PK Subban dressed up as Jian Ghomeshi for Hallowe'en this year. *blink* Too soon?

Canucks beat Canadiens: a goal-by-goal breakdown

Hands up everyone who predicted the Canucks would have seven wins after ten games.

*crickets*

That’s what I thought.

The Canucks had the Montreal Canadiens number through the Naslund and early Sedin years, but surely this visit would be different —  this year’s Habs are a sexy pick to take the East this year, what with their gold medallist Carey Prices and their swashbuckling, fancy dressing,  bazillion-dollar PK Subbans and such.

What’s French for “Wrong-o, ya big stupid head”?

PK Subban dressed up as Jian Ghomeshi for Hallowe'en this year. *blink* Too soon?
PK Subban dressed up as Jian Ghomeshi for Hallowe’en this year. *blink* Too soon?

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Jiri Tlusty (19) was the only Hurricane to beat Ryan Miller on this night. Photo stolen from canucks.com

Sweet Cane Sugar – a goal-by-goal breakdown

As pundits are fond of telling us — and by pundits I mean me and Harrison Mooney — the Vancouver Canucks have a history of helping opponents break out of a slump. So it was with trepidation that fans approached last night’s visit from the league’s doormat Carolina Hurricanes.

That’s right: the Canes are worse than the perennially disappointing Edmonton Oilers, the comically atrocious Buffalo Sabres and the junior-hockey-teams-have-more-fans-than-we-do Florida Panthers. Carolina has exactly zero wins on the season, to match the zero fucks given by most people in Raleigh about the sport of ice hockey — meaning they had the Canucks exactly where they wanted them.

Jiri Tlusty (19) was the only Hurricane to beat Ryan Miller on this night. Photo stolen from canucks.com
Jiri Tlusty (19) was the only Hurricane to beat Ryan Miller on this night. Photo stolen from canucks.com

Would the Canucks respond, or would they snooze with les Habitants on the horizon? You’re darn tootin’ they’d respond. It was viewers of Sportsnet that snoozed, but I digress. On with the goals…

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Fans react to the first goal of the 2014 Whitecaps FC season, as Kenny Miller converts a first-half penalty against the New York Red Bulls. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

One More Must-Win

Whitecaps Wednesday

You’re sitting back in your moderately comfy computer chair right now, smug as can be. You think you’ve been let off the hook. Everything is good in your world – the Whitecaps are in the playoffs. The B.C. Lions also clinched a berth in the postseason over the weekend. The Canucks have won their last two contests. Your significant other made you dinner last night and Halloween is fast approaching. And let’s be honest, only the curmudgeoniest of the curmudgeons dislike Halloween. So you’ve got that going for you as well.

Most importantly, however, is that an entire MLS season has passed without a sniff of poetry on Pucked in the Head.

“Thank goodness,” all four of you proclaim, “another week down without being subjected to that amateur writer’s boorish attempt at creating literary culture!”

Whitecaps fans wait with bated breath for the next installment of impeccable poetry on Pucked in the Head. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Whitecaps fans in full support of the newest addition of impeccable poetry on Pucked in the Head. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

But be warned: it’s all about to come crashing down. The Whitecaps are heading to Dallas (or Frisco, if you want to be argumentative), playing for the MLS Cup. And there are a couple of things that are fantastic about the scenario.

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The Avs tying goal came on a 2-on-4 rush. Two. On Four.

Avs Bury the Canucks: a goal-by-goal breakdown

Yeah I know it’s late. Sue me.

Let’s start with a moment of silence for Eddie Lack’s GAA and SV%, shall we?

Oh my. While Ryan Miller has been good in all but one game, Eddie Lack has been pretty much ventilated in limited action so far this season.
Oh my. While Ryan Miller has been good in all but one game, Eddie Lack has been pretty much ventilated in limited action so far this season.

Lack’s save percentage, a dismal .862, is 59th in the NHL after three appearances. His 4.62 goals against average is 61st overall. Keep in mind there are only 30 teams in the NHL. Sixty-two goalies have seen ice time this season, and the only guy with a GAA south of our boy Eddie’s is Viktor Fasth of the Edmonton Oilers, whose two-game, 5.19 goals against average would lose him the backup spot on most junior benches.

The Avs started the season with the punch of a newborn koala. Despite adding proven snipers like Jarome Iginla and Danny Briere in the off-season, Colorado’s first goal of the season came at 3:08 of the second period — of their third game. They had won just one game in their first seven before meeting the Canucks. As we all know, Vancouver is a polite town, and that Eddie Lack is a pretty affable guy. If someone needs off the schneid, the Canucks are the ones to help them out.

BOOM. 7-3 Avs.

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Henrik and Daniel Sedin have produced so far this season -- would they and honorary third Sedin Radim Vrbata be enough to silence the Blues? Photo stolen unceremoniously from sportsnet.ca

Canucks silence the Blues: a goal-by-goal breakdown

Until tonight, this year’s Vancouver Canucks have been fairly predictable. They won three straight against the barrels of tar sands waste that are the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, then lost in dramatic fashion to legitimate NHL franchises from Tampa Bay and Dallas.

So what could we expect in St Louis against a Blues franchise many are picking to challenge for the Central Division this year?  Could the Canucks, unanimously christened a one-line team by pundits and fans alike, leapfrog the Blues stifling defense to take two points out of Mound City?

Henrik and Daniel Sedin have produced so far this season -- would they and honorary third Sedin Radim Vrbata be enough to silence the Blues? Photo stolen unceremoniously from sportsnet.ca
Henrik and Daniel have produced so far this season — would they and honorary third Sedin Radim Vrbata be enough to silence the Blues? Photo stolen unceremoniously from sportsnet.ca

It turns out that the Canucks have a surprisingly good record against the Blues over the past couple of seasons. Last year, in a schedule full of lowlights and reddened bottoms, Vancouver somehow swept the season series against St Louis — this despite the Blues garnering 111 points, a full 28 more than the Canucks. Given those three wins last year, Thursday’s 4-1 win under the Arch perhaps shouldn’t come as the biggest surprise of the night. (That honour I’d give to the Flames racking up their fifth win already.)

We at Pucked in the Head go through all five goals in game six of this young season.

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Pedro Morales was a one-man wrecking crew for the Whitecaps, at times taking on the entire Earthquakes back line to get the ball into position. Later he would score the club's first goal in 450 minutes of MLS play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

A Suffering Quakes Fan’s POV

We at Pucked in the Head are fortunate enough to run into thoughtful, passionate sports fans the world over. Case in point: the always-entertaining fanatical hockey/soccer/football border-crosser, Richard Davalos. He maintains a bizarre Tumblr feed, equal parts random gifs, assorted pop culture surfage and kickass Wolverine sideburns. 

Richard’s @QuakesFan84 Twitter feed has purposes twofold: 1) plying the Twitterverse with as many clever hockey tweets as any one man has a right to disseminate, and 2) suggesting that there are nearly 100 San Jose Earthquakes fans on this planet. It is in this latter function that he offers his preview of this weekend’s clash between the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and those same woeful Quakes.

Time for four straight
by Richard Davalos

As noted in Jason’s last Whitecaps entry, Vancouver has never earned 12 points in four games in their MLS history. In fact, they haven’t strung together four consecutive wins as a franchise at any level since May of the 2008 USL-1 season. Along comes San Jose, fresh off their first win in more than two months — a midweek friendly against Honduran first division side CDS Vida.

Pedro Morales was a one-man wrecking crew for the Whitecaps, at times taking on the entire Earthquakes back line to get the ball into position. Later he would score the club's first goal in 450 minutes of MLS play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Pedro Morales was a one-man wrecking crew for the Whitecaps, at times taking on the entire Earthquakes back line to get the ball into position. Later he would score the club’s first goal in 450 minutes of MLS play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

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Obafemi Martins is one of the most explosive players in the MLS this season, but on Friday he played a dirty, dangerous game. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Whitecaps post massive road win

Friday night saw perhaps the most impressive MLS win in Whitecaps history. Vancouver was riding a two-game win streak for the first time this season and sat two points out of the final playoff spot in the West. The Caps had not won three straight since June of last year (and had only done so twice since joining the MLS in 2011); the last away goal of  consequence for Vancouver came in mid-July in a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake. Since then, they’d been shut out in road games against Chivas USA, Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy and the dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Portland Timbers. (They scored once in Frisco to spoil a clean sheet for FC Dallas, but lost 2-1 to those scurvy, diving dogs anyway.)

