There was a centenarian in the crowd Sunday night, and before you picture a Roman or a man with a horse for a butt, I remind you that a centenarian is someone that’s been alive for a century. Yes, 101-year-old Herb Dawe was in attendance at Rogers Arena, taking in his first ever Canucks game.
At first this made me smile. But I kept thinking about it as the game continued. I thought about it as the Canucks jumped out to an early lead, squandered it on two separate occasions, pressed beautifully in the third then gave up a goal against the run of the play, wasted two powerplay opportunities, scored the game-tying goal, then lost the game in a shootout. It was all very stressful and in the end, disappointing.
Dawe has lived a Canuck-free life for a century, and after a game like this one, I hypothesize that this is probably why Dawe has lived for a century. I’m pretty sure I lost years off my life when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
If it was a Hollywood movie, this game would have gone very differently. First of all, Henrik’s franchise record-setting point would have come in the dying seconds of overtime, with his record-tying point tying the game with 0.1 seconds left in regulation. Also, the Sedins would look like the guy who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. The Canucks would have won this game against all odds and an important lesson about perseverance would have been learned. Henrik would have been carried off the ice on the shoulders of his teammates, while he was simultaneously carrying the Stanley Cup, because it would have been game seven of the Finals.
Alas, Hollywood doesn’t make movies about freakishly consistent Swedish twins who break franchise records for Canadian hockey teams, particularly ones that are not underdogs. No marketability. Since I couldn’t watch a movie with a tear-jerking, inspirational ending, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Games against the Minnesota Wild used to be an interminable bore. They still are, but they used to be too.
It was hoped by many that this would be the game that Henrik Sedin tied and then surpassed Markus Naslund’s franchise record in points. It was not to be, as the Wild were intent on making this game a slog with minimal scoring chances and little end-to-end play. While the Sedins dominated the offensive zone, they just couldn’t get the puck past Darcy Kuemper, who was starting his first ever NHL game. As per usual, however, the Canucks found a way to win thanks to great goaltending, secondary scoring, and offensive contributions from the defence.
Frankly, I have no idea why anyone would want Henrik to break the record against the Wild. I would be okay with him going on a brief cold streak, then breaking the franchise record against the Chicago Blackhawks next Tuesday, which would be much more satisfying. So, honestly, I’m kind of glad that Henrik didn’t get a point when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks came into this game riding a 4-game win streak. The Flames came into this game playing, well, the way the Calgary Flames play nowadays. They’re simply not a good team anymore, and they’re especially not a good team when their centre depth is so depleted by injuries that their first-line centre is their first-line winger.
Of course, the worst injury the Flames are dealing with is in goal. Miikka Kiprusoff is out with a lower-body issue, so Leland Irving was in with a full body issue, the issue being that his body doesn’t get hit by pucks as often as Kiprusoff’s. The Canucks were able to use that to their advantage, putting 5 unanswered goals past Irving in the final two periods. Not unanswered, however, is the question of whether or not I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Somehow, Cory Schneider getting the start in this game became just as controversial as him not getting the start in the previous three games, which is pretty silly. It also overshadowed some of the other storylines heading into this game, such as Jordan Schroeder playing in his home-state for the first time as a Canuck, Daniel Sedin not scoring a goal in 5 games straight, or Alex Burrows returning to the top line.
The storyline that most interested me is whether the Minnesota Wild are still as terrible as they were last year. How much of a difference would the addition of Zach “RZA” Parise and Ryan “Roto-Rooter” Suter make? Turns out, not much. The Canucks came out and dominated the first period, setting the stage for a fairly easy road victory. While there were bumps along that road, the Canucks ran over the Wild like they were talking on a cell phone. And, like a rubber-necker driving past a car accident, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
There’s nothing worse than leading a hockey game by two goals (save perhaps trailing by seven, and even then, it’s a toss-up). As we know by now, opening up a two-goal lead is like reciting a passage from the Book of the Dead. It basically summons ill fortune. The Canucks have demonstrated this principle several times already this season, and they did so again on Monday night. The difference? This time, they were the team clawing their way back.
But there was another difference between this game and the recent two-goal collapses we’ve seen recently: this one ended in overtime, rather than the shootout. And speaking of things we’d never seen before, the game-winning goal was scored by none other than Chris Tanev, who will now haunt the Oilers like something out of Edgar Allan Poe. (Quoth the raven: Tanevermore.) I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
There were plenty of reasons to get excited for this game. The storylines! The drama! The controversy! It was Duncan Keith’s first game against the Canucks since he concussed Daniel Sedin with a dirty cheap shot last season. It was Roberto Luongo’s third straight start despite Cory Schneider supposedly being the number one guy heading into the season. It was the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks against the water-treading Vancouver Canucks, in the first game of the season between these two rivals.
Yes, there was a lot of hype heading into this game, and none of it paid off.
It seemed pretty clear that both coaches wanted their players to avoid the emotional rollercoaster like we saw when Buffalo played Boston the game after Milan Lucic took out Ryan Miller. Both teams played a controlled, defensive style and there were minimal post-whistle scrums and such that we’d see in even a normal game between these two teams. Luongo played well, easily justifying Vigneault’s decision. It was disappointing.
Well, it was disappointing to anyone who actually believed the hype. While it wasn’t the prettiest game, it’s always nice to watch a win, which I managed to do when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Alain Vigneault shocked the city of Vancouver Wednesday morning when he announced that Roberto Luongo would get the start versus the Colorado Avalanche. The controversial decision led to a boatload of speculation on what it meant. Was Vigneault simply riding the hot hand? Had Luongo reclaimed the starter’s job? Or maybe the Canucks were playing him against an inferior opponents in the Avalanche in order to showcase him to potential trade partners?
Nevermind that the showcase theory makes no sense whatsoever. Roberto Luongo has been in the NHL for more than a decade. He’s played 730 NHL games — 789 if you count the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, he’s gone to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s played in the Olympics. If you’re in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team and you aren’t sure who Roberto Luongo is and what he’s about in 2013, then you shouldn’t be in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team.
But if there really is a General Manager out there so braindead and incompetent that he needs to be reminded Roberto Luongo plays goal and does so fairly effectively, I’m sure he was pleased with what he saw when he, just as I, watched this game.Continue Reading —›
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 —›