After a pre-Christmas performance so stingy and humbugged it would make Ebenezer Scrooge proud (insomuch as that old coot can be proud of anything), the Canucks returned from the break as though they had been visited Christmas night by a trio of ghosts portending doom if they continued to be a team that loses to the Flames.
Here’s how it probably went down: the Ghost of Christmas Past took them to Christmas, 1987, when they were in the midst of a horrible stretch in which they won only once in 10 games. The Ghost of Christmas Present made them watch game tape from Friday night versus Calgary. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed them a horrifying future in which there is actual debate over whether or not the Sedins’ numbers should be retired.
Needless to say, the Canucks were forever changed by this harrowing experience, and they were thus far more generous versus the Edmonton Oilers, giving fans five goals to cheer about, and even anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
I didn’t just watch this game, I was at this game, as my older brother took me to a game as a sort of early Christmas present. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a gift receipt.
The Canucks played this game like anyone else with one last shift at work before Christmas: they showed up late and mailed it in. The Flames, on the other hand, showed up in Vancouver with the work ethic of Dwight Schrute and dominated. I had to suffer the ignominy of seeing the Canucks perform worse than the Flames in person. As tough as it was, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Any time the Red Wings and the Canucks meet, you know you’re in for a good one. Detroit and Vancouver always seem to get up to play one another. It makes sense, really. Not only are both teams among the elite of the Western Conference, but they play similar systems. Furthermore, their cores are similar as well: Both boast a Selke-calibre center, a large Swedish contingent, a Swedish captain, and a dearth of useless enforcer types.
When you have that much in common, you’re bound to fight. It’s the law of romantic comedies. I should know. I watch a lot of romantic comedies. I also watch a lot of games, and I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
After 5 games on the road, the Canucks returned to the cozy confines of Rogers Arena with some concern that there might be a letdown with all of the travel. Sure enough, the Canucks were outshot by the perpetually-low-shooting Minnesota Wild in the first period and had 7 giveaways. They looked blunt, dull, or flat: in any case, not sharp. They were not, however, outscored or outgoaltended. Roberto Luongo stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period, then proceeded to stop every other shot as well, earning his first shutout of the season. I watched the Canucks finish strong because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Vancouver fans may not see the Toronto Maple Leafs that often, but it was still a very familiar squad the Canucks beat Saturday. Consider the following: this was a team built by Brian Burke. Offensively, they were dangerous. Defensively, they were abysmal. They had a backup netminder in goal.
And, most tellingly, they came in boasting a juggernaut first line which featured a mediocre centre and two high-scoring wingers — one a sniper with arguably the league’s best wrist shot, the other a power forward type. This line scored three times and yet finished a combined minus-6. Sound familiar? It should. Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks beat the West Coast Express era Vancouver Canucks. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With Daniel Sedin out with a sore back (hopefully not from picking up a cracker), Mark Mancari was called up from the Chicago Wolves and Mason Raymond was promoted to the top line. That turned out to be a good move, as Raymond was the Canucks best forward, leading the team in shots and picking up two points. His best play of the games should have led to the game-tying goal, were it not for Cam Ward making one of the best saves of the year.
Ward being incredible turned out to be the theme of the game, rather than a more Canucks-friendly theme like “Heart of a Canuck” or “Win da Turd.” I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Early in Saturday night’s affair, it was clear that the Ottawa Senators had heard the rumours that the Canucks wilted at physical play, and playing rough appeared to be their strategy from the outset. Unfortunately, when your strategy involves giving Chris Neil more icetime than any other forward, it’s probably not going to win you many games.
What people don’t seem to realize is that it wasn’t the Boston Bruins’ toughness that won them the Stanley Cup Final — it was their skill. It’s just that their skill happened to also be tough. Anybody that thinks you can beat the Canucks by gooning it up with less skilled players will see results like this game — results that I saw as well, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
It was clear that Roberto Luongo felt bad for his hometown Montreal Canadiens, who had only one win in their last six games going into their Thursday game against the Canucks, so he decided to spot them a three-goal lead. While charity in the NHL is appreciated when it’s the Sedins donating to BC Children’s Hospital or Paul Bissonnette taking homeless families to hockey games, it’s significantly less awesome when it’s helping out the already-privileged.
Fortunately, Luongo read some Ayn Rand during the second intermission and forswore charity in favour of the virtue of selfishness. I watched the Canucks come back like Dagny Taggart when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Looking at it, it’s kind of remarkable that the Canucks won Tuesday night. They were outshot by a 2-1 margin for the first and second periods and 33-23 overall. They were outhit 40-18. They won only 18 of 40 faceoffs. By the end of the first, they were without both of their second-line wingers, and by the end of the second they had lost their starting goaltender.
And yet, despite all of this, when the final horn sounded, they hadn’t just eked out a victory — they’d cruised to a 6-0 drubbing of the Colorado Avalanche. How the what? I honestly have no idea what I saw. All I know is I saw it. Because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Mason Raymond finally played his first game since having his back broken in last season’s Stanley Cup Final. He returned one-game later than intended after a paperwork error kept him out of Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators and unwittingly unleashed the dreaded thirteenth forward curse on Aaron Volpatti.
In response to his return, the Flames panicked and started their backup, Henrik Karlsson, in place of Miikka Kiprusoff, who was the goaltender of record for both of Raymond’s two career hat tricks. Clearly, Kiprusoff is scared of Raymond. I’m sure that this game being the second of a back-to-back and the third game in four nights for the Flames had nothing to do with it. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Clearly drawing some inspiration from the fact that the Grey Cup was in the building, the Canucks and Predators played to the first touchdown, giving us the most unexpected 6-5 game of the year. Seriously, hands up if you thought Nashville and Vancouver were going to combine for 11 goals.
How to explain this? It can only be the hand of God. One assumes that the good Lord was as sick of the Canucks’ goaltending controversy (such as it was), as we were, and perhaps just as tired of hearing about how Cory Schneider was the second coming of his beloved son. Thus, he intervened, rendering all goalies incapable of keeping the puck out, save Anders Lindback, whom he clearly prefers. For whatever reason, God made sure Lindback saw everything, much like I saw everything when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Tonight, Daniel was busy writing “I Watched This Birth”, a hilarious, point-form recap of his first child’s arrival on this planet. (Welcome to Earth, Ozymandias Lovecraft Wagner!) Meanwhile in the dark recesses of his criminally insane mind, Harrison was diligently preoccupied with his other chosen profession: burglary. With real-life preventing your two usual bloggers from taking in tonight’s grudge match between the Sharks and Canucks, I, Thomas Drance, was asked to make like Gasper Noé and enter the void.
Whenever you’re the backup, there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders. But I fought through it and paid such close attention to tonight’s affair that some are saying I stole the game for Vancouver (at least, I think I’m the backup they’re talking about). Regardless, whether you run a hockey blog or a hockey team, having a worthy backup is a useful luxury.
Now, I’m not sworn for life to Pass it to Bulis or the Nights Watch. I’m not celibate, I don’t only wear black and I may not guard Westeros from the wildlings that live north of the Wall. But, “as night gathered”, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
After rediscovering even-strength scoring like Josiah, the boy king, stumbling across the Talmud in the treasure room of the temple, the Canucks stormed into Phoenix intent on proving that they had truly dispensed with their wicked powerplay-idolizing ways, and returned to the righteous 5-on-5 domination for which they once lived. Five even-strength goals later, it was clear they had indeed repented, and thank God. Suffice it to say, the Canuck team that dominates at even-strength is a much more entertaining watch, and I should know, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks had 29 shots tonight, but I’m far more interested in the fact that they only had 3 blocked. The team has struggled so far this season getting shots through, often finishing the night with as many as 20 attempts that fail to reach the opposing goaltender. Tonight, rather than trying to force things, they made smarter decisions with the puck. The results were longer offensive zone shifts and sustained offensive zone pressure at even-strength for the first time all season. It was weird. The 2011-12 Canucks looked like a dangerous team even when both teams had the same number of guys on the ice. Unheard of. But not unseen — I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Like my current moustache and mohawk combo, this game was ugly, but ultimately a win. The critics will say that the Canucks didn’t deserve to win this game, but last I checked, Cory Schneider was a Canuck and he definitely deserved to win this game. According to the Canucks’ advertising campaign of the last 5 years, we are all Canucks, and I think we all deserved to win this game. Well, maybe not me, now that I’m an unbiased member of the media. I got all that I deserved: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
