[Inspired by Arsenio Hall's "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…", Clayton Imoo talks about Canucks-related things that make him go hmmm… You can follow Clay on Twitter at (@canuckclay) or on his website, Clay's Canucks Commentary.]
I’m back from a week in Ottawa; a week that saw the Canucks lose games to Dallas and Montreal but win against Winnipeg. It was tough to stomach two out of three losses, especially when staying up until 12:30am or so just to finish the games. Unfortunately, me being back in Vancouver didn’t change anything as the Canucks continued their slumping ways with a 5-4 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes…and there were a couple of Things That Make Me Go Hmmm:
1. Outfought and Out-willed. Shane Doan’s goal with just under four minutes left in the first period concerned me. I tweeted at the time “That 2nd goal was disturbing to me: it wasn’t so much about patience as it was Doan out-willing and outfighting the #Canucks to score.” The scoring chance started as the Sedins and Zack Kassian (who was hit by an undetected high stick) were caught behind the Coyotes net leaving Phoenix to break out three-on-one. Antoine Vermette passed the puck to Doan who proceeded to cut across the slot past a sliding Kevin Bieksa. Doan then deked out Roberto Luongo but couldn’t shoot it because Vermette was blocking his shot path. So Doan charged towards the side of the net and tried to jam in it while Bieksa, Henrik and Luongo tried to stop him. As this was going on, Hamhuis tried to join the fray but was accidently clipped with a high stick courtesy of Vermette. After almost a full four seconds of chaos, Doan was able to muscle it in.
This play concerned me because it was indicative of the Canucks’ half-hearted play of late. Much like the Canucks are cruising towards a second-place finish (the Blues are six points ahead and Dallas is nine points behind), they certainly “cruised” toward the end of that play and didn’t show enough will, determination or strength to keep the puck out of their net. Granted, it was only one goal, but it was one that shouldn’t have gone in. Let’s hope the Canucks regain some of their will and determination before the playoffs begin; they have exactly a month to figure it out.
2. Mayday for MayRay. There are enough jokes going around regarding Mason Raymond’s inability to stay on his skates during a game. I think an even more disturbing trend is how many times I hear John Shorthouse say something like “Raymond is checked off the puck” or “Raymond turns the puck over”. Raymond simply isn’t effective right now as he’s pointless in his last seven games and has just three points in his last 22 games. Whether it’s giving the puck away or having the puck stolen, Raymond won’t get any points without the puck. He seems mismatched with the Sedins who are puck-possession type players. Case in point: Raymond did not factor in either of the goals that the Sedins got points on (one was a powerplay goal).
3. Jason Spezza owes me a burger. As mentioned up above, I was in Ottawa last week. While there I was able to watch the Ottawa Senators defeat the New York Rangers 4-1. I detailed my experience in my blog here, including the male helmet-wearing ice cleaners and one of the most confusing mascots I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, I detailed just how Jason Spezza deprived me and 18,000 fans out of a hamburger.
With just a few minutes left to play, the PA announcer told us that if the Senators scored in the final minute of regulation, then every one of the 18,854 people in attendance would receive a free Wendy’s Baconator. With the score at 3-1 for Ottawa at the time of the announcements, we began licking our chops literally and figuratively.
Then, it happened. On an icing call against the Senators, Rangers coach John Tortorella pulled goalie Martin Biron out of the net with a full 2:37 left on the clock. Our anticipation turned into fear as we realized that our only hope of winning the burger would be if New York scored to pull within one or if Ottawa somehow missed the empty net for a minute and a half.
Alas, our fears were confirmed with Jason Spezza put the puck in the empty net with 1:27 remaining making the score 4-1 Senators. Biron came out to finish off the game and the rest was history, despite our desperate chants of “Burger! Burger!”
We were only 27 seconds away from a free burger. At an annual salary of $8,000,000, Jason Spezza can have a Baconator whenever he pleases. In fact, he could have bought everyone in the arena the burger and it would have cost him only 0.943% of his annual salary. That’s right: not even 1%! But no. He chose to do the selfish thing and score too early, depriving his faithful fans of a delicious and unexpected meal.
Thanks again for reading. I’ll be away on vacation for next week, so my next Things That Make You Go Hmmm column will be on March 29. The Canucks play seven times during the next two weeks so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about. In the meantime… I’m going to Disneyland!