I always enjoy the atmosphere the Staples Centre brings to a telecast. It’s a boisterous enemy area. But if there’s one thing I still can’t handle about the Canucks’ visits to LA, it’s that execrable, heinous bumper video in which South Park sociopath Eric Cartman screams “Go Kings go!” over and over and over. It’s the worst. “Chelsea Dagger” is “Strawberry Fields Forever” compared to that thing. If you’ve ever read Hamlet, and wondered how, exactly, one perpetrates an ear poisoning, wonder no more. Seriously. You could commit regicide with this video.
Speaking of regicide, the Canucks did their best to off the Kings on Monday night, if by “did their best” you mean played badly, but were fortunate to have Roberto Luongo in goal. However, while they were fortunate in this sense, they were unfortunate in the sense that Luongo’s incredible play wasn’t quite enough to overcome their mediocre play — which, if you watched Luongo’s performance, should make clear how truly mediocre their play was. It was clear to me, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks beat the Ducks on Friday, despite getting outplayed at even-strength, by essentially being jerks: they earned powerplays and cashed in with the man-advantage. You could tell right off the opening puck drop, or rather, before the opening puck drop, that they were going to try to do the same thing against the Sharks.
It half-worked: the Canucks did get outplayed at even-strength. Unfortunately, the powerplay floundered, fizzled, sputtered, and misfired, getting only 7 shots on 7 opportunities and Cory Schneider couldn’t bail the team out fast enough when the defence shot holes in the boat. I watched their gameplan fall apart when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Ducks spoiled the Canucks’ home opener and Schneider’s first start as the Canucks’ new number one goaltender, thumping them 7-3. It caused endless bellyaching in Vancouver and reignited the goalie controversy, so it was only fair that the Canucks return the favour, spoiling the Ducks’ home opener.
I pointed out earlier today that it would be foolish to panic this early in the season, particularly because the Canucks had the possibility of moving up to first in the Northwest Division with a win and a Minnesota Wild loss. 10 hours later, the Canucks are first in the Northwest Division and Cory Schneider has a shutout to his credit. Panic over. Goalie controversy over.
At least until Sunday, when the Canucks could conceivably drop to fourth in the division, Schneider could give up a soft goal or two, and we’ll be back where we started. Sigh. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks really needed this win. It wasn’t just that they were 0-1-1 heading into it. It was much worse than that. As a colleague who will remain nameless because I’m about to make fun of him pointed out to me, they weren’t just winless in their first two. They were 1-4-2 in their last seven, dating back to last postseason. Ah, but I pointed out to him that if we’re just going to trace the Canucks’ record back to arbitrary dates, we should point out that they’re actually 52-26-11 dating back to the beginning of last season. Perhaps, my colleague responded, but they’re a mediocre 1353-1455-391-83 dating back to the beginning of the franchise.
That’s almost 100 games under five hundred. You can see how badly they needed this win. Sure, it’s a big hole to crawl out of, but you’ve got to take these things one game at a time. Tonight was one such game, and I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
I don’t gamble for multiple reasons, first and foremost because I don’t have any money. I do find gambling interesting, however, mainly because it involves legions of people who think they know better than the experts who design the games and set the table odds to ensure that the house always wins.
Sports betting is especially fascinating, as fans always think they have some special insight into the game from the many hours they spend watching it. There’s a lot of money to be made in sports betting, most of it on the side of the casinos and websites, but the knowledgeable bettor can occasionally carve out a small hunk of money for themselves.
So, out of curiosity, I checked Bodog.ca to see what the oddsmakers had to say about the Canucks for this season. And some of their odds don’t make any sense in reality, but make perfect sense when it comes to gambling.Continue Reading —›
As if you didn’t already feel sort of dirty about your unqualified excitement for Game 1 of the Canucks’ season following yet another NHL lockout, consider the following factoid from Matt Baker: the last time the Canucks opened their season against the Ducks was in 1997, in Tokyo, with Mark Messier scoring in a 3-2 win.
