Canucks Army Postgame: Canucks Show They Certainly Don't *Lack* Guts

Dimitri Filipovic
October 25 2013 09:27PM

Say what you will about the Vancouver and their performance during the 7-game roadtrip (and about people who begin sentences with "say what you will.."), but a 5-1-1 record all things considered is more than impressive. Especially considering the way they capped it off against the Blues with a 3-2 overtime victory. The operative term here is "gutsy", which I'm sure you'll see bandied about on your Twitter timeline, deservedly so.

Read on past the jump for a recap of what went down.

The Story

"Obviously given everything I've just mentioned, it's easy to see why the Blues are considered to be heavy favourites to take care of business in this game. However, let me just say that I wouldn't exactly be stunned if the Canucks put up a better fight than you may think they'd be capable of.. it's sports, and sometimes when something seems to be way too good to be true, it usually is. I'm just sayin'".

That was from the preview of the game which I posted this afternoon. As someone who has followed a variety of sports very closely for years now, I tend to get spooked when everyone and their grandmother talks about how lopsided a game is going to be. I wouldn't have put money on the Canucks winning or anything, but I just put it out there that I could definitely envision a scenario where they surprised people with their showing. I'm glad they made me look like I kinda sorta know what I'm talking about.

At the bottom of that preview was also a recommendation for a bet that would give you 6-to-1 if Ryan Kesler scored a goal and the Canucks won. Well.. he scored two of them (including the power play tally in OT that won the game), giving him 7 on the year now. That means he's now on pace for 44 goals, which would certainly make me (and many others) look silly were it to happen. I was fairly vocal in my opinion that he was more of a 25-goal guy this preseason, pleading with people to temper their expectations and settle down.

Obviously I didn't anticipate that he would be routinely playing in the mid 20's per game, with 54 shots on goal in 13 games to his name. I also didn't expect him to play with the Sedins at 5v5 like he has over the past handful of games. He has been ridiculous, and it's hard to even imagine what kind of shape the Canucks would be in right now wihtout him. I think it speaks to the mentality that has accompanied being a Canucks fan for life that I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. But for now, there's nothing we can do but enjoy the ride..

Before the game I joked that it would be awesome to see John Tortorella pull a Gregg Popovich and send his stars home, conceding the loss in this one. I thought the Sedins actually had their least effective showing of the season in this game heading into the overtime period. I can't remember them generating fewer promising scoring opportunities than they did here, failing to ever really even sustain pressure with the puck possession we've come to expect from them. Hard to blame them though since they played 24 and 25 minutes respectively tonight after having topped 25 minutes last night as well. They must be exhausted. Plus, they played a part in setting up Kesler's winner with just 15 seconds left to go.

What followed the goal was one of the more bizarre endings to a game I've seen in some time.. as soon as Kesler scored David Backes went after Daniel Sedin (while Barrett Jackman went after Kesler), and a scrum ensued. Backes, ever the classy gentleman, finally received some penalty minutes with his misconduct and roughing penalty after it seemed like he could do as he pleased without the worry of a whistle throughout the game.

He blatantly went after Tom Sestito following a whistle in the 3rd period, and went down like a sack of potatoes to draw a penalty on Bieksa (which led to the 1st goal for the Blues) late in the 2nd. I'd love to hear what was going through his head when he went after Daniel on that play, but I doubt we'll here from him since he probably had to rush home to check on Kelly following the conclusion of the game. After all, Ryan Kesler is in town..

As for the newcomers, Pelletier and Archibald, I thought they were as effective as you could have hoped for in their season debut. That 4th line along with Yannick Weber actually had a couple of decent shifts, which pretty much instantly makes it the best showing from a Canucks 4th line that we've seen all year. Burrows is set to come back so we'll probably see one of them get sent back down, and I hope it's not Archibald, who I think has the potential to be a very serviceable depth forward at the NHL level.

The Numbers


Image via Extra Skater .

As you see by the shot attempt totals the Canucks were actually more than holding their through, oh I'd say, the first 30-35 minutes of the game. After that their heavy legs decided to really show, and by the end of the game you could tell they were just trying to hang on for dear life.

