The Third of December 2016. It was the date with fate that the cowering NHL player safety brass (band and hangers-on) were dreading. Payback can be a bitch - especially when it's fatal.
To ensure that no idle threats were wielded with kinetic promise, the nhl sent the freshly swollen heads of the Department of
Pretend Player Safety to Vancouver as the leauge's enforcers. If any Vancouver player attempted to wrangle some wild wet western justice, the NHL enforcers would be there to ban them on the spot - for 10 games to life. If any of the Toronto Maple Angels took liberties with Canuck players, the Player Safety Guardians would be there to cheer them on. Fair and balanced - that's how the league works - if you're a proper storied losing hockey team from the CotU.
Fortunately, the death-match 2016 outbursts were limited to the NM gamethread - although even those went unseen since a number of our
esteemed beloved tolerated contributors are still not able to login in to NM to post their insightful malformed opinions rants. Thanks to, owner/operator of SBnation/NM, Vox Media's new draconian security procedures that have ensured simple sports bloggers can no longer contribute to a simple sports blog with a simple login. That would be far too simple. In the new media world built on complexity and half-baked google beta code.
These new high security processes have been implemented to keep the bad people out. You know who you are - which is good, because Vox doesn't.
Anyhow...we have a game to recap, not make sarcastic, if accurate, comments about our corporate masters. At least I do.
So how was the game? The Canucks got 3 goals - which is the amount required for a hat trick. And would likely have been one for Gaunce as usual, but as usual, Willie shortened the bench and we had to watch the scoring spread around to those other real good players.
It started with Guds taking out Martin, Rielly and Kadri with a single check from above - dropping onto the ice from the rafters wearing nothing but a pair of skates and a grand piano. The Leafy thugsome didn't return to the game. At least that's what I saw with my eyes closed before the puck drop.
After the puck drop, under the intense scrutiny of the league's chief scrutineers of fair and balanced violence, the teams played hockey. It was a tilt that favoured the leafs in every aspect of the game because HNIC said so. So...that's good to know.
Because of a messaging screw-up with the HNIC's TO must win at all costs messaging app, Dank scored from way out while sneaky Sutter was screening the innocent Leaf goalie. Some maplesippers thought it should have been a penalty - but it wasn't - it was the opening goal of the game!
Yay! We win the game. No, really. Go lookup Toerahna's record when scored on first. It's almost as bad as our record for losing the lead in the third.
With or without Kadri taking a cheapshot on him while shooting, Daniel can score on Toronto. How do you scout for that Babs?
Ok, no fooling around, it's tense in the garage. Leading a leading (financially) team can put real pressure on your RSP. And your bladder. But, what is a one goal lead in the first without a two goal lead in the second?
Empty. Devoid of numeric symmetry. And something to cast away in the 3rd like a used-up two-for-none. But, let's not get ahead of the pushback before the turd of the game turns its intestinal imperative to gut-wrenching equivalence.
Miller was looking sharp and making some easy saves look hard. No, the other kind - making miraculous saves look hard. Or at least acrobatic.
While the HNIC's commentary was set on a great setup for their new darting darling, the unthinkable occurred. Capt Morgan was stripped of the puck by Groot, who scooted the same puck up ice to Burrs who buzzed into the o-zone - passing to a buzzing Baer who made a beeline to the front of net - bedazzled by all buzzing of the Killer B's, Andersen, opened the honey pot and pure finesse gold morphed into a two goal lead.
Blurry Baer with the second GWG! Or would have been if there wasn't another stoopid period scheduled in the same game. Sadly, not just another period, but...never mind.
Speed kills. And the Killer B's were killing it again tonight in the hustle and bustle of modern nhl on-ice tussles.
And then the killing spree, the thrill-of-the-kill hockey media hoped for, sprung into spreedom with a not totally staged fight. Guds and Martin went Mano-a-Mano before the horrified eyes of the DoPS supreme leaders. Although some have argued that those same eyes rarely open to view hockey's more egregious borderline plays.
And then...yup, Guds takes Martin's head off
Or, knocks his helmet off - it's a camera angle thing. Yet, the winner by helmet-knocking-off is...Guds! Stand up guy. Made a promise and killed it, er...fulfilled it, fistaphorically.
Would this shift the momentum for the Leafs? Would they get within a goal in the second?
No, they would not.
Let's not spend too much time on this completely gratuitous, too predictable waste of twenty minutes of hockey. Would it change the outcome of the game if the Toronto Maple Leafblowers tied the game? No, it would not. As I explained earlier using basic statistical reasoning, the game was won by the Canucks in the first seven minutes of the first. But, as much as advanced analytics is showered with praise and feints in the league, the NHL is still not ready to accept my fateful binary predictive algorithms. In fact, they haven't even asked. And there's a 0 in 1 chance they ever will.
Do I need to doddle on the darting darling that scored the tieing goal? No, I do not. If we had tanked to the stinking depths that Toronto did last season, he would would be our darting darling. But he's not and so...
Special mention to Stecher, again. Saved a goal behind Miller, who played real real good, but so did Stech.
Flash bulbs were fired. In vain, Toronto. Thwarted by a kid from Richmond. No, not Hill, Richmond BC.
Even Sbisa was impressed. And he's not easily impressed when the puck is on the goal line.
So last year's most have-not team with lowest points in the league, managed to tie last year's 3rd most have-not team. Congrats. You will still have-not tonight, because...
We own the best (in my mind) record in O/T in the entire league. So, the results were predictable. Until this happened.
As you can clearly see, Dank is stopping up to win the game in OT, as is his wont. But...as you can also see, the Leaf D is dropping invisible, but powerful pocket gravity wells near Daniel. And worse, Danny skates right into them...
Sucked into the stinky leafy gravity well, Dank's skates lose an edge and now it's a 5 on 1 in 3 on 3 OT going the other way. Scary stuff, right?
Nope. Because as I tried to explain, more than once, the Canucks won this game in the first. All these extra period diversions are nothing but cheap Saturday night entertainment. Ok, not really cheap, if one had to pay for Canucks game tickets not in the nosebleed section. But still...here comes the inevitable.
Miller is the winningest goalie in shootouts. That's the real reason Willie put him in net tonight. Because Willie subscribes to my (mentally) limited edition predictive hockey newsletter. While he felt it would be real good for Miller to get off the softie souffle saddle and back on the bare back of hairy shot stopping, he also knew that because of the HNIC coverage the CoTU would demand no less than 60+ minutes of false hope.. Until we claimed the victory using our superior net minding and mind over goalie talents.
Granlund Scores (of course)
So does Bo, stick side (of course)
And in his extra gift of false hope giving, Miller allowed Marner to score, but not the darting, deeky darling of Dundas St.
CANUCKS WIN!!! For the first time, since the last loss! The binary streak is restored to its pre-destined half-way balance.
The Canucks completely out-played Toronto. On the dot - winning 36 faceoffs vs 28. Which led to outshooting the Leafies 24 to 40. In the new money - one Canucks shot is equal to two opposing team shots. Someday new money will be the new thing.
What's next for our destiny-plagued players? How about a road trip? Back east? Ugh. Another afternoon game. Yay. Tuesday afternoon in the heart of the beast. Jersey beasts can be tamed, sure, but in the afternoon on a snow day? Bundle up, kids! And remember to count each snowflake and goal.