I Watched This Game: Canucks at Edmonton Oilers, January 21, 2014

It’s been nearly a decade since the Canucks played a game without Henrik Sedin in the lineup. Henrik’s ironman streak, the 6th longest in NHL history, was broken on Tuesday against the Oilers and Canucks fans were curious to see how the team would perform without their Art Ross and Hart trophy winning first line centre. Thankfully, they were eased into Henrik’s absence with a game against the Edmonton Oilers, the worst team in the Western Conference.

While the Canucks lack of finish kept things close, for the first time in a long while, the Canucks looked like they were fully in control of the direction of a game. Meanwhile, I was fully in control of the direction of my gaze I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 1 Oilers

***

  • Ryan Kesler’s stint as the Canucks’ first line centre went well, as he led all forwards with over 26 minutes of ice time and had a team-high 4 shots on goal to go with his assist on the game-winner. The area where he struggled was the faceoff dot, where he won just 7 of his draws. While that was second most on the Canucks behind Zac Dalpe’s 8 wins, Kesler took 24 faceoffs, which totally just gave me a great idea for a TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland and Nicolas Cage.
  • Kellan Lain has had one heck of an introduction to the NHL. In his first game, he lasted two seconds before getting involved in a line brawl and getting tossed. In his second game, he scores his first NHL goal. What’s he going to do in his third game? My money’s on posting a shutout, but I’ve jinxed it now that I’ve said “shutout.”
  • The Canucks’ fourth line dominated that of the Oilers in this game and Lain’s goal is a good example of what even fourth line grinders can do when they go up against even grindier grinders. Tom Sestito started the play by smartly clearing the puck to an open wing from his own blue line, where Dale Weise used his much-vaunted speed to streak into the Oilers’ zone and get a good shot off that Ben Scrivens couldn’t handle. From there, Kellan “Albatross” Lain’s 6’6″ wingspan took over, allowing him to get his stick on the puck before both Oilers, who were between him and the net. He then flew around the arena flapping his arms shouting “I’m an albatross! I’m an albatross!
  • While this game lacked the physical edge we might have expected given Kassian’s previous altercations with the Oilers, there was one scrap, as Kevin Bieksa dropped his gloves with Ryan “Unrealistically Generic Name” Jones after the latter missed a check on Bieksa and went face first into the boards. Jones managed to jersey Bieksa, but Bieksa wasn’t fazed. He kept punching away, despite not being able to see where he was punching. Bieksa takes punching very, very seriously.
  • The Daniel-minus-Henrik point counter gets off to a good start: one game, one point. He got his assist not with a slick pass but with some hard work along the boards, freeing up the puck for Ryan Kesler. Meanwhile, Jannik Hansen went for a line change and the Oilers apparently figured that he was just leaving and no one was coming to replace him. They were wrong. Zack Kassian came over the boards, went straight to the slot, and delivered Kesler’s pass inside the post like Amazon mailing a package.
  • The first star of the game was Roberto Luongo, and deservedly so. While the Canucks carried the play for the bulk of the game, Luongo still had to make some tough saves, particularly on the penalty kill. His shoulder save on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was fantastic and his pad stop on Taylor Hall a moment later was great, but his best was his superb blocker save on Jordan Eberle. The only way the Oilers were able to score was by forcing him completely out of the net, then piling up bodies like a human sandbag wall to prevent him from getting back.
  • Zack Kassian was a pain in the neck for the Oilers, particularly Luke Gazdic, who was unable to goad him into a fight. He wouldn’t stop chirping Gazdic, whether in a scrum, from the bench, or just skating past him on the ice. His best chirp likely reveals why he kept the gloves on: “You’re not even going to play.” Gazdic played fewer than five minutes and didn’t do much of note. There was little reason for Kassian to fight beyond giving the Oilers the satisfaction and keeping the Oilers frustrated seemed to make Kassian a lot happier.
  • Poor Alex Burrows. He had three great chances to score in this game, but still can’t buy a goal. In the second period, he went hard to the net, then made a great move after getting a pass from Daniel, but was robbed by Scrivens. Then, early in the third, he got a pass at the backdoor with plenty of net to shoot at, but the puck hopped directly over his stick like it was being remote controlled. Finally, he picked up one of Taylor Hall’s 6(!) giveaways, then beat Hall with a nifty deke, only to have Hall haul him down as he cut towards the goal. The only way Burrows’ luck could get any worse is if it was responsible for the deaths of multiple horses.
  • Here’s how absurd this is: Burrows has no goals on 53 shots. Kellan Lain has 1 goal on 1 shot. That’s just not fair.
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36 comments

  1. shoes
    January 22, 2014

    Canuck victory….Lou played awesome. Great to see Lain get that first goal. Love to see a 6’6″ guy on the Canucks.

