April 07 2014 11:23PM
"The jig is up."
Those were the wise words of John Shorthouse, the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, as he summed up the situation rather concisely with the final seconds of the team's playoff hopes running off of the clock.
Realistically speaking, the season had become a lost one a long time ago and we've been preaching it on this platform for weeks now (in true Vancouverite fashion, we were in the tank helping steer it long before it was cool to do so!).
But while we'd all - at varying speeds - come to terms with the inevitability of how this particular season would ultimately conclude, it feels somewhat different now that they're actually mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
I'll give you guys a final minute with the body to say your goodbyes before we proceed.
We usually devote this section to telling the story of how the game unfolded in a quick and efficient featuring highlight videos we've embedded from the team's official Youtube account. Weirdly enough, I'm looking at their page right now and the most recent uploaded videos go from "PREVIEW: Canucks vs. Ducks (Apr. 7, 2014)" to "Vancouver Canucks Pre-Game Introduction Video" to "LIVE: Canucks/Ducks post-game reactions (Apr.7, 2014)".
Hm, that's odd. By the looks of it there wasn't a single noteworthy highlight from a Canucks perspective over the course of the entire game..
Just kidding. I actually watched the full contest from start to finish - even going through the trouble of recording it while I watched the end of the UConn/Kentucky National Championship Game, and then going back and watching the 5-6 minutes of "action" I'd missed as a result - and that sounds about right. Heck, we didn't even get a fight from Top Sixtito, which has on occasion served as lone highlights for the team to use during the horrendous excuses for hockey games that've become all too customary this season.
Heading into the game the players and coach continued to say all of the right things; that "they knew the importance" and that they'd try to "get off to a good start and build some momentum". It was all pretty laughably transparent. But then it became even more laughably transparent when they surrendered a breakaway to Andrew Cogliano 14 seconds into the game. Then just 6 minutes later they surrendered another one, this time while on the power play, and Daniel Winnik made them pay.
It really didn't get much better after that. Ryan Kesler forgot he wasn't the only player on the ice, Brad Richardson forgot what sport he was playing, and Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa forgot where their jockstraps were. The end result was our buddy The Stanchion forgetting what his name was and where he left the bottle of Advil.
I'm sure that no matter how hungover he gets, though, he'll still feel better than Mike Gillis who was serenaded with "Fire Gillis" chants those who chose to stick around until the end of the game.
The shot attempt charts I've included paint the team's performance in a pretty favourable light, but in reality most of the damage in that regard came when the game was over in the 3rd period. It took the Canucks 41:55 to finally hit double digits in shots on goal, as they routinely either missed the net or had their attempts blocked, making John Gibson's debut all the more cushy.
What made it all even more egregious was how shaky Gibson (understandably) looked early on in the limited exposure he was subjected to, and how the Canucks seemed all too willing to let him off the hook.
The power play took a major step back in this one, after I praised them for their improved efforts against the Kings on Saturday night. They managed just 5 shot attempts in their 3 separate opportunities with the extra man, while surrendering the only goal that was scored during that time.
Ryan Stanton and Shawn Matthias were the only two Canucks to not be in the black on the possession front, with Matthias somehow managing to wind up with a 20.0 corsi for % on a night where nearly everyone was >60%. He was also victimized on the 2nd Ducks goal by Kyle Palmieri, who manhandled him along the board and caused the turnover that led to the eventual goal.
First off, I'd like to thank the Anaheim Ducks for showing some mercy, and compassion in finally pulling the plug and putting the Canucks out of their misery. I'm sure it was a difficult decision, but I'd like to think they're going to a better place now. Like, you know, the draft lottery.
When it's 2018 and you're jumping up and down on your coach celebrating something Nikolaj Ehlers or *fingers crossed* Michael Dal Colle did for Canucks I hope you remember everything these Anaheim Ducks did for you. Those 5 losses, and 24-6 goal differential were instrumental, but so were the 3 extra losses they enabled the Canucks to willingly take as Jacob Markstrom got peppered by beach balls.
While it'll be tough dealing with the new reality that the Canucks won't be competing in the playoffs for the first time since '08, you'll hopefully be able to gain some comfort from the ongoing tradition of a Californian team eliminating the Canucks. For those of you old timers that've been hanging around since the very beginning, this ultimately means that we've now technically been subjected to the same ending for the 43rd year in a row now. There's something to be said for consistency, right?
See you on the other side.