Sometimes it’s tough being a Nucks fan. Ok, for the past 50 years, been more often than sometimes, but that’s not the point.
The point is this season is different. With the
Re-Tool Rebuild Completed, the Nucks of October had all the pieces to be a promising, fun-to-watch, possibly wild card team.
Then November happened. They survived the first faery storm and squeaked out a 500ish month. If a 4-8-3 makes a .500 record. Which it doesn’t, but it’s almost half way to 500 and that’s close enough when the faeries tilt the ice.
Now into the easy section of December, the Nucks won 3 of 5 games at home. That’s not so bad. Better than 500 hockey. That’s really good.
Then the December mini road trip started. And the Nucks didn’t. Lost the trip’s ‘easy’ game against the Sharklettes. And fared worse in the ‘tough’ game in Vegas.
With only 3 home wins out of 7 games the 500ish is looking uglish.
Doesn’t matter. What matters in Vegas is how you lose. Because... Vegas is designed so the visitors almost always lose.
So... how does this loss stack up to other road trip losses? Very well.
If you’re the House.
If you’re the tourist team, tired from a couple hours of jet travel and slot machine tinnitus, the loss looks a little lop-sided.
How could this happen? Let’s find out.
The Nucks start the first better than they did in SJ, so that’s pretty good. And that great effort lasts for over 2 minutes.
Before giving up the first goal of the game. On a shot 1st night Marky might have had. Maybe. If Benn wasn’t doing a flyby. So Benn will take himself out of the period. But that’s for later.
The game thread was handling the fatalism with aplomb. Or possible Xmas plum pudding.
Annnnd there’s the start
We all expected - Twitchy2010
With that unsurprising first goal deficit out of the way and the House money jingling like a Scrooge McElvis impersonator, it was time for Area
51 40 to sweep the House netting.
Pete can score. From anywhere.
Different angle, same sweetness pic.twitter.com/EqCPzaOakF— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2019
Woooo! Pete scores! A Pete point means we won’t have to mention that terrible stat when he doesn’t.
Game is tied. The Nucks have a chance.
But chance and Vegas aren’t the chances we would hope for.
Worse, a statistical aberration occurred. Not once. But twice. In Vegas.
Benn takes a penalty. The legendary Nucks PK kill it off.
Here’s the aberrant part. Benn has only taken 3 penalties in the whole season. 3 penalties in 33 games. Not much of a repeat offender.
And yet a minute after getting out of the box, Benn is back in it. He takes 2 penalties in a single period. What is so attractive about the sinbin in Sin City, Jordie?
Still feel lucky, punky? The game thread wasn’t.
another penalty for Benn
Toying with house money - jimmi
Within seconds the House takes Jordie out of the box. And removes the tie from our eye line.
The pk trying to be like our power play: ineffective. - Twitchy2010
You rang? The refs ring the whistle to announce a Nuck power play.
The 1st Nucks power play of the game is more of a practice drill. Starts well... but...
Ugh. Vegas attacks on the pk - jimmi
And the game thread reacts with steely stoicism.
Wow our power play zero urgency. Gave up 2 short handed chances seconds apart. - Twitchy2010
Urgency in the 2nd of a B-2-B game in the desert is something that is required to wait until some point in the 3rd.
House, of course, wins the shot count 11-9. And worse leads 2-1 after 1.
And even worse, the Nucks, possibly still top
4 5 10 PP is now streaking. 11 consecutive manned advantages without a goal. That’s like a full period without a goal. Ooooh... that explains it.
If you were betting on the House, lucky you.
If you were betting on the Nucks, please replace your bets.
This period of hockey exposed the Nucks to flaws in their systems, effort, skating, their just-about-everything. Marky was subjected to levels of shot abuse that had the game thread game on hold with the NM Goalie Abuse Hotline.
I see the game plan is once again
Operation: “Get Bailed Out by Marky” - radivel
Before the operators at NM could connect the panicked callers, the Stolen Nights stole the tape-to-tape ticky-tacky-passing play and Marchessault scores.
3-1 Long Dark Knights of the 2nd.
Just when it couldn’t get worse, it does.
WIN A FUCKING PUCK BATTLE! Just once would be an awesome start. - Twitchy2010
The battle lost (in this case) was when the amazing Quinn went deep into the Vegas zone like a riverboat gambler with his last dollar. A river doesn’t run through that zone.
Quinn is caught up ice. So far up, he only looks about 5’10”. A breakout pass later and Bo is chasing Quinn’s man. And not catching him. Stone cold goal on Marky.
4-1 Even Longer Dark Night of the 2nd.
Out shot, out chanced, out played, out skated, the Nucks were fully outed. Worst period of the year? There’s more than a few to choose from.
The Swollen Nights made the Nucks look like an AHL team. And not a good AHL team. Period ends with shots 19-5 Vegas. 4x advantage.
