Canucks 2 - Panthers 1
The 2010-11 edition of the Vancouver Canucks is a hitty little bunch, aren't they? Their hittiness has visibly increased since last season, and it's because of the new acquisitions. Hamhuis and Ballard are just clamoring for open ice hits, and it's bleeding into potential big-hitters Bieksa and Edler. It remains to be seen whether the whole unit can keep up this level of grit, but for right now, I like it. They brought it to Florida hard in the first period, smartly exploiting their tired legs, as they had played the night before. While Florida did well to stay in this one, they faded, understandably near the end. As a result, I am proud to announce that the Canucks have won their first game this season. And I watched it happen:
- Florida really got worked in the Ballard trade, huh? Grabner's on the Island, and Bernier's playing on the fourth line. On the bright side, Keith Ballard played a great game tonight, but it was for the Canucks.
- In a graphic about Henrik Sedin's new letter, titled "Notable Predecessors," Sportsnet listed Mark Messier among former Canuck captains. But Messier wasn't notable. After that, they listed the single-season captains. They shuld have had a third category for "Captains Who Sucked so Bad There's a City to Which They Can Never Return."
- Speaking of Kevin Bieksa: despite being the guaranteed goat for the season just because he's worn that jacket before, he's been playing excellent hockey. He's physical, he knows when to jump up in the rush, and he creates offense. It's really no wonder AV likes having him on the ice.
- Didn't I see Bryan Allen in the classic X-Files episode "Home"? He's a toothless monstrosity, not unlike a Kesha music video. Oh that's right. I went there.
- Darcy Hordichuk: "I'm two minutes from 1000 [penalty minutes]. If I see Kesler out there, chances are I'll take those two minutes." Further proof that Kesler is a turd: ex-teammates are immediately his sworn enemies. He's my second-favourite Canuck, but even I'm wholly convinced he's about 98% turd. Like Bono.
- I spent the whole Every Goal series talking about the Canucks' incredible passing, and it seems they've felt the need to kick it up a notch. They had about three 2-on-1 rushes in the first two periods, and they made one pass too many each time. Shoot the puck, boys.
- Hansen skated with Kesler and Raymond for most of the game. Either he's been promoted, or Raffi Torres has been demoted, and I couldn't say with any certainty which it is. Maybe both?
- Halfway through the first period, I saw Mikael Samuelsson take a slash at a guy. He didn't really connect all that hard, but it got me to thinking: he does that a lot--maybe twice a game. The guy has an incredibly short fuse, and he gets away with a bunch of retaliatory slashes. Anyway, I made a note to talk about it here. Then, in the second period, he did it again to Corey Stillman, but he got caught. Something to watch for later.
- Speaking of Sammy, he tried so hard to get Daniel the hat-trick goal. Then, when he finally gave up and went for it himself, the universe kicked him in the Charlie Browns and he hit the crossbar. Poor guy.
- I like Mike Weaver, but I always feel bad for teams that have him. He's sort of like a laxative: sure, he helps you, but you wish you didn't need him.
- In football news, my father-in-law kept flipping over to the MNF game between the Vikings and the Jets. With two minutes to go, and Minnesota driving downfield, I said, "Favre's going to throw an interception." As soon as the Canucks game ended, we flipped over to it, just in time to watch Favre bury his head in his hands, having given away another game trying to be the hero. I hate that guy. It's been a real treat this season to watch him screw the pooch on a weekly basis.
- The Canucks need to work on their sustained offensive pressure. Their best chances are coming on the rush, but you don't draw penalties on the rush. You might have noticed Florida took zero infractions. That's on Vancouver, not the refs.
- Roberto Luongo has been marvelous to open the season. He's let in one goal in each of the first two games, and you can't fault him on either of them. On the flipside, he's made about ten saves a lesser goalie might not have had. I wasn't expecting this Luongo until November.
- And finally, what can I say about the incredible play of Dan Hamhuis? He's more than steady. While he didn't get a point on the game-winner, he was the one who patiently carried the puck out of the zone, gained the blue line, then found Samuelsson, trailing, to initiate the score. Then, as the clock wound down, it was his heady play with the puck in the corner that got the puck out of the zone and broke up Florida's last wave of offensive pressure. Hammy the Flying Postman has been incredible.