The Stanchies: Chaotic chaos ensues as chaotic Canucks chaotically close chaotic hockey game of chaos

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
6 months ago
The Canucks 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames sure was…something.
There is a word for it that I can’t quite bring to mind right now.
A game of anarchy?
One of tumult?
Full of disorder?
A contest born of bedlam?
I’m sure it will come to me eventually, but whatever the word is, the game certainly ended with more excitement than it probably needed, at least from Vancouver’s point of view.
This was the kind of game Dom rubs his hands together and cackles with glee as the PDO swings the other way, as it felt like the Canucks should have been up four or five goals at some points.
But such is life in the NHL, and when you’ve just added another agent of Team Discord into the mix, I don’t know what other kind of result we were expecting, to be honest.
Even the game-winning goal was steeped in turmoil as the Canucks fourth goal morphed into this season’s Zapruder film, with people slowing it down to one frame per second to see if Pettersson tipped Zadorov’s shot or not.
The end result was Vancouver escaped with a badly needed win, as their play of late has been anything but balanced. As JT Miller noted after the Las Vegas game, it feels like the Canucks have good habits one night, and they go out the window the next. If Vancouver wants to keep building towards that playoff spot, they are going to need more nights like tonight.
Let’s make some gif money, shall we?
Best did we just become best friends pairing
Scott Oake referred to this pairing as the ‘Twin Towers’ about thirty seconds into the broadcast, which is problematic, so we will attempt to find their proper tag team name as we go along.
For now, the excitement of seeing Bebop and Rocksteady playing together was palpable, if not for the hits they might hand out, but certainly for the chaos that would occur between them. If they were wrestlers, their manager would be Dr. Ian Malcolm, and I can already see the promo he would cut at Wrestlemania, demanding a glass of water to show chaos theory in action. He would, of course, smash the glass on their opponent’s head instead of putting a drop of water on the back of their hand, and it would be glorious.
But back to the game, aside from the potential chaos at play, we knew Zadorov could hit very, very hard. Which he displayed very early into the game:
The fact that Zadorov lightly finishing his check on Dillon Dube sent the Flames player three feet across the ice is one of those moments where you giggle to yourself as you await a hit where he’s actually trying to do some damage.
And if you’re wondering who is Bebop and who is Rocksteady, clearly Zadarov is Ivan Steranko.
Best aim to devastate
Quinn Hughes continued his wonderful start to the season, this time by opening the scoring for the team he plays for, the Vancouver Canucks, of Vancouver:
Perhaps shamed by their performance against Las Vegas, the Canucks came out strong against Calgary, once again led by their indomitable captain Quinn Hughes.
Speaking of ooze-based characters, the thing that impresses me the most about Quinn Hughes is how all aspects of his game evolved over the summer.
Obviously, his skating and edge work take the main spotlight when discussing his game, but his ability to score goals with his shot shouldn’t be left behind. Last year, Quinn’s shot wasn’t scaring anybody, and you would visibly see teams give him room at the point, almost daring him to throw a soft wrister on net.
This year, if you give Quinn an inch, he takes a kilometer. Not only can he take the shot if you give him room, but he can also drive to the net with his skating. He can also dump the puck off to a very dangerous Hronek, which just adds another angle to the Quinn Hughes threat.
Now add all of that together, and you have Quinn Hughes utilizing more options to find even more shooting angles on net, which he is using to not only get shots on goalies but scoring a variety of goals as a result.
I think what I am trying to say is that Quinn Hughes is possibly very good at the game of ice hockey.
Best getting the last Laff
I’m mostly angry at myself for taking so many games to come up with that stupid pun, so just watch the goal:
The Canucks move the puck around nicely, get a shot off from the point, and Lafferty scores a goal in the amount of ice time Ryan Reaves usually gets in a game with Toronto these days.
We know Tocchet loves North/South players, and after having recently dubbed Lafferty a ward of the Starks, you just knew he was going to get a shot with EP40 and IM65. And hey, look, it paid off beautifully here.
Maybe Sam’s hard, go-to-the-net, no-nonsense attitude helps Elias get out of that perfectionist slump he appears to be in, where he’s trying to get the goals that go viral on TikTok instead of settling for the hard-working grease goals that pay the rent.
Either way, it feels like Kuzmenko riding with Boeser and Miller and Lafferty with Elias and Ilya feels like a smart roll of the dice for changing up the top six unit.
Best the darkest timeline
What if Abed hadn’t let Jeff throw the dice to see who got the pizza?
That’s all I could think of when the Canucks came within inches of scoring a shorthanded goal, only to see the Flames turn around and cut Vancouver’s lead in half.
