Saturday, November 26, 2005
So it'd be an understatement to say I've neglected the start of the Sonics' season over the past few weeks. Last year, I was unemployed and in Bremerton with no Canuck action due to the NHL lockout. What I did have was a cable connection with FSNNW and the ability to watch 70-plus Sonic games during that season which surprised and captivated me and many others throughout the state of Washington.
This year, I'm employed and in Virginia Beach with no NBA League Pass, and the games would be at 10pm and 10:30pm, making it that much tougher to follow them. Still, I read articles whenever I can, and I pull up some KJR on the internet every once in a while, so I try to keep somewhat of a pulse on what's going on with the green and gold.
In a schedule form, here's how they've done, game to game.
2: L 101-93 vs. LAC
4: W 107-102 (OT) vs. MIN
8: L 94-69 at MEM
9: L 112-85 at CLE
11: L 137-96 at WSH
13: W 126-121 (OT) at TOR
15: L 109-99 at NJ
16: W 113-100 at BOS
18: W 98-84 vs. CHI
20: W 106-104 vs. SAC
22: L 93-87 vs. UTA
24: L 108-96 at LAK
26: L 105-99 vs. NOK
The schedule makers once again put the Sonics on the road for a six-game east coast swing in November, just like last season. This year's Sonics lost the first three on that road trip, but won two of the final three on the trip, giving at least some indication that maybe the ship would be righted a bit after losing four of five to start the season.
On the ridiculously obvious level, there's no Nate McMillan coaching the team. There's no Dwane Casey as an assistant coach, and his efforts were greatly instrumental in what last year's Sonic team achieved. On a lesser level, Dean Demopoulos followed McMillan to Portland and is now his lead assistant coach.
Also gone is the motivation that McMillan used with a team of nine free-agents-to-be. Ray Allen definitely got paid, as well he should have. Vladimir Radmanovic was a bit ill-advised in not taking the nice offer the Sonics had put onto the table.
The other obvious thing is that there were some departures. Jerome James and the garbage bag cape left, sure, and he had his moments last year, but he was mostly inconsistent up until the home game last year against Detroit. He did give you a 7-footer with six fouls though. An even bigger departure, though, was Antonio Daniels. I pretty much knew after Game 6 of the series against the Spurs had ended along with the season that Daniels was out the door. The Sonics would miss his energy off the bench and surehandedness when Luke Ridnour was busy being young on the floor and not running the point as smoothly.
A double-whammy of new personnel additions to fill the departures, injuries during the preseason, and a new head coach, and there definitely would be some sort of adjustment period even when everyone got healthy. The first few regular season games had Bob Weiss wrestling with his rotations and really having no feel for them whatsoever. Two of the new additions that were supposed to fill the void in some fashion were Rick Brunson (backup for Luke Ridnour) and Mikki Moore (fill some minutes left by Jerome James). Brunson has played in one game for the Sonics so far, and Moore played in just his third game today. This team also started Johan Petro at center on Opening Night, which wouldn't be such a big deal if he wasn't the Frenchman they just drafted last summer.
I'm not sure what the bright spots on this team are so far, though it appears Reggie Evans would be one of the few who is holding his end of the bargain. There's the eternal question of "who will be a third scorer?" after Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The problem is that there have been nights where one of those two is off, and then the onus is on someone else to step up, which is greatly hit-or-miss. Luke Ridnour and Nick Collison had a couple of good games in the recent stretch where the team won four of five. Radmanovic up until the last couple games has been erratic. Ron Murray isn't taking advantage of all the minutes that Daniels freed up (and that Brunson hasn't been healthy enough to take). Murray's been disappointing to such a level that Weiss is playing last year's practice all-star and team player rep Mateen Cleaves for a spark off the bench. Damien Wilkins for the most part hasn't played like the Damien Wilkins that gave the Sonics a new dimension in the last few weeks of last season and in the playoffs.
You see, I could spout off about how the coaching is different, how the mix of players is different, how the players' roles aren't clearly defined, how Radmanovic shooting his mouth about playing time really wouldn't have gone over well in Nate McMillan's locker room, and how if Bob Weiss doesn't succeed here, you can probably put it on Ray Allen and a few of the players because they gave Weiss their blessing, but for the most part it's all smoke, though it all figures in to the equation.
The Sonics are 5-8 and mediocre and inconsistent after 13 games because of one thing...one big thing.
THIS TEAM CAN'T DEFEND.
They won't get much further until they do. They've allowed over 100 points in 10 of their 13 games, for goodness' sake. That's inexcusable. The Sonics themselves, despite their offensive firepower, have broken the century mark in only four games out of their 13. That's the blatantly obvious way of putting it.
[posted in full Sat 3 Dec ~3p]
The Phoenix Coyotes (or the Fighting Gretzkys/Gretzkies) came into this tilt having won five of their last six games. In other news, their red tops remind me a lot of the sweaters they had the Soviet team wear in the movie Miracle.
A pass to Sean O'Donnell in the high slot led to a one-timer that was lasered into the net on Alex Auld's stick side. It was O'Donnell's first goal in 63 games and marked the ninth time in 11 games and the 11th in the last 14 games where the Canucks had surrendered the first goal of the game.
»» 1, PHOENIX, Sean O'Donnell 1 (Mike Johnson, Ladislav Nagy) 2:05
»» COYOTES 1, CANUCKS 0
Jamie Lundmark blasted a slap shot from the right point that was deflected into the net low on Auld's glove side by Ladislav Nagy.
»» 2, PHOENIX, powerplay, Ladislav Nagy 8 (Jamie Lundmark, Paul Mara) 11:30
»» COYOTES 2, CANUCKS 0
Later, Jarkko Ruutu stole a puck and centered to Richard Park on the doorstep, but he fired wide. Lundmark hammered Brendan Morrison after the final horn, and pleasantries were exchanged between various players on both teams before heading back to the dressing rooms. Vancouver outshot the Coyotes 13-9 in the period. The Canucks were 0-for-2 on the power play while Phoenix was 1-for-2.
With 16:46 to go, Ed Jovanovski was wiped out in front of the Phoenix net, and Curtis Joseph made one of many crazy stops, the main shot being by Sami Salo, and maybe another off a rebound attempt. At the 13:56 mark, Keith Ballard was crushed behind his own goal line by Jarkko Ruutu on a penalty kill. Just over six minutes into the period, Richard Park moved with the puck across the blue line but had his head down, and Keith Ballard absolutely creamed him. A punishing clean hit, yes, but afterward, Bryan Allen started throwing a bunch of rights at Ballard and Jarkko Ruutu pinned Shane Doan to the ice after Ruutu had originally gone after Ballard. With 9:24 to go, Ed Jovanovski flew into Denis Gauthier deep in the Phoenix end. With about 6:53 to go, Gauthier took the puck behind his own net but was taken down by Ruutu. Ruutu got the puck out front to Ryan Kesler, who was absolutely robbedf by Joseph, and Ballard came back out front to stop a shot off the rebound by Park. The Canucks outshot the Coyotes 13-5 in the period and had a 26-14 lead in that department after 40 minutes of play. The Canucks were 0-for-2 on the power play (0-for-4 overall) while Phoenix was 0-for-3 (1-for-5).
At 5:34 into the period, Shane Doan was tripped up on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, but was held out by Auld on a five-hole attempt. Past the halfway point of the period, Anson Carter intercepted a pass in the Phoenix end and streaked down the left side, putting the puck past Joseph's glove side.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Anson Carter 7 (unassisted) 10:57
»» COYOTES 2, CANUCKS 1
Two late penalties on Henrik Sedin (trip at 13:51, the third straight time Vancouver had taken themselves off a power play with a penalty) and Markus Naslund (hook at 18:17) really did not help the Canucks' chances of getting the equalizer. Phoenix outshot the Canucks 10-9 in the period (Vancouver 35-24 overall). The Canucks were 0-for-2 on the power play while Phoenix was 0-for-4. Vancouver finished 0-for-6 on the power play while Phoenix was 1-for-9.
