Canucks 1 - 2 Blackhawks (Shootout)
I really hate the shootout. That said, I don't hate it for the reasons you think. The reason I hate the shootout is that it completely negates the facts of the game, and instead turns tomorrow's headline into a matter of wins and losses. The Canucks played well enough to win tonight and lost in the post-game coin toss. All the talk will be about their winless road record and their losing skid, but this one really shouldn't count. They deserved the two points. Unfortunately, they only got one point. It was hard-earned as all Hell, but it's one point shy of satisfying the fan's need for blood.
- Unlike the fans, who were out for blood they did not fully get, Daniel Sedin continues to reap the rewards of liquid envy. His goal tonight ties him for the league lead with Marian Hossa, and extends his 82-goal pace. Can he keep this up? No. Certainly not. But, bringing in the numbers from last season, we can see that Daniel has scored 17 goals in his last 17 regular season games. So maybe he can keep this up.
- Speaking of blood, was it just me, or was this game oddly devoid of bad blood? It was a very fluid and very clean game. It was lovely to watch, but didn't satisfy my bloodlust, like ice dancing.
- Still on blood: as much as I hate him, Jonathan Toews is a pretty tough nut. He took a puck right in the teeth, then casually skated to the bench like he needed to reapply his deodorant. There we saw he was bleeding profusely from the mouth. No big deal. He just broke his face. Whatever.
- I really wish Dan Hamhuis had played tonight, as the Kevin Bieksa-Ryan Parent pairing is more terrifying than the hallways of the Overlook Hotel (warning: clip terrifying). While they were both much better than last night, they got caught behind the play more times than they should have. Both of them gave Marian Hossa a breakaway tonight. That can't happen.
- More on Bieksa: It's gotten to a point with defensive breakdowns where I immediately check to see if it was him, and too often, it is. Tonight I officially decided I just don't like him. Every good thing he brings is offset by something detrimental. Skeeter is much more reasonable about these things than I am, so expect us to argue all season about it.
- One thing I do love about Kevin Bieksa is his gloved push-punch. He does it all the time. He and Tomas Kopecky were taking whacks at each other at every stoppage, and I saw Juice pull off a couple of cool, little jabs. Not cool, though, was an instance during the first period when Kopecky faked a slash to Bieksa's head. That's unsportsmanlike.
- Also unsportsmanlike: businesswomen.
- In tight checking games like this, it's impossible to miss what Manny Malhotra brings to this team. His stick-checking was impeccable. His faceoffs were glorious, as usual, as he was 14-for-20 in the circle. He led the Canucks to a perfect penalty kill, too. There was one instance when he came out of the defensive zone with the puck, and rather than icing it, he skated gingerly, through the neutral zone, backing the defense off before taking a slapshot on Turco. It killed ten to fifteen seconds that simply icing the puck would not have.
- Aaron Rome has increased his invisibility, which is to say he played a good game tonight. I'd prefer if he played less, but probably so would the Canucks medical staff.
- We forgot to mention this last game, but is Raffi Torres capable of making a simple pass? Every time he passes the puck, it's some complicated abortion of a pass that very rarely makes it to its intended target. There was one instance tonight where he could have chipped the puck off the glass, but instead, he feathered it across the ice in the defensive zone. The margin for error there is not unlike the distance between the earth and sun. One degree in either direction and everybody's dead. He does this far too often.
- It appears Alain Vigneault reads Pass it to Bulis, as the second line was finally reunited, just like we told him to. Sadly, the Raymond-Kesler-Samuelsson line didn't keep, primarily because Jannik Hansen played so badly on the top line Samuelsson had to be returned to it. However, when they were together they were good, creating chances and space. They had 11 shots between them.
- Though he led the team in shots tonight with five, Samuelsson suddenly appears hesitant to shoot. I never thought I'd say this, but he's holding on to the puck for too long.
- I found it interesting that the Canuck players had no idea they'd been selected for the shootout. It's a weird way to go about it, but it almost worked. I think it's safe to say that Daniel Sedin has earned his way onto the shootout shortlist with the sick move he pulled off on Turco.
- Roberto Luongo was fantastic tonight. He made several key saves, including a few breakaways. Unfortunately, he couldn't squeeze the puck in the shootout, and two trickled in after everybody thought he'd made the save. I haven't felt such intense excitement followed by shame since this dance I went to in the eighth grade.
- Know who wasn't nearly as good tonight? Cory Schneider. He didn't stop a single shot.
- Before you snicker at the shortsighted line of thinking above, consider that it's the same way this "goaltending controversy" started in the first place: opinions based on one game. Now that Luongo has played a good game, I imagine we'll put the controversy talk to bed. At least until the next time Schneider does his job as the backup and wins the game he's given.