    Canucks victory = no MB13 or Naturalmystic. Woot.

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    • mb13
      January 22, 2014

      Good to see the Canucks can hang on vs. AHL competition.

      Hey shoes, I watched the game for about 5 minutes, saw Gazdic ask Kassian to answer for his actions against and Kassian chicken out. Must be embarrassing for you after your cry baby rant about Nolan declining a Sestito fight. Two way street, no? I’d be embarrassed if I was Kassian, that’s for sure.

      Also – nice to see the linesman jump in so quickly after Bieksa had the jersey covering his face. Maybe the league has listened to your un-ending crying and started helping the Canucks.

      The most surprising thing from watching last night’s game is realizing that the Oilers have won 15 games this season. How? They are terrible. And the Canucks BARELY beat them. And shoes is happy? LOL – how times have changed.

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      • akidd
        January 22, 2014

        i think the oilers missed the due date on kassian there. also, if the brown/kesler fight is a guideline then the oilers needed to offer up a player who plays a few more minutes. pretty weak effort on the oilers’ part when you think about it. a year late and two lines( 4th-liner vs 2nd liner) shy. that’s one doughnut-fed revenge machine, if that’s what they’re going for. and i don’t think that’s really even called for in this case, unless kassian is as talented at the unintentional as dustin brown is. i’m not big on kassian mocking gagner’s faceshield however….

        the way things have been going lately i’m guessing the canucks might be short more than a few xmas cards next year. it’s like they’re now sworn enemies with half the conference. maybe more if you take into consideration that a team like the wild still apparently still sees the canucks as their no. 1 foe. weird , eh? how do you spell minnisota again?

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  2. Casey Ydenberg (@CAYdenberg)
    January 22, 2014

    All references to Face/Off should be stricken from the internet for all time.

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  3. Andre
    January 22, 2014

    As the headline says:”Canucks hang on against the Oilers to win in regulation”.

    This is hardly inspiring.

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  4. Danny
    January 22, 2014

    Last I checked Bertuzzi and Jovo are still in the NHL. Nice try though Sportsnet

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    • shorty
      January 22, 2014

      they are

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    • KevinZ
      January 22, 2014

      Jovo is in Florida, that barely counts

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  5. jenny wren
    January 22, 2014

    I watched Vancouver lead by two
    The credit due to Bobby Lu,
    Who held the Oilers’ team at bay
    Especially on their power play,
    The lucky first for Lain who’s new,
    And Kass’ off the post and in,
    Which gave his team enough to win!

    I really hoped they’d get some more,
    But they can’t score when five on four
    With or without the missing twin.
    Oilers cut the lead to one,
    And Garrett said we’re “far from done.”
    The Canucks kept their streak alive,
    As they held on with six on five.

    I’d rather it were five to none!
    Edmonton’s almost the worst,
    Vancouver’s still a ways from first.

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  6. Terrence Chan
    January 22, 2014

    I really hope that if Kellen Lain starts playing poorly, Tortorella doesn’t shoot him and hang him from the rafters. That could turn out badly.

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  7. mike
    January 22, 2014

    On your list of active NHLers who were Henrik’s team-mates when he last missed a game, you forgot: Jovonovski and Bertuzzi.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 22, 2014

      Not our list. Sportsnet’s list. But yeah, they were wrong. It’s been chopped from the intro.

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  8. BBoone
    January 22, 2014

    Great to see Kassian and Lane do well. What has been Lanes’ offensive history in his development so far ?

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  9. naturalmystic
    January 22, 2014

    Woot, they beat Edmonton and Calgary, teams that occupy 28th and 29th place in the league. Plan the parade route!

