Sometimes I think its more fun to recap a loss than a win. Wins are easy, there is usually a lot in a win for a positive guy like me to find. But even in a loss that means not too much in the big picture, we can hope the loss will be treated as an outlier, and not descend into the dramatic dissection that will consume us. That will inevitably be drawn out a bit by the 3 day break until another game versus the Coyotes on Wednesday. A slump is a slump, and truth be told, for a while, this looked like a game that would put an end to the personal and team "slumps". How they managed to get to 92 points has got to be blind luck!!!
Do we really think that all the things we can and will find amongst the rubble of this one are going to be anything more than fuel to all involved? After seeing a game in which the Sedins looked so ineffectual that they were briefly broken up for the first time in a long time, is the takeaway that they are going through what every player does at some point, and they have some time to rest up, get energized, and go at the Coyotes like it does not matter what their style of play is? To be positive?
Its funny, when you watch the video, it kind of takes you to a weird state? Those flashing lights, funny little breaks, the level winners ( and how in the hell is Ghost Rider tougher than Bizarro Superman? Its like the guy playing Bizarro just stopped playing or something...just like our heroes), I get you gamers. Its been a long time for me when it comes to playing those things, but while this little treat is a nod to the popularity, I'm going to try something different, and be a little contrary after the break....
The truth is, to be as caustic and hyperbolic as the true professionals ( and tonight, I went for a quick walk between periods and listened to Price and Patterson between 2nd and 3rd periods, when it was still 1-1, and the Canucks looked OK until that late goal. Those two are the masters of it. I imagine the post game "long time caller" rants were predictable, and they have a job to do....those are the people that call in, but holy crap, if I was new to the game, I would have thought they were talking about the 30th place team and not the 2nd or 3rd ) , I'd have to submit whatever little shred of integrity I have to the shredder, and I just can't do that. That being quickly followed by the third period collapse, and we got to hear not one but two treatises on goaltending from a forward, both of them just totally overblown towards the "Luongo Sucks" camp. I am sorry to whomever the Craig Simpson fans are in the audience, and earmuffs to the kids, but fuck you Craig. I like Schneider a lot too, and we can all add to 14 around here ( the number of goals Lui has given up in his last 3 games ) . Trying to ignite a goaltending "thing" and ignoring that there was more than enough blame to go around tonight just pisses me off. ( Did you go around the Oilers room blaming Grant Fuhr some nights there bud?) The fact that you had Hughson playing along was, sadly, no longer shocking. It was like seeing a favorite uncle after a while and noticing how much he has changed, and not for the better. They "big citied" you Hughie. What happened? I blame the CBC for the guy they have paired you up with. Mostly though, I kind of get the recent complaints about the CBC from several of the Canadian teams. I know you guys don't want to be seen as "too on board", but settle down on the burning down the metaphorical house style of calling a game and try to take your pettiness out of it. In a game where Ryan Kesler had a goal, was the driving force of the best line for the Canucks ( they had 10 combined shots and were the "1st" line tonight ) and, regardless of what you thought of the uncalled penalty on him late when he was buried in the corner, I don't think he needed to be called a "diver" ( in all but the actual word ) on national TV. I've watched this team long enough to know when he dives, and that was a "benefit of the doubt" one to be sure. He was bent over like a lot of NHLers in that situation along the boards, and I watch enough hockey to see that called a lot, even in the second half where things are not being called. It led to a goal,thats something for sure, but I just did not like it the needless at that time aspersion. So, fuddle duddle there Craig.
- But to hell with that stuff. How about the work of the third team on the ice tonight? The officials in games are becoming too much of the story lately, and I don't like it, but it was like they were giving the loser team a moment in the playoff sun to remember on the golf course soon. The amount of clutch and grab early was painful to watch, and then to contrast that to the trip on Eller ( and I PVRed that puppy back and forth a couple times to even see if their was contact. ) by Bieksa, considering Canucks had been hauled down, hit in the numbers, and played with both hands on them along the boards previous. In a seemingly unseen style of play for me since the game that Mario Lemieux called horrible, it does leave one puzzled. But again, no excuses. The 2 hits on Henrik by PK Subban were solid, and while the second deserved a penalty for being interference, by he rules and all , the first I was OK with. Like Dr Recchi says, "Suck it up princess". But there is no point in talking about the reffing anymore. Its obvious they are trying to slow the game down to avoid concussions or something. The tinfoil hat club may refer to the way the game is called and nod knowingly. The numbers guys may ignore the facts that we can see with our own eyes in multiple markets that the game is being called different now. Maybe they want them to get used to it for the playoffs. Either way, It would have been nice if they gave us skilled teams notice so we could plan accordingly... I guess this is what we are going to get the rest of the way.
