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THE ROUNDUP- Dec 17/18: Cheap shots, Perception, And More...

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There’s a lot to unpack after last night, a game that will go down as one of the most important losses this rebuilding team will have.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

CANUCKS NEWS: When is a loss a win? When you get something out of it like the Canucks got last night. It was inspiring and reassuring to see the way the Canucks addressed the issues presented by the Tampa Bay Lightning. If you’ve been here for any length of time, you likely know my stance on fighting, but this tweet sums up my feelings from last night pretty succinctly:

Preach.

After the Mike Matheson attack on Elias Pettersson back in October, the Canucks’ lack of response has been simmering away in the minds of most of this team’s fan base. Last night, they were presented with an opportunity to right a wrong and they did so. It was an emotional, cathartic experience for this team’s supporters, after years of seeing them get pushed around night in and night out. That being said, I am thankful to have some time to let the emotional element subside a bit and look at what happened without the adrenaline.

I was not thrilled when the Canucks signed Antoine Roussel, but I now get what he brings to this team and admit I was wrong about him. Every team needs a guy who stirs things up, and can get their opponents off their game. The fact that he can do this and still contribute meaningful shifts, and has not been a liability in terms of taking stupid penalties is a bonus. There’s some discussion on the Bolts’ side of the fence that he somehow crossed a line by fighting Yanni Gourde, as though he was supposed to turn to Gourde charging at him, gloves off and say “Non, mon frere! You are far too undersized for me to be accepting your challenge. I must decline, and say good day!” because that’s not gonna happen with anyone Gourde chose to do that to.

The hit. I have to say I am disappointed but not at all surprised that we haven’t heard an announcement yet that there will be a hearing for Danick Martel’s headshot on Troy Stecher. Martel stated emphatically that it was a clean hit. His coach claimed he didn’t see it (anyone else growing weary of this?), and Tampa media and fans parroted “shoulder to shoulder” like Trump supporters gleefully chanting “Lock Her Up” or “Build That Wall” or whatever stupid thing Cheetolini has them yelling of late. But this angle shows that this is absolutely a dirty, blindside hit.

And right on cue...

Well said, Trev.

Somewhere in Sweden, Markus Naslund probably has a headache. This league is it’s own worst enemy, and responses to clear fouls like this one are so off-putting.

The response to this hit came not long after, first from Jake Virtanen (and this is another way Our Boy Jake is developing his game. He’s a big boy and needs to be using his size and strength a little more often, and then Erik Gudbranson. My issues with Guddy are well known, and he did not have a good game at all last night (the sooner he stops being paired with Ben Hutton, the better. It’s like he erases all the progress Hutton’s made this season everytime they step on the ice together). But as a veteran, part of the leadership group and one of the larger members of the Canucks, he absolutely needs to step in and let this kid know what he did doesn’t fly. Some say it’s a 3rd man in situation, but by the time Guddy engages, Virtanen’s already wrapped up by a linesman and another Bolts player.

Cheap shot by Guddy? It pales in comparison to the predatory hit by Martel. And the officials certainly seemed to agree (and to any Tampa fans lurking, don’t embarrass yourselves by decrying favoritism for the Canucks by the officials. It shows your knowledge of this team’s history is as woeful as the team’s new DJ) by not penalizing him on the play. All of this could have been prevented if the officials had tossed Martel in the first place. Instead, a slap on the wrist was issued and it was allowed to get out of control.

That brings us to the fist bump. I’ll admit I saw red, and given the level of emotion at the time, it’s understandable. Jason Botchford called the whole thing fake outrage, but I don’t think I agree entirely here. I think we overreacted, sure. But in the context of the whole thing, it’s not a good look, and the explanation given by Jon Cooper was sketchy at best. Botch does a great job of detailing the way Patrick Johnson of the Province brought this up (and how the Bolts tried to time their presser to coincide with Travis Green’s podium appearance so that Vancouver’s media wouldn’t be present. Nice job by Johnson to do the digging). Also, a golf clap for Steven Stamkos going on at length after the game about the ice being “the worst he’s ever seen”. I am sure the ice was bad last night. Hyperbole aside, this comes across as nothing more than a distraction attempt from a team that won the game.

