I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers, December 13, 2013

It would have been really easy for the Canucks to overlook this game. They’ve got the Boston Bruins in town gearing up for Saturday night’s big showdown, for one thing, and that’s a pretty big circle on the calendar  – the sort of circle that strikes through the dates on either side of it. Plus Beyoncé released an album last night completely out of the blue. How can you think about anything else?

Fortunately, the Canucks didn’t overlook this one at all. Heck, if anyone did, it was the Oilers. At first I thought they, like many of the Rogers Arena faithful, had just been a little confused by the 6pm start. But they never showed up. Like Patrick Bateman, they were simply not there. They were far less menacing and murdery, however. Honestly, I think I posed a greater threat to the Canucks than the Oilers did tonight, and I watched this game.

Canucks 4 – 0 Oilers

  • The Canucks dominated this one from the outset, outshooting the Oilers 14-4 and out-attempting them by a ratio of 4 to 1 in the first period. It was fun to watch, but it was even more fun to watch Canuck fans on Twitter freak out because the team wasn’t able to score. The nightmare homestand has conditioned the fanbase to be distrustful of elite possession play. Good luck winning our hearts now, advanced stats community. We’ve been hurt before.
  • Midway through the second, the Canucks got on the board, courtesy of a Daniel Sedin slapshot from the point on a 4-on-3 powerplay. The puck went in off Nick Schultz’s ankle, although I like to think this wasn’t just an accidental deflection. I hypothesize that Daniel turned Schultz into a goal-scorer on purpose, thinking he was Justin Schultz and looking to give the kid that turned down playing for Vancouver a taste of what life would have been like if he hadn’t. It was very Wonderful Life, except Daniel was trying to make Schultz regret his choices.
  • Much like they did versus the Avalanche, the Canucks took a 1-0 lead into the third, then alleviated any concern that they were going to blow it by scoring another one early in the final frame. Zack Kassian got the goal, redirecting a David Booth shot through Devan Dubnyk’s legs to make it 2-0. This one is played pretty terribly by the Schultzes. Nick gets caught flat-footed and has to grab Booth as he cuts in front of him, and after Booth throws a weak one on net, Kassian muscles Justin well out of position before spinning and tipping the puck home. It was the best spin tip since “engage your core”.
  • But that’s probably not the Kassian moment most people will be talking about. Towards the end of the game, Sam Gagner, who probably isn’t a fan of Kassian, took the opportunity to chirp the guy that broke his jaw. Kassian chirped Gagner back… by mocking his broken jaw. “What’s this? What’s that?” Kassian says, gesturing to Gagner’s chin protection, and at the risk of sounding like an unimpressed parent, I think you know exactly what that is, Zack Adam Kassian.
  • A few people suggested Kassian was actually mocking Luke Gazdic’s sucky neck-beard, perhaps because Kass has such a finely-cropped beard these days. Not so. Kassian’s not a beard connoisseur — just a bit of a sociopath. Gazdic was to his left, a few feet away from the bench. Kassian was talking to Gagner. But listen. While it’s a pretty crazy, scummy thing to say, it was far from the worst instance of face-protection mockery. Via Jeff Marek, this is just insane.
  • How thorough a beatdown was this? Daniel and Henrik Sedin looked like relative tough guys. It was crazy. In the second period, Daniel absolutely steam-rolled Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with an open-ice hit. The last thing he hit that hard was a sale on Lacoste polo shirts.
  • Maybe it was the absence of Tom Sestito, or maybe it was the presence of the Oilers, who defend about as well as Lionel Hutz, but the fourth line looked really good tonight. John Tortorella rewarded them for their strong play with powerplay time in the game’s dying seconds, and they cashed in, with Dale Weise getting it done from the doorstep like a group of carollers. After the goal, he looked Dubnyk right in the eyes and said, menacingly, “Now bring us a figgy pudding.”
  • Chris Tanev may have gone up a level in this game. He was everywhere, breaking up Edmonton scoring chances with stunning ease. He’s tougher to beat these days than Oregon Trail and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out put together. Tanev finished with an unheard of, game-high even-strength corsi percentage of 78.1, and a game-high 22:54. You could argue his minutes were inflated because John Tortorella wanted to spread out the icetime so his guys would be well-rested for tomorrow. Or you could argue that Tortorella saw what Tanev was doing and decided to let him keep doing it. Either way, it was one of the best games a Canuck defenceman has played all year.
  • Tanev was one reason for the Canucks’ incredible defensive effort in this game. Kesler was another. Tortorella matched him up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for most of the night, and Kesler chewed the Nuge up so throughly he could have fed the Oiler centre to a bunch of baby birds.
  • This was the first game of the season where the Canucks have scored two powerplay goals. The team is only 23rd in the league in the category, and rising, so watch your back, New York Islanders.
  • Finally, a word about Roberto Luongo, who didn’t see much harm in letting the Oilers go hungry and opted not to surrender the snack goal, giving the Canucks back to back shutouts from both their goalies for the first time since March of 2012. Luongo only had to make 19 saves for the goose egg, but some of them, like his glove save on David Perron, were spiffier than Spaceman Spiff.