    Let’s see, Vancouver couldn’t put up more than two goals against a team that has a porus defence and forwards that think defensive play is icky. The need a shoot out to beat Calgary a team that has nothing but cast offs in their line up and a back up goalie impersonating a starter and Vancouver couldn’t score more than two goals in regulation.

    Reality check, Vancouver beat two teams that would struggle to compete in the AHL. Vancouver’s collective record against teams ranked 1-6 in the conference is pathetic. So go ahead and crow about beating Edmonton and Calgary and try to forget for just a little while that Chicago, Anaheim, LA, St. Louis, Colorado, San Jose would crush Vancouver without any difficulty.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 22, 2014

      You try so hard, Naturalmystic.

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      • mb13
        January 22, 2014

        Actually Harrisson, one doesn’t have to try too hard. The Canucks are very very good against the bottom feeders in the league. It’s a good thing as they don’t give away points that other teams might playing inferior competition. But really, it’s nothing to get excited about.

        They played in a division of bottom feeders for 2 years and won a total of 1 playoff games after the excitement of beating up on Calgary, Edmonton (and Colorado at the time). Games against the worst teams in the league are not worth watching. They give virtually zero indication of how the Canucks will play against top competition.

        Take Kassian for example – everyone is so high on him lately. He has 5 points in 10 games in January. 2 vs. Alberta (doesn’t count). 1 vs. Anaheim when the game was decided already. They went through a stretch of playing 8 playoff teams in a row (Phi to Ana) where Kassian recorded 2 points that matter (both in one game) and has been criticized for disappearing in a majority of them. So – just like the Canucks, he is good vs. bottom feeders and disappears when the going gets tough. Par for the course.

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        • Neil B
          January 22, 2014

          For all the talk about Vancouver feasting on the weak Northwest Division, it was actually Vancouver’s complete ownership of the East that won them back-to-back regular season bragging rights. But that doesn’t fit your preconceptions, so hey, whatever.

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          • mb13
            January 22, 2014

            in 2010-11 – check the standings. The whole western conference feasted on the east.

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            • Chris the Curmudgeon
              January 23, 2014

              2010-11 check the standings. The Canucks didn’t lose a season series against a single Western Conference opponent. Not even one. If you take their record vs the Northwest out and just looked at their winning percentage against the rest of the league, it was still a President’s Trophy pace. Facts have a way of ruining these sorts of narratives.

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              • mb13
                January 23, 2014

                Listen – all I said was that the Canucks beating up on inferior competition for all those years didn’t help them in the playoffs. They knew they were going to win the division before the season started. They weren’t battle tested. They got dumped out of the playoffs quickly.

                Did I even mention the President’s Trophy? No. Stop putting words in my mouth. So unfortunately you are only ruining the narrative you want me to be saying – not what I’m actually saying.

                All I’m saying is that the Canucks are good at beating up weak teams. They have been for years. So why does everyone get excited by wins vs. Calgary and Edmonton again when they beat them up last year and the year before – and lost 8/9 playoff games.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      January 22, 2014

      You do realize that Vancouver is 4-1-0 against the top 3 teams in the Central combined, right? They’ve had bigger problems with the Pacific to be sure, but at least keep your facts straight. The team may be struggling a bit right now, but of course if they weren’t, I guess you wouldn’t even be here.

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  10. Fruzenius
    January 22, 2014

    I feel like piling players in the opposing goaltenders crease and preventing him from getting back to the net counts as goaltender interference…maybe it’s just me

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    • mac 'n cheese
      January 22, 2014

      It’s not just you! I felt like having his way back to the net blocked by an Oiler taking a rest stop on the ice was iffy at best. If anyone has some clarity on this I’d appreciate it.

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      • peanutflower
        January 23, 2014

        I’m mystified as to why this was not goaltender interference. Anyone?