Which brings us to Eddie Lack, who was once again very solid. He stopped 22 of 24 shots he faced, and is surely showing both the Canucks brass and their fans that he can be relied upon to spell Roberto Luongo from time to time and avoid forcing the 34-year old to start more than somewhere between 60 and 65 games. 

As for the power play opportunity situation, the Canucks only drew 2 of them again in this one (one of which was a 4-minute minor that drew blood on a high stick). I highly doubt that the league is "against them", but it's hard not to take issue with the 2 infractions they were whistled for themselves late in the 2nd period when they're not getting any of those calls themselves. 

My one issue with Tortorella coming out of this game is why he didn't utilize the Higgins-Santorelli-Kassian combination more throughout the game. He started the game with Richardson on that line, but by the 2nd period Kassian was back up there and they were back to getting up to stuff. I really like that combination and think they have a chance to be effective. Kassian needs to stay out of the penalty box, and getting into a fight doesn't exactly help with that. Burrows' return to could put a wrench in those plans, though. Oh well.

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#1 NM00
October 25 2013, 09:33PM
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Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

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#2 DCR
October 25 2013, 09:45PM
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Ugly OT win, but I'll take it. They worked hard for it and were running on the memory of fumes.

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#3 DCR
October 25 2013, 09:48PM
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NM00 wrote:

Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

Dominating, as in being hemmed in their own end repeatedly by a scratch fourth line of two AHL'ers and a fringe NHL D-man?

St. Louis dominated parts of the game, but you can't justifiably argue that it was a "dominant performance."

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#4 PB
October 25 2013, 09:49PM
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@NM00

THERE'S the Eeyore we all know and love!

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#5 orcasfan
October 25 2013, 09:50PM
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NM00 wrote:

Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

That was true as far as zone time was concerned. But, given how the shots were almost level, I wouldn't call the St Louis performance exactly dominating. I think Vancouver played perfectly to the game plan laid out by Torts, and pounced on their opportunities.

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#6 PB
October 25 2013, 09:51PM
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@NM00

I think I'd see it as more dominating if Lack had to stand on his head to win this one for the Canucks. For the first 40 minutes St. Louis looked rusty, as most teams with a week off might. Not particularly dominant, especially against the semi-NHL team Vancouver iced.

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#7 andyg
October 25 2013, 10:14PM
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@NM00

Wrong

Go get glasses.

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#8 Ruprecht
October 25 2013, 10:16PM
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NM00 wrote:

Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

Irrespective of performance, another Win by the Canucks.

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#9 andyg
October 25 2013, 10:16PM
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@NM00

Wrong

Go get glasses.

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#10 antro
October 25 2013, 10:25PM
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@NM00:

Given that the Canucks had played the night before, and have 4 regular forwards injured, including 2/3 top 6 (depending on how you count), it was a piss-poor performance by St. L. They couldn't get on the board until they were gifted a two man advantage. They only opened up a fenwick advantage in the third. I don't know if anyone is counting scoring chances, but I don't think they got as many as they should have given the Canucks' fatigue. No doubt Backes' shenanigans at the end were motivated by his embarrassment.

Btw, when do we get to dig up what you wrote over the summer about Gillis' moves with guys like Santorelli and Stanton?

Probably not a dominant performance... ;)

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#11 GeezMoney
October 25 2013, 10:30PM
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No David Booth, no problem. Another win?

And Santorelli once again looked great. I also felt that Kassian had a really good first half of the game but faded as the game went along. Forgiveable under the circumstances.

A win is a win. Especially after a long road trip against a great team, in a building most aren't expecting you to win in.

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#12 NM00
October 25 2013, 10:34PM
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@DCR

The Canucks had 62% of the shot attempts at 5 on 5.

http://www.extraskater.com/game/2013-10-25-canucks-blues

That's a dominating performance.

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#13 NM00
October 25 2013, 10:36PM
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@Ruprecht

True.

But if we're going to praise the performance against Pittsburgh (without Letang, Neal and Bennett by the way), the performance by St Louis also deserves praise...

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#14 NM00
October 25 2013, 10:40PM
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@antro

"Btw, when do we get to dig up what you wrote over the summer about Gillis' moves with guys like Santorelli and Stanton?"

You may dig it up now.

