Canucks/Kings: Anger Bowl

Where to even begin with this game? Was it a hockey game? Or was it a performance art piece demonstrating how not to play hockey? I mean, it was less a hockey game and more a two hour dick measuring contest. I generally like my hockey to be heavy on the scoring chances and low on the feeling of “someone is about to get stabbed on the ice”.

I think the most entertaining moment (for me) was when the refs confused Henrik and Daniel and sent Henrik to the box to serve Daniel’s penalty. It got even more wacky immediately following this when Daniel then proceeded to help kill off his own penalty.

But there were certainly some items to add to the pro column for the Canucks besides that. The defence suddenly looked sharp and competent, holding the Kings to not too many shots. This was a far cry from the recent defensive play where they all looked like they had been cryogenically frozen and then thawed out to play defence for the very first time in their lives. It was nice to have Alex Edler back in the lineup, at least by the eyeball test. Oh and the penalty kill. Wowee. You could write a sonnet about the Canucks penalty kill. Shall I compare thee to an ice-y day?

In the con column, well, the offence. The Canucks current offensive line up is where the dreams of all little pucks go to die. Hurry back Alex Burrows. Go on a goal hunting mission David Booth. You are our only hopes.

On a slightly different tangent, the Canucks could be an interesting case study in how society’s constricting ideas of masculinity are harmful. The 2011 Canucks were speedy, flashy, and fun to watch, yet didn’t have much traditional “brute force”. Cue the cup final loss to the Boston Bruins and the irritating narrative that the Canucks are JUST NOT TOUGH ENOUGH. RAWR. This narrative didn’t die down when people looked at Tim Thomas’ gaudy save percentage against the Canucks. Oh no. It simply picked up steam. And now look what you’ve done, society. Because the Canucks felt like they needed to get MORE MANLY AND GRITTIER, you have unleashed Tom Sestito, he of the seconds of ice time and countless penalty minutes onto the world. I hope you’re happy.

I will admit, I do have some conflicting feelings with the Tom Sestito incident myself. I don’t like goons on my hockey teams. I think The Code comes from a bizarre fever dream that an enforcer wrote down one time. And then when a player runs the Sedins, I turn into some kind of mutant offspring of She Hulk and Don Cherry. It’s something I need to work on, I realize.

But if the Canucks find some scoring again, and control their Tom Sestitos, there’s still plenty of time to make this a decent if not extraordinary season.

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Hiring Week With Torts!

During John Tortorella’s press conference, both he and Gillis mentioned the “extensive hiring process” Torts went through to land the Canucks coaching gig. The Humming Giraffe was lucky enough to find out exactly what this extensive hiring process looked like. What follows is a completely accurate summary of what took place.

On day 1 Torts had to play Daniel or Henrik? As you can see he had a little trouble…

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On day 2, Torts visited the Grouse Grind. This was a two step process. First he had to push Alex Burrows up the grind in a cart.

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Then, Torts had to pose naked at the top of the hike with Ryan Kesler. Goodness gracious.

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On day 3, Torts did sit ups with Chris Higgins in the park.

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This was already quite a lot of hard work to put in, but the hiring process wasn’t over yet. Next, Torts had to build a school with Dan “I’m an angel” Hamhuis.

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Now for a much needed break from the physical exertion, Torts was scheduled to go shopping with Alex Edler.

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This hiring process was getting PRETTY wacky. But the Canucks weren’t done yet. On this day, Torts went to the salon with Zack Kassian because he promised he’d get a sweet skullet.

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The next day, Torts was given a breather from the Canucks players and their…hobbies and went to the casino with Gillis.

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Torts was really impressing everyone so far after this busy week. There was just one last thing left before he could be hired. He had to learn the Canucks Kool-aid buzz words!

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And with that John Tortorella was the next Canucks coach. Hooray!

Not For Them

Several times this season I’ve written on this blog that the Canucks should win a particular game for the fans. I did it in the regular season and I did it before game seven. After Wednesday night that seems so hollow and pointless. I won’t ever use that turn of phrase again. Vancouver showed Wednesday night that many Canucks fans don’t deserve anything from the Canucks. Not a damn thing. Days later I’m still so angry that I could spit that these little assholes trashed and burned and destroyed our city all while wearing Canucks jerseys and hats and hoodies and t-shirts. The media and Vancouver higher ups are clinging to the anarchists from out of town story and I’m sure there is truth to that. There were t-shirts saying I’m just here for the riot, and masks, and lighter fluid, but that doesn’t leave out everyone else. Anarchists may have lit the first car on fire but Canucks fans finished the deal. They would have done this win or lose. It goes well beyond hockey. I can’t get close to being able to explain why it happened.

