I Watched This Game: Canucks 0, Ducks 4

I’m just writing this post so I don’t get fined.

I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 2, Ducks 1 (SO)

As 16th games of the season go, this was a pretty big one. After a brutal performance in San Jose that somehow resulted in a win, the Canucks headed into Los Angeles apparently thinking they’d stumbled onto a low-key, low-effort recipe for victory. But it was the Kings who made a meal of the Canucks’ recipe, giving Vancouver their just desserts. (Man, am I hungry.)

That pumped a fresh angle into the bus to Anaheim. Not only was this a reunion with ex-flame Ryan Kesler (not to be confused with ex-Flame Tim Jackman), but now the result of this game would characterize the whole trip. A third poor outing would suggest the Canucks still can’t hang with The Californians, and likely rattle loose the sky. But a win? Well, it’d be tough to argue with a 3-1 road trip, so I definitely won’t, because I watched this game.

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The Paper Feature: Tips to throw the Kings and Ducks off their game

It’s possible the Canucks’ trip to California this weekend has been overhyped.

After all, the Kings have already lost to both the Arizona Coyotes and the Carolina Hurricanes this season, so it’s probably safe to say that taking two points from them doesn’t automatically mean you’re a great team.

Still, considering what happened last year, it’s easy to understand why people are making such a big deal about this weekend’s back-to-back. Under John Tortorella, watching the Canucks play Los Angeles or Anaheim was like watching an eight-year-old go one-on-one with his dad in a game of basketball. Sure, sometimes it was close, but only because the dad was kind, and wanted his son to feel like winning was a possibility. In the final moments, the competitive spirit would always take over, and the dad would crush his son, as a reminder that being eight years old still makes you functionally useless in the grown-up world.

Men against boys, in other words.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, April 8th, 2014

As famed sportswriter Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote about this Canucks season, “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” A little flowery for my tastes, but his words proved prophetic, as the Canucks looked lame against the Ducks, officially becoming a lame duck for the remainder of the season.

Facing a rookie goaltender in his first NHL game, the Canucks mustered just 18 shots on net. In the second period, they had just 3 shots. In their five power plays, they got the puck on net just 3 times. They were credited with 10 turnovers and it felt like more, giving up multiple breakaways, including the first shot of the game. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Know who else whimpered? Me, when I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, January 5, 2013

Like Bilbo Baggins in the Fellowship of the Ring, the Canucks looked like butter scraped over too much bread. The Canucks appeared to spend all their available energy in the first period and spent the rest of the game making like the Seawall in a windstorm, just sitting there, withstanding wave after wave.

Considering I just compared the Canucks to a tiny hobbit who spent a lot of time being completely invisible and an inanimate object that massive numbers of people walk all over every day, you can probably guess that this game didn’t go too well for Vancouver. It would have gone a lot worse, however, if not for the efforts of Eddie “Electric Sex” Lack, so named because his legs are sexier than a leg lamp with a fishnet stocking on it.

Lack made save after save, but must have forgotten to put in the Konami code at the beginning of the game, as he ran out of saves at the last second. I wish I had played Contra, but instead I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, November 10, 2013

The Canucks’ California road trip started out strong, not unlike Kevin McAllister’s trip to New York in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Like Kevin, who made quick work of the bumbling staff of that upscale hotel using his handy-dandy recorder and visited a pretty sweet toy store, they had some fun early on. But then, just like Kevin, they ran into two familiar foes halfway through the trip and suddenly the whole thing went to crap.

But unlike Kevin McAllister in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the Canucks’ foes were not bumbling, and they weren’t played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern; the Canucks were unable to bait these foes into a house of horrors, where they were free to pelt them with bricks and make them fall several stories through unexplained holes in the floor; and neither were they able to get any help from the creepy pigeon lady in the park. As you can tell, I have watched that movie several times. I also watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, April 26, 2013

If this was Roberto Luongo’s last hurrah in Vancouver, it wasn’t a particularly good one. After playing their best game of the season against their hated rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks settled in and played a thoroughly mediocre game against their mildly-disliked non-rival, the Anaheim Ducks. With both teams stuck in their positions in the Western Conference, with no way to improve or injure their place in the standings, neither team had much to play for.

Still, it’s entirely possible that this was Luongo’s last start as a Canuck in Vancouver, which should have been some motivation. While the Canucks seemed to wake up in the third period and made a concerted effort to win the game for Luongo, by then it was too little, too late, two-one. And then three-one. I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, January 25, 2013

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.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks, January 19, 2013

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:

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, April 3, 2012

Tonight, the Canucks hosted the Orange County team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks in a game stuffed with hyperbole. The greatest one of all time and space was in attendance (Mooney was there too), there was a first period penalty shot (only the most exciting play in hockey), eight pucks heroically rippled the mesh, Jonas Hiller made several acrobatic glove saves, and Henrik Sedin and the puck played a masterful sixty minute game of Cat’s Cradle.

