The Pittsburgh Penguins, now suddenly one of the top defensive teams in the league (I don’t understand this world), rolled into town and took out the hometown Canucks by a score of 3-2.
Was it an interesting game? Not really. Did the Canucks learn any lessons? Probably not. Did Alex Edler break a stick during an important time in the game? You’re god damn right he did.
Let’s hand out some fake awards, shall we?
A little bit of Hansen!
Yes, this is the choice everyone will be making for best Canuck on the night, but he earned it. Realistically, there were probably only around seven minutes of the game tonight that was entertaining to watch. The rest of it was greasy neutral zone play, 40 minutes of live coverage of McDavid’s hospital bed, and Derek Dorsett getting angry at every Pittsburgh player he could find.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 5, 2015
Hansen was the brightest light for the Canucks tonight. If he wasn’t generating chances with his speed, he was working his ass off to retrieve the puck. On one shorthanded shift alone he caused a couple of turnovers and set up a nice offensive chance for Sutter. This was during the early part of the game, too, when offensive chances for the Canucks were harder to find than your breath after looking into Taylor Pyatt’s eyes.
All of that hard work was finally rewarded late in the game when Marc-Andre Fleury decided he was playing a game of NHL 16 and wanted to go for the empty net.
That was one of the worst times to try for an empty net, as he had neither time nor space to pull it off. The Hockey Gods frown upon showing such hubris and they made Fleury pay.
Hansen also had a breakaway earlier in the game that he didn’t score on, which I only mention because we were all thinking it.
So in a game in which Pittsburgh shut down the Twins, Virtanen got sent to bed early without dinner (he made a one handed play with the puck instead of getting it out of the zone, and his fate was sealed, 6:49 of ice time, lowest of any player from either team), Hansen stood out as the most dangerous guy on the ice.
Honorary Nod: Roberto Luongo
big Luongo save late in the 3rd period pic.twitter.com/O4Off0yHXg
— steph (@myregularface) November 5, 2015
I know it has nothing to do with this game, but admit it, it felt good to Luuuuuu one more time.
This was a hard one to choose, because not many Canucks stood out tonight. It was probably a combination of Pittsburgh being a good team (especially compared to the Philadelphia team we saw a game ago) and the Canucks just not playing their greatest game.
Weber got pushed around by Fehr on Pittsburgh’s third goal. Bartkowski forget that the directions East and West exist. Higgins was Higgins. Even Horvat made some uncharacteristic turnovers. You could go on and on and come away feeling pretty bad about the team, which is what happens in low event games like these. Not many good things happen so all of the bad things get magnified. “That game was SO this guy’s fault because of that stupid mistake he made in the third.”
That being said, the brace of the game goes to Jared McCann because he was relied on late in the game to produce offence, and he was a key figure in getting that puck over to Hansen for the Canucks second goal. It’s nice to see Coach Willie show some trust in a rookie late in a close game.
Look at that Hansen gif again:
McCann tries to get a shot off, but it gets blocked. Some guys would just turn and get caught watching the puck, assuming the Penguin player was going to get to it first. McCann, however, immediately starts hunting down the puck, and when the Penguin whiffs on it, in swoops McCann to gobble it up. Not only does McCann get the puck back, but he has the wherewithal to make a brilliant pass down low to Hansen, who then circles around to score the goal.
Those are the kinds of plays that get you excited about a rookie. McCann is thinking the game at an NHL level in the offensive zone right now, and is putting in a top level of effort.
Honorary nod: Dan Hamhuis
This goes to Dan Hamhuis due to him having a solid, quiet game. Maybe if he smiled more, he would have won it. This is on you, Dan.
It doesn’t always have to be a player who gets this award, and never has a non-player deserved it more.
In case you hadn’t heard, Connor McDavid broke his collarbone yesterday. It’s bad enough that he is possibly going to be out “months”. Here is how the reactions from around the world occurred when they heard this news:
Edmonton Fans: “GOD DAMN IT. I hope he heals up fine without any residual effects. I wonder if we’ll get another first overall pick this year?”
Rest of Canada: “GOD DAMN IT. I hope he heals up fine without any residual effects, but I really hope they don’t get another first overall pick this year.”
Jack Eichel: “Please stop talking to me about Connor.”
USA: “Did I pick him in my pool? Nope. OK.”
Rest of the World: “What is this hockey you speak of? Did you mean to say jockey? Like horse racing? Is Connor a jockey? Shoulder injuries are quite common for jockeys, he should be fine.”
TSN and Sportsnet: “OUR WORLD IS ENDING.”
It got so bad that at times 80% of their website was dedicated to Connor McDavid stories:
— wendythirteen (@wendythirteen) November 5, 2015
Now, let’s play the Tim Tebow game. “Does it sell? Does it bring eyes?” Yes. I understand that angle of it, where you want to double down on a big name. It’s annoying as hell, and it’s not the most diverse and entertaining journalism around, but it’s part of the view count world we live in.
What was too much for me was the Sportsnet intermission segment of a Pittsburgh vs Vancouver game, going over the injury. Having the talking heads panel basically ramble on about McDavid. Here is the intro of the segment:
If that alone didn’t get you amped up for this segment, than the part where they discussed how much tolerance to pain McDavid has for picking up his stick after busting his shoulder really took things to a new level.
They then played clips of players they felt fell to the ice rather easily and chuckled about how tough Connor was for picking up his stick, while the rest of these “nambie pambies” (they didn’t use that term, but they were thinking it) fell all over the ice like Bambi learning to walk.
It was like watching a substitute teacher having to give a lesson they were not prepared to give that day and kind of just going off on tangents when they tried to fill in the blanks. They just knew they wanted to talk about McDavid because it was a hot talking point.
“You see, Albert Einstein was really good at math. Look at his hair! He probably didn’t get a lot of sleep. He didn’t fear sleep, he attacked sleep. He didn’t need sleep, he toughed it out. Einstein just had that “it” factor. He should have been made captain of the science team.”
Anyways, I know we are at that dangerous tipping point where complaining about McDavid coverage might become more annoying than the coverage itself, but please, for the love of all that is holy, no more segments during a Canucks game dedicated to Connor McDavid. We’ve suffered through Kypreos segments and Messier segments. We’ve suffered enough. Please stop before you bring out a Chara, Recchi and Bettman panel to give their thoughts on the 2011 Cup Final.
Honorary Nod: Daniel Sedin Takes an Elbow to the Face
It’s not a cross-check to the face, but it is an elbow to the face.
I’m pretty sure that’s the Ascension’s finishing move in the WWE. Danny was shook up on the play, but recovered and walked it off. Connor McDavid probably would have walked it off quicker, though.