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A "From Auston to Zurich" Game Recap ( 5-2 L )

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You start thinking about things differently when your team is outscored 15-6 in the last three games.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Because sometimes you need to change it up, this recap will be a little different.  Thanks for your indulgence.


A - Atlanta's one time team took the "A and turned it into a "C", and had the one thing we crave as fans here, knowing that your team has it's name etched on the Stanley Cup, but never got that one.  The Atlanta team was named ( OK, not that smart either ) after the time when US Army General burnt their city during the civil war.  I guess Calgary can romanticize the flickering flames on oil wells ?

B - Baertschi, Sven.  Can we say that was a great deal yet, or do we have to see how the pick we gave up to the Flames turns out in the NHL.  Had a great game, in a series of them.  It is too bad his best hockey has been in a losing efforts, but could those twitterati that were passive aggressiving all over Jim Benning for the deal at least admit the kid is a player ? 4 shots in 14-)2 of ice time.

C- We are still all Canucks, right ?

D- I missed the 1-0 goal getting home ( damn you Central time zone! ), but two of the next four for the Flames were on bounces ( with a third on a scramble where the goalie did not cover, and defenders did not do much but forget to pick up a check as the Flames dug away.  Deflections ( or, bounces, as we call them ) off of skates and attempted blocks happen all the time in this game.  But it still sucked.

E - Enforcer is an interesting term in our game.  John Scott romanticizations aside, it all depends on hether the guy can play besides that.  Derek Dorsett can, and in anther way, Derek Engelland can too.  Both were doing that part of their jobs tonight because of Lance Bouma.  I agree with Cheech.  That late, in a 5-2 game, the shit disturber that made the enforcers have their "chat" does not need to run over there to defend a guy who outweighs Dorsett by about 30 lbs.  And before someone posts "Burrows" in the comments, Burrows has not really been that kind of shit disturber for years.  And 2 of the 3 hits on that one shift were hits.  Shorty got a little two excited on the 3rd one.  Bouma did finish with 6 hits on the night.

F - The Faceoffs were 22-22 after two, and 33-32 for the Flames at the end.  Bo was 6 of 13, and Captain Hank was at 50% on 26 draws, but kudos to Jared McCann for going 8 of 13 on the night.  Cracknell had a good game at times ( the goal was nice ) but was only 3 of 10 on the night.

G - My 74 year old mom called me between the second and third.  She is not a big hockey fan any more, but when she asked how they were doing, and I said losing again, she pulled the "well, they'll be hitting little white balls instead of pucks soon anyhow...". It was funny, and I laughed, but damn, when mom is making Golfing jokes about your team...

H - Jannik Hansen had another great game.  His assist on the Cracknell goal was pure puck hound.  Definitely one of my favorite performers this year.  He give max effort almost every game.

I - Indefatigable.  an adjective that means "to persist tirelessly".  There should be a picture of Ben Hutton beside it.  The guy continues to impress.  Yes, his team lost.  But he played 31 shifts, in a team leading 23:24 TOI, and had 2 blocks and 2 takeaways.  Seems to show something new and better every game.  Today it was chasing down a  Flame on what looked like a breakaway and taking away the puck, as well as making the power play actually look dangerous at times.  Thank you Mike Gillis...

J - Jared McCann and his linemates were a combined -6, but he had 2 shots and was good on the draw.  There were times when I could see why Willie put that line together.  Can we see them for a bit longer to see if the chemistry develops W.D ?  Because I think the kid thinks the game at a higher than rookie level, and once that clicks with Burrows and Vrbata, they could have something.  If both are here in a week, of course.

K- The last Atlanta Flames player in the NHL was Kent Nilsson, who played his last game in 1995.

L - Losing sucks more than winning.  After a prolonged period of the former ( thank you Canucks, for that, at least in the regular season ), let's hope this down period is a short one.  Because it sucks.

M - Sean Monahan was a +1, had 2 shots, and a hit and a takeaway.  But he played Henrik Sedin to a standstill.  I am predisposed to hating Flames on general principles, but I do like this particular Calgarian's game.

N - Not that the Sedin Line were their usual selves.  They had their moments, but it was the Horvat Line that was the one pressing the play the most. Bo, Sven and Virtanen need a Nickname.  The goal by the Canuck rookie should put at least a glimmer in your eye.  The steal was smart, after the hustle to forecheck on both sides of the ice.  But that shot. Damn.

O - Oh my goodness, this was the third straight 5-2 game.  Yeesh.

P - I liked the glimpses we saw of Andrey Pedan when he was up.  I know the Comets want to keep their team together and all, but at what point do the kids come up ?

