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.