I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Red Wings 5

These afternoon starts in the Eastern Conference seem to always be disastrous for the Canucks. The team is already a little out-of-sorts with the different time zone, so moving the start time of the game really throws off the regular routine. It’s a pain for most Canucks fans too, who have to deal with the non-standard start time in a variety of ways, such as actually waking up on a Sunday.

It’s toughest on the devoted Canucks fans who are also devout Protestants, having to choose between Sunday morning church or cheering on the Canucks. It turns out that God isn’t fond of these early Sunday games either, smiting the game just 29 seconds in, causing a transformer to blow. Joe Louis Arena was formless and void and darkness was on the surface of the ice.

Someone’s got to let God know about PVR. I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, February 3, 2014

All the losing the Canucks have been doing this season would be a lot more palatable if they were losing in a more entertaining fashion. Like, what if they did a song-and-dance number during each power play instead of trying to score? We’d likely end up with the same result — no power play goals — but with better choreography and more jazz hands.

Alternatively, the Canucks could replace Jannik Hansen with his Muppet doppelgänger, Beaker, and spend the entire game exploding, shrinking, deflating, and electrocuting him. Or Hansen can just start cross-checking referees again. Either would be more entertaining than seeing Hansen constantly miss the net on scoring chances.

Or, best of all, they could kill two birds with one stone and go the Mighty Ducks route: sign a figure skater or two — Johnny Weir retired a couple months ago — who could show off some flashy, entertaining moves, thereby distracting the opposition and allowing the Canucks to easily score.

Sadly, their was no entertainment to be had in this game. It was the Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 of hockey games. I should have gone to Rotten Tomatoes to check the reviews before I watched this game.

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The Week Ahead: Red Wings, Leafs come to town; Canucks start California road trip

Every Wednesday we take a look at The Week Ahead to see what storylines we’ll be following, because Wednesday is a day meant for looking ahead to the future. Around here we call Wednesday “Future Day” and we all wear silver jumpsuits and big bubble space helmets. Doesn’t everybody do that?

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, April 20, 2013

Throughout the past few months, we have generally emphasized process over results. In the middle of the season, the Canucks were generally outplaying their opponents, but couldn’t string wins together, leading to all sorts of consternation among Canucks nation. We counselled patience, as the Canucks’ process seemed to be sounds, producing positive puck possession, even as it didn’t produce results.

Over the last month, however, the process has been questionable at best. The Canucks have been outshot by some pretty terrible teams, looked lackadaisical in their own end, and struggled to create quality scoring chances. And, of course, now they’re getting the results.

I give up. Nothing makes sense anymore. Heck, the Red Wings might miss the playoffs while the Blue Jackets get in. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. The only thing that hasn’t changed: I watched this game.

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Who would the Canucks rather face in the playoffs?

With 8 games remaining in the regular season, it seems fairly certain that the Canucks will once again win the Northwest division. The Canucks are trending in the right direction with the addition of Derek Roy and the return of Ryan Kesler and are now six points up on the second place Minnesota Wild, who have lost four of their last five games.

Since the Canucks aren’t likely to catch the Anaheim Ducks, who are seven points ahead, in the standings, the Canucks will finish as the third seed in the Western Conference and face the sixth seed in the first round of the playoffs. At this point, any one of six teams could finish sixth in the West: the Kings, Sharks, Blues, Wild, Red Wings, and Coyotes, with the outside possibility of the Stars or Blue Jackets.

So, which of those teams would the Canucks rather play in the first round? Who would they rather avoid?

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, March 16, 2013

The Vancouver Canucks gave their fans a history lesson Saturday night, putting aside their usual blue and green attire to don the duds of their predecessors, the Vancouver Millionaires. The look was downright fantastic.

Unfortunately, the Canucks took their tribute to history a little too far. While it was nice of the club to show us what they would have looked like in Millionaires jerseys, I didn’t think the Canucks needed to show us what it would have looked like if the Millionaires had gone up against the 2013 Detroit Red Wings. It was a lesson I could have done without. While the jerseys looked excellent, the team in them looked decidedly less so when I watched this game.

