Whew! That was close! After looking forward to watching this game for the last 48 hours, we almost couldn’t find it anywhere on Center Ice. Perhaps needless to say, that would have sucked – it’s hard enough to get through the light VS-friendly schedules on Mondays and Tuesdays. Of course, now that we’re here, we realize we’re going to get to enjoy the insipid stylings of Brian Hayward, and we can’t help but reconsider how badly we want to get to see this game.
Our lead-in on the Ducks feed is talking about Bertuzzi’s return to Vancouver, and we get a look at his mugshot, poorly photoshopped onto a Ducks-orange background. Pookie: “God! He looks in that picture like if Malkin was being played by a two-bit dinner theater actor.”
20:00 You know who we really don’t care about? Todd Bertuzzi. We spend our time between anthem and opening faceoff watching him standing out on the ice while the broadcasters talk about how Butzi was all worried about how the fans were going to treat him, and how the fans cheered him, and blah blah blah. Pookie splutters, “How stupid are Canucks fans that they’re cheering him?” She then buries her face in her hands and mutters, “I need to just let this go.”
18:24 The Getzi line putters around a bit while Hayward informs us that if the Ducks could get some consistent secondary scoring, they’d be harder to match up against. Really? (It never ceases to amaze us how little insight a person needs before they can be considered an “expert”. Thus, we guess, the popularity of bloggers.)
16:47 This game is dead to us: BabyCrunchy has been scratched in favor of Parros. Ahlers platitudes about the lineup, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. We saw the Ducks’ win against the Kings on Sunday, and we can say with some authority, Parros was not the reason that happened.
14:34 Brad Isbister plays for the Canucks? Really? He’s an all-time Pantheon “I’m going on a picnic and I’m packing [name of NHLer, progressing alphabetically]” guy.
13:47 Pookie, on the pace of the Ducks in the offensive zone: “It looks like they’re skating in molasses.” Schnookie, on the quality of the picture: “It looks like they’re skating in molasses two miles away and half their lights have burned out.”
13:05 We get to listen to part of Butzi’s press conference. He said, “I have nothing but good memories that no one can’t take away.” That’s great, Butzi. Most NHL fans, though, all wish they could forget what happened with you in Vancouver.
10:52 Matt Cooke’s line comes out and throws some of the first hits of the evening, prompting the fans to make the first noise we’ve heard from them tonight (Schnookie, moments before: “This sounds like a tennis match”). The Ducks, though, get the puck at the point and turn up for a three-on-two, ending in a Moen shot that Luongo handles easily. The fans chant, “Louuuuuuu.” Pookie: “If we had a player whose name sounded like ‘oooooooo’, I’d totally chant ‘Fonduuuuuuuue with cheddar.’”
8:52 Burrows gets called for interfering on Butzi. We are too busy grumbling about the epidemic of video tributes sweeping the NHL to really notice. Schnookie: “The Devils didn’t give John fucking MacLean a video tribute!” Pookie: “Hell, they won’t even give him a job.”
8:15 Kunitz is a pile of puke, and can’t lift a juicy little rebound over Luongo.
7:02 Oh! There’s play-by-play going on! We suddenly realize our volume is set very low, and remedy the situation. The crowd is not as quiet as we’d originally thought. Sorry, Vancouver fans, for maligning you unjustly.
5:28 The Ducks have apparently taken something like 700 shots on goal, and the broadcasters rave that Luongo has been magnificent. We really can’t say it’s been that much of a clinic, or maybe it’s just not translating on TV that well.
5:21 Hayward tells us that the Vancouver media were amazed at how “lean” Butzi looks now. Cutting back on the steroids will kind of do that for you. (Yeah, we said it!)
5:07 Okay, that seemed like a pretty good save by Luongo on Pahlsson’s backhand. Pookie: “It seems like the Ducks are only willing to shoot on backhands.”
3:30 One of the Sedins (Pinky? The Brain? Who knows?) tries to set things up with a cross-crease pass, but Pronger apparently bats it out of the air. It’s hard for us to tell, though, because the camera is so far back it’s like we’re watching this from the Goodyear Blimp.
1:56 We realize we’re being really grouchy, and Pookie posits it’s because the game started with all that Bertuzzi crap.
1:26 Ohhh… exciting. Parros and Cowan jaw at each other at center ice. We get to see Pierre McGuire looking self-satisfied between the benches, probably reporting to his TSN cohorts that he can hear what the two are saying to each other. Because really, what could be more privileged information than the conversation between those two?
0:47 McDonald gets a point-blank shot after Willie Bitchell turns the puck over practically in the crease.
0:00 Hayward tells us at the buzzer that “this has been an outstanding period by Anaheim”, since they had a 15-5 shot advantage. We’ll buy that. It all seemed pretty “meh” to us. And we don’t like Butzi any more now than we did 20 minutes of hockey ago.
