On Closed Windows, Playoff Bounces and Coin Flips

Thomas Drance
May 06 2013 10:53AM


Photo Credit: Christian Petersen , Getty Images

When the Canucks ultimately lose this first round series against the San Jose Sharks - and the guillotine might fall mercifully on Tuesday, or perhaps the Canucks can fruitlessly extend the series the way they did a year ago against the Los Angeles Kings - the calls for wholesale change out of Vancouver will be fierce and constant. Trade the Sedins, trade Edler, fire Mike Gillis, or at least fire the coach, as if that does anything beyond putting lipstick on a pig...

The Canucks are now 4-11 in their last fifteen playoff games going back to the start of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Over that fifteen game sample they've managed just twenty-one total goals and only seventeen tallies at even-strength. They've been outscored twenty-six to seventeen at even-strength, but nineteen to four on special teams and forty-seven to twenty-one overall. Yep, it's been an ugly stretch for the Canucks and one that's easy to overreact too.

Read past the jump.

The key is not to overreact, I think, to performance over a fifteen game sample. Watching Canucks playoff games the past couple of seasons has been about as fun as sticking needles in ones eye for Canucks fans. So I understand why people are tired of it and reacting emotionally on Monday morning. Hell, we're tired of it too. 

But the negative suck-hole crowd jumping up and down about how inevitable Vancouver's demise in this series was, are missing the point. Games one and two against the Sharks were coin flip contests, and coin flips in which Vancouver rather handily carried play. Game three was a bit different in that the Canucks were outmatched throughout - which most of us expected to happen on the road in this series anyway - but even that contest was close until a flurry of soft goals sunk Vancouver's hopes of making this series interesting. This series was a coin flip from the outset, but the thing about flipping coins is that 13% of the time it'll land on tails three times in a row...

The Canucks haven't been able to get it done the past couple of seasons in the first round. For some that's enough to think that Mike Gillis should completely dismantle this club (ignoring the fact that pretty much every key player is on a no-trade clause, so that's much easier said than done). But looking over the data, I'd argue that the Canucks have been absurdly unlucky the past few years in the playoffs.

Consider even-strength play. The Canucks have taken four-hundred and fifteen shots at even-strength since game one of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. They've scored only seventeen goals on those shots for a shooting percentage that sits just a tick above 4.1%. Sounds sustainable.

Canucks opponents meanwhile have taken three-hundred and forty three even-strength shots over that same sample and have scored on 7.6% of their shots. In other words, at least some of Vancouver's woeful performance over the past handful of playoff games has been percentage based.

For the "shot quality" crowd, I'd mention that the scoring chances corroborates this analysis to some extent. In other words it doesn't appear to be that the Canucks have spent the past fifteen games shooting from the perimeter because they lack the gumption to go to the "dirty areas" where playoff goals are scored. Since game one of the Boston series the Canucks have been narrowly out-chanced (despite outshooting the opposition) 166 to 155. So the Canucks have controlled 48.2% of quality looks at even-strength in their last fifteen playoff games, 54.7% of the total shots on goal at evens, and 39.5% of the even-strength goals. That's the bounces for you.

Over the coming few weeks and month we're going to hear and read a lot about Vancouver's "window being closed" and how this team just isn't very good anymore. Well looking at Vancouver's playoff record the past three seasons and believing it to be more trustworthy than their consistent and much longer record of regular season success, just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Since the Boston series the Canucks have racked up a 77-36-17 regular season record and yeah I understand how that doesn't mean a lot to fans of a team in a Stanley Cup starved market when the club has amassed a 1-7 record in the postseason the past two years. 

But it's worth keeping in mind that despite what we've seen the past week, the Canucks are a good team, and dismantling the club in a serious way would be a massive overreaction.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 GRR
May 06 2013, 11:05AM
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I think you're trusting in underlying data a little too much. Call Games 1 and 2 coin flips all you want, but the Sharks wanted it more and found a way to win.

This is where "clutch" comes in. I know you guys don't believe in it, but look at games 1 and 2. Two evenly matches teams. One has been clutch, the other not so much.

15 games may not seem like much....but I'd say 3 play-off series being completely destroyed is a large enough sample size. A team this could not being able to get past the 1st round in two consecutive seasons has some issues that need addressing.

Obviously the core was good enough for back-to-back presidents trophy's and a trip to the Finals. Dismantling it to start over would be silly. It's the role players that need adjusting. A real 3rd line centre who can win face-offs is a MUST need. As are some wingers with some grit to their game who can score.

