Before this matinee hockey, the Canucks were 26-0-0 when leading after two periods, and a mind blowing 183-3-12 in the same circumstance since 2006.
So, you'll excuse me if I don't slay them too bad for giving up the extra point in the 4 on 4 hockey. The Stars made their breaks, got a huge one ( in a delightfully ironic bit of Puck God hockey karma ) when Stephane Robidas took a little roundabout way to a puck that barely made it over the red line. Yes, we heard our Wings friends complaining about Sami Salo. Sami is older and slower. This was different.
The thing is, its only a break if you take advantage of it. The Stars did, with Ott winning a draw, and Ribireo making a skilled tip on the Goligoski shot to tie the game in the last minute.
The Canucks enter the final game of their six game road trip the day after the deadline. I doubt this one makes Mike Gillis stew too much, or forces some huge moves. The Stars just earned it in an O/T by wanting it more than the perhaps out of gas Canucks. Don't worry, be happy.
- Here's the thing. I cannot stand Mike Ribiero, but I fully acknowledge he is a very underrated, very skilled player in the NHL. His embellishment of a call on Chris Higgins was skillful too. The stick was there, but that was not much, considering the way this game ended up being called. The way that he dangled with the puck? Very skillful. But, honestly, if I want one of the players on the Stars for my team, its Steve Ott. He just played hard, and was the reason they won it in O/T. We have enough skill, and for all the reputation stuff other fans try to throw at this team and its fans, Steve Ott would fit in well. He just played hard. That is fine with me. Get Ott and see if that "rep" is burnished by a Stanley Cup. And yes, I know Ribiero had a goal and an assist. Humour a man his likes and dislikes...
- The guy that people in the rumour mill keep trying to trade for Ott had a pretty great game too. Mason Raymond scored a goal off a hard shot, a stride up from the red line, that should not have went in. But, while that was nice, it was nothing compared to the speed, puck hunting, and solid 200" game the man put in. He was only credited with 2 shots, and the guy says 2 giveaways ( I doubt that, but what can you do? This stats guy had the Stars with a 14-2 edge in hits in the first, and a 29-15 edge overall. They were playing hard, but that is just ridiculous. ), but whatever. He made a strong pitch for staying in the only city he has played NHL hockey in.
- The power play for the Canucks had two chances, as did the Stars. The Stars got a goal on one of theirs, while the Canucks first unit looked pretty and did not shoot enough. Well, sort of. They had 5 shots on the power play on the first one, and 3 on the second. But I would wager about half of those 8 shots were the second unit in the scrap time left for them. It certainly was the time when you noticed Cody Hodgson the most. He was OK 5 on 5, and part of that was the way Raymond was flying. But he and David Booth need to work on their chemistry skills. I suggest watching Flubber instead of Aladdin.
- Even Shorty was incredulous at some of the stuff this crew was letting go. I am all for tough, playoff style hockey, but the reffing was ridiculous. If you are going to send the message that little hooks are going to be called with the one Ribiero made sure everyone could see, how can you not call the hooks two guys were doing on Higgins on a breakaway rush later? A slewfoot by Robidas in front of the net on Kesler on a power play was ignored, a pure mugging by Trevor Daley on Kesler where he held him around the chest for the entire time just brought a smirk and a shake of the head, as did the fact that Alex Burrows was tackled all game long. Not to blame the officials for the loss, the Stars earned it. But the refs just did not do their jobs very well. All four of them. It started with a early tip out of a puck that went off a Star stick early in the first, as everyone saw, that resulted in a faceoff outside instead of inside. Thats just a little thing. But it was a clue to the ineptitude that followed. I would guess the officials went out late last night in Dallas. Because they did their jobs like they were hungover today!
- Meh. Shit happens, and not everyone can be perfect. So, enough with the refs. Watch this instead. Supposedly, Vern Fiddler does a very good "Mean Kevin Bieksa" face.
- One stat that cannot really be fudged too much is faceoffs. The team that comes out with the puck gets that one. While the faceoff on the last minute goal was a big win for Steve Ott, he was the only one that was over 50% for the home team today. Vancouver won that stat 31-24, and everyone was better than 50% but Cody Hodgson, who went 3/8. Coho did win the only defensive zone draw I can remember him taking though.