With that miserable 2nd just a miserable part of our miserable memories, the Nucks start the third. And don’t allow a goal in the first 5 minutes. That’s pretty good.
Even better. They go get one. Quinn, smartly morphs into the iceboat gambler and freezes almost all the Sullen Knights - skates behind Flower and puts the puck onto Brock’s stick. And Brock sticks the puck past Fleury. Wooooooooooooo!!!
Quinn was so fast and so froze the rink, no camera could capture it!
Now down just 4-2, everything suddenly became possible.
Including the possibility that Patches would break in on Marky and beat him using the same backhand deke that he used to win the game in OT on Friday. So unimaginative.
5-2 Golden Fright. Ugh.
This 5th goal on Marky, lets Travis pull him in favour of the 6th
attacker defender goalie. That means Mikey gets his first start of the season in the last half of the last period of the game.
Right away, game thread is on the horn to the higher hockey powers. No way we want to see him ventilated like last year’s backup’s backup blowout.
Please hockey gods...
Let Mikey end this game unscathed - ‘82
Mikey stops some shots and the game thread decided it was ok to breathe again.
Even better the Nucks get a power play. So exciting!
Not for the 1st unit, because they’re keeping the streak intact. But... the 2nd unit didn’t read that streak-tact memo.
Especially Jake. He’s got his own streak to protect. The consecutive goals in consecutive games streak. Carries the puck from his zone, speeds into the Vegas money zone and blows a shot past the House goalie guru. Woooo!!!
[Insert NHL Video Clip Here - that doesn’t exist because NHL replay crew left to play the slots after the 2nd]
The PP drought streak is over. Jake breaks that streak like he broke the reg goal one. Next up for Jake - break the Nucks 2 game losing streak.
Just when the game thread were high-fiving... ok, it was more like low-twoing, just then our
rivericeboat gambler was caught on a squeze play on the third man walking tripping up the bad poker metaphors. Whatever.
Huggy Bear to the box - jimmi
And the Vegas Nightmares had their way with Mikey on the PP. Ugh.
Still... the game thread were upbeat about Mikey’s performance.
DiPietro with the 5 on 5 shutout!
To be fair he did play hard for longer than most of the skaters did. - Twitchy2010
The game ends with a feisty scrum because....Thursday in the ROG the Nucks want a bad night for the Knights. Best to start now.
All good things must come to end. And the bad things as well. So there’s that.
This MUST-WIN game wasn’t and another 4 points lost to a division rival. That’s not so bad. It’s the trend that’s disturbing. Where other teams in our division are trending up, the Nucks are trending to the other way.
It’s Roger’s Hometown Monopoly Hockey - with the 0 Johns highlight.
GAME STATS (Read ‘em and fold ‘em)
PLAYER STATS (don’t read anything into them)
|#||Forwards||GP||G||A||P||P||+/-||S||PIM||PIM||SOG||HITS||BLKS||GVA||TKA||FO%||TOI||PP TOI||SH TOI||PP||GW|
|#||Defense||GP||G||A||P||P||+/-||S||PIM||PIM||SOG||HITS||BLKS||GVA||TKA||FO%||TOI||PP TOI||SH TOI||PP||GW|
As bad as this Nuckled performance was, could have been worse. Bo could have resorted to excuses and card tricks. He didn’t.
“No excuses. These are big points and we wanted to have a better road trip. They played well, they’re big, heavy, strong and fast. We have to be a lot better in our own end.” - Horvat— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2019
Mikey was ready to answer the call. And the media.
"Any time you stop grade A chances, it's a confidence booster. I've been watching Marky and trying to take things from his game that I can implement into mine." - Michael DiPietro pic.twitter.com/DnRFP1a4xI— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2019
The Road Green Room was only half a step behind.
0 points from an 8 point division road trip. That looks pretty bad. But, it’s the only 2 game road trip of the month. So... there’s no need to panic.
But, why take a chance. Only chance the game thread wants is scoring chances.
Totally embarrassing effort.
After yesterday’s loss, I expected them to come out strong, with urgency.
Can’t believe what a shitty effort. They almost looked like they are trying to get the coach fired. This is how you do it, if you want Green to go.
Not sure they deserve to get a shot to the playoffs, if they play like this. No heart, no urgency. Maybe they think they are better than they actually are. - AttilaS
That’s the kind of optimism that wins game threads. Not games, but that’s not our problem.
Some say this loss was all on Chicky. The last game the Nucks won, it was Chicky who brought the clutch performance, the shoes, the wine and the rum balls. A coincidence?
We can’t expect these multi-millionaire pro hockey players to deliver their very best or nearly their best every game. Uh... yes, we can. That’s the professional part of being a pro.
Oh well... still a young team. These sorts of losses build character. And the game thread has been spilling over with character this weekend.
And the weekend is over - back to regular ROG work. Tuesday. 7pm PST the Nucks will win a game. Not just for us, although that’s a nice thought. They will win the game for themselves. And for us, because we need nice thoughts again.