Disgusting, right? I mean… Tokyo. I’ve heard it’s very overpopulated.
I kid. Anyway, despite the fact that the Canucks iced Mark Messier, the 1997 home opener was a much more successful outing than this one. If you were, as mentioned, a little uncomfortable with your excitement heading into Saturday night’s affair, the Canucks did their best to stomp all of that passion right out for you, serving up one of the worst stinkers in recent memory. This game was so bad, I almost missed the lockout. Almost. As bad as it was, it was still Canucks hockey. The circumstances could be better, but for the first time in nine months, I’m pleased to say I watched this game:Continue Reading —›
While the NHL lockout ended last Sunday morning, it actually didn’t officially end until late Saturday night, when the NHLPA ratified the CBA, the memorandum of understanding was signed, the rosters were unfrozen, and the 2013 NHL schedule was released. Also, someone waved a green flag. We are, ladies and gentlemen, officially back in business.
Let’s talk about the schedule. You might recall that, before the 2012 half of 2012-13 was hacked away by idiocy and the league had to rewrite the whole bloody thing, the Canucks were fairly happy with this year’s schedule. You’ll be pleased to know that the revamped calendar will likely satisfy them as well.
As usual, Vancouver will be one of the most-traveled teams. According to On the Forecheck, the Canucks will rack up 29,117 travel miles in the 48-game season. Only the Minnesota Wild (31,345) and the Dallas Stars (29,482) will cover more ground.
But, while the Canucks will spend a lot of time in the air, they still managed to catch a serious break in the densely-packed schedule: they are one of only 6 teams with 7 or fewer back-t0-backs.Continue Reading —›
Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche would have been the 11th game of the 2012-13 schedule for the Vancouver Canucks. What that really means, however, is that 10 games would have already passed prior to the game with the Avalanche and Canucks fans would have been finally allowed to pass judgement on the team thus far.
For some reason, 10 games is held up as the standard. Early in the season, as fans fly off the handle with pronouncements of doom if their team loses a few, or jubilation and parades if their team gets off to a hot start, people caution fans to “wait 10 games” before freaking out. That means that we were due for a good old-fashioned Canucks fan freakout prior to their game against the Avalanche.
The truth is, we don’t even know that much after 10 games. Teams can very easily be first place in their division, then crash and burn through the rest of the season and miss the playoffs, like the Minnesota Wild. Other teams can get off to terrible starts and do just fine during the rest of the season, like the Bruins starting last season 3-7 then winning their division.
We’ll never know how those first 10 games would have gone for the Canucks, but hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of the remainder of the season. I didn’t watch this game.Continue Reading —›
Okay. Canucks versus Stars. But first some real talk (NSFW link).
I was really hoping that we would only be writing the “I Didn’t Watch This Game” feature until the end of October, but while I was putting this one together, the NHL cancelled all games through November 30. Granted, I’ve expected this since the last offer came in, since I suspected all along that the last two weeks have had nothing to do with real, meaningful negotiations. You can’t even say that at least the two sides found a middle ground at 50/50, as some are saying, because the NHL’s offer was hardly a real offer. Here’s what I believe happened: the NHL’s 50/50, 82-game-saving offer was a Trojan horse. They knew full well that it would be rejected. But it looked good on paper and online; it made them look conciliatory and helpful and, a day after their focus group had been leaked and two weeks after they cancelled the first block of games, this was necessary way to get inside the players’ P.R. fortress.
By setting up a situation where the league looked interested in saving the full schedule, then letting the players inevitably reject it, the NHL effectively restaged the cancellation of that first block of games and had people re-experience the frustration, this time with animosity directed towards the unyielding union. In short, nothing happened these last two weeks except a perfectly orchestrated ploy to win the P.R. tug of war ahead of today’s batch of cancellations. Here’s Bill Daly’s statement on the cancellations, which basically gives the whole plan away:
“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.”