The Canucks didn’t just lay down some building blocks for the future by how they stuck together as a team last night. They took on the best team in the NHL and outshot them 5 on 5. When was the last time we could say that about the Canucks doing that to anybody? It certainly hasn’t happened often this season, if at all, and not a regular occurrence for the last few seasons. They acquitted themselves well last night, and that score flatters Tampa, whose goalie did the same thing to the Leafs a few nights back.

In the end, the Canucks weren’t able to take advantage of a number of power plays, aren’t strong enough defensively to deal with the kinds of attacks Tampa can muster, and didn’t get strong enough goaltending from Anders Nilsson. He didn’t lose the game (that Stamkos goal wasn’t a good look) and in hindsight, why he got this game instead of Jacob Markstrom makes no sense (see the Athletties for the ‘Cable Box Plan’) when St Louis is in town tomorrow night. The Canucks should be showcasing Nilsson for a potential trade to start incorporating Thatcher Demko into the NHL. It is starting to look like that’s not going to happen...

Alright, let’s do the recap of what was said last night, hmm? We’ll start with Pass It To Bulis’ recap that includes some fairly relevant info on why last night played out the way it did... A nice recap with a great title over at Canucks Army... The Province wrapups here, here and here... JPat has the 5 Takeaways at TSN... Chris Tanev didn’t hold back on Martel’s hit... A deep dive into the Burakovsky trade rumours over at the Athletic... iMac on the Canucks and the message last night’s game sends... Yesterday’s bombshell that Olli Juolevi is done until September caught everyone off guard...

AROUND THE NHL: We’ll start in Philly, where interim coach Scott Gordon was at the helm for the first time since 2010, and the Flyers gave Carter Hart his first NHL start. Shayne Gostisbehere scored the eventual winner as the beleaguered Flyers beat Detroit 3-2...

Roberto Luongo stopped 30 Buffalo Sabres shots, and the Panthers scored 4 in the 3rd for a 5-2 win in Buffalo...

Getting Taylor Hall back in the lineup didn’t do much for the New Jersey Devils as they had their lunch fed to them by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-2 laugher...

Kevin Hayes scored a shorty with 40 seconds left, breaking a tie and helping the Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks...

Martin Jones stopped all 26 Minnesota shots en route to a 4-0 San Jose win over the Wild...

In the last 12 days, the Nashville Predators have lost to the Canucks, the Ottawa Senators, needed a shootout to beat New Jersey and now lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. Injuries or not, this team is not the Cup contender some make them out to be if they can’t deal with teams from the NHL’s basement...

Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin got the rare combined shutout as the Stars took down the Flames 2-0 in Big D. Bishop left the game in the 2nd after getting hit by Garnet Hathaway behind the net, but returned in the 3rd to finish what he started...

Pat Maroon had the game winner against his former team as the St Louis Blues took down the Edmonton Oilers 4-1...

Robin Lehner stopped 36 Coyotes shots and Josh Ho-Sang got his 1st of the season as the New York Islanders beat Arizona 3-1...

Two streaks came to an end as the Jets 5 game win streak fell to the winless in 4 games Kings. Austin Wagner had 2 goals for Willie’s boys...

WHERE THEY STAND: While the Oilers loss means the Canucks didn’t lose any ground in terms of staying within striking distance of that Wild Card spot, St Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles all crept closer. And the Blues, 6 points back of the Canucks hold 5 games in hand still. With St Louis trying to right the ship in a season of turmoil, that number (and the 4 in hand that the Arizona Coyotes hold) should be watched over the next month.

via nhl.com

We’ll have game day preview stuff for tomorrow’s match against the Blues tomorrow morning, in the meantime we’ll bring any updates on Stecher when they become available.