First was the Canucks shorthanded chance created by a combined forecheck from Elias and JT Miller, that ended with a passing play that failed to score:
It feels like the minute they joined forces on the penalty kill when Bo Horvat left town they’ve been incredibly effective together.
At first, I thought that they might have an Odd Couple timeline of getting on each other’s nerves on the penalty kill, to be honest. A situation where Miller refused to do the dishes, and Elias got angry that his DVD collection was put back in non-alphabetical order, resulting in a huge fight over the Pigeon sisters.
But since the beginning, they have been lights out together in terms of creating scoring chances while down a man.
Unfortunately for them, the Flames pushed back and ended up scoring on a very nice passing play that ended with Thatcher Demko going full Time Cop in the crease:
If EP40 and JT Miller show up with really dark goatees at the next game, I think we have every right to be worried, but right now this goal just looks like the work of a shaky penalty kill combined with having to give the Flames credit for making a nice play.
Yes, Tyler Myers loses track of Mikael Backlund, which is generally considered “not great” in hockey terms, but that pass from Ruzicka was on the money.
Best textbook example
If you had told me that Marty Pospisil (“Mmm popsicle” in my head) had to settle gambling debts by taking a penalty in the first period, this is what it would look like:
He somehow manages to jump around Pettersson, like he’s trying to force his way onto the Skytrain before letting anyone off first, and then ends it by somehow riding Elias like a slide.
Best Noah answer for this
Noah Juulsen is in a tough spot because the team is leaning on him to play in their top six for an extended period of time. And while there are flashes of good (he throws solid hits, he blocks shots, he smiles encouragingly at fans during warmup!), there is also a lot of this:
Not only does he mishandle the puck, but he doubles down on this mistake by pinching up trying to recover. Even worse, he lunges forward which absolutely kills his momentum, leaving him exposed for the counter-attack because he’s now skating in the wrong direction.
You get the feeling the Ethan Bear talk is directly surrounding the situation they find themselves in with Juulsen. I think it’s pretty clear the team would love another NHL-ready right-handed defenseman, especially one with the noted skill set of being great at zone exits.
But we shall wait until Ethan’s agent tells Rick Dhaliwal to give us an update.
Best PDO withdrawl
If you’re wondering why Pettersson is so good at drawing penalties, it’s a combination of two things.
One is him dancing around players until they are forced to take him down out of shame. Having Grandma ask you to pass the turkey right after you explain why you couldn’t stop that nice Swedish-looking boy from scoring on you isn’t the holiday many players envision for themselves.
The second one is teams just key in on him to try and inflict pain and punishment. Earlier, we saw Pospisil draped all over Elias like that sweater you still keep because one day it might fit again, and here we have Blake Coleman straight up cross-checking EP40:
This particular penalty put the Canucks on an extended 5-on-3 man advantage.
Sadly, the Canucks powerplay went 0 for 4 on the night, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
They showcased fantastic passing and had Markstrom trying to keep up with their puck movement, but the closest they got to a goal was an Elias post:
See? You hear that?
That’s Dom laughing. You can absolutely hear that.
Give credit to EP40 for making Markstrom think he was beaten on the play. He looks at his glove like he knows he was bested, and should possibly retire from the NHL, but then makes a half-hearted backward lunge once he realizes it didn’t go in.
For a brief second, Elias broke him.
Best work safe gif of the night
Sometimes my gifs are too sexy, and you have to quickly close your laptop when your significant other walks in the room, lest they see what you’re watching.
Which is why I will now be handing out the unsexy gif of the night award to a play that is just a solid, hard-working, dependable piece of business. This way, you can just scroll up to this gif if anyone walks in:
This is just Conor Garland playing reliable defense against Kadri. He tries an early poke check that fails, but he keeps skating with Kadri instead of visibly sighing and looking up at the sky while tossing his hands up in defeat. He maintains pace with Kadri and eventually takes Nazem’s stick out of the equation when he tries to drive hard to the net with it. As Vince McMahon would say, that’s good shit, pal, before turning to Kuzmenko and screaming “he’s gonna puke!”
So yes. Not a sexy gif, but you know what? That’s a gif that will get you to work and back, no problem. Garland is the Toyota Corolla of players.
And that’s kind of Garland’s deal, to be honest. There is always talk about him being good at 5 on 5 hockey, and it’s because of things like this:
He’s good at guarding the puck, has good hand-eye coordination, and likes to get the puck to the net.
I honestly wondered if his East/West ways would anger known North/South lover Rick Tocchet, but I think Garland’s ability to get the puck off his stick and make quick decisions, as well as his ability to win board battles, puts him in a good spot with the King of the North.