I suspect that, if Bill Daly’s son was Max from Liar, Liar and today was the day after Max’s fifth birthday, this statement would be very different. If I weren’t such a diehard, these last two weeks would be enough for me to walk away from the game forever. Unfortunately, I am a diehard, so it pains me to no end to say that I didn’t watch this game.Continue Reading —›
On Monday night, the Canucks didn’t have their first meeting of the season with the Detroit Red Wings. Last season the two teams finished with identical 2-1-1 records against each other thanks to each team picking up a win after regulation. This means, of course, that the two teams are so evenly matched that absolutely nothing would have happened in this game, which, incidentally, is exactly what actually happened.
It would have been a complete stalemate, which would have been avoidable if the Canucks hadn’t traded Cody Hodgson, chess master, away. Way to go, Gillis.
I didn’t watch this game.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
The start of the NHL season is a magical time: hope springs eternal, as even the worst teams in the NHL can put together a couple early victories and leave their fans convinced that this is the year the turn-around begins. Speaking of the worst teams in the NHL, the Canucks were scheduled to play the Oilers on Saturday night.
It was also set to be the first Hockey Night in Canada of the year, with eager fans tuning in to see Don Cherry not mention the Canucks at all. It would also be the first Don Cherry suit of the season and, perhaps more importantly, the first Kevin Weekes suit of the season. I suspect it would have been baby blue, with a smidge of dark brown.
Fans were deprived of such glorious sights by the NHL lockout. Instead of watching the Canucks take on the Oilers, I played road hockey for hours in the pouring rain and now I have a cold. Thanks a lot, lockout. I didn’t watch this game.Continue Reading —›
When it comes down to it, this summer has been nothing new for Vancouverites. If we’re being honest, we’ve been wishing for the Phoenix Coyotes to fail since they began.
Sure, a trip to Jobing.com Arena is a cheap date. We like that. But that’s about all we like about the “experiment”, as we condescendingly call it, in the desert.
The NHL’s Sun Belt expansion upsets us. It upsets us because the Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup and we want them to really badly. The very idea that apathetic southern American markets like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Carolina, and Tampa Bay could celebrate Stanley Cup wins — and many have — while we enter decade five of riotous desire is downright infuriating. And thus we root for their demise.
All of this is to say that the circumstances of this summer, which have Vancouverites cheering for Phoenix to bomb out of the desert, really haven’t changed much in our approach to that franchise. It’s just changed the reasoning.Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks’ 2012-13 schedule was released Thursday, and you know what? It’s not half-bad. Mike Gillis even went so far as to call the entire thing “travel-friendly” on the radio Wednesday, and he’s right, at least compared to previous years. The longest road trips are only five games and they’re both out of the way by the end of November. The Canucks only makes 3 trips out East the entire year, they don’t visit Florida, and the trips don’t have them darting all over the globe, willy-nilly, like they’re tracking Carmen Sandiego.
As for the games of note, well, there’s a Saturday night tilt with Boston on the 29th of December that will probably be a lot of fun, although the Canucks conspicuously omitted this one on their list of dates to remember. (This is easy to explain. When Mike Gillis blamed some of the Canucks’ struggles in the back half of the season on emotional exhaustion from last season’s Boston game, the marketing department effectively forfeited the right to make a big deal of this year’s at all. They’d be defenestrated for that.) We’ll probably all enjoy the visit from the Maple Leafs two Saturdays prior, especially if acquire Roberto Luongo some time between them and now, and tilts with the Blackhawks and Red Wings will be as enjoyable as ever.