Why can’t more teams do stuff like this? We get a short little feature which “Prime Ticket” tries to tell us is called “How Well Do You Know Your Teammates?” but which the graphic screen says is “Do U Know?” It is little locker-room interviewy snippets of various Ducks picking their moodiest teammate, letting us know who’s the first guy to fall asleep on the plane, and so on. Brad May (Brad May!) endears himself to us by hammily having an impossible time naming all five Americans on the team. This feature is going a long way toward making us less cranky. It’s not that hard, NHL teams!
Also making us less cranky? The Ocean County High School of the Arts (or something like that) advertises during hockey games.
18:33 Schnookie, watching the teams mill about the neutral zone: “I like the Ducks more when they’re wearing black.”
18:07 Schnookie: “I know what’s wrong with this game!” Pookie: “There’s no fire exit?” (The correct answer was, “There are too many arched ‘Vancouver’s all over the place.”)
17:42 We are informed about how Sami Salo gets headaches from his new metal face when his blood pressure gets elevated, so he has to monitor that and keep his shifts short. Wowza.
17:09 A bit of profoundly lazy team D by Vancouver yields a semi-break for Butzi. He hits the glass with his shot.
16:40 It’s Swedesational! Daniel Sedin sets up Naslund in front while the Ducks have the wrong line out against them, and Naslund kisses his shot in off a bit of goalpost. 1-0 Canucks. (Schnookie asks the room which Sedin is #22. Boomer: “He’s The Sedin. The other one is A Sedin.” It is fairly obvious our announcers tonight don’t know which is which either.)
13:07 Parros and May combine for a massively ineffectual attempt at gaining the Canucks zone. That wouldn’t have happened if BabyCrunchy hadn’t been a healthy scratch tonight.
12:10 Giggy is forced to make a blocker save on Burrows after the Parros-led fourth line gets pinned for ages in their own zone. Again, this wouldn’t be happening if BabyCrunchy was out there. (Okay, it might be. Shut up.)
11:35 Sutherby and Isbister have one of those hugging match/fight things.
10:57 Perry gets called for holding the stick. Hayward tells us, very slowly, as if we are kindergarteners, that “You have to be very alert against this power play.” Fantastic! It’s like Peter McNab lite!
9:04 Pookie suddenly starts shrieking, “Ah! His socks are falling down! It’s awful!” Schnookie: “Who is it?” Pookie: “I don’t know… Eight, I think?” Boomer: “I can’t read any of Vancouver’s numbers! They’re all just white blurs!” Pookie: “And yet, I could still see his sock falling down. That’s how bad it was.”
7:58 We come back from commercial to a graphic informing us that 32.5% of the Ducks’ offense has come from their blueline. We can only imagine the Devils have gotten .003% of their offense from the blueline.
7:35 Getzi gets called for interference after a Canuck operatically embellishes the play. We admire how neat Getzi is in the penalty box, carefully placing the water bottle back in its caddy even though he’s really miffed at the call.
7:30 O’Donnell does what we remember best of him from last year’s playoffs – putting his team down two men.
7:22 Kesler punches home a short-range rebound to put the Canucks up 2-0. He is then pushed to the ice during his celebration by a cross-check to his back by Pronger, and after two ticky-tacky penalties on the Ducks, that goes uncalled. Even the Ducks announcers are appalled. We really don’t hate Pronger – that would be too fun. The problem with Pronger is that he just makes us feel low for being hockey fans. He’s like a one man version of this year’s Flyers – it’s not entertaining, it’s not amusing to debate, it’s not enjoyable to dislike. It merely leaves us feeling ashamed and a little bit dirty that we’re fans of this sport.
3:27 After the Ducks got a moderate semblance of puck possession for a few minutes in response to the goals, Cooke tips a point shot in for a 3-0 lead, and we take no small pleasure in the fact that Pronger is stuck helplessly slapping at the puck after it comes out of the net, having been the guy who let Cooke drift unchecked in front of the net in the first place.
3:13 Getzi is unable to get the puck on net after Luongo leaves a big rebound on a Perry shot from the goal line. The fans are too busy chanting “Pronger!” to notice. Hayward blows our minds by saying the reputation of Luongo just made Getzi miss his shot. Pookie: “I don’t know… I might have to watch some game tapes of the Devils playing Hasek back in his Buffalo days before I’ll believe that.”
1:24 A scrum breaks out at the side of Luongo’s net when the fourth lines take to the ice. As the officials sort out he penalties, we get a look at the Ducks bench, and Pookie declares, “The way Bertuzzi’s eyes were just moving was like they were eyeballs on a table. It was creepy.” Parros ends up with the extra penalty.
0:51 Hey! It’s like clockwork when we’re watching him – O’Donnell puts his team down two men on a gentle little push that the officials call a cross-check. Hayward loses his mind over this, and fairly so, because O’Donnell didn’t really do anything wrong. However, seconds before the O’Donnell “infraction”, Niedermayer punched one of the Sedins in the kidney with the butt end and side of his stick. Pookie: “If I was a Ducks fan at this game, I’d throw a mouse pad about that, but I’d attach it to a string so I could pull it back, because they still deserve to be down two men on that one.”