Mike Gillis has done a respectable job and deserves a chance to right the ship.

I'm on the Fire AV bandwagon myself. His style is just not effective anymore. The team needs a fire-starter more than an x's and o's guy right now. The time is right with Lindy Ruff on the market..

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#2 Mantastic
May 06 2013, 11:09AM
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3rd game wasn't close to being a coin flip so your 13% of getting 3 tails in a row is a bad analogy

playoffs it really comes down to the entangibles. block shots in the reg season reflects negatively on your fenwick but in the playoffs, it's an asset to have people putting your body on the line to block the shots towards the net. you really rely too much on metrics on playoff hockey drance

also series by series the metrics change, you can't just clump all the playoff data and say that the percentages are unsustainable. and playoffs is all about unsustainable percentages and small sample sizes.

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#3 antro
May 06 2013, 11:26AM
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I mostly agree with the sentiment here, although I see Mantastic's (and others') points about the trickiness of saying this is a straight up coin flip each time. However, I also think that if you take a longer view and look at playoff games since MG was hired, the record of the current core also looks different.

One other thing is the call for a new coach, which TD has tended to support based on questionable personnel decisions. I realize that it's probably time for a new coach, but the problems the Canucks are facing right now would seem to be the GM's. There's a list of things Mike Gillis hasn't got done which everyone who writes about the Canucks has been saying since last spring: a 3rd line checking center; trading Luongo and finding another back-up; not finding balance b/w right and left side D, and not finding balance b/w puck-moving and defensive D; doing something with Ballard; signing or developing depth dmen more reliable than Barker and Joslin; and there's probably a couple more. Nobody could predict the specific circumstances: a salary cap about to go down, and long injuries to Booth, Kesler, and Bieksa, then late season injuries to Tanev and Schneider. But Doug Wilson did a nice job finding usable parts and trading away parts he didn't want anymore. AV hasn't been able to find good balance in his line up all season, and part of that is injuries, and part of that is not having the pieces. And it's showing now in the playoffs.

This isn't to say that the GM should be fired (not at all), but GMMG's famous patience is starting to have Tambellini-like proportions.

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#4 matt
May 06 2013, 11:33AM
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@GRR

"the Sharks wanted it more and found a way to win."

This is just such an absurd, vague statement. It's meaningless. You really think the boys are going out there on a shift and thinking "meh, I can take it or leave it." Ridiculous. You're making stuff up to justify the ignorant conclusions you've already drawn. Give me a break.

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#5 islander
May 06 2013, 12:33PM
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I think the team still has two very lines plus one good player for the third line, Hansen. They need to come up with grinding, physical 3rd and 4th lines which would not include plugs like Sestito. As far as defence goes they have two real finds in Tanev and Corrado but they require some more sandpaper there which to me could involve the trading of somebody like Edler. For the goaltending drama I would even trade Schneider if the return could make an immediate impact next year. One thing that has always bothered me is why the team continually overlooks players in the WHL? Bizarre.

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#6 Dman
May 06 2013, 12:33PM
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It's true somewhat we have bad luck. I try to look at it objectivly but there something's that have happened that truly make no sence other than bad luck. I look down ourline up and there is no true sniper type player except maybe Daniel who hasn't been that player in a couple of years now. The "fix" I believe will involve the sacrificing of maidens in to volcanos and various rituals with chickens and what not.

~shrug at least the weather is nice.

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#7 dan
May 06 2013, 12:34PM
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For there to be NO mention of the coaching performance in this post is IMO laughable.

The Nux were again undisciplined - that's coaching.

The Nux special teams have been a disaster (that's coaching)

JG on 1st PP unit. No JS? Starting CS when he hasn't been on ice in 8 out of last 13 days. that's a coaching decision.

You fail to mention that the Nux have been badly outchanced this year over 48 gme sample.

{FWIW Aaron Ward said they are being 'out-systsemed' that's coaching }.

In 2008 The Penguins changed from Therrien to Bylsma. With virtually the same roster they substantially changed their system & style of play and there chance diff and Corsi dramatically increased.

They won the Cup. And have been a high chance & shot diff tm ever since. So Coaching systems due matter.

AND we know AV changed the teams system to be much more defensively responsible this year. This was a fatal flaw. They don't have the players to play this way Edler/Twins etc.

