Before I get into the preamble for tonight’s game, I feel something must be said about the ridiculous penalty the NHL handed Tom Wilson, for sucker punching Pavel Buchnevic then rag-dolling Artemi Panarin, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a lower body injury. There has always been inconsistency when it comes to supplementary discipline, disproportionally affecting certain players/teams over others. One flaw in the supplementary discipline process is who they have making the suspension decisions. George Parros is a former enforcer and actively promoted apparel promoting a more violent presence in hockey. Tom Wilson is a repeat offender and seriously injured one player and potentially could have ended another players’ career last night. The NHL needs to put someone in that role who has been retired longer/doesn’t have any affiliation with the teams/players anymore. Further, they need a player who hasn’t been suspended multiple times himself in that role. Not only that, teams need to agree to tougher enforcement and not appealing the decisions. Change won’t happen if players go unpunished for dangerous, violent acts.
Onto tonight’s preamble. It was an exciting night for Canucks fans, as the 2nd player from the 2017 draft made their NHL debut tonight. Defenseman Jack Rathbone. Rathbone skated with veteran Tyler Myers. The other exciting news coming today was the Canucks new AHL affiliate will be located in Abbotsford – an hour’s drive from Vancouver – making recalling players much easier if an injury, say to a goalie, occurs in the morning skate. Rathbone skated with veteran Tyler Myers. Could the Canucks snap the 5-game losing streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.
- The Canucks opened the scoring 34 seconds into the game as Brock Boeser snuck in the back door and tipped the puck past Oilers goalie Mike Smith
- The Oilers tied the game fourteen and a half minutes into the 2nd period as Leon Draisaitl roofed a blistering shot over Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
- Just under three minutes later, Draisaitl buried a one-timer for a pp marker
- Just under two minutes after that, Evan Bouchard wired a seeing-eye shot through traffic and beat Demko to the blocker side for a pp marker
- The Oilers added a goal just under 15 minutes into the 3rd period as Darnell Nurse had all day to beat Demko after a turnover in the Oilers zone
- Thatcher Demko stopped 23/27 shots
- Final score: Oilers 4 Canucks 1
- Thatcher Demko looked sharper than he had been in his 5 starts since recovering from a tough bought with COVID-19 and a minor lower body issue. None the less, he looked like he could use a session with goalie guru Ian Clark. He overplayed the Oilers 2nd goal. The Canucks need a goalie to make the extra save and as of late neither Holtby nor Demko have been able to oblige. Certainly fatigue from a ridiculous schedule can’t be helping matters
- There were a couple of milestones to note. Brock Boeser collected his 200th career point, scoring from the back door just 34 seconds into this one. Tanner Pearson suited up for the 500th time in his career. 131 of those games have come in a Canucks uniform. Coming into tonight’s game, Pearson had scored 72 points (40G 32A) in a Canucks uniform. Tonight, he was held pointless, took a minor penalty, had 2 shots on goal and blocked a shot
- Jack Rathbone had one shot on goal in 12 minutes of ice time in his first career game.
- Don’t look now, but the Canucks are last in the North division with Ottawa being 4 points ahead in the standings. Only Anaheim and Buffalo are worse in the standings. I’m not team tank at all, but for the record, the Canucks should have pretty good odds of a top five pick in the 1st round
- Up next, the two teams travel to Edmonton for a pair of games Thursday and Saturday. Look for Holtby to return to the net after sitting out tonight with the back to back