Canucks post-game #sixpack - the devastating Stamkos effect

Dec 19 2017, 8:28 pm

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins was asked Friday night what he thought of Saturday’s matchup against Tampa Bay.

His response:

“It’ll be a tough game for sure, but it’ll be our chance to show we’re a good team.”

Chance blown, I guess. The Canucks lost 4-2 to the Lightning, but before you cancel your seasons tickets – oh wait, everyone in Vancouver already did that this summer – Vancouver wasn’t completely embarrassed.

Outclassed by Stamkos, yes, but Tampa Bay? Not really.

1. The Stamkos effect

Steven Stamkos didn’t take long to show why he’s one of the two or three most exciting players in the NHL – he scored on a breakaway just 53 seconds into the game…


It was on his third point of the game – an assist to Ryan Callahan – where he showed how powerful his reputation is. You can see the goal here:


What you should notice is that Nick Bonino, the Canucks’ centre comes back to try to cover Stamkos. Bonino’s a step behind, and Alex Edler sees the game’s most dangerous goalscorer coming in and realizes he better do something. So Edler leaves his assignment and goes to him.

Of course, this creates a problem for Chris Tanev who doesn’t know who to cover – Valterri Filpulla or Callahan. Tanev goes to Filpulla – which is the right move since he’s in front of the net – leaving Callahan wide open…

And you can see the result.

Now it’s way too easy to say Edler screwed up here. But look, if Edler hadn’t stepped up on Stamkos, there’s a very good chance he walks in and scores his hat-trick goal right there.

It’s the Stamkos effect, and it’s hypnotizing.

2. Desjardins keeps his word

Before Friday’s game against Edmonton, Desjardins was secretive about who’d start the weekend’s back-to-back games. The goalies knew, but he didn’t want the opposition to know whether to prepare for Ryan Miller or Eddie Lack.

What Desjardins did say was “there’s a good chance you’ll see both” goalies over the course of the weekend.

After Miller’s shutout against Edmonton, a bunch of fans wanted Desjardins to call an audible and start Miller again on Saturday. Even Canucks’ colour commentator, and ex-player, Dave Tomlinson said he’d have gone back-to-back with Miller.

Luckily (for the team and the fans), Desjardins kept his word. Imagine if he had gone back to Miller today – how would Lack (or any of the players for that matter) ever know if Desjardins would stick to his word down the road?

Desjardins would have lost the team’s trust with that decision.

Of course, Henrik Sedin didn’t help Lack’s in his first minute of regular season action…

Off topic, but Morrison’s right. The goalie controversy many have predicted won’t happen if Lack doesn’t bounce back. Chances are he’ll be fine, considering he won’t be facing Stamkos for a long time.

3. Elliotte’s message for Canucks fans

As Canucks fans were settling onto their couches for the game, we saw the Toronto-Detroit game headed to overtime and we panicked, thinking we’d miss the start of our game. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had a nice response on behalf of his network:

That was nice, but even better was his reply to my interpretation of his tweet:

4. Theory on the end of the sellout streak

Canucks seasons ticket holders received an email Friday telling them the team’s sell-out streak would be ending at 474 straight games on Saturday.

Weird thing for Canucks fans is it seemed like old news – most people thought the streak had ended long ago and the Canucks were somehow fudging the numbers to keep the official streak going. This is what I mean:

Blake Price wrote a tweet, which I responded to:

Sean’s response really made me think, though… he’s right – this is Trevor Linden stepping up and deciding to stop covering up the lack of sellouts…

Why would he do that? Couple of thoughts:

First, they need to sell more tickets. It’s pretty damn hard to make a plea to fans when they can spit back in your face “But I thought every game is sold out?”

Second, if Linden and Benning (and the Aquilini’s are surely involved in this too) achieve their goals, they’ll be selling out the Arena again at some point. When that happens, they’ll want to be able to say, “Lo and behold, we have brought the franchise back from the depressing pathetic state of affairs left by Mike Gillis!”

To be able to do that, they have to expose the empty seats.

So yeah, I have conspiracy theories. They’re good ones, though, right?

5. HNIC improves…

Last week, I wrote a scathing review of Hockey Night in Canada’s debut on Rogers Sportsnet. From the comments and replies, I was apparently not alone in my disappointment.

So this week, I tuned in again at 3:30 p.m. PST, eager to catch another horribly choreographed pre-game show. Unfortunately, there was a problem…

I found myself enthralled by Stephen Brunt’s piece on Örnsköldsvik, Sweden – the town that has produced Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, the Sedins, and Viktor Hedman amongst others.

Aside: the four players, asked to name what about the town helped them acheive their success, all gave credit to coach Anders Melinder. When Melinder was asked the secret, his response: “Water, midnight sun, whatever you call it – no, that’s not it. Hard work – that’s it.” I mention this because it gives great insight into who set the example for the never-ending humility the above-named Swedes unwaveringly display.

Then there was the pre-game montage.

Yeah… Brett’s probably right.

6. Tweet of the game

First of all, honourable mention to the tweets from Brett and Sean above. Very well done. Another guy I want to mention, just for his sheer dogged determination is @Mike_Stefanuk.

But they didn’t win the gift certificate for the Charles Bar today. The winner:

That tweet was on point like HNIC’s opening montage. Maybe this win will take the negativity out of Taj for a few days?

Note: thanks to @myregularface for providing .gifs of the goals.

00:53 TBL Steven Stamkos (4) ASST: Ondrej Palat (1)
07:15 VAN Chris Higgins (1) ASST: Nick Bonino (1), Alexander Edler (2)
08:26 TBL Steven Stamkos (5) ASST: Ryan Callahan (2), Ondrej Palat (2)
02:42 VAN PPG – Alexander Edler (1) ASST: Daniel Sedin (6), Kevin Bieksa (1)
16:48 TBL PPG – Ryan Callahan (3) ASST: Steven Stamkos (2), Jason Garrison (1)
06:04 TBL Alex Killorn (2) ASST: Tyler Johnson (2), Anton Stralman (4)

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