Three stars -- (1) Phoenix's Sean O'Donnell, (2) Phoenix's Curtis Joseph, (3) Phoenix's Keith Ballard
[The NHL.com scoresheet has the stars flipped from what I heard on the radio broadcast, but either way it's bull because Curtis Joseph should have been the first star.]
The Canucks once again suffered a slow start. The Phoenix Coyotes stayed red hot, winning their sixth of seven games, this time on the back of Curtis Joseph, who definitely has something left, stopping 34 shots, quite a few of them great shots.
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks were 22-for-50 (44%). Brendan Morrison was 6-for-14, Trevor Linden was 2-for-5, Ryan Kesler was 5-for-12, Henrik Sedin was 8-for-14, and Todd Bertuzzi was 1-for-4. Ed Jovanovski led the team in shots with five. Bertuzzi dished out a whopping six hits while Jarkko Ruutu followed along with four. Bryan Allen blocked three shots.
Bryan Allen and Daniel Sedin were the only plus skaters for the Canucks, both at plus-1. Mattias Ohlund and Markus Naslund were the only minus skaters for the Canucks, both at minus-1. All other skaters were even.
The Canucks are now down to 15-7-2, still good for 32 points and a one-point Northwest Division lead with a game in hand over the Calgary Flames. A win over these Coyotes in this game coupled with a San Jose win over Detroit would have tied the Canucks and the Red Wings for the Western Conference lead with 34 points, and the Canucks have beaten the Red Wings twice. There's no rest for the Canucks, however, as they travel to Denver for a game on Sunday night.
Anyway, 2004 Bremerton graduate Marvin Williams played a paltry 12 minutes off the bench, scoring three points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field and 1-for-2 shooting from the line. He grabbed two rebounds, both on offense. He was also whistled for two fouls.
The Hawks on Sunday host another young team, the Nate McMillan-coached Portland Trail Blazers.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
[posted in full Fri ~10:13p]
With a win, the Canucks would sweep their two-game laundry stop and would have won five of six. But could they do it against a team hungry for a win after losing seven straight? Further, could they overcome their tendency of starting games slowly? Alex Auld would get another start due to Dan Cloutier suffering a knee sprain in the penalty-fest against Anaheim.
Sven Butenschon was called up from Manitoba for the game, as was goalie Rob McVicar, who dressed as the backup for Alex Auld. Dan Cloutier was out with a knee sprain.
The game started out in a fairly sluggish fashion. With 1:19 left in a Richard Park penalty, Mattias Ohlund put a high-stick onto Jonathan Cheechoo's nose, putting the Canucks down two men. Grant Stevenson had a shot from near the goal line on the left side stopped, and the rebound trickled out to the right hash, where Tom Preissing slapped it onto the net, but it was stopped as well. Seattle Thunderbird alum Patrick Marleau got the rebound of Preissing's shot and roofed it over Auld's glove.
»» 1, SAN JOSE, powerplay, Patrick Marleau 10 (Tom Preissing, Grant Stevenson) 8:28
»» SHARKS 1, CANUCKS 0
The Canucks did manage to kill off the remaining 1:41 of Ohlund's penalty. The Sharks nearly led 2-0 not long after, but Cheechoo couldn't bury the puck on a good chance. The pace of the game slowly picked up. Ryan Kesler was horse-collared by one of the Sharks, but there was no call. Ohlund later put a big hit on Alyn McCauley. Todd Bertuzzi battled for the puck and used some moves to bear down on the net, but Evgeni Nabokov pokechecked him after he got in too deep. Kesler was later hit hard by Scott Davison. Vancouver was outshot 7-6 in the period. San Jose was 1-for-2 on the power play, and no penalties were called on the Sharks.
