I Watched This Game: Canucks at Montreal Canadiens, February 6, 2014

Even when the Canucks are good, they’re not good. The Canucks peppered Carey Price with 44 shots, but the net behind him remained only lightly seasoned. Meanwhile, pucks seemed to find their way behind Roberto Luongo in the most convoluted of ways: bouncing off knees, kicked out from under his glove, and kicked in by his own defenceman.

The out-shot the Canadiens by 15 and out-attempted them by 22, but they weren’t just shots from the outside. By Sportsnet’s count, they out-chanced the Canadiens as well. Basically, the Canucks played better than they have in weeks. They still couldn’t score and they still lost. It’s infuriating.

Thankfully, it all ends on Saturday against the Maple Leafs, giving us a two-and-a-half week break from all of this angst. I felt a mixture of dread, anguish, anxiety, and, perversely, hope when I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 5 Canadiens

***

  • Oddly, there was no anthem singer for this game, as Charles Prévost-Linton, their usual anthemist, wasn’t in attendance. I have no idea why. As a result, there were actually over 21,000 anthem singers: the public address announcer, Michel Lacroix, simply asked the crowd to join in singing the anthem with the organist. It was pretty neat and a nice reminder that we’re all going to be cheering for the same team not too long from now.
  • Just a few days ago, Raphael Diaz and Dale Weise switched teams and both players featured prominently in their first meeting against their old team. Weise got the first shot of the game for Montreal, a good backhanded scoring chance, and added an assist, while Diaz played nearly 22 minutes, including time on the first unit on the power play, and had an assist of his own. Unfortunately, the game ended before Diaz and Weise got to “Any note you can reach, I can sing higher.”
  • David Booth came in like a wrecking ball in this game — but was fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your taste in men) fully clothed. He had a game-high 7 hits, including steamrolling P.K. Subban early in the game. I believe that kind of hit is traditionally known as a “rectum rattler” because traditional hockey folks are gross.
  • Booth seems to play better after getting involved physically early on, either throwing a hit or receiving one, and led all Canucks forwards with 5 shots on goal. His best chance came off a Zack Kassian rebound on a 2-on-1, but Price shut the door like he didn’t grow up in a barn.
  • Max Pacioretty scored one of the oddest hattricks I’ve seen since Kid the Wiz, having his first goal deflect off his knee on the power play from a Subban point shot, his second came on an uncalled icing, and the third into an empty net. But what truly elevated his hattrick into the oddity hall of fame was the fact that he also had two penalty shots in the space of two minutes and was stopped on both.
  • Pacioretty’s first penalty shot was frustrating, as a moment earlier Pascal Pelletier had been felled by a dirty butt-end from Alexei Emelin, and I don’t mean that Emelin hit him with his unwiped buttocks, because that would be super, super-gross. I mean that Emelin jabbed the butt-end of his stick into Pelletier’s ribs in a particularly dirty fashion. The refs missed it because they couldn’t believe that Pascal Pelletier was actually on the ice in an NHL game.
  • Here’s the Canucks season in a nutshell: on an odd-man rush with 5 seconds left in the second period, Chris Higgins received a pass with an open net to shoot at. His stick broke. Of course his stick broke.
  • To be fair, the Canucks did manage to score a couple goals, both, bizarrely enough, on the power play. It was only the third time this season they’ve scored two power play goals in a game. The first was a fortunate bounce, the kind the Canucks don’t seem to get any more, as a Jordan Schroeder rebound bounced straight out to Jason Garrison, whose shot deflected off a couple bodies, including that of Higgins. I like to think Higgins propelled the puck in with his abs, but it looked more like it hit his shin, which is one of the least sexy parts of the body. Of course, there could be such a thing as a shin fetish, but I refuse to google it and find out.
  • The Canucks second goal came midway through the third thanks to a perfect wristshot by Alex Edler. The interesting thing about this goal is where Edler was on the power play, coming off the half wall on the right side, with Diaz at the point. For a brief moment, he was playing the role of Henrik Sedin, albeit with a much, much better shot.
  • The Canucks had five power plays to the Canadiens’ one, but it was mainly because the Canadiens were so lackadaisical about taking penalties, knowing how terrible the Canucks have been, as evidenced by how their Too Many Men penalty was actually a Too Many Teams penalty. At one point they had 10 skaters with at least one skate on the ice.

  • Seriously, poor Alex Edler. The guy had a great game, with a whopping 14 shot attempts, 8 of them on net, 1 of them in net. But he killed the Canucks chances at a comeback 8 minutes into the third when he intercepted a pass on a 2-on-1, then accidentally kicked the puck in.
  • The makeshift first line of Daniel Sedin, Jordan Schroeder, and Alex Burrows managed to dominate, mainly facing Subban and Gorges, the Canadiens’ top pairing. With Burrows on the ice, the Canucks out-shot the Canadiens 14-3 at even-strength. One of those three shots, of course, went in and the first line was also on the ice for the empty-net goal, so Burrows and Daniel finished minus-2 and Schroeder finished minus-1. Hockey is so dumb, you guys.
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17 comments

  1. GeezMoney
    February 7, 2014

    As awfully awful as the Canucks have been, they would still somehow only pick 17th in the draft if it were tomorrow. I don’t know what’s worse: that this team sucks right now or that I am looking at where they’ll be picking already. God might hate Cleveland, but the Universe can’t stand the Canucks.