- Is it just me, or does it look like David Booth is not as effective as he is with Ryan Kesler? KesLORD got a goal on a wrister that blew right through the goalie's glove, and he was, well, OK overall, but I like him better with his Michigan running buddy. Their game, in particular with Chris Higgins, is all about power and speed. Expect that line to be together after the deadline. Perhaps a guy like Ott, or someone else that is a great "Moneypuck" player is on Hodgson's line then, but you have to think that AV remembers how dominant that line can look. The Amex, Team America, whatever you want to call them line will return, I think.
- Booth played just under 13 minutes, and his centre Hodgson just under 12. Apart from Bieksa, Kesler, and Salo, no one played over 20 minutes ( though Burrows was close at 19:50 ), and those three had their ice time buttressed by special teams play on the PK and PP. It is the way you have to play, I would think, when you are playing your 6th game in 8.5 nights.
- Don't blame the goalie for today's O/T loss. He was pretty solid for a guy that got beat three times. The Ryder shot was a pretty tough one to stop, and the tying goal was a very skillful tip by a very skillful player in Ribeiro. The third goal was the one that you could blame everyone BUT the goalie on. Roberto Luongo was fine. ( Here's a perfect reason why Mike Ribeiro annoys the hell out of me. Earlier in the game, Ryder is getting a penalty, and the official making it is right there in the zone. He had to see it. He certainly heard the whistle, as Luongo did, when he eased up. Continuing the play and scoring a non existent goal is a sophomoric, stupid thing to do. We get it Mike. You are a great player. You are not doing that shitty rep any favours by doing that. ) We all know how competitive Luongo is, and he would say he should have had them all. But sometimes you just have to tip the cap.
- I promise, thats the last one on Ribs'. If it means anything, I have disliked the guy since he was in Montreal. I was agog at the skill on that goal against Calgary, but man. Some guys just rub you the wrong way!
- I have to give the Dallas Stars credit. As a fan of a team where other fans, and supposedly ( because every quote always seems to be overblown, like Howard's whining after he was beat ) other players absolutely hate the team I love, I have a fine appreciation for the "assholes" that are hard to play against, and push the limit. I don't really blame the officials, other than the fact that there was plenty for them to make a call on if they felt like it today, and they just did not feel up to it. But the players that are hard to play against, like Alex Burrows, Maxim Lapierre, Ryan Kesler et al, had just as much thrown back at them by the Stars "asshole" squad today. Adam Burish, Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Vern Fiddler, and the guy that was not that much of an "A-hole" today, Steve Ott ( he just played well ) all have that attitude of "I am going to do all the things that are borderline or outright illegal, I am going to do them a lot, and keep doing them until you start calling them". Hell, they have another "A-hole in training" in Garbutt. This team will be a load if they make it to the playoffs. Stars fans, please note, I say that with admiration. It worked against my guys, but like I said, if they don't call it, right?
- If there is one thing the Canucks can take out of this one, its that they got a taste of "playoff" hockey a little early today. They will get the same against the Coyotes on Tuesday. That is just the way it is with the teams that are battling just to get in. The Canucks took extra point that puts them up two on the Wings, but they could have easily had two. They played better than their opposition for stretches of this one, and definitely played well enough to win. Against a desperate squad like the Stars, you have to match that desperation for the entire 60 minutes. We all know it was not icing. Thats a bad break. But the way they set up, with Bieksa and Hamhuis both going to guys away from the slot, and leaving Ribiero all alone for a tip, that is on the players, and/or the coaches. Its a little thing, but it cost them the win. They had a chance to get the extra point in the O/T, but, to me at least, it looked like the batteries were running low. Sami Salo usually makes that block of a pass....and the other guys that were running around looked a little panicked. But, like I said, give the Stars credit. That was a great play by Ott and Daley to give Eriksson the tap in.
But the Canucks are still the #1 team in the NHL, they are still 3-1-1 on a road trip that saw them crisscross the United States at an almost cruel pace, and have a chance to come back from it with a possible 9 of 12 available points with a win in Glendale. They lost a game. It happens. This was the first time all season that their way of killing third periods did not work, and it took a wonky icing where Robidas looked like he was carving figures eights on the way to the puck to do it. Oh well. Shit happens. Just do what Mr Marley says.
Do we see a different team by the next Recap?
In Mike Gillis We Trust.