The Canucks came into this one after losing to another team out of the playoffs, the LA Kings. It was a game where they outplayed their opponent, had a couple let downs, and had that, and an inability to score, ( Until late, and maybe they deserved better in this game too ) cost them a win.
Oh well. How many ping pong balls in the bank is that now ?
- The Vancouver Canucks have had, until recently, a good record in San Jose, and a horrible one at home versus this team. They lost again, at home, but this time, you could even say they were the better team ,sometimes, and not have someone look at you funny.
- The first period was a prime example. The Sharks were getting the shots, but they were just wasted ones and easy saves, for the most part, in the early going. Henrik Sedin had the best chance and was blocked. An early penalty to kill could have been a problem against a veteran, skilled team, but the Canucks dominated the power play to kill it off pretty easily. They were getting momentum off that, you would think...until...
- A shitty turnover by Drew Shore. He fanned on his pass in his own zone, the puck was turned over, and basically a down low two on one happened, giving the goalie little chance when he made an amazing save on Boedkker, only to watch Hertl put the rebound home for the 1-0 goal.
- That was the 49th time the Canucks had given up the first goal this year, one more than their total in that stat last year. Sigh.
- The push back continued, but then, again, execution. This time it was when Miller cleared it up the boards. Maybe he should have went the other way instead of where all the traffic was, but that is a play that happens hundreds of times a game. This time, the Canucks along the boards were not strong enough on the puck, and an easy Classic wrister went off of Edler and right to Hertl. You can say “well, goal scorers just no were to go”, but it was basically a lucky bounce, and another goal Miller had little chance on for the 2-0. Goal.
- The refs seemed to have a “meh” attitude to this one, with an early Tryamkin high stick on Marleau was ignored, right in front of the ref, and that one topped by a high stick on Chaput where the stick was actually under his visor briefly, without a whistle. I get ( but don’t agree, a call is a call ) that they just ignored obvious calls on plays both Molino and Shore were fouled on, the guys are rookies, and raw ones. But Geez guys !
- The Sharks, already missing Logan Couture, lost Joe Thornton in this one, on a collision along the boards with Chaput. It looked pretty innocent, but he was taken to the room in obvious pain, and did not play again.
- The Canuck power play did not score again, but they were better on the night. They were better than the Sharks special teams, on the whole, in this game, at both ends. It would be nice to have a power play as a weapon again though.to Reid Boucher had 4 of 5 shot attempts on net, and forced one of the best saves of the night on a second period chance. Boucher is one of the “kids” getting a chance. I’d keep him. That shot is major league all the way.
- That second period was not that entertaining, to be honest. Late season hockey, when one team is out, and the other is trying to win with minimal effort, can produce “meh” periods like that.
- The third was all Canucks at the start, and most the way through. The Sharks defended well ( let us never forget that their coach is from the New Jersey chapter of the Lemaire School of The Grind ), but it was the team behind that was pushing. Jones looked to be the difference, until, finally, after pushing all game, the Canucks got a goal. It was a bit grind and greasy itself, as Bo Horvat out battled his check on the draw, and Sven Baertschi out battled Vlasic to the puck in front, chopping it on net, and watched it knuckle into the net.
- The Canucks pressed very hard with the empty net, and Jones made great saves on Horvat and others in close, to hold the line. A wild Marleau clear on the backhand, where he was not even looking, trickled into the empty net with 2.6 seconds left for a “meh” goal that gave the Sharks two points they needed, and the Canucks more ping pong balls.
- Final numbers to consider: Jannik Hansen, in his return to Rogers, had a good game, with 1 assist and 3 shots. ( stats here ) . His line was the best of the night for his team, while the Canucks had guys on every line producing opportunities, with Sutter, Bo Horvat, Daniel Sedin and Michael Chaput all had 3 shots.
- OK, that’s it for the game, but a few odds and ends from your part time, weekends are for writing scribe ;
- Let’s stop Canuck fans. Just stop. I see your passive aggressive tweets about resigning Jayson Megna. We all know his relative lack of production. But he is one of the fastest, and better forecheckers, in the bottom six. It is a one year deal. If someone better comes along or wins a spot, he will get waived. Relax. Why we get all bent out of shape by moves in the bottom of the order has always been a fascination. It’s not like he is Aaron Rome or something.
- Same sentiment on Willie Desjardins. I get that one too. Because Canuck fans are such loud and passionate folks, there is always going to be talk around the coach. But veteran fans like me have watched similar teams near the bottom where players tuned out the coach, and there was drama and all sorts of crap. That is not the thing here. These young guys all play hard for their coach, and have almost all shown improvement under his tutelage. I get it, you want a sexy new shiny coach. But the one you have here has down a good job with the most man games lost, by far, in the NHL this year, and a virtual revolving door between here and Utica. Your team was in the playoff race, until a few cruel injuries, and a plague of diseases from the Puck Gods themselves told them “ you are tanking for a pick this year, got it?”. Blaming Willie for everything is not going to help anything. Even if it is probably that blaming of him, and the inability to “sell” him to the fanbase that will cost him his job.
- Case in point. Nikolay Goldobin has shown flashes, but he is one of those talented offensive players that has not learned to play defense. ( The NHL is littered with players that had skill, but could not play a complete game ) That is why he was traded, probably. He is not “benched”. He IS playing in San Jose next game. Even though the reactionary media here in Canuckville is screaming that you should be worried Willie is “ruining” Goldy, this is the same process that saw Bo and Sven becomes first liners and complete players. It is a marathon, not a sprint, you know ?
The season is almost over, and as we look forward to rosterbation and draft picks, it can be disappointing. I know a bunch of folks looked out the door at the postcard perfect day and said “hockey, screw that, it is nice finally”! But in a year where they were picked at the bottom, the Canucks competed, and hard, all year. They have been, mostly, in close games all year. That is a huge experience to learn from for the younger guys. It shows they are moving in the right direction.
I’ll be with you for the last weekend of the year, against the Oilers. Sure, they are finally good now. But the Canucks always play them hard, and the Sedins like torching them too.
Those two games could almost be fun !