You change the coach first (One yr too late) Then see the results - an proceed from there.

Of course luck is PART of the issue, BUT not as much as you suggest. The difference between the shooting % in reg. season & in playoffs is simply to large to explain it by luck alone.

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#8 NM00
May 06 2013, 12:45PM
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I'm on the "FireAV" bandwagon. But probably not for the same reasons as most fans.

While I don't think he should be fired yet, I personally feel Mike Gillis only deserves one more year to show he can make better player acquisitions.

Because, to date, he has lived and died with the core and prospects he inherited from Burke/Nonis & Nonis. MGs attempts to supplement the core he inherited have been a series of middling moves for the most part.

His "good" moves involve acquiring BC born defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison. That is not a skill. That is a geographical advantage.

His other good (impactful) move was acquiring Christian Ehrhoff for spare parts. Great value for two years, but that was a while ago now.

MG's drafting, trading and free agent signings leave a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It's not so much that he's been completely terrible. But he certainly hasn't been any better than average. And an average GM isn't adding value to a big market cap team.

And, yes, I acknowledge that MG has had low draft picks other than Hodgson. But his draft picks have added more value to other teams (Hodgson and the number of draft picks he has traded over the years) than to the Canucks.

Five years is a relatively large enough sample to evaluate a GM. While I like that Gillis comes off as logical and progressive, if he isn't a good talent evaluator I don't want him as the GM of my hockey team.

In conclusion, I want AV fired so Gillis has nowhere else to hide. He either starts making better transactions or the owner fires him next. Because based on past performance, I don't see any evidence to believe Gillis won't take Vancouver down the Calgary path of mediocrity.

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#9 van
May 06 2013, 12:46PM
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Team needs some balance. Roy was a good gamble, but hasn't worked out at all. He hasn't freed up Kesler to attack 3rd lines or provided secondary scoring. It's not a hard fix. If Corrado is ready for the top 6, then we just need to add a 3rd line C (Boyd Gordon?) and a 4th line LW (Torres?) from the UFA market - without trading anybody. Just have to move Ballard and Luongo.

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#10 Jeff
May 06 2013, 01:05PM
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AV needs to go. His decisions have been clearly outmatched by opposing coaches, and he does not seem to put players in positions to succeed.

The difference between regular season and playoff hockey is that systems are used much more in playoffs (this includes line matching, style of game, scouting reports) and it is clear AV's decisions are the reason this team does not do well during the playoffs, especially on the road.

This was evident in 2011 vs. Chicago when they almost blew a 3-0 series lead. The only reason they went far is because they had so much talent, and Luongo was lights out. And last year Sutter schooled AV in the coaching department, and this year he is getting schooled again.

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#11 Pinner
May 06 2013, 01:13PM
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Not to forget, the last two teams the Canucks couldn't beat in the playoffs won the cup as nobody else could beat them either.

This time the Sharks likely won't win the cup, but they were predicted by most to be vastly superior to their playoff ranking, as were the Kings last year.

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#12 Fred-65
May 06 2013, 01:16PM
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With the following players paid but not used

Ballard + Luongo + Booth ( 1 empty net goal) that equates to around 14 million of wasted Cap space. How can any one have faith in MG any more. That's like every other team having a Cap of $60 million and the Vcr team with a Cap of $46 million. Add in Raymond who will never be a Stanley Cup type player Wow that's a huge disadvantage. Plus think about this MG chose to start the season with Kesler injured and Malhotra with one eye at centre. When he shut Malhotra why didn't he have a replcement before he shut the guy down ? His replacement centre....Roy....is not a player built to succeed in the play-offs.

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#13 Chris Wirth
May 06 2013, 01:17PM
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As scoring chances are subjective, and they don't distinguish the quality of scoring chances, I think your comment is misleading.

You're also forgetting just how abysmal their goal support was prior to the Boston series - I think they were scoring around 1.5 goals per game in the Chicago, Nashville and San Jose series combined.

This why advanced stats, and possession relevant statistics, don't always tell the true story. Regardless of whether they have controlled play from a possession perspective their players are not executing. 15 games is a big enough sample size to extrapolate from imo.

"Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is another definition of insanity" - Albert Einstein.

Sorry, gotta with Einstein over you on this one. The Canucks need major changes if they want to change the end result.

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#14 NM00
May 06 2013, 01:17PM
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"They've been outscored twenty-six to seventeen at even-strength, but nineteen to four on special teams."

