Canucks Army Postgame: Stop! Stop! They’re Already Dead!

There was no possible way this game was going to go Vancouver’s way. A sound beating at the hands of the L.A. Kings and a Dustin Brown roundhouse kick less than 24 hours prior had knocked out Roberto Luongo, and a mystery ailment had rendered Chris Higgins unavailable, the Canucks were forced to take desperate measures. Benn Ferriero was recalled from Utica to make his Canucks debut, finally giving Canucks fans the long-lusted after Benn and Weber in the lineup. 42 year old former Johnstown Chief (yes, those Chiefs) Rob Laurie joined the ranks of Chris Levesque and Dustin Butler in Canuck emergency backup goalie lore. And most shockingly of all, Tom Sestito was promoted to the second line with Ryan Kesler and Zack Kassian.

And for a fleeting moment in time, it looked like Tom Sestito may just spark the Canucks to a victory over the undefeated at home Anaheim Ducks. But alas, it was not to be. Vancouver folded like a dime store novel after the first en route to a last-second of overtime 4-3 loss. How the hell did things go so sideways so quickly? Read past the jump to find out.

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The Rundown

I loved the first period. Those first 20 minutes of hockey in Anaheim provided me with more entertainment than a NHL hockey game has provided me in a long time just because of the sheer madness of it all. The Canucks came out strong, generating multiple scoring chances early, including a Tom Sestito jam play out front and Mike Santorelli doing his best Jannik Hansen impression and shovelling a puck wide past a yawning cage. And then Corey Perry took a tripping penalty…

Former Canucks Army general Thomas Drance and I had a discussion a few days ago about Vancouver’s much maligned powerplay, and we came to a half-serious conclusion:

We never thought we’d ever see this come to fruition, but when the new-look first powerplay unit stepped over the boards, newly-minted second line left winger Tom Sestito joined them and promptly parked himself in front of the net. Twitter exploded. Magic happened:

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Then, the Ducks took a too-many-men penalty just a few short moments later. This act was heinous enough to enrage the hockey gods, as they punished Anaheim with a second powerplay goal against courtesy of net-front juggernaut Tom Sestito’s new-look top unit PP:

The Canucks controlled the period, finishing with a dominating Fenwick For of 78%. Things were looking good. Then the second period started.

The last 40 minutes may have been the absolute worst stretch of hockey a Canucks team has played in the regular season in years. They were crushed, buried, smacked around and thoroughly dominated by a suddenly invigorated Ducks team. Saku Koivu deflected a Jakob Silfverberg shot from the point past Eddie Lack just 24 seconds into the frame, courtesy of a terrible Kevin Bieksa turnover. Moments later, the aforementioned Tom Sestito charged towards Ducks rookie defender Hampus Lindholm, tripped up, and incidentally smashed his skate into Zack Kassian’s face. Kassian was bloodied, went down hard and was initially unable to make his way to the Vancouver bench. He’d leave the game and would not return.

Anaheim ran the shot clock up to 16-0 in the period before Matt Beleskey mercifully tied the game at 2-2 with roughly three and a half minutes remaining in the 2nd. The deluge of shots wouldn’t stop either, as the Ducks would hang a total of 20 on the Canucks. And the 3rd period would be just as bad.

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Kevin Bieksa’s floater from the point that found its way past Jonas Hiller 66 seconds into the 3rd period was essentially the lone bright spot for the Canucks:

After that minor setback, the Ducks simply went back to work and kept pounding away. Eddie Lack did his very best to hold Vancouver in the game, but the dam inevitably burst with just 1:27 left in regulation. After a sequence of some intense pressure, Nick Bonino fired a puck past Eddie Lack and tied the game up at 3-3.

And even then, Anaheim didn’t stop pressing. They out-attempted Vancouver 7-2 over the remaining 5 minutes before Corey Perry mercifully ended the game with just 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime. Even though he let in 4 goals, every Canuck should but Eddie Lack dinner, as he absolutely stole a point for his listless team tonight.

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The Numbers

Courtesy of

You know what? Just go click that link to ExtraSkater. It’ll take you to the game summary. You’ll see that Tom Sestito was the only Canuck who played over 10 minutes and had a Corsi% above 50%. You’ll see that everyone else got their teeth kicked in. Mike Santorelli and the twins got absolutely filled in. Hamhuis and Tanev got crushed. Bieksa and Garrison were decimated. David Booth was abused. I don’t even know what Jannik Hansen was because I’m out of adjectives to describe just how awful the Canucks played in the 2nd and 3rd. Dale Wiese was bad and… stuff.