But let’s not talk about the games we know will be good. Someone else will do that. Instead, let’s take a look at the games I’m pretty sure are going to suck. Here are five that project to be exceedingly lame.Continue Reading —›
The Dreaded Two-Goal Lead is an infrequent PITB feature used specifically to recover quickly after falling behind. What’s with the name? Well, as you no doubt know, a two-goal lead – often called “the worst lead in hockey” – is super easy to come back from. Similarly, while Canucks’ news comes fast and furious, and sometimes (say, in the summer, when we’re busy resting on our laurels) we find ourselves playing catchup, this feature allows us to catch up almost effortlessly.Continue Reading —›
Though it was a tough way to lose the game, the Canucks can take solace in getting the game to overtime and earning the single point. Wait, what? That’s not how it works in the playoffs? The Canucks have been eliminated? That’s it? It’s over? Oh. I watched this game. Canucks 1 – 2 Kings [...]Continue Reading —›
The return of Daniel Sedin on Wednesday was expected to have a trickle-down effect on the Canucks lineup, but Alain Vigneault wasn’t content to just put things back the way they were. He put David Booth, who had just one goal in his last 14 games, with the twins and put Dan Hamhuis on the point of the powerplay instead of returning Sami Salo to his usual spot.
Both turned out to be good decisions: Booth picked up the primary assist on Kevin Bieksa’s gamewinning goal by using his speed to back off the defence, giving Bieksa plenty of room to shoot, while Hamhuis set up Alex Edler on the opening goal on the powerplay.
Both Booth and Hamhuis played a major role in Henrik Sedin’s insurance marker in the third period as well. I had an insurance marker once. It was a felt pen from where my parents bought insurance. It wasn’t as nice as Henrik’s goal.Continue Reading —›
Two years ago, the Sedins lost their cool during the Canucks’ series against the Chicago Blackhawks and were criticized for their lack of mental discipline, as they uncharacteristically took part in the after-whistle scrums with the likes of David Bolland and Andrew Ladd. The story quickly became that you could distract the Sedins and get them off their game with chippy, physical play.
A year later, the Sedins took the opposite tack in the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, accepting any and all punishment in hopes of drawing penalties and taking advantage on the powerplay. This, however, resulted in the Sedins being called soft, particularly when Daniel allowed Brad Marchand to repeatedly punch him in the head after a whistle. The story quickly became that you could intimidate the Sedins and get them off their game with chippy, physical play.
It seemed like they were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. If they responded, they were criticized for lacking mental toughness, but if they didn’t, they were criticized for lacking physical toughness.
After Wednesday night’s game four in Los Angeles, it seems like the Sedins are trying to find a happy medium between the two.Continue Reading —›
It would be tough to overstate the impact that Daniel Sedin had in his return to the lineup Wednesday night, but I’m going to try: Daniel’s impact was the essence of impact itself; by the game’s end, Quebec’s MLS club had changed their name to the Montreal Daniel Sedin.
The guy made a difference, is what I’m saying. In his first game back from a concussion, Daniel had a game-high 11 shots attempted, over 20% of the Canucks’ shot creation. He and Henrik were on the ice for all 3 Vancouver goals, and although they only picked up points on the third, their presence on the ice opened up space for everyone else and gave the entire team a spark. And not just any spark — the Allspark, which gives life to Autobots, Decepticons, and other cold, lifeless mechanisms, such as the Canucks’ powerplay, which came suddenly to life, going 2-for-3 in this game. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Apart from the scoreboard reading 1-0 when the final horn sounded, there wasn’t a single image in the Canucks and Kings Game 3 tilt quite as scary as a stunned Henrik Sedin weakly knocking at the bench door after being rocked by Dustin Brown.
It was a clean hit. Still, it was a huge hit that, as far as anyone knew at the time, had knocked Henrik out of the game and potentially the series. And thus, it necessitated a “response.”
Ah, the rhetoric of the response. It seems to me that when hockey fans call for a response, they’re hoping that the offending party will be beaten within an inch of his life but that he’ll emerge from it with little more than a lesson learned, effectively deterred and uninjured.
