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Photo Credit: Canucks.com / Jeff Vinnick

Canucks Army Post Game Wrap: Pen-alized

THE SKINNY

Before tonight’s game, the Canucks were ready to get back to enjoying life with new rookie Elias Pettersson back in the lineup. Brock Boeser was also healthy and maybe just maybe, the Canucks could show up the Penguins yet again. That was not the result that materialized. The Canucks did hold court with the Penguins for a good portion of the game but in the end, it was Pittsburgh’s superstars that did Vancouver in.

Follow me if you dare.

FIRST PERIOD

Bob Cole called this one tonight and it felt like it was going to be a special evening. Fast-paced action, shots and even a few breakaways, one of which was by none other than the boy they call “Dekey Pete”:

Big shout out to Vanessa Jang for the GIF love tonight!

Michael Del Zotto was buzzing early and even drew a penalty. Yes, you read that correctly. Brock Boeser would have the only real chance on that one but Casey DeSmith would deny him a goal.

The running theme of tonight was the Penguins’ stars flexing their muscles and it should have been a sign early on when this happened:

Evgeni Malkin was a man possessed tonight. At the end of it all, he finished with two goals and an assist. He should have had more, a lot more. Elias Pettersson would get one more play off before the end of the period and somehow he actually missed on his chance.

SCORE – VAN 0 PIT 0

SECOND PERIOD

Antoine Roussel bit on Sidney Crosby’s dive and took a boneheaded penalty.

The Canucks still weren’t able to make anything happen in the net and it was only a Maatta of time (he didn’t score, but the joke was just waiting there) before the Penguins, and more importantly, Phil Kessel opened up the scoring.

Not good. 1-0 bad guys.

Jake Virtanen wasn’t able to solve DeSmith but a great chance was had on this play:

Vancouver was drawing penalties tonight but just couldn’t get anything going. The top unit looked lost, the second unit looked just as bad and it has only been one game but the Canucks definitely miss Alex Edler. Derrick Pouliot would also be a story tonight with his absolutely atrocious play. He wasn’t credited with any giveaways and had a 50% CF rating but he wasn’t helping the Canucks on this night.

Jacob Markstrom did his best to the keep the Canucks in this game but at a certain point, there is only so much he could do.

It didn’t get much better to end the period.

SCORE – VAN 0 PIT 2

THIRD PERIOD

OK, new period, new life. Right? Nope.

The refs did botch a few things tonight and this Roussel double-minor for high sticking was one of them:

Sound breakdown of that play. The stripes got it wrong. Thankfully, Kris Letang would take a penalty of his own and Vancouver would kill the double-minor. No goals still which you’re probably still wondering about.

It was one of those nights where you could kind of tell how it was going to go: post shots, close calls but nothing to show.

Nikolay Goldobin would get taken down just before the halfway point and there should have been a call but still, nothing doing.

Bob Cole dropped a beautiful line around the 10-minute mark: “Canucks gotta get a goal here.” Yes, Bob, I agree. You’re bang on with that comment.

Pettersson looked great in his first game back and there were audible “ahhhhs” when he did his thing. How he can move like that is just incredible.  He wouldn’t register a point tonight but his presence was felt.

More bad stuff would occur.

And finally, this:

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel combined for seven points on the night and were as dangerous as advertised. It wasn’t a thrashing like the Flames received the other night but when the going got tough, the Canucks had zero answers for the Penguins. Casey DeSmith would get the shutout even though Bob Cole SAID shutout.

That’s now two straight losses for the Canucks and they have been outshot

FINAL SCORE – VAN 0 PIT 5

 

BRINGING THE HEAT

CORSIFICATION

Canucks players at the 50% mark and above.

Naturalstattrick.com

Penguins players at the 50% mark and above.

NaturalStatTrick.com

LAST THOUGHTS

It was a mauling when the Penguins got it going and the Canucks just couldn’t adjust. They were playing without Alex Edler and Chris Tanev in the lineup which meant players that don’t usually take the lead were asked to have more of a starring role. There was hope for a brief time but again, the Penguins were just too much for the Canucks and proved to the young team why the Penguins could be for real, yet again this season.

Pettersson was worth the price of admission but just couldn’t solve DeSmith. As for Jacob Markstrom, I believe if he has a defense that can keep pucks away, he’ll stand a chance to have a pretty good season. He can’t be asked to bail out his team every night though. He isn’t Roberto Luongo.

G’night folks!