- There was other stuff, but the hell with that too. To the players... Roberto Luongo will get the same doubt and lack of respect he always does on the airwaves and in the time we will fill until the next game. Even me, a big fan, will not say that he has been on lockdown mode lately. He has not. His even tempered and positive attitude in the media will be called "not caring" by someone, I hazard a guess ( and I hate being hyperbolic about our fans in this province and the whole "We Are All Canucks" vibe, but this thread is up at CDC at 10PM, or less than an hour after this game ) Round and round. He had no help from both Bieksa and especially Edler on the first, the second was a lucky bounce for Erik Cole off of an Edler block on the second ( and maybe the only one I would give him some stick for. Cole made a nice play to squeeze that short side, but still. ). The goalie made 4 huge saves on the 5 on 3 PK ( and how much fun is that rule. Truly bizarre....it should not be automatic when clutch and grab is discretionary, I personally hate that rule. ) was a "no chancer" on a Subban shot that no goalie would have got across on, at least in my mind. I will also remind everyone that Price looked better at the other end because the other team did a better job of collapsing around their goalie under pressure. The Canucks had 5 more (14-9) misses, and 3 less blocks ( 18-15) in a game where they had a 35-33 edge in shots. I can see giving Price the first star they did. But he had a lot of help, in the one part of the game that I felt the Canucks really struggled. It was like they thought the Habs were going to play so wide open they could ignore the basics. The turnovers were even too, with the Canucks having one more of each of the give and take categories, but it seemed the Habs had a better handle on their breakouts.
- Random positivity. I like the pairing of Chris Tanev and Marc Andre Gragnani. They were the only defenders to not get a minus, ( Edler a -2 ) in their 17:33 and 16:44 TOI respectively. MAG only blocked one shot, same as tanev, though he was more active with 2 shots and a miss. I liked the way they moved the puck, and you can see the way Tanev is learning to be offensive. he has great instincts. For instance, his only giveaway was one he got back under even greater pressure in his own end, and then threw a long pass for a chance the other way. The two of those young blue liners seem to be figuring each other out. So there is that.
- The Sedin Twins truly must feel like Bizarro Superman ( this is the clip I wanted to share, but the enable was blocked. Click the link and try not to enjoy...I dare you! ) Its been some time since they have scored, and there were only a few shifts where the old magic looked to be flickering. They were dispersed to different lines briefly, and while they still had a good opportunity here and there, its hard to get too excited yet. I know we might be willing to jump to the conclusion that the way this game is being called and played is the Twin's Kryptonite, but I pish posh that. They have played through this stuff and produced in the past. I feel for them though. Just because they seem to be still trying hard. I could get angry at the lack of respect they seem to get from refs for back to back Art Rossers, but its almost laughable at this point. If Kevin Pollak has seen Sid get hit that late like PK on Hank, he would have probably separated his shoulder throwing the arm up. How did they respond? In fits and starts. Henrik Sedin had a shot ( a good chance ) and 4 hits. ( yes, thats right ) in his 16:33 TOI. Daniel Sedin had 2 shots and missed 1 in his 16:01. If that seems low, it is because it is. But please, if I can ask for anything, its just a turning down of the volume over the next few days in regards to our two identical leaders. They have always been the hardest workers, you can only ask the question so many ways, dear media, before it starts grating, and if there are any two guys that can do with a break away from it all, its these two.
- Well, except maybe their running buddy. Alexandre Burrows was playing a bit frustrated tonight, and while he took the first pop with the first frustration penalty, and Carey Price probably feels all gangsta for the silliness at the end, it would behoove Mr AMFB to just forget those guys and play the game like its a game. He seems a bit tight. He had 4 shots, a little more time than his linemates at 16:55, and as always, played hard on the PK ( he had 2 blocks and a hit ). Just relax Burr'. Everyone hates you anyway, and I know you have accepted never getting the call when you stick your nose in. We all know you will work hard bud. I want to see that smile that drives guys nuts when you skate around them and score. That paying the price in front and then coming off the ice with another point. Just settle down their Burr'. We know you know how to get to those right spots with the Twins. Just do it and stop thinking it.
- Last thing, I would be remiss without giving the Habs' PK some love. If those power plays get anything, maybe it changes and a team that even said so ( Gorges between periods ) that they "had to come in with emotion or these guys would embarrass us" would have felt a little different down 2-0. The PK was solid. So was the effort. Kudos to the opponent. But you caught us at a good time!
Like Bizarro asked "Who am me? Where am home". Usually its more dominant at the Rog'. But at least it happens now. They'll be better for it, and I don't think that the doubts will be the foremost thing on Canuck fans' minds for much longer. Honestly though, at worst, it will be a likely second place finish. They need to figure it out for the near future, obviously. But some perspective might help, just a teeny bit.
It is just as likely that hyperbole and crisis will rule the conversation until Wednesday. Shit, imagine if they look bad that night, win or lose?
Keep the faith Canuck fans.