I Watched This Game: Canucks vs San Jose Sharks, November 14, 2013

Some losses hurt just a little: a tiny pinch that lasts a split second, then is gone. Other losses, the blowouts, are more of a dull ache that can be pushed aside with a little effort. But then there are the truly painful losses: the ones that never should have happened. That was this one, as the Canucks were the better team for the vast majority of the game, but uncaring fate snatched the game out of their hands.

This game was more painful than a window factory. It was more painful than that pun. Trips to the dentist hurt less, because they at least give you a sticker, a toothbrush, and your pick from the treasure chest at the end of your visit. Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” hurt more — because, dude, it’s the man in black — but this game came close. I put on “Someone Like You” by Adele and cried after I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 2 Sharks (OT)

***

  • He has his fair (or unfair) number of detractors, but it was good to see David Booth back out on the ice for the Canucks. He had a reasonable game in his return from a conditioning stint in Utica, but could have had an incredible return, as he regrettably missed the net on a great scoring chance on his first shift after a gorgeous feed by Zack “Passin’” Kassian. Sure, the puck was a bit on edge and he was on his backhand, but it’s not going to help his reputation for having less finish than cheap Ikea furniture.
  • At even-strength, the Canucks dominated this game; their unblocked shot attempts (Fenwick) were 44 to 29. That doesn’t even adequately sum up their territorial advantage, as the Canucks had long shifts in the offensive zone, controlling possession on the boards without shot attempts. As an example, at one point in the first period, the Canucks penned the Sharks in their zone so effectively that the Sharks were forced to ice the puck four times in the space of four minutes. Even bros thought they were icing too much.
  • The Canucks’ second period was even more dominant, as they out-shot the Sharks 20-9, which is astounding. That’s nearly as many shots as the Buffalo Sabres average per game. The final five minutes of that period were an absolute shooting gallery, as the Canucks fired 11 shots on goal. Unfortunately, Niemi was as unbeatable as Ghouls ‘N Ghosts.
  • This picture isn’t from this game, but I happened across it while looking for pictures of Logan Couture’s absurd moustache and had to share it. But man, how about that moustache?
***
  • The Canucks finally moved away from the four-forward set on the first unit on the powerplay, putting another defenceman alongside Dan Hamhuis. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Alex Edler or Jason Garrison. It was Kevin Bieksa. This is just a reminder that Edler has 26 powerplay goals in his career (6th most in franchise history among defencemen) and has one of the hardest shots in the league. Meanwhile, Garrison was second among defencemen in the NHL with 9 powerplay goals in 2011-12. The wheel has already been invented, Tortorella, you don’t need to do it again.
  • With that said, it became apparent why the Sedins like having a right-handed shot at the point when Henrik Sedin found the right-hand shooting Kevin Bieksa at the point on the Canucks’ second powerplay. He was perfectly set up for the one-timer, which somehow meandered its way through Daniel Sedin’s wild, flailing screen in front of Antti Niemi. It looked like it might have actually deflected in off Daniel’s buttocks, but Bieksa told the scorekeepers, “If you take away my first goal of the season, I will cut you.” Then he laughed maniacally and they weren’t sure if he was serious or not, so just decided to play it safe and let him keep the goal.
  • Bieksa was the best player in this game, and it wasn’t just because he scored the Canucks’ only goal. The Canucks out-shot the Sharks by a whopping 12-1 margin when he was on the ice. That’s why it was regrettable that he chose to fight Andrew Desjardins with 5 minutes remaining in the third period, removing the Canucks’ best defender from the game. It was the most ill-conceived fight since the frisbee fight in Hard Ticket to Hawaii.
  • With Niemi pulled for the extra attacker, the Sharks tied the game in the final minute thanks to a fantastic play by Joe Thornton, an over-commitment by the Canucks, and an absurd amount of luck. Thornton slipped behind the net, but had the presence of mind to centre the puck while on his belly, hitting the tape of Dan Boyle, the Sharks’ best player in this game. Boyle fanned on his one-timer, somehow sending the puck perfectly to a wide open Tomas Hertl at the back door. He filled the net like he had thrown it on the right side of the boat.
  • Key to that goal, however, is how poorly the Canucks played it. Mike Santorelli was marking Hertl, but he inexplicably ;eft him to go around the other side of the net, where Edler was already in place. Kesler and Higgins both went down to block Boyle’s shot and Tanev was about to do the same until he noticed that they beat him to it and, by that point, he’s more out of it than Rob Ford. Either Tanev or Santorelli could have marked Hertl, preventing him from getting a clean shot on goal, but didn’t.
  • After that unfortunate turn of events, the end result was predictable: a bad penalty call on a Sedin and a power play goal in overtime. Yep, this game ended the same way the playoffs did last season. The usually stoic Henrik went as far as saying the hooking penalty on him was a “terrible call” after the game, as he had only one hand on his stick and seemed to barely make contact with Jason Demers’ hands. Some great passing and an over-aggressive play from both the Canucks’ skaters and Roberto Luongo led to Boyle having all sorts of time and space to pick his spot. The spot he picked happened to be in the net.
  • Luongo deserved better in this game, as he was solid throughout the game and would be hard to blame on either goal, though some will certainly give it the ol’ college try. His glove save on James Sheppard had a certain amount of flair to it, but he made the rest of the game look easy with his positioning, which was more sound than vibrations that travel through the air.
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33 comments

  1. shoes
    November 15, 2013

    Almost every call that the refs made in the game including the OT penalty and the OT goal needed review. Does it just seem like the quality of refs has dropped 10 fold this year.

    There is no joy in watching the outcome of a game when it is decided by a bad call. The ref should go straight to the Sharks room with no supper.

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    Rating: +4 (from 20 votes)
    • SharkMike
      November 15, 2013

      You’re a bonehead. The call on Pavelski which allowed Bieksa to score also sucked. Where are your scorers? Sedins have 3 assists between them vs Sharks this year. Vancouver blows.

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    • akidd
      November 15, 2013

      i dunno, it looked like a hook to me. it was a pretty clear scoring chance where the guy couldn’t get the shot off because of the tug. henrik was gassed and probably shouldn’t have been on the ice. it was a mental error by henrik, who somehow thought he was ‘above’ getting tired(i wonder where he got that idea.)

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      Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
      • Warpstone
        November 15, 2013

        It was a soft call, but it was still a hook. Henrik probably expected more leeway in OT for that but didn’t get it.

        We don’t call him Captain Hook for nothing. :D

        Sucks for Luongo though. If the Canucks could provide some decent run support, the story would really be about how he’s the most consistent player on the team right now!

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        November 15, 2013

        Yes it was a soft, but technically correct, call. But an exhausted Henrik was left out there after a very long shift. A crucial mistake by Tortorella, especially given Hank’s penchant for racking up cheap hooking calls late in games.

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    • Tom1040
      November 15, 2013

      Damn refs cost ‘us’ another game.

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  2. mac 'n cheese
    November 15, 2013

    It sucked to lose this game.
    “he’s more out of it than Rob Ford”
    Having a laugh at Toronto’s expense makes me feel better. Thank you, blog :)

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  3. jenny wren
    November 15, 2013

    really less than little to say
    we lost again to san jose
    and in such a shattering way

    it hurts to be a fan today

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    • whisky jack
      November 15, 2013

      I’d like to share a thought or two
      Concerning this insipid sighing:
      While one can see our team is trying,
      The other teams are trying too,
      Because they didn’t win some games
      Really is no cause for claims
      It’s hopeless for the green and blue.

      At bottom line one thing is true:
      They make the playoffs or they don’t.
      It seems some say they surely won’t,
      But that is neither I nor you,
      Who have been fans these many years
      And shared the laughter and the tears
      For what they did or didn’t do.

      To those of you who’ve given up
      I say this year they’ll win the Cup.

