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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 73: CANUCKS @ CHICAGO

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The Dumbest Timeline Ever Tour™ makes its way to the Windy City

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (30-32-9) vs Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-9)

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

When: 5:30 pm PST

Where to Watch: Sportsnet

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Second City Hockey

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Sometimes in life, we make mistakes. For example, when the Canucks signed Antoine Roussel this past summer, I hated it. The whole thing felt like the Canucks adding a spare part they didn’t need. I was wrong, and happy to say that I was. So in bringing this preview for tonight’s game, one thing I am not going to do is point out obvious things. I did that last night and Dallas fans were less than pleased. I have had trouble with my blood pressure recently and need to cut salt out of my diet. That being said, I will be watching the WILD Card race with great interest.

Okay, so let’s quickly recap what happened last night. First, let’s be perfectly clear: Tim Schaller was seriously overdue for that. Dude scored 12 goals and played a regular shift in Boston last season, and many there were shocked at how his play has apparently dropped off this season. So while it would be nice if Schaller continued to play like the 4th liner who can actually contribute offensively like the Canucks thought they were getting when they signed him last summer, I think we need to hold off until, you know, he actually does that.

And that’s not to take anything away from him here. Those are both impressive goals, and not the kind that we’re used to seeing from the various 4th liners the Canucks have used this season. The first one, especially because it seems like absolutely no one thought he was going to shoot there. Definitely not Anton Khudobin, eh?

Secondly, there’s debate over what the wording says in the rule book concerning the throwing of the stick by Khudobin on Elias Pettersson’s penalty shot. Here’s the entire rule concerning penalty shots:

“24.4 Violations During the Shot – Should the goalkeeper leave his crease prior to the player taking the penalty shot has touched the puck, and in the event of violation of this rule or any foul committed by a goalkeeper, the Referee shall allow the shot to be taken and if the shot fails, he shall permit the penalty shot to be taken over again. When an infraction worthy of a minor penalty is committed by the goalkeeper during the penalty shot that causes the shot to fail, no penalty is to be assessed but the Referee shall permit the shot to be taken over again. Should a goalkeeper commit a second violation during the penalty shot and the shot fails, he shall be assessed a misconduct penalty and the Referee shall permit the penalty shot to be taken over again. A third such violation shall result in the goalkeeper being assessed a game misconduct penalty. When a major or match penalty is committed by the goalkeeper that causes the shot to fail, the Referee shall permit the shot to be taken over again and the appropriate penalties shall be assessed to the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper may attempt to stop the shot in any manner except by throwing his stick or any object, or by deliberately dislodging the goal, in which case a goal shall be awarded. During the shot, should the goalkeeper, in an attempt at making a save, dislodge the goal accidentally, the Referee shall make one of the following determinations: (i) Award a goal if he deems the player would have scored into the area normally occupied by the net had it not been dislodged. (ii) Allow the shot to be re-taken if he does not score or it could not be determined if the puck would have entered the area normally occupied by the net. (iii) If the goal becomes dislodged after the puck has crossed the goal line thus ending the shot, the above determinations do not apply, the shot is complete. If, while the penalty shot is being taken, any player, Coach or nonplaying Club personnel of the opposing team shall have by some action interfered with or distracted the player taking the shot and, because of such action, the shot should have failed, a second attempt shall be permitted and the Referee shall impose a bench minor penalty to the offending team, and if a player on the bench is responsible, a misconduct penalty on the player so interfering or distracting shall be assessed. When a Coach or non-playing Club personnel is guilty of such an act, he shall be automatically suspended from the game, ordered to the dressing room and the matter will be reported to the Commissioner for possible further disciplinary action. If, while the penalty shot is being taken, any player, goalkeeper, Coach or non-playing Club personnel of the team taking the shot shall have by some action interfered with or distracted the goalkeeper defending the shot and, because of such action, the shot was successful, the Referee shall rule no goal and shall impose a bench minor penalty to the offending team, and if a player or goalkeeper on the bench is responsible, a misconduct penalty on the player or goalkeeper so interfering or distracting shall be assessed. When a Coach or non-playing Club personnel is guilty of such an act, he shall be automatically suspended from the game, ordered to the dressing room and the matter will be reported to the Commissioner for possible further disciplinary action. If, while the penalty shot is being taken, a spectator throws any object onto the ice or, in the judgment of the Referee, interferes with the player taking the shot or the goalkeeper defending the shot, he shall permit the shot be taken again. If, after a player’s stick has been ruled illegal, he attempts to take a penalty shot with a second stick that is also ruled illegal prior to taking the penalty shot, the opportunity to take the penalty shot shall be disallowed. The player shall be assessed one minor penalty for the first illegal stick.”