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Canucks unveil Millionaires jersey; did lockout ‘maroon’ original plans?

As had been rumoured for some time, the Vancouver Canucks officially announced that they will be wearing throwback Vancouver Millionaires jerseys on March 16th against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s a great move for the team, as they further connect with the history of hockey in Vancouver.

The Millionaires were founded back in 1912, so the Canucks will be wearing the retro jerseys as part of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the team. The Canucks have already been wearing a Millionaires patch on their regular jerseys and have begun selling merchandise in the Canucks store with the logo, albeit in Canucks colours.

Since the actual 100th anniversary of the Millionaires would have come in 2012, I wonder if the Canucks had actually intended to debut the jerseys and wear them earlier in the season, but were prevented from doing so by the lockout. Taking a look at the Canucks’ original schedule, the perfect date to wear the jerseys would have been December 8th, when the Ottawa Senators were going to be in town.

Wearing the Millionaires jerseys on December 8th would have been the perfect opportunity to honour the history of hockey in Vancouver and simultaneously celebrate the city’s only Stanley Cup victory.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, February 24, 2013

Perhaps you watched the last Vancouver Canucks game, a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators, and you said to yourself, “Well, they got the win, but goodness gracious, that was boring.” Perhaps you lamented a game where the Canucks kept their mistakes to a minimum, shelved the shenanigans, and nursed home a tidy little shutout victory for Roberto Luongo because it was bland.

If so, you are to blame for the karmic blowback that was this game. You wanted action? You got it. You wanted shenanigans? Have at you. You were saying something about the blandness of low-scoring games? This bad boy had 11 goals, and some of them were so, so stupid. The universe gave us this game for complaining about the last game. I watched this game.

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I Didn’t Watch This Game: Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, October 22, 2012

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.

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Spitballin’ on Salo departing, Garrison incoming, and Jay Onrait gently mocking Samjam

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Did the Canucks cross the line with their celebration in Detroit?

It was the quintessential Alex Burrows moment. The game on the line, he found himself with the puck on his stick, skating in alone on the opposing goaltender. And, like he does so often in such situations, the Canucks’ winger converted, unsurprisingly, by way of the backhand move he employs so regularly we call it “Blue Steel”.

I asked him once if he worried that goaltenders were wise to it.

“I’m sure goalies have seen clips of it,” he said. “Personally, I think if I execute it like I can, it’s a tough move to stop.” Clearly, Burrows trusts the backhand shelf like Gordon Bombay trusts the triple deke.

Jimmy Howard soon learned why, as Burrows executed the move perfectly, leaving the Detroit Red Wings’ goaltender on his belly and putting the puck up high to give the Canucks the come-from-behind win. It was the second time in Burrows’s career that he had broken a meaningful streak with the move, so it wasn’t surprising to see him make reference to the last time in his celebratory gesture: to signify the broken streak, he feigned breaking his stick over his knee.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at New Jersey Devils, February 24, 2012

One night after accomplishing the nigh-impossible in Detroit, defeating the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, Vancouver set out to unlock an even more elusive achievement: winning a game with offence exclusively by Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond. It wasn’t easy, but after becoming the first road team in 24 tries to leave Michigan with two points, the Canucks were clearly feeling capable of anything.

Granted, it wasn’t exactly an exciting accomplishment to witness, especially after the high standard of entertainment set in the game prior. As sequels go, this was the Staying Alive to Thursday’s night’s Saturday Night Fever. Yes, I have seen both films. I have also seen this game, because I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, February 23, 2012

The Detroit Red Wings had won 23 consecutive games at Joe Louis Arena, their advantage at home reaching Kevin McAllister-levels of unbelievability. Visitors to the building were bombarded with a dizzying array of booby traps — flamethrowers inside doorways, tar on the steps, paint cans thrown over balconies, Micro Machines on the floor, and, of course, Pavel Datsyuk lying in front of the doggy door, firing his air soft rifle into the unsuspecting groins of those that dare oppose him. It was a nightmarish place for unwanted visitors.