Best working hard or hardly working
I think that’s a bit of an unfair assessment, as the Canucks did feel like they were getting the short end of the stick on luck on the night.
But it is fair to say that the Canucks still aren’t playing like the well-oiled offensive machine they were at the start of the season, just in terms of chances generated.
And in the last three games, the Canucks shot totals read out as 22, 22, and 27. And I get it, shots aren’t everything, but being 3rd last in the league in shots on net feels like an indicator that they are struggling to get into the middle of the ice with the puck.
Which means the Canucks are involved in some close games as of late, meaning chances like this can almost change the course of the game:
That’s how Vegas absolutely murdered them, by breaking them down and finding the middle of the ice, but luckily for the Canucks, the Flames misfired on this chance.
You can’t just rely on Quinn Hughes literally trying to will a scoring chance into existence every other shift:
Though I do think we should sit back and marvel at Quinn’s ability to not only try and drive the lane, but also circle back when he can’t get through, before ending his time with the puck by drawing in a defender, yet again, so he can give Myers an open shooting lane.
Best One Direction
Hey, remember that Conor guy? Yeah, his board work is incredible for a player that many old-school coaches would insist can’t hang with the big boys:
He’s just a really good combination of shiftiness and using his body to keep his opponent separated from the puck. Plus, he has a really good beard.
As a possible result of facial hair jealousy, he gets tripped and puts the Canucks on the powerplay.
They once again didn’t score, but the process was good, as they generated this Hronek chance that caught Markstrom moving in one direction, while the puck travelled in the other:
That’s what makes you beautiful, though. When the night changes, and you know right now, that one thing can be perfect. “Don’t drag me down!” you say to yourself, as the magic takes over. You just have to live while we’re young, you know, because they don’t know about us.
I guess what I’m trying to is was if I could fly, I’d be walking in the wind, filled with midnight memories of the last first kiss.
Huh. I guess I always wondered where do broken hearts go. I just always assumed it was more than this. I feel like I have no control and it’s a long way down.
I thought I was fireproof, but that’s the story of my life.
I just wish I could change your ticket, you know? You & I. Telling our little white lies one last time.
That’s a good save is what I’m getting at.
Best Eifel Tower
The constant theme from the Canucks in this game? They consistently found a way to keep pushing back to stay ahead on the scoreboard.
It wasn’t pretty, but you had to respect the fight the Canucks were showing.
And sometimes that fight came in the form of two players whacking at a loose puck at the same time, in the time-honored tradition of playing Rocket League with randoms:
Originally, Elias wasn’t given an assist on this goal, but after the game, it was changed. It’s amusing that the good things Elias did in this game didn’t result in any points, but randomly having the puck touch his stick is what got him on the scoresheet.
This is the kind of goal the Canucks need to get more of, if we’re being honest. Finding a way to get the puck on net and just get in those goal mouth scrambles. The perfect shot isn’t always there; this is something Carlton Banks clearly taught us.
Best ghost points
Don’t worry, Elias would eventually leave the game with two points handed out after the fact.
Ghost points, much like a ghost fart. You’re not sure who did it, but eventually, you figure it out.
You always figure it out.
Best taking Myers for a walk
The Flames, who are becoming known for their enjoyment of being cardiac kids, also consistently pushed back on the Canucks:
That lunging poke check from Tyler Myers always kills me because it’s always so slow, and then it takes like three years for him to straighten back up again so he can start skating. His poke check animation is broken and I don’t know why EA Sports won’t fix it.
And aside from the Flames next two goals, Demko looked pretty sharp on the night:
Even when the Flames were moving the puck around, Demko was tracking it like a god damn professional. That puck bounces in the slot and he finds himself having to move in two different directions before settling in to stop the shot.
The calmness in his game is truly along the lines of Kirk McLean.
Best Tyler Motte tribute
Ilya Mikheyev was advertised as having speed for days, but due to his knee injury, it feels like we haven’t seen the best out of him yet.
And while he’s not fully recovered yet, it feels like he’s getting faster each game:
Ilya isn’t one to dangle about. He’s a shoot-first, ask why the goalie saved it later kind of guy. So I don’t think we’ll see a variety of dekes in his future. Nor is his shot on the Kuzmenko level of being a national threat.
But I do think he has more finishing power than ol’ eight saved breakaways a game Motte, so it shall be something to keep an eye on as he rounds back into his final form.
Speaking of Kuzmenko, he was coming off of what was assessed as the best period of his season last game, that being the final frame against Vegas. Saturday night, Kuzmenko was on a line with Boeser and Miller to try and continue that momentum. And while that line didn’t stand out in any particular way to me, that’s a far cry better than having to give a frank assessment of your own personal failure at the end of a game to a morbidly subdued media scrum.
