At this time of year, the fans of hockey are sort of stuck in that awkward time. We are still reviewing the year that has just past and yearning for the year ahead by making countless predictions and dissecting every move that has led the team to the position they are in this very second…..and this second…and this second……you get it.
This post is going to focus on the dissection aspect. While the Canucks performed better than most of us expected, they still had some very Canuck-esque games where they shit the bed royally. I have compiled what I think are the 3 worst games the team played this year. These games are the ones you have either turned off very early because you knew it was going to get ugly. Or you watched it to the bitter end. But probably you drunk yourself into a stupor hoping to wake up from that box of wine and see the highlights of the greatest Canucks comeback ever, only to be disappointed again with a hangover and your dog sleeping on your Tony Tanti jersey.
These losses happen for various reasons and look different as they happen but all of them usually create a crowding effect on Vancouver ledges. Let’s see what 3 piles were dumped by the Nucks this season:
Game 3: Dallas 6 Vancouver 3 Oct 21, 2014
This was game one of the Nucks first road trip of the year. They had just come off a loss to Tampa Bay and now faced a Dallas team that had owned them over the past year. Eddie Lack had played against TB and was shaky, therefore Miller got the start. And what a start it was.The Stars are a fast team, the Nucks, not so much. The Stars out-skated the Canucks in the neutral zone and were able to break out of their own zone so quickly that the Canucks defense never had time to turn and skate backwards. The first Dallas goal was actually a tip in off the stick of Burrows, who had hustled back to try and stop a 3 on 2.
Bad decisions on pinching and no hustle getting back were common place. On Dallas’s 5th goal, Miller actually stopped a break away and yet three Canucks were just getting into the defensive zone when Dallas scored on a pass back out front.
This game fed the naysayers who had been preaching that Canucks were too old and slow to compete with fast teams like Dallas. Old man Bieksa was -4 and I am pretty sure Gordie Howe skated faster when he was in his 50’s. And to make matters worse, the line that had two of the Nucks fastest skaters (Higgy,Bonino,AMFB) were all -3 and got burned several times by the Stars counter attack. Oh…and they had to cover for Bieksa.
After re-reading the recap of the game and watching the highlights I have to disagree with my own comments on the recap. I had said the Stars had all the luck since they score some flukey goals. In the end though, to get flukey goals the Stars out-hussled the Nucks and got into the right positions to score.
The NM recap of the game is here.
Game 2: Vancouver 3 Buffalo 6 Feb 26th, 2015
This game is automatically on this list just for the simple fact that anytime you lose to Buffalo you should seriously consider seppuku. ( But please clean up after) Especially since the Nucks had just won 2 games on the road against Boston and the Islanders. But I guess they wouldn’t be the Canucks unless they played to the level of their competition or worse against the bad teams.
The Canucks came out flat and only got 3 shots in the first and got a goal out of the deal. But you really shouldn't be playing back and forth with a team like Buffalo. You should crush their soul. Instead Torrey Mitchell outplayed the whole Nucks team and finished with two goals. The nail in the coffin was in the third with the Nucks down 4-3. The puck was down in the Buffalo end and the defense was pinching, and that was the exact time Linden Vey decided he needed to change. So with no one behind him as he headed to the bench, the puck got out and it was a race between Buffalo’s Flynn and Lack. Of course Eddie should have stayed in his net, but Vey never should have put Eddie in the tempting zone. I think in the postgame Eddie said, "The puck looked like a taco and I had to have it."
Nice job Canucks. Win some big games against good teams and get doubled by Buffalo.
NM postgame is here
Game 1: San Jose 6 Vancouver 2 Mar 3rd, 2015
At this point of the year the Canucks are only 5 points up on 10th place San Jose. This is a statement game……the Canucks can drive a nail into the coffin game. To add a little more pressure and urgency to the game, Mr. Markstrom is getting the start. So everyone needs to take care of their business in the defensive end and help the rookie out. Ok….good. Wait…what the fuck …3-0 after the first and Markstrom made 1 save? When your team is handing over the puck in their own end I guess shit happens. Yes….that’s it, we will title this game Shit. Because after Henrik puts the team on his back and scores two in a row and Eddie makes a highlight reel save….the Nucks just couldn’t clear the puck out of their own end and Nieto scored from the middle slot (nice coverage). The Sharks were faster and more aggressive this night…just like their only other visit to Rogers where they dominated the Canucks.
The Canucks should defer all home games they play against the Sharks next year.
NM recap here
I leave these three games here as my therapy. These games in my opinion were shit. No excuse for sucking so bad….or do these games truly show the flaws of the Canucks. (The core is slow, playing down to their competition and unable to rise up for the big game.) These are not your 2010-11 Canucks. There were a few others that pissed me off to the point I stopped watching them, but these stick out in my mind. Feel free to add your own to this steaming pile.