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Harrison Mooney is the co-editor of Pass it to Bulis at The Vancouver Sun. Have a tip? Email him at harrisonmooney@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter!

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26 comments

  1. peanutflower
    December 13, 2013

    Games like this just serve to corroborate my contention that a team full of young prima donnas all full of themselves and stuff just do not a team make. It doesn’t. Nugent-Hopkins and Hall and Eberle are fine players but they aren’t team players playing on a team. That said, it was pretty darn satisfying to watch this game. I hear Tortorella spanked Mike Milbury’s “sisters” comment after the game.

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  2. Naturalmystic
    December 13, 2013

    The Oilers are a train wreck. So much talent and so little heart. I wonder what dirt Kevin Lowe, MacT and the rest of the 80′s Oilers have on Katz. There can be no other explanation why those fools are still drawing a salary…

    I am surprised you didn’t make any Hogan’s Heroes references. Schultz……

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    • Brent
      December 13, 2013

      Harrison may be too young for the classic Hogan’s heros. But I guess he may have checked it out on youtube or netflicks or something like that. I mean, it would have been perfect “I see nothing…nothing!

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  3. toulouse toucan
    December 13, 2013

    Friday thirteenth on CBC
    A hockey game I chance to see
    The Oilers versus the Canucks
    I am advised the former sucks
    It doesn’t seem that way to me

    And were it not for Bobby Lu
    They might well have a goal or two
    However playing four on three
    Sedin scores off an Oiler knee
    The first goal for the team in blue

    Soon in the third The Missing Tooth
    Deflects a shot from David Booth
    To get the goal fans think they need
    Now it’s the dreaded two goal lead
    ‘Til Higgins scores their third forsooth

    So while the white team didn’t suck
    Although they often lost the puck
    Blue was better throughout the game
    As well I find it fair to claim
    There really was no best Canuck

    Which is to say they all were fine
    For there was scoring from each line
    The “D” were down for ev’ry shot
    And those they missed Luongo caught
    Beating the Bruins will be benign

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  4. Blueliner
    December 13, 2013

    “Honestly, I think I posed a greater threat to the Canucks than the Oilers did tonight, and I watched this game.”

    There’s not enough ice in Edmonton to soothe a burn of this proportion.

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  5. Brent
    December 13, 2013

    Agree the Sedin’s were channelling their Viking berserker ancestors tonight. IN the first Daniel clipped Dubnyk as a fly by of the crease, Henrik gets a goalie interference penalty for throwing a defenceman into Dubnyk, and your mentioned open ice hit by Daniel. The whole night they just seemed to have an “edge” and unusual edge. I guess they have been on a raw meat diet in prep for tomorrows game. A game I am totally pumped about!

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  6. TubaNat
    December 14, 2013

    Great to watch a full team effort! Especially happy to see Weise get a goal, after a solid game from him.

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    • Andre
      December 14, 2013

      I like a lot how Weise’s game has improved this year.

      Previously, he would hit a player to make an impression or “finish his check”, hopefully leaving an imprint on his forehead. Now, he hits a player to turn over the puck and hopefully create a scoring opportunity. He sees himself as a goal scorer first, rather than a tough guy.

      Hurray for the Flying Dutchman!

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      • Amor de Cosmos
        December 14, 2013

        I’ve been Idly wondering whether it might be worth seeing how Weise goes with the Sedins. Booth and Hansen haven’t found any chemistry there, and Tortorella says he won’t play Kassian so why not?

