I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, January 7, 2014

Vancouver led this game 4-2 with only a few minutes to play. They looked on their way to a comfortable victory. And then Daniel Sedin was hit in the genitals with a slapshot.

Let it be henceforth known that hitting Daniel Sedin in the genitals is painfully unlucky — and not just for Daniel Sedin, and his genitals. The entire team looked shell-shocked by the junk shot, and while Daniel would recover, the team never did. Shortly thereafter, the game was tied.

It was impossible not to feel this one. Never has the phrase “We are all Canucks” seemed more apt. We all took one in the beanbags tonight, Vancouver. I watched this game.

Canucks 4 – 5 Penguins (SO)

  • Henrik Sedin took zero faceoffs in this game, which is suspicious, since he normally takes more than that. Mike Santorelli took all of his draws, and if Santorelli was waved out, Daniel came in. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume he has an injury. Best guess: strained faceoff muscle. That’s a thing, right?
  • The three stars of this game: Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins, and Kris Letang, and those are the right choices — based on the 55 minutes of play after which the three stars were selected. Granted, the honoured trio underscores the fatal flaw in this system, which is that it doesn’t make allowances for Sidney Crosby practically transfiguring in the final five minutes as he did here, setting up Kris Letang’s goal to cut the lead in half, then scoring the game-tying goal to go full Mola Ram on every Canucks fan in the house just 16 seconds later. To add insult to injury, he scored the lone goal in the shootout. Also Chris Kunitz was there.
  • The Canucks played probably their most passive game of the season here, forgoing their usual aggressive forecheck under John Tortorella for a staid, neutral zone trap. The fans were not having it, booing the club a few times as the Penguins circled back in their own zone, unpressured by a single forechecker. But I get it. The Canucks have been abysmal defensively, they’re clearly tired and undermanned, and they were playing arguably the most potent offensive club in the NHL. The current Canucks aren’t going to beat Pittsburgh in a shootout. Or an actual shootout, as it happens.
  • Dan Hamhuis earned the blame on the Penguins’ first goal, bobbling a puck at the blue line and allowing Brian Gibbons to seize it and beat Eddie Lack on a breakaway. Fans on Twitter immediately decried his Olympic selection. But even the best players in the world make bad plays. Case in point: the Canucks got back into this game because Sidney Crosby set up Jason Garrison for Vancouver’s first goal. Garrison took the feed and whistled a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury like he was Andrew Bird.
  • The Canucks pressed for the tie in the third, and they got it, thanks to Chris Tanev’s fifth goal of the season. Tanev’s shot wasn’t hard. Heck, it wasn’t even good. But it got through, which happens often enough when the goalie loses the post like Marc-Andre Fleury did on this one. He was defending about half a foot of open ice to the side of the net when Tanev’s shot slid harmlessly past his left skate. But he would have looked like a genius if the net suddenly shifted six inches right.
  • Tom Sestito had another strong game, and very nearly scored a highlight-reel goal after taking a drop-pass from Jannik Hansen and almost dangling into the net like he was donning a fishnet banana hammock. It was jaw-dropping, and may have distracted from what I think was the real story of this play: Jannik Hansen is so lacking in confidence right now that he passed up a free lane to the net to make a drop pass to Tom Sestito in traffic. Think about that for a second.
  • But it’s possible that Hansen gained some confidence after setting Chris Higgins up for the go-ahead goal midway through the third. He hit Higgins for a breakaway, and Higgins went five-hole like he was playing traditional whac-a-mole.
  • Then, only 17 seconds later, Zack Kassian made it 4-2 with a beauty, knocking down a waist-high pass and then immediately flipping a backhander over Fleury’s shoulder. Like a quality shadow puppet play, it was an incredible show of hands, and Kassian made sure the world knew it by pumping his fists like he was crossing a super-low, invisible jungle gym. He was mobbed by the Canucks, and I don’t mean mobbed like “crowded around” — I mean mobbed like beat up by gangsters. Kassian had a nosebleed at the end.
  • Kassian had an incredible game overall. How incredible? He earned himself a shootout attempt, which should pretty much say it all. I watched this game from the press box, which is a completely different viewing experience, because you can see the entire ice from up there and, usually, plays before they develop. But on several occasions, Kassian found guys on the ice even before I saw them from my perch on high, and made unbelievably crisp passes. You’d think he’d have more apples on the season, because his passes are apple crisp.
  • Kassian made passes so crisp that the bloosd tried to kill them.
  • It’s amazing what the Canucks are doing lately. Not the good kind of amazing, mind you. Not even close. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kind of amazing. The Canucks have held and surrendered leads in five straight games, and they’ve surrendered the game-tying goal inside the final two minutes three times. This team finishes teams about as well as I finish bullet
  • Sadly, scoring twice in 17 seconds doesn’t mean much when you allow your opponent to get them back in 16 seconds. On the bright side, this allows some newspaper to roll a GONE IN 16 SECONDS headline. They’d better, too. If no one does, this loss was for nothing. Well, almost nothing. It reminded me of this, at least.
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39 comments

  1. Blueliner
    January 7, 2014

    Canucks. *Sigh* I can’t even..