I have no idea as to the cause. Maybe it's randomness. Maybe the Canucks have too many players that referees hate.

But the Canucks take WAY too many minor penalties and have been doing so for many years.

The difference in this series is largely due to penalty differential.

Team A and Team B may be close in even strength shot differential. But if Team A takes more penalties, it is no wonder that Team B is winning.

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#15 Cam Charron
May 06 2013, 01:20PM
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team needs more entangibles and hart

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#16 Dmac in TO
May 06 2013, 01:20PM
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I love the data stuff, in part because I tend to look for the narrative - and life is a blend of data and narrative. For me the third goal last night was symbolic because of the choice the AV and Gilles made last year. The logic of Luongo's contract - to me - is that they needed to trade Schneider last year - at the deadline. You need goaltending, decent d, and depth in your forward group to win it all. Goalies don't steal playoff series by themselves the way Patrick Roy did with the Canadians (Thomas and Quick played with a supporting cast that allowed them to shine). So Canucks needed to get as much as they could - in players and/or picks - in a trade, and Schneider would have fetched more. And so last night, Corey showed his coaches that he could let in a killer goal - it reminded me of 2-0 goal my Michael Ryder in game 4 of the Cup final. "their failure is now complete." I tend to agree that the Canucks have been exceedingly unlucky in this awful playoff record dating back to game 3 of SCF. It seems like the magic has left their sticks, particularly for the twins. I think of the bank shot (from point off back boards) that Henrik missed in the opening minutes of game 6 of the finals, and then a game 7 first period 2-1 rush where Henrik doesn't make the pass to an open Burrows. In game 3 vs. the Kings, Henrik had an awesome shift in the second period, but had not Daniel to bury a goal. In this series, Daniel's confidence seems missing. In Friday's game, they had so many chances that just wouldn't go. Thus last night's 2-1 goal was so encouraging - he makes the pass and Burrows finishes beautifully. Still, the Sharks depth players seem to be outplaying the Canucks. Teams come back to win after being down 3-0 once every 30 years or so, thus we shouldn't expect it until at least 2040 (of course the sample size is not large enough to be statistically accurate). Thus it is likely that the Canucks are finished this year. And so the question of changes - what needs to be done. In this I am not sure that Gilles deserves a chance, let alone AV. It has been pointed out in other media, that they could/should have made changes in the assistants last year - look at SJ bringing in Larry Robinson as an assistant. This year, tough choices are going to need to be made and this calls for an objective perspective, which likely means an outside perspective. Perhaps, this can be done by keeping Gilles there, but bringing in an experienced coach (I have no suggestions). Maybe a wise elder as an advisor - such as Scotty Bowman (not available) - how about Pat Quinn? - someone to help the GM and his team in their thinking. This is the key first question. In terms of the goaltenders, the conventional wisdom is that Corey is still the guy, but maybe this too can be revisited - although hard to imagine with the current GM in place. All 'n all, it is sad to be talking about this instead of looking ahead to game 4 in which they are only down 2-1 (where they ought to be). Of course this is another aspect of narrative, where this series seems to be the opposite of the WCF from 2011 - Canucks got 5 on 3 Power-play then, SJ this year; Canucks won specialty teams then, SJ now; Canucks scored late to tie, and then won in OT then, SJ did this in game 2. If this holds true, expect a weird, fluky game winning goal for the Sharks either tomorrow or in game 5, or 6, or ....Shall we call this a rebalancing of karma?

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#17 Good stuff
May 06 2013, 01:30PM
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As always, great article.

Unfortunately, there are only so many things advanced stats can account for. games 1 and 2 were coin flips, and really 1 of 2 should have been won by the Canucks. If they got more than 1.5 PP's per game (league worst), maybe they would have had an a opportunity to win. Maybe if SJS didn't get the leagues best 27:19 of PP time, maybe this series would be different. Ya, probably not. The officiating has been like this for 3 yrs straight in the 1st round. For whatever reason, Canucks have got no breaks in the 1st round w/ officiating. It's a joke.

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#18 Cheops
May 06 2013, 01:35PM
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As heartbreaking as playoff losses can be I'd rather have a perennial contender who can get to the playoffs every year than a flash in the pan who makes some noise one year then misses the next few. This Canucks team is built to win the regular season every year. Win the regular season and then see where the chips fall in the playoffs.

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#19 Nick
May 06 2013, 01:48PM
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Agree that the first two games could have gone either way. They were close.