However, despite the Red Wings’ best efforts to break the Canucks’ spirits like the Wet/Sticky Bandits, they forgot to account for the flooded basement next door (played in this metaphor by Alex Burrows). And sadly, like the pigeon lady in the sequel, Jimmy Howard was unable to be the creepy bearded neighbour with the snow shovel. Yes, I’ve watched Home Alone many times. But tonight, I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, February 2, 2012

Most people in the hockey world thought a match-up between the Red Wings and Canucks, the two best teams in the Western Conference, would be the game to watch tonight. Instead, Sam “Him?” Gagner stepped into the spotlight, scoring 8 points against the Chicago Blackhawks and tying Paul Coffey and Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for most points in a game.

Yeah. Sam Gagner did that.

But I didn’t watch that game. The game I watched was merely okay. What game did I watch? I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, December 22, 2011

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.

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After three straight outings in which the Canucks failed to put in a complete performance, tonight’s game versus the Detroit Red Wings had all the makings of an antidote. Vancouver always seems to get up for Detroit, and tonight was no exception, at least at first. The Canucks finally broke the trend of coming out half-asleep, outshooting the Red Wings 12-9 in the opening frame and even drawing the first powerplay. Unfortunately, their second period — in which the Wings outshot the Canucks 24-8 and scored the only two goals on the night — indicated that the team hadn’t relegated the poor starts to the past, but rather, the future. I’ll tell you what has been relegated to the past, though: this game, which happened hours ago. Back then, I watched this game.

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With last night’s stunning comeback victory, the Detroit Red Wings have forced a game seven in their series with the San Jose Sharks. This means that the Canucks won’t know who their Western Conference Final opponent is until Thursday night.

But who would they prefer to face? PITB takes a look at their two potential opponents, weighing the pros and cons for each, in another segment of This Guy or This Guy.

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Today in “I Find This Photo Odd”: you thought Zdeno Chara drinking a Coke on the bench was a strange sight? Well, he’s got nothing on Nicklas Lidstrom.

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Canucks 2 – 1 Red Wings Anyone hoping for another game of the year candidate between the two best teams in the Western Conference was likely a little let down by last night’s affair, which saw both teams play hard–just not too hard. With only ten games to go in the regular season, the Canucks [...]

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The Canucks have been good for awhile now, and I think I speak for everyone when I say this is relatively novel territory. It’s not usually like this. I’m not used to caring very little how the other Northwest teams fared on a night-to-night basis, or clicking “League” instead of “Division” when I look at [...]

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The following quote comes from Iain MacIntyre’s postgame article on the Canucks’ shootout loss to the Red Wings on Saturday night. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it really strange. Let’s examine it. “It was a good game,” Vancouver defenceman Keith Ballard said. “I think everyone who watched it was fairly satisfied. Both teams [...]

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My favourite thing about following a hockey team closely is getting to know the unique tendencies of its players. I’ve watched Keith “Hips” Ballard for half an NHL season now, and unlike Drew Miller, I saw this hit coming. I wasn’t surprised, just like I’m never surprised when Jannik Hansen causes a turnover on the [...]

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Canucks 1 – 2 Red Wings (Shootout) You hate to see a game like this go to a shootout. I did. After 60 minutes of the top two teams in the NHL strutting their excellent puck movement, remarkable defense, and fabulous systems play, suddenly everything that made the game so stellar is taken away and [...]

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Canucks 4 – Red Wings 5 (OT) The Canucks and Red Wings have met twice this season, and both games have been among the most entertaining of the year. We at PITB often talk about the way Canucks fans view their team’s games through a vaccuum; we disregard the play of the other team and [...]

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