Canucks Army GDT #11 - Canucks @ Islanders

Dimitri Filipovic
October 22 2013 02:55PM


Look at that strapping young man.

It feels like it has been forever since the Canucks were in Long Island, but apparently their last visit was on January 11th, 2011, so I guess the photo above is just a teensy weensy bit older than that. The Canucks will be playing the 4th game of their 7-game roadtrip, and they're coming off of a rather forgettable loss to the Blue Jackets. Fortunately for them they're probably catching a depleted New York Islanders squad at just the right time, as they'll be without a few important pieces in this one.

Read on past the jump for a preview of tonight's game against the soon-to-be Brooklyn Professional Hockey Team.

BROADCAST INFO

Puck Drop: 4 PM PST

TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: Team1040

SETUP

Wow. That's quite the bombshell. Jason Botchford suggested today that he could be the odd man out once Alex Burrows gets back (more on this below). I guess it shouldn't be a huge surprise given that Booth has generated just 1 goal (and only 12 shots on goal, which is the most surprising thing of all) through 10 games. He also played a season low 10:18 against Columbus on Sunday, and his ice-time has been steadily dropping since the start of the season. But still. 

So what does this move mean? With Booth sitting it out, one of Andrew Alberts or Yannick Weber (more likely) will draw back into the lineup and play wing on the 4th line with Sestito and Welsh. I assume that means that Dale Weise will then move back up to the 3rd line to play alongside Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson. 

If you think this makes the Canucks a better team then I don't know what to tell you. Except that it doesn't. But chances are that you're stuck in your beliefs and there's no changing your mind. It's kind of unfortunate that a significant chunk of the team's fanbase will be thrilled by this news, because they seem to genuinely despise Booth for the person he is, and because of his contract (which was inherited by the Canucks, by the way).

The debate about the merits of David Booth the hockey player seems so fruitless; I'll try to point out to you that he does useful things like provide defensive value by maintaining possession of the puck and drawing penalties at a good rate, while you'll remain adamant that you think he's the worst. There's no real winners, and ultimately all that happens is that a bunch of time is wasted. So let's go our separate ways on that one.

This is probably just a wake-up call of sorts by Tortorella. We'll surely see Booth back in the lineup on Thursday against the Devils, but it's stupid that it has even come to this. 

According to Daily Faceoff this is what we can expect from the Islanders tonight:

 

I mentioned that this was a good time to catch the Islanders, and that's because they'll be without Lubo Visnovsky (injury), and Michael Grabner (suspension). As a result there's probably some guys listed above that you've probably never heard of. I expected them to take another step this season after finishing last year on a torrid pace (and pushing the Penguins in the 1st round of the playoffs), but they've really struggled in the early going. In fact, they've been a bottom 6 or 7 team in terms of possession this year which is kind of surprising. It doesn't help that their goaltender is Evgeni Nabokov, who is rather stinky (could've used a much worse word, trust me..). It's a shame that their ownership group is so cheap because a goalie like oh, say, Roberto Luongo would look mighty nice behind their group of players. But I digress.

I'm really excited to get to see John Tavares who has quickly become one of the best players in the league. It's days like this that I'm thankful for the NHL's realignment. In case you aren't totally aware of how badass JT is, check this out.

Let's end with some positive news..

NUMBERS GAME

  Canucks Islanders
Record 5-4-1 3-3-2
Goal Differential  -2

 

+2

Faceoff % 51.1% 48.6%
PP  3/27 7/28
PK  32/35 19/23
Fenwick Tied % 53.5% 46.5%
Corsi % 52.8% 44.8%
PDO 98.4  100.3

via NHL.com and Hockey Analysis 

GAME DAY LINKS

  • The Tale of the Tape for tonight's game. [via CDC]
  • The Tortorella volcano is barely bubbling. [via Ben Kuzma]
  • Crisis averted - Strombone1 isn't James Duthie. [via Pass it to Bulis]
  • Jeremy Welsh is happy to be with the Canucks. [via Brad Ziemer]

PLAYNOW

Our friends over at PlayNow.com after offering two specials for tonight's game:

Lights out on Long Island - The Islanders are scoring 3 goals/game, while the Canucks aren't too far behind at 2.7 per. If you think that they'll combine for over 5.5 total goals with the Canucks taking the two points, you'll get 3.75-to-1 odds. Not bad, especially since I'm always in favour of betting against Evgeni Nabokov stopping pucks.

