Sunday, March 8, 2009

Canucks 3 Sharks 1

The scene: The Canucks Dressing Room.
The Time: Moments after a 3-1 over the San Jose Sharks.
Coach Vigneault walks in among the players. The players are happy, there is much slapping of backs and the occasional WOO! heard, when the coach speaks:
Alain Vigneault: Settle down guys, settle down. OK, I don't know how to say this, so I guess the best way is to just come right out and say it. This one doesn't really count.
(stunned silence across the room, followed by comments expressing disbelief)
Ryan Kesler: Coach, that's crazy, we beat 'em fair & square...
AV: Sorry guys. I was just on the CDC, and according to (shuffles through papers) um... Ringmaster 316, they have injuries and are without their top goalie. So it doesn't count.
Alex Burrows: Tabernac!
Mats Sundin: Aw man! You made Hordi cry...

And that concludes this edition of Pessimistic Canucks Fan Theater...

So there you have it Canucks fans. Don't celebrate this win. The Sharks didn't have the vaunted offensive powers of Jeremy Roenick, Mike Greer, Marcel Goc, Torrie Mitchell and Claude Lemieux. Their defense obviously missed the spark it would have gotten from Kent Huskins. And let's face it, Brian Boucher is no Evgeni Nabokov. It's not like he is Curtis McElhinney or something.

Using this logic, you can discount the losses to San Jose previous, because the last 2 came with backup goalies. Do you think they say that in San Jose? Hardly. Yes the Sharks are struggling a bit right now. But correct me if I am wrong, but they did still have Joe Thornton? Jonathan Cheechoo? Devin Setoguchi? Dan Boyle? I think you see what I am getting at here. It's almost as though parity only applies to other teams. With the Canucks, and their detractors (hell, with some of their 'fans' as well) there has to be a qualifier. San Jose is only one of the best teams in the league if they have all their players in the lineup. Garbage.

What I saw last night was another 60 minute game from the Canucks, and a sign that really made me smile: San Jose struggled to keep up with our team speed. They took a number of penalties last night, uncharacteristically bad penalties for them, as they tried to keep the Canucks rushers at bay. While they did have some chances, the Sedin/Sedin/Burrows line was held in check. Fortunately the line of Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin had a tremendous game. The team was fairly disciplined last night, hell I wouldn't even fault them on giving the PP goal to Thornton, as it was a bad break for Johnson, but they really should have given Blake a goalie interference call on that play. I actually thought there was a lot of contact with Luongo, but he doesn't seem to get the calls other goalies do. Probably has something to do with him not being able to sell it like other goalies (coughKiprusoffcough). And how about new Dad Darcy Hordichuk laying out Jody Shelley? That was priceless. Luongo was very very good last night, but still, we haven't seen one of those A games. It's getting closer for sure. Perhaps this next game Monday against the LA Kings, who have been playing desperate hockey down the stretch will see him truly shine?

So now we have Chicago just 5 points ahead, and the Flames are 8. We are now 4 up on Columbus, and 6 on Edmonton, Dallas and Nashville. No time to take the foot off the pedal, but it is nice to see the one thing we have craved as fans from this team: consistency.

While it may be early to judge them on one loss, you certainly can't judge the Flames on one win either. But I really feel as though the trading deadline acquisitions of Jokinen and Leopold are not going to make a huge impact. There is a dark cloud hanging over Calgary's heads: They are DONE if Kipper goes down. Add in that you would swear the team has ZERO confidence playing in front of him and this could spell trouble for the Flames down the road. Funny though, I though Kipper was the Flames goalie that let in 6. Looks like the kid is catching on.

A number of interesting games last night, was there not? From the huge outburst out of Eric Staal (think he is happy to have Eric Cole back?) to the Red Wings giving up 8 for the second consecutive Saturday, it was a pretty entertaining night of hockey. Apart from the Oilers and Columbus, the Canucks got the help they needed. best part was, they helped themselves as they are now 12 wins in their last 14 games.

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