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    • J21
      February 7, 2014

      This is why the NHL draft system is so problematic. It basically is bad to try to make the playoffs and narrowly miss. There shouldn’t be a disincentive from doing as well as possible.

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  2. BBoone
    February 7, 2014

    During the next slow news day , could you please list the 10 players who have the ” no trade “clause and what their cap hit is next year ? Does a no trade clause cover a trade to every other team or only some teams. Thanks

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    • 5minutesinthebox
      February 7, 2014

      NTCs only state that a player cannot be traded without consenting to it (so it would be redundant to specify which teams).
      In the case of the Canucks the NTCs were given out by Gillis as a show of good faith, as the players they were given out to signed for below market value to help the team. Thus the Canucks cant simply trade away players whenever they feel like it.
      This does not mean players cannot be moved, but most certainly makes doing so more difficult as the teams a player may agree to look at would limit the options.

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    • Cody
      February 8, 2014

      Here they are: H/D Sedin – 7M each
      Ryan Kesler- 5m
      Alex Burrows – 4.5M
      Chris Higgins – Limited NTC – 2.5M
      Alex Edler – 5M
      Kevin Bieksa – 4.6M
      Jason Garrison – 4.6M
      Dan Hamhuis – 4.5M
      Roberto Luongo- 5.3M

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  3. Andre
    February 7, 2014

    Daniel, what dance do you recommend to appease the Gods?

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    • Andre
      February 7, 2014

      Daniel, we beg you.

      We’re very desperate.

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  4. whisky jack
    February 7, 2014

    A blatant dive, a five and four,
    Les Habitants are first to score.
    When Weise assists, they get one more.
    I’ve seen enough more of the same;
    I’m leaving for my poker game.

    But first I eat some beans and rice,
    See Higgins score on Carey Price,
    And Bobby Lu not once but twice,
    Kick aside a penalty shot,
    The two that Pacioretty got.

    I drove to poker where I heard
    Vancouver vanished in the third,
    And so another loss incurred.
    I did not lose like the Canucks,
    But returned home up fifty bucks.

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  5. Zach Morris
    February 7, 2014

    Maybe it’s just my own personal bias, but it seems like you guys have rarely mentioned Luongo in your IWTG writeups this year.

    How did he play? I must know! My self-worth is inextricably tied to his performance!

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  6. iain
    February 7, 2014

    we canucks fans are finally getting payback for having had a contending team to cheer for over the best part of the last 5 years. we always knew, deep in our hearts, that such an offence against the nature of the universe could not last.

    4 wins in 20 games – that is almost into bill laforge territory, my friends.

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  7. J21
    February 7, 2014

    Re: Pacioretty’s two penalty shots. The first one looked like a dive to me — as in, he had no reason to actually fall down after being tied up from in front, even if it was a penalty.

    The second one I didn’t take so much issue with, but I feel they would often call that a penalty instead of a penalty shot (because the diving player sort of was near the puck or something), and in the playoffs let it go entirely as a “good, hard-nosed play” or some such.

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  8. 5minutesinthebox
    February 7, 2014

    The first one wasnt a penalty at all (total dive) never mind a penalty shot, the 2nd one you will see that Burrows actually hit puck first (Pac incidentally lifts his foot and Burrows stick goes right under it and hits puck.)

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  9. steveB
    February 7, 2014

    I kept faint hop until it went to 3-1.
    I knew that there was no way the current edition of the Canucks would prevail, turned the television off and practised my guitar.

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  10. mb13
    February 7, 2014

    Anybody hear the team’s used car salesman on the radio yesterday when discussing potential moves and the amount of “no trade clauses”? He claims the Canucks have one of the fewest “no movement clauses” in the league. LOL

    What does Don Draper say? If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.

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  11. Noodle
    February 7, 2014

    This season would be much easier to stomach if we just had even one Cup win in the last 44 years. As it stands, I do find it a bit painful to watch as the missed opportunity of the 2011 run gets further and further in the rearview mirror, with no crystal ball to tell me when we will finally win.

    That being said, based on the average gaps between previous Canucks Finals appearances, we’re due for our next Finals appearance in 2024…

    /runs away screaming

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  12. Angry Canadian
    February 7, 2014

    I blame Edmonton for all our current woes. They’re 4-1 since our last meeting with them, and we’re 0-6. I think they stole our mojo during that game, somehow, making them the Dr Evil of the NHL.

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  13. Marc
    February 8, 2014

    Alex Edler, coming off the half wall on the PP to score with a left-handed wrist shot on the far side, and you compare him to Henrik Sedin? It wasn’t that long ago. Naslund. Naslund. Naslund.

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