Big Man Kassian - If Zack Kassian scores in a Canucks victory, you get $7 for every dollar you wager. Considering he only has 1 goal on the season this is obviously a little bit of a longshot, but given the odds, it may be worth a sprinkle.

Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.

Don't forget to sign up for Streakcred. There's 8 games on the schedule tonight. In case you were wondering my personal favourites are the Coyotes taking care of business at home against the Flames, and the Blackhawks beating the Panthers. I'm not exactly going out on a limb there, I know.

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#1 Ted
October 22 2013, 05:55PM
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NM00 wrote:

Not at all.

I'm willing to accept a claim if it makes sense and isn't simply an appeal to tradition.

I don't buy the logic that sitting Booth is going to give him the "kick in the pants" he needs to play better.

And I don't think that as fans trying to gain a better understanding of the game we should accept the "kick in the pants" notion at face value...

Ok now you're saying making someone a healthy scratch, in fact, has no impact on a person? The kick in the pants is pointless? Really?! You cannot be THAT stupid?! Listen here, NumbNuts00, that premise is a basic part of human behavior. Look it up. It is related to the premise where competition makes most players up their game. Unreal. ShatForBrains00, you hit a new level almost daily. Maybe stick to topics where you have a clue...I guess that may mean you remain silent...

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#2 Ted
October 22 2013, 05:04PM
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Booth being sat down is pretty meh. He is really struggling and has been struggling for a long time. Being a healthy scratch may wake him up. No harm in it at all. His contributions have been poor.

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#3 NM00
October 22 2013, 03:32PM
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Can Cam just email Tortorella a link to Behindthenet?

Even if the organization is leaning towards buying out Booth at the end of the year, his 2013-2014 salary/cap hit is a sunk cost.

What's next sitting Hamhuis for a game to teach him a "lesson"?

Giving Weise 10+ minutes is giving up the advantage gained from Grabner's suspension...

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#4 NM00
October 22 2013, 03:35PM
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@jer

"Not to be a team apologist, but there's got to be more reason to a move like this than "he's the worst", no?"

Probably some nonsense about motivation.

Although I'm not sure why a paid vacation day would be considered a motivator...

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#6 NM00
October 22 2013, 03:49PM
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@Austin Wallace

Is there any evidence that a so-called "kick in the pants" does anything, though?

Booth has every reason to be "motivated" this year.

It's a very important season for his career...

This isn't Montgomery Burns' softball team.

Tortorella can't just tap a player on the shoulder and magically have him start scoring goals.

He has chosen to dedicate a roster spot and ice time to inferior players.

Completely devoid of logic...

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#7 NM00
October 22 2013, 05:48PM
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@JCDavies

Not at all.

I'm willing to accept a claim if it makes sense and isn't simply an appeal to tradition.

I don't buy the logic that sitting Booth is going to give him the "kick in the pants" he needs to play better.

And I don't think that as fans trying to gain a better understanding of the game we should accept the "kick in the pants" notion at face value...

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#8 jer
October 22 2013, 03:31PM
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"I'll try to point out to you that he does useful things like provide defensive value by maintaining possession of the puck and drawing penalties at a good rate, while you'll remain adamant that you think he's the worst."

It's really statements like these that make CA a little tiresome to read at times. 'My position is nothing if not reasonable, those who disagree do so without cause or merit.'

Not saying I understand scratching Booth (I think he's a valuable 3rd and occasionally 2nd line player, and agree that there are bigger questions than goals scored when evaluating a guy's play), but it's as though you conflate Torts' decision to scratch him with the fanbase at large's frustration with Booth. Not to be a team apologist, but there's got to be more reason to a move like this than "he's the worst", no?