  • Same defence….same old injuries crippling the defence…expecting different results? Good call Benning. “This isn’t the try league” (TG)…applicable also to managements (non)ability to get $hit done in the offseason.

    • Same defence? Tanev and Edler both didn’t play, in case you missed that. With them out, Pouliot’s 3rd pairing sheltering disappeared, and he had to try to deal with a world class player on a world class team.And where exactly was JB supposed to get a 2nd pairing set of D?

      • Hahaha classic, crofton/back up bob trying to troll and FAILING as usual.

        Learn to READ fool, Dumpster is correctly stating it’s the SAME D corp as last season (you know one of the worst in the league) and the injury bug is biting as usual. Got it?

        As for where Benning is supposed to get a 2nd pair D from try TOP FIVE pick Juolevi, trades or FA signings… but wait, he FAILED to deliver on any of that, just like you trying to troll crofton/back up bob.

        • Your usual lack of reading comprehension….I addressed both issues… the injuries and the inability to get 2 top 4 D in the off season, because where? Or wait….EVERY top 5 pick is supposed to be able to make any NHL roster right out of junior? Delusional. Got it?

  • I’m not one to typically pick on individual players, but wow do I agree with you on this one … Pouliot looked awful.
    Also is it just me or do many of our players seem to fall down quite often? Looked like every Canuck player was slidding around out there tonight.
    At least Pettersson looked good, as always so far. We’ll bounce back

  • This was a good game right up until the last 5. Perhaps Roussel isn’t fiesty, he’s just romantic. The last few games he had some strange embraces with Keller and Crosby that kind of remind me of that Klimt painting “the Kiss.” Funny to watch anyway. Oscar nomination to Crosby on that one anyway. I assume Nilsson will be back next game. Hopefully Pouliot gets to sit out one or two. I am a fan, but these last few games he’s made some Bartowski/Spisa gaffes a few times each game. EP just looks like he’s constantly trying to find a way to make it work. Definitely creative, and not a one trick pony.

    • As I mentioned above, with Edler and Tanev both out, Pouliot had to (try to) play against a world class player on a world class team. He has had some monstrous gaffes in the past few games, but I’ll cut him some slack in this one

  • Boeser with Pettersson and Goldobin wasn’t a great combo tonight. All three were playing around the perimeter, no one was going to the net. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they just couldn’t seem to connect on their passes all night but credit should be given to the Penguins who looked really good defensively.

    Virtanen should be given a more offensive role. He is one of the top players in the entire league at takeaways and gaining the offensive zone with control and it’s nonsense to say that someone capable of that doesn’t have hockey sense. That’s just a lazy narrative being pushed by certain people in the media because they can’t get over the fact that there are a couple players drafted after him who have (predictably) turned out to be better offensively. The reason he doesn’t do much when he gains the zone is because his line-mates are always playing catch-up or heading off for a change and it’s hard to beat NHL defensemen 1 on 2 or even 1 on 3.

    Virtanen’s speed and ability to gain control of the puck and get it up the ice could really work well with the skill of Pettersson and Goldobin, especially if he could learn to go to the net more. He has never been given an opportunity to play with offensive players. Give him a chance and let the shot-gunning commence!

    • Virtanen appears to be like David Booth. One CA writer called that as Virtanen ‘s ceiling. Great skater, but how come the puck rarely ends up I the net? It’s not all just line-mates. In one more year, he will be the next David Booth. I believe he’s better, but time is running down …

      • I actually disagree because Booth was an outside guy after the serious concussion and Jake is starting to use size and speed and go to the net. Will he ever be the GUY we wanted? A Power forward etc…. the game is changing and the physical aspect has to be addressed.
        1 coach says hit everything in sight, next says don’t do stupid stuff. If anyone remembers 21/22 yrs old. Who are you? I didn’t know and I blarely listened to anyone. Jake is figuring it out and may not be a star, but will be a solid teammate.

      • Why one more year?

        Jake’s 22 years old. Wasn’t Booth still playing university hockey at Jake’s age? Booth didn’t have his first decent season until he was 24 years old.

        For sure Jake’s progression has been slooow. But it has been a progression and he has been improving each season. Still just 22. Relax, and just see what happens. Jake is really one of the least of the canuck’s worries right now.

        • Ok, maybe I’m not giving him enough time. Still, it was a CA writer who, this year, called that as his ceiling.

          I disagree, but why does the puck end up so rarely in the net when he’s on the ice? He is a beautiful skater, who.the CHL all-star skating contest. Is it all line-mates? Elite skaters AND players usually have it together at 22.