I also agree that a long hard look should be given at AV and whether or not he should be behind the bench come next season. He's not entirely to blame though, so that may not necessarily be the answer, but definitely a good place to start looking for answers...

I still haven't decided whether the Sharks are just that much better, or if we just can't seem to play a full 60 mins of hockey at a full effort...

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#20 ohNUX
May 06 2013, 02:19PM
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I agree with Drance regarding the roster. Our team is still pretty good so we shouldn't make any rash decisions. On the other hand, I think our coaching has become too predictable for the opposition, plus, AV makes way too many questionable decisions, come playoff time. I really think a coaching change is long overdue. I think we should try another coach before we make any major roster moves and see how that plays out. Man, I've been waiting all year for the playoffs and sadly, our series sucks, it just sucks. Ugh.

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#21 Rob
May 06 2013, 02:23PM
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Hey quit blaming the ref's, the officiating has been terrible league wide and has affected every team at some point but that does not and should not matter because all good teams overcome bad reffing. For some strange reason they just cannot score in the playoffs as seen by the unreasonably low shooting pctg. Maybe they are gripping their sticks too tight, trying to hard instead of just letting it happen. Who knows? I like GMMG he has done a good job and helping the team with doctors, sleep professionals etc etc. and he has done agood job at keeping this core together and getting players to come to Vancouver. That being said, I would like to see him stay with the team but not in a general manager role. I would like to see a new GM and a new coach with some serious hockey chops. Look at what SJ's defence did after they brought in Robinson. I'd like to see the Canucks go the route of true blue hockey minds behind the bench and making the personell decisions. The bottom half of the roster is in need of a major overhaul and I dont think I trust MG to do it right, and the current core needs a change of Scenery. When players arent playing a full 60 minutes every game that is a sign that the coach isnt being effective anymore, its time to take the team in a different direction.

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#22 billm
May 06 2013, 02:25PM
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Being out scored 47-21 over that stretch you really think is just bad "puck luck"?

I think that is a pretty significant stat over a decent sample size of playoff games.

To me it seems like there is something wrong in the system or team make up for play off hockey. I know possession stats guys hate the intangibles argument, they think hockey can be broken down just like "moneyball".

While possession stats are useful, they are just not cut and dried like in baseball where almost everything can be broken down to individual 1 on 1 match ups between a pitcher and a hitter.

The Canucks this series and the LA one are just not paying the price to win. They are not going to the dirty areas to get greasy goals. I'm on the fire AV bad wagon because of the special teams performance. More than pretty much anything, special team play are systems developed by the coaching staff. The personal hand picked to execute the systems. Av and Brown I guess never clued in that the rest of the league figured out their drop pass entry 2 years ago. Compound that with this 4 forward 1st unit they cooked up this year that has been god awful. GMMG brings in a canon point shot guy in Garrision and the coaching staff decides, nah we'll put Kesler who is hyper effective on the PP in front of the net on the point. It boggles the mind how they come up with some of the stuff they do.

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#23 Mantastic
May 06 2013, 02:31PM
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@Cam Charron

clearly they should stick with better fenwick/corsi number players, worked out so well for them in the playoffs!!! sample size is way to small for regression to affect unsustainable percentages in the playoffs.

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#24 KleptoKlown
May 06 2013, 02:50PM
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Totally on the fire AV bandwagon.

Schnieder should be traded too...nothing to do with last nights game, but because he could bring in real assets the Canucks need. Being "stuck" with Luo isn't a bad thing IMO. Eddie Lack as Luo's backup next season will give Eddie the chance he needs.

I am also on the trade Edler bandwagon. The Canucks need a right handed shot Dman that is ready for the top 4. I am just not sure if Edler's NTC has kicked in yet. Between Edler, Garrison and Hamhius, Edler is easily the one that should be moved.

The time for tinkering is over.

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#25 Dmac in TO
May 06 2013, 02:54PM
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@Rob

Re the refs - it looked to me like the Canucks got the short end of the stick in terms of the calls last night. For Sharks 5 on 3 goal the first call on Weise was bad, and the refs passed on giving the giving Canucks a 2 man adv. when the Shark player grabbed the puck and threw it out of the zone. How about cross check on Kesler behind the net - a dangerous play and no call - after Lapierre took a penalty for less?

Of course none of this matters if they run a better 4 on 3 PP which results in a goal, or Schneider doesn't let in a week one after they nearly killed the justified penalty to Hansen. And it would probably help if Kesler didn't oversell the high sticking call in the first or complain about the two none calls referred to above, not to mention a history of diving by Kesler and Burrows.

This may be sacrilegious to say, but I wonder if they should remove that statue of Neilson with the white towel. I remember the moment and the towel waiving in the arena that it inspired. But erecting a statue outside the arena is a symbolic middle finger to authority. If there is an unconscious bias against the team by the refs, maybe the team should consider taking it down. All teams suffer from bad or missed calls: Leaf nation in absence of a cup since Confederation, often mention the non call in game 6 of the ECF vs. Kings, when Gretzky should have been in the box for clipping Gilmour, not on the ice to score the OT winner. In Buffalo, it is all about the foot in the crease in the 99 cup final.

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#26 akidd
May 06 2013, 03:01PM
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scoring chances. the canucks aren't generating enough good ones. but they're giving up lots of good ones. it's not a coin toss at all. luck has very little to do with the canuck playoff record of the last two years.

their top line doesn't score like one. their highest-paid(next year) dman realistically should be somewhere between barker and alberts on the depth chart. and their goalies have been psyched out by a never-ending soap-opera.

nope. not a coin toss.

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#27 Dmac in TO
May 06 2013, 03:03PM
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@KleptoKlown

I would agree with most of what you say.

About Edler, his salary may make him hard to move and I wonder if they got a really good assistant defensive coach, that might improve his game. Larry Robinson would be a good pick - likely not available - but there might be someone who would be a good fit, someone who could connect with Edler. Game 5 of the cup final two years ago he was just awesome. But the last two playoffs (and this past season) have been so frustrating - for us to watch and surely for him as well, not to mention the coaches.

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#28 KleptoKlown
May 06 2013, 03:11PM
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@Dmac in TO

I'm not so sure Edler's salary would be hard to move. When he signed the extension, it was widely believed he left money on the table had he gone to UFA this offseason.

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#29 Rob
May 06 2013, 03:17PM
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@KleptoKlown

I think Edler like many others in the line-up need a change of voice in the locker room. Edler was invited to the all-star game 2 years ago and he hasn't progessed under AV since - he has infact regressed. I've said all along when you have a player like that you build your systems around him not force him to change his game to fit the system and that is what AV has done with Edler and it is slowly ruining him as a player. I agree that a new coach would probably turn him around.

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#30 Nat
May 06 2013, 03:19PM
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"The key is not to overreact, I think, to performance over a fifteen game sample. Watching Canucks playoff games the past couple of seasons has been about as fun as sticking needles in ones eye for Canucks fans. So I understand why people are tired of it and reacting emotionally on Monday morning. Hell, we're tired of it too."

"But it's worth keeping in mind that despite what we've seen the past week, the Canucks are a good team, and dismantling the club in a serious way would be a massive overreaction."

So what you're saying is the org shouldn't go nuts, Holmgren style? : )

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#31 Nigel
May 06 2013, 03:46PM
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The problem with this team is a lack of forwards. Right now this team can ice 8 forwards (Sedinx2;Burrows;Kesler;Higgens;Hansen;Roy;Raymond) who could reasonably be called top 9 NHL players (and it could be argued its only 7 because Raymond disappeared about a month ago). They can't construct a 3rd line without gutting the 2nd line and after Lapierre they can't construct a 4th line either. They are trying to win this series with two NHL lines - that just isn't possible. If they can reconstruct their forward units without blowing up the team then there is no need to.

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#32 Kurt
May 06 2013, 04:19PM
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Not sure why everyone is blaming AV. Everyone rests at the feet of Gillis. His ego got in the way and it cost this team the season.

I feel bad for AV. You can't make wine from lemons, and he was given a big bag of lemons to deal with.

Gillis refused to admit he made a mistake with Lou's monster contract. He refused to trade him for anything short of a king's ransom. And that is the #1 and only reason why the Nucks are 1 and done again. Imagine if they didn't have the goalie circus clouding them all year. AND imagine if they had Kadri & Bozak or whatever was offered. I mean, Kadri OR Bozak would be better than nothing.

Having 10+ million in a backup goalie and Ballard. Epic fail. Gillis is 100% to blame. Oh, and did I mention the cupboard is bone dry.... Lou could have at LEAST fetched some prospects. FAIL.

