I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, March 29, 2014

Hey, remember the Northwest? Back in the day, the Canucks were the lone bright spot in a division so hapless — yes, so utterly devoid of haps — that it would occasionally spit out freebies, like a malfunctioning vending machine. They’d waltz into Minnesota, Colorado, Calgary, or Edmonton, and before they could even hit the ice: instant win. The Division would belch out a couple points, and the team would add them to the pile and head home.

I know the Canucks haven’t forgotten, because they’ve spent most of this season doing their best to keep the spirit of the Northwest alive and well in the new-look Pacific. Of course, since their role — the dominant team snatching up all the easy wins – has been split among the California teams, they’ve really had no choice but to settle in as one of the bottom-feeders handing out free points.

It suddenly dawned on me that the Canucks have become last year’s Colorado Avalanche when I watched this game.

Canucks 1 – 5 Ducks

  • With this loss, the Canucks’ odds of making the playoffs dropped just under one per cent. One per cent. Unless you’re talking about milk, that’s terrible. Granted, it’s no two per cent, it doesn’t keep as long as Almond, and it doesn’t even come close to chocolate, but one per cent milk is a pretty good get. Plus you can dunk an Oreo in it. You can’t dunk an Oreo in the Canucls’ playoff odds, which is the biggest shame of all.
  • I’m disappointed, and I don’t really know why. If I’m being completely honest, nothing the Canucks have done recently ever suggested to me they were capable of winning this game. Really, the only thing that made me think they might is that they needed to, and I’ve seen enough movies to know that when a protagonist needs to do something, it usually happens for him. So basically, my belief that the Canucks might win this game was based on the same thing that lets me believe Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s preposterous use-a-lightning-strike-to-power-the-DeLorean would work.
  • You know your team’s season has gone badly when cheering for them calls for suspension of disbelief.
  • This one went off the rails pretty early, as the Canucks found themselves down a pair after surrendering two goals to the Ducks in a one-minute span. Yeah, you can’t do that to Anaheim and still win. Buffalo is the team you can do that to. Buffalo.
  • Fortunately, the Canucks’ best players — that’s Brad Richardson, Zack Kassian, and David Booth, if you missed the systematic, six-month dismantling of the Canucks’ core  – were unwilling to let the team go down without a fight. They got one back in short order, pressuring in the Anaheim end before Brad Richardson pounced on a rebound and tucked it home. Be sure to note the little dance routine that he and David Booth do at the moment the goal is scored. That’s a sign the two of them are in synch. Heck, if there were there more of them, it would be a sign that they’re ‘N Sync.
  • Now let’s play a game called “Exciting or depressing?” Kassian picked up an assist on the goal, pushing his point streak to four games. It’s the longest point streak by any Canuck in 2014. Exciting or depressing?
  • Truthfully, this was the big difference between Anaheim and Vancouver. Anaheim has stars. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are twin menaces out there — every time they’re on the ice, you worry. There was a time when the Canucks had twin menaces. Heck, they were even twins. But right now, the Canucks’ best players are a fourth-line center on a roll, a guy people want bought out, and a guy that gets into arguments with jacks-in-the-box.
  • I was thinking this during Burrows’ fight with Getzlaf especially. Burrows has been a major role player on the Canucks of recent years. In this game, my reaction to this fight was “good trade-off”. Get Getzlaf off the ice.
  • I enjoyed Kassian’s battle with the aptly-named Pat Maroon,  who so didn’t want to fight that he turned his back on Kassian like a vengeful god. Even better news? Faced with the back of a foe’s head, Kassian’s didn’t punch it, then ride that foe to the ice. And you all said he was the next Todd Bertuzzi.
  • Explain to me how Kevin Bieksa, who was so hurt the Canucks called up Frank Corrado on an emergency basis, played a game-high 25:36 in this game. I understand he wanted to play, and he was probably going to be more effective, even hobbled, than the still developing Corrado, but icing him for a full four minutes than the next-closest Canucks seems absurd. I don’t mean to question John Tortorella, but John, what are you doing? I have questions.
  • When Alain Vigneault was fired, we knew that there was going to be a bidding war for his services. He was in high demand. When John Tortorella is fired — and one assumes he will be at the end of this season — will anybody want to hire him? Honestly, this has been such a disaster, on the heels of his falling out in New York, that he seems downright toxic. And the more I think about it, if nobody would want your guy if you let him go, you probably shouldn’t want him either.
  • Finally, Nicklas Jensen finished this game a minus-2, and while he wasn’t directly at fault on either goal, he had moments that coaches hate. On the Sbisa goal, Jensen challenged at the point but got out of the way of the shot. On the Koivu goal, he had a chance to get the puck up the boards and it didn’t get out. Stuff like that will get you benched like the ice in front of Robbie Ftorek.