They couldn’t even have the smallest decency of taking off their jerseys before beating people, or looting, or kicking in windows. Now we will be forever linked to these awful people because we’re Canucks fans. I’m proud to wear the Canucks logo even though we still don’t have a Cup because of guys like Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Hank and Danny Sedin, Dan Hamhuis, Mattias Ohlund, Sami Salo, Ryan Kesler, and Keith Ballard. Just to name a few. I could fill a whole post with names.

I wonder what the players felt like Wednesday night as they watched people wear the very same jersey they were so proud to wear all year as these useless thugs tore apart our downtown core. Imagine just experiencing the worst loss of your career and just wanting to go home and be with your family and try to heal and move on and not being able to because you needed a police escort to leave your arena. So no, I won’t be saying win a game for your fans again. It’s clear many of us don’t deserve it. Next year, win it for each other. That’s what’s good and important.

Now we all wear the tarnished reputations of the few. It’s unfortunate and sad and it still makes me furious. The volunteer cleaners and everyone else that helped put our city back together started the healing. I wish so strongly that these wonderful citizens will be remembered more than the rioters. Only time will tell on that. Other cities and countries probably won’t care about that. The juicy, bad news is more appealing, But perhaps it is enough for people in Vancouver. That is what counts.

Lost in this was a hockey game. It was hard to watch. It hurt so much at the end I could barely breathe. The Canucks had an amazing season but to come THAT close is hard to swallow. You start to think in one of your lesser moments “What’s the point?” What’s the point of following this team for 82 regular season games and then 20+ playoff games only to have your heart so throughly stomped on in the last possible moment. The Cup was IN the building. Then my mind immediately jumped to Mason Raymond. He broke his back chasing his dream. Instead of flying home and starting his long summer of rehab alone he went to Rogers Arena. He stood in his back brace, in immense amounts of pain, and waved to the crowd. He could barely move he was in so much pain but he still wanted his dream so badly and he wanted to cheer on his team any way he could. So I’m coming back for Mason Raymond because he deserves it.

There are many other reasons to hope for next season. They learned so much during this long playoff run and are poised to do so much more. I’m proud to be a Canucks fan and no riot can take that away from me no matter how hard it tried. I’m putting away my bottle of champagne and saving it for next year because the best is yet to come.

Game 6

I’m getting mighty tired of supporting the NHL. Rome gets the four game suspension for a reckless, late hit without the puck that caused serious injury. At the time I thought perhaps it was a little excessive for a Stanley Cup final but hey great if they stick with that precedent so be it. Raymond takes a late, reckless hit into the boards while in a vulnerable position that causes a SERIOUS injury and the NHL doesn’t even have the decency to review the tape. That’s garbage. Utter and total garbage. Poor Mason Raymond is out for three to four months of pain. Let’s not forget the lovely cherry on the sundae of hearing Bruins fans yell FLOPPER! DIVER! and BULLSHIT! at you while you try and fail to get off the ice under your own power. But that’s just a hockey play, right? What a wonderful night to be an NHL fan.

The reffing was absolutely bizarre last night. Raymond just lost an edge, Hank got an unsportsmanlike call for being cross checked by Chara, and Danny Sedin, Danny Sedin your ART ROSS winner can be used as a punching bag by that rookie pest Marchand just because Marchand “felt like it” . Unbelievable.

The Canucks didn’t lose because of reffing they lost because Luongo had an awful first period but still what an embarrassing display.

Other than that four minute meltdown the Canucks played pretty well. They controlled the tempo of the game for long stretches and hit several posts and missed a few open nets. It’s such a cliche but they just didn’t get the bounces. If those go in on Wednesday well, WOW. Bob’s your uncle.

It’s gut check time. The side show circus in this series has been exhausting, the injuries are piling up, even the guys that can still skate are all injured I’m sure, but we must still believe. The Canucks have a game seven on home ice where they’ve been money all playoffs. We must remember why we love this team and why we’ve lived and died with them all year. Luongo will have his seawall walk and all will be well. The Canucks need to have the game of their lives and leave everything on the ice. If they do that win or lose they can hold their heads high. But boy would it be nice to take it all the way and have Vancouver explode in celebration.

