Game recap: How much more can you ask for? In an opening game where they mourned the passing of one of their own, their entire squad responded. Ignore the first period; the last 40 minutes were all Vancouver. They can't score? Yes they can. Are they soft? Clearly not. The power play was terrible but Rypien scoring short-handed, something that happened almost never last year, was telling as well. And to top it off? Our captain has a shutout (his 39th career shutout and 12th with Vancouver) and yours doesn't.
Kesler was bleeding by the second. Burrows was looking for the hat trick. Ohlund was showing both Iginla and Bertuzzi the ice the hard way. O'Brien - a Canuck for 48 hours - helped police the play even down the final buzzer. Everyone did their part.
What shouldn't be missed is what Hansen and Bernier did tonight. When they were needed, whether it was Langkow with Luongo or Phaneuf with Henrik, both of these 'new' players to the squad responded. It is precisely those little moments that this team hasn't had in the past two seasons. That level of dedication is huge and will go far in how this team stacks up against the premier teams as the season rolls along.
I'll dive into the numbers later...I'm buzzed and it's late. But a more picture perfect season opener you couldn't make. And you know Luc was in their minds all 60 minutes. Simply perfect. Well done boys.
0:00 - As the whistle blows, I think Vandermeer chucked a Sedin down like a ragdoll and O'Brien was right there to settle up.
1:00 - Well I have to tip my hat to Vigneault. I didn't think he could make this team entertaining to watch but, for at least tonight, he sure did.
5:15 - Rypien? For real? He just out raced the defense shorthanded and roofed it over Kipper. Is that his first career NHL goal? The goals are coming from all over the place now. 6-0 Vancouver.
5:42 - Flames get the man advantage because Bernier got roughing on top of the fight. Luongo looking for the shut out.
6:13 - Bernier - with the crowd chanting his name realizing he's outmatched - goes right after Phaneuf after he dropped Henrik like a bad habit. Between Hansen and Bernier's actions alone tonight you can see this is a fundamentally different team. Last year no one would have reacted on either hit the way those two have done tonight.
9:11 - Pyatt takes it to the net and, again, the defense abandons Kipper on the rebound that pops onto Ohlund's stick. What did I just say? Ohlund's having a killer night. 5-0 Vancouver. Damnedest thing, I thought Vancouver couldn't score five goals in a game. Hmm.
11:20 - Primeau goes to the box on a weak call moments after Ohlund doled out his third big hit of the game. Ohlund and Burrows are both having fantastic nights. Luongo, obviously, goes without saying...
...so on the reply it looks like Luongo took a shot at Langkow who took a shot back and then Hansen (who got into it with Phaneuf in the first) started throwing haymakers. Though Hansen takes a double minor, it's pretty sweet he came to Luongo's aid without hesitation.
14:15 -Yeah, no one saw that coming. The CBC broke to commercial just as a Flame took a swipe at Luongo and it appeared everyone got involved after that. This game is going to get real chippy by the time it's over.
Have I mentioned how great it is to have this sport back?
14:20 - Vancouver = 0 for 5 on the man advantage.
16:21 - Andy said it over at BoA: it's getting weird to hear Crawford talk about physical play, first on Bertuzzi, second now on Roy who sits in the box for slashing.
17:13 - The Calgary defense is doing Kipper no favors. A bad clear ends up on Johnson's stick and he makes a bad pass over to Burrows but he makes it count for his second of the night. 4-0 Vancouver.
18:36 - So...will Demitra ever shoot? He had the jump on the defense but still passed it off to Raymond who left it for Pyatt and Kipper made a great save. Pavol my friend...shoot.
20:00 - I'm putting my support behind Canadian Gold for the HNIC anthem. You know you like it.
End of the second - A night and day difference between periods. Vancouver took advantage of their opportunities and made the Flames pay. On top of it they started getting physical and owned much of that period's play and the majority of scoring chances. The Flames still lead in shots, but haven't gotten anything past the captain yet.
1:00 - The second biggest cheers of the night go also to Ohlund as he drops Iginla now. Iginla, being the bitch he is, runs back at a group of Canucks and finds himself in the box for roughing. Beautiful.
