PASS ME THE SMELLING SALTS
The Vancouver Canucks embarrassed the Edmonton Oilers yet again on Monday night at Rogers Arena as they defeated Connor McDavid and company by a 6-2 margin – recording their third win over the Oilers this season.
That score probably would have looked a whole lot different if Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko didn’t stymy the Oilers in the first period as the visitors came out flying. At one point, the Oilers had a 19-3 advantage in shots but could only beat Demko once as he kept his team in the game at 1-1.
“They came out to play. They had some Grade A chances and he was there for us. Who knows? It could have been 3-0 for them right off the bat. Demmer is like a smelling salt. We woke up after he made about six or seven unreal saves,” noted Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.
“He’s always played that way. He’s been a top five goalie in the league for a couple of years now. (In the past) he had to make 30 or 40 saves and a lot them were Grade A’s and he would always bail us out but I think now we are playing a little bit better in front of him. He’s still making those big saves but you’re seeing how good he is because he doesn’t have to make 40 or 50 saves a night,” Canucks captain Quin Hughes noted afterwards.
It’s kind of scary with what’s happening with the 9-2-1 Canucks right now.
Elias Pettersson leads the league in points (21) with Hughes (20) and J.T. Miller (18) right behind him in the top 10. Then there’s the fact that Hughes is first in plus-minus at +16 with Filip Hronek in third at +12 and the much-maligned Tyler Myers in fifth with +10.
But of all the stats, this one is the scariest.
According to OptaSTATS, the Canucks are the first team to outscore the opposition by 30 or more goals in the first 12 games of the season since the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (+39), who just happened to win the Stanley Cup that year.
Like I said, scary.
THAT WAS FUN
It was a weekend to remember for Vancouver sports fans.
It started off Saturday afternoon at B.C. Place when the B.C. Lions knocked off the Calgary Stampers 41-30 to win the Western Division Semi-Final in front of 30,149 fans.
Then a few hours later across the street at Rogers Arena, it was the Vancouver Canucks following suit by defeating the Dallas Stars 2-0 in a Western Conference showdown with 18,910 in the building.
The weekend wrapped up on Sunday with the Vancouver Whitecaps hosting LAFC in front of 30,204 supporters who left the stadium disappointed – and frustrated with the officiating – after the home side lost to the visitors by a 1-0 margin.
It was the first time that the upper bowl had been open for consecutive nights for the Lions and Whitecaps.
It was also the first time that we saw such synergy between the three organizations.
The one complaint I’ve always had with Vancouver was how the teams in this city acted as independent entities and ignored the opportunity to work with one another.
I would look at other cities and admire how their respective teams would cross-promote with one another and support each other in the process.
This weekend in Vancouver, we started to see those barriers finally coming down and it was a welcomed sight.
Whether it was the Lions offensive line power chugging beers on the big screen at the Canuck game, some Canucks showing up at the Whitecaps match or messages of support between the organizations on social media, it was great to see.
Yes, these organizations compete with one another when it comes to consumer dollars but the fact of the matter is that when the tide comes in, all the boats in the harbor will rise.
It’s about getting sports fans excited about ALL the teams in this city.
Travel to Boston and talk to someone there, odds are they’ll be fans of all the teams that represent that city. Yes, they might have their favorite team but there is a high level of civic pride that allows them to support all of their teams.
That hasn’t been the case in Vancouver.
For whatever reason, there seems to be a divide that only allows you to be a Canucks fan. Or a Lions fan. Or a Whitecaps fan.
Not this past weekend.
Hopefully this trend continues.
LIONS PAY THE PRICE
The Lions win came with a price tag as it appears that standout middle linebacker Ben Hladik will probably miss the game at IG Field due to a shin contusion.
Hladik, who led the team with 102 tackles this season, collided with cornerback Garry Peters when the latter came up with a first quarter interception. Hladik injured his leg during the process and had to leave the game.
The good news is that Josh Woods slid over from his outside spot and had a monster game inside in recording 11 tackles – three of which were for a loss.
The scariest moment of the day occurred early in the fourth quarter when Stamps returned Peyton Logan and Lions linebacker Jack Hinsperger collided during a kickoff return which left both players on the turf motionless.
There was grave concern for the pair as players on both teams took to knees with some even joining in prayer.
The great news is that both players walked off under their own power.
Hinsperger will miss the Winnipeg game, however, with concussion-like symptoms and a shoulder injury.
WAS THE FIX IN?
That’s the question many Whitecaps supporters were asking after the horrendous job of officiating by Tim Ford during their season-ending loss to LAFC.
Ford’s performance saw Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini get tossed in extra time. There was considerable debate on social media with some criticizing Sartini for his ejection and post-game comments while other supported his passion.
I’m not a soccer aficionado by any means but I do know one thing that is constant in sports.
If you’re coach loses his composure, it’s pretty safe to say his team will too.
Sartini’s tirade – and the “R” rated language used on his post-match interview on AM 730 – wasn’t a good look.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media.