But I do believe it was Rick Tocchet who once uttered, “Spinneth into one man, that is a plan. Spinneth into three bodies? That is too naughty.”
Which is why I kind of cringed when I saw Kuzmenko try and spin his way into three men:
It’s not the worst thing in the world, but when it’s the third period, and you’re giving up possession of the puck without a fight, and the coach has already put you on blast for this kind of stuff, those kinds of plays do stand out a bit more than it would for others.
Which brings us back to Garland, who, if I were the coach of the team, I would give long hugs to him after the game while whispering “thank you for being you” in his ear repeatedly:
Garland is blocking the shooting lane, tracking the puck, and then, when he gets deked, he quickly spins to poke the puck away. Compare Garland’s lunging poke check to Tyler Myers, and the difference in recovery time is clocked in at around 2 hours.
Conor has quickly become one of my favourite Canucks players to watch.
Best attempt at breaking down a goal
It looks like Demko slid quickly to his right and lost his balance a bit, so when he puts his hand down to steady himself, he is no longer anchored into anything resembling reality. It then looks like he keeps trying to decide whether to get up or play the shot, and that’s where you give full credit to Elias Lindholm for pump-faking Demko into paralysis before he calmly makes it 3-2 and dreams of a life outside of Calgary, going so far as to practice the Breakfast Club fist pump he will do when he leaves town and doesn’t look back.
Best express yourself
I like that Rick Tocchet has settled somewhere between no emotion Travis Green and losing his mind Marc Crawford in terms of showing emotion:
Like, he never gets too heated, but he has no problem letting you know he’s extremely disappointed in you as a person.
Best closing ceremonies
With the Canucks closing out the game, it appeared Zadorov got the game’s fourth goal when he sent a hail mary prayer from the corner:
Initially, it was indeed credited to Zadorov, which made for a fantastic story of his first game against his former club, ending with him getting the winner.
But hold on.
Never forget.
Ghost farts.
Best who farted
I went back and forth over this, and with the outcome of this goal making or breaking many a placed bet around the province, it was eventually awarded to Elias Pettersson.
After the goal was scored, Zadorov immediately pointed at Elias to let him know he saw his stick tip it. And he even went out of his way to tell Scott Oake about it. You have to love that from a teammate because if it were me, I would claim it was my goal and then threaten Elias in the locker room after the game if he told anyone about him tipping it. One of those glares where you look at him the entire time as you back out of the room and pray you don’t trip on anything on your way out.
But chalk it up to two ghost points for Elias on the night, as he officially got the first goal ever recorded in Canucks history as assisted by Bebop and Rocksteady. That might be the tallest assist in the club’s history.
Best you said it was over but it was not over
Anytime I drop a Life with Derek reference, I openly question what I’ve done with my life, but here we find ourselves yet again.
The Flames managed to make a game out of it when everyone’s favourite “wtf, why would you do that?” player Noah Juulsen took a penalty for delay of game.
The end result? Three Canucks racing to the point for reasons, leaving Tyler Myers all alone with Demko:
As one would guess, Tyler immediately attempts to run his own goalie, leaving Demko with the only option of “spinning in place and throwing my arm back while praying to Hasek this works.”
It did not work.
That is not a good penalty kill. Three players should not be racing toward the same puck.
Where is a Rick Tocchet head-shaking gif when you need it?
Best holding on for dear life
I wanted to post the video just to show how close it felt like the Flames got to tying the game up.
Hey. The Canucks won. It wasn’t perfect. They got the two points.
But that game didn’t feel like a recipe for consistent success.
With the next game being the Hughes Bowl, it will be interesting to see which Vancouver team shows up.
Best what are you trying to tell me
It should be illegal for that crew to call Canucks games. Having the local team that knows all the storylines? How do you not have them call every Canucks game?
Don’t shortchange this market.
Best troll job
Best throwback hair
I like how the word “crop” hovers over Rick’s hair…
Best jersey Botch
Come on, Fanatics wouldn’t have spelled that name correctly.
Best favor to ask
Look, we all know Coquitlam is horrible.
We all know Surrey is the superior hockey market. So, let’s do the right thing and vote to send Aaron Schwartz to the BCHL All-Star weekend.
His team is tops in the Coastal Conference, and he’s 4th in league scoring.
Let this Eagle soar. Do the right thing. Make him an All-Star.
All it takes is one click, and you’ll be helping me send Aaron to the all-star game AND you’ll be sticking it to Quadrelli.
What more do you need??

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