The last time we saw the Canucks, they were fighting for their playoff lives versus the Anaheim Ducks. (Not that they seemed to know it. It’s like they don’t even read the papers. Typical millennials.) It didn’t go well, and they were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, making Thursday’s tilt with the Avalanche their first truly meaningless game of the year.
At first, I thought it was going to be impossible to get up for this game, meaningless as it was. But then I remembered life is meaningless, and I find reasons to get up for that every day. By rewarding myself with a bagel, I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 4 Avalanche
- There was some beautiful symmetry at work in this game. The Canucks last truly meaningless game, and by that I mean the last game they played after being eliminated from playoff contention, was Trevor Linden’s final game as a player in 2008. Their next game? His first as Team President. It was meant to be, like Ted and Robin. And, like Ted and Robin finally getting together, fans hated everything that led up to it.
- Also, the Canucks lost both games. What’s the common element? Trevor Linden. #FireLinden
- The Sedins were buzzing Thursday night, which is either a good sign that they’re back, or a good sign that they’re bees. Perhaps both. Twin bees. (Related: Twin Bee was an awesome arcade game.) In any case, they were responsible for the game’s opening goal, scored after Henrik Sedin got his stick on a Dan Hamhuis point shot. Like Francesco Aquilini hiring Trevor Linden as team president amid all sorts of concerns about his over-involved role in this calamitous season, it was an expert deflection.
- Nicklas Jensen played this game with the Sedins, and he looked good there, except for on the Avalanche’s first goal. During some impressive cycling in the offensive zone, Jensen tried to walk the blueline with no one backing him up and was victimized by Paul Stastny. Let this be a lesson to you, Nicklas: always make sure you have backup. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Dana Scully always forgot to do this, and she worked for the FBI.
- Speaking of unexplainable things, Don Taylor spent the whole night calling Rogers Arena “The house that Linden built”. He’s been president for one day. Are we also going to give him credit for this roster? Even Mike Gillis didn’t get credit for it. But I guess that’s just how it goes now. After the game, Linden visited the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada House, The Provincial Law Courts, Simon Fraser University, Robson Square, and UBC’s Walter C. Koerner Library, and was given credit for building all of those.
- David Booth continued his argument for not being bought out, with 5 shots on goal in just 11 minutes of ice-time and his ninth goal of the year. When Dan Hamhuis’s point shot missed the net and came off the boards, Booth fanned at his first opportunity, then corralled his second and went upstairs like a married couple in a family sitcom when the writers want to imply that they’re about to do sex to each other.
- I know a lot of people want the Canucks to tank, so as to improve their draft seeding, but I’ve always hated the idea of tanking. It has nothing to do with some romantic notion of “playing for pride”. I just really identify with making others feel bad because you feel bad. The Avalanche, for instance, are chasing the Blues for the Central Division title. I like the idea of the Canucks trying to stand in the way of that, just to be dicks.
- This really was the most Alex Edler game ever. The guy had a game-high eight shots on goal, he was driving play, but he took two penalties, and he finished the night minus-2. Part of this is his usual bad luck: he did nothing wrong to earn a minus on Stastny’s breakaway goal. Frankly, the other one was bad luck too, as Kevin Bieksa turned the puck over deep in the Avalanche end, leading to a two-on-one the other way. But I don’t even blame Bieksa for that minus. I blame Tortorella. When Alex Edler is the stay-at-home side of your defensive pairing, you are coaching poorly.
- Jacob Markstrom started this game for the Canucks, and frankly, he looked a lot like the similarly tall Eddie Lack, especially when he was scored on more times than the guy at the other end.
- With Trevor Linden the man of the hour, John Garrett treated us to a little trivia: what number did Linden wear in his first preseason game? 49, he told us, while scoffing at the absurdity of this number. I’ve never understood this part of hockey, where certain numbers are just inherently ridiculous and no one should ever wear them. Seven? Sure. Go for it. Seven squared? Don’t be an idiot.
- I enjoyed Dan Hamhuis’s post-game interview. He was asked about Linden’s hiring. This is his actual quote: “I like a lot of the stuff that Mike [Gillis] was doing while he was here. What he was doing in the community, that was a big thing for him and big thing for this organization, and I know it always has been for Trevor too, so just looking forward to seeing how Trevor picks that up.” Community Man to the end.