcase left out in the rain. They are a one line team and without a talent injection will either miss the playoffs or get rolled in the first round. Rob Ford has a greater chance of winning a second mayoral term than Vancouver does winning the cup. Playing the twins and Kessler into the ground will ensure they have nothing left deep into the season let alone having anything left in the tank for a playoff run. It could be worse, Gillis could have traded Luongo and the team would have a one season wonder in net instead of a seasoned veteran.

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    • John in Marpole
      November 10, 2013

      1) Leaf trolls always give themselves away with the “KeSSler” thing. It’s ‘KeSler’. All you had to do was actually read the PITB posting above to get the spelling correct.

      2) Who is the “seasoned veteran” between the pipes in Toronto? Did I miss the announcement that Johnny Bower is making a come-back?

      3) The difference in quality between the West and the East was on full display a week ago when the Laffs were handed their asses by the Canucks on HNIC. Poor you.

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      • Naturalmystic
        November 10, 2013

        I hate the Leafs more than Vancoucer. I have no idea why I keep misspell Kesler most of the time. I don’t follow the Leafs at all.

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  3. cathylu
    November 10, 2013

    I’m sorry Harrison had to watch that one in person. What a stinker! I’m so glad I decided not to go that game. Hoping for a better outcome tonight.

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  4. shoes
    November 10, 2013

    Cue the Chicken Littles and assorted mullets afficiandos predicting the Canucks demise. Yada, Yada, Yada.

    They played a very good game and beat one of the top teams in the league. Dominated from start to finish.
    Then they played a very bad game (save 10 minutes0 and lost against one of the top teams in the league.
    Now they play on a few hours rest, the top team in the league. We shall see the result later today, however how would any one of the Kings, Sharks, Ducks fare if they had to play the Canucks and any two of the above 3 times in 4 nights? Not one of them would fare much better than the Canucks are faring. Playing 3 top teams in 4 nights is not indicative of playoff hockey where you would play the same team 3 times in 7-8 nights. Big difference.

    However having said that, I don’t mean to appear to be dissing the Chicken Littles, as they have a perfect right to be running around in circles and who knows maybe the sky is falling.

    This game was a stinker, move on and play a close tight game against the Ducks tonight and take at least a point is my hope.

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  5. whisky jack
    November 10, 2013

    The Kings score twice on Bobby Lu
    Quick makes the saves that he needs to
    But finally we get one back
    From a first line sustained attack
    The Flock witnessing Hamhuis click
    On a long shot that does the trick

    With everyone expecting more
    Suddenly we are down by four
    The next on Lu the fifth on Lack
    Despondency in Chilliwack
    As die-hard fans out in The Nest
    In subdued silence watch the rest

    Tomorrow night’s another game
    That there’s no way will end the same

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  6. Lenny
    November 10, 2013

    No comments at all on Sestito and Archibald hitting everything that moved in the 3rd?

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  7. madwag
    November 10, 2013

    “more open than the limitless possibilities of untethered free will in a narrativeless world”

    delightful, danielson!

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