Rising Action: Glenn Healy is crazy!

Look, Dion’s chasing someone else too!
(Pawel Dwulit – Canadian Press)

Things are on the move here at the army. Today we launch a new column, "Rising Action", where CA contributor Patrick Johnston takes aim at the hockey media, both through a Canucks lens and with a view to the league as a whole…read on!

Saturday’s Canucks takedown of a resurgent Leafs squad wasn’t the only entertainment on offer for hockey fans, they also had the pleasure of witnessing Glenn Healy and company out do themselves. From Ron Maclean’s bizarre, hackneyed ‘apology’, to Healy’s crazed pronouncements from between the benches, it was quite the night for once-proud flaghip show of hockey.

Let’s follow my quasi-live tweeting of Saturday night’s action.

"Dear Ron Maclean. Nice dodge. Way to throw Cherry under the bus, that takes a special talent. (You screwed up. Own it. Jeezus)"

I think we know I’m talking about here. Last week Don Cherry went after Maclean for the host’s apparent extreme dislike of Burrows, which some have said borders on the irrational. This week, Maclean took the time to say he has nothing against the Canucks, Vancouver or Burrows, but instead of doing a simple, "I’ve been wrong, I shouldn’t suggest Alex Burrows is a bad hockey player or anything like that," Maclean used some convoluted story about journalistic decisions and Cherry forcing him into a story. You know what Ron? Just own it. We don’t care that you are a ref.

"Ah, Chris Higgins. You are a delight."

Nice goal, hey?

"Enjoying narrative on burrows so far. ‘Look at these new skills!’ ‘guys playing w sedins just put their stick on the ice!’ "

Midway through the first, we were shown a clip of some nifty stickhandling by Burrows. The implication, it seemed, was that somehow Burrows was showing new things with the Sedins, that his current run of form was an exciting new notion. The old narrative about the Sedins was they were forever searching for a linemate who could match their quality. That was once true, but Alex Burrows has been skating with the Sedins for 3 years now. He’s stayed there because he’s been working on highlight-reel skills for a long time. This is not new.

"I thought Craig Simpson said the ‘ defensive structure was better?"

Minutes before the first Leafs goal, Simpson and Healy engaged in a babble about why the Canucks had improved of late. Instead of getting into anything truly factual, or even, at the least, visual, they just threw out some easy, rhetorical analysis. The Canucks suffered several defensive breakdowns in the first period, and only Roberto Luongo kept the score close. With a week to prepare, you’d think Healy and Simpson could give us a sense of how the Canucks were breaking down, but no, nothing to be seen.

"Thoughts after 1st: Kessel & Lupul are beasts. Sedins were dominant. Kesler line blowing holes in leafs d all over. Both goalie outstanding"

Kessel and Lupul with the puck are an impressive thing. They are strong, they know where the danger areas are and they know how to create space. As the game went forward, we would see that’s all they know. The Sedins had some of their finest 5 v 5 shifts of the season. It’s been a somewhat troubling season so far for the Twins at even strength, as they have struggled to dominate possession to the same level as the past couple seasons. The Kesler line was incredible. I don’t even know if Chris Higgins is really *that* fast, but with Kesler and Raymond flying around, you couldn’t  help but think he was too. As for the goalies, as the game wore on, we saw why one is considered elite, and the other has not made that step.


Perhaps you missed Coach’s Corner? It was truly a wonder to behold. I don’t usually stick around for the Don, but couldn’t resist this week. He was all over the place, barely mentioning the game, and yelled a serious of commentaries which apparently had things to do with each other but one can’t be sure.

"apparently I’m whining about concussions?"

Cherry did touch on the concussion epidemic, in his estimation it’s because forecheckers are totally unfettered in their attack on defenders retrieving the puck behind the net. It’s an interesting premise, but without clear evidence, I’m not sure that’s really something worth dealing with. Of the conussions I can think of off the top of my head, almost none of them involved puck retrevial near the end boards.