Q - And, can we Question the motives of the media recently ?  I agree that Willie Desjardins team has not performed up to the level of last year, but then, last year, his training room did not look like a MASH unit either.  Losing the #1 defenseman and #2 centre at the time you got most of the guys together ( and after the rest of the team had did well to get to that point ) proved too much, by the looks of it.  But they have been brutal this year in dealing with the downward trend.  All of them locally too, from TSN1040 to both papers.   We expect Hockey Night in Canada to troll the team, but calling for the coach to be fired is a knee jerk response designed to sell papers and get clicks.  He has not been THAT inept.  It just feels like a self perpetuating prophecy at some point.  Media gets on a narrative, frustrated fans pick up on and participate in same narrative, and the negative spiral goes round and round.  I get it, the team has sucked recently.  But the rampant negativity does get a bit tiresome.  Although it is probably my own fault for hoping they could occasionally "rise above the fray", so to speak.

R - Retool or Rebuild ?  I guess failing at the former brings about the latter.

S - Hunter Shinkaruk has 21 goals and 38 points in 44 AHL games this year, but even more important ?  In a league where a plus is a bigger deal than here ( lots more mistakes leads to more goals against, etc ) he is a +8 so far this year.  As mouth watering as those numbers are, I support them marinating him in the N+AHL.  Give him a taste here soon, and then he stays from the start next year with some confidence ( in addition to getting that taste to enthuse the offseason working out ).  Ditto , to a lesser extent, with Brendan Gaunce.  Show you are fully acclimated to the position change ( wing from centre ) in the lower league, before doing it here.

T - Thatcher Demko has insane stats this year ( HockeyFuture gave him a "D" chance of making the NHL, BTW...FWIW ), and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.  Obviously with no inside knowledge, I predict he signs this summer, and is in camp next year.  And maybe an outside chance of Brock Boeser doing the same an delaying the studies ( it depends on a lot of things, of course, and stay in school kids, of course, but if someone is offering you a million plus to play the same game in NHL, well....) Brock has some pretty wild stats too, with 19 goals and 33 points in 28 NCAA games, while doing it in style.  In NCAA cases, the prospects have an inordinate amount of leverage, compared to usual prospects, but in these cases, it comes down to the relationship.  The Canucks treat their prospects pretty first class, if you believe the party line.  But getting Demko signed this offseason ( or next if he goes the whole way in class ) is a big thing no one talks about right now.

U - There are only six teams ( Leafs, 49 pts, Oilers 50, Jackets 53, Jets 54, Flames and Sabres, 55 pts ) Under the Canucks in the standings.  Auston Mathews is in sight with a little lottery luck.  Oh yeah, the playoffs are 8 points away in the wild card ( Avs ), and 11 points away in the division ( Sharks ).

V - Radim Vrbata, if you want to get traded, you have to score more.  That means shooting more.  Yes, the linemates keep changing, but what happened man !?

W - It is hard to Win when your goal differential is -30 or higher.  The Canucks are 2nd worst in the West ( Oilers are -33 ), and only the Leafs ( -31 ) and Jackets ( league worst -35 ) are worse.  Perhaps Marc Crawford . who would probably talk up Vancouver's lifestyle to Mathews, perhaps that #TeamTank thing is not a bad idle dream after all !

XYZ - Except it is not.  To me, anyhow.  If the team falls into a lottery spot by sheer force of shitty play, bad luck, and simply not having enough depth to hang in the West, that is one thing.  There are a lot of deep teams in this conference ( and the growing parity in the NHL makes the line between winning and losing a few bounces here and there sometimes ) , and ours simply is at the time of needing to reload, rebuild, or whatever you want to call it. Youth is needed.  But there is no need to run the team all the way down to Zero on the "give a shit meter" either.  Even in tonight's game, the effort was there.  That will be important the rest of the way, standings be damned.  We don't need to get into that "habitual loser"  bunch of teams that always seem to inhabit the bottom of the standings.  Better that they go there once, with much trepidation and an overwhelming desire in the coming seasons to never be there again.  Pick up an American by way of Zurich, with some luck, and move on.

Now that it seems pretty obvious that the Canucks won't be making the playoffs this year, and with the team's scouts all there to watch the game and meet with Mr Benning, let the rosterbation begin.  Will a deal happen before the next game ?  If so, we'll talk about it.  Also, if there is any faint flicker in the playoff window, the Canucks will have to sweep the games against the two teams they can track down because they play them more.  There are 5 games to come against he Sharks, and 2 against eh Avs, starting with this Sunday.

See you then.