So there’s two ways to look at this, taking into account the bolded lines (emphasis mine): Either referee Tim Peel and his crew erred by not permitting Elias Pettersson to retake the shot, or by not awarding the goal. There’s been a lot of discussion about how a different rule only applies to the net being removed by the goaltender (Wyatt Arndt in particular in last night’s Athletties for example). Here’s that rule, concerning awarded goals:

“25.4 Infractions – During the Course of a Penalty Shot - A goal will be awarded when a goalkeeper attempts to stop a penalty shot by throwing his stick or any other object at the player taking the shot or by dislodging the goal (either deliberately or accidentally) (see Rule 63.6).”

So then it comes down to Peel basically making a judgement call that the stick was dropped and not thrown.

Yeah, that’s a bad call. At the very least, there should have been a retake of the shot. In the end it all boils down to one of the biggest problems facing the league: zero transparency on the part of the NHL and their officials, and their unwillingness to provide any accountability when it comes to officials getting it wrong. I mean, how much more obvious does it have to get for four sets of eyes to look at this and one of them to say “Yeah, that’s a thrown stick”? Instead we get absolutely nothing from the NHL on this. No explanation. Nothing. It’s a joke, and not the way a professional sports league should operate.

UPDATE: JPat sent a message to the NHL for clarification and they’ve responded:

Clear as mud. Our position stands. Stupidity and incompetence rule again. And as Paterson mentioned, if I am the Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild or Colorado Avalanche (and hell, let’s throw Chicago in there as well), seeing Dallas get a point in the standings because of this should have them furious at the league right now. If that point is the difference between a playoff spot for the Stars and one of these teams, that’s a huge problem for the NHL.

Anyway, they won in the stupid trick shot competition, they need to stop winning so many games and Dallas fans are hyper-sensitive about their teams’ situation. Moving on...

The Canucks take on another team that’s been hot of late, the Chicago Blackhawks. If you’re not a Hawks fan, it’s gotta be frustrating to see a team that constantly finds ways to squirm its way out of cap troubles by having other teams bail them out. It’s been doing it for years, and while you have to credit their management for being able to pull it off, it’s frustrating that they never seem to pay the price for their own bad contracts. I suppose that’s a jealousy thing, especially looking at how bleak our future can be here, but whatever.

The Hawks have won 5 straight, and are going on a tear at the right time, thanks in huge part to getting Corey Crawford back after missing almost all of the season with post-concussion symptoms. They’re still in the mix for one of those remaining playoff spots, and are going to be desperate for a win tonight. They’ve been getting some pretty good production out of their third line of Brandon Perlini, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, and Patrick Kane (gross) is looking to get his 100th point of the season tonight.

Their most recent win was a 48 save 2-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens. The Hawks sit 5 points back of the 8th place Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes are taking on Tampa tonight, and you can bet they’ll be keeping an eye on the out of town scoreboard for that one.

For the Canucks, it’s going to come down to managing ice time tonight. Alex Edler played well over 30 minutes again in Dallas. Alex Biega played almost 25. And Jacob Markstrom (stellar once again) stopped 44 shots in the win. So that should see Thatcher Demko get the start, and maybe we see Derek Pouliot or Josh Teves draw in. I wouldn’t hold your breath on Nikolay Goldobin getting back in any time soon, though. And via the Province, here’s what to expect tonight:

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CANUCKS

Forwards

Sven BaertschiBo HorvatTanner Pearson

Josh Leivo — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Ryan SpoonerAdam GaudetteJake Virtanen

Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTyler Motte

Defence

Alex Edler — Alex Biega

Ashton SautnerLuke Schenn

Guilliaume Brisebois — Troy Stecher

Goal

Thatcher Demko — Jacob Markstrom

BLACKHAWKS

Forwards

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsDylan Sikura

Dominik KahunArtem AnisimovPatrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat — Dylan Strome — Brendan Perilini

Chris KunitzDavid KampfMarcus Kruger

Defence

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson

Gustav ForslingBrent Seabrook

Slater KoekkoekConnor Murphy

Goal

Corey CrawfordCollin Delia

INJURIES

Canucks: Antoine Roussel (season-ending knee injury), Quinn Hughes (foot, day-to-day), Ben Hutton (foot, day-to-day), Chris Tanev, (season-ending foot injury), Brandon Sutter (season-ending hernia surgery),

Blackhawks: Drake Caggiula (concussion, day-to-day).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power play

Canucks: 27th (15.0%)

Blackhawks: 11th (20.8%)

Penalty kill

Canucks: 16th (80.8%)

Blackhawks: 31st (73.5%)

A couple big changes there as it looks like we might be seeing Ryan Spooner and more notably Sven Baertschi making their returns. Defence looks the same and Demko will get the start.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Chicago’s got a pretty rich metal history, and well worth digging into one. One name that’s gonna come up a lot is Zoetrope, a band who dates back to around 1981. Here’s the title track from their 1985 album ‘Amnesty’.