19 comments

  1. BBoone
    March 30, 2014

    General Laforgorella, will now deploy his troops by having all five skaters stand in front of Lack
    and block shots. As their ranks thin he can replace them with his bench players. Every Canuck will demand a trade. The Johnald will then an unsolicited 5 year extension from Aquaman. As season ticket renewals plummet , the Hot Dog Vendor with the most seniority is let go.

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    Rating: +7 (from 11 votes)
  2. akidd
    March 30, 2014

    well, it was a nice little romp through the middling teams of the nhl. if we had forget our hard-fought beliefs that the canucks weren’t contenders this year they were brutally highlighted tonight. that’s some good team, them ducks. worthy of awe, really. and they’re not alone. and those other god-like teams are mostly in the pacific divison and they won’t be going away any time soon. nope, right in the face again next year. so…anyone else wanna hold steady with the vets and hope that a healthier team next year will be able to roll with the big guys? get those young guys a good couple of years in the ahl then some prime 4th line minutes with the big club until they’re good and ready? how about giving torts another year to really put his system in place.? it’s only fair.

    we saw an elite team tonight. shoulda taken a picture.

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  3. Doop
    March 30, 2014

    yea

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  4. Chinook
    March 30, 2014

    For many Canadian hockey fans the race to watch is between the Maple Laffs and the Canuckles, to see whose coach / gm will get the axe first and get the prize of a superior draft choice. Worse yet, there is no shortage of rivals across the nation.

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  5. Drowning.Duck
    March 30, 2014

    Akidd -

    You keep a new coach for another year when it becomes apparent his system is starting to take hold after the expected adjustment period. See AV in New York.

    Every single system, including the vaunted PK, has puttered and died as the season progressed. Every single player and fan knows this.

    Even if it was 100% bad luck (which it wasn’t – he was the final straw leading to the loss of the best goalie this franchise has had in over 4 deacdes) his message is falling on uninterested ears.

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    • Pavo
      March 30, 2014

      Gallows humour I know, but we’ll take our laughs where we find them.

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      Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
    • akidd
      March 30, 2014

      hey duck, i was being sarcastic there. i doubt that there’s a single person left in the province who thinks tortorella should be given another year.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  6. cathylu
    March 30, 2014

    I’ve got nothin’……

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  7. toulouse toucan
    March 30, 2014

    A disappointing waste of time:
    Watching us play Anaheim.

    Whisky Jack defining “sucks”:
    “To finish eighth and play the Ducks,”
    Understanding it now were best,
    “To flip the pool and lose the rest.”

    With playoff chances next to none,
    Fight for draft pick number one.

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    • jeremy
      March 30, 2014

      a pick from eight to twelve we’ll claim
      and from that spot? the boy’s the same.
      instead of lose, better to be amassin’
      a few wins to boost the zack assassin

      to the teams we’ll have to front next year:
      watch closely, now, and start to fear.
      starting to think that zack’s all that?
      just watch him when he’s with horvat.

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  8. Zach Morris
    March 30, 2014

    It’s great to see Booth playing with such confidence! If we had a few more bounces in this one, it would have gone the other way.

    Getzlaf is a truck.

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  9. Wetcoaster
    March 30, 2014

    Watching the game, I wonder if maybe, Edler and the Sedins sat Lack down and carefully articulated to him the importance of Operation Tank. In Swedish, of course, to keep Torts in the dark.

    “Yes, yes, we were just explaining the finer points of Roxy etiquette. Not planning a tank job that might get you fired, coach”

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  10. DanD
    March 30, 2014

    I wish the Canucks could get all their haps back.

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  11. Kenji
    March 31, 2014

    By playing Lack so many games in a row, they are teaching him how to play a lot of games in a row. Meanwhile, that’s not hurting their chances at an excellent draft pick.

    I appreciate that. The team is tanking without being seen to be dogging it. Intentionally losing is nearly a capital crime against the affections (and wallets) of fans, but every fan also understands that excellence is cyclical. At best.

    With a few bold moves, this team is back on top. But first, the owner must shed the curse on his team. He knows what to do.

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  12. Procrastination Man
    March 31, 2014

    Lost amid the frustration is one of the best observations on sports fandom I’ve read in a while:

    “You know your team’s season has gone badly when cheering for them calls for suspension of disbelief.”

    Bravo sir.

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  13. Ham Danhuis
    March 31, 2014

    “So basically, my belief that the Canucks might win this game was based on the same thing that lets me believe Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s preposterous use-a-lightning-strike-to-power-the-DeLorean would work.”

    Gasoline powered the DeLorean. The lightning strike powered the flux capacitor.

    Unlike Harrison, I watched this movie.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 31, 2014

      GET OUT.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 31, 2014

      Ah, but have you read the novelization of Back to the Future and “B to the F”, the review of said novelization?

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  14. Ham Danhuis
    March 31, 2014

    Sadly no on both counts. But I do plan to (Mc)Fly to London next year to see “Back to the Future: The Musical”.

    And Huey Lewis and the News better be involved!

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