Quotes, views and stats after a 5-2 loss for the Vancouver Canucks against the Arizona Coyotes.
Brad Richardson skates past the Vancouver Canucks bench after scoring his fourth goal of the night.
Ross D. Franklin /
On a night where his team could put a dagger in the hopes and dreams of a team chasing them in the playoff race, I’m not sure even Brad Richardson thought he’d be the guy to do it.But boy oh boy did he have a night.The Coyotes centre, a Canuck for two seasons a half-decade ago, scored four goals and powered his team to a win.He has one other career hat trick, in 2010 for the LA Kings, scored against his first team, the Colorado Avalanche.When this feat of scoring against his old squads was pointed out to him, he delivered a quality line.“Coyotes better not trade me,” he quipped.The Richardson-powered win has put the nail in the coffin.The Coyotes are now four points up on the Canucks with a game in hand. The Canucks trail the Avalanche, who are in the last playoff spot, by five points. They also hold a game in hand.There are 17 games left to play, but there’s just simply too much ground left to claw back — especially now that the Avs (6-2-2 in their last 10) and Yotes (6-4) and Blackhawks (8-2) are all flying.(What, the Hawks? Yes, the Hawks, who are level with the Canucks on points and also have a game in hand.)The RoomThe mood in the Canucks room was very, very sombre. The guys who spoke with the media were wearing it on their faces. It’s just sports, yes, but this is these guys’ lives. They play to win. To achieve.On the outside, of course, we can add up the numbers and the probabilities and know the likelihoods. Some of the players will surely do too, even if they know they shouldn’t.But at the end of the day, they have to believe in the dream of the playoffs. That’s what pushes all athletes on, the idea of pushing towards a championship.When that possibility crashes from the sky, it’s gut-wrenching. They may put on brave, tough faces most of the time, but they still feel the loss.Troy Stecher was brutally frank about how things went. His team didn’t do nearly enough to help out their goalie.“All their goals, we talked about it, stemmed from our mistakes, at this time of the year it’s pretty unacceptable especially with the situation we’re in in the standings, we just have to be better,” Stecher said. “Obviously it’s frustrating but it’s been hard for us to score at times all year … our team battled hard. We never quit in any game. Doesn’t matter the score, We’re always going to put in a good effort. It sounds weird to say we’re going to learn from these lessons.”“It’s unfortunate we have to learn them this late in the season.”Elias Pettersson tried to stay philosophical, though you know what a competitor he is and how much losing burns him.“Of course i get frustrated; I want to play every game and come out on top … but you can’t win every game.”He hasn’t scored much at even strength lately, but some of that sure seems like just bad luck. The Canucks dominated the shot attempts clock — 68 per cent of the shot attempts were directed at the Coyotes’ net, a sign that having wingers Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson could well work — when he was on the ice on Thursday, but no joy.“For me I think I have created as much as I wanted to … I’m trying to focus on the next one, the next game.”Brock Boeser pointed a finger at himself on the game’s third goal.“We were playing a pretty good game but there’s that play were I turn the puck over and I don’t back-check fully… could’ve changed the game,” he said.Thatcher Demko acknowledged some rust after not having started in six weeks, but didn’t want to make any excuses.The second goal, where Richardson scored from the side of the net, really burned him.“I didn’t play that one like I normally would,” he said. “And I maybe could have done some other things on the other goals to give myself a better chance.”Antoine Roussel wore the disappointment on his face.“We had some bad flashes and it cost,” he said of why they lost, despite an overall good effort.He took a penalty on the penalty kill that led to a five-on-three and while it looked like Vinnie Hinostroza milked the situation and helped put the stick into his own face, Roussel pointed a big finger at himself.“It’s my fault. It’s on me. Just trying to get a stick lift,” he said. “Obviously sometimes I’m a target. It’s all my fault.”The Shot MapTwo nights in a row the Canucks have actually done a really good job getting the kind of shots they want while blocking out the kinds of shots they want to block by the other side.That’s not a picture that suggests the team that lost was in blue. But it’s about how you handle the chances.“I thought we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times … in a game where there’s no way we could do that. I thought we had enough effort to win,” Travis Green said. “We gave them a couple goals that we can’t give up.”