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#9 Austin Wallace
October 22 2013, 03:39PM
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Do you really think Tortorella is stupid enough to think that the team is better off with Weber than Booth on the wing? Really?

I don't think that that is what Torts is saying, or that it is misguided.

Its just the age-old technique colloquially known as "a kick in the pants". He will be back in the lineup next game, and Torts is trying to kick-start his production.

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#10 Austin Wallace
October 22 2013, 03:41PM
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@NM00

Believe it or not, they actually want to play. When players are injured or can't play, it is tough for them to see their teammates play.

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#11 Austin Wallace
October 22 2013, 03:41PM
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*some of them

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#12 JDM
October 22 2013, 03:46PM
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It's not Weber. It's Alberts. This is even worse.

I mean it's obviously supposed to wake Booth up or something but jesus that makes the team worse for this game.

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#13 jer
October 22 2013, 03:48PM
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Dimitri Filipovic wrote:

You must be new here Jer. If it's tiresome feel free not to read.

Not new at all, been reading pretty consistently for a couple years. Really enjoy the insight, and see & analyze the game differently than I did before I read CA. Just find the surprisingly frequent world-weary tone unnecessary and unhelpful. I don't recall the commentary coming across this way when I first started reading (or I likely wouldn't have continued). Who knows, maybe I'm alone in this...

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#15 jer
October 22 2013, 04:41PM
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Dimitri Filipovic wrote:

The issue is that I feel like if I had a nickel for everytime I've tried to discuss David Booth's value with someone I'd be able to retire and live happily ever after by now, and unfortunately, there has been pretty much no progress resulting from any of those conversations. It's just such a tired topic.

Yeah, no I get that. I guess I see a lot of arguing with the lowest common denominator on some of the blogs, and I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to just go around that? It doubtless wears you out and leads to that sort of reductionist / strawman argument that I took issue with in the first place. Maybe it's just my issue: when I read that type of 'your side is dumb' statement, it makes me want to argue for the dumb side, even if I don't believe in it. :) Anyway, I'll leave it at that, not too much sense going further in a comments section. Over a pint, maybe. Cheers...

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#16 JCDavies
October 22 2013, 04:46PM
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@Dimitri Filipovic

You don’t have to convince me that Booth does more things right than he gets credit for, I already believe that his cap hit and goal totals over shadow everything else (good or bad) he does. I’m going to nitpick anyways: Booth’s contract was purchased, not inherited.

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#17 JFR
October 22 2013, 04:49PM
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These types of games are important points. Being in a tougher division the Canucks have to stay away from extended pointless streaks even on the road. The last 2 games were ridiculous because the NHlL is the worst scheduling entity in the world. Finally each team plays each other home and away, but to have a west coast team play back to back early games is stupid. Just plain ignorant but that's the NHL. Get the two points boys

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#18 JCDavies
October 22 2013, 04:53PM
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@NM00

"Is there any evidence that a so-called "kick in the pants" does anything, though?"

Is this the "if it hasn't been studied yet, it doesn't exist argument"?

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#19 NM00
October 22 2013, 06:01PM
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Ted wrote:

Booth being sat down is pretty meh. He is really struggling and has been struggling for a long time. Being a healthy scratch may wake him up. No harm in it at all. His contributions have been poor.

If I had a nickel for every time I've tried to discuss David Booth's value with someone I'd be able to retire and live happily ever after by now, and unfortunately, there has been pretty much no progress resulting from any of those conversations...

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#20 Lemming
October 22 2013, 06:49PM
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@JCDavies

It's only inherently rational and reasonable to not believe something we have no proof for...

God, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny say "hi"

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#21 PB
October 22 2013, 08:01PM
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We didn't "inherit" Booth's contract, we traded for it -- a trade I still don't have a problem with in that we didn't really give up anything for it and I am not paying Booth's salary. But by most measures it hasn't panned out -- for either team really, unless you count the salary dump in the long run it constitutes for FLA.