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      Rating: +15 (from 21 votes)
  4. J21
    November 15, 2013

    Don’t think it’s too hard to find some fault with the way Luongo played the winning goal. He had a solid game otherwise, but the famous belly flop is nothing more than an invitation to score on an open net in the NHL. He made it far easier for Boyle than it had to be.

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  5. SharkMike
    November 15, 2013

    Ref blaming weenies. Canuck fans are all clones of that diving, biting, crying Burrows.

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    • Warpstone
      November 15, 2013

      Yah, we’re such jerks that we go out of our to find a blog about the other team and troll them.

      LOL, good grief man, if fans were actually like the teams they support no NHL city would have an economy capable of supporting pro sports.

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      Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
    • shoes
      November 15, 2013

      It was a soft call that is seldom called in OT. Don’t you watch hockey? If it happened to one of the buck-toothed wonder boys on your team, you would be whining too. Don’t kid yourself or come across holier than thou…..it was a SOFT call. Get it through your head.

      What cost the Canucks the game is the fact they never scored more goals on a fairly sloppy SJS team. But it doesn’t alter the fact that it was a soft call with a stick on pants.

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      • Tom1040
        November 15, 2013

        Shoes, please upload a video of yourself watching a game – sound, too!

        It was the right call. Don’t you watch hockey?

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        Rating: -5 (from 7 votes)
    • Art
      November 16, 2013

      It’s always awesome when your favorite team’s fans make the entire fan base look like petulant assholes. Thanks for that.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        November 16, 2013

        Don’t worry, Art, we know you’re one of the good ‘uns.

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  6. madwag
    November 15, 2013

    despite the loss which only time will temper, a great post danielson with some delightful witticisms: “more painful than a window factory”, “more out of it than rob ford”, and “more sound than vibrations that travel through the air” were especially appealing. cheers for a better result on sunday.

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  7. Nee
    November 15, 2013

    This loss hurt particularly because it was my first Canucks game in over 2 years. : / We deserved better after how well we played in this game.

    Also, great work, buffoons in lower bowl who threw garbage onto the ice when the game ended (granted, it was just a few people). You’re not sore losers…

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    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  8. akidd
    November 15, 2013

    great game by the canucks!. the defense is looking super solid this year and lou looked great. the forwards were working hard and the canucks basically owned the puck in this one. it just wasn’t meant to be.

    gotta love the aggressive forecheck. badass! that’s a heck of a system. it wears the opponent down real good, puts the canucks in position to finish their checks. it gives physical momentum too as the battered sharks lost a ton of board battles too. a winning system.

    it’s funny though, how these sharks looked like the best team in the league just a couple of weeks ago, and yet the canucks dominated them. good stuff. too bad about that other point but still, canuck fans have got to be pretty happy about their team. they’re playing WAY better than anyone thought they would.

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  9. cathylu
    November 15, 2013

    You’re right Daniel…this type of game is especially painful. I thought we were playing pretty well but Nemo just wouldn’t give us a break. Saying that even I (who consider myself a noob when it comes to hockey) know that it’s hard to nurse a 1-0 game all the way to the end and come out with a win. Still, I enjoyed being at the game – Gordie Howe was there! (I thought Bieksa was trying for a Gordie Howe hat trick since he had the goal and a fight.)

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  10. mb13
    November 15, 2013

    See the thing is that Canucks have been “playing well” and losing. What happens when they start to play not so well?

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    • akidd
      November 15, 2013

      or if they continue to outclass the best teams in the league not named the kings, and they get a few bounces…what’ll happen then?

      pretty hard to find a downside to playing well but good try.

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  11. Kenji
    November 15, 2013

    This game made my cry “Auuuuugggghhh” very like Charlie Brown when the football is taken away at the very last moment.

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  12. Chris the Curmudgeon
    November 15, 2013

    Unfortunately, the team is still haunted by their ongoing problem in extending a lead from 1-0 to 2-0. Gillis has made a few good recent moves (re-upping the twins, an apparently strong 2013 draft, good buy-low signings in Santorelli and Richardson) and I applaud him for them, however it hasn’t changed the fact that this team is very thin on bona fide scorers. Perhaps Booth will get it together, and we certainly have yet to see the best of Alex Burrows this year, but this is quite simply not a problem that’s going away.

