Canucks and Beyond

And the Oscar Goes to... the Canucks!

10/22/2007 at 12:25am EDT

A 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. And while others will likely object, I thought it was a brilliant performance.

First Act: The Canucks are competent and steady, earning a 2 goal lead.
Second Act: The Canucks are replaced by characters from the movie “Dazed & Confused.”

This is followed by coach Alain Vigneault hyperventilating foul language inside the Canucks’ dressing room—until spittle has sprayed down the front of his $1,200 Italian suit and he develops a twitch—which leads to…

Third Act: The Canucks win.

Game #7 was The Feel Good Edition of the season. I mean it. But as in all feel good movies, the second act of the performance demanded the threat of tragedy in order to sell the big finale.

The dramatic accomplishments of the Vancouver Canucks in that 2nd period simply cannot be overstated. They were oh-so-tricky and impressive.

Consider this:

  • they were outshot 14-0 in that 20 minutes
  • they were outshot 24-6 total in the first 40 minutes
  • they collected 6 minor penalties in that 2nd period
  • they had 2 scoreless powerplays of their own that 2nd period (and remember - ZERO shots)
  • they ultimately did not register a single shot for about half the length of the game

Now, people with no imagination would watch large portions of that game and think to themselves, “Wow, these guys are horrible.” But those people would be wrong because they failed to consider that it was all an act.

That’s right. A performance.‘Twas all a cleverly devised plan to confuse the Blue Jackets into thinking they could spank Vancouver like some kind of Czech/Canadian weed-whacker in a field full of daisies and Swedes. But ultimately, the Canucks left them sputtering and fetal.I sort of saw this coming, really. This is, after all, The Canucks Way™—a bunch of schizophrenic lunatics dedicated to causing their fans as much grief and stress as possible.The fact that is was on pay-per-view—and we had to PAY for this experience—only makes my argument more sound. What better way to encourage us to launch empty bottles into the television set and scream obscenities than to actually CHARGE us to watch it?And more proof can be seen in the way the team won. Consider the unlikely characters—the underdogs of the moment—who pulled this game out of the bonfire.

  • Curtis Sanford— He’d not started a game before Sunday for this team, so he probably doesn’t fear the goalie-graveyard (that all goalies not named Luongo eventually go to in Vancouver) as much as he should. He’d have been hung from the rafters if he’d had a bad outing, but instead he stole the show.

    While the Canucks were following their clever plan of seeming to suck (but not really) Sanford’s own clever plan was to disguise himself as Roberto Luongo. (*Luongo scares the crap out of the BJ’s, apparently).

    The result was 35 saves on 36 shots, pretty much playing all by himself for 30 minutes.

Kevin Bieksa— Coming off some games where he looked like he was skating with a severed spinal column, he pulls off the game winning goal. His first of the year.

Markus Naslund— Now, Nazzy has been building his “cover” as a sucking player for more than a full season (or at least that’s what you’d think listening to people whine about him all the time). But this year he’s looked every bit like his old self, and his insurance goal in the 3rd was a beauty.

Patience with the puck and style in the execution— what more could we ask for? (Well, about 50 more actually…)

Ryan Kesler— Who was that masked man? Holy hell, he was good during long streaks of this game. The result was two well-deserved goals.

Monday night it’s time to face Carolina and I’m predicting the Canucks repeat their “act” for the southerners. We’ll just have to hope they’re good enough actors to steal the show yet again.

But I’m optimistic—they’re clearly excellent performers. I don’t know about everyone else, but there were moments during that Columbus game I almost believed Vancouver sucked.

An Oscar-worthy performance. They almost had me fooled.

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