Not that you expect a win every time your team comes out. But, in sports, you expect your heroes to do their best. In a game where there was every reason to come out and try to "make a statement", it was the Kings that came out strong early, got a definite break in the middle, and held on late to come away with a shootout victory.
We knew this opposing team was good, and the rancher has all them little dogies towing the company line. But it still feels like this should be desrcibed as a tainted win for the visitors. Maybe its the all consuming passion for this team to do well all the time ( a pretty illogical feeling when you think about it. ) that is tainted by the continual blah blah blah that will follow this one, as all the "experts" tell you this and that. Maybe just the breaks that occurred in this game, or just the way that this team gets presented to the customers by the puck media. ( I heard on TSN and SNET today differing BS stories about Kesler where you would not believe the assumptions! And no, I won't propagate it by repeating it. Lets just say they got a helluva lot from one sentence and an out of context question!) Maybe I am just finding a wordy way of saying "We Wuz ROBBED!
Meh, stuff happens... watch the video ( its the only Marilyn Manson I have ever really liked ) and read after the break.
- Alright. Full stop everyone. Yes, this is another loss, albeit in the
tiddlywinks, dice rolling, log rolling, coin flipping, cow tipping shootout, but one in which they are only the sixth team in seventy eight games to do so against the Kings. They are now 72-0-6 when leading after two. After a shoddy beginning, the entire team showed some battle against a team that is really playing well right now. So, some perspective.
- OK, I will get it out of the way right away. Tainted could very superficially describe how this game is tainted for the victors because they were simply given a goal on the power play. The Canucks won every face off, and cleared the puck like champs that entire penalty kill. The only reason there was the room and the puck even got to Justin Williams is because Dustin Brown threw a block on Burrows in the slot. The fact that it was a blatant pick was apparent to everyone in the rink ( including the Kings, the sheepish look on a few faces afterwards at the bench told the tale ) except the only man that can do something about that is just one of the mysteries of this sport we all love. It was a blown call, plain and simple. But thats life. It is OK to point that out. I am not saying it was the only reason the visitors won. There were far too many other plays that could have turned the tide. But it is not too much for a lifelong observer of the sport, who spends his time and treasure supporting it, to point out when the one aspect of the game that the players themselves cannot control is suspect.
- Last point on that. The same penalty that was called on Maxim Lapierre on that goal was committed by Drew Doughty on Henrik Sedin only a minute before. Just sayin'! The sad thing is, the refs will say "well, we gave you four power plays and them only two". That is true. But make up calls ( and you think they did not know they made a mistake? The make up call came on a slash from Mike Richards on Mason Raymond that was the weakest thing that that $%^#er did all game, and it came the very next shift!) are not goals, and while it is something we all have to live with, that it is a fast game and they make mistakes like any human being on this planet, it does not mean I have to like it. Nor does it mean that it is whining to acknowledge that it was a factor. It was not the only factor. Moving on.
- The first period was all Kings, and it would have been a far different result if Roberto Luongo was not in net. He ended up making at least 8-9 fantastic saves on the 15 shots that the Kings had in the first. The Canucks tallied 10, but I would bet that maybe 3-4 were serious chances. Yes, there were two that got by him in the shootout. So what? There are no shootouts in the playoffs, the only goals to beat him were a tip ( where Aaron Rome decided Dustin Penner was OK hanging out there in front, inexplicably ) and Justin Williams after Luongo had made the initial save. He almost got that one, but the shot was in just the right place. No, even though Quick made some saves in this game as well, and especially in the third, where even though the shots were 12-12, I thought the Canucks had the edge in play...even then, without Luongo doing his thing, this game would have been long out of reach.
- Keeping with the slightly edgy tone tonight, STFU about Ryan Kesler people. Yes, he finished a -1, being on for the Penner tip in, but he was solid all night. He was strong on the puck, and in his 22:31 TOI, had 3 shots ( and they were KesLord type shots, a howitzer that Quick somehow got a glove on, and another bomb that forced a huge save.) He was using his linemates, even after Raymond went into Booth's spot ( keep that AV, I like Booth on CoHo's line ), and he won 14 of 21 draws, in addition to blocking a shot. His screen was perfect on the Daniel Sedin goal, and honestly, we have better things to talk about than some imagined rift or some made up "problem" only created to sell papers. The man was fine tonight. I am sure the TEAM guys will try to milk that storyline for another day at least. But that does not make it so. Ryan Kesler did everything but score tonight. He was not the KesLORD quite yet, but lets just say that he is a lot closer to that exalted status than you were told over the past couple days.