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  7. chocoball
    December 14, 2013

    “Kesler chewed the Nuge up so throughly he could have fed the Oiler centre to a bunch of baby birds.”….. LOL! Dude, that’s your best line so far this season! :)

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    • cathylu
      December 14, 2013

      I agree – my favorite line too! Haha! I’m glad we didn’t start feeling sorry for the Oilers and slack off.

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  8. eastcoaster
    December 14, 2013

    “bring us a figgy pudding” – genius

    happy holidays canucks fans

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  9. nateb123
    December 14, 2013

    Wow, a PITB writer reaching for excuses to throw members of the team under the bus again? Has it been a week already? You guys are garbage Canuck fans tweeting crap about Kass. The guy chirps with Gazdic and Perron, and suddenly he’s a sociopath. He doesn’t even look at the bench.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 14, 2013

      I know, right? We hate the Canucks here. PITB? More like PUTB: Player Under The Bus. #nailedit

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      • nateb123
        December 14, 2013

        Dat strawman. Where’s the part where you show me where Kassian is chirping at a guy he neither talks to nor looks at?

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      • nateb123
        December 14, 2013

        Still waiting for the method by which you divine the knowledge that Kass was chirping Gagner despite neither looking at him, nor talking to him. Meanwhile Gagner doesn’t even give any sign the yapping involves him.

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        • Bookie
          December 14, 2013

          He’s probably busy pressure washing the bottom of the bus.

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        • Harrison Mooney
          December 14, 2013

          Here’s the clip showing where Gazdic is: https://vine.co/v/h2XVUvBT6hE

          He’s not the one Kassian is talking to.

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          • llaplander
            December 14, 2013

            He has obviously noticed some 5 o’clock shadow and was asking if he’d like some lotion. I know this is true because I studied lip reading and sign language with the gentleman who was signing for Obama…

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    • peanutflower
      December 14, 2013

      Nah, Zack’s just a hillbilly. But he’s OUR hillbilly, right?

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  10. Ratatat
    December 14, 2013

    Slightly off topic, but Botchford posted in his blog Greg Douglas’s take on Team 1040′s morning gong show, and, as this space is a place where thinking fans actually go and discuss, I thought, I would raise my response there for discussion here. Anyone else wanting to jump through the radio before 10am and throttle a wind-bag or two? Here is my response to Botchford’s post on the subject, below.

    As to the Bro Jake + Pratt fiasco mention:
    Oh, man, am I agreement. And great to hear the very legit Greg Douglas is saying what is on my mind. I cannot stand that show now. I refuse to turn on 1040 until 10am and actual journalism shows up. Two has-beens in love with their-selves and their egos, “rant”-ing at everyone else and thinking anyone except other egotistical old men actually care about their dumb-ass show. I hear 2 seconds of that show and I get annoyed. Meanwhile BMac sounds great with Don Taylor. But Rinty got hosed on this move. Get the guy a partner like the mid-day show got for Blake Price and I’ll listen again. But otherwise, I’m with the venerable Greg Douglas: I’d rather burn my eyes out with hot pokers while hearing Beyonce on a loop than those two anuses on the airwaves. Where’s the petition !??

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 14, 2013

      Whoa whoa whoa. I was with you until the Beyonce dig. We don’t speak ill about Queen Bey around here.

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  11. Alrightthen
    December 14, 2013

    I don’t totally get the anger directed towards Kassian, although the “I think you know exactly what that is, Zack Adam Kassian” comment is classic.

    It is not like he is another Lappy, he walks the walk. If anything it is nice to have that type of player on the team.

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  12. jimbob
    December 14, 2013

    Great game. thoroughly enjoyed the destruction of the oilers, but Daniel can you buy Harrison that Beyonce album soon, so we can stop hearing about it? :)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 14, 2013

      Haha. Five posts over two blogs yesterday. I wrote a Beyonce reference into each one. I’m done now.

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  13. shoes
    December 14, 2013

    Little Sam has a sore mouth. Little Sam should have kept sore mouth shut. Kassian made me proud. Little Sam needed to be chirped there. Keep mouth shut little Sam, or at worst only chirp Kassian in the friendly confines of D. Eakins dressing room where all will feel your pain Little Sam.

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