Obafemi Martins is one of the most explosive players in the MLS this season, but on Friday he played a dirty, dangerous game. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Obafemi Martins is one of the most explosive players in the MLS this season, but on Friday he played a dirty, dangerous game. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

To win Friday would require something special. The Seattle Sounders are among the league’s elite teams, and are currently battling the LA Galaxy for the Supporter’s Shield as regular season champions. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins have been on a tear; with 31 goals between them, they are just 10 shy of the entire Whitecaps roster combined. The Sounders had scored in 11 straight matches, a remarkable streak in any soccer league.

Even the staunchest of the Southsiders merely hoped for three points — not only would a win keep the Cascadia Cup in Vancouver for another year, but it would draw the Caps back into the fifth and final playoff spot with just two games to play and leave Toronto FC six points back late in the charge for the Canadian entry to 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League play. Oh, and the gravy: Sounders FC had never lost a fixture when more than 50,000 fans packed Century Link Field.

Truly, most Vancouver fans would have been ecstatic with a single point for a draw. All this other stuff was but a pipe dream for idle jawing over yet another pitcher at Doolin’s.

Until Friday, that is.

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Ryan Miller's eyes are, like, weirdly close together, don'tchathink? Jonathan Hayward/CP photo stolen without prejudice from a Bing search.

Seven Questions about the #Canucks

After an interminably long summer of house cleaning, the Vancouver Canucks start the 2014-15 NHL season tonight against the woeful Abbotsford Heat Calgary Flames. While this particular foe still makes the Canucks look like world-beaters, there isn’t a pundit in the land who thinks Vancouver has a legitimate shot at winning the Pacific Division. So just how fair and middling will this year’s edition of the Vancouver Canucks be? I’m glad you asked. Here are seven questions we’re slobbering over ourselves in anticipation and excitement:

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Classy TIFO by the Curva Collective. Photo courtesy of Christopher Vose from the Vancouver Herald.

In memoriam — Domenic Mobilio

Just a quick tip of the hat to the Whitecaps for honouring the anniversary of Domenic Mobilio’s tragic death ten years ago at the age of 35. Mobilio was perhaps the most prolific, natural goal-scorer this area has ever produced, and certainly one of the best finishers to wear Whitecaps and 86ers colours.

Classy TIFO by the Curva Collective. Photo courtesy of Christopher Vose from the Vancouver Herald.
Classy TIFO by the Curva Collective. Photo courtesy of Christopher Vose from the Vancouver Herald.

Saturday’s game at BC Place featured a pre-game ceremony, halftime children’s game with every player wearing Mobilio’s number 10, and this classy TIFO unfurled in the 10th minute by the always-thoughtful Curva Collective. Curva chanted the Vancouver-born striker’s name and passed 170 soccer balls through a hole in the signage — one ball for every goal he scored while dressed for a Vancouver team.

After your moment of silence, check out Russell’s game wrap-up.

Cheers as well to Christopher Vose at the Vancouver Herald for use of his image. Visit his website here.

Felix Hernandez (left) fist bumps second baseman Robinson Cano late in a season that saw the Seattle Mariners miss the playoffs by a single win. Kyle Terada photo borrowed from USA Today Sports Online.

Mariners Roller Coaster Ends on High Note

Any degree of sports fandom tends to affect things at home. My personal connection to the Seattle Mariners, and to baseball in general, is hopelessly intertwined with my personal life. And so it was that last Sunday, with the Mariners’ playoff chances hanging in the balance, I found myself sitting on the Washington State Ferry Yakima, headed south to Anacortes from Orcas Island, checking and re-checking the MLB app on my phone. Were the A’s winning? How was Felix pitching? Had the Mariners scored any runs? Could Texas come back, and give the Ms a li’l help?

Felix Hernandez (left) fist bumps second baseman Robinson Cano late in a season that saw the Seattle Mariners miss the playoffs by a single win. Kyle Terada photo borrowed from USA Today Sports Online.
Felix Hernandez (left) fist bumps second baseman Robinson Cano late in a season that saw the Seattle Mariners miss the playoffs by a single win. Kyle Terada photo borrowed from USA Today Sports Online.

As I learned in the car after we got off the ferry, the Rangers were incapable of mounting a comeback against the A’s (not surprising for a team whose Disabled List outmanned its 25-man roster). Thus ended ended the Mariners’ playoff hopes, despite their final game 4–1 win over the Los Angeles Angels. The win, while gratifying, did not get the team that Wild Card berth we had dared to dream about all summer.

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