- Keith Ballard had an interesting night. He had a fight he won, and at the end, was up with Edler on what looked like the second pairing to me. ( yet only had a little over 15 minutes while Rome had almost 20. Edler playing a team high 28:17 TOI explains a fair amount. Whomever they felt was going out with Eagle got the tap. Alberts finished up with a little over 11 minutes himself, yet had 3 hits, as well as one great pinch and drive to the net that made him look like a power forward!) But Ballard also had 4 giveaways to lead his team. He recovered pretty well on them, but it cannot be a good thing for the coaches to see on the stat sheet. Kevin Bieksa had another "interesting night". He was solid on plays in his own end, but had 3 giveaways on his own. Let us just say, once again. Get well Sami Salo. Get well soon.
- The Canucks won the face off battle 38-28, while the Kings had the edge in hits 36-28. Where this game went hinkey was in the stat that the Canucks gave the puck away 13 times to only 3 for the L.A team. Even when you control the puck often off the draws, you cannot just give it back. Not for a puck possession team like ours.
- For all that, I was happy with the response in the second and third periods after a less than dazzling opener. The Canucks got back into a game against a team that plays defense pretty damn well, and one that just plain does not give up a lot. While Justine Williams was solid, and Dustin "don't call me Pancakes" Penner was noticeable, I liked Mitchell's game. Big Stick Willie was on when Booth tied the game, but he was a force in keeping the Sedins at bay tonight.
- The high standards we place on the Twins makes us spoiled around here. They were not that great in the first, like the rest of their team early. But they were the line that forced play first, and the one the rest followed. Daniel Sedin had a goal, 7 shots ( 2 more missed, including a great set up early that would have changed the entire momentum ), and Burrows had 2 to go with Henrik's one. They were not a "problem" tonight folks. We just have high standards for the quiet superstars, and their underpaid Quebecois triplet.
- That being said, I think the most consistent line is whichever one Cody Hodgson is on. He had another assist tonight on a play that was all puck guile against bigger guys. His subtle turn to the net took two guys out of the play and gave Hansen some room for the pass ( and no, it was NOT a pick Kings fans. It was a turn to the net at the right time. You can tell because he did not knock anyone down on the way there! ;-) ...that found David Booth for the empty netter. Mr Booth also looked pretty good. I expect to see the line up changes stay, and I expect to see a lot more cohesiveness out of those lines on Sat afternoon, after they have multiple days to practice here.
- No, not a bag skate, either. The team came back against one of the hotter teams in the NHL, and gained a point when few others do against them. Did I want the win? Damn skippy. Did I see things that can be better? Of course. But, even though we have all this time until the next game, I beseech you fellow fans, keep the armchair coaching and the wild trade ideas to a dull roar, OK? I would suggest you not listen to TEAM 1040 for a little while too. I know I am going to avoid them for a bit. Maybe it is just me, but the way they not only manufactured a story one day, but then took the other side and threw Ann from News 1130 under the bus today in their coverage was just too much "talking out of both sides of your face" for me. (EDIT: maybe its just too much listening to TEAM, and my BS meter got broken. Its usually more dependable than my sarcasmometer too. Have to hit reset?)
I am sure there will be plenty of noise after this one, but really, just like a Marilyn Manson cover, it looks worse than it actually is! Your favorite hockey team did not all of the sudden lose their way. The talent they all have did not evaporate. Keep the faith, relax, and think up some fun things to pick apart in this one tomorrow. But use your own minds ( I know our SBN writers and readers are a smart bunch!), and remember that the "tainted love" the guys in the media will be feeding you is just so they can get you to come back to them time and time again. Like the whole manufactured angst with Kesler over the last forty eight hours, sometimes the whole story is not the real one. I have no doubt that Sekeres, Price, B'Mac et al will have the passive aggressive knives sharpened by tomorrow, when I am sure they will tell you that your team is in a "slump" or some similar language. They may even have a point or two. But it is not as bad as they are going to tell you it is, of that I am pretty sure. Just like it was not as good as it was when they went into Beantown and won.
(Final EDIT ; A perfect example of the above when Jeff Paterson intoned that "its a loss like this one that is going to be the difference....in them not getting the 1st or 2nd seed at the end of the season" in the post game show. I never got that stuff. Isn't a loss to the Hurricanes or the Oilers the same as a loss to the Kings? Does this one count extra now? )