Photo Credit: Yifan Ding - Getty Images

Canucks Army Post-Game: NHL China Game #1

The first of the highly-anticipated NHL games in China took place early this morning. Attempting to grow the game of hockey and spark some interest in the Chinese market, the Canucks and Kings embraced the opportunity and put on a show. The Kings came out on top, defeating the Canucks 5-2.

The Statistics

Baertschi, Granlund: 1 goal

Hutton, Burmistrov, Del Zotto: 1 assist

Markstrom: 22/26 saves

Game Highlights

The game got off to a fairly quick start, which was impressive given that some have yet to play a game this season. Less than a minute in, the Kings took a penalty that was, not surprisingly, a slashing call. Henrik Sedin took the same penalty minutes later, which led to this rocket of a goal by the Kings’ Adrian Kempe.

With Nick Shore in the penalty box at the 7:24 mark, the Canucks’ power-play units went to work. The man-advantage was quickly converted into a goal… for the Kings. Tanner Pearson picked off a bobbled pass from Thomas Vanek, which sent him on a shorthanded breakaway to put Los Angeles up 2-0.

One minute into the second period, Alex Martinez made it 3-0 off a nice cross-ice feed from Tyler Toffoli. With the Canuck on the powerplay shortly after due to an Andy Andreoff hooking call, Sven Baertschi was open on the wing and put Vancouver on the board.

Late in the third period, Markus Granlund buried a rebound off his own shot to make it 3-2 Kings.

Capitalizing on a Hutton-Stecher miscue that led to a 2-on-0 man-advantage, Tanner Pearson made it 4-2 Kings. Jeff Carter finished the game off with an empty net goal.


Game Notes

  • The Canucks went 1 for 11 on the powerplay today, which is frankly embarrassing. The first unit consisted of the Sedins, Vanek, Gagner, and Edler, and the second had Horvat, Baertschi, Burmistrov, Eriksson, and Hutton. As you’ve likely inferred, neither units were threatening. Of the two, the latter looked better today. That’s not to say the Sedins with Gagner and Vanek won’t work, but the man-advantage simply looked more threatening with Horvat, Baertschi, and Burmistrov on the ice. There might be a particular player in North America who could improve the powerplay, however.
  • It’s been publicized that playing Sam Gagner with the Sedins was a definite possibility. Although the trio didn’t necessarily have an exciting game, there was chemistry displayed at times. Gagner isn’t a pure shooter, which contradicts the typical linemate the Sedins have had in seasons past. He can play their passing game, however, and there were a few times where they had legitimate even-strength scoring opportunities. The area of concern would be the skating as neither of the players are considered hard checkers. This, as was shown, can lead to times where a player gets caught and puts the line in trouble.
  • Alex Burmistrov looked good today. He spent a solid amount of time on the powerplay, but he impressed at even-strength too. He skated well and moved the puck effectively, and there looks to be some chemistry between him, Horvat, and Baertschi on the powerplay. If he keeps up his play, it would be hard to keep him off the opening-night roster. He also had this goal which was waved off as it went in after the horn:

  • Thomas Vanek didn’t look particularly impressive, although that could be said about a number of players . He made an erroneous pass which led to the Kings’ shorthanded goal, and he didn’t look threatening on the power play either. There was a quick 5-pass play in the third period with the Sedins that could’ve ended up in a highlight reel goal, and that was promising.
  • I know the league is cracking down on penalties, but wow are they getting tough. There were five penalties total in the first period, four of which were slashing and holding. In last year’s league, one could easily deem them soft calls. Through all the pre-season games, the referees have been consistent. If this is one of the league’s attempts to increase scoring, it appears it could work with the abundance of powerplays that can occur in one period alone.

Say what you want about playing in China, it’s smart of the NHL to want to expand the game. It’s an unconventional market with significant potential, but it is untapped and it showed. The lack of attendance at the game will be a topic of discussion, but to be fair, could one honestly expect a full house in a country where hockey is essentially unknown? Hockey in China isn’t going to grow overnight, but judging from how the crowd reacted to the pace and action, the sport excites them. It was certainly amusing listening to the attendees “Ooh” and “Ahh” at a hit against the boards, a nice save by a goaltender, and even simply a player shooting the puck.

Unlike today where it was an early morning for viewers in North America, the next game will be a late night. The Canucks and Kings will fly to Beijing and are set to play at 12:30 AM on Saturday.

  • chester benning

    Great work Vanessa. Thought you looked awesome in your cheerleader outfit x

    The amount of PP’s in pre-season are ruining all the games though. Appreciate they are laying down the new law early, but this is getting unwatchable. A bit like the Canucks as a whole really.

      • Canucks_Realist

        Not as lame as you re-cutting and pasting a whole thread half a mile long yesterday though eh crusty. What was that about? Take your meds sh*tstain, you’re clearly not all there.

    • Dan the Fan

      Yeah, that’s a sexist comment. Many women have made it very clear that they don’t appreciate this kind of thing, so if you care about other people, just keep it to yourself.

      • fretallack

        wow. don’t get out much? Woman professional athletes dont appreciate it because they want to be appreciated for their craft. This… everybody just relax, my god.

    • sloth

      Yikes it shouldn’t be hard to find some people to moderate the comment sections. There are at least half a dozen long-time commenters with solid reputations who read or comment on virtually every article who would probably happily fill some mod positions to keep this site more enjoyable for everyone. I assume site admins have the ability to see when multiple accounts are posting from the same IP? Are the trolls really bothering to mask their IPs to comment under different names? And seriously, how is chester benning’s ridiculous abusive comment still up a day later?