          So … what’s going on for him?

          • yeah I remember that too. Personally I think putting ceilings on any young player is kind of a stupid mental exercise, but whatever. He may end up being worse or better or the same…who knows.

            I don’t think it’s line mates. Jake obviously does struggle with his finishing ability. At the same time he was a point a game player in his last two years in Junior so he has the ability to find it. His first full season in Junior was fairly underwhelming. I think there are some guys that just take awhile to adjust to a league and feel comfortable. Their offense flows from that comfort. He’s getting there. Yes, elite players usually do have it together by his age. I think we can all agree Jake’s not an “elite” player at this point, and I personally wouldn’t bet on him becoming one. But that doesn’t mean he can’t find his niche in the league and become a solid contributor in all regards. Again….look at Bertuzzi. It wasn’t until 24 or 25ish when he began putting up decent seasons of 50 points.

            Personally, while I am disappointed that Jake hasn’t made a stronger impact so far in his career, I actually think the canucks have done a very good job with him and as he internalizes his responsibilities away from the puck, it will help his offense.

            Don’t forget it took Daniel 3 full seasons to pick up his first 50+ point season. Henrik didn’t do it until his 5th year in the league.

            Obviously not saying he’s going to be the twins. Just that sometimes it takes some time for a guy to figure out who he is in the league and learn how to beat goalies or make plays.

          • If Virtanen turned into David Booth that would be such a massive win for this franchise. Booth was a 30-goal-scorer and first line winger until concussions derailed his career, and even after that he was still a highly-effective two-way middle six winger for a few years. David Booth was what the Canucks thought Virtanen was when they drafted him.

          • He’s got lots of good things going for him but he doesn’t process the game well enough to be a high end forward. Don’t get me wrong, I think he has a long career ahead of him in the NHL due to the many things he does well, but he just doesn’t think the game well enough to be more than a middle six winger. It’s not his fault where he got drafted and the expectations that creates.

  • This is the first game i thought that Horvat & Goldoben was unnoticeable and Boeser had a rough game as well with a couple of horrible giveaways, however the penguins are sure a pleasure to watch they definitely can pass the puck with accuracy

  • What a wake up call. The Nucks have been showing truculence…. BUT.
    Bo, EP, and Brock are not Sid, Geno and fat Elvis yet! I stress yet!
    It is only time, then the tables are turned!

  • If the Canucks would’ve had any finish at all tonight a we’ll timed goal could’ve changed the momentum of the game but unfortunately it never happened. They’re truly hustling but playing against arguably the best franchise in the cap era NHL you saw how the Penguins experience, patience and poise won the hockey game. Take a gander at which Pens scored the goals. I think Green may change things up slightly for the Wild and Petey IS a magician but he can’t do it alone. First stinker of the season tonight.

  • Pete comes in after a serious concussion and Boeser a groin injury and Green rides them for the most minutes played amongst forwards.
    With the rash of injuries that the team is suffering through his deployment you’d think Green might clue in soon that the playoffs haven’t begun.

    • It’s not serious, he is back on the ice after ten days rest – great coaching by Green to show his trust in Elias and the expert neurologists who cleared the kid as fine to play.

      Thought Sid looked amazing too after recovering from three ‘serious’ concussions. Leave it to the experts, of which YOU are not one.

      “A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in *temporary* loss of normal brain function. It usually is caused by a blow to the head. Neurosurgeons and other brain injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are more serious than others, in most cases, a concussion should not cause permanent brain damage. – **American Association of Neurological Surgeons**

      • Provided the brain is given ample opportunity to heal and there is no further brain trauma. Add to that the fact that everyone is different and more recent study of brain trauma, it is getting much more difficult to toe that “party line”. Symptoms can to re-manifest long after the original injury. So saying that it’s “not serious” is burying your ostrich-like head in the sand.

      • Good luck with that newbie. Bud has OCD – he is still whining about Gillis FIVE YEARS later. He is still obsessing about having a perfect balance of LHD and RHD despite being proven WRONG about it multiple times and now the EP non-issue concussion is this senile old mutts latest bone, despite again beng proven wrong by the medical experts!

        Absolute proven lunatic, compulsive liar, fantasist and muti ID troll i am afraid. Class dismissed.

        • Yeah, it makes for a lot of comments to scroll past and completely ignore. The trolls seem to miss the fact completely that the fans aren’t overly worried about a team that’s hanging around .500 at this stage of the rebuild, with the usual injury woes. They should really focus on their favourite teams who are supposed to be head and shoulders above us already yet continue to underachieve.

