Writing this from the United States of Amurica, I am struck with the passion that Americans have for their politics. Americans will take a bullet for their candidate. Canadian might cross the street, if the green walk sign is on, for their candidate.
Barack’s election is the event of the new century. Stephen Harper’s minority government is…well, not so much.
We Canadians reserve our passion for the important things in life, like NHL hockey and CFL Football. Certainly, hockey places us on the world stage and we have an attitude that is justifiably proud. Who else sells out the World Junior Tourney with the level of commitment that Canada has? How many of us gizzards can tell you exactly where we were when Paul Henderson scored the goal to win in 1972. And CFL Football? Tickets to the western final at Taylor Field (it was Taylor Field when I played on it, it was Taylor Field when I left it. Only Outsiders call it Mosaic Stadium) sold out in 35 minutes. The high at kickoff time in Regina is predicted to be 3 to 4 degrees. That’s the high…where a down-filled sleeping bag becomes a fashion statement.
And so tonight, when Barack Obama appears to be on the brink of changing the world view of Americans (and the world’s view of America) we have an event competing in importance with the Canucks entertaining the Nashville Predators.
It’s why God invented the remote control. Well, and brandy. So yeah, the remote control and alcohol…
But it’s not hard to get a hate on for Nashville. They injured Bieksa. They stole a playoff spot from us. They took away our divine right to beat up on later expansion teams. They voted for Sarah Palin…
The first period is notable for the play of our first line is (Kesler Burrows & Raymond…the fastest line we have ever had) simply pure blinding speed. As a matter of fact, if they took their foot off the pedal a little bit, they might be more effective. But the other two lines are notable by their absence.
So the first period solves very little. We had more scoring chances, but they had the better quality opportunities.
The second period begins with the announcement from all the major networks that Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States. This is an amazing historical moment. The world changes once again.
Back to the game, the Canucks are not playing with the fire they displayed in the first period, but Lou seems to be on his game.
He holds them in until our PP specialist goes to the dirty area and pounds one in. Wellwood continues to make the case for playing a serious role in the new NHL. Teams never used to be able to afford a DS, a Designated Scorer. But with a hooking penalty becoming touching a player above the waist with your stick, holding penalties a simple laying of one arm on the body and finally interference virtual outlawing the pick play, the PP has become a singularly important aspect of the game. And the shootout can be the difference between the playoffs and the golf course. Wellwood has proved his worth.
And it’s worth repeating after the Wellwood goal, when both Sedins score we most often win.
Of course this highlights the importance of the PK. We won the division with that little trick a couple of years ago. All year we have looked good against mediocre power plays, but we get undressed against the teams with puck moving defencemen. But even Shea Webber looks ordinary tonight.
What I’d like to explain is how snakebit Daniel Sedin has been. He is getting magnificent chances but seems to see nothing but goalie pads when he shoots. Anyone who has played the game has gone through this and you know that one game he will magically come out of it and see nothing but net. And then the chat boards will demand that Gillis immediately sign him to an extension.
The second period ends and I switch to CNN just in time to watch Sarah Palin wave goodbye to America you betcha.
I think we have been better than the one to nothing score indicates and we Canucks have seen this before. The opposition takes the one nothing score and shoves it down our blowhole in the third period. We need to make a statement at the beginning of the third that we are different this year.
And we do.
A minute after Mason Raymond pounces on a near miss by Bernier and Kesler to put us up two-zip, Wellwood waves that little wand again and we have a three goal cushion. But to back up, every game Raymond plays, he takes a step closer to sniper status. And every time Wellwood ends up in front of the net with the puck, he shows what a pure goal scorer really is. A guy who these days only sees the spaces behind the goalie and all the time in the world to play roof daddy.
We’ve outshot them 10 to 3 by this point in the third when we pull a penalty. We know that offence is creativity and defense is commitment. We have a nice balance this game. After the PK, the shots are still 10 to 3.
With five and change left, a space appears behind Ellis that Daniel Sedin does see some empty net and we are almost home. A quick check on the remote to Grant Park to watch tens of thousands in Chicago witness the transforming moment of Barack accepting the will of the American people to become the 44th president.
The game winds down nicely. Once again I’d like to note how relaxed and effective Bernier is without the responsibility to be the great white sniper for the Sedins. The kid is a revelation with the pressure off.
The Canucks spend the final PP trying to get Darcy Hordichuk a goal. Smart move by Coach V. It builds a team.
But Darcy in his excitement gets dinged by the back ref and the PP ends with a whimper.
Full value for the win tonight, boys. And there are no easy shutouts in this league, but Lou really earned this one in the first two periods when the Preds were still in the game.
Slowly but surely he is returning to all-star form.
Slowly but surely, we are becoming a team.