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#33 antro
May 06 2013, 05:55PM
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Holy moly! I've never seen so many comments at Canucks Army...nothing like the endtimes to make Canucks fans talk!

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#34 Jebediah
May 06 2013, 05:59PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

team needs more entangibles and hart

Entangibles and hart embiggens even the smallest of men.

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#35 Dmac in TO
May 06 2013, 06:20PM
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@Kurt

Well maybe both should share the blame. Is it Gilles fault that they can't score? In part yes because he hasn't drafted well, or made good trades (see Booth trade). But did he draw up that 4 on 3 powerplay last night? Both had a hand in picking Schneider over Luongo - and while many agreed with their assessment, they could have more easily traded Schneider for depth or draft picks for the future. Look at the defense - who is responsible for Edler not developing well? Of course part of it is Edler, but it may be time to give another coach a chance to work with him. I have no problem if the team gets rid of both the coach and GM - what is needed is an objective assessment, of the goalies, of the forwards and the defense, to determine who stays and who goes.

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#36 LA Canuck
May 06 2013, 06:41PM
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Just how wide open are other these windows, anyways? We have a tendency to idealize other team's playoff performances a little bit.

How did the Blackhawks do after their Cup? 2009–10: Stanley Cup Champions, 4-2 (Flyers) 2010–11: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3-4 (Canucks) 2011–12: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2-4 (Coyotes)

What about the Penguins? 2008-09: Won in Stanley Cup Finals vs Detroit Red Wings, 4–3 2009–10: Lost in Conference Semifinals vs Montreal Canadiens, 3–4 2010–11: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals vs Tampa Bay Lightning, 3–4 2011–12: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals vs Philadelphia Flyers, 2–4

Boston? 2010–11: Stanley Cup Champions, 4–3 (Canucks) 2011–12: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Capitals)

Anaheim, if anyone even remembers? 2006–07: Stanley Cup Champions, 4–1 (Senators) 2007–08: Lost Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Stars) 2008–09: Lost Conference Semifinals, 3–4 2009–10: Did not qualify

Speaking of Anaheim, Ottawa just seems to be recovering from their failed Cup run.

Did Philadelphia really make it to Finals?

Granted, it seems like these "elite" teams put up a bit more of a fight than the Canucks, or were at least rewarded by a couple more playoff wins (or even goals, at this point I'd take goals).

But winning is the exception in this league, so how you lose comes to define who you are a lot more than how you win. And for some teams, maybe that perception keeps the window open just a bit longer.

Maybe we just need to make changes to refocus and re-energize our guys.

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#37 Dmac in TO
May 06 2013, 07:14PM
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@LA Canuck

I get what you are saying, but those teams didn't have the same pattern or degree of scoring futilty as Canucks - 1 and 7 since losing the cup final (2-11 since being up 2-0 in cup final). Boston lost in 7 last year; are probably going to advance to round 2 this year. BlackHawks won 6 games over those two years you mentioned - and they shed a lot of their team after winning the cup due to salary cap reasons. Flyers won a round in 2011. Penguins won 7 games the year after winning cup. If Canucks lost this series in 6 - it is still a fairly plausible outcome - that might be different. Right now they look headed to being swept.

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#38 Innocent bystander
May 06 2013, 07:16PM
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@matt

From GRR's comment -

"A team this good not being able to get past the 1st round in two consecutive seasons has some issues that need addressing."

"Obviously the core was good enough for back-to-back presidents trophy's and a trip to the Finals. Dismantling it to start over would be silly. It's the role players that need adjusting. A real 3rd line centre who can win face-offs is a MUST need. As are some wingers with some grit to their game who can score. "

Your reply -

"Ridiculous. You're making stuff up to justify the ignorant conclusions you've already drawn. Give me a break."

What exactly is he fabricating? Did Vancouver make it past the first round the last two years? Nope. Do they lack wingers with size and grit and a bit of skill? Yup. Do they miss Malhotra? Yes.

Those are the facts.

You of course are not in any way obligated to like them, but to accuse GRR of making stuff up is demonstrative of major denial on your part, matt. The only person who appears to be ignorant about the (current) state of the Canucks is you, and intentionally so.

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#39 orcasfan
May 06 2013, 07:19PM
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Should AV or Gillis go? In a perfect world, I would say both...they certainly have both had enough fails in the areas of their responsibilities. Problem is, who would replace them? Unfortunately, good GM's and coaches don't grow on trees! I do think we need a GM who has more