0:00 The Ducks announcers bitterly send us to intermission grousing about how the Ducks had the better of the play in the first period, but are now losing by a lot. They are blaming the officials, needless to say. We mentally review the calls in this frame and conclude that the officials really only missed one dive on the Canucks and then two cross-checks by the Ducks. So… good work, zebras.
No fun and games this intermission. Just an interview with The Brat and what we can only assume is some talking-head blather about the anniversary of Gordie Howe’s 1,000th point. If we wanted to see that we’d be watching Devils games!
19:23 The building goes up when Pronger bats an airborne puck over the glass and he gets called for delay of game. Pronger complains that he’s just too tall not to fling the puck over the glass, and it’s not his fault the glass is so short compared to him. Oh, no, wait. That’s his elbowing excuse. In this case he whines that the puck hit the glass going up.
17:47 The Canucks are mustering very little on this man advantage, but just as the announcers bitch that this is their sixth power play to the Ducks’ one, Getzi gets called for boarding. Once in the box, Getzi slams his stick against the glass and shouts some expletives, earning himself another minor for unsportsmanlike. Hayward’s head explodes with comical peevishness.
17:16 Giggy makes a great side-to-side stop on a Sedin-Kesler combination. Ahlers wonders aloud how long the Ducks have been on the PK now, and Pookie obviouses, “Then stop taking penalties.”
16:40 The Ducks get a two-on-one that ends in a bad pass from Marchant to Moen, while Ahlers grumbles that Pronger flipped the puck on his delay of game penalty, and that often doesn’t get called. Right. The method used when clearing the puck clean over the glass is really the deciding factor on those calls.
15:22 Giggy catches a point shot and one of the Sedins jostles him, causing Giggy to come up swinging with his glove at Sedin’s face. Sedin gets a minor for goalie interference, and O’Donnell is tagged for cross-checking, just for good measure.
14:55 Cooke laces a great pass to unleash Kesler slicing in between the Ducks D, and Kesler beats Giggy with a lovely, leaning, one-footed shot. 4-0 Canucks. We enjoy our director’s choice to give us a glimpse of a glowering Getzi in the penalty box.
12:59 The Ducks fail to gain the Canucks’ blue line and our announcers try to keep our interest by promising that the Anaheim players are trying to demonstrate “energy” to impress Carlyle, and that they aren’t just going to “play out the string” here tonight. Guys, it’s garbage time. We all know it.
12:08 We come back from commercial to see Giggy sipping sweatily from his juice box on the bench, having been replaced by Hiller.
11:46 Sutherby brings his mad Capitals scoring touch to the game, jumping on a rebound and skittering a bad-angle shot through Luongo’s crease. Hayward tries to tell us it was an incredible save by Luongo, but replay shows he just got a bit of stick on the puck to slow it down on its trajectory away from the net.
10:20 Ahlers pointedly says, “You find it interesting when only one penalty is called in the first period on both teams, and then things change a little.” Dude, if your team stopped committing so many penalties, the Canucks wouldn’t have had so many power plays. It’s not rocket surgery.
8:35 Kesler is too fancy for his own fancy-pants, swaggering around one Ducks defender, then trying to toe drag around another before running himself out of real estate and blindly throwing a cross-crease pass to no one. Well, the whole sequence started out with a bang, if nothing else.
5:42 Kunitz shows up for a little rush (too little, too late, Ducks!) and Luongo easily blockers his shot aside. Hayward tells us that it’s looked “effortless” for Luongo tonight. No kidding. It’s because he didn’t have to do any work for this shutout. This has hardly been an offensive juggernaut launching itself at him.
4:34 Wait, the Sedins are brothers???
3:44 Oh, why the hell not? Schneider interferes with Cooke as they jostle toward a puck in the corner. It is darkly mentioned to us that this is the ninth straight penalty against the Ducks. Since the parade of penalties started (on a play that deserved an even-up to Kesler, admittedly), the Ducks have not once done anything that warranted drawing a penalty. What are these guys complaining about?
2:44 All kinds of scrumtitude breaks out in front when the Ducks pile onto Cooke after he taps at Hiller in pursuit of a covered puck. While the penalties are being sorted out, Ahlers floats the radical notion that the Ducks’ reputation might be preceding them. Pronger ends up getting the extra minor here, putting the Canucks up two men again. (Our director gets in some hilarious editorializing while the announcers talk at length about how “the extra penalty, the one that puts you down two men” has been killer for the Ducks tonight – we are given a long, unwavering look at O’Donnell standing around and wondering when he can next be a huge detriment to his own team.)
1:42 Burrows gets called for holding. So quit your bellyaching, Ducks announcers!
0:50 Sedin gets hooked by Hnidy on a breakaway, and, well, why wouldn’t this happen? We get a penalty shot. The most exciting play yields a billion dekey moves by Sedin, a stationary Hiller, and no real shot as the puck rolls off Sedin’s stick. Pookie: “I can’t decide if that was great sportsmanship or really poor sportsmanship.”
0:00 Huh. That’ll learn us to eagerly anticipate Ducks-Canucks games.