VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: Matt Stajan kicks ass on Maxim Lapierre #40 of the Vancouver Canucks after the Canucks did their usual low character crap and ran Miikka Kiprusoff with a 5-1 lead. Starting goalie Henrik Karlsson left the game injured. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
It was the typical affair reduced to a goon show in the third with another unnecessary run at a Goalie. Props to Matt Stajan for showing some fire and going into battle. Guy is not a fighter but he gave it the old college try. Jackman and Kosto - where were you?
Long gone are the days of Trevor Linden's Vancouver Canucks who played with respect for the game.
This is the team the rest of the league despises and they showed us why again. Despite their high level of skill, they have no on-ice respect or class in their game. No player leadership to call their team to account.
Exhibit A: Karlsson takes an injury in the third and with the game essentially over at 5-1, Kipper comes in to mop up and close it out. What do the Canucks via David Booth do immediately on the next shift? Take a run directly at Kipper. In the recent wake of runs at Goalies what does this say? Why do such a thing in a game when you already have the Win in the bag?
Total douche move and the crowd at Rogers does the wave in the background. Need I say more.
They are a squad devoid of character leadership. There is no Linden or Iginla like leader to take Booth to the side and say "Hey, that isn't necessary." The silent sheltered Sedins shrug it off and assume that is hockey in the NHL or Kesler who probably giggles with Booth afterward and says next time you get the concussion on Kipper. "Hee hee hee".
They will dive for a win. They will cheap-shot for a win. They will bite for a win. They will run your goalie when they are up 4 goals. They are the Canucks. They will trample all the unwritten rules of the game in their pursuit of a win and they think they are a better team because of it.
They aren't, they are simply a team that despite unquestionable skill, no one respects.
The game started off very good for the Flames with a strong first period. A 5 on 3 PP for the Canucks was killed by the Flames and a Alex Tanguay bank shot off Roberto Luongo had the Flames up by one. It was a solid frame for the good guys.
The second period was a significantly weaker effort. A borderline call on Jarome Iginla for goaltender interference resulted in a PP goal for the Canucks by Kevin Bieksa. Late in the second Chris Higgins threw another one in, late in the frame and the Flames were down 2-1 leaving the 2nd period.
In the third the wheels came off the cart. I would sum it up that young Henrik Karlsson simply was not focused or ready when the puck dropped in the third period. David Booth got his first goal of the game to go with his previous 2 assists 40 seconds in, on a very stoppable wrap around.
Little over a minute later another stoppable shot got by Jannik Hansen, deflection or not, got by him and we can see that the area that young Karlsson needs to focus on is between the ears. Focus and fortitude to weather and shrug off bad goals is what this young man needs to get a handle on, if he is looking for an NHL career.
The final goal on him was some Sedin stuff we have seen before on a PP. No fault of his just the usual Sedin stuff. Tight angle shot that Daniel Sedin found the breadbasket on.
Here are the highlights
Karlsson left the game injured and we can speculate that Leland Irving may be called up. This is potentially a good thing as more and more Flames rookies are seeing NHL ice. How Irving does may be worth a gander and this may be a good season to do so.
The other possibility is that Karlsson is not injured and may have wanted to just get the hell out of the game. If that is the case it is not a good sign. The between the ears stuff is critical for NHL goalies. Karlsson only needs to look to the end of the ice to see a Goalie famous for butter between the ears despite his skill.
You have to be able to stay focused despite bad goals and weather rough loud ugly crowds if you want to play NHL hockey.
Matt Stajan gets my 'A' for effort award. He was hustling and props for him for seriously stepping out of his role and fighting Maxim Lapierre in the third. Kipper had just been run over and somebody had to do something. Nod to Stajan for his heart, guy takes non-stop flak for his contract but at least he stood up for his Goalie tonight.
Brent Sutter's take on the game, just in case you think I am overblowing the run on Kipper, he mentions it as well.