Hey, remember when the Canucks were dynamite on the road but they couldn’t seem to win at home? That was a frustrating time. Fortunately, their recent successful homestand suggests that they’ve gotten that sorted out, and I’m happy to report that they aren’t suddenly and inexplicably plagued by an inversion of the same issue.
That’s what someone who didn’t watch this game might say. So I won’t say it, because I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 4 Stars
- The Canucks have now dropped both games to Dallas this season, and I’ll tell you what the problem probably is: Glen Gulutzan. My guess is the team is looking to him for guidance, since he coached the Stars guys last year, and he’s giving it to them as though nothing’s changed: “Okay, so they’re going to skate around for awhile and then give the puck away and seem totally inept and it should be really easy to score on them.” Glen. No. That was last year.
- The trick to beating the Dallas Stars is shutting down Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Of course, that’s easier said than done. You definitely can’t make a bad line change when they’re on the ice, for instance, which is what the Canucks did on the game’s first goal. Here’s what you’re supposed to do: get the puck deep, then switch. Here’s what the Canucks did: give the puck to Kevin “puck-moving defenceman” Connauton, then switched. That’s a bad change. As bad changes go, it was up there with letting Joel Schumacher take over the Batman franchise from Tim Burton. It was this bad.
- Speaking of bad, the Stars scored again 15 seconds later. After Yannick Weber got caught up the ice, Dallas came back on a 2-on-2. Unfortunately, one of Vancouver’s two men back was Tom Sestito, who was covering Weber. This concerned me. Unlike the Backstreet Boys, when Sestito’s back, I do not say, “All right!” Sure enough, Sestito’s contribution to this play was getting into position, then taking about as long to turn around as it takes Alicia Keys to sing the anthem while Colton Sceviour breezed effortlessly around him to the net. Seriously, watch Sestito on this play again and explain to me how he got 3 more shifts in the period.
- Yannick Weber deserves blame on this play as well. That was a poor time to leave the point. Expecting Tom Sestito to cover for you is a bad idea. His cover is bad. Ken bad.
- Weber finished the night minus-3, and while that doesn’t always speak to how you played, in this case, it’s a well-earned blight. He deserves blame on the Stars’ final two goals as well. On Dallas’s third, he drifted too far into the middle, giving Erik Cole too much room wide. And on the fourth, he let Cole freeze him at the top of the zone, leaving room for Valeri Nichushkin to slide into the big passing lane in the middle of the ice. Rough night for Weber and it’s too bad. As Roger Millions might say, immediately after a famous NSFW gaffe, he was doing so well.
- While we’re handing out blame, Roberto Luongo should have had the Cole goal, much like I should have had the salad at dinner. But I had the fries, and I ordered them slathered in gravy and cheese after writing about Milan Lucic gave me a hankering for poutine. As a result, I feel how Luongo looked tonight: sluggish..
- Shortly after the Canucks went down two, Chris Higgins tried to take the team on his back. (Of course, because he plays to his strength, he lifted with his knees and let his finely-sculpted abdomen do most of the work.) After Mike Santorelli poked the puck out to Higgins in the neutral zone, he raced into the Dallas end and threw it over Kari Lehtonen’s shoulder like a continental soldier.
- Sidenote: Don’t lie to me, children’s musicians. “Do Your Ears Hang Low” is a rude folk song repurposed for the kids. I know the original lyric wasn’t “ears” and so do you.
- I think it’s clear to everybody that Jannik Hansen shouldn’t be skating alongside the Sedins, but this game also served to remind us why Zack Kassian shouldn’t be there either. The Canucks like to stick one of their wingers just inside their own blue line, then move the puck from down low to that guy and have him start out. Kassian struggles here, and he turned the puck over a handful of times after receiving that breakout pass. He’s great in the offensive end and he has some decent vision, but if you’re a liability from your own blue line through the neutral zone, a.k.a. the land of opportunity for the league’s best and most opportunistic defenders, you can’t be on the ice with the Sedins, who tend to share it with those guys.
- Dan Hamhuis probably would have finished well over 30 minutes had this thing not been decided early in the third. (He played just 4:12 at even-strength in the final period.) He was playing some great hockey, and he was at his Community Man best on the Stars’ disallowed goal, happily accepting a little interference from Ryan Garbutt — whose name, I remind you, is a portmanteau of garbage and butt — so the goal would be called back. I feel like this would be a great place for me to make a joke about callbacks, but I don’t think I Ken.
, I Watched This Game