You might see 4-1 Jets and think the Canucks stunk it up. Especially considering they went 1-4-2 on the road trip.
Truth is it was a pretty even game, which is more impressive than you think given the Jets’ size. Shots were 33-30 Winnipeg and Vancouver had a couple of glorious chances to tie the game on the power play midway through the third.
But that didn’t happen. Burrows was mauled by Adam Pardy on the first (it should’ve been a penalty), and on the next a Sedin hit the goalie on a great slap-pass-shot.
That Jets size was something, though. To me, the Jets are the dirty, completely-undisciplined twin brother of the St. Louis Blues.
Just imagine the damage they’d do if they got it together.
That the Canucks hung with them was remarkable. It showed how motivated they were coming into the game (1-3-2 on the trip prior).
Unfortunately, the Jets were also motivated, going 1-6-1 in their last eight. Something had to give, and the only way Vancouver could’ve won is if they scored on their power plays.
They went 1-5 which was not nearly good enough and the inevitable occurred – the Jets took over and didn’t look back.
1. Grenier can stay
Let’s start with a positive, and no I’m not going to bother showing the loner lap. Alex Grenier gave us a lot more to talk about than that in his NHL debut.
Grenier was noticeable from his first shift. Is that because he’s 6′-5″ and took up most of the TV screen? Possibly.
Here’s Utica coach Travis Green on Grenier from a radio interview earlier Wednesday:
“It’s funny, just after practice yesterday we were in the coach’s room and I made a comment that Grenier’s ready to be called up…
“Our first year, we saw a big guy who could skate and stickhandle but really played like a 5′-10” guy, wanted to play a perimeter game and play the half wall on the power play and didn’t want to work hard enough.
“He’s developed now into a guy who works really hard. When he’s playing his best, he plays a straight line power forward game.”
Against Winnipeg, Grenier showed he had puck skills and he used his size to help him get from point A to point B without any trouble.
Check out his second shift.
He had the confidence to loop around in the neutral zone, conduct his own dump and chase, and eventually take possession of the puck, easily holding off the opponent until he passed the puck to McCann for a scoring chance.
Look, while Shinkaruk has to get a real shot and it would be great if Baertschi gets stronger so he can use his puck skills, Grenier should be on the team ahead of either right now.
2. Quick Jensen update
Since I included Green’s comments on Grenier, I wanted you to see what he said about Nick Jensen too. (That’s right – he’s alive)
“Jens came back last weekend and scored a goal in his first game back…
“I really like the way Jens looks compared to years past. He’s more direct in his game. He’s got a maturity about him I haven’t seen the last few years. I think he understands how he has to play.”
Another prospect coming out of nowhere and showing he’s ready to make the jump? This rebuild might not take so long after…
Oh yeah, 1-4-2 on the road trip.
Good nickname, though – Jens.
3. Sbisa gets… love?
All the talk about missing Luca Sbisa has been astounding.
Were they talking about the same player who was universally despised by every single Canucks fan last season?
The same guy who walked into a restaurant in Vancouver, said his name was Luca, and heard the host say “Isn’t that the same name as that crappy new Canucks player?” (as told by Ebner).
Well, he finally returned after missing eight games Wednesday and he wasted no time in letting us know he was back.
As soon as he got back on the ice after his penalty, he had to answer the bell for his hit on Ehlers, and the fight, if you could call it that, probably left bells ringing.
Unfortunately he had to leave the game after two periods, likely as a result of playing too physically.
Wait, did I just say it was unfortunate Sbisa had to leave?
Weird. And I wasn’t alone. Look at how forgiving Twitter was.
@omarcanuck And that's what you have to like about him. Yes, he has his faults, but he gives all he's got.
— Brian Knotts (@brianknotts) November 19, 2015
Be patient with me – it’s all a little hard to accept.
4. Turning on Bartkowski
Don’t worry – there’s a new defenceman to ostracize.
Actually, there could’ve been a couple on Wednesday. Dan Hamhuis had his moments like this one (by moments I mean complete disasters).
Scheifele puts the Jets up 3-1 (and now they're up 4-1 with an empty net goal) pic.twitter.com/e2fx5P21ds
— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 19, 2015
Bartkowski, though. He had more than moments. He had an entire game.
On the second Jets goal he was the goat (if goats are really really bad at hockey).
Bartkowski had two chances to clear the puck along the boards, he didn’t. Then he waved his stick at Stafford as he put the puck in the net.
another angle of the Stafford go-ahead goal pic.twitter.com/W5DDQqJ7yc
— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 19, 2015
In the third, Bartkowki was sent on a two-on-one with Henrik Sedin and he… did nothing. No shot, no pass, nothing.
The puck must’ve been bouncing, I thought. The defenceman must’ve been right on top of him, I thought.
Watched the play again – neither happened. How he didn’t pass that puck is beyond me.
Great skater, though.
5. Nice trip for Miller
When we come to the end of the season it’ll be interesting to see what this, the longest road trip of the season, will be remembered for.
Will it be considered the road trip from hell? (Which is funny, in a pathetic way, considering the soft opponents Vancouver faced).
Will it be the two weeks that cost the Canucks a playoff spot?
Or will it be remembered as the time the real Ryan Miller finally returned?
This is the Miller many expected. The one who had tons to say when he was with Buffalo, and who wouldn’t deal with the media in St. Louis.
On the Miller road trip, he called out his teammates after a loss, got into a war of words with Ray Ferraro over goalie equipment, and then questioned what the league was turning into after a Hansen goal was waived off and people asked if he was interfered with on another one.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how players on your local team are being looked at in other cities, and I have to admit, I didn’t realize what a mark Miller was making until earlier Wednesday.
First, with Jim Benning on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290, the hosts asked him about Ryan Miller’s outspokenness.
“He’s a passionate guy. He’s smart and he’s competitive, so he’ll let you know if you say something and he doesn’t agree with what you’re thinking. He’ll give you the way he thinks about things.”
Then in the intro to Sportsnet’s Wednesday night hockey they basically did a top-10 Miller lashes out segment.
It took a year, but Miller might fill that media-darling void Torts left after all.
One more quote on Miller from Benning:
“In the first month, he was our best player and he’s the reason we were off to a real good start. He gives us a chance to win every night.”
He was 0-5-1 on the trip.
6. The roadtrip summarized
Want to tell your friends what happened to the Canucks on this seven game road trip? Show them Edler’s attempt at hitting Paluso.
Still not getting it? Maybe Hansen’s half-assed punches on Byfuglien are more symbolic of their effort over the seven games.
Byfuglien didn’t even notice them…
Like a few teams with the Canucks on the road trip.