The history books will show that something happened Feb 23/2018 at an undisclosed hockey rink in Las Vegas. It might have been a hockey game. Could have be a low stakes NHL Hold’em card game. We’ll never know for sure. Because it stays there under the burning sun or scorching moon.
If you were the betting type, the house money would have been on the Black ‘n Gold Knights. The house always wins.
Anyhow.... because I have no idea what really happened, let’s say that we didn’t give away the vital step on the standings ladder to the tOilers. And that Jake was the best Nucks player of the game. And that Guds, Eddie and Nillsy weren’t the worst. Ok, they were the worst. But it’s a team game...
With those modest thoughts we can continue down Fake Hockey Avenue, past the Fake Eiffel Tower, into the fake crowd excitement and into my simmering jealousy...
But....it’s Vegas baby! Periods aren’t started. They’re announced.
Game started pretty good. The Nucks were outshooting the fabulous Stolen Knights. Looking good. For 2:29 at least.
Then the House pressure struck. Nilly made a save but the rebound was left laying around in the crease while Nilly was laying around on the other side. While new guy Holm was battling with his check...a Vegas puck shark called, Hyka, snuck around behind the net and tapped the puck into the gaping net.
Then the House luck broke down at their own blueline. Gags knocked the puck past the Vegas
bouncer player and swept into the zone and feathered a pass to Sven to fling past Fleury.
Wooo! Maybe we can keep up with the best team in the league. That sounds weird. Not just us keeping up, but this group of NHL castoffs stranded in a desert are playing better hockey than any other team - teams filled with superstars and supercoaches and stuff. Weird stuff.
Not only were we keeping up. We beat the dealer. In his house.
The Canucks got the lead on some hard working vet forechecking. Hank from behind the net sends it to Dank who put a shot off the post. Wily vet, Vanek, glides in and snaps the rebound past a sprawling Fleury.
2-1 Canucks. We WIN! In Vegas!!!
But no. The ruthless rules of full contact ice roulette required more spins on the wheel of (mis)fortune.
The Nucks held the lead over the #1 team in the league for almost a full minute. Isn’t that enough?
Nope. Vegas has many, many players with over 20 goals this season. And one of the many, one called Karlsson roofed a puck over Nilly’s shoulder. I know you might be groaning, Not another Noftie®!!! It wasn’t really.
Nilsson had no chance - bang bang play as they say in the seedier sports bars on the strip. Quick pass from behind the net and it’s on Karlsson’s stick and over Nilly’s shrugging shoulder. Real quick.
Dammit. These castoffs have got some sneaky moves. Some might say veteran sneakiness even.
Tied with the House 2-2.
Oh..well...the Nucks can get that back. Easy. And they did. Just not in this period.
Nucks outshot the Stolen Knights 16-10.
Would have thought the house would never leave the table unguarded, but Fleury and his puck sharks did just that. Left on some sort of break. Not our hard-working Nucks. Virt, Sven and a few others went for a little 5-on-none action.
Ran the score up real good too.
And we won the game - sure it was cheating, but who wouldn’t want to cheat the house in Vegas if they had the chance.
I could be making it up. Or not. No one knows for sure....because in Vegas there’s always a cover story. Or two.
And it began with a grand....
We’ve already won the game and could have left with 2 points and a million chips. However, like rookie gamblers on a roll, the Nucks wanted to push their luck.
Pushing your luck in Vegas is seldom lucky. And yet here it was - our majestic Orca boat getting swamped by a counter-attacking squad of forsaken forwards. Such quick passes - zigzagged into a clean rush for Karlsson on the wing. Nilly has him all the way. Or does he? Puck zips between his arm and body. A possible Zip-Noftie®
A minute later the Nucks get one back. Not a goal... just one in the back. Vanek takes a penalty for some sort of minor infraction that this time of year could easily be punished with just a glare from the ref.
Nope. Full two in the sinbin in sincity. That’s like 4 minutes everywhere else. The Nucks PK was looking good or at least better than the previous game’s record setting real bad streak.
However, a key player on the Nucks PK did something baffling. Nilly makes a save, the rebound comes out and Guds pushes Nilly into the net. And a Vegas puck shark puts one in the open side of the net. Guddy not goody.
