January 28 2015 01:00PM
With the Canucks having played their 46th game last night, we are over halfway through the NHL season and approaching the home stretch. Since 41 games is a good benchmark, we can use this point to analyze how Vancouver has been playing and what specific things have been going their favour, and what's been going against them.
One thing that we cannot predict in hockey is luck. Luck plays such a large role in determining the outcome of games to the point that the NHL is identical to a league where only 28% of the games are determined by the better team winning and the remaining 72% of games are a coin-flip. This should come as no surprise, otherwise you would see teams like Buffalo win-less and the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings of the world virtually undefeated.
But what is luck? People tend to think of it as a vague, undefined, superstitious entity, but rather "luck" is everything that is outside of a players' control. Things like injuries, being subjected to variances in shooting percentages, or referees making bad or ill-timed calls are all included in "luck."
Continue past the jump to see how luck has been helping the Canucks this season.
January 28 2015 11:00AM
Recently, Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that young Czech phenom David Pastrnak would be staying with the Bruins for the duration of the year. This comes as little surprise given his four goals scored in his first two games back with the Bruins after an excellent showing in the World Junior tournament. It should also come as a slightly bitter pill for the Canucks, as the Bruins selected Pastrnak 25th overall in the 2014 draft, exactly one spot after the Canucks selected Jared McCann, who is actually putting together a very strong year for the OHL Western Conference leading Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
You could consider this miss a bit of a one off, if not for the Canucks passing on Canadian-born, American trained, Swedish international William Nylander to select Jake Virtanen 6th overall as well. Nylander, another World Junior tournament standout who recently made his AHL debut with the Toronto Marlies, was recently ranked by Corey Pronman as the top NHL prospect in his recent rankings, whereas Virtanen clocked in at 19th and McCann failed to make Pronman’s top 50 or honorable mention list.
This got me thinking about whether the Canucks have missed a pretty important trend. And after digging around on Eliteprospects.com, it hit me. These two absolutely owned when playing against men in two of Europe’s top leagues. Pastrnak happened to be the top scoring U18 player in Allsvenskan (Swedish second division) history, and Nylander owned the highest points per game mark before jumping to Sweden's top professional league midway through the year.
So, is playing against men as a teenager in one of Europe’s top leagues an indicator of future success in and of itself? Read past the jump to find out.
January 28 2015 09:30AM
Welcome back to another week where we review the progress of all of Vancouver's prospects. It's been a fairly busy week for the CHL prospects as they have been playing every other day while the better prospects continue to produce. In other leagues the injury bug is starting to hit as players are no starting to miss games.
Read past the jump for all your news and prospects stats.
January 27 2015 11:37PM
Whoa, Canucks were so bad there's a military coup under way pic.twitter.com/Taaq6oOBTb— petbugs (@petbugs13) January 28, 2015
Facing the leading horse in the Presidents' Trophy race is hardly what I'd call easing back into the routine. With the Anaheim Ducks winners of seven of their last eight, this is doubly true. Making matters worse, the Vancouver Canucks did little to help their cause. Poor goaltending, worse decision making and bad penalties crippled the Canucks early and their inability to generate anything offensively drove the final nails in their coffin. When it was all said and done, the disinterested Canucks dropped tonight's contest with the Ducks by a score of 4-0.
There's not a lot to chew on, but we'll make the most out of what the Canucks did offer on the other side of the jump. There's serious potential here for more talking points than there were shots for Vancouver in the final two frames, so that's something.
January 27 2015 02:10PM
The All-Star break is officially over, and the Vancouver Canucks will be back in action tonight to face Ryan Kesler and the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks, kicking off a six-game home stand. The visitors from Orange County come in red hot, having won five games in a row, and have owned the Canucks of late, going 8-1-1 against their Pacific division rivals.
All three games between these two teams this season have gone to overtime though, so it's been a tightly contested series. The Canucks hope that continues tonight, as they look to distance themselves from the 4th and 5th place Flames and Kings in the Pacific.
Read past the jump for a preview.