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    • akidd
      November 15, 2013

      yup, the scoring part is the issue(along with the pp) that just won’t go away. burrows will get ‘er going eventually. i think he’s a guy that could do even better under tortorella’s forechecking system. hansen will be back soon, not that he’s one to light the red lamp.

      i’m not sure gillis expected the team to be this good this soon. he was probably just hoping to keep it respectable this year and then start trying to win seriously once horvat and shikaruk got on board. but now with the team looking(except for the scoring) pretty competitive, and with a pretty intimidating forecheck, which is also a great system for the playoffs, gillis might have to spend a few assets to get someone for this season. it’s only fair.

      i know there’s ebb and flow to a season and next week’s team could stink for all we know. goaltending could go south, or a couple of key injuries and boom…but for now, minus the kings’ game there’s some pretty pleasing hockey being played by the blue and green.

      but they gotta score. gillis needs to get somebody, and i see 4.25 mil of cap space opening real soon…:)

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  13. Naturalmystic
    November 15, 2013

    9th place looks great on Vancouver. LA has 2 games in hand, as does Dallas. Do I dare dream that after this weekend Vancouver could be in 10th place? I implore the hockey gods to remember Vancouver’s sacrilege making a goaltender captain.

    The Lord is vengeful! O Spiteful One! Show me who to smite, and they shall be smoten!

    -Homer

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    • Brent
      November 15, 2013

      Ya whatever.

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      • Naturalmystic
        November 17, 2013

        34 sog and it’s 2-0 just after the start of the third period. Sestito has played a grand total of 30 seconds. 9th place!

        Lulz

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  14. primetime
    November 15, 2013

    How cool would it have been for Bieska to score a Gordie Howe hat trick last night? If only we could have scored another goal…

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  15. PB
    November 15, 2013

    Meh, 58.5 minutes of pretty solid play, for the most dominating the Sharks (pretty equal on some of the missed glorious chances including Wingels somehow flubbing the Thornton pass equalling the Booth miss, Thornton’s crossbar equalling a lot of those missed opportunities by the Canucks second line). Couture threatened less with his usual diving antics than he did with that hideous ‘stache. In general the Canucks have looked extremely competitive against the class of the west these past few games, in fact far stronger they did than on the winning road trip out east. 4 on 3 in OT, not much you can do. We still got a point. Disappointing but way easier to swallow than a drubbing.

    And the SJ trolls making comments on this site? Chicago and Boston fans are one thing — obnoxious, idiotic, creepy, but at least they’ve won something. I’m not sure I’d be planning that parade just yet if I was a Sharks fan. Haven’t we seen this same story from them (a lot) before? Quick out of the gate and then a whole lot of nothing…

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    • shoes
      November 15, 2013

      This was a good post. The SJS fans and some media (mostly Edmonton writers) are picking them to go all the way for the 9th year in a row. And in every single one of those 9 years can you guess which month was their finest…..yup October.

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  16. Pavo
    November 15, 2013

    Bah! Sooo close.

    I think I’ll head over to the Oiler fans’ boards and read their latest thoughts on the Dallas Eakins experiment.

    May cheer me up a little.

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  17. Matt
    November 15, 2013

    Bieksa y u fight.

    Such a stupid fight – taking one of the best defencemen off the ice for the “last” five minutes of the game.

    And I usually love Tanev, but his play on the game-losing goal was terrible. He took himself out of position to get in the shooting lane and try to block a shot that Luongo would have had no problem, and in the process he opened up a massive passing lane and left a player completely uncovered on the doorstep. Tanev stays in position and doesn’t try to block that shot and that goal never happens.

    Ugh. Frustrating game. Canucks looked great up until the last five minutes when they seemed to decide to start doing everything wrong.

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