Dear baby hockey Jesus, please let me survive game 7. One last time, GO CANUCKS GO.

Oh

That was nowhere close to what I was hoping for. Well, then. It’s clear now the Canucks are unable to win in Boston. It has  something to do with that bald instrument of Satan Mark Messier, I’m sure of it. Why the @*$* does Vigneault never use his timeouts before his team spirals out of control? It’s inexplicable. I’m cranky and want to drink  my feelings so that’s about everything I have for tonight. All my thoughts and good feelings to Mason Raymond. Thank goodness for home ice.

Game 4

The last game is a little hard to summarize, really. It wasn’t all bad. The Canucks did  a lot of things well and had some positive stats to prove it. Lots of shots on net, a bunch of blocked shots, numerous faceoff wins, and so on. But, the score was still 4 zip for the other side. They had a good first period again like they did in game three and then the second period was a nightmare again just like in game three.

The power play is still a disaster and is letting them down in the worst way. They had a chance to grab a hold of this game in the first period on the power play and didn’t do it. They couldn’t even force Tim Thomas to make a difficult save.  Speaking of Tim Thomas, yes he was good again last night, yes the Canucks peppered him with a lot of shots, but when the majority of them are shot right into his chest of course he’s going to look good. The guys in blue and green definitely need to capitalize on their scoring chances in game 5 or they’re letting this series slip away.

Luongo didn’t have his best game tonight. Two of the goals last night he probably normally would have had. But the defence is a wet hot mess. Bieksa appears to be missing Pork Chop his bromance defensive partner. Ehrhoff must still be injured from that McGinn hit against the Sharks. I really can’t explain Alex Edler but he should look into getting a new brand of stick. Then there was Bally my poor fave d man. He had a really rough game. But honestly it’s hard to blame him. He’s been mistrusted all year, shown time and time again that the coaches prefer almost any other option, and then thrown out with a new defensive partner he hasn’t played with all season. While in the Stanley Cup Final. Yeesh. No wonder he was nervous and mistake prone.

I don’t think this series is lost. The Canucks were shocked and embarrassed by Chicago in round 1 and we all know how that turned out. The ice was bad in Boston. That’s not meant as a real excuse because Boston played on the same ice and did just fine. But it is a fact that Boston’s style of play can adapt better to bad ice. Being back in Vancouver should make a difference with the home cooking and all. A lot of our main guys are looking injured and exhausted but they just have to try and find a way to push through. It would be heartbreaking for them to see their dream die now when they’ve come so close. Simplify, cut out the second period meltdowns, make some defensive adjustments, and get a few bounces. Nobody said this was going to be easy but they can get it done.

Postscript

Why on earth does Mike Milbury still have a job? He called Hank and Danny Thelma and Louise on a national NBC broadcast. I’ve written before about gender insults in hockey here  and I guess it’s shame on me for continuing to believe that hockey can cut the sexist crap. Even so, shame on CBC and NBC for employing him. He was a mediocre player and a terrible GM and I’m sure my golden retriever could offer more interesting hockey analysis. Not sure what more Hank and Danny need to do to get some damn respect. I did love Cory Schneider’s response in the Province:

“Who cares what he thinks, if he’d been their general manager he would have traded them in their first year anyway like he did with everyone else. “One guy is a Hart trophy winner and the other is up for it this year and we have complete faith and confidence in these guys. Who cares what he thinks?”

Hard Work

You can’t beat hard work. That’s what immediately popped into my head after I got over the shock of Alex Burrows winning the game 11 seconds into OT. He’s turning into a super villain in Boston which is probably totally deserved and endlessly amusing but no matter your feelings about Burrows you can’t deny he’s worked his derriere off to get here. Undrafted, toiling away in the ECHL, scraping by, and finally signed to an NHL team. Eventually he’s set with two Swedish twins and scores three points in a Stanley Cup Final. Honestly, it should be a lifetime movie. But only Canucks fans would line up to see it. Despicable Burrows.

Manny Malhotra also put in some damn hard work inching his way back from an eye injury. It’s pretty amazing and unbelievable he played tonight. Listening to the Manny chants through the TV gave me goosebumps. I can’t even imagine what it was like in the arena. He almost scored once and seemed to win almost every faceoff he was out for. What a lovely night for him and his family. Another wonderful story. What a time to be a fan.  This makes all those crushing low points of being a fan more than worth it. And there’s still two more wins to go.