Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Flames: Hig in the City" - Canucks vs. Flames recap


1. Wake Up
2. Put on Jersey
3. Check Calendar
4. Smile

It's finally November Canucks fans, get fired up. Although the slutty boot industry might consider that to be bad news, if you've followed the Canucks well... ever, you know that October is a rough one. They don't open well. Simple as that.

(It's one of the many things they have in common with this jar).

The Canucks renewed an old but always heated intense rivalry with the Calgary Flames last night, and it was full of welcome sights for Canuck nation. Solid two way play, sharp goaltending (when it was required), a tenacious power play and just the right amount of luck were on tap and the Canucks pounded the Flames to the tune of 5-1. Flames stars Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Mikka Kiprusoff and Olli Jokinen looked terrible all night and although we've had similar problems with our big guns, I never tire of seeing opposing players struggle.

(Future Picture: Olli Jokinen on Nov. 30th. He is not good at mustaches)

Much has been made about how brutal the Canucks are in October and how Luongo takes a 31 day sabbatical from getting in front of rubber but looking back on it, I don't see the panic. I mentioned it early because it is customary to celebrate November 1st in Vancouver but seriously...


("No, I'm not going to trade everyone. Next question!")

A .500 record to start the season is perfectly fine. If the season lasted from Oct-Dec, by all means freak out. I'll grab a torch and lead the charge. We didn't do much better last year. You remember last year right? Presidents Trophy? Cup Finals? #1 ranked team in most offensive and defensive categories? Best season we've ever had?

Yep, all that was born out of a 4-3-2 record in the first month of the season.

Still, it's nice to open up October giving the fans a good ol' fashioned butt-whuppin' in Cow-Town. The Canuck onslaught came early when Chris Hi--

(Gah! So tenacious.)

--gins opened up the scoring with a delectable backhanded move on a breakaway. Not sure if a move has ever been called that, but for the sake of record keeping, let's assume it hasn't. After that goal, Alex Burrows got a real blue collar goal, shoveling a crease laden puck into a gaping net after getting knocked on his ass. You've gotta love that type of goal. Guy gets knocked down, stays in the play, gets it done.

("He lounges, he scores!")

After Daniel Sedin scored on the PP (which was working, finally), "L'il Sabretooth" Cody Hodgson stepped up again and scored the fourth goal banking in a cross ice pass from Maxim Lapierre that I'm fairly certain went across the entire city of Calgary.

(What the fourth goal of the night looked like to me)

Alex Edler scored from a deflected point shot (because that is what he does now) and the Canucks had a 5-0 lead... all the way until the late stages of the game when the Alex Tanguay finally put one past Luongo (and the goalposts) to make it 5-1 and to give the home fans something to cheer about. They were booing a lot all night, to which I say:

"It's a long season Calgary, save some of that booing for March".

Final Thoughts:

Even in this game, which was a solid effort for the most part (Calgary's ineptitude really meshed well with our laziness late in the game) there were still some things that seemed a fraction of a second off. Some errant passes and near misses that will come in time. Kesler still has yet to make a significant impact after returning from hip surgery, but he has looked better and better each game. David Booth showcased his killer speed early and got the Canucks a power play. That man is going to get his game in gear and be a huge star for this team. Long term chemistry needs to be developed and the window in which the second line's opportunities are being missed are closing rapidly with each game. If you want second line points for Christmas, you are gonna get them. That line is going to have a HUGE December. Mark my words (unless of course I'm wrong, then I will double back here and erase this).

(It is only a matter of time)

This is exactly how the Canucks need to play. We spent the entire span of Luongo's first contract leaning on him and hoping he would steal games for us. He did some nights, other nights? Not so much. He struggled this October but he was not the only problem. The team played dreadfully in front of him. One member of our top defensive pairing posting a -9 rating doesn't get enough attention.

But against Calgary, with some fortuitous bounces off the post, Luongo was sharp when called upon, the team played well in front of him and the Canucks got a decisive win.

I'm just gonna copy/paste that last sentence to each post all season. It looks like this team is starting to get it's stuff together. I expect to say that a lot. (I will probably change the word "Calgary" though, otherwise it would get pretty confusing except for the 17 times we play them).

Thanks for Reading

- jB

j.Bowman is very twitter. So twitter it hurts. @jbowmancouver

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