      • Three new user names for the banned troll.
        Contact sports is about repetitive,consecutive concussions not the ‘housewife falls on the carpeted hallway’ variety you whack off about like some know-it-all,PWQ.

        ‘ Furthermore, three recent studies focusing on college hockey players suggests that for young adults, even one concussion can have measurable long-term effects on the brain. …the evidence that multiple concussions cause irreversible damage is indisputable.’
        Journal of Neurosurgery

        Rypien,Murphy,Kariya,Lindros,Nicholls-an endless list.Over 200 brain- injured players and/or their surviving families are suing the NHL over brain injuries/concussions.

        “But when I got a blow to the head, I never had anyone tell me that if I continued to play, I might sustain permanent brain damage.
        If the NHL had told me about the risks of continued head trauma, I would have never gone back onto the ice as quickly as I usually did. When I joined the NHL, I knew I would be injured, but at the end of the day, I did not expect to have problems, that would last a lifetime.
        Today, I have a hard time remembering games I played in and even the names of people I played with for many years. Though my concussions took place 20 and 30 years ago, I still get extremely dizzy and am plagued by headaches. Since becoming involved in NHL alumni groups, I have seen firsthand how many other players also have memory and anger issues.” Bernie Nicholls
        http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bernie-nicholls-damage-hockey-brain-article-1.2296030

  • Sutter’s 1:20 minute shift leading to Malkin’s 3rd goal was pathetic. He didn’t touch the puck, nor a Penguin for the entire long shift. There were 3 other scoring chances before the goal went in. He had a chance to change but didn’t do that either. Then he was floating at the blue line while Malkin was standing alone at the side of the net.

    He was then sent out 5 minutes later for the 5th goal. His effort behind the net was again pathetic. He should have borrowed some gonads from Goldobin.

    Foundational leadership, I guess.

    The last shift had Granlund taking Sutter’s place. Sutter was so pathetic, even Green couldn’t stomach to send him out again.

    • Ya, this is why the Pens offloaded Sutter to the Canucks for a superior two-way shut down centre in Nick Bonino and made out like bandits winning back to back Stanley Cups. Bones then cashed in with the elite Preds while Sutter puts in non performances like this and that’s why no one else wants him. Malkin and Kessel were laughing about it on the bench.

      Embarrassing and unacceptable from a ‘foundational piece’.

      • Bonino had 25 points last year without the high octane Penguins.
        Sutter had 26 pts. in 61 games last year in a purely defensive role.
        Nick’s got two assists this season.Sutter has 3 goals and one assist.
        Sutter’s has been in the running for 3 Byng and two Selke nominations.
        None listed for Bonino.
        The Penguins dumped Nick.
        Superiority was grand but fleeting.

    • Agree that Sutter has been bad for a couple games now. To be honest I think the team is running on fumes at the moment; they put in some very determined efforts after Pettersson went down, particularly that game where they lost Edler and Tanev and still fought through to win. With Sutter I think it’s just a case of looking tired.
      Leipsic is another matter entirely though, like Jake he has the tools but often doesn’t know how to use them. He can be effective in the offensive zone just by nature of his unpredictable playing style, but everywhere else, neutral zone, etc just looks clueless out there. It seems that the team loses momentum every time he’s on the ice, and plays that others are trying to make get lost on him and die on his stick.
      I’m not sure if it’s just a lack of hockey sense, or if he’s simply a little behind everyone else because of his press box time.
      I hope Green has a plan with him; I think that Virtanen is really coming along (he still makes mental gaffes but is also making the smart play much more often) so maybe will develop yet.

      • Man o man, when will you saddos just accept the truth and admit that Virtanen is what he is… a top six draft day BUST. This kid was chosen by Benning as an elite power forward ala Matty Tkachuk, but has a measly *38* points in 152 games! Meanwhile Ehlers has 166 points in 246 games, Nylander has 135 points in 185 games and the likes of Tuch, Larkin, Schmaltz and superstar David Pastrnak are legit NHL studs – ALL were available to the Canucks ‘draft guru’ over Virtanen… BENNING BUST.

    • It’s hard not to be amused by this. I wonder if these guys don’t just look at the scoreboard around the league and then have their ‘jollies’ on that blog site. They must be a lot of fun around the office (or wherever they spend their time).

      • The great thing about it is if the cockroaches respond to it, they’re basically admitting they’re cockroaches….but if they don’t respond to it, well….they’re admitting they’re cockroaches….lol.

