Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Blues, December 5, 2010

and Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
Canucks 2 - 3 Blues

Well, the Canucks lost. We don't even need to turn on the radio, or open the newspaper (or, God forbid, go to the forums) in order to know what the fickle fanbase is saying. They are saying: drat. And also much worse things. Trade Bieksa. Fire AV. Send Rome back to the press box. Women and children first. Burn the photo albums. Eat the living.

But before we start clamoring for our pound of flesh, let's be honest: it would take more than one pound to satisfy this many people. Instead, let's follow the lead of this season's Vancouver Canucks, and keep a level head. Two teams played tonight. One team won. Incidentally, the other team lost. Unfortunately (for our wives, who now have to deal with mopey husbands), we watched:

  • When the Canucks lose, people blame Bieksa. He is easy to blame, like the kid that doesn't speak English. To that I say: poppycock. Bieksa does speak English; don't blame him. He had a few shaky moments, but Juice played 23 minutes, and in that time, he was even, with a goal (above), 6 hits, and 6 blocked shots.
  • Obvious point: the Canucks were missing Mason Raymond tonight. They missed him more than I miss my G&L ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow when I'm away from home. His bout with the flu moved Jannik Hansen up to the second line, where he was usual pesterly self, scoring the Canuck's first goal by simply going hard to the net and keeping his eyes on the puck and stick on the ice. But his presence on the second line meant his absence was felt in the bottom-six.
  • Alex Steen may have scored twice tonight, but Ryan Kesler was the best forward on the ice. He and Jannik Hansen were clearly on their games. Unfortunately, the rest of the Canucks forwards were not. It's not that they were terrible, they just weren't good. Kesler, on the other hand, shot like Nicolas Cage in Con Air, won faceoffs like Nicolas Cage in Face/Off, and dangled like Nicolas Cage in his unreleased sex tape (we assume). Unlike Nicolas Cage, he was quite good.
  • Seriously, Kesler was incredible in the faceoff circle tonight. He won 13 and lost 2. Not to be outdone (although he slightly was), Manny Malhotra won 17 and lost 5. Again, he was primarily used in the defensive zone, where he went 12-for-14. Henrik had his second consecutive sub-par evening, going 8-for-17. The Sedins weren't bad tonight, but you've got to think that winning possession only 5 out of 11 times they started in the offensive zone cut down on their chances.
  • I have a bone to pick and a few to break. When a colour guy claims the puck beat the goalie but not the post, he is wallowing in ignorance. The goaltender tends the vacant area inside the posts; he does not tend the posts. He is, in fact, a netminder, as he only minds the net. The net is attached to the post; it is not the post. The post is a post. This is to say that the goaltender was not beat. If the puck goes past the goalie and into the end boards, nobody says, he beat the goalie, but not the end boards. Tip: if it doesn't count as a shot on net, it doesn't need to be saved.
  • On the plus side for the broadcast team, Shorty is awesome. I loved when he started complaining that the instigator is never called anymore after Coliacavo cross-checked Ballard in the face in retaliation for a hip check. Shorty: is a cross-check not an instigation? Garrett: It's a cross-checking penalty. Shorty: Is a cross-check not a way to instigate a fight?
  • That said, this is the second game in a row where Ballard has been cross-checked in the face. Luongo may have a head made for poking, but Ballard has a face made for perpendicular stick shafts.
  • Not to question AV's coaching, but I have a few questions, vis-a-vis, AV's coaching. First, what's up with Keith Ballard? He was plus-2 and had 1 assist tonight in his usual 13 minutes of ice time. Second, what's up with Keith Ballard's minutes? He should play more, considering he was on the ice for both Vancouver goals and none of St. Louis's. Third, what up with that? Is this because he fell down once? I fall down all the time. Life doesn't reduce my minutes..... does it?
  • It doesn't, does it? I mean, seriously, I'm freaking out.
  • If you're looking for someone to blame, look to the E section of the Canucks' roster. The Ehrhoff/Edler pairing were both minus-2 in a tight game. Both looked out of sync tonight. On a good night, they're going to register more than 3 shots between them. We noticed their powerplay work was a bit off, as their timing on pinches down the boards was creaky, and it lost zone possession on a few crucial instances. In fact, if you're ever wondering where to start on the statsheet, look to Christian Ehrhoff's plus/minus. It's his whole game; he whistles up and down that stat line. He's always on the ice for goals--you just hope they're for the Canucks.
  • Dan Hamhuis had an iffy game as well. He had five shots blocked. It goes without saying your defenders need to get their shots through. But we said it anyway. We are a team of Mavericks. Skeeter is the consummate Maverick.
  • More blame could go to the Canucks powerplay, which was 0-for-5, but the real reason the Canucks lost? They didn't #WinDaTurd. You see, locked in a tie going into da turd, winning da turd would have, ergo, won da game.
  • We were hoping Brad Winchester would have a bad night and be responsible for a goal or something, so we could make the following joke: Winchester is bad at keeping out goals. Also, zombies.
  • So it turns out I fall down all the time because I'm dying. You've won this round, life.


  1. You guys are so thing read all day, except the job posts , of course.

  2. for years i've been saying "those PITB guys are good but they've never been able to reference a refused lyric in one of their posts"
    i have absolutely nothing to talk about anymore....

  3. Ben, you have no idea how happy I am that you got that reference. So happy. Harrison didn't want to put it in, but I insisted.

  4. So Harrison wrote a post earlier that acknowledged that while Kesler being taken off the 2nd unit weakens it, it makes the first one awesome. I agree. Still, we'd like to have a good second unit, yes?

    I really want to see Hansen on the 2nd PP unit. I think he's earned it, and the unit could use him for so many reasons. It was losing puck battles all over the place tonight, it was lacking in the speed dept (albeit also lacking in the Mason Raymond dept) and it needed someone who knew what to do with the puck besides the D-men. During a crucial power play I watched as Bieksa and Hamhuis passed it back and forth over and over because the forwards just couldn't get into a useful position.

    In the past few games, I've been noticing Hansen more and more. He was the guy AV picked to fill Raymond's spot, and he earned it. If the second PP unit's going to be a throwaway, anyway, putting Hansen on it couldn't hurt. Recently the first unit's been contained more easily than I'd like. It'd be nice to see the Sedins skate off the ice and not feel like the power play is over.

  5. Qris, I definitely agree that the second unit needs some adjustment. Personally, I'd like to see Ballard get some time instead of Hamhuis on the defensive side. As for forwards, Hansen deserves a shot, but not before Burrows. It's absurd to have last season's top goalscorer not get any time whatsoever on the powerplay.

  6. You made a comment about the broadcast team being awesome. Well I like to think the broadcast team made a good ol' tip-o-the-hat your way PITB. Just over halfway through the second, Shorty mentioned someone's 'yeomanly' work. Coincidence that he used that word only days after your post where you used it twice?! I think not.

  7. One other thought. If ALberts and Raymond were out with the flu then you gotta know there were guys who were playing and also battling flu-symptoms.
    Not using it as an excuse but it may explain the 'lack of killer instinct'.

  8. Obvously, we are Shorty's must-read blog o' the morning, Neal.

    More than likely, smonkman. It's clearly going through the Canucks' dressing room--it's been there awhile.

    Qris and Skeeter, I agree that, while the Canucks care very little about who's on the second unit, they should care a little more. They're treating it like the fourth line. Aaron Rome should not have more minutes than Keith Ballard, especially because of a disparity in powerplay time.

  9. I still love Garrett and Shorty more than those guys on TSN. My favourite line of the night (about Henrik)"He gets so much favouritism (from the refs) that they send his brother to the box."


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