Dan Hamhuis has been absolutely shelled in a couple of games in a row here. Yeah, it’s been against Los Angeles and Anaheim, but your best defenseman can’t be pulling a 25% Corsi if you have any hopes of succeeding. Maybe dial his ice time back a bit and give some more to Frank Corrad–


The Conclusion

If this is what being a Leafs fan feels like I never want to be a Leafs fan. Actually, I never want to be a Leafs fan anyways, but that’s neither here nor there.

The next game is Tuesday at 7:00 PM as Vancouver hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maybe don’t allow shots at a rate of one per minute next time, okay? That may be a good idea.

  • Brent

    With how generally invisible the Sedins have been this year, and how lazy the team has become, I’m ready to call for a rebuild. Trade assets away that can be traded. Don’t do what Calgary did and wait for 5 more years.

  • Brent

    Agree with everything you said. Can’t believe they let them score with only a minuet left and then with less than a second left. Mega ouch! I have no idea what Torts was like between the second and the third, or even after the game, but it must have been something else. Loved his expression when they tied it. (So wasn’t that interference on Bieksa when he was trying to go out and block the shot?) and yes Hamhus was beyond terrible, and I think his chances of being on team Canada have flitted away if anyone in a decision making position back east stayed up to watch the last two games. At least we get tom come home for a couple of games. Should be easier……Oh yeah.

  • Brent

    They just gave up in the last 6 secs. Gave up! I am a long time loyal Canucks fan. Support who ever is trying to win. I support Gillis, Tortorela, Louongo……..I am behind them all. This isn’t the first game the Canucks have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Time for some “bold moves”. Trade an asset and get an asset. Wake up Mike, these guys, as they are, are not going to push for the Cup. So are you wasting a season? Kessler, Bieska,…. They’re all on the table. Time for you to show you’re metal Mike. Roll up your selves and go to work. Time to walk the walk. I’m behind you. The team serves better.

  • Brent

    This is what I said yesterday in the Kings wrap-up, and I’ll repeat it right here: the Canucks are pushed around far too easily to ever win the Cup. Yes, they can conceivably win a game or two, but a series as constructed? Get out of here.

    Is it better to tank? No. But this team needs to start really offering up some of their so-called high priced talent on defence and acquire a first line forward.

    The fact that this team has spent nearly to the cap and has such a mediocre team is an indictment on Gillis’ management style.

    Plus, Corsi King David Booth is just no good; $4.5 million down the freaking toilet, Mr Aquillini.

  • Brent

    Hope Kassian enjoyed his skate sandwich. Knuckle sandwich from Gazdic will be waiting next time the nuckleheads meet the Oilers. As an Oiler fan I sometimes forget but how many cups has Vancouver won?

    • Brent

      1990, bro. You, like Leafs fans, are no longer allowed to use the number of Cups argument. A good chunk of your fanbase weren’t even alive to see Ranford et al win it, it was that long ago.

      You guys had your chance at Zack last game, you did F all. Enjoy your lottery pick again this year, maybe next year will be the year you finally put it together. Probably not.

      GTFO, you punkass Oilers troll.

  • Brent

    Both this game and last game the Canucks had really good first periods and then just stopped playing. I’ve never seen them be as badly outplayed in a period as they were in the second. It was bizarre.

    That said they’re 0-2-1 in the last three games after going 10-1-2 in December. I don’t think it’s time to panic and start yelling OMG REBUILD like a couple people here already have. Get some perspective.

    A couple days rest and a couple players back from injury and things will start looking up.

    Also the power play was really good, so that’s something.

    • yugret

      1-6-5, -12 GD in regulation versus potential playoff opponents LAK, ANA, SJS, CHI, STL.

      It’s hard to bring myself to care about this team when it has no chance in the playoffs and next to no young players.

    • Fred-65

      Perhaps instead of pretending these are the 2012 Kings, you would do well to get some perspective.

      18th in the NHL at 5v5 Corsi (50.0)

      13th in the NHL at 5v5 Fenwick (50.9)

      13th in the NHL at 5v5 Corsi Tied (50.7)

      15th in the NHL at 5v5 Fenwick Tied (51.0)

      This team is absolutely good enough to make the playoffs.

      But there’s little reason to expect them to win a round this year or that the situation will improve next year.

      Which is entirely different than Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota and basically every other bubble team in the conference…

  • Marsh

    Is the Torts effect being eroded? I don’t see the early season defense of the goaltenders by the skaters and the Sedin cycle isn’t as effective as it once was. But that could be short term. It IS only two games against two really good teams.