And while you're at it, dig up where you thought those guys were going to play big roles...

I'll gladly give Gillis credit for those moves, though.

At the least, hopefully the Canucks won't have to trade assets for a rental on the way to a 1st round loss vs LA or SJ...

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#15 Surrey Bob
October 25 2013, 11:06PM
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The Canucks could have won this game 2-1 but the spirit of AV still haunts them. They have choked under Av for so many years, it's almost second nature for most of these guys to quit and play like crap when they have the lead. This is what happens when you have a lousy coach like AV for all those years. This is what Torts has to clean up. Meanwhile AV's genius is once again showing through in New York. Av won't make it past two years. On the upside, once AV gets done with making the Ranger into a joke choke team like he did here, the Canucks will get their revenge on Messier Keenan's Rnagers after all.

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#16 Riot Squad
October 25 2013, 11:11PM
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@andyg

They both played the same, it's just that the Canucks for the life of them can't hold onto a freaking lead.

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#17 S and M
October 25 2013, 11:26PM
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The Canucks need to realize that the Blues are good but not quite there yet. The real standard lies with teams like Chicago, Boston, LA, San jose, Avs, Pens. The bar is much higher than what I see coming from the Canucks. If you can't beat those teams convincingly , you got no chance to win the cup. There's no such thing as a lucky champ.

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#18 Mitch
October 25 2013, 11:27PM
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@Surrey Bob

I wouldn't call it "choking", so much as "gutting out a win even though your legs refuse to move because you're playing your third ot game in the last four days and the guys you're playing have had six days worth of rest and this run-on sentence stopped making sense like fifteen words ago".

Seriously, I'd straight up call it that.

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#19 pheenster
October 25 2013, 11:42PM
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S and M wrote:

The Canucks need to realize that the Blues are good but not quite there yet. The real standard lies with teams like Chicago, Boston, LA, San jose, Avs, Pens. The bar is much higher than what I see coming from the Canucks. If you can't beat those teams convincingly , you got no chance to win the cup. There's no such thing as a lucky champ.

You lost all credibility when you included the Avs in that statement.

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#20 Ted
October 26 2013, 12:57AM
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Mitch wrote:

I wouldn't call it "choking", so much as "gutting out a win even though your legs refuse to move because you're playing your third ot game in the last four days and the guys you're playing have had six days worth of rest and this run-on sentence stopped making sense like fifteen words ago".

Seriously, I'd straight up call it that.

That's OK. English is Surrey Bob's second language and it shows. He makes you look like a genius.

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#21 Ted
October 26 2013, 12:58AM
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NM00 wrote:

Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

Hey! Look everyone! Everyone's favorite troll came out to play! Everyone, say hello to Moron00!

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#22 Surrey Bob
October 26 2013, 01:10AM
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@Ted

Ah, 'No Standards Teddy'. Still trying to get other people to HAVE NO STANDARDS...WHAT A SHOCK. LMFAO

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#23 S and M
October 26 2013, 01:17AM
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@pheenster

Why? Because the Av's won two Stanley Cups before and they have a better record than the Canucks so far? I lost credibility with you? Hahaha. You lost all logic with me with that reply.

It's funny how so many of you say that it's not the whole time the franchise but the current standing that counts. Well, had I said the Canucks have been bad since they came into the league, I'm sure you would say " it's a new management, you can't count all those other years Canucks have sucked." Ok, now when the AV's are playing better than the Canucks since the start of this season somehow that don't mean the AV's are any good? Shall Say that the AV's have two cups and the Canucks have none? Or will that make me lose credibility with you? The Canucks have sucked since 46 years ago, and they still suck now. Can you understand that or do I have to make a chart for ya?

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#24 Surrey Bob
October 26 2013, 01:23AM
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@Mitch

And the Blues don't have to move their legs too? You make it sound like the Canucks are doing daily marathons or triathlons. If they can't or won't hang on to a lead, or know how to, then they should learn how to or don't bother get a lead to begin with

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#25 Hard Puck City
October 26 2013, 01:43AM
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@Ted

Hey! Look everyone! Everyone's favorite Canuck shill is back! Say hello to DON TAYLOR!