      Honestly I miss NM00 haha. He was the resident jerk when I started coming to this site and I swear he was Bob McKenzie compared to these Freud/Psych/Realist/PQW/Hockey Warrior fools. Snarky pessimism based in stats and analysis is different than the antagonistic drivel and abusive ad-hom attacks on writers and commenters that seem to derail discussion every day.

      and wihle were complianign abut teh coments setction. wee nedd and editt fucntoin to plaese!!!

  • Canucks_Realist

    Jeezus H…just fast forwarded through this game. The Kings just coasted and turned it on at the end as they always do against the worst team in the Pacific. Absolutely brutal.

    Why the NHL chose a trainwreck like Vancouver to represent the game at the highest level to the Chinese people in China is as ludricrous as the amount of slashing calls that were called. Fly these jokers back and send out the Sharks already. Last place in the Pacific, if not the league, by miles i promise you.

    Have fun watching these schmucks no-lifers, they were better under Willie D!

  • myshkin

    what happens in china stays in china. the only good thing about the china adventure was watching all the prospects last night. expanding the game just puts more money in the owners pocket.

  • Jabs

    The comments on the powerplay being embarrassing are a bit premature don’t you think?

    This unit has never played before in a game prior to today and most of these guys have not played competitive hockey since April……..I would give them a few games together before being so harsh on them.

  • apr

    To state the obvious. Granlund is light years better than Shinkaurak. And after seeing Jake’s hustle and skill set at the Calgary game, screw 4th line – he needs to either play with the Sedins or with Bo/Baer. I think that Boeser will rejuvenate the Sedins – and I think his shot is as good as Laine’s. Yes, I went there. I really don’t care what happens in China. I just want to make sure that no one get hurts – and that the travelling together is a good bonding exercise so that the team actually starts sticking up for each other…

  • “Canucks went 1 for 11 on the powerplay.” That needs work! I watched the game and we had the man advantage for over 20 minutes in total. Our power play is stale, disorganized and predictable. I know it’s pre season, but it just has to improve. This one thing can break our season more than anything , except poor goaltending off course.

  • DJ_44

    This is the first pre-season game for most, so slack is deserved.That said, the main issue with the PP today, and all of last season, is zone entry. Edler and Hutton should not be on the PP. They do not have enough hockey sense to make the correct play (or maybe Newell Brown have yet to give them the run down of option based on what the PK is doing).

    I mean, if they deny the back pass Edler is lost. That and his hand-of-stone, I mean come on. Get MDZ out there. Give Holm a month and he can QB the other group.

      • Psych_Doctorate

        Talk hockey!? all you ever do is accuse people of being your man crush PQW? Who is next on your obsessive man crush list Marmot/DJ ancient users gone like NM00 and Hockey Warrior? Deluded.

        Now, practice what you preach DJ/Marmot, talk hockey or stfu.

        • DJ_44

          Right. Got it. You see, the problem with that sleight is that I have been on the board for a long time; my account, comments, and biases, are plain for all to see — here and on other nation sites. You are a troll, and a simple one at that, not even challenging to spot.

          You are , however, disruptive. We get it: you do not like Benning or Linden; Gillis and Gilman should be in the HHoF. You would get more traction if you actually make you case under one user account. As of now, you (referring to all your accounts) are seen as a buffoon (with apologies to buffoons that are higher up on the evolutionary ladder).

  • Jamie E

    Man, the commentary on this sight has gone to the birds. Long past time for the comments section to link to social media accounts and for people to post under their real names. It’s not like we’re discussing cold war secrets here.

    • Cageyvet

      Agreed. Somewhat acceptable when there was no real hockey news to talk about, but this better be CA’s pre-season as well. I used to engage with the trolls regularly but it’s like putting water on a Gremlin to even interact with them. Now I try and avoid even trashing the comments, ignoring them completely is the only hope if the site won’t police this. I have been accused of being part of some multi-account BS by these morons as well, anything to stop the insanity would be welcome. Watching the couple of anti-Benning idiots praise their own comments under handles that are 5 minutes old is tiresome.

  • Rodeobill

    I thought the crowd had fun and the people there got into the game, which is a success for the league. I thought It was a kinda sleepy game though, maybe first game, first systems test run, jet lag, getting the cobwebs out, anyway preseason no biggie. Gudbranson looked serious and chippy tonight, maybe something to be said for eating those grubs! Hope he plays that way all year. Burmistrov looks like a keeper, and Horvat doesn’t look like he lost a step this summer.

    On a separate note, it probably would have been a good idea just to ref the China games normally so they could see what the game really looks like. Hockey isn’t supposed to be a whole game played 4 vs 5, and if that’s how they want to make it “more exciting” it didn’t work tonight. Half the calls tonight i felt like were actually “2 minutes for fighting for the puck.” I don’t like to see people injured because of stick infractions, but there has got to be some middle ground where people can battle in the corners, etc.

  • Gored1970

    I was in China and asked if there were any professional sports leagues like basketball or soccer. Apparently they tried a pro basketball league but it flopped so maybe paying to watch sports isn’t high on their list of things to do.

    • tommyboy

      No surprise when all the best players are taken to play in North America. They love soccer though. The Chinese Super League is massive and fans can actually see some high profile international players and also homegrown players who they can idolise and relate to. Can’t see ice hockey making a dent in that soccer mad market tbh.