2:42 - Biggest cheers of the night go to Ohlund who dropped Bertuzzi like a rock. A few seconds later the Flames get two or three great chances on Luongo but he holds the fort.
An aside: SERIOUSLY, Crawford is bloody awful. Someone stop him please.
3:46 - Two quick great saves by Luongo, shifting from right to left to make the final save on Iginla.
5:00 - Fuck, Kes just took a skate to the face. It's comical it took a single game for him to be abused this badly. All that's missing is a Pronger stomp (on his neck perhaps).
6:23 - Canucks go, I believe, 0-4 on the night for the power play. I don't care if they were the best on the man advantage in the preseason, their regular season one could use some work.
8:45 - That Rene Bourque has a lot of speed...which I only mention because I've never really seen him play. And Bertuzzi, heckled roundly, heads to the box for interference.
12:22 - Lee just said Demitra said Raymond is going to score 30 goals this year. Hahaha...that's cute. No pressure at all!
13:45 - Have I mentioned yet how painful listening to Crawford is?
14:22 - Jesus, Kesler just missed an open net and then, moments later, absolutely flatten Kipper on a drive to the net. After the whistle Phaneuf mugs Burrows after he was talking shit to Kipper after the Kesler hit. Dion gets a penalty, Kesler is on the bench bleeding and the Canucks go on the power play.
15:47 - Pyatt just leveled a Flame I couldn't see. OK I don't hate him anymore. For now.
16:16 - Bertuzzi and Mitchell meet up at the benches. C'mon, do it Willie...
18:03 - Uh oh, we got a show now. Kipper gives up a killer rebound and the Calgary defense apparently didn't think Burrows couldn't score. They were wrong. 3-0 Vancouver. That one's for Luc folks.
19:37 - Now THAT is how you start a fucking period of hockey. Daniel to Henrik to Carter Bernier and the Big Bear gets his first as a Canuck. 2-0 Vancouver.
End of the first - The Canucks are getting outshot 9-5, they have taken at least two weak penalties, Luongo is again having to perform in overdrive to keep them in it and the Sedins, somehow, figure out a way to score. Shit folks, rock on like it's 2007 again.
1:59 - Johnson goes off for hooking and the Flames go back on the power play. Phaneuf flattens Edler. I'd like to see O'Brien make Dion his bitch for a bit.
2:45 - After Raymond just misses a nice pass from Demitra at the top of the crease the Flames come back and Cammalleri is stopped by Luongo.
3:35 - The Sedins have arrived....Daniel goes in on Kipper, misses but chucks it back and front to find Henrik. It's a crime the Canucks are in the lead based on the play so far but thems the breaks. 1-0 Vancouver.
4:48 - The Canucks are back on their heels since the two man advantage. All they're doing is stretch passes that aren't working. Sigh...and Mike drinks more. How many saves does Luongo have now, like 15?
6:11 - The Calgary shooting gallery ends. For fucks sake that was ugly.
7:45 - I don't know much about this Moss guy, but he could have scored three times in about 15 seconds there. I don't know who if you blame Moss or credit the PK unit. Whatever, it's still tied which is amazing. The Flames look good out there.
8:57 - Fucking hell, Rypien takes a hooking call. Flames get a two man advantage for a minute.
9:55 - Kesler knocks Iginla on his ass and will go sit for a bit. Phaneuf gets bitchy with Hansen. Someone should tell Jannik he isn't a fighter. Or what the hell, go ahead. It's the first game, go nuts kid.
11:12 - Vancouver finally sets up but Salo sends a rocket wide of the net. Ugh, that was ugly. Go back to even strength, they looked better.
12:37 - The Sedins get their legs moving and Cammalleri takes a roughing call. The shit show returns.
13:23 - Christ, Calgary had the man advantage for 30 seconds and looked far quicker with better puck control then the Canucks did. Luongo makes his first big stop of the year on Iginla.
14:40 - Bieksa springs Mitchell of all people on a quick rush up ice. Sure, why not. He should get his one goal a year tonight.
15:20 - Pyatt negates the advantage by taking an interference call. Douchebag.