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    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  2. Jake
    January 8, 2014

    I just…

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  3. Josh
    January 8, 2014

    Crisp and bloosd… brilliant!

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  4. wookiepie
    January 8, 2014

    *continues to bang head on desk

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  5. jenny wren
    January 8, 2014

    this game against the flightless birds
    has left me at a loss for words!
    something’s clearly out of whack
    so i defer to whisky jack:

    “i feel so bad for eddie lack,
    and you’re so needing burrows back.
    though pittsburg was the first to score,
    fast eddie stopped a dozen more.

    “but when the score was four to two,
    i think you needed bobby lu.
    of course he too’s been scored on late.
    for better days you’ve but to wait.

    “you’re simply on a losing streak.
    in this regard you’re not unique.
    you’re not to worry jenny wren,
    for soon your team will win again.

    “it’s clear you could have won tonight,
    but pittsburg did to their delight.
    the thing that really bothers me:
    canada without st. louis!”

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    Rating: +10 (from 14 votes)
  6. flyingv
    January 8, 2014

    With Booth and Weise as healthy scratches, the fourth line became Dalpe, Ferreiro, and Archibald. Often playing behind them were Corrado and Weber. We have a full line of forwards and D made up of AHL players. Obviously Hank and Hansen are playing through injuries as well. Given the situation, you’d expect bad results, but instead, we’re coming oh so close to good results, then have the carpet pulled out from under our feet. I guess it’s much more entertaining than just losing the games straight up.

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    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  7. Brent
    January 8, 2014

    Well i didn’t watch the whole game. Got home in time to see the canucks go up by 2. And I was cautiously optimistic. After the first one, I was thinking, well I am sure the pens are going to tie it before the end. But then ONLY 17 SECONDS later Kassian pops another one. My concerns largely, but not quite, dissipated. Then I was crushed, completely crushed. So i went out and drank. Oh my liver, my poor liver.

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    Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
  8. Oceansize
    January 8, 2014

    Why? Why? Why? Why can’t they just close out games like this one 5-2 with an empty netter?

    This must have been one of the crueller games for a canucks fan to experience. I get up at 5.30 am in Germany, just to see the Canucks tie it at 2-2, then trying not to go bananas on the train on my way to work when they score the 3-2 and 4-2, and then, instead of putting the lid on the pot, as they say here, you get kicked right in the nuts. Two times. In 16 seconds. It’s frustrating. Still, I love this team….somehow :)

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    Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)
  9. Angry Canadian
    January 8, 2014

    Canuck fans get trolled a fair bit on social media and whatnot. But those other fans have no mother-lovin’ idea what we have to go through on a season-to-season basis.

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    Rating: +19 (from 19 votes)
  10. akidd
    January 8, 2014

    “…the bloosd tried to kill them.” stop that! stop distracting us from revelling in those glorious kicks to the beanbags by mother fate… who obviously doesn’t like us. don’t get in the way with your wit, my friend, because this is when we roll around in it.

    actually, i confess. i did it. when it was 4-2 my inner dialogue went something like this,” whew. now i can relax…wait, that’s probably not a good idea. the canucks can do anything. no lead is safe. oops, torts slapped his head again. one more and he’s really gonna be pissed…there it is. sheesh, eh john. welcome to vancouver buddy. isn’t it like this everywhere? didn’t think so. now onto daniel in the shootout…hey, wait a minute….” i did it. me and my stupid doubting. sorry about that.

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    • John in Marpole
      January 8, 2014

      At 4-3 I had a sense of impending doom that compelled me to head to the fridge for a beer I didn’t really need at the time.

      Glad I had it for what came next.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  11. TubaNat
    January 8, 2014

    I thought I was about to watch a great game again. I was wrong. Puck to the groin wrong…

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  12. ouch
    January 8, 2014

    I thought the anaheim game hurt….this one hurt more

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    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  13. P
    January 8, 2014

    What a pass by Hansen.
    Love the call on it too; you know you’re a hockey fan when ‘feather dish on the tape’ actually makes sense to you.

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  14. antro
    January 8, 2014

    Can someone explain the crisp and bloosd line? I’m assuming that’s not a typo.

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • smj
      January 8, 2014

      Crips and Bloods; Crisp and Bloosd

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  15. Brosef Stalin
    January 8, 2014

    I don’t know what hurt more, my beanbags after this game or my mind after you gave a mental image of Tom Sestito dangling into a banana hammock

    also, is it time to flip the pool yet?

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
    • cathylu
      January 8, 2014

      Oohh, me too..that banana hammock image was too much (it’s my mind that was hurting since I don’t have “beanbags”…).

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • peanutflower
      January 8, 2014

      no pool flipping allowed. not yet.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  16. mac 'n cheese
    January 8, 2014

    fuuuuuuu…

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  17. Baldrick
    January 8, 2014

    Ya know what? I’ve been very slowly coming around to Tortorella, and was amazed just now to find that his calm, measured and candid post-game presser calmed me right down just as I was getting a good firm grip on the pool. Who knew a guy could look to the infamous Torts for lessons on staying cool?

