The Canucks took out the Flyers to the tune of four to one last night, led by Bo Horvat and his band of Lost Boys (Virtanen is Rufio? Virtanen is Rufio.)
The Flyers aren’t exactly world beaters this season, sporting one of the worst offences (not to mention the mess of a defense) in the league, but you couldn’t help but be nervous on a night when the Vancouver Grizzlies were being honoured. You kind of worried that the sporting spirits of Bryant Reeves, Benoit Benjamin, and Blue Edwards would rise from the ground and cause the Canucks to stumble.
Of course, that didn’t come to fruition, so now we can sit back and revel in all the glory that is known as the fake awards of the ABCs. Who stepped up? Who fell short? Was Super Grizz at the game?? All your answers and more, await you.
Sometimes when I hand out awards, I try and embrace my Kitsilano hipster side, and pick something off of the beaten path. To try and be different and prove to myself that I am a unique snowflake, damn it. I want to give you guys something new to read rather than what everyone else is jotting down.
But on a night when the local kid played perhaps his best NHL game, and got his first goal, I had to go with Jake Virtanen. I apologize if this will be your fourteenth article reading about Jake, but the kid deserves it.
Up until this game, Jake had been playing to earn a spot on the team, and get past that scary “10 games played” mark that signals one year off of his ELC (thus lessening the logic of sending him back to juniors). He had been doing this by essentially being the Terminator on the ice. He would pick out several targets throughout the night, and he would assassinate them with the cold, quick efficiency of Radim Vrbata smiling.
You want hits? He’s got your hits.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 2, 2015
Now yesterday the Canucks had revealed McCann and Virtanen had made the team “officially”, and it seemed to light a fire under Jake’s ass. Queue Eminem’s Lose Yourself.
Jake came out looking determined to score a goal tonight, to prove that the coaching staff had made the right call. He came oh so close to getting one early on:
Would it have been a greasy goal? Sure, but he’s from Abbotsford, that’s an Abbotsford kind of goal.
Despite the agony of missing out on his first goal, Jake puts his head down and continues to get his chances. It looks like he’s actually taking a break from all of the on ice murder to focus on getting a goal. Then, it happens.
That’s just a nice goal right there. Chips it by the opposition, uses his speed to break in on net, and makes a nice move to get the goalie moving, and puts it home. That’s a first goal you don’t have to lie about to the kids. “Well you see I beat 18 guys on the ice, and I was wearing an onion on my belt, as was the fashion at the time…”
Also, Jake murders people even when he’s barely trying:
Jake is pretty much trying to dump the puck in and go for a line change, and he accidentally runs over the better Schenn. Season 3 of Fargo is going to be about how he ran over five players in a game and didn’t even realize until he got home, and now he has to hide the bodies.
Hey, I wanted to pick something else too (unique snowflake and all) but again, Bo Horvat earned the underrated player (brace) of the game.
It’s no secret Horvat has had trouble scoring this year. He’s had his chances, and he’s been working really hard along the boards (which has been a godsend in creating some room for Baertschi), but the goals haven’t been coming.
For example, tonight he had another driving play to the net where he showed off his speed, but just missed out on finishing:
But as they tell you in hockey, if you’re not scoring, it’s a good sign if you’re getting chances, and those chances finally paid off:
Not the prettiest goal, it’s more of an Abbotsford type goal, but hey, they all count. And it came from Horvat working hard and always driving to the net.
For a team that has seen its fair share of perimeter players over the years, it’s always going to be appreciated by the home crowd when you see a guy working hard every game like Bo does, going to those dirty areas.
Also, he and Baertschi hooked up to send in Hansen all alone, allowing Hansen to give a nice, polite, “FU” to those who mock his breakaway skills.
“How do you like me now, internet?” (Imagine that being said in his Beaker voice)
— Østyn Farmer (@OstynCade) November 3, 2015
Having a sip of Dad’s beer at a sporting event is a time honored tradition.
Is it kind of weird that the kid doesn’t grimace at the taste? Yes.
Does part of you wonder if that kid is downing the beer and handing the empty to Dad? Of course.
Regardless, it’s still a great catch from Ostyn Farmer. Good eye!
Grizzlies Night Naysayers
Being cynical online is a very easy thing to do. We say something snarky, we get a laugh, we repeat the process. Hell, I do it all the time.
But I have to say, I applaud the Canucks for trying to do something fun to celebrate the history of Rogers Arena. Sure, there aren’t a ton of victorious memories there, but it’s still our history, damn it.
Case in point, the Vancouver Grizzlies. Some people were confused by the idea of Vancouver celebrating a team that was a) objectively awful and b) had left town without looking back. Flyers beat writers were especially confused.
They're honoring Shareef Abdur-Rahim at a hockey game for his playing days as a basketball player for a team that now plays in Memphis.
— Jeff Neiburg (@Jeff_Neiburg) November 3, 2015
The "Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team" is "back." They're dancing in the aisles. The Grizzlies have been in Memphis since 2001.
— Jeff Neiburg (@Jeff_Neiburg) November 3, 2015
Other people felt the reception to Grizzlies Night was luke warm at best.
I say, have fun with it Vancouver. Yes, the Grizzlies were awful, but it’s kind of nice to give one last cheer to Shareef Abdur-Rahim, one of the few NBA players who didn’t actively hate his time in the city.
It’s nice to see the Grizzlies Cheer Squad do some routines in the stands. It’s a nice nod to our sporting past, and it allows us to show appreciation for those people who served this city years ago.
Did Super Grizz leave us high and dry? Of course he did, but he’s always been the most arrogant Vancouver mascot, that should come as no surprise.
What we should do is try to put aside our internet cynicism and just enjoy it for what it is, a trip down memory lane. We have plenty more nights coming up celebrating Rogers Arena’s past, so we might as well try and enjoy ourselves.
Besides, they’re bringing The Clapper back later this year! The Clapper! How can you not love that.