Before we get to the breakdown of this wonderfully entertaining game tonight, a link to Mr Botchford at the Province. He might have been reading Nucks Misconduct, where we have been on that #embracethehate hashtag for a long time, but it is hardly an original thing to posit. Sometimes it is an even harder one to put into practice. But let us try to anyhow, just for the delicious irony and honest giggles that come your way when you do. Like in this game.
I bring it up because we actually had a perfect example of that tonight. The video above is a perfect allegory for the Canuck hate and the absurd levels it can reach. To say that Alexandre Burrows actually opened the door on Winchester from that is a bit much, at least to me. But that is the great thing about that sort of thing now. Logic and actual reality matter little in the face of it, and it is all about stretching your point. Ahhh, unintended humour, it's the best.
A few more points to stretch and point and laugh at after the break.
NHL (video clips all there )
You know what is absurd though? Right after the game, the SNET folks go to Kyper et al. You would think we are going to see some highlights, analysis, or an interview or two right? Uh uh. Five minutes at least on Sidney Crosby. I get it, and I know you guys have missed your "boy" back East, but lets not get too crazy right? You will have plenty of time for that before game time tomorrow. You know what else is absurd...me calling this game "wonderfully entertaining". I suppose I did stretch that point!
- There was a perfect example of the 1-3-1 in action tonight, for you hockey neophytes on display tonight. I thought Mr MacLean was a coach from the Wings system, and would coach a more puck possession type game, but that was almost Bolts versus Flyers passive at points tonight. They would send in one forechecker at times, but rarely was there the two men working together ( what the Canucks and Wings do, with variations ) forcing the play until late in the second and at a few points in the third. And damned if they did not get a goal and look more dangerous when they did abandon it. The game became engaged. Though it was funny, after they scored early in the third, they rarely got into an aggressive forecheck posture the rest of the way. Sure, they got a few chances on turnovers, won faceoffs in the offensive zone, and when they abandoned the 1-3-1. But it was obvious that they were playing for the point instead of the win late.
- Both goalies had wonderful games. Ryan Kesler had a couple chances to get one on Alex Auld, only to be robbed. Cody Hodgson was dangerous and effective in the third, but Baldy was all over it. I am willing to give him a break on the 1st goal, as it looks like Winchester got a piece of it with his stick before it got through him, and he never saw the winner with a perfect Chris Higgins screen and tip. The same for Cory Schneider. The goal, it looked as if Aaron Rome lost Colin Greening in front. Jason Spezza made a wonderful pass, and sometimes you just have to say "nice play. But there were several huge saves he made tonight on Spezza ( who seemed to have a deal with the Canucks that he get one free chance at the beginning of each period ), and the robbery of Milan Mihalek was simply beautiful.
- Young Erik Karlsson is already a wonderful player. He had 2 shots and 3 hits tonight ( was also a -1 ), and was one of the few Sens who was a force on the puck at times. But that penalty he drew on Kevin Bieksa was a pretty obvious "embellishment". I know that might sound rich coming from a Canuck fan (irony? ;-) , but the little hop after feeling the stick on his hip sort of gave it away for me. Again, we #embracethehate around here, and I am not really giving it to the refs, as they only call what they see, but I do think it was a fine example of Puck God karma when he had a clear chance with 5 seconds left and airmailed it into the netting above the goal rather than the mesh within it. We want to hate when our players do that, but we should hate when everyone does. Because Puck God Karma is not some new agey hippy nonsense, but a very real thing.
- That being said, it really did not matter because of the fabulous work of the penalty killers tonight. Sure, the power play is sexy, and went 1 for 4( one of those an only 00:18 PP ). They threw it around pretty good a few times without goals, and while Henrik Sedin's goal was a power play tally, it came off the rush. But tonight belonged to the guys with the heart. The PK went 5 for 5. Whether it was Manny Malhotra ( who had about his best game of the season tonight ) or others winning almost every shorthanded faceoff to force a clear, or one of numerous 2 on 1's shorthanded that should have resulted in the first shorty of the season, the Canucks were excellent at that aspect of special teams tonight.
- I try to be positive, and all that, but I do have to agree with Alain Vigneault tonight, who characterized his team's performance tonight as "not good enough". Sure, Baldy was solid in net, but they should have had at least one 5 on 5 goal for their troubles. The breakouts were mainly solid all night, but several guys got outworked on the goal for the Sens. That they were the Kesler line and Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts, guys that are supposed to be known for hard work, is a little unsettling. Though, to be fair, everyone that makes it to the NHL is a very good hockey player, and you cannot just win every battle.
- Andrew Alberts may get some more games in the coming week or two, depending on injury status of a few guys. He may even have better ones. But he was not very good tonight. His turnovers came at the wrong times all night. He may get a call at least from Sheriff Shanny for a dumb, dumb hit, and while Kevin Bieksa also had 4 PIM, he brings more on the rush, and is better as a defender as well. Albie seemed to be a bit out of sorts all night long.
- Faceoffs. Vancouver led them 12-11 after one period, were behind 25-19 by the end of the second, and battled back to make it dead even at 31-31 when all was said and done. Ryan Kesler started the night 0 for 6 in the first period, and finished it up at 7 for 19. It was not his best night, but he battled. Manny Malhotra going 11 for 20, and Henrik Sedin ending the night at 8 for 14 sure helped. With those two, it usually means that Money was money in his own end, and Hank was helping to start out the Sedinery with the puck.
- The Terror Twins are back. Even if the majority of Canuck fans think that line is struggling, you have to keep Kesler and Burrows together. They showed their wolfpack mentality, the way they both hunt the puck, shorthanded and at even strength. With Chris Higgins in permanent beastmode, you have to think they are breaking out very, very soon. Even if Ryan Kesler gets set up perfectly for a late goal hero play and shoots wide. We know that you are giving it your all though Oh KesLord. An even strength goal or two would really help your Church get some new converts.
- Oh, final bonus point. Tell Dandy Don Cherry that the Canucks were behind 7-2 in blocks after one, and ended up blocking 12 to the visitors 10 tonight.