        I can just picture the main cockroach on CA pulling his little hairs out in frustration….best he can do is thumb me down…which he does like the little cockroach he is, on all my posts anyway. I can picture it right now…him sitting there….”a truthseeker post!” frantically hitting the thumbs down button then logging in to his other cockroach names and repeating…lol.

        I love the fact I make some stranger on the internet so angry. For sure in “real life” he’s some pathetic loser. If he’s a teen/young adult, then he’s just a complete piece of ….who must have the absolute worst parents. Probably some spoiled little brat, who’s parents were the type who let him run around in restaurants and play with automatic doors at grocery stores. Never disciplining their little cockroach. Real scumbag low class cockroach family. And if he’s an adult…it’s even more pathetic. Just a complete waste of skin.

        I really shouldn’t call him a cockroach though. It’s most definitely an insult to cockroaches. They’re just being what they are meant to be. This is someone actively choosing to be a piece of…… It doesn’t get much lower than that.

  • So much negativity in the comments after this loss (can’t count the last one, the team was decimated and on a back-to-back). You guys need to chill and enjoy. a) Defense – this game showed exactly what everyone’s been saying all season, today’s Canucks are weak on the back end and don’t have enough depth to be a contender. Waiting on Juolevi and Hughes may help us get a good draft pick this year. b) Offense – young team, still have some of our “rebuild process pieces” (like Sutter, Loui – guys who are here to help the real team develop for a run in a few years but won’t be part of a Stanley Cup team). They looked promising out there but again, not enough depth, and not near enough support from the D. The Pens showed what it’s like to have 5 good players on the ice at once, whereas the Nucks are still lacking a lot of pieces and using a lot of replacement level players. We were SUPPOSED to lose lots this year, which isn’t fun, but the Nucks have been winning more than they should (fun) and playing with good energy when they don’t (also fun). So lighten up, jeez.

    There are only two players I’m disappointed in this year – Eriksson just looks worse and worse every year, and he’s missed a lot of the “little things” lately so I’m not even sold on that. And I had higher hopes for Leipsic but he’s really starting to look replacement level. He’s young, hopefully Green can help him like he’s helped Virtanen and Hutton etc., but I fear there’s little hope for Loui to be anything more than “usually fairly responsible on the ice.”

    Most of the rest of the team are meeting or exceeding expectations; another good draft or some luck in player development and we’ll have a contender again soon.

    • A well reasoned comment.

      The score didn’t reflect the flow of play over most of the game but the superiority of the Pens eventually prevailed. Pretty clear last night the Canucks are not a great team yet. Hopefully with the Sedins now retired and Linden’s influence gone the Canucks now focus on a more traditional approach to rebuilding.

      It will be challenging for Benning to move some of the “rebuild process pieces”.

      • “….and Linden’s influence gone the Canucks now focus on a more traditional approach to rebuilding.” – DF

        …come again? Is this revisionist history at its finest?!

        • It’s unfortunate your blind hatred for Benning makes you so irrational Dirk. It’s also unfortunate all you ever do is whine. It makes you very boring.

          • Sorry for being boring. Next time I’ll make up stories like yours about Linden being the one holding things back (despite numerous reports that it was he who had the more patient approach).

    • I agree with you in all respects, Pouliot is getting a lot of grief but Ericsson is supposed to be the guy who brings the defensive game but he was brutal. Leipsic sure looks like he’s all speed and no finish or playmaking ability, but he’s depth anyway so we can afford to be patient or not, as we see fit. I’d rather see Jake get some top 6 time than either of those two.

      The negativity is unwarranted given the team’s injuries, and the fact that even with a full roster, who didn’t pencil both Penguins games as losses before the season? The boys are doing fine, bring on another solid draft and a big step next year.

  • Possibly the worst officiated game we have seen. The whole game changed when the ref chose to ignore Oleksiak boarding Motte (from behind as well), despite apparently looking directly at the play. Shortly after that non-call, the Pens scored. That wouldn’t have happened if the penalty had been called. And later, you could see the ref looking at Roussel not being the culprit that he chose to call for high sticking. he had his stick on the ice ffs. Roussel and Crosby? Really? Obviously initiated after the whistle by Crosby, who then took a dive. Either call off-setting penalties or ignore it, that was lame. Of course it was only because it was Crosby. Had Roussel and he exchanged places, damned straight he would have gotten the penalty. We deserve better, but the players really deserve better.