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.