Mark Smith was called for an early hook. On the resulting power play, Brendan Morrison had a shot miss the net, which set off Canuck radio color man Tom Larscheid, who disgustedly said, "you have to hit the net on the power play!" Markus Naslund had a wrister stopped and covered later in the shift. The power play went away, but a couple minutes later, Brendan Morrison dished from the top of the left circle to Todd Bertuzzi to the left of the slot. Bertuzzi didn't have the puck long, but had it long enough to dish a nifty pass to Wade Brookbank on the doorstep. Brookbank was set up nicely and put it through easily over Nabokov's glove side. Brookbank was the last of the Canuck regular players to hit the scoresheet this season.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Wade Brookbank 1 (Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison) 6:43
»» SHARKS 1, CANUCKS 1
Anson Carter was checked from behind on a nice chance on a rush with the Sedins. A trip was later called on the called-up Sven Butenschon, though the fans wanted a dive on the player he tripped. The Canucks killed off the penalty, and also killed off a penalty where Cheechoo was high-stuck in the nose once again, this time by Naslund. Bertuzzi nearly got loose, but got in too deep once again with his shot, and other members of the top line failed to bury the rebound. The Canucks outshot the Sharks 5-4 in the period (shots 11 apiece through two periods). The Sharks were 0-for-2 on the power play in the period (1-for-4 overall), and the Canucks were 0-for-1 on their only power play chance of the game in the first 40 minutes.
The Canucks yielded an early goal. Stevenson passed from the goal line on the left side to Marco Sturm in front of the net, who did touch the puck, but definitely didn't get much of it and mostly whiffed. Auld had played for a shot from Sturm, but never got it. The puck leaked behind Sturm to Marcel Goc, who put it over a prone Auld to give the Sharks an early third-period lead.
»» 3, SAN JOSE, Marcel Goc 6 (Marco Sturm, Stevenson) 1:57
»» SHARKS 2, CANUCKS 1
Todd Bertuzzi chased a dump-in along the left-wing boards and came back out, backhanding a pass through a couple of defenders and onto the tape of Naslund to the right of the slot, who one-timed it past Nabokov on the short side. If you notice the time of this goal, after John Ashbridge's announcement, radio play-by-play man John Shorthouse exclaimed, "oh, thank heaven!"
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 14 (Bertuzzi, Brookbank) 7:11
»» SHARKS 2, CANUCKS 2
Henrik Sedin came toward the net on a rush with Scott Hannan draped on him and had his shot stopped by Nabokov, who kept sliding to his left, leaving the net wide open for Anson Carter, who easily potted the puck. Hannan had fallen after trying to defend Henrik, and he slid into and knocked off the net (and ran into Nabokov) as Carter buried the puck. The puck went through after the net was knocked off, but different rules now exist when pertaining to a situation such as this. In this case, there was no way the Sharks could have kept the puck out of the net even if the net was not knocked off, and it was also a San Jose defender that had knocked the goal off its pegs rather than an offensive player. The play was signaled a goal on ice originally by referee Kerry Fraser, though it did eventually go upstairs and to the league offices in Toronto for review. The goal was given, and the Canucks had the lead.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Anson Carter 6 (Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin) 8:06
»» CANUCKS 3, SHARKS 2
A few minutes later, Bertuzzi was called for a phantom goalie interference penalty. On the ensuing power play, the mother of all penalty kills took place as Auld stood on his head in the Vancouver net, making great stops on at least three and possibly four chances from the Sharks that very well could have been goals. These chances were by a combination of Marleau, Cheechoo, and Milan Michalek. With 1:06 left, Goc threw a puck on the net that both he and Scott Thornton went into the net, but it wasn't signaled a goal on the ice, and apparently the whistle had blown. Regardless, the feed was sent upstairs and to Toronto as well, much like the Carter goal. Unlike the Carter goal, Goc wasn't awarded a goal. With Nabokov pulled for an extra attacker, Brendan Morrison won the next two faceoffs to greatly help the Canucks hold the lead in the final minute-plus. The Canucks were outshot 11-9 in the period and 22-20 overall. Both teams were 0-for-1 in the power play in the period. San Jose went 1-for-5 total on the power play while the Canucks were unsuccessful on their only two power plays.
