Another appearance on Hockey Night in Canada and another dismal performance by the Vancouver Canucks. This one got ugly pretty quickly and was not for the faint of heart.
Although I appreciated the unusually sensitive Hockey Night In Canada Panel making excuses for the Vancouver Canucks all night, the reality is that the team just forgot to show up. The only time Vancouver actually seemed interested was in the third period after Nick Bonino finally cracked Henrik Lundqvist’s goose-egg, but by that point the game was long over.
Almost ready to turn this game off.. Our compete Level is ZERO tonight!!! #vcbcanucks
— Mike Stefanuk (@Mike_Stefanuk) December 14, 2014
The less said about this game the better. So why not grab yet another #Sixpack and try to forget this game ever happened.
— I'm the (@ManCalledIAm) December 14, 2014
Final score: Rangers 5 – Canucks 1
- Nick Bonino (8th goal) – Assisted by Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen
- Ryan McDonagh (1st goal) – Assisted by Jesper Fast and Dominic Moore
- J.T. Miller (3rd goal) – Assisted by Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis
- Mats Zuccarello (5th goal) – Assisted by Rick Nash and Derek Brassard
- Marc Stall (1st goal) – Assisted by Kevin Hayes and Lee Stempniak
- Mats Zuccarello (6th goal) – Assisted by Derek Brassard and Rick Nash
1. The Defence Rests
What in the hell was the team defence doing in the first period? The Rangers scored three goals on three shots, two of which came from 3-1 rushes and the other from a 2-1. I get that a team should be tired coming off a long road trip. But the first ten minutes were just flat out embarrassing.
The Canucks seemed just as stunned, but also neglected to do ANYTHING about it as the defensive breakdowns continued throughout the entire period.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 14, 2014
You could make the argument that the Canucks were just adjusting to the lineup changes that coach Willie Desjardins made for the game. But most of the issues were from the defence making terrible reads and pinching at the wrong time.
But hey, it wasn’t all bad:
Canucks dominating the game 11 shot attempts to just 4 for the Rangers.. (Note: don't look at scoreboard)
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) December 14, 2014
Fortunately for Roger’s Arena concession sales, the Canucks seemed to settle down a little bit as the first period went on which halted the mass exodus that surely would have happened if a fourth Ranger goal happened.
2. Alain Vigneault Was Lovin’ It
If you looked closely at the Ranger’s bench, you could see Alain Vigneault’s reaction to the Vancouver Canucks in the first period:
With a win tonight, Vigneault pushed his record against his former team to 3-0. It’s time for a celebration!
— Tron Funkinblow (@tron_funkinblow) December 14, 2014
3. The Black Knights
Because this game was downright terrible to watch (from a Canucks perspective anyway) I’m going to take a quick time out to talk about the big news that dropped Saturday night regarding the “potential” new team based in Las Vegas.
In an interview with CBC’s
only good analyst Elliotte Friedman, prospective owner Bill Foley discussed how he would prefer his team to be called “The Black Knights” if and when Las Vegas is awarded an NHL team.
Potential Las Vegas NHL owner wants to call his team the "Black Knights". Sorry everyone.
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) December 13, 2014
A little confusing right off the get go, especially considering Las Vegas’ lack of medieval history other than having a casino named “Excalibur”. But as Foley explains, the name goes a little deeper than many have initial assumed:
“I love the name Black Knights because I was a West Point guy, went to Army, it’s close to my heart. And the black knight, many people don’t know this, is actually the good knight. And I think that Black Knights would be a great name.”
Yes of course the Black Knight is actually the good Knight. Unlike that White Knight jerk.
After conducting minimal research (Wikipedia), the Black Night name does have a long tradition within the Army so I completely understand where Foley is coming from on this one. Personally though, I prefer Ryan Biech’s suggestion:
I think a better name for the Las Vegas expansion team would be: Las Vegas 'blacked out last night' #NHL
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) December 14, 2014
However, If Las Vegas is ultimately awarded a team and does goe with “Black Knights” as a name, I think they’ve already got their mascot covered:
Sadly, I’m going to go out on limb and say Martin Lawrence is available for this assignment…
Unless Bad Boys 3 is in the works. Which it apparently is. Huh, go figure.
Sorry Bill Foley.
4. Please Come Back, Dan Hamhuis. Like, Right Now.
It was no secret that the Canucks were fairly thin on defence even with Dan Hamhuis in the lineup. However, ever since Hamhuis went down with his groin injury, it has become glaringly obvious that something needs to be done as the current makeup can’t even keep their heads above water lately.
Kevin Bieksa in particular has been an incomprehensible disaster as of late on a pairing with Luca Sbisa. Both were -4 plus/minus on the night and although plus/minus is necessarily the best statistical measure of one’s performance, the -4 was very well in earned in this situation.
@botchford I guess when Bieksa said he was "going down with the ship" he is now just making sure the ship is going down
— Dean Skead (@DJSkead) December 14, 2014
Depending on how long the Canucks expect Hamhuis to be out of action, General Manager Jim Benning may be forced into make a deal for another defenceman before things get even worse as one more injury on the back end would be devastating.
5. Speaking of Kevin Bieksa…
If there was one player that personified this game, it was unfortunately Kevin Bieksa.
I’m not exactly sure what has happened to Bieksa this year, but along with his defence, his offence has also taken a turn for the worse this season as he has only contributed two goals and three assists after 30 games which is well off his usual pace.
During a time where the Canucks best defenseman is out with a long-term injury, someone has needed to step up and the results on the ice have shown that this hasn’t happened yet. Bieksa has been such an integral part of this defence corps for so many years but it’s becoming apparent that he may not be able to carry the same load his once could.
And by load, I may or may not be referring to Luca Sbisa…
6. Enjoy the Superskills Competition!
The fact that Sunday is the Canuck’s annual Superskills Competition must absolutely kill the coaching staff as you would traditionally bag-skate the living the hell out of your team following a dismal performance.
#Canucks SuperSkills tomorrow? Can't wait for the bagskate event.
— Hosea Cheung | 張梓豪 (@hoseacheung) December 14, 2014
Then again, Willie Desjardins doesn’t really strike me as that kind of coach so maybe they are cool with it. If we want to look at it in a positive way though, a lighthearted and fun event may be a good thing to forget about whatever the hell happened the night before. That’s good for everybody.
Regardless, I will be very interested to see how Desjardins handles this loss and what (if any) adjustments he makes before Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars.