It's over, you can all open your eyes now. The Vancouver Canucks ended their most disappointing season in recent years on a high note with a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena on Sunday. However, the outcome of the game quickly became irrelevant during the second period when Paul Byron delivered a hit on Daniel Sedin in the corner which left Sedin on the ice needing to be taken off on a stretcher. More on that in the recap, but let's get to the goal fest that the Canucks managed to turn this game into, and then we'll get back to the hit on Daniel.
It was Daniel in fact who opened the scoring for the Canucks in the first period by being in the right place at the right time. Jason Garrison sent in a pass to David Booth, who managed to send a shot on net while falling down. The shot deflected off Sedin who was credited with the goal to give Vancouver an early 1-0 lead.
Then, while on the power play with six minutes to go in the opening period, Daniel came up with a rebound goal to extend Vancouver's lead to two goals. This season, the Canucks finished 26th in the league on the power play this year at 15.2 percent. The only team worse than Vancouver in the conference on the power play was Los Angeles, who finished 27th at 15.1 percent. If the Canucks hope the rebound next season, the power play will need to be one of the main areas of focus for improvement.
The Canucks continued to build on their lead in the second period when Frank Corrado delivered a goal from the top of the right face-off circle. The goal was the first of Corrado's career, a nice moment for the youngster. Corrado's goal gave Vancouver a 3-0 lead midway through the period.
Ryan Kesler joined the scoring party four minutes later with a goal from inside the left face-off circle, his team leading 25th of the season. By that point, the Flames had mustered just one shot in 14 minutes during the period and the Canucks had total control of the game.
Less than two minutes later, the Flames got their first goal of the night from an unlikely contributor. On the first shot of his NHL career, Johnny Gaudreau got Calgary on the board with a deflected shot into the net for his first career goal. What made it actually pretty cool was the fact that just days ago, Gaudreau had suited up for Boston College in the Frozen Four. Not a bad week for the kid.
Then, things took an ugly turn. With just under three minutes to play, Daniel Sedin skated into the corner to pick up a loose puck along the boards. Paul Byron came up behind Sedin and delivered a punishing hit that left Sedin motionless as he laid on the ice in shock. One of the scarier sights was in the moments right after the hit when Sedin moved his fingers to assure himself he wasn't paralyzed. Henrik immediately came over to check on his brother. As the call was made for the stretcher, Sedin continued to move his figures to ensure he wasn't paralyzed. Replays showed that Byron pushed Sedin in the back with two hands into the boards. Was the hit dirty? Yes. Was it Byron's intention to deliver a hit that would leave Sedin motionless on the ice? As intense as this game its rivalries are, I like to think that at the end of the day, no player would deliver a hit with intentions to send his opponent off in a stretcher.
Byron was tossed from the game and the Canucks capitalized with their second power play goal of the night courtesy of Yannick Weber off a one-timer, the final goal of the season for the Canucks.
The win was irrelevant. The primary concern of the team and the fans was the health of Daniel Sedin who was transported to Vancouver General Hospital. In a statement issued by the team, the Canucks announced Sedin was in stable condition, showing signs of movement to his extremities. Anytime there is a hit along the boards in which a player needs to be taken off on a stretcher, paralysis is the worst case scenario that comes to mind, so the news sounded promising.
Now, the Canucks worst season in 15 years has come to an end. Vancouver ends the year in 25th place overall, the worst overall finish since the 1998-99 season when the Canucks finished 26th out of 27th. So let's all take some personal time off, enjoy the playoffs and put this season behind us.
Coming soon will be our annual Canucks Autopsies, which promise to be even more entertaining this year after all the team went through this year.
Some tweets from the team about Daniel Sedin are also included below:
Daniel Sedin was taken in stable condition to VGH. He will undergo further evaluation and imaging.— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 14, 2014
Daniel exhibited signs of movement to his extremities and showed improvement from initially being hit.— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 14, 2014
John Tortorella's post-game comments about the injury: