Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Canucks 0 Blues 4 – 22-Jan-06

On a night where the primary focus was minority political change across the land, I’m not sure which is more surprising. The Liberals retaining as much popular vote and parliamentary seats as they did or the fact that the Blues have beaten only two teams in all of 2006: the Canucks; and the Canucks.

As I’ve ranted in the past, big wins like the blow out of Montreal last Saturday mean nothing unless you are prepared to follow up will a solid effort in the next game. Well, a solid effort was exactly what the Blues gave Election Night and they were rewarded for it. The Canucks showed up for stretches in third period which isn’t good enough to win. Even when the opponent, last in the league, has eighteen fewer wins than you do. Untimely penalties were the biggest problem in the first two periods. It would be kind to suggest a hot goalie named Curtis Sanford was the problem in the third but let’s go with that.

The Nucks took seven penalties for 19 minutes in the bin. While a few players committed lazy errors, Ryan Kesler seemed to stand out. Number 20 was off for hooking when the Blues got there first goal in the later part of the first period. He took a second trip to the box in the second period. Kesler had about the best offensive chance of the night when he rung one off the post / crossbar – redemption almost.

Maybe a bright spot was that 5 of the 19 minutes were to McCarthy for fighting in defence of his goalie. Raycroft tossed the Omelette (Ouellet) in the first period. McCarthy started good with a few shots and finished good with a flurry and a take down but got tagged with a heavy blow in between. Most judges would call it a draw.

So what is the deal with this team?

Is it coaching? The team was clearly not prepared to play the game. You would think that when the worse team in the league embarrassed you 4-1 only a few weeks earlier you’d be fired up to prove yourself. But not these Canucks.

Is it complacency? The team sleep walked through the first two periods with the exception of the twins. Carter took a 4 minute penalty but when he was on the ice he also provided his usual role as the other brother for the triplets. The rest of the team and especially Nasland and Bert were still checking their luggage back at YVR. A Blue nailed Bert with a good hit and the look on his face was more one of ‘how dare you disturb my snooze’ rather than ‘ok now I’m going to score my third hat trick of the year.’ But not these two Canucks. I think Bert and Nassy are already in Torino sipping cappuccinos.

Was it goal tending? Both Ouellet and Sanford played OK games. The Omelette gave up three goals and an empty netter. The Omelette looked a bit more solid than his other two outings. The first goal was a nice defection on the power play. Ouellet was more a victim when the goat Jovanoski coughed up the puck a couple of times at his own blue line including four on four in the second period which resulted in the Blues second goal: a nice tip in by Bryan Allen. How many of those has Allen put in his own net this year? Well better he gets it out of his system now and not in a game seven in May. Sanford stopped 34 shots including a few quality chances in the third period. He was rewarded with the goose egg and first star honours. As previously mentioned Kesler blew one by him but the starboard post made an equally pretty save.

Next up. Tonight we have the lowly Blue Jackets – the second worse team in the west. With Calgary two points up after another win in the battle of Alberta and the distance between first and 5th in the division only seven points, the team that played host to Montreal on Saturday better show up tonight. Having lost all those four-pointers to Edmonton, Calgary and Colorado the boys can not afford to be fumbling easy points.


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