Although...on the bright side, Guds wasn’t called for goalie interference on the play. Could have been worse. And it was. The goal stood.
Golden Nighties are up by like 4-2 or something. Who cares. If the officials aren’t going to call a penalty and wave-off a goal when our own guys beat on our goalies, how can we continue to take the game seriously.
Meanwhile, the zebra meanies allowed the game to continue. Possibly to demonstrate how good the castoffs transition game is. Possibly. Or they’re just mean.
Whatever. The point is the Nucks lose puck possession in the O-zone. No big deal.
The gentleman rules of ice cricket state that should a turnover occur, the turned-over team is allowed several seconds to regain composure and meet the now attacking gentleman-style forwards at center ice for a duel of wits and stick-handling. In less time that it took to read my diarrhoeaic run-on sentence the puck was past Nilly. Leaving a slight vapour trail of Noftieness® over his blocker.
Before we had time to pick up the pace and the puck, the period was over. The House has run up its winning numbers. It’s 5-2 according to the locals. Who aren’t to be trusted with counting visitor goals. The Knights have outshot our Weekend In Vegas warriors 15-6.
No matter. Because redemption and breaking the bank are all on the rickety card table in the back of our desperately hopeful minds.
Thus it begins, anew.
It’s a new goalie. Marky. Remember him? He’s back! Nilly is out in the hall hitting stuff.
Pushback. When you’re down 3 goals in the turd to the best team, not just in the desert but in the entire league, you want to harness an entire league of pushing backs.
And just 4 minutes into the period some historic flashbacks pushed into the now. Not this now. The now that was then. But just for a moment. Anynow...
The Canucks get on the power play. And right off the faceoff they win the puck and Danny, from 2011, morphed into view with a wicked wrister that was so outside the normal time/space continuum that Fleury didn’t even react until the puck was in the net.
So where’s the highlight clip, jimmi? Listen, I tried to explain it. I can’t. It was outside of time and the focus of the clip cam.
Only down 2. To the best team in the league with a home record so stinking strong, I won’t mention it again.
So..instead of just evening the score...the Nucks wanted to even the score.
Finally in the last minute of EN hockey the Desert Hockey Trickster played with us. The Knights got an empty net goal. Without actually touching the puck. Yeah...it’s tricky to explain. I’d rather not.
Let’s just watch this, obviously fake footage after the first, instead.
The final fake score was Golden Knights (what a stooopid name for a desert hockey team)...what? Oh yeah... Knights 6 Nucks 3. Nucks outshot the House 11-9, and the final shot count was Vegas 34-33. Dat 2nd tho. Ouch.
Nilly made 20 stops on 25 shots in his Vegas strip debut. At least they have all-night bars in the area. Marky got the honorary shutout - stopped all 8 shots he faced.
And the good news, as Westy will remind us, the Canucks have only been defeated once in Vegas, in the entire history of the NHL. That’s not so bad.
How did Eddie and Nilly like reading Fear and Loathing in the locker room? Oh...haven’t finished it yet. We can check back later.
How did the Dank feel about playing in the Lady? Deaf.
Danny speaks about how loud a bunch of drunks who couldn’t get Circ tickets can get.
"The Golden Knights are for real...and give credit to the fans, I've never played in a louder building." - Daniel Sedin pic.twitter.com/wgoeZW1A9l— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 24, 2018
How’d the new guy play? And the old guys? And the tweeners?
So many questions. Let’s check in at the recently flush Green room and find out.
"They have a lot of speed and they showed it... give them credit." - Coach Green pic.twitter.com/p2HynpY0fY— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 24, 2018
Well...that’s over with. Whatever happened is something that will stay in that Strip of Neon and Glitz. Not our problem.
What I do know is...what really happened... the remote viewing NM action cam caught a rare glimpse into the actual game in Vegas. Please don’t share this image on any social or anti-social media platforms. It was meant to stay. In Vegas. In my mind.
Going to go pick on a team our own size next. Only smaller. Yote souffle is on the menu Sunday in Scotsdale’s most exclusive taxpayer-supported hockey dining establishment.
Have a miserable hangover and a tremendous relief the day after.