I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass it to Bulis that chronicles that insights and observations of two guys who watched a hockey game.
For those of you who balk at our preseason record, consider that, if the Sedins are in the preseason lineup, we win, and when they aren't, we don't. They were in the lineup tonight. If you knew this advance, and you were following the if A, then B model of philosophy (Modus Ponens, for you amateur forward chainers), you knew we were going to win.
I apologize to multitude of readers (actually, just one guy in the comments) who were clamoring for this last night and didn't get it. Skeeter and I both had busy evenings, relegating this one to the PVR. Let me just say that I hate watching games the next day. Part of the joy of being a Canucks fan is knowing that, when the Canucks score, my joy is shared by thousands of people I don't know, and when the Canucks scored on, I am part of a secret collective of groans. By the next day, however, all those emotions have faded, and I know that I'm alone. It's hard to be nearly as excited. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts:
- I wasn't the only one struggling to get excited about this game. Neither the Canucks nor the Ducks seemed particularly interested in playing hockey for sixty minutes. As a result, the best part of the game was probably the lively stick-checking. Good job, Canucks, at breaking up cycles and rushes with good sticks.
- Cody Hodgson was nearly invisible in this game, and by now, I'm downright happy about it. He'll go to Manitoba and hone his game, and, likely be the first callup if one of our top two centers goes down with an injury.
- What is up with the Sedins taking so many slap shots? Daniel took about five today, which is all I need to prove, unequivocally, that he is out for blood. And, if you think there's no friendly competition between brothers, I saw Henrik take a slapshot as well, which is not unlike seeing a unicorn mating with a chimaera while a triad of suns are setting at the edge of the flat world.
- Andrew Alberts put Shane O'Brien on waivers with his play tonight. Alberts has been a steady defensive presence, caused forwards to think twice before making a play, and broken up chances by taking the body. In one particular instance, Bobby Ryan (who was great tonight) made a little inside-outside move and put the puck past Alberts. Rather than being made to look silly, as we saw last year in a similar play by Jason Spezza, Alberts simply stepped into Ryan and took him off the puck. It was perfectly played.
- I just killed a fruitfly. Just now.
- Alex Bolduc's play tonight might have settled the question of who will be the fourth-line center. Bolduc isn't a sexy pick, and he's not the right fit as a guy to fight John Scott, but he showed tonight that he can be good defensively, and reliable in the last minute of a game. He set up the empty-netter by skating hard onto the puck, holding onto it under pressure, and centering to Kesler. It was poise we haven't seen by a fourth-line center for quite some time.
- Against my wishes, the Ballard-Bieksa pair continues to be a possibility. AV is likely thinking of them as old-school Starsky and Hutch: unorthodox, but kinda badass. Problem is, they're new-school Starsky and Hutch: a frustratingly inept comedy duo. While Starsky and Hutch didn't get burned tonight, it will, and nearly did when Bieksa made a dumb pinch and the Ducks went back on a 2-on-1. Nothing came of it, but still.
- Cory Schneider was very good tonight. He's not a flashy goalie by any means, but he's big and he cuts off angles. When you do that, you don't have to dive all over the place. I look forward to seeing Schneider in a Canucks uniform all season. I'm also enjoying his neck beard. Speaking of beards, I have a theory: if you're a young prospect, but you can grow a beard, do it. Grow that beard. It will confuse the coaching staff and make them think you've matured as a player.
- John Garrett: "125 seconds left." Passive aggressive Shorty: "Two minutes if you don't want to do the math." Shut up, Garrett.
- I love that Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry hate each other. Don't ask me why. It's just great to see a couple guys have such ostensible, unbridled hate for one another, like my ongoing feud with Justin Bieber's backup dancers. Mind you, mine is driven by jealousy. #iwannadanceforyoubieb
- Aaron Rome is such a seventh defensemen. He does nothing overly well, never stands out, is the worst person to pass to on a 4-on-2, but he's steady. It's possible that, when Alberts locked himself in at that sixth spot, Shane O'Brien got bumped to eighth, simply because Rome is the very essence of a seventh defenseman.
- Mason Raymond's shorthanded goal was a thing of beauty. Think Burrows is choked that MayRay bogarted his deke?