Welcome back to...Florida. What? We’re still here. Isn’t there some other place we’d rather be?
If you recall the previous Florida game recap (I know, why are we still here?), I may have divulged something secret, unsettling and possibly game changing. If you can’t remember the name of a stealth agency that works without over or under sight inside the secret Orca hockey ops, you’re not supposed to.
I could call them the Men in Black. Although they’re closer to the Men in Black Vans. No matter. Fatefully, I revealed the secret strategy that explained the horrible game in Miami. Yet all the best explaining in the league still left us questioning our sanity. No matter.
There’s a new game afoot off the ice and the upside to the
[redacted] not quite secret strategy is about to disentangle before our eyes. What does that mean?
It means this a game we’re permitted win. By all means. Please.
Unlike that tangle with Tampa in the ROG, the Nucks don’t allow the Bolts to dominate (as much) in the early minutes of the game. The Nucks played like a team on a mission - a mission to protect the one goal lead at all costs, by only being outshot 3-1 in the beginning.
Other than not having a one goal lead to protect, the scramble brambly Nucks D-zone style seemed to be working to preserve the tie. The Nucks early power play didn’t go get the one goal lead in the traditional way by scoring one on Velcrolevskiy, so preserving the tie was the backup mission op.
Or was it? There was subtle shift in the operational parameters. Not apparent immediately to casual observers or even keen observers of
And then convenient coincidence and a high velocity puck hit Tanev. He wanted to get off the ice, but the relentless Tampa pressure wouldn’t let him. Wounded he couldn’t play the defensive rock in front of Nilsson. So little 5’9” Yanni Gourde was free to swoop in and scoop the puck into our net.
In the previous game the 1st Nucks GA was off Tanev. This time Tanev was mortally wounded and couldn’t defend. A coincidence? You decide.
If losing Tanev for the remainder of the period, isn’t enough, Eddie body checks himself into the glass and off the ice and down the hall. 2 D down and 2 more periods to go.
Period ends Bolts up 1-0. Shots were close, 11-10 Tampa...but....
Fortunately, the Injury Faeries weren’t liking the taste of Tanev and Eddie, so they were returned to follow the
[redacted] game plan.
The Nucks were fully in control of the game - they had official sanction to redeem themselves and win the game in the first if they wanted. Or so it seemed (in the first of the first before the first second passed).
However, as the better spook writers have shown us, in the field hockey ops are fluid. Subject to change. Sometimes the strategy dictates a change in strategy. But why now, you ask?
The (septic) field of engagement was shifting. Buffalo were beating the Isles, Sens beating the Preds. Could it be that we could (accidently) slip two places in the standings in one game? No.
But, why not try? And so the Nucks indeed try. Not too hard. The Bolts are a fast, skilled team with an elite goalie. Dammit.
By the time the latest
[redacted] tactical shift had been executed, the Bolts were up 4-0. In the 2nd!!! Some might call that a borderline blowout by the best team over the 4th worst team in the league. Or 3rd worst. Or...gasp! 2nd worst.
If you’re thinking this
[redacted] ghostworks is a fact made in the bowels of my enriched BS fabrication center, you might be correct. Or horribly wrong.
If the Nucks aren’t following a ‘higher’ path to enlightened drafting, how does one explain the Sedinery that setup Stamkos goal to finish the period in dismal disarray. One doesn’t.
New 2nd Period Mission Goal Completed: 4-0 Bolts. Nucks allowed the Bolts to outshoot them 17-9. Like a box of foxes in the draft hen house.
Cue the Comeback. The
[redacted] field ops unit realised they might have over-compensated a little. They let Dank lose a few teeth to a high stick in order to get the equaliser to tie the game on the 4 minute power play. I know, at most two goals...but that’s not how in-the-field hockey ops work. It’s fluid. And the math is leaky.
The power play starts with the 2nd unit. Ineffectively. Missed the missive about the equaliser gambit. But soon the 1st unit was on the ice, Dank had his game face and teeth back on. Bo gains the zone and sets it up for the Boest goal of the game!