All that said I agree that Booth isn't anywhere nearly as bad as he sometimes gets made out to be but I don't have a problem with him being sat to prove a point/send him a message. This is a pretty common tactic -- or sending a guy to the minors for partying too much or whatever -- so I don't see the big deal. It does make us a qualitatively poorer team and we were lucky after Hansen's injury to have escaped this game. Richardson and Santorelli have been a really nice surprise, the other pressed into much more action today and I thought had a pretty decent game was Welsh. He saw quite a few shifts, even late into the third I thought and did pretty admirably. Hope Hansen isn't out too long though I was worried with the way he was holding his arm that might be a break. I guess Booth's definitely back in next game...

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#22 GeezMoney
October 23 2013, 07:21AM
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Perhaps it's not really Torts caving to "fan pressure of unrelenting hate towards the player" but more of a reflection that puck possession statistics are a tad bit overrated. And as has been shown on this very site, his statistics this seasonin tha regard haven't been irreplaceable.

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#23 JCDavies
October 23 2013, 09:52AM
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@Lemming

Don't ruin this for me Lemming, I have already written my list. HE. WILL. COME. THIS. YEAR.

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#24 JCDavies
October 23 2013, 09:58AM
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@NM00

In my opinion, the idea that hockey players don’t need any further motivation other than their paycheck is the more unreasonable position to take. If anything should need to be proven, it is the notion that once a player signs a contract worth millions of dollars, he is no longer susceptible to the same emotional and motivational factors as everyone else. The default position should be that the players behave exactly like every other person and then you prove that the motivational strategies don’t work on high-paid hockey players.

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#25 NM00
October 23 2013, 11:13AM
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@JCDavies

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the paycheck is the sole motivator.

As an aside, from a purely financial perspective, Booth would probably end up making more money in the long run if he were bought out next summer...

Is Booth's issue that he simply isn't trying hard enough?

Considering the last two years of his career, why would he not be giving max effort?

And if he actually isn't giving max effort, why would a paid vacation day be the catalyst for an improved effort?

Cam pondered the healty scratch option last season in regards to Lucic:

http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/04/19/milan-lucic-may-be-a-healthy-scratch-friday-whats-wrong-with-milan/

Needless to say, I agree with his take on the subject.

Booth makes the Canucks better than Alberts.

And, quite frankly, it may have almost cost the Canucks the game...

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#26 JCDavies
October 24 2013, 09:36AM
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Meh, that is just one example where Cam provides several factors that could explain Lucic’s low goal totals and why he should remain in the Bruin’s lineup. It doesn't provide reason to believe that hockey players don’t respond like everybody else to motivational strategies.

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#27 NM00
October 24 2013, 09:46AM
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@JCDavies

But what is the reason to believe Booth needs motivation?

Why wouldn't he be giving an honest effort?

Perhaps his issue isn't related to "wanting it".

Maybe it's a combination of bad luck/this is what he is...

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#28 JCDavies
October 24 2013, 10:25AM
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@NM00

My comments were not intended to be a defense for the decision to bench Booth and, personally, I wouldn't have benched him in this instance.

I was commenting more generally on your statements that there might be no logical reason for benching a player for motivational reasons.

"But what is the reason to believe Booth needs motivation?

Why wouldn't he be giving an honest effort?

Perhaps his issue isn't related to "wanting it"."

I refer to my previous point that the default position should be, if we are looking at the logically, that hockey players, until it is proven different, need, and respond to, motivation the same as everybody else.

Boiling down a complex issue like motivation to "wanting it" or "max effort" is overly simplistic.

"Maybe it's a combination of bad luck/this is what he is..."

It could be this; Cam, in the Lucic article, does a good job supplementing his opinion with data and analysis.

Personally, I think it speaks more to how difficult it is to come back from three major injuries in less than two years.

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#29 NM00
October 24 2013, 11:03AM
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@JCDavies

The difference I'd say is we're talking about an elite level professional athlete.

To get to that level, one has to be pretty self-motivated.

A lot more self-motivated than the general public, in my opinion.

Agree to disagree though...

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