All The Kings’ Men
It took 10 long months but the Canucks were finally back in the playoffs Wednesday night and yet neither the fans nor the Canucks seemed quite ready. With tickets sold for less than face value both online and outside Rogers’ Arena prior to puck drop, the Canucks themselves turned in a performance that was also less than face value.
The Canucks simply never managed to completely control the game, running into penalties, some weird puck luck, and their own karma.
Let’s dive into the Love ‘Em/Hate ‘Em for Game 1 of the Kings vs. Canucks series.
1. Sweet Bobby Lou
He took the loss and the opening Mike Richards goal was off-kilter, so the calls will probably commence tomorrow to start Cory Schneider, but at the same time Roberto Luongo was one of the best Canucks in Game 1.
With the penalties adding up, Luongo kept the Canucks in the game and allowed the team a chance to pull a win out of nowhere as they’ve done so many times this year.
Unfortunately, Luongo played well enough to allow the winner with three minutes left which made his entire effort naught.
Hard to blame Luongo for this loss, though lord knows it won’t be for lack of trying.
Zack Kassian had his first taste of the playoffs and if the nasty tone this game took is any indication, his size and toughness will be sorely needed if the Canucks are going to get up and deliver the knockout blow to the Kings.
Like his late end stint, Kassian wasn’t on the scoresheet but did show flashes of potiental and a lot of presence whenever angers boiled over.
If Game 1 is any indication, the Kings are going to try their best Bruins impersonation. Kassian could be the trump card.
3. TGI Edler
After everything that transpired in the second, Alex Edler‘s buzzer-beating goal not only tied the game but saved the Canucks from a very tough uphill battle in the third.
Unfortunately we know now that the goal was for naught but if the Canucks had come back to pull this game out, this would have easily been the turning point of the game.
1. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan
All throughout the year, Ryan Kesler was the personification of the Canucks dogging it for the playoffs. No goals in his last 17 games, but hey wait for the playoffs.
Unfortunately, playoff Kesler only half-arrived as the goal-scoring and dominant play never re-appeared but the diving, whining, and cheapshots did. It was so bad the league’s moral compass Elliotte Friedman called him out on it and asked if Kesler was aware of the concept of karma.
If Kesler wasn’t aware, not getting the call on the last minute hand-pass should probably get the point through to him. Just play the game, dude. Let Lapierre be the agitator.
2. Refs, Refs, Refs
Of course, it’s easy to see how the frustrations of the Canucks could boil over in a game where the refs decided to load up the Kings on powerplays like they were the Predators and the Canucks were the Wings.
Maxim Lapierre saw clean hits of his go penalized while slashes that broke his own stick were only reluctantly called a few seconds after the damage was done.
It wasn’t much better for the Kings, but why must we go through this every year? No one here is for the refs to decide the game, right?
3. Bitz, Bitz, Bitz
And then there was the Byron Bitz hit on Kyle Clifford, which felt like a classic Aaron Rome game-forfeiting brain cramp.
There’s no defending this hit, and it could very earn a game from Shanaban or a lot more from Alain Vigneault.
The Canucks spent the first four minutes of the kill spinning into momentum but it came crashing down when a seeing eye Willie Mitchell point shot snuck through.
The Bitz hit, along with Kesler’s antics and Henrik’s jello legs make you wonder what exactly the Canucks were saving in the tank all year for the playoffs.
How do you like dem apples? NWSB on Twitter tonight.
“so professor, would you say it’s time for everyone to panic?” “yes i would kent”
— Richard Hodges (@prfctsoundforvr) April 12, 2012
— Josh Hall (@vancan19) April 12, 2012
Sutter called Rogers Arena a tough building to play in. #Lookingaround Really? The suits and people sitting on their hands is intimidating?
— Northwest SportsBeat (@NWSportsBeat) April 12, 2012
— Kevin Vanstone (@KevinVanstone) April 12, 2012
And this doozy from LaLa land.
To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) April 12, 2012