I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass it to Bulis!, chronicling the observations and insights of some guys who watched a hockey game.
Every now and then I'll hear a Canucks fan gripe that the game they just watched wasn't very good. Not that the Canucks didn't play well, or even that the other team didn't--simply, it wasn't a very good game. If you hear somebody say that, chances are the Canucks lost the game and the analysis is dripping in fan disappointment and bias. I have never watched a Canucks game where they've won and thought, "That wasn't a very good game." If the Canucks win, it's good. But if they lose? Well, maybe, outcome aside, I just wasn't entertained. Yeah, right. We all know that if a game failed to entertain us, it's because we lost. I say this because I found the last two preseason games really uninspiring. I found this one quite exciting. Surprise, surprise, we lost those two and we won this one.
Now, there were other factors. The Ducks are a mean unit of big, dumb goons and Anaheim-Vancouver tilts are always spirited. That this one took place in the preseason, when everybody seems meaner and dumber was an added bonus. Plus, watching the Canucks beat the Ducks will always fill me with glee, as I'm still sore over their playoff series in 2007, which the Canucks would have won if they'd passed it to Bulis more often. Anyway. Let's get into the stuff I noticed.
- Jim Hughson, early in the game: "Their third line is out. Alex Bolduc, with Tanner Glass..." Does anybody listen to me? I don't care that the Canucks essentially dressed two fourth lines tonight. Under no circumstances should Glass ever be on the third line. Haven't you seen how I tag my posts? When will we learn? When!?
- I love the new Canucks power play. The way that everybody's in motion, the passing lanes that open up... I know the power play was decent last season, but at times it seemed really static and predictable. This new machine seemed tailor-made for a strong passing team like the Canucks.
- Early on, after an especially strong shift, I wrote "Morrison wants it bad." After that, I added an exclamation point every time I noticed him doing something awesome on the ice. At the end of the night, my notebook looked like this. "Morrison wants it bad!!!!!!!!!" Suffice it to say, he had a great game. I've been a little concerned that fans want him on the team for his niceness rather than his goodness, but he was very good tonight, and may have earned his contract. Gillis's post-game comments sounded encouraging.
- Darcy Hordichuk and George Parros have a pretty good little thing going, don't they? They make a living fighting each other, and they know it. Parros is really something. It's incredible that a guy who has a degree in economics from Princeton University, and wrote his senior thesis on the West Coast longshoremen's labour dispute chooses to make a living punching Darcy Hordichuk and having a moustache.
- My wife keeps hearing Jeff Tambellini as Jeffrey Tambor. Think that if he gets put on waivers, he claims he was set up by the British?
- Jonas Hiller's mask is awesome. It really does look like he spray-painted it himself, as Ji Hughson suggested.
- Hughson on Joel Perrault: "He's trying to win himself a job and he just ran into his winger."
- What sort of cruel joke is it that, in the only game Burrows isn't calling, Koivu gets called for a blatant slewfoot?
- Daniel Sedin scored on a slapshot, then tries another one right after. Daniel slapping the puck? Sounds a lot like he might be OUT. FOR. BLOOD.
- Luongo was incredible tonight. Made some enormous saves, looked big, got across his crease well, validated the early work of Rollie Melanson that's been getting so much press. He deserved the shutout, but Ian Walker jinxed it. Look at this timeline! 9:15, Walker says shutout. 9:18, Josh Green scores. That is bogus. Ian Walker, if this wasn't the preseason, I might march over to your house and trample your azaleas.
- I have been loving Andrew Alberts this preseason. He seems to make a big hit almost every shift and he's limiting his mistakes. Underrated battle: him and Shane O'Brien for that sixth spot. The more I think about it, the more I think Shane O'Brien might be the guy on the way out. Everything he does well, someone else does better.
- Other guys that looked good: Jordan Schroeder, Peter Schaefer, Guillaume Desbiens, and most of the veterans. The Sedins were wonderful as usual, and I thought Dan Hamhuis and Christian Ehrhoff were incredible tonight, Hamhuis especially.
- Other guys that looked less good: Chris Tanev was invisible and I thought Evan Oberg was the only guy who really played badly tonight. I have pinpointed exactly 2:30 into the second period--when he shied away from taking a hit and sheepishly turned the puck over in the defensive zone--as the exact moment he got himself cut.
- Finally, Luongo blockered away a lazy blooper from center ice and the audience looed. We got a bad rap last year for looing some really mundane saves, and this one, in a preseason game, was among the worst I've seen. Let's save the looing for loo-worthy saves, please? We're like the Double Rainbow guy with our exuberance.
- How unimportant is the outcome in these preseason games? Well, I watched every second of this one and, most of the time, had no idea what the score was.