This one started out promisingly, like that movie Vanilla Sky, as Chicago and Vancouver came out flying in a high-paced, nearly even first period. It began to come off the rails a little in the middle portion, like that movie Vanilla Sky, as the Canucks took the lead, then immediately surrendered two powerplay goals to finish the frame down by one. And then, like that movie Vanilla Sky, everything went to crap in the end, and the final twenty minutes was so freaking bad you doubted whether any of it was ever any good, even the stuff you initially liked. Vanilla Sky sucks, and I was reminded of it when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks marched into the Staples Centre looking to take control of things from the outset, and they got lucky when their ideal meshed perfectly with the Kings’ gameplan, which appeared to be to take careless penalties and cede control early. (It was kismet, I think.) After being gifted a lengthy five-on-three, the Canucks put their powerplay specialists — Sami Salo and Andrew Ebbett — to work, jumping out to a quick two-goal lead. Then Aaron Rome stepped up (as usual these days), adding an insurance marker that would stand as the game-winner. Meanwhile, I would sit as the game-watcher, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
For the first time this season, the Canucks’ defence looked calm, composed, and organized in their own end. Is it a coincidence that this was also Aaron Rome’s first game in the lineup? Of course not. Like a book under a wonky table leg, Rome is a steadying influence. Rome did it all tonight, seeing icetime in all situations, and scoring the first powerplay goal of his career. With that goal, Rome is on pace for 67 goals this season. Is it too early to start the Rome for Norris talk? If anything, it’s too late. Norris buzz needs to start in the pre-season. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Just as we predicted, the Canucks followed up an ugly game in Minnesota with a slightly less ugly game in St. Louis. It’s amazing, however, how a one-goal game can seem so lopsided. When the Blues were in the offensive zone, it constantly seemed like they were on the verge of a gorgeous scoring chance, while the Canucks seemed to have trouble getting the puck towards the net with any regularity. In their post-game comments, however, the Canucks seemed positive, saying that they played a more complete game and stuck with their process, which brings to mind a game from last season.
On November 21, 2010, the Canucks lost 3-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second game of a back-to-back following their worst performance of the year, the infamous Voldemort Game. In the IWTG for that loss to the Coyotes, we bemoaned the absence of Sami Salo, the shoddiness of the defence, and the lack of cycle to the Sedins game. The players, however, felt like they had performed well and stuck with their system. This should sound familiar for anyone who watched this game, and it therefore sounded familiar to me, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
For those that thought the Canucks were in the clear the moment the clock struck November, that, perhaps, all that spotty play was exclusive to October, I submit tonight’s game as evidence to the contrary. Don’t let the early goal fool you — this was the polar opposite of a sixty-minute effort, an utter bedwetting, the worst thing to happen in Minnesota since Morris Day steals Apollonia in Purple Rain. Of course, unlike that film, tonight’s game was unwatchable, and I should know, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
For the past few seasons, there have been two surefire cure-alls for Vancouver struggles: the month of November and the Calgary Flames. Lucky for the Canucks, they kicked off thirty days of the former with sixty minutes of the latter, and the result was that always enjoyable category of game we like to call the laugher. The Canucks ran away with this one early, jumping out to a 3-0 lead with a 14-shot first period, then adding two more in the second while Calgary briefly debated responding. They really never did. Like the Calgary Flames that played in this game, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
This was a thoroughly enjoyable game for two very simple reasons: a lot of goals were scored and most of them were scored by the Canucks. Really, it’s the simple things in life that matter the most. Four different players recorded 2 goals in this game. One was Alexander Ovechkin, which is not unexpected. The other three were Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre, and Alexander Edler, which is a bit more surprising. Even more surprising, Luongo received a healthy dollop of praise, despite giving up four goals on 32 shots. Funny how everyone likes the goaltender when the team plays well in front of him. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›