I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers, December 30, 2013

The Canucks finished 2013 the exact same way they started it: locked in. Wait. That’s not right.

Truthfully, the Canucks were locked in for this one. Focused. Formidable. They looked pretty good out there, registering 44 shots, the most the Flyers have surrendered all season. But it wasn’t enough, because outshooting your opponent by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1 is meaningless when you outscore them by a ratio of 1 to 1. That’s a one-way ticket to the shootout, which, in Vancouver’s case, usually means a one-way ticket to just one point. That held true in this game. And I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 4 Flyers (SO)

  • You had to know this one was over for the Canucks when they failed to score in overtime. John Tortorella suspected as much. He was so uninterested in deciding the game via the skills competition that he played four forwards for most of the final minute, hoping to produce a real goal. And then, when it didn’t work, he sent Daniel Sedin over the boards to finish the night, knowing full well what would happen. It was pretty much the coaching equivalent of this gif. Eff this ess, Tortorella said in his mind — except probably uncensored. And out loud.
  • This image, I think, best sums up the feelings of most Canucks fans when Daniel was selected for the shootout. Next time Tortorella’s in a position to choose a Sedin for the shootout, he should remember this helpful rhyme: If the beard is orange, no. No no no no. No. Stop. No. Don’t. No.
  • It’s frustrating that Tortorella won’t use Kassian in the shootout. I understand that the winger needs to learn smart, two-way hockey before he gets on the ice, say, with the Sedins. But the shootout is literally one-way, and if he’s on the ice, the Sedins don’t have to be. It’s win-win, which seems preferable to the tie-lose model.
  • Did anyone else feel like this game had a throwback feel? It seemed less like a December Canucks game and more like a November Canucks game, with the team dominating for almost the entirety of the night, but unable to convert on their chances, and, eventually, unable to close out the game in the final minutes. The only thing it was missing was a retro “November” patch on the Canucks’ sweaters. Maybe a fan with his head in his hands, sobbing? But, like, hand-stitched.
  • We make fun of Tom Sestito for being a goon a lot, but we have to give the guy credit: he occasionally uses his hands for more than punching dudes in and around the head. He has more goals this season than John Scott has in his entire career. Sestito scored his third of the season early in the second to tie the game at one, kicking a Dan Hamhuis rebound to his stick before tucking it past Steve Mason. Then, because he was playing the team that waived him and he clearly has a chip on his shoulder about it, he popped the crest of his jersey towards the Flyers’ bench. Now, normally, I’d say one goal isn’t enough to make a team regret a personnel decision, but it’s the Flyers, so I’m sure they called Mike Gillis during the game, begging for their guy back.
  • How positive is Eddie Lack? After taking a shot to the mask, he laughed as though the puck had told him a really good joke. I’m not sure what joke ends with a man getting hit in the face, except for that one Rick James tells Charlie Murphy.
  • Speaking of positivity, David Booth looked good in this game, and I’m positive it’s because he’s positive. The dude is so optimistic, he truly believes he’s going to get to the net on every rush. He just goes straight ahead, as though no one is going to impede him. My sincere hope is that he quotes Philippians 4:13 every time he crosses the blue line.
  • We’ve said it many times at this blog: Jannik Hansen, a.k.a. the Honninggrævling, don’t care. Which is probably why he decided to save all his highlight-reel goals for immediately after we released our list of Canuck goals of the year. Late in the second, Hansen put the Canucks ahead by executing a perfect give-and-go with Daniel, dropping the puck, then going to the net for Daniel’s return pass. It was a slick return. As returns go, it was better than Jedi, but not as good as Mack.
  • Further evidence that Hansen doesn’t care: after a puck was contacted with a high stick in the neutral zone, he avoided touching it, not wanting play to be blown dead. But when the nearest Flyer decided not to touch the puck either, Hansen just punched him. Touch the puck, stupid.
  • Like the Canucks, the Flyers employ a complete set of brothers. Unlike the Canucks, one of those brothers is kind of a bumbling oaf. That would be Luke Schenn, who was victimized on the Canucks’ 3-2 goal, with the puck deflecting off of him and in. One imagines the Sedins went back to the bench and argued about which one of them was Luke. “You’re older, so you’re Luke,” Daniel probably said. “You’re dumb and no one likes you, so you’re Luke,” Henrik said, meanly. And then the waterworks started.
  • We don’t often marvel at the goals scored by Vancouver’s opponents, but full credit to Claude Giroux, who did some serious work on the Flyers’ goal shortly after Hansen put the Canucks ahead. Racing down the ice on a partial breakaway, Giroux controlled the puck with one hand while fending off Dan Hamhuis’s attempt to reach around him for a clean pokecheck with the other. I haven’t been that impressed by a guy fighting a hand since Evil Dead II.
  • Vancouver was close in this one. The Flyers had their goalie pulled in the final minute, but instead of twisting the dagger, the Canucks went full Macbeth and just sort of stood around, pondering it. Is this a dagger which I see before me, they said, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. And while they were clutching, Brayden Schenn was being clutch, scoring the game-tying goal. The lesson: when your opponent shows his ear, you pour poison into it and you don’t think twice.
Tags: , ,

17 comments

  1. the real bob
    December 31, 2013

    the hilarious thing is that Sestito has as many goals as Clarkson at this point in the season

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  2. Brent
    December 31, 2013