16:10 - Bernier and Vandermeer start exchanging shots, a few seconds after Bernier was stopped on the doorstop trying to stuff it by Kipper. And Vandermeer gets tagged with four minutes for not keeping his emotions in check. Let's see the annual shit show known as the Vancouver powerplay start.
17:40 - O'Brien just got crunched and Kesler looks hurt on a hit a few seconds later. Here's the piss and vinegar I thought we'd see. Rypien gets involved too.
18:35 - Demitra finds Raymond but the kid can't handle the bouncing puck. Nertz.
18:55 - Jesus, am I seriously listening to fucking Crawford? At least yell dude, that's what we're used to.
20:00 - HOOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYY!!!
10:52 PM ET - Burrows is emotional. Shit even Lui seems moved by it. As the "Loooo's" rain down, that was a pretty powerful moment for this franchise.
10:49 PM ET - "Life is a highway" man plays a song with overlaying video of Luc. Wow, I just realized how wildly inappropriate that song would be right now. Opps.
10:47 PM ET - The giant LB's on the ice are pretty cool. So is it callous of me if I say Luc's girfriend is pretty cute. Heck as is the lady giving the jersey away. (It's the beer people, leave me alone).
10:43 PM ET - Finally the home team takes the ice joined by the Flames shortly after.
Center Ice finally clicks on. And no porn-style music this year on CI? Weak.
Regehr an early scratch due to his wife giving birth.
Aww...and they kill the Edmonton news feed! I wanted to know more about the pedophile top story! Oh well, good luck guys. Or little ones? I don't know what the proper social etiquette is pedophile well wishes. Feigning ignorance...
9:43 PM ET Update: If you head on over to Waiting for Stanley, turn your speakers up.
The Leafs down the champs, all seems right in the world.
45 minutes to go...
6:27 PM ET Update: The drunkblogs are piling up. MYFO is taking care of the Detroit/Wings game and the KB will be covering the Canuck game as well. They're probably funnier. But I'll curse more. Use a browser with multiple tabs and you'll be fine.
Kent is picking up the smack now. Niiiiice. Fuck I am glad hockey is back.
5:26 PM ET Update: Canucks unveil Luc Bourdon Wall Of Dreams.
Also, with Warrener going on long term injury status this morning, Boyd has been recalled. Just another guy with a target on his back.
Last time the Flames came around they chased Luongo, embarrassed Naslund's team and put an emphatic end to a disappointing season. Now it's Luongo's team, Naslund is three time zones away and these guys better do everything in their power to not string two disappointing seasons together, much less two straight shitty losses to the same team.
What to look for
First we're going to have the Bourdon tribute which will be hard enough.
But what we're looking for is instant proof of this new team's capabilities. You've seen Vancouver start games flat and uninspired before; that's not even a remote option tonight. Between Bourdon's tribute and the home opener, they should come out with fire in their eyes. Expect the first five minutes to be ferocious.
Once it settles down however, what will it be: the preseason where players like Demitra, Raymond and the Sedins found the space to be creative or will it be like the last few seasons where the dump-and-chase begins immediately, a lone forechecker is deployed and it becomes defense first? No matter the style, a game with Luongo and Kiprusoff should be be low scoring. Expect more of the same when these teams meet in Calgary on Saturday.
Across The Trenches
Calgary announced their final roster yesterday and, thanks to the cap, it doesn't include Dustin Boyd which has irked a fan or two. They're still bringing the classic Canuck killer in Iginla (who's going to see his fill of Kesler) and new guys in Bertuzzi and Cammalleri that will be more then enough for the Canuck defense. Langkow, on the second line, has done enough damage to the Canucks in past seasons too. Phaneuf will line up across from either the Sedins or Raymond, meaning they'll do their best to catch him flatfooted before he levels them.
Reasons to like Calgary?
Nice answer: Iginla and crew were the very definition of class when Linden skated in his last game.
Real answer: There's no good god damn fucking reason to like Calgary. Fuck 'em with a chainsaw (metaphorically speaking that is).
3-2 Vancouver. You know it's going to be a one goal game and, while Calgary takes the early lead, Vancouver finds its spine in the end. Bernier, Salo and D Sedin for the Canucks. Langkow and Glencross for the Flames.