This was an epic disaster. How bad was it? Imagine the movie 2012 as a hockey game. It was like that. A good ensemble cast and a big budget sunk by mind-numbing stupidity.
But here’s the thing — and this won’t be a popular or even understandable opinion — I don’t think the Canucks were that bad in this game. I won’t try to tell you that the Canucks played well, by any means, though there were some good performances hidden in the mire, but the 9-1 score makes the game look a lot worse than it actually was.
The other point of view would be that the 9-1 score is what that game actually was, but that just sounds confusing. Is what it was? That’s just mixing tenses, which doesn’t make any sense. Don’t be daft. I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 9 Ducks
- This game was about as frustrating to watch as it likely was for the Canucks to play. I was frustrated for different reasons than other Canucks fans, I suspect. Others were likely frustrated by the way the Canucks were playing, while I was frustrated that the Canucks weren’t rewarded for the way they were playing, at least early in the game. The biggest frustration is that it’s going to be impossible to convince anyone the Canucks weren’t awful.
- I’m not kidding about that. Normally in a blowout game like this you can point to some particularly bad performances from individuals, but no one stood out as being terrible in this game. The worst you could say is that the Sedins needed to be better, that there were some miscues and turnovers from the defencemen, or that Joacim Eriksson isn’t ready for NHL action just yet. Weirdly, it was the good performances that stood out a lot more.
- The Canucks played a solid first period, but couldn’t get the puck past Frederik Andersen despite some fantastic chances. Ryan Kesler seemed in the zone, hitting the post just 10 seconds into the game. That wasn’t the only puck that got past Andersen in the first, as a Santorelli chance snuck through, but was stopped on the line. Nothing else got past Andersen until, like a Kryptonian sent to the Phantom Zone, it didn’t matter. Wasn’t matter. Whatever, I’m not making sure my jokes make sense for a game like this.
- The penalty kill is normally the Canucks’ strength; in this game it was their biggest weakness. 6 of the Ducks’ 9 goals came with the man advantage, as they went 6-for-11. That strikes me as an anomaly and unlikely to happen again. I’m not worried about the Canucks’ penalty kill, even though it dropped from first to second in the NHL. One anomalous game does not mean the Canucks have forgotten how to kill penalties. Also, the word “anomalous” is fun to say.
- Maybe it’s only fun to say if you’ve been drinking, but I’m guessing all of you have been after that game. Even if you’re reading this in the morning.
- Let’s take stock of the Ducks’ goals: 3 of the goals were scored with a two-man advantage. 3 of the goals deflected in off Canucks’ sticks. Another deflected off Chris Tanev’s body as he went down to block the shot and it would have gone wide, except for Teemu Selanne inexplicably holding his stick at the perfect height. The first goal came off a fluke bounce off a stanchion that turned a routine dump-in into a breakaway. Everything that could have gone wrong for the Canucks did go wrong, to the point that how the Canucks were actually playing became irrelevant.
- Of course, you could argue that the Canucks’ lack of discipline was the problem, giving the Ducks too many opportunities on the power play, but the ref’s performance was about as baffling as the bounces the Ducks received. The first penalty against the Canucks was a phantom high sticking call on Zack Kassian, as the ref — Paul Devorski — demonstrated what he thought happened by literally karate chopping Kassian on his helmet.
- I need to say this: the refs are not to blame for this loss. Not even Paul Devorski. Like my opinion that the Canucks weren’t that bad in this game, that won’t be a popular opinion in Vancouver. I mean, sure, Devorski called someone on the Canucks bench, likely John Tortorella, a “****ing ***hole“, which doesn’t make him look particularly objective, but let’s face it: Tortorella was probably being a ****ing ***hole at the time. I would have been if I had to coach the Canucks in that game.
- But still, there were some inexplicable calls. Bieksa got called for leaning on Andrew Cogliano a little too hard. Tanev got a tripping penalty — which should have been a sign that something was wrong — for bodychecking Corey Perry. Then there was the bizarre 7-minute 5-on-3 at the end.
- Remember how Tom Sestito got two minutes for instigating and a 5-minute major in the game against the Kings, while Jordan Nolan got nothing, giving the Kings a 7-minute power play? It happened again, except it wasn’t just Sestito, who took to punching Tim Jackman, it was Jannik Hansen as well, who dropped his gloves opposite Sami Vatanen. Despite Jackman and Vatanen both initiating contact in the scrum, they didn’t drop their gloves and either turtled or got ragdolled, so they didn’t get any penalties.
- The consequence of not taking Jackman off the ice? On the subsequent power play, he dropped his gloves and went after Kevin Bieksa at his earliest opportunity. This is why the refereeing was so baffling. A lot of what is considered bad reffing is part of game management, just trying to keep a game under control. The refs made calls throughout this game that just let the game get further and further out of hand.
- David Booth was awesome. It wasn’t just that he was decent when everyone else was terrible because, as I’ve already established, no one was outright terrible (though Eriksson wasn’t great). Booth was the best player on the ice: the Canucks out-shot the Ducks 16-3 when he was on the ice, he had 6 scoring chances according to Sportsnet, and he created the Canucks’ only goal by powering to the net and, in the process, knocking Andersen out of the net, so Kassian, following up, had an open net. Booth managed all of that in under 12 minutes of ice time. Don’t read too much into his ice time, though: by the end of the game Booth was on the top line and only didn’t play more because the Canucks spend so much time shorthanded.
- Anyway, hockey is stupid, you guys.