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  11. Chris the Curmudgeon
    January 22, 2014

    You touch on a good point about Kassian. If a team wants to pick a fight with a guy who actually plays a regular shift like Kassian does, they should send out someone from their team who is also there to play hockey and they can both go. If you are that determined to fight a specific guy who isn’t the goon, you should send out someone your team would actually miss while in the box, because the calculation Zack makes here is just common sense logic: without me, my team will be shorthanded and will have screwed up line combinations for 5-15 minutes, whereas without you, your team will just have a slightly colder spot down at the end of the bench. If that became the “Code”, I bet we start to see enforcers get phased out pretty quick and the fights that do happen wouldn’t just be staged nonsense like most fights are now.

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  12. will
    January 22, 2014

    So I’m a bit confused. Do MB13 and naturalmystic realize that there is an IWTG written after EVERY game? Win or lose, a recap of a game that the Canucks played is found on this website/blog. It isn’t crowing or bragging, it’s just what takes place after every game. That’s why, even when the Canucks gave up a touchdown and a safety to the Ducks, there was an IWTG written. In fact sometimes IWTG is even better after a tough loss or incrediboring game like Nashville.

    Honestly why are you guys still showing up here, trying so hard to troll. Everyone has figured you out…your presence is so predictable that the first few comments written in this very thread are waiting for your inevitable appearance, and you don’t disappoint.

    I’m not angry, I’m not even a little bit peeved…it’s just that I cannot comprehend what the appeal of it all is for you. I could troll some other teams blogs or forums and probably get some good responses but it’s just that…I don’t want to…it doesn’t seem like something that would be in any way fulfilling or entertaining to me. I have better and more enjoyable things to do with my time. Which begs the question….do you? Do you have a team of your own to follow? Any friends or family that you like to spend time with? Maybe some hobby that adds a little variety to your life, like learning a musical instrument or a new language? I mean you are lurking behind your computer screen, trying to get a rise out of complete strangers, and the sad thing is, we are all wise to you and I would imagine the majority of us (like myself) just feel a little bit sorry for you.

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    • mb13
      January 22, 2014

      Hey – I’m here to debate and give credit where credit is due. I think the twins are excellent hockey players and a pleasure to watch every night. I think Hamhuis is very good at what he does even though he has been noticeable this season – usually for his mistakes. Hansen is an honest player that the team can be proud of. Some players like Kesler, Bieksa and Burrows bother me. And Luongo is probably the most overrated goalie of our generation. And I don’t think wins vs. the Oilers or Flames or many of the other teams the Canucks have beaten are anything to get excited about. Even their losses people see as half full – the Kings loss where everyone thought they proved they were tough and a new team…only to lose another 2 in a row. Thankfully, the Pacific division came to the rescue on the schedule just in time.

      Then there are some Canucks fans that truely believe the team can do no wrong. Nolan can turn down Sestito and be riduculed as a chicken. Kassian does the exact same thing – but it’s ok – smart even.

      At the end of the day, these guys are all mercenaries being paid to play a game so an owner can make some money off of people that probably care too much about something that doesn’t matter. The players have zero allegiance to the people that cheer for them and virtually nothing in common with the people that come to watch them play (other than they happen to live in the same city). So if the Canucks do win the Cup… how is your life going to change? It won’t. Or has your life dramatically improved since Canada won gold in 2010? You were happy for a day or two and forgot.

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      • Neil B
        January 22, 2014

        Interesting reply. Thanks!

        I think that Luongo is probably one of the best of his “generation” (ie: ten-year grouping) of goalies. It’s just that most of us remember that an era with Roy, Brodeur, and Hasek wasn’t that long ago, and this “generation” suffers from the comparison.

        The Nolan-Sestito/Gazdic-Kassian comparison is flat. Sestito threw down; Gazdic did not.

        You still haven’t answered the base question, however: why do you feel the need to come on a website & bash the players/teams you dislike, rather than praise/critique the players/teams you do like?

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        • mb13
          January 22, 2014

          Because there is plenty of praise happening here … so why not point out an opposite viewpoint.

          Maybe I’m a glass half empty guy… or maybe I can take a step back, watch the game analytically/dispassionately and realize that the Canucks aren’t the heros that most here think they are. If you disagree – great. If it bothers you – don’t read my posts.

          We’ll agree to disagree on Luongo. The Gazdic/Kassian thing – well you’re never going to have an exact same scenario – but at the end of the day, Kassian declined.. as did Nolan. Perhaps, one might say that Gazdic was smart in not throwing causing his team to get a 7 min penalty vs. an unwilling combatant whereas Sestito got duped. There are two sides to every story.