“Little details, we turned the puck over, we gave up a goal at the end of a power play where we should be aware … we had a couple guys make mistakes on goals that could have been preventable.”The Edler story“I want to stay here. (A contract extension) didn’t happen now. But that’s still my plan and my wish” – Alex Edler on not waiving his NTCHe went on to say that it never got as far as the #Canucks presenting options for where he could be moved in potential trades.@Sportsnet650— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) March 1, 2019Alex Edler was almost always a certainty to not waive his trade clause. Might he have thought differently if he knew teams like the Penguins or the Flames were interested in him, if he’d been able to hear what kinds of contract offers they were willing to throw his way?That they waited till late in the game to ask him, even if he were healthy, seems silly. Why not find out what teams are thinking of offering? Your team needs to think long term. Yes, Edler’s been your most important defenceman. But the day will come sooner than you likely think where he won’t be and you’ll have to find new answers. You need to remember that.And of course, there’s the other dynamic, one that Edler pointed out himself:“I mean I was out with a concussion, so I didn’t think about that too much.”In other words, no one who has smart people around them — and Edler assuredly does — is going to let someone with a damaged brain make a serious life decision.Sometimes you just run itRichardson was in a buoyant mood. Here’s a rundown of his scrum:Did you expect you could get another hat trick? it’s been a while. I was hoping, it’s a long time coming. Obviously it’s nice. It was one of those nights where our line had the puck all the time and we were just clicking. The right spot, the right time. Obviously they made some great plays to me. I’d say the first goal was a good shot and the rest were just tap-ins. It was nice that way.It seemed like you could have had six goals tonight…Six would have been nice. (Laughs) I thought Winnie and Pans had quite a few chances too. It would have been a good night. But the two points is the important thing, we’ll just keep pushing along.It’s been a while since you played in Vancouver so is playing against them still a factor?I’ve gotten both hat tricks against former teams so that always feels good. Like a little jab.That served as an extra incentive, that you’ve done this against former teams?Coyotes better not trade me. (laughter)Seems like you’re a good value contract now.Yeah well, dammit, (laughter)Do you remember how the goals played out?The first one is the one where you feel like the goat in some ways, you feel like a piece of shit and then you’re all of a sudden on a half-breakaway, those are the ones where you’re like ‘yes!’ I thought I made a good shot there. That’s where I wanted to shoot it.The second one was just Vinnie in the corner making a great play and then I shot as quick as I could. I think it went off his pad and then his paddle and then went in.The third one, that was Panik, what a play there, I gave him a little holler and when he pulled it backhand I had a feeling maybe he’d give it back to me;. it was a helluva play. I think he heard me because I yelled fairly loud. The goalie had no chance.And then Pans made a great play to make it a 2 on 1 and then Vinnie made a great pass and it was just a tap-in.Did you know Boeser was coming up behind you on the three on two?I knew they were coming. it’s one of those ones where it’s a quick three-on-two, i didn’t know who it was but I knew maybe someone was going to come take my stick so you just try to shoot it kind of quick. i knew the goalie was down and out.So just control your spacing?Yeah.Do you remember if you scored four as a kid?In junior I think I had a five-goal game. It’s been a while. As a kid you score a ton of goals.I think I dreamt of it in the driveway as a kid, but when you get here (the NHL) you go “holy shit it’s really hard to score.” Just one of those nights.RidervilleIt’s the fifth year now that several hundred Saskatchewan Roughrider fans have travelled down to Glendale to take in a Coyotes game that features a Canadian team.Yotes PR man Rich Nairn figured there were about 500 people this year.The team puts on a discount code for fans travelling from Saskatchewan and the Roughriders help promote it.Three for SamSam Gagner has now scored three times for the Edmonton Oilers. Yes, that’s infinitely more times than Tim Schaller has scored.Quote of the nightRichardson said maybe part of the reason he was so fired up was that he hadn’t napped in the afternoon.“It was the first time I hadn’t napped in a while, so I was pissed when I got here … maybe I’ll keep that trend going,” he said.Why couldn’t he nap?“I got punched in the face last game and I can’t breathe out my nose so I think there’s something in that.”email@example.com/risingaction