    I don’t get the criticism of Hamhuis, Garrison and a few others -they are the same they were in a really good December. Now the team is playing top shelf teams and showing that they are indeed, just a pretty good second tier team.

    What has concerned me more since training camp is that the net addition to the team is Santorelli, Richardson and Stanton. I like those guys but they are not a reset, let alone a rebuild. And the youth depended on Jensen, Corrado and …ummm…well, their development is normal, not the expected early success hoped for by Gillis and many fans. Trade talk? Well, let’s remember almost anyone of value has an NMC or partial NMC.

  • Fred-65

    Enough already. I held my council of Garrison to myself for way to long. If you take his slap shot away ( which he uses only rarely any way ) what are you left with….a D that does not position himself well does not punish any one with his hits and just another soft average player. To often he looks like a one man fire drill. He like Booth and Ballard before him are over paid figment of some Pro Scouts imagination. If I had to choose between Stanton and Garrison I`d take Stanton in a flash. As to Bieska please insert a stick of dynamite in an area in which his hemorrhoids will bare the full effect and light the blue touch paper. I`m actually looking forward to the return of of Edler and certainly seeing Stanton back again will help immemsley

  • JCDavies

    These past 2 games were tough to watch especially living and working in So Cal. Quite a few collegues were at the Kings game and take every moment to remind me. As bad as the Canucks played the games were close, which is something. I cant stand the compete level, because it is not there. I dont know if because they had a great Dec that they believe they can just put their skates on and win, or is it that they are tired? Reenforcments are needed! Burrows needs to get back with the twins and Ed and Stanton need to give some relief to Hammy and Bieska, especially Bieska! Dont know whats going on with him??

    • JCDavies

      Perhaps if I were more familiar with some of what’s out there on the interwebs, I’d have a higher or lower opinion of what Anaheim has been doing over the last 2 partial seasons and whether or not any of it is even partially sustainable.

      As it stands, I don’t buy them as a top tier team but am not really sure if what they have been doing is simply “luck”.

      So a second tier team it is…

      • JCDavies

        Anaheim has looked pretty strong both years and I think that Ryan trade to Ottawa is looking better and better for them (Silferberg and Noesen are excellent) and I think that their prospect pool is far better than either LA or (especially) SJ. When you can send Etem to the minors this season and have Gibson as an upcoming goalie they look pretty stacked.

        The thing that bothered me so much last night wasn’t just that Perry and Getzlaf were dominating us, it was that we were being killed by Winnik’s line. Ugh.

        For all those that think Edler and Burrows being out of the lineup doesn’t make a difference…a Canucks squad iced without Luongo, Higgins, Kassian and Stanton as well is looking a little sad.

        • JCDavies

          Have the Canucks actually had a disproportionately high number of injuries to key players, though?

          I’d argue their 4 most important forwards (Sedin, Sedin, Kesler & Santorelli with his versatility) and maybe their 4 top dmen have been healthy all year.

          As for the goaltending, Lou’s injuries haven’t affected the team save percentage in the least so far.

          While I still like this team’s chances of making the playoffs this year, not that I actually want them to make it at this point, this has been a very bad year for Vancouver’s near future outlook.

          Quite a few teams with superior youth have emerged to varying degrees this year (Anaheim, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota who may add Vanek soon enough).

          The prospect pool looks murkier than it did in the summer and it doesn’t appear there is an impact talent ready to come in and save the day any time soon.

          Pollyanna, I need a reason to be optimistic. Please give me one…

          • JCDavies

            No, I don’t think they’re injury/suspension issues have necessarily been worse than other teams. But as has been pointed out on multiple occasions, riding the top 4-5 as hard as Tortorella’s done is bound to have some blowback, especially when you can’t spell them effectively with real NHLers.

            I still don’t have as pessimistic a view of their prospects as you do (though I’ll allow that it’s only recently begun to be replenished with players like Lack, Tanev, Stanton, Corrado, and some of the newer picks) but it is clear that the Canucks are a step below the top tier of the league at least on a consistent basis. Some of those top teams have had their own struggles but overall I think they are stronger and deeper than the Canucks (LA, Anaheim, STL).

            Just out of curiosity, when the Canucks began their ascent to the upper echelons of the NHL did you write posts emblazoned with “THE WINDOW IS OPENING!”

          • JCDavies

            “Riding the top 4-5 as hard as Tortorella’s done is bound to have some blowback, especially when you can’t spell them effectively with real NHLers.”