(Pronger, Giroux, Crosby, Hodgson, Pacioretty, Horton…I’m prepared to be corrected. The only one in Don’s category would be the Torres hit on Seabrook in the playoffs.)

In any case, Don was yelling about people who wanted clutching and grabbing removed the game being unable to accept the consequences of having a quicker game. Once again, Don, give us actual evidence. As an argument, the logic is not unsound, but is there any actual evidence? I hated clutch-and-grab, and I hate the spate of epidemic. You know what else I hate? Excusing players for making lazy checks which might lead to concussions. Focus your efforts on safe and effective checks; I think you’ll have better results.

"Apparently Don has never seen a schoolboy rugby or soccer team from anywhere else in the commonwealth before a game. They dreas better."

Seriously – they do. It’s great that rep hockey players are told to wear a shirt and tie to the game, but they’ve got nothing on rugby and soccer teams. Those guys and girls often have matching club ties and blazers (at the least). It looks sharp. Try it.

"live-tweeting Coach’s Corner. That was fun!

Yes it was.

"Look Canada, more commercials featuring only white people. Yep, that’s my Canada "

It drives me nuts. Look, I get it; most of Home Hardware’s stores are in Southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada, but they look very different out here. This is a muliticultural country. I’m not saying they need to go full bank-ad (covering every possible minorty, oh, and a white guy). But it would be nice if they picked one of their non-white store owners. You know, like many of those in the Lower Mainland.

"Dear . Please start tracking territory & possession times"

Don’t quite know why I said that at that particular moment (it was just after the Raymond goal) but I think territory (at least) would be a handy thing to track. Wouldn’t be hard either. Plus it would give us better context that Healy’s famous ‘touches’.

Oh ya, on those touches, Glenn, give us something to compare them to. I actually think your little stat has loads of potential for analysis. But if it’s going to be useful, you need a baseline. No, not like in basketball.

"Ok MANcari is slow. But have knows the net. Is he earning himself a job? "

I’m really wondering if Mark Mancari has. He’s a big guy who seems willing to get dirty. Plus he’s got pretty good hands around the net. With Lapierre and Weise flying about, would his foot speed be that terrible? He played ten minutes on Saturday, so it seems AV doesn’t have a problem.

"Who thinks Kes would be right to ream out KB3? Was stating at an open net. "

He was. It was the first of two 3-on-1s in the game for the Canucks and they scored on neither. Bieksa took the shot. Kesler was wide open on his left. Bad choice in my books.

"Seriously Healy, Oake acknowledged he’d been spoofed. LAST SEASON. ?"

This was a bizarre sequence. Before the game David Amber (when did he get on HNIC?) made a rather lame reference to Bieksa’s ‘shots shots shots shots…’ line from last season. Healy took it on himself to explain the joke, which, I suppose, was kind to those viewers who might have missed it. But he then went on to say that neither Oake nor Amber knew it was a joke. Seriously, Glenn? Your own damn program aired Oake acknowledging the joke Bieksa had pulled on him.

"Hi I’m Glenn Healy. I work once a week. I have all the time in the world to prep. "

I think this is obvious. Glenn’s job is hard, but it’s not that hard. Plus, he’s got a long time to make himself look good.

"Eric Gagnon sounds like Mitch from A Mighty Wind

I really thought he did. (Gagnon’s the La Presse writer who didn’t think a non-bilingual coach in Montreal would be a non-issue.)

"So I guess PJ Stock got a hold of ‘s phone."

It seems he did. Stock’s idea, while working on the apparent flagship broadcast, was to tweet about how great he is, via Elliotte Friedman’s account. Yup, he’s a real professional that one. God knows that’s what I’d be doing while being paid to analyze hockey.

"Light. That. Lamp. "

That was Alex Burrows’ goal. Could have been for the goal he set up for Daniel Sedin as well. What movement. Just tremendous stuff.

"Oh my."

Jannik Hansen. ‘Nuff said, really.