Honestly, I don't know what was worse. The score, the way the Oilers were not as good as that score ( honestly, they gave up so many turnovers in their own end that should have ended up in the net, at least once ! ), or the way CBC, and especially Mark Lee, actually made me angry while watching a mean nothing game.
At this point, we aren't supposed to care, right ? Other than #TankNation , and moving up a position or two in the draft, this was a classic mean nothing game. But there is just something about the blatant cheering for the Oilers by Mr. Lee that rubs one the wrong way.
You have to feel for the team a little bit though. They were still trying hard, but it is like everyone has zero confidence right now. Shooters that we used to know as confident snipers of the corners seem to be able to do nothing more than shoot at the crest. Jakob Markstrom did not have a great game, but was victimized by some bad bounces, as much as he was at fault for too much movement in the crease.
At least there is only one more game in this season after this one. Get a better result for Pat Quinn's sake, OK guys ?
The first period of this game was probably a clue as to how it was going to go. After a solid first shift for the home team, all hopped up on their "Ryan Smyth Night" hype, it was all Canucks. They spent great swathes of time in the Oiler end, and but for Ben Scrivens ( clearly the best goaltender on the night ), there should have been at least a goal to reward the visitors.
Instead, one time Canuck Steve Pinizzotto makes a nice play from behind the net, Matthias loses his check, and a recent call up gets his 1st goal. I mean, nice shot from Roman Horak, but there is no way he should have been that wide open in the slot. ( Another common problem for a team with a supposed "defensive coach". The slot has been far, far too open all season ).
The Canucks kept pushing hard, getting more chances, but, once again, a guy was left alone in front, as they ran around in their own end, and he roofs it to make it 2-0.
It was almost comical, this game. The Canucks would be all over the other team, let up a bit, and a puck would be in the back of the net.
Look Oiler fans, I get it. Ryan Smyth scored 30+ more than a few times from in front of the net, ( even with what Luongo called a "muffin of a shot" ) and was a great man in the community. But I did not like, even in Game #82, after another horrible season, the way Dallas Eakins put him out on the power play as much as he did on that four minute power play. We get putting a guy out a bit more to try and get a record here in Vancouver. But the guy was so tired by the end of that ( what was it I read on twitter...3:36 ? ) shift that he fell down along the boards.
I do, however, love this. Glove tap to missy for the find. None of the coach doing his thing can denigrate what was a great career by a great player, and that was a classy move by Henrik Sedin, evoking memories of Iginla doing the same on Linden's last game. Well done one and all, and congrats on a great career Mr. Smyth.
( A defense of Alexander Edler here, BTW. He had another forgettable game , a -2, with 4 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocks. But when a goal goes off you and in for what seems like the zillionth time this season, and the guy everyone is shedding tears over spears you in the chest, you clear them out like he did. Yeah, he got a stick up on the same guy earlier, but Smyth deserved to get leveled. If it wasn't the only thing making the game more than a "mean nothing" game, perhaps the ref would have called that shit the way it should have been called, instead of an even up cop out. Then again, Steve Kozari was giggling with Smyth at every stop of play anyhow, so to expect decent reffing in this one might have been a bit much. It certainly wasn't the reason they lost, but it was another log on the funeral pyre... )
The Oilers did, aided by all the power play time, have their best period in the second, when they had a couple more goals sandwiched around a Shawn Matthias goal that was the result of another nice pass from Zack Kassian ( who scored late in the third to make it the final 5-2 score ), but apart from a nice shot from Acton ( after a bounce, and a poor clear by Edler gave him the puck in the slot ), the Eberle and Ryan Nugent Hopkins goals ( Nuge's coming early in the third ) both came off of bounces in front that trickled through, or went in off of feet.
The third period, if you are looking for small victories, ( and yes, I know what score effects are, but that was only a part of it ), the Canucks came at the Oilers very hard again in the final stanza. In a mean nothing game, with the scoreboard showing that a defeat was in the offing, they outshot their opponent 17 - 8, and controlled most of the period. Ben Scrivens, and the fact that the shooters are simply not shooting like NHL scorers at the moment, made sure they were not rewarded, but they played hard. A lot of the 19 ( to 12 ) giveaways by the Oilers were in their own end. Against a confident team, they would have been crushed.
Instead, we got to hear long, drawn out tales of the "Hero Ryan Smyth", with some truly talented "concern trolling" of the Canucks by our supposed "national" ( tax dollar funded too ! ) broadcaster, who were more like the home team broadcaster on this night. I get it. Ryan Smyth is the Oiler Trevor Linden, at the end of a long career. But it was a bit too over the top for my tastes. The very best thing about the Rogers deal is, with the announcer talent to choose from, there is no way in hell Mark Lee will be calling hockey games in the near future !
So, what now ? Well, the Canucks have a chance to leave a better taste in the fans' mouths tomorrow, and should be up for it, what with it being a night where we salute Pat Quinn. The Flames are certainly playing well now though, so perhaps it might have the same result at the end.
But, I think we can mostly agree that, win or lose, "Meh" is the feeling that will herald whatever is the result. Some might even be in the crowd tomorrow secretly cheering for a loss, so as to give the Canucks a slightly better chance at the #1 pick this year.
There is little doubt that this game was a microcosm of the entire season. You can search not very hard, and find Corsi stories showing how the Canucks deserve better, based on their play, and the underlying math. They dominated the Corsi and Fenwick in this one. Sometimes that is not enough.
I should mention Mike Zalewski. He only played 11:47, and had 2 shots ( 1 missed ), but played a decent "meat and taters" kind of game. While it is much too soon to make any kind of judgement, he did OK for his first game in the NHL.
Another mention should be made of Zack Kassian, who's assist was another "vision" play, and whose goal will add to the tally, at the least. He is looking more and more like the player that Mike Gillis thought he would be when he traded for him.
This is my last game recap of the year, unless Sean needs me to cover the one tomorrow. But we will have the individual player recaps, and I have a few ideas of some posts that have been percolating, and waiting for the hysteria of the past week to die down.
It is never dull here in Lotusland, is it ? I for one think that Trevor Linden will do a fine job, but, as always, the media machine will second guess, and critique it all. Hell, the T.O folks this week were already pooh poohing him once the Leafs hired Brendan Shanahan.
Something about Shanny being a "Cup Winner", and that making all the difference !