I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues, February 26, 2014

It was always going to be a difficult transition from experiencing the wonder that was Team Canada to returning to Vancouver Canucks fandom. That’s a major adjustment. But fortunately, the Canucks didn’t drag things out. Rather than trying to ease us into things, perhaps by playing a dominant, fabulous brand of star-studded hockey for a little bit before eventually settling into their old selves, they just ripped off the band-aid, coming out and playing classic Canucks hockey, circa 2013-14, from the outset.

Lots of shots. Not much to show for it. mediocre powerplay. A reliance on Tom Sestito for offence. I can’t say it was a completely welcome return to normality, but what it was was true to life, and we here at Pass it to Bulis appreciate nothing if not verisimilitude. Apart from the win, which was a weird new wrinkle, everything was in its right place when I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 0 Blues

  • For real though, this was a great game for the Canucks, and not just because they finally won. You could quibble that a lot of their similar problems remained — they only scored once, after all, and generated very little on four powerplays — but they put in a complete performance, winning every period. Their defensive posture was fantastic, and they outshot St. Louis 35-20 overall. They had so much possession at one point their head turned all the way around.
  • Like a clumsy farmer, Jannik Hansen broke the goose egg, taking a backhand pass from Tom Sestito midway through the third period, streaking up the middle of the ice with room, and surprising Jaroslav Halak with a great shot. Come to think of it, he surprised most of Vancouver with that shot. No odes would be written to Jannik Hansen’s hands this season — not even if Bill Withers was a fan.
  • It’s a truism, but Jaroslav Halak would probably like to have that one back, and not just because then he wouldn’t have lost the game. He came out aggressively, but maybe a little too much so, and lost his post like a blogger working with a glitchy server.
  • We should also give some credit to Sestito’s pass here. It was a dump-out on a backhand, but he put a perfect weight on it, letting it fall right onto the stick of a streaking Hansen. It showed a lot of poise. Not many people would be so poised if they saw a streaking Hansen. After all, he would be naked, and he’s quite pale.
  • Alex Steen seemed to have no problem with going back to business as usual, treating Team Sweden teammates Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler as foes. He took a hooking penalty to Edler, taking the blueliner down in the offensive zone, and then he took a cross-checking penalty to Daniel, also in the offensive zone. Or maybe he didn’t transition well, and he thought he was allowed to do these things to teammates.
  • After Roberto Luongo waltzed into the dressing room all high and mighty and declared that he’s “too much of a champion to backstop a team with any dumb stupid loser Swedes”, Eddie Lack got the start in this game instead. He seized the opportunity, stopping every shot he faced like he had just achieved enlightenment in the Matrix.
  • Lack didn’t face a whole lot of rubber (he has an allergy, so the puck was made of polyisoprene), but he still had to be good. The Blues had a number of decent chances, but Lack stood tall, and by stood tall, I meant got down into a flawless butterfly. “Stood tall” really is a terrible expression in this instance. Wow.
  • It was nice to have Henrik Sedin back in the lineup. I didn’t realize how much I missed watching him cross the blueline, and then leave the puck for another version of him, who then crosses the blue line the exact same way. Watching the Sedins play is like watching a really great GIF.
  • David Booth was really throwing the body around in this game, leading the Canucks with three hits and generally being a physical presence. Perhaps taking down an alligator during the break has emboldened him? He should have to kill an alligator before every game. I say, rather than scratching him the next time he wants to send a message, John Tortorella throws Booth into an equipment locker with an alligator and says, “Survive and you play”. Imagine how freaking amped Booth would be after that. Unless he died. Then he would be much less amped.

16 comments

  1. jenny wren
    February 26, 2014

    As long as Eddie shuts teams out,
    We’re in the playoffs there’s no doubt.
    For in this game against the Blues,
    He lets one in we’d likely lose.
    It’s great Vancouver’s shooting more,
    Although they still can’t seem to score.
    One past Eddie and we all know,
    Would be eight losses in a row.

    Big Tom Sestito made the play
    That so helped Hansen break away.
    For a long while I’ll not forget
    The Olde Coot’s cry, “It’s in the net!”
    ‘Twas such a thrill to watch us win,
    If just to see sweet Eddie’s grin!

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  2. akidd
    February 26, 2014

    hey, world record speed on the iwtg. i like it! and probably not a bad strategy with the waning interest in the canucks these days that i’m sure your clik-o-meter indicates.

    a 3rd period goal. and a skill goal at that. did that really happen?//pinch, pinch.

    and it looks like kesler is on his way out with official press leaks today paving the way. those things don’t happen by accident. it’s probably the right move. depending of course on… the return. if kesler truly does want out i don’t blame him one bit. he wants to win and he gave and continues to give it his all. at 29 he deserves a legitimate shot at the cup.

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    • Brent
      February 27, 2014

      Do we really think that Sestito made that incredible pass on purpose or was it just a random clearing attempt that went better than anyone would ever expect?

      I feel it is the later, but I am biased, and would be totally cool if it was the former. I don’t mind being wrong.

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  3. madwag
    February 26, 2014

    he “lost his post like a blogger working with a glitchy server.” that’s quality mr. mooney! well don, sir. cheers.

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    • madwag
      February 26, 2014

      *done

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  4. Bookie
    February 27, 2014

    “Not many people would be so poised if they saw a streaking Hansen. After all, he would be naked, and he’s quite pale.”

    This gives entirely new meaning to the nickname Honey Badger.

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  5. shoes
    February 27, 2014

    Many Canucks fans are totally annoying me these days by acting like Oilers fans or Flames fans and comparing us to those teams… I wonder if they realize finishing out of the playoffs 10 years running is worse than maybe finishing out for the first time in many years?

    The injuries the team suffered were key players and they came after playing through the worst schedule in the NHL. The first 3 ….seven minute PP’s in the history of the game were given by a petulant referee, who also felt the following night that allowing uncalled stickwork against the Canucks “would be a darn good lesson” (credit here to Dave ‘gretal’ Jackson) It was perfect storm of disaster and lets hope it is behind us. Now cue the “injuries don’t matter, and schedule doesn’t matter posts”.

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  6. Lenny
    February 27, 2014

    You guys gonna write a post addressing the Kesler rumours?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 27, 2014

      No. (Yes.)

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  7. Holly
    February 27, 2014

    I love the Bill Withers reference.

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  8. Lyg
    February 27, 2014

    “Watching the Sedins play is like watching a really great GIF.” So true, so true!

    Not a great game by any stretch, but I thought we could breathe a bit more easily now maybe. Until I heard the rumors about Kesler…

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  9. Chinook
    February 27, 2014

    I thought Alex Burrows looked more like his old (goal-scoring, play-making) self, now that he is back to full-health and without the shield. May good results follow.

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    • Andre
      February 27, 2014

      All we need to see now is a return of the Sedin Wizards…

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  10. cathylu
    February 27, 2014

    By the way, is Edler okay after that bad hipcheck? I’ll bet his neck hurts today.

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  11. Brent
    February 27, 2014

    Oh Harrison, your creative juices are flowing! What is your secret? Literary/comedic steroids?
    Or just coffee, black, and red wine like other famous writers? What ever it is, I want some.

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  12. Snepsts
    February 27, 2014

    Didn’t it just feel good when that clock hit zero? All is well with the universe again. The Canucks have won.

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