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#26 pheenster
October 26 2013, 02:13AM
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S and M wrote:

Why? Because the Av's won two Stanley Cups before and they have a better record than the Canucks so far? I lost credibility with you? Hahaha. You lost all logic with me with that reply.

It's funny how so many of you say that it's not the whole time the franchise but the current standing that counts. Well, had I said the Canucks have been bad since they came into the league, I'm sure you would say " it's a new management, you can't count all those other years Canucks have sucked." Ok, now when the AV's are playing better than the Canucks since the start of this season somehow that don't mean the AV's are any good? Shall Say that the AV's have two cups and the Canucks have none? Or will that make me lose credibility with you? The Canucks have sucked since 46 years ago, and they still suck now. Can you understand that or do I have to make a chart for ya?

If you wanted to prove that you're a moron, you could have typed a lot less.

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#27 The Voice In The Dark
October 26 2013, 02:31AM
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NM00 wrote:

Irrespective of the score, a dominating performance by St Louis...

So when the Canucks beat the Oilers, you were quick to jump on them beating a 'depleted Oilers squad' (or something to that effect). But when the depleted Canucks squad beats a well-rested, fully manned STL (considered by many to be an elite team), it's a "dominating performance by St Louis..."

A dominating performance by St Louis would have been a 6-2 STL win. Call this what it was. A decent performance by VAN, finding a way to win a game they probably shouldn't have won.

Personally, I think coaching played a big role in this win and the record on the road trip.

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#28 S and M
October 26 2013, 02:38AM
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@pheenster

If you didn't want to sound like a double standards - two faced - hypocrite, you could have not typed anything at all.

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#29 Surrey Bob
October 26 2013, 02:50AM
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@The Voice In The Dark

It's called " hypocrisy "...something the fanboys here have in abundance. But if you counter their argument, they will call you a "troll" or an " Oilers fan ". The fanboys will look for anything to blame for their teams ailments. It's the refs faults, Bettman, the rules, the big bad Bruins, the schedule, the Oilers. It's never the team, their fat useless GM, the Sedins, Luongo, the scouts.

Just look at 'No standards Teddy', he's the epitome of low self esteem and low aim. These folks aim for nothing, and are proud of everything.And Rogers Arena is full of these failure appreciating and failure deserving tools. Mark your calender. The Canucks will reach 50 years without having won anything. People who plant crap will always harvest crap.

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#30 5minutesinhebox
October 26 2013, 05:41AM
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@NM00

In the 3rd period yes. But the Canucks did what they had to do to win. These 5-3 killed their moment but they had owed play to that point. Yeah they were holding on for dear life in the 3rd (and Lack very impressive). Say anything you want but this was just a gutsy win. During this trip they showed they can roll with the big boys, outplaying Pitt and gutting this one out on the end of a ridiculous road trip.

Admit it, youre impressed

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#31 Hard Puck City
October 26 2013, 06:07AM
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@5minutesinhebox

Yeah, man, just admit that you're impressed when you're not impressed. Hahahahahaha! He wants you to admit that this regular season win is the rule, not the exception. Cause we all know the Canucks are as reliable in the post season as a broken condom.

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#32 Nolan
October 26 2013, 07:28AM
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@Surrey Bob

I didn't know you could get cable at trailer parks.

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#33 Ronan
October 26 2013, 08:30AM
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It was a good game!

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#34 NM00
October 26 2013, 09:04AM
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@The Voice In The Dark

There's a pretty big difference between Edmonton without their top 2 centres (and Ottawa for large stretches of last year, for example) and the Canucks without three top 9 wingers.

And where exactly did I "jump" on the Canucks for the performance against Edmonton?

I suggested people calm down after the Canucks were dominating play against the Oilers and Calgary and, you know, wait until their is some better comp...

St Louis controlled play at 5 on 5 against a tired/thin Canucks group.

Vancouver (without Burrows) controlled play at 5 on 5 against a Penguins team without Letang, Neal & Bennett last Saturday.

A performance for which I gave the Canucks full marks, by the way.

Shockingly, the groupthink homers on here can't stop foaming at the mouth long enough to see the parallels between the St Louis game and the Pittsburgh game...

The Canucks won a game last night in which they were outplayed.

Last Sunday the Blue Jackets won a game in which they were outplayed.