    So, for now, the team has not actually packed their bags for a long trip back to the wilderness years…thanks Torts!

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  18. MB13
    January 8, 2014

    No mention of Tom Sestito’s backchecking tonight? He took away a great shooting chance for Corrado.

    Seriously, has there ever been more of a punchline player than Sestito. There isn’t a game where he isn’t doing something to cause havoc whether it’s to his own team (cutting Kassian, tying up Corrado’s stick on a slap shot) or the opposition. He should wear a different color sweater than the rest of the players as I’m never sure which team he’s going to hurt on any particular shift. Talk about an X-Factor.

    PS – my first attempt at posting this comment came back with “posting too quickly”. I haven’t posted in a month.

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    • Bookie
      January 8, 2014

      Tito needs a jersey with built-in speakers that play Yakety Sax wherever he roams on the ice.

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  19. Noodle
    January 8, 2014

    I had forgotten that this is our 5th consecutive loss.

    UGHHHHHHH

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  20. jack Splat
    January 8, 2014

    Who gave the jobs to the nimrods that vote the 3 stars of the game??
    What a joke to the NHL and to their self respect.
    Obviously they left the building with 2 minutes to go or only read a Vancouver version of the game

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    Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      January 8, 2014

      They generally have to be named before the end of the game, so you sometimes end up with some oddities. Sometimes they can be changed at the last minute if something happens at the end of the game, but not always.

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      • jack Splat
        January 8, 2014

        Well …. that system is broke. Its happened before in other games So wont be the first nor the last

        The game is not over with 2 minutes to go Fans deserve better attention to detail

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      • John in Marpole
        January 8, 2014

        Seems to me that it makes sense that the stars of the game should be based upon play over 55 of the 60 minuets, and not simply an exercise in rewarding whomever scores the winning goal. After all, that could be some schmuck who sat on the bench for all of 30 seconds.

        In a similar vein, sometimes a goaltender gets a shutout and doesn’t really do much to earn a star, but gets one anyways, just because of the blank sheet.

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        • John in Marpole
          January 8, 2014

          That should read “all BUT 30 seconds.”

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  21. Pavo
    January 8, 2014

    Ugh! Ugh! Ughhhh!

    I had already become fearful of watching the team protect a 1 goal lead in the final couple of minutes (when was the last time they scored an empty netter?). Now throw 2-goal leads into that pot as well.

    On the bright side, that Kassian goal – vow! It’s not often we’ve seen our forwards magic a quick goal like that this season. Perhaps the lad is finally beginning to figure it all out.

    Or perhaps not.

    To Eeyore or not Eeyore? That is the question.

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  22. DanD
    January 8, 2014

    Banana Hammock. Eww.

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  23. the real bob
    January 8, 2014

    After tonight Zack has as many goals and 7 assists less than that Cody guy while playing 3rd-4th line minutes…

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • Pavo
      January 8, 2014

      Always look on the bright side of life … turoo turoo!

      I suppose there is that silver lining.

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  24. Iceman
    January 8, 2014

    After such a cruel joke played by Hockey God last night, my heart couldn’t even bleed anymore — it was completely drained. I didn’t even feel like it was still beating.

    There I was sitting motionless in my chair, staring at the blank TV screen and kept murmuring “WHY?” like a zombie in Walking Dead. I just needed something to put me out of the misery…

    Guess what did the trick: a bottle of Sleeman (I know, I know… I’m such a lightweight). It helped me sleep through the night and it’s a new day. Hope is that I won’t be needing the little helper again after Canucks game for a while :-) .

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  25. ikillchicken
    January 8, 2014

    “…and Kassian made sure the world knew it by pumping his fists like he was crossing a super-low, invisible jungle gym.”

    No, no no. If you look at the angle of his hands (knuckles facing out and not up) he was clearly milking a super-tall, invisible cow.

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  26. Warpstone
    January 8, 2014

    Would using the 4th line more help avoid these late game collapses? It’s about the only consistent thing across all these junk punch endings. My guess is that the reliable checking players are exhausted by this point in the game and more prone to the puck-chasing that creates gaping holes in close.

    Then again, if Lack saves the third goal. we’d all be enjoying 2 regular time points right now.

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    • mac 'n cheese
      January 8, 2014

      Can we use “junk punch ending” forever in the future when the Canucks lose in the last minute? Please? It’s perfection :)

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  27. nuckin nucks
    January 8, 2014

    Kassian was doing the Eddie Lack dance right back at him…

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  28. Sean
    January 9, 2014

    Worst PITB recap for one of the best games of the year.
    Sestito was AMAZING. Could have been the hero if he had played a shift in the last few minutes and overtime. And you didn’t even mention the ridiculousness of him knocking Corrado’s stick out of his hands as he was winding up for a shot.
    Oh, and the Canucks only starting playing the trap AFTER they went up by two.
    Did you even watch this game? You missed all the storylines.

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