Yay! #26 on the season for Brock. You know the
[redacted] was watching, since it was Edler who sent the puck to Brock. How many times has Edler passed to Brock on the power play this year? That it happened tonight, can only be understood through the shadowy eye makeup of elusive dark hockey ops impulse.
The Nucks power play continued for another minute or so...ineffectively, of course, because the moral equaliser was already in the net.
Or so it seemed. The Bolts were getting a little shocked that the shutout was off the ice. On a sloppy clearing attempt, our 1st line pounced. Like a hungry fox on a mission of scoreboard satiating salvo-lation.
Bo gets a pass and bulls into the now vulnerable and under-manned Tampa zone. A quick pass over to Sven and it’s past the formerly famous for puck tracking velcro man. The play developed so fast, there’s no twitter video replay available. Take my word for it. It was that fast.
Only down 2 goals. And the Nucks have scored 2 goals in under 4 minutes. 9 minutes left. Do the math. Could have won this game by 8-4. If that was in the hasty reactionary drafty
[redacted] game plan.
It wasn’t. Want more proof? Fine.
Virt was having a very good game. Despite missing shots or shooting into the goalie crest (as instructed), his last play behind the Tampa net could only have happened under direct guidance from...some dark place. Instead of taking the body, which Virt does really well, he takes a lazy hooking penalty. WTH? Only following orders. From a command station we can’t see. Or hear beyond the static in our suspicious minds.
Of course, Tampa goes on the power play. Of course Hedman fires a half slapper into Nilsson. And of course the puck slides, conveniently, between his body and arm into the certain net of a 5-2 loss.
Speaking of loss, the sole scorer of the
[redacted]-managed game in Miami left the game with a nasty ankle injury. Payback from deviating from the [redacted] game plan? Can’t say. Even if I wanted to.
And that’s how this in-the-field hockey game played out. Certain victory abandoned for ranking
Bolts outshoot the Nucks 36-29. Nilsson gets a .861 SV% for his effort. And tries to remember the last time he won a game...last year? November, maybe? He is keeping that 0-7 steak flickering tho.
Sure, could argue that this Tampa team is really good. Possibly the best in the league. But, are they? So many tiny forwards skating around really fast making fast on-the-tape passes, pinning the Nucks in their zone for minutes at a time. But they’re wee small guys in a Big Boy game. Guds could have flattened an entire forward line by himself.
But, he didn’t. Why? You figure out. I can’t keep
making explaining stuff up, game after game, when a bigger strategy looms over the team like a dark brooding cloud of doom. A smart [redacted] cloud with a plan.
Gloom will blossom into glory soon enough for NuckNation. That’s a lie. It will never be soon enough for us. But consider, with the right prospects drafted at just the right Dahlin moment and developed in the right way, the Nucks will be the team to beat. During the 2020 lockout.
I want to say it was a good game. And it was. Brock scored. That makes it a good game. So good that the loss is more like a lopsided tie. A tie that can be readjusted to look like a win using the sweet svelte long term mirror of future feats of hockey fame.
But, enough about the future, let’s look at the now. Not too closely tho.
How did the guys feel about this almost certain victory derailed by directives probably issued by
[redacted] Men in Black Vans parked outside the Amalie Arena.
“They scored two quick ones and we get behind. I don’t think we played a bad game, but they're good.” - Alex Edler comments on the 5-2 loss to the Lightning. pic.twitter.com/PeIA9fzKmT— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 9, 2018
And with a fake loss, a Sedin must take the fake heat.
"It's consistency that's number one, our effort is there...it's just a lot of little things that we need to work on." - Henrik Sedin pic.twitter.com/aTt2PXl3Ua— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 9, 2018
Over in the Green room...it was real quiet. Dark. Empty even. And unavailable. Seems the Green room wasn’t in the building. It was shipped to Carolina before the media had time to check the license number on the
[redacted] cargo truck.
Sweet Carolina. Can we win this game on a Friday night before a small crowd of confused poker fans? Yes. Yes, we can. Strategy permitting. We’re still in 4th. But only one point above 3rd. Like last year, we depend on the Sens. And a winning strategy. For us. And
Hang up your bone-dry crying towels and get ready for a tremendous tomorrow today!