So it goes...

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#35 NM00
October 26 2013, 09:09AM
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@The Voice In The Dark

"Personally, I think coaching played a big role in this win and the record on the road trip."

Personally, I think luck played a big role in this win and the record on the road trip.

And by 'luck' I mean the fairy dust that Tortorella found just in the nick of time for these last three OT/shootout victories...

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#36 NM00
October 26 2013, 09:11AM
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@5minutesinhebox

"the Canucks did what they had to do to win."

You mean show up to the rink for a scheduled work day?

"Say anything you want but this was just a gutsy win"

I didn't know 'gusty' was a synonym for 'luck'.

"Admit it, youre impressed"

The only impressive performance the Canucks have had this season was last Saturday afternoon.

We are all Canucks...

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#37 Unknown Comic
October 26 2013, 09:35AM
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NM00 wrote:

The Canucks had 62% of the shot attempts at 5 on 5.

http://www.extraskater.com/game/2013-10-25-canucks-blues

That's a dominating performance.

Funny, my extraskater has the Blues taking 62% of the shot attempts at 5 on 5.

Why not use fenwick close? This looks like you're just cherry picking the highest number.

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#38 tomfiSh
October 26 2013, 09:35AM
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Question, When is Tom Sestito gonna get some love on this site??

I was somewhat vocal in the comments a few weeks back about how i thought people were being too quick to write him off as an AHL plug.

He easily had his best game as a Canucks last night. He played over 11 minutes, threw some hits (1 massive hit on Oshie), pushed play forward all game with good dump ins and board play, and of course got in a fight (with Ryan Reaves no less).

With the 4th line in flux the Nucks really needed him to step up and play with some purpose, like an NHL hockey player, and he did that last night.

I think it's time for some people to eat their words a bit.

Against a big tough St.Louis team, Sestito looked great. I think he provides some real bite in these types of "gutsy" games.

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#39 NM00
October 26 2013, 10:02AM
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@Unknown Comic

Clearly a typo on my part...

STL's fenwick close (57%) and tied (60%) are both right there in the link.

Perhaps you can stretch your brain enough to look it up yourself.

And while your brain is in its most elastic state, don't forget to look up the Canucks' possession stats & PDO...

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#40 pheenster
October 26 2013, 10:14AM
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S and M wrote:

If you didn't want to sound like a double standards - two faced - hypocrite, you could have not typed anything at all.

Stay in school, kids.

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#41 Senrik Hedin
October 26 2013, 10:47AM
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Impressed with Lack. Tracked the puck well all game and was in good position for the most part especially considering he hasn't played much hockey in the past year and this season.

Blues controlled the play for the most part, and had a couple of lucky bounces go our way, but considering the circumstances, a gutsy effort to get the two points. Really thought we could get blown out considering how the Blues have been playing.

Certainly not our best effort, but glad with a 5-1-1 road trip.

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#42 Senrik Hedin
October 26 2013, 11:03AM
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Probably should talk about Kesler as a RW. Torts clearly did not like Kesler's tendency to go one on one (or one on two often) by himself as a centre to get a shot way on the rush. If you rcall, AV also expressed this somewhat impetuously in a media scrum, prompting Kesler to retort that AV should tell it to his face.

By moving Kesler to the wing, Torts is effectively taking that out of that individual game, forcing him to use his strength as a puck retriever, protecting the puck, playing around the net and getting in position to shoot, rather than creating by himself.

Granted AV probably couldn't do this due to lack of depth in the middle (not that this team is deep in the middle), but having Santorelli and Richardson certain helps.

Canucks brass often reminisced about that time when Kesler played wing to Sundin, so I'm sure they welcome this change.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Burrows comes back. Will Torts go back to one of the best lines in the NHL with Burr and twins or stick with BeastModo? I tend to think the latter, but it probably depends actually on not Kesler or Burrows play, but Santorelli's.

For all of MG's mistakes in the past, add Santorelli and Richardson to the good side of his resume. But it's still too early to see if either or both could bring their game consistently. I have been quite skeptical of Santorelli so far, but certainly looks to be a Wellwoodian find.