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          • Chris the Curmudgeon
            January 22, 2014

            Largely true, but it still doesn’t answer his question in the general sense. Why is it worth your time and effort to point out that opposite viewpoint? By your own admission, NHL hockey doesn’t really matter in any important way. There are people all over the internet that post about all kinds of things, and it would probably take you about 5 minutes to find a hundred websites full of people you disagree with vehemently about far more important topics. People who are fans of any certain team, while often deluded into thinking their team is more important than it is (both in the context of that sport and in the larger context of the world and the fabric of humanity in general), have an understandable tendency to assemble to discuss it, even in obviously subjective tones. However, you seem to both dislike this team and consider it to be irrelevant, so it raises the obvious question of why you should bother to spend your time discussing it at length over the internet with strangers, even if it is to provide negative opinions. What do you care what Canucks fans or bloggers think, and why do you care so much that you’d make your way to a group of them with such regularity to address their opinions?

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      • TG66
        January 22, 2014

        MB13 You still don’t get it: Nolan (4th line) vs Sestito (4th line) and Kassian (2-3 line) vs Gazdic (4th line) are completely incomparable. Look at Brown vs Kesler in LA, totally comparable. Bieksa, Burrows and Kesler bother you? Luongo overrated? If the Canucks won the cup it would be an amazing thing to this Province, watching Henrik raise the cup every Saturday night on HNIC the following season, amazing! And one of my most fondest moments was 2002 and 2010 when Canada won Gold; our Nations finest moment. To you maybe nothing, but to fans of Canada’s national sport? Everything. Get a life, I truly do feel sorry for you.

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      • akidd
        January 22, 2014

        nice posts, both chris and mb13, actually. mb13, you raise some good points. i see your brain fires best when it’s in “what’s wrong with this picture’ mode. you probably get a fair amount of dopamine from your exercises. it might not make the best qi-gong as far as thought spent on negativity but you gotta stay sharp on the critical front these days, i know, or the wolves get after you pretty quick.

        but be careful that you’re really being as objective as you think you are. you’ve invested a fair amount into the idea of canuck failure. are you sure that your perception is crystal clear? (fwiw, if i were to venture a stab at objectivity i’d say that for a stretch this year, with games against the hawks, kings , sharks and ducks the canucks looked like they skate with any team in the league. but couldn’t score goals. recently, which way will they trend over the rest of the season? the team could be galvanized emotionally and return to late november form or they could fade in the futility of their goal-scoring prowess. stay tuned. also i was a big schneider fan and i think lou’s looked pretty damn good this year. he’s better positionally, looks more comfortable, better rebound control, no blowouts, better puckhandling, better at shootouts, you name it. you should give some credit where it’s due. )

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        • akidd
          January 22, 2014

          *recently, they’ve been outscored and outplayed.

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    • SomeAnon
      January 23, 2014

      Guys, you’re all forgetting the first rule of the internet: Don’t feed the trolls. People like these two troll people because they’re starved for attention. They’re immature and socially challenged and don’t know how to go about getting GOOD attention so instead they settle for ANY attention. Whenever they come on here and we all get mad and reply to them and downvote them, we’re giving them exactly what they’re after. I guarantee that if we all just completely ignored them, didn’t reply to them, didn’t downvote they’re posts, they would get bored and go away in no time. Guaranteed.

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  13. hth
    January 22, 2014

    Funny part of this game that the cameras may or may not have caught since i was in attendance…

    A LOT of people cheering for the Canucks in the middle of the third period right before the Oilers goal.

    To boot, during the oilers t-shirt toss, some guy tossed one of those shirts back on to the ice.

    For the record I would put money on Daniel Sedin to win a fight vs Taylor Hall, not like we will ever see it happen but im just going to put it out there.

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  14. Dave in PoMo
    January 22, 2014

    I looked back in the archives for posts from mb13 when the Canucks beat the Blues and the Blackhawks. To no surprise, there aren’t any.

    Why did there not need to be “an opposite viewpoint” to the “praise happening here” after those games?

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