Goals I do adore.
This is a regular Friday feature combining a healthy mixture of observation, analysis, and foresight on the Vancouver Canucks. If you’d like to get at me about anything covered in this column, follow me on Twitter at @yyjordan and let’s start a textual relationship (wink).
1. I wonder what a SportsAction prop bet of Booth, Garrison, Weise, and Santorelli scoring would have won you last night? No one really knows what Craig Anderson was trying to do between the pipes for Ottawa Thursday night, but it didn’t resemble NHL-calibre goaltending. The Canucks were lucky in that regard, but with what they’ve put up with over the past few weeks, they deserved a few breaks.
2. Dale Weise in particular has had a couple of great games in a row. That bodes well for the bottom six, because sooner or later Tortorella is going to need a 4th line that he can trust. One of my favourite tweets (apologies for forgetting the author) was something along the lines of "Weise would be a great 4th liner if he just realized he sucks". Maybe he’s found his sweet spot?
3. I got a chuckle out of the Canucks and Senators — two teams without much heritage to brag about and almost no history with each other whatsoever — revealing their jerseys for the Heritage Classic yesterday. I know it’s a money grab, but if I’m being honest, I’m excited to watch my team play outdoors. Plus those maroon and cream jerseys are money, even if it does feel a little on the nose for professional hockey players to wear "Millionaires" uniforms these days.
4. It takes quite a bit to get me worked up after a Canucks game nowadays. I suppose I’ve been numbed by years of failure. But Monday’s game against the Kings got to me. After almost 40 minutes of dominance, all it took was one incredibly bad read by the Edler-Garrison pairing to undo all the positives, and the team looked terrified to lose after that mistake. I was afraid of what that loss might do to the team’s psyche, but they responded well last night.
5. I know Ottawa hasn’t been a great team so far this year, but it was amazing to see the time and space available to make plays in that game. Compare that to a brutal, grinding team from the West like the Blues or Kings, and some games against the East look like they’re being played on Olympic-sized ice. The next two are against the East, and the team could really use the points.
6. A huge positive from the game against LA was how the team responsed to Jordan Nolan’s run at Henrik. Rather than leading to a pointless fight and nothing tangible, the Canucks took over physically, pounding some of the more prominent Kings and carrying the play. The team has been chastised in the past for failing to respond in similar situations.
7. If there’s one player who’s been a microcosm of the entire team over the past little while it’s Alex Burrows. He’s doing the things he’s always done, but pucks aren’t going in, and he’s admitted that his lack of finish lately — what essentially amounts to luck — is starting to affect him mentally. That’s the line this team walks with Tortorella: they can keep playing "the right way", but the longer they go without results, the more prone they’re going to be to a sudden collapse such as the one against the Kings.
8. Relatively speaking we are still early in the season, but with the recent slide questions have to be creeping in that maybe the Canucks are a borderline playoff team this year. The West is so tight that two or three wins is going to be the difference between comfortably securing a playoff spot and being just a good team that happens to miss out. But we put our faith in numbers here at CanucksArmy, and if the possession data holds water in the long run this team should be OK.
9. Hey look, Jason Garrison was Jay Ontrait and Dan O’Toole’s "Best Person in Sports" on Wednesday. Garrison threw a puck to a girl over the glass but it was picked up by someone else. Rather than make fun of the girl for her inability to catch, Garrison decided to mail her a new puck. That’s just great. He is totally her white knight.
10. Finally, here is the John Torotorella we’ve all been waiting for: