With Daniel Wagner taking the night off, for what seems like the first time all season, he asked me to do the honors for the game against the Kings.
And you know when you do a favor for a friend, like help them move, and it ends up taking two days, instead of one? That's what having to watch this game felt like. Like for some reason, I was being punished for my good deed. It was if Daniel came along and shoved me down the stairs while I was trying to get his armoire into his van and laughed cynically at me.
But yes, just a day after recapping the Canucks being shutout by the Coyotes, I got to watch the Kings shutout the Canucks in what Travis Green talked about before the game as "big boy" hockey, to which Pierre LeBrun gleefully nodded along to.
And big boy hockey it was, as the Kings trounced the Canucks 3-0, despite the Canucks trying their best to score. And they did, the Canucks really did try their hardest. They just can't score. They really, truly can't score a goal to save their lives so you can't even get mad at them. You just kind of get sad for everyone involved.
Ever since Brock Boeser went down, it's been like The Office when Michael Scott left. Sure, they tried to keep it going for a while after he was gone, but the heart was missing, and everyone knew the show had to end. It's not quite as bad as when Eric left That 70's Show, because at least they're trying, but man, this was some ugly hockey.
I watched this game.
- Dr. Drew sang the American anthem for the game, which kind of weirded me out. He was the guy from the radio show Loveline, co-hosted with Adam Carolla, where they handed out relationship advice in an era before googling everything on the internet was the agreed upon direction for sexually inquisitive youths.
- There was also a guy who looked like Tormund Giantsbane who was running the penalty box, which was probably the highlight of the first period. You might be wondering why Dr. Drew and Tormund are being highlighted in this article, but you have to remember, the Canucks can't score goals anymore. Dr. Drew and Game of Throne references are all we have now.
- Also, if you liked hot mics, the amount of f-bombs/60 dropped during this game was at an elite level not seen since the days of Burrows and Kesler in their prime.
- Full credit to the Whitecaps for their savvy promotion, offering free tickets to a Whitecaps game anytime the Canucks scored. They accidentally left out the Lucille Bluth wink, but we all knew what they were doing. Not since Safeway's Million Dollar Score and Win have we seen a contest so safe from having an actual winner.
Our friends at the @Canucks play in LA tonight..— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) March 13, 2018
And we host LA Galaxy at home next Saturday, March 24...
So, we're thinking it's the perfect time to do a ticket giveaway 🙌
Every time the #Canucks score a goal tonight, watch our feed for a chance to win a pair! #VWFC
- They showed a clip before the game started of a game the Canucks play called "Last puck", wherein the team gathers around the backup goalie on the night and has to score a goal on him before they leave the ice. The Canucks couldn't score. The lights eventually had to be turned off to get them off the ice. This is called "foreshadowing" in the biz.
- With Jussi Jokinen getting the night off, Goldobin started the game with the Twins. This might seem like an odd pairing, as Goldy has shown himself to be more of a playmaker, and adding another passer to the Twins seems like adding more milk to your milk instead of putting in cereal, but hey, at least it wasn't Jokinen. Nothing against Jussi, mind you, but I think we can all agree we'd rather watch the younger players get more ice time.
- That being said, Goldobin didn't have much of an impact with the Twins, which led to Coach Green getting out his line blender, re-uniting Goldy with pals Leipsic and Horvat. Then he left the blender on and Goldy was replaced on that line by Virtanen in the third. Goldy did look his best playing with Horvat, for what it’s worth.
- Jake Virtanen continued his string of good but not great games. Not great in that he didn't score (the ultimate "goal" if you will), but good in that he continues to be one of the Canucks best skaters on the ice. Whether it's gaining the zone with the puck, creating chances on net, or throwing a hit or two here and there, Jake Virtanen is on a solid run recently.
- The vaunted Hutton and Pouliot combo had an average game at the Corsis (48.57% at evens), but visually, had themselves a stinker. The first goal saw Hutton pinch in deep, and neither the forward or Pouliot did anything to cover for this, which led to a Kings breakaway goal. The last vision you saw was Pouliot skating to catch up, hooking away at Toffoli, only to drown in a bath of red goal light.
- The third goal saw Hutton and Pouliot fail to get the puck out of the zone, which allowed Tanner Pearson to waltz in all alone on Nilsson, dragging the puck across the crease like he was playing NHL '95, as he put the game on ice. Basically if you're a big fan of Hutton or Pouliot maybe stay off the message boards tonight.
- Admittedly not many people would enjoy playing in Brock Boeser's shadow, but none are feeling it more than Sam Gagner. Brought onto the team to provide offense, it makes sense to put him in a spot to try and replace some of Boeser's offense. Alas, he has served up muffin after muffin like he's running a bakery in downtown Vancouver. He is starting to get that Jayson Megna/X-Pac heat from the fans. Tonight Gagner had a wide open net and put the puck high and wide, a small window into the sad, shattered world that Boeser left behind. "Boeser would have scored there" was repeated often tonight.
- Stecher had an own goal to make it 2-0. It was a pretty great tip, but he's from Richmond, so we can give it a pass.
- Erik Gudbranson and Alex Edler continue to be the Canucks best defensive pair on the team. Tonight they were by far the most solid pairing, and whether it's due to Edler being a good d-man who can elevate his partner, or if Erik is just refining his game to be a much safer, smarter game, they certainly earned the top ice time amongst d-men on the night. Obviously Gudbranson has a big hill to climb to get out of the pits of despair in Vancouver, but at least he's been on an upward trend recently.
- Tyler Motte started the game in the prime spot with Leipsic and Horvat and would go on to bomb in the Corsi wars. He was eventually yanked off that line and put up a 33% Corsi at evens to finish the night, the dirt worst on the team. And if stats aren't your thing, don't worry, the eye test showcased a game that didn't stand out either.
- Archibald took out Dustin Brown and continues to be one of the bright spots for the Canucks this season, in terms of hard work and physicality. Providing a physical presence, the odd goal here and there, and for a reasonable price, it's almost like you don't have to overpay for a 4th line guy.