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#43 NM001
October 26 2013, 12:22PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Btw, when do we get to dig up what you wrote over the summer about Gillis' moves with guys like Santorelli and Stanton?"

You may dig it up now.

And while you're at it, dig up where you thought those guys were going to play big roles...

I'll gladly give Gillis credit for those moves, though.

At the least, hopefully the Canucks won't have to trade assets for a rental on the way to a 1st round loss vs LA or SJ...

Guys I agree with NM00. Clearly as he has put it several times we will probably make the playoffs but be out of the first round. We would lose to any elite team like:

SJ

Stl

LA

Chi

Ana

Pit

Bos

Det

I mean we have no hope of beating these guys in the regular season so no way we could beat them in the first round of the playoffs. Might as we'll give up hope now, fire Gillis, get rid of the twins and Kesler, and blow the whole team up.

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#44 Ruprecht
October 26 2013, 01:04PM
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NM00 wrote:

True.

But if we're going to praise the performance against Pittsburgh (without Letang, Neal and Bennett by the way), the performance by St Louis also deserves praise...

Oh we were clinging by a thread in the third. I'm not praising anything but the end result. 11 of 14 points on this trip is all I care about because it shocked me in a good way.

I didn't think you were in the business of praising the mediocre. The Blues actually only showed up for a period, maybe a period and a half. Nothing that blew my socks off for a supposed elite team playing a wounded, tired, old, average, fading team, with all of that window closing stuff to boot. They couldn't even beat our rookie Backup. Winning is fun.

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#45 Ted
October 26 2013, 01:16PM
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NM00 wrote:

"the Canucks did what they had to do to win."

You mean show up to the rink for a scheduled work day?

"Say anything you want but this was just a gutsy win"

I didn't know 'gusty' was a synonym for 'luck'.

"Admit it, youre impressed"

The only impressive performance the Canucks have had this season was last Saturday afternoon.

We are all Canucks...

@ Cancer00

Loving your posts! It'd be nice if you became a 'fan' of some other team so you can spread your 'cheer' to them. It'd be nice to see an idiot like you spew his B.S. elsewhere. We cheer for our local team. We know the Canucks aren't great but that's cool. Idiots like you who know nothing and talk like you know it all are fun to watch for a little while...you say such stupid things and it is entertaining. However, it is getting to the point where you should just go crawl back under Surrey Bob's trailer at the park.

WE, not you, are all Canucks :)

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#46 Ted
October 26 2013, 01:20PM
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Unknown Comic wrote:

Funny, my extraskater has the Blues taking 62% of the shot attempts at 5 on 5.

Why not use fenwick close? This looks like you're just cherry picking the highest number.

He also makes up pointless stats and notes them down to support his stupidity. It's quite funny, really. Wait until he goes back to tell us how many club controlled players we have and how they suck. I love that one. DogSh!t00 is solid!

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#47 The Voice In The Dark
October 26 2013, 01:24PM
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The Canucks certainly didn't play that well throughout every game of the monster trip, but the important thing is that they found ways to win games they shouldn't have.

Going 5-1-1 on the trip, with the injuries and PP differential, etc., and grinding out a win against the well-rested 'elite' Blues (despite being outplayed in the third) are all good signs. And things are only going to get better from here on, with the players coming back from injuries and fully adjusting to Torts' system.

I've never put a lot of stock into the first 20 games of any season, but the points we're picking up here certainly won't hurt.

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#48 NM00
October 26 2013, 01:40PM
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@Ted

Something tells me you think January 7, 2012 was game 8 vs Boston...

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#49 Ruprecht
October 26 2013, 01:56PM
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NM00 wrote:

Something tells me you think January 7, 2012 was game 8 vs Boston...

It was for Hodgson. This, though, is one of your better ones but I doubt it will pry Ted off of your ass. You may need a jackhammer. Thanks for the chuckle.

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#50 Ukeerob
October 26 2013, 01:57PM
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The negativity here, except for a few,is ridiculous. The Canucks gutted out a win, ugly or not, at the end of a long road trip. StL was well rested and we were playing back to back games. We gave up a 2 goal lead but managed to get the second point in overtime. End of story. Sad how many of you twist everything around to seem hopeless. Your wives must love it when you come home, at least those that don't live in your mother's basement.

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