    Fricking Fenwick! Is it really november again?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  3. akidd
    December 31, 2013

    it’s gotten to that point where i’m hoping they make it to a shootout so tortorella can put out a sedin and we get to see some slapstick. funny how i was still able to conjure up an after-school-special-like moment in my head of daniel scoring and he and the fonz exchanging a knowing glance after in slo-mo(//heartthump, torts whispers the words, “believe in yourself, daniel,” then “…aaaayy….” with two thumbs up ) and role credits. but that image faded to a glimmer by the time daniel started skakting toward the centre line. and that little behind the foot deke followed by a quick lunge face-forward into the net was just…priceless. brilliant physical comedy. what will they do next? pretty good entertainment, win or lose, i’d say.

    good game too i thought. the flyers looked pretty decent for an eastern team i thought, despite being badly outshot. they created and finished chances and had some push when the game was on the line. and won. a team to look out for in the east? too small a sample size?…:)

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  4. Chinook
    December 31, 2013

    “I’m not sure what joke ends with a man getting hit in the face”
    Harrison, you didn’t grow up with slapstick humour of The Three Stooges where EVERY joke involves a man getting hit in the face.

    Good-on-ya for giving Sestito some applause. It gets tiresome when PITB and many bulie-ites crap on him so much. I’m not his biggest fan either but clearly, Tortorella likes him in the line-up.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  5. John Andress
    December 31, 2013

    I thought that the Canucks played pretty much the same game as they did against the Flames the night before. Unfortunately, they were playing a more effective team last night.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  6. Ryan Schutz
    December 31, 2013

    Are you sure that Daniel’s goal wasn’t a blunder on Schenn’s behalf or just another demonstration of Daniel’s 3rd-level Wizardry?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  7. chicken hawk
    December 31, 2013

    Throughout the game it did not seem
    The Flyers were the better team
    In fact I state that they were not
    Just their goalie was really hot

    Though ’twas a win we should have had
    And while there’s cause for feeling bad
    I find no need to fret or fuss
    Steve Mason stole the point from us

    The little lapse with seconds left
    Did simply help complete the theft
    The better teams don’t always win
    Sometimes the puck just won’t go in

    That bottom line is crystal clear
    To each and all a great new year

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  8. J21
    December 31, 2013

    I love how random the tradition of the Flyers playing in Vancouver just before New Year’s Eve is. Do other pairs of teams have this? I w0nder how it came about…

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  9. Noodle
    December 31, 2013

    “It’s win-win, which seems preferable to the tie-lose model.”
    “The only thing it was missing was a retro “November” patch on the Canucks’ sweaters. Maybe a fan with his head in his hands, sobbing? But, like, hand-stitched.”
    “I haven’t been that impressed by a guy fighting a hand since Evil Dead II.”

    Thanks Harrison. I can always count on you to make me laugh after the initial grumpiness I feel after a loss. : )

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  10. DanD
    December 31, 2013

    A bible joke and a Shakespeare joke in the same post?

    Winner.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  11. cathylu
    December 31, 2013

    Ending December with a 10-1-2 record isn’t so bad. Let’s hope January continues the trend. I’ve ordered up some nice weather for the Canucks visit this weekend to my part of the world. Hopefully they’ll bring everything they’ve got to battle the Kings and Ducks.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  12. shoes
    December 31, 2013

    I am not liking one amazing coincidence out of the NHL scheduling. The Canucks play the teams expected to be “top teams” on the 2nd 1/2 of every back to back. But never get to play a “top team” that is playing on the 2nd 1/2 of a back to back.

    Chicago, Boston x 2, Anaheim x 2, Philly and 11 other teams…..with only 2 x the Oil as relief for all that. Boston is the “luckiest” team in the NHL with the schedule, but as Gregory says “my daddy only helps a wittle with it”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  13. Fruzenius
    December 31, 2013

    The rhyme about keeping the Sedins out of the shootout almost killed me.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  14. Baldrick
    December 31, 2013

    My favourite moment in that whole game was an audio ‘oops’ from a mic not pulled in time, certainly not referenced by John and Shorty, at the end of a play. It may have come from a camera mic unseen near the bench, or a game action mic near the crease, but kind of typified the life of an NHLer, as follows: “there’s another f–kin’ bruise” .

    I suspect it was Kesler. Anyone else hear it?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  15. Robert Nicholson
    December 31, 2013

    Sedins should not be in shootouts. Yes occasionally they will try something and it will come off but they lack the skills to adjust to the situation. There are plenty of other players who can do better more consistently. Sedins trickery in a shootout is very easy to scout. The Sedins are a pair that work well together but they cannot perform when they are in solo situations. If a Sedin needs to be in a shootout at least make them take a slapshot,

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
  16. Snepsts
    December 31, 2013

    Tortorella is right about a lot of things but he is wrong about the shootout. He needs to trust the numbers a little more as well as treat the shootout like what it is, the opportunity for two points, not the place for to embarrass his top guys because they have a singular flaw in their game, or as a reward that only the dependable guys get, or whatever his old-school, short-sighted rationale is. Kassian is a better choice in the shootout; the numbers don’t lie. The one main thing I miss about Vigneault is that he played the stats like a card cheat and the stats built this team.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  17. will
    December 31, 2013

    Kevin Bieksa was mildly awful when I watched this game. Not that I’m criticizing you for not expanding on that, nor am I implying he’s been bad all season, or I dislike him as a player on this team. He was just noticeably bad. Back to back games played probably had something to do with it.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)