            The Canucks have absolutely nobody to blame for this but themselves, though.

            “I still don’t have as pessimistic a view of their prospects as you do”

            What’s pessimistic?

            Who among the Canuck prospects can we expect to be an impactful player to improve this situation next year?

            Horvat already looks like a questionable pick considering what the next 6 forward prospects in the 2013 draft have done so far.

            Serious question: would you prefer Horvat over any of the 6 forwards selected behind him in the draft?

            Kassian hasn’t taken a step forward and management has shockingly shown zero willingness to live with his growing pains as they fight tooth and nail for every point in the standings.

            Schroeder has yet to establish himself and I’m not quite sure where he fits in the lineup and whether or not he’s actually going to be used.

            Jensen, uh, nevermind.

            While I think it’s fair to give Shinkaruk a mulligan, he slipped in the draft for a reason and has yet to give a reason to believe he’s a “steal”.

            Gaunce hardly looks like a great prospect.

            As for the guys you’ve named, Tanev is not a prospect.

            Yes, he’s done very well. But the Canucks are already benefiting from that.

            Very SSS on Lack and while he’s done well, that’s also a part of the save percentage advantage the Canucks have maintained for the 8th year of the Luongo era.

            Stanton has done well but, again, that’s a part of what the Canucks have done this year.

            Is there any more growth potential for Tanev, Lack & Stanton?

            As for Corrado, I’ll reserve judgement until we see what he does in the NHL.

            “Just out of curiosity, when the Canucks began their ascent to the upper echelons of the NHL did you write posts emblazoned with “THE WINDOW IS OPENING!”

            I would have if I were posting at the time.

            I went to a number of Canuck games all the way up to the cup run including 4 playoff games (actually went 4-0 that year).

            I’d gladly blow hundreds of dollars on a few hours of enjoyment when the team gets back to the top of the mountain.

            But it ain’t happening with this core…

          • islander

            “Riding the top 4-5 as hard as Tortorella’s done is bound to have some blowback, especially when you can’t spell them effectively with real NHLers.”

            The Canucks have absolutely nobody to blame for this but themselves, though.

            I don’t disagree.

            I think you’re being far too quick to write off the younger players either with the Canucks or in the system however. It’s ridiculous to say that Horvat is looking like a questionable pick. He has had a strong season and looked good on a WJC team that didn’t lose because of him. It is way way way too early to be writing him off or saying that any of the forwards picked after him are far better. In answer to your question, the only one of them I’d say is the question mark is the one everyone knows, Nichushkin. Might that be something we regret — perhaps, but only if he turns out to be a significantly superior player. I’d say the same for a bunch of the other prospects you’ve named (though I’d agree that Schroeder is fast running out of time to establish himself as a legitimate player).

            I know that the other players (Lack, Tanev, Stanton) are not prospects. But you talk sometimes as though the Canucks have no young players in their ranks. These are decent players who’ve been added to the mix, if not through the draft then through FA signings or waiver pickups. Tanev and Lack have potential to be core players.

            I don’t think the measuring stick should be whether the Canucks have the talent in the system to replace the Sedins (since they are — for us a least — generational players) but to have adequate first line players. I don’t know if that’s the case yet or not — I think we have potential top-4 d in the system and top-9 forwards. First liners maybe not, but again I think you’re being more than a little hasty with Horvat and Shinkaruk.

          • islander

            I’m not writing the prospects off.

            But I’m not sure there’s a star prospect in the bunch that can save the day.

            And the shine continues to wear off of some of these guys (Kassian, Jensen, Gaunce).

            I think it’s fair to call Tanev a legit top 4 defenseman and core player, though.

  • JCDavies

    It’s in no way being pessimistic to look at this team and say they aren’t good enough to win a cup. They had a really good December, but look at the quality of opposition: of the 10 games they won, three came against what I consider top-tier competition — and none were division rivals.

    The Avalanche win was a win because the Canucks always beat the Avs at home. It’s just that type of thing.

    The Bruins win, and you do have to give the ‘Nucks some credit, but that victory was handed to them in part by a sickly Tuuka Rask.

    The Chicago win was the only game in which the Canucks face early adversity, battled back and took home two points.

    Beating Carolina twice, the Oilers, Flames, Jets, Coyotes, and the Preds is not like what this team faces during this two week stretch. Keep that in mind when you are denouncing the “haters’ as “pessimists”. Maybe they are simply analysts being realists.

    That said, Go Canucks. I really do hope this turns around tomorrow night.