Oh. And somewhere along the way, the Rogers Arena’ faithful chose to serenade Roberto Luongo with a loud chorus of Luu’s. After all, it’s his birthday! But he’s been so good for so long that the birthday boy deserved the appreciative support of the fans, who gave it to him even though he had a rocky outing. At least I think it was a compassionate, grateful crowd that was Luuu-ing, because anything else wouldn’t make much sense!

As a staunch proponent of hockey math, I usually miss out on this sort of drama. I trust the numbers, so there’s no real need to tune into the contests. Tonight, for Wagner and Mooney, I made a rare exception: 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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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, January 15, 2012

Once in a great while, the Canucks play a game so indigestible, and so utterly heinous that the only thing the Vancouver hockey fan can do is block it from memory like some great horror. Were Sunday’s game not so fresh in my mind, I’d be at a loss to provide any examples of such a game at all.

Unfortunately, I can’t simply flush Sunday’s loss to the Ducks from my brain; I have to solidify and stabilize it, like any toxic waste. With that, I advise you to please put on your hazmat suits, because I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, December 29, 2011

Just like last season, the Canucks opened their California road trip a perfect 2-0 and, just like last season, the second win came over the Anaheim Ducks on the second night of a back-to-back. But the similarities don’t end there.

In both Anaheim games, Cory Schneider got the start and the win, the Canucks scored the first goal a minute in, and Daniel Sedin scored the final Vancouver goal, beating Dan Ellis and stretching the lead to three. Of course, there were some differences. For instance: I attended last year’s game. I watched this game.

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Imagine, if you will, three siblings whose parents unfairly insist that they do chores during the Canucks game against the Ducks. The chores require that at least two of the siblings help out at the same time. Fred, Biff, and Heidi, the siblings, decide that each of them will watch one period from the game, then afterwards they would get together and tell each other what the game was like. Fred watches the first period and reports that it was a dull, but evenly matched affair. Biff watches the second period, flips out, and lights a Canucks jersey on fire in the backyard. Heidi watches the third period and insists that the Canucks are the greatest team in NHL history. And then gets angry at Biff for burning her jersey.

It was like the game had multiple personality disorder. Or, it might have just been an elephant. Unlike the hypothetical siblings, I watched all of this game.

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A number of Canucks veterans played their first game of the preseason tonight: Luongo, Burrows, the Sedins, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Samuelsson, Edler, and Salo. That’s 9 out of 19 players playing their first game of the season. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t quite as crisp as they could have been. Also, they were not so fresh and so clean (clean).

That said, the top-six forwards looked remarkably like the top-six we can expect to see on opening night, and it was a sudden and shocking reminder of how the Canucks play: “Oh yeah, that’s what good hockey looks like.” How do I know what it looked like? I watched this game.

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Through the first two games of this series, Pekka Rinne has seemed as unbeatable as Contra without the Konami Code. His Halak-ian performance has Canucks fans flipping pools, pressing panic buttons, and somehow blaming Luongo. With only two goals against the Finnish sensation, the Canucks are likely scratching their heads trying to figure out what it takes to get past his event horizon glove. They don’t need to look far. In round one, Rinne was more sieve than sensation, as the Anaheim Ducks scored 20 goals in their 6 game series, averaging 3.33 goals per game. Rinne’s save percentage was an unflattering .883. How did they do it? Through the magic of online highlights, I can show you!

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With the Canucks having sewn up their spot in the playoffs via a clever combination of playing in the terrible Northwest division and being the best team in the NHL, the time has come to consider who the Canucks will face in the playoffs. With a comfortable 10 point lead on the Red Wings for [...]

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Canucks 3 – 0 Ducks After the highly contentious atmosphere in the Staples Center last night, the Honda Center was downright pleasant. It’s not just that the Anaheim fans are generally more congenial (one woman gave us free hot dogs), but the building itself is a little nicer, a little more organic. Whereas the Staples [...]

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Canucks 3 – 4 Ducks It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve watched the Canucks suffer a home regulation loss, and I’m a little uncertain of how to feel about it. At this point in the season, it’s not unlike like being gored by a unicorn: sure, it’s undesired, but it’s so rare that [...]

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Have you seen the Canucks’ schedule in March? They’re away quite a bit. They play 15 times in 31 days, with 9 of those contests in other people’s buildings, as part of two lengthy road trips. The first will be five games, and the second will be four. That first road trip is the annual [...]

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