From what I gather, public sentiment is that the response the Canucks mounted wasn’t appropriate. This leads me to wonder what, exactly, Canuck fans wanted instead.Continue Reading —›
You have to give the Canucks some credit. In just two short seasons, they’ve managed to reduce the Presidents’ Trophy to nothing. Last year this team proved that clinching it doesn’t guarantee a Stanley Cup win; this year they’re on the brink of proving that neither does it guarantee even a single playoff win. That’s impressive.
But Canuck fans are not impressed, and with the number one seed in danger of being swept by the LA Kings, you can understand why they’re looking for somebody to blame right now.
I’d blame Duncan Keith, who knocked Daniel Sedin, Vancouver’s only true elite winger, out of the lineup on a dirty, predatory hit in the season’s final stretch. Considering what it did to the team’s line combinations, powerplay, and overall identity, I’d say Keith is a pretty good target for derision.
But to hear Canuck fans tell it, the real problem in this series is that Alain Vigneault is being outcoached as usual. I am gobsmacked by the thoughtlessness behind this line of rhetoric.Continue Reading —›
If you want to quibble with definitions, this game wasn’t technically a must-win game. Since the Canucks didn’t win, however, that makes Wednesday’s game an actual must-win game. In order to prevent that from happening, the Canucks needed to win this game, making it a proverbial, but not technical, must-win game. But, as mentioned, they didn’t muster a win.
Now I’m depressed and I think Harrison’s drunk (and he never drinks). On the plus side, all of Vancouver is now too despondent to leave the house, meaning The Bay won’t have to replace all their windows this year. Oh hell, now I’m making riot jokes: this is definitely the lowest of the low. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” at the height of its popularity (seriously, I’ve seen it on every television show I’ve watched this week), I figured it would only be a matter of time before some group of hockey fans somewhere gave it the playoff parody treatment. Sure enough, the inevitable has happened, and the group behind it are citizens of Canuck nation.
This video is the product of comedy team IFHT, whose name is best left as an unexplained acronym (for the same reason B.M.F.A, Martha Wainwright’s debut single, was). In a nice touch, the team takes it one step further than just parodying Gotye’s song, also styling their video after his, with face paint, awkward standing and a pretty girl yelling in their ear:Continue Reading —›
It’s no surprise to fans that the Canucks powerplay is struggling. After an incredible start to the season that saw the team once again lead the league in powerplay percentage, it crashed and burned in the second half of the season. The powerplay was 4-for-42 in their last 10 games, and that’s just an arbitrary round number of games to select. Other than a 4-for-11 outburst against the Boston Bruins, the Canucks powerplay hasn’t truly been good since December.
On Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings, however, the team’s pwowerplay woes went from troubling to truly disastrous. On two Willie Mitchell holding penalties, the Canucks not only couldn’t score, but also gave up two shorthanded goals to Dustin Brown. It’s gotten to the point that fans everywhere wish the team could just decline the penalty and continue to play 5-on-5, where the Canucks have actually outscored the Kings 4-3 in the first two games.
Considering most people still think of the Canucks as a team that tries to draw penalties and beat you on the powerplay, including the Canucks themselves, it’s not surprising that this power outage has led to an identity crisis in Vancouver. Something needs to change and the Canucks can’t count on the return of Daniel Sedin. According to Kristin Reid, not only will Daniel not be travelling to Los Angeles with the team, he won’t be back for the rest of the series.
The Canucks may need to do something drastic. Here are 10 crazy ideas to fix the powerplay:Continue Reading —›
After Thursday, many wondered if there was anything on this planet more offensive than the Los Angeles Kings’ official Twitter account. It would appear there is: the Vancouver Canucks’ powerplay, which generated little else but goals against Friday, and cost the team a game 2 in which they otherwise played well.
Now, let’s not panic. Sure, prior to Friday night, the Canucks had never opened a playoff series by losing the first two games at home. But, on the bright side, the Canucks have also never lost a playoff series after losing the first two games at home. So you can understand why I’m so optimistic; I watched this game!Continue Reading —›