I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets, March 26, 2013

This was easily the worst game of the season. It’s not that the Canucks were bad at all — in fact, they dominated the Blue Jackets from start to finish — but the entertainment value of this game was nearly non-existent. This game was duller than a beach ball. Construction workers had to turn off the game on the radio so that they could operate heavy machinery. It was like Waiting for Godot with less Godot.

I regret to say that I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, March 12, 2013

After the Canucks put in a disastrous effort against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, panic gripped the streets of Vancouver. Also, hyperbole gripped the streets of Abbotsford. The Canucks entered Columbus on a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jackets came into the game on a five-game winning streak. They were streaking in opposite directions — if they looked over their shoulders, they would see each other’s naked butts.

Thankfully, the Canucks ended both streaks by winning the game in a shootout, so I didn’t have to see any naked hockey players when I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, March 7, 2013

It’s hard to get into these early-start games. The Eastern timezone throws everything out of whack, and suddenly, with puck drop three hours earlier, it’s nigh impossible to settle into the usual routine. The pregame meal happens at the wrong time. You miss the pregame nap. Everything’s awry, and sometimes, it’s difficult to doff that feeling.

I’m not excusing Vancouver’s performance tonight. I’m referring to myself. The 4pm puck drop ruins my whole routine. With my dinner early and my nap straight-up cancelled, I found myself fighting the post-meal snooze blues all night. It was terrible, and the fact that the Canucks and Blue Jackets combined for a game that had all the waking magic of Goodnight Moon didn’t help at all. But because I am a professional, I didn’t fall asleep. Instead, I watched this game.

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I Didn’t Watch This Game: Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, October 19, 2012

It’s remarkably easy to forget about a game that didn’t happen, particularly when your thoughts are occupied with games that did happen. On Friday and Saturday, the Canucks’ prospects were back in BC to play the Abbotsford Heat. Harrison was busy doing colour commentary, while I was busy taking notes and writing game recaps. We both completely missed the game that the Canucks didn’t play in Columbus on Friday.

We both panicked. How could we have forgotten? How could we write an I Didn’t Watch This Game post when we didn’t actually watch the game? Wait, hang on…

I didn’t watch this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets, March 17, 2012

The Columbus Blue Jackets are like Dan from Dan in Real Life (or any other advice columnist from the movies): they can help everyone but themselves. Are your superstars struggling to score? Has it been awhile since your best defenceman wowed everyone? Has your team looked listless for weeks? Well, then you’re in luck, because the Blue Jackets are in town to get your game back on track. They’ll encourage you, set you up to succeed, and even play alongside you, gosh darn it — they want you to do well.

Columbus was exactly what Vancouver needed Saturday night: a beatable opponent. Granted, the Canucks still weren’t perfect, but if there’s one thing you don’t have to be to beat the Blue Jackets, it’s perfect. In the end, the secret to beating Columbus is simply to “score one more goal than them,” as Kevin Bieksa so succinctly put it in the postgame scrum. And that’s what the Canucks did. I watched this game.

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Trade Deadline Summation: What the heck just happened?

Heading into the trade deadline, Mike Gillis was expected to be active. It looked like the Canucks, who are currently first place in the NHL, just needed to make a minor move or two to address issues of depth. Instead, Mike Gillis made arguably the biggest trade of the deadline, sending Calder candidate Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for burgeoning power forward Zack Kassian.

The move was shocking: there had been little indication that Hodgson was the block and Zack Kassian wasn’t on anyone’s radar in Vancouver. But it wasn’t the only trade that the Canucks made and, when taken as a whole, they do make sense. Let’s take a look.

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Well, that was unpleasant. On Tuesday, the Canucks faced the team with the worst record in the NHL and were outplayed through the first period. Then they were unable to score on Steve Mason, arguably the worst starting goaltender in the NHL. Then, after stopping all 3 shootout attempts in Montreal last Thursday, Luongo failed to stop a single Columbus shooter in the shootout.

On the plus side, by losing to the Blue Jackets, the Canucks helped them to the second worst record in the NHL, so the Canucks didn’t technically lose to the worst team in the NHL. I had to work really hard to find a silver lining; in order to do so, I watched this game.

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Breaking news! Cory Schneider is pretty good. The redheaded wunderkind affectionately known as Gingerbricks won his fifth straight and has given up only 4 goals in that span. He has stopped 164 of 168 shots in those five games, for an unreal save percentage of .976. The Canucks haven’t seen this kind of goaltending since, well, last season when Luongo won 6 straight starts, stopping 151 of 160 shots. Huh, I guess he’s pretty good too. In this particular game, Cory Schneider set a career-high with 47 saves. I watched every save because I watched this game.

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The biggest story of the Canucks win over the Blue Jackets last night wasn’t Cody Hodgson’s first goal of the season, the come from behind victory in the third period, or Cory Schneider’s crucial save on a penalty shot. Instead, most fans and the media focused in on a two-minute minor for boarding in the second period and the subsequent response from the Canucks.

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In case you don’t understand why Alain Vigneault puts so much stock into winning faceoffs, consider what happened after Manny Malhotra lost the opening draw of tonight’s game: the Canucks didn’t touch the puck for the next thirty-two seconds, during which time the Blue Jackets applied early pressure and drew a high sticking penalty. Then, before that penalty expired, Marco Sturm took a tripping penalty, and the Canucks wound up spending the first quarter of the period on the penalty kill. As a result, the Sedins didn’t see their first shift until four minutes in, the Blue Jackets held all the momentum for the first half of the period, and the Canucks didn’t register their first shot on goal until twelve minutes into the contest. If Malhotra wins that faceoff, Vancouver gets off to a better start. Thankfully, the Canucks finished better than they began, winning da turd and thereby collecting their first win of the season. And I watched this game.

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Canucks 4 – 1 Blue Jackets What’s the remedy for a team that has very little left to play for? Pit them against a team that never has anything to play for. The Canucks coasted through yesterday’s Sunday matinee game, and probably deserved a loss for such lackadaisical play, but it’s pretty tough to outcoast [...]

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Canucks 2 – 1 Blue Jackets (SO) It’s a shame that the Canucks weren’t wearing their retro jerseys, because this game was a total throwback. The team played poorly, showing a complete lack of offensive flair and a general disarray throughout, but thankfully, Roberto Luongo stood tall and singlehandedly kept them in the game. You’d [...]

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Canucks 7 – Blue Jackets 3 Less than twenty-four hours after a high-octane skillfest with one of the NHL’s elite teams in one of the NHL’s elite hockey markets, the Canucks were sentenced to an evening in Columbus. There was concern that this game could be something of a trap game, as Vancouver realistically couldn’t [...]

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Canucks 3 – 2 Blue Jackets (OT) That was fun, huh? Incredibly, last night was already Ryan Kesler’s fourth multi-goal game of the season, the 13th of his career. However, despite his propensity for scoring in bunches (like a blaxploitation hero), Kesler had yet to net three goals in sixty minutes. Inspired by the Twitterverse’s [...]

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