Three stars -- (1) Ohlund, (2) Bertuzzi, (3) San Jose's Patrick Marleau
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1
General consensus after this game was that the first 40 minutes or so was absolutely boring. At least there weren't 33 penalties called. Seven were called, five on Vancouver.
This team can get some grand playoff positioning if they manage to get Dan Cloutier and Alex Auld both healthy for a prolonged period of time. It's goaltending like Auld's display on that third-period penalty kill that can get a team like this a long way. The Canucks got that kind of play from their backup goalie. That's grand. Now if they could just get their third and fourth lines warmed up a little bit on the scoresheet, they'd really have something. Wade Brookbank is among the bottom lines of the skaters (wasn't playing blue line in this game), but he was on the ice with two-thirds of the big line.
The Canucks got a rare advantage in the faceoff circle, winning 27 of 52 (52%). Brendan Morrison was a superb 12-for-18, Trevor Linden was 7-for-13, Ryan Kesler was 3-for-6, and Henrik Sedin held up the bad end, going 4-for-13. Ed Jovanovski dished out four hits. Brookbank and Todd Bertuzzi dished out a trio of hits apiece. Mattias Ohlund blocked four shots. Jovanovski blocked three.
Plus-1 skaters included Bryan Allen, Morrison, Daniel Sedin, Brookbank, Henrik Sedin, Todd Bertuzzi, and Anson Carter. Plus-2 skaters included Ohlund and Nolan Baumgartner. The only minus skater was Sven Butenschon at minus-1. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The Canucks have won five of six and are 15-6-2 overall, good for 32 points and a two-point Northwest Division lead over the Calgary Flames with a game in hand. The Canucks are 10-1 at home on the season.
In 20 minutes off the bench, Bremerton 2004 graduate Marvin Williams scored six points on 1-for-3 shooting from the floor and was perfect on four attempts from the free-throw line. He also grabbed two rebounds (both on offense) and recorded a steal and was whistled for two fouls.
Next up for Atlanta is a home game against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow night.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
[posted in full Fri ~7:19p]
The Canucks came back from the 2-of-3 road trip to nab a home win against the Blackhawks. Of course, that's what should have happened anyway. They took care of business.
Alex Auld was in net for the Canucks. Dan Cloutier had sprained his knee in the Anaheim game. Josh Green was demoted to Manitoba and Nathan Smith was called up for some fourth-line duty. This game also flowed much more smoothly than the game in Anaheim two nights before.
In the final minute of the period, Kyle Calder came out from the end boards and skated to the left hash, where he flung a pass to Mark Bell beside the right faceoff dot. Bell beat Alex Auld high glove.
»» 1, CHICAGO, Mark Bell 8 (Kyle Calder, Rene Bourque) 19:04
»» BLACKHAWKS 1, CANUCKS 0
The Canucks were outshot 11-9 in the first period. They had the only power play of the period, and didn't manage to cash in.
Jassen Cullimore went to the box for a trip with about three minutes gone in the period. On the resulting power play, Brendan Morrison in front of the net dished off to Markus Naslund beside the left dot, who wristed the puck past Nikolai Khabibulin.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 13 (Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi) 4:09
»» BLACKHAWKS 1, CANUCKS 1
Jarkko Ruutu tipped the puck into the right-wing corner, where Ryan Kesler and Jaroslav Spacek battled for the puck. Kesler must have lost control of the puck, which went off the back side of the net and leaked out in front of the goal line, where Kesler jabbed it in past Khabibulin, who looked crossed up, thinking the puck was going to come out from the other side of the net. Either way, it put the Canucks up 2-1.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 3 (Richard Park, Jarkko Ruutu) 5:17
With 6:17 left in the period, Vancouver's top line was on the ice and Naslund lost the puck as he crossed the blue line. Play quickly went the other way as Spacek passed across the ice to Matthew Barnaby, who had a clear path to the net after Nolan Baumgartner fell down trying to defend him on the rush. Barnaby skated in on the net and Auld made one mother of a right pad save.
»» CANUCKS 2, BLACKHAWKS 1
Vancouver again was outshot in the period, this time by a 14-7 margin (25-16 total). Chicago went scoreless on their only power play, whereas the Canucks were 1-for-3 (1-for-4 total).
The Canucks looked to add to the lead. Daniel Sedin and Anson Carter battled with some Blackhawks along the end boards for the puck, and Carter came out with it on the other side of the net. Instead of a wraparound attempt, he passed to Henrik Sedin on the back door. Henrik beat Khabibulin easily since the latter had overcommitted to Carter on a wraparound shot that never happened, leaving a yawning cage.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 6 (Anson Carter, Daniel Sedin) 16:56
»» CANUCKS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1
Chicago again outshot the Canucks 8-6 in the period, and ended with a 33-22 advantage on shots. Amazingly, no penalties were called in the third period. Vancouver ended 1-for-4 on the power play while Chicago was scoreless on their only power play. Auld stopped 32 of 33 shots.
Three stars -- (1) Kesler, (2) Chicago's Mark Bell, (3) Auld
H Sedin 1-0-1
D Sedin 0-1-1
There were definitely less penalties in this game than in the joke of a game in Anaheim on Tuesday night. Only five penalties were called in this game, much less than 33. Oddly, this game was only 14 minutes faster than the Anaheim game in terms of elapsed time. However, I venture to say this game was 14 billion times easier to watch.
Vancouver was 23-for-54 (43%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 8-for-16, Trevor Linden was 0-for-3, Ryan Kesler was 6-for-13, Nathan Smith was 3-for-9, Henrik Sedin was 6-for-11, and Todd Bertuzzi was 0-for-2.
The big-liners were on the minus side of the ledger in this game. Minus skaters (all minus-1) included Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski. Plus-1 skaters were Sami Salo, Richard Park, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jarkko Ruutu, and Anson Carter. Mattias Ohlund was the only plus-2. All other skaters were even.
The Canucks are now 14-6-2, good for 30 points in the standings and a two-point Northwest Division lead with a game in hand over the Calgary Flames. They have a five-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche, who have played one less game.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I don't want to sound greedy about an 8-2 team that has a four-game division lead, but can we never have to go through that again?
The 49ers had the ball for 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. The Seahawks had it for the remaining five. Needless to say, that's generally not good. Of course, that means the defense was on the field way too much. The good thing was that they got the last final stop of the day that mattered. The bad news was that they were getting extremely porous, which was and wasn't their fault.
The Seahawk offense moved the sticks zero times in the fourth quarter. Talk about a nail-biter. They went three-and-out every time they had the ball in the final frame. Three times they punted, but luckily the last time was three knees to end the game.
Again, I may be sounding greedy, but I was hoping the number of Seahawk first downs in the fourth quarter and number of interceptions against Ken Dorsey would be a number other than zero, but alas, that isn't the case here.
I'm looking at the drive chart, and that fumble recovery turned out to loom a lot larger than it seemed at the time. The Seahawks only got two yards further and kicked a field goal. If they find the end zone there, probably no last-minute craziness to end the game.
I guess the good thing is that this should be a ticked-off team heading into practice this week. There's definitely some room for improvement going into next week's home game against the Giants. This one's big, folks. It's big. It's especially big if you know any Giant fans and want to rub it into their faces.
Not that I have a personal connection with that last statement or anything.
[posted in full Fri ~5:58p]
The Canucks looked to achieve a more consistent game and try to get a better start out of the gate. They also looked to grab a second win out of the three-game road trip. To put it concisely, they batted .500.
Sure, it was a win, but most fans will remember this game as a complete sham -- you could put any word after the word "phantom" and the players were getting whistled for it. Phantom goalie interference, phantom charge, phantom hooking, you name it. To what degree was this happening? There were 33 penalties called in the game. There supposedly wasn't a direct correlation, but the NHL live SuperStats counter was down for most of the game and still hasn't been fully tallied for the whole game.
Steve McCarthy, Matt Cooke, and Tyler Bouck were injury scratches for Vancouver. Jason Marshall, François Beauchemin, and Corey Perry (member of that crazy London Knights OHL team from last year) were scratches for Anaheim.
Already called for two penalties in the first seven minutes, Sami Salo was sent to the box for hooking with 63 seconds left in Ed Jovanovski's holding minor. Dan Cloutier made a number of good stops while on the penalty kill, and Anaheim was held scoreless. There was even strength play for four whole seconds until Bryan Allen was called for a trip. Cloutier made a glove save on a Ruslan Salei one-timer, then got miffed at Rob Niedermayer for camping out in the crease and went right at him, getting in a couple of blows. The Canucks got a break when Rob was issued minors for both goalie interference and roughing. Joffrey Lupul bumped into Cloutier and then got into a scrap with Mattias Ohlund. Like the fate with Rob Niedermayer, Lupul was hit with goalie interference as well as roughing, whereas Ohlund was tagged only with the roughing penalty. Trevor Linden had an open net but put the puck wide on a rebound, though he was checked. Linden had a streak of 11 games without a point coming into this game. Salo had a slap shot stopped, and Todd Bertuzzi was stopped on a rebound as well. With a first Lupul penalty having not expired yet, Scott Niedermayer went to the box for a cross check. This meant the Canucks were up for a full two minutes' worth of 5-on-3 play since Lupul was to be in the box for 36 seconds after Scott's penalty had expired. Vancouver capitalized just after Scott Niedermayer's penalty expired. Henrik Sedin from the right hashes passed to Salo, who shot straight ahead from the blue line to beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Giguere wasn't totally healthy coming into the game, and he was pulled for Ilya Bryzgalov after this goal.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Sami Salo 5 (Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin) 15:05
»» CANUCKS 1, MIGHTY DUCKS 0
One more penalty per side was called for the remainder of the period. Vancouver outshot Anaheim 14-11. Both teams are listed as 0-for-5 on the power play for the period, but since we can only trust the scoresheet so much for this game (and since Lupul was still in the box), and since it was announced in the arena as a power play goal, we'll say the Canucks were 1-for-5 on the power play. The Ducks were definitely 0-for-5 on the power play in the period.
Cloutier made a big stop on Travis Moen. Concurrent penalties were issued at the 9:34 mark, with the Canucks getting the bad end of what Anaheim got in the first period. Moen went off for roughing, as did Jarkko Ruutu, but Bryan Allen had gone off for holding as well. With traffic in front, Andy McDonald wristed a puck off the post and into the net from the right hash as Nolan Baumgartner couldn't quite wipe out the screen of Jonathan Hedstrom.
»» 2, ANAHEIM, powerplay, Andy McDonald 7 (Ruslan Salei, Sandis Ozolinsh) 11:18
»» MIGHTY DUCKS 1, CANUCKS 1
There's been some debate as to whether Linden was actually hooked on a shorthanded rush near the end of the period. Linden reiterates that an opposing stick met his glove. Either way, Linden was given a penalty shot that occurred after the final horn of the period. He went in with a forehand and deked to the backhand, putting it past Bryzgalov stick side. Linden's 11-game pointless streak had ended.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, shorthanded/penalty shot, Trevor Linden 2 (penalty shot) 20:00
»» CANUCKS 2, MIGHTY DUCKS 1
The Canucks were outshot 10-9 in the period but were ahead 23-22 in shots after 40 minutes. The Canucks were 0-for-3 on the power play while the Ducks cashed in, going 1-for-3. The Canucks were 1-for-8 on the power play after two periods while Anaheim was 1-for-9. Ed Jovanovski had gone off for hooking and an unsportsmanlike conduct in the final minute, and the Canucks had some penalty killing to do to start off the third period.
It didn't take long for the Ducks to tie the game. Rob Niedermayer put a puck on the net from the right hash that hit Allen under his arm and trickled through Cloutier's pads and into the net. John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid on the Canuck radio broadcast couldn't believe the puck got through.
»» 4, ANAHEIM, powerplay, Rob Niedermayer 4 (Petr Sykora, Scott Niedermayer) 0:47
»» MIGHTY DUCKS 2, CANUCKS 2
Bryzgalov got in a big save on Bertuzzi. Salo snapped a shot from just inside the blue line through a four-man lot of traffic in front (Salei, Scott Niedermayer, Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison) and through Bryzgalov.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Salo 6 (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 12:12
»» CANUCKS 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 2
With just over two minutes left in the game, Daniel Sedin hit a post on a 3-on-2 rush. The Ducks really didn't help themselves when Vancouver was able to goad Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer into roughing penalties with 24 seconds left. With some scoring punch having gone off for penalties, the Canucks were able to more easily hold the lead regardless of extra attackers and whatnot. Vancouver was 0-for-2 on the power play in the final frame while the Ducks made good on their only power play of the period. Vancouver was 1-for-10 for the game on the man advantage while the Ducks were 2-for-10. Vancouver was outshot 12-6 in the final frame and 33-29 overall. Cloutier stopped 31 of 33 shots.
Three stars -- (1) Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer, (2) Salo, (3) Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1
I'm almost glad I was asleep for most of the second period. I took the video from the goal reel at NHL.com to provide more detail for the goals, but I'm glad I didn't have to waste more than one of the five senses watching this game. What were the officials trying to prove? Could you imagine if you took a kid to his first hockey game and he/she had to see this game where the whole game was spent on special teams and whistles were flying left and right? I know there have been some games this year where more penalties have been called than usual, and maye there was a little less flow in the game and everything, but this one had absolutely no flow.
Dan Cloutier encountered a knee sprain some time in the game.
I think the NHL superstats for faceoffs look passable, so I'll unleash them. The Canucks were 26-for-60 (44%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 7-for-15, Trevor Linden was 2-for-3, Ryan Kesler was 3-for-8, Henrik Sedin was 5-for-16 (ouch), Josh Green was 5-for-6 (good), and Todd Bertuzzi was 2-for-5. Plus-minus isn't too hard to figure out. They've given Trevor Linden a plus-1 mark for the penalty shot (I guess the actual instance was 1-on-1 as opposed to the shorthanded situation when he was hooked), and everyone on the ice for the only even-strength goal of the game was a plus-1, and that included Bryan Allen, Sami Salo, Markus Naslund, Bertuzzi, and Morrison.
After taking two of three on the road trip, the Canucks are now 13-6-2, good for 28 points and a two-point Northwest Division lead over the Calgary Flames, over whom the Canucks have a game in hand.
So what we're hoping for is an easy game in San Francisco, obviously.
But hey, since I'm not posting anything else for the rest of the night, I figured I'd put this up. Let the thread begin. Yeah, I figure I'll move up the post time even though it's about 4p Pacific on Saturday as I type this...
I already miss the Seahawks beating the Cardinals though. It's fun to sweep the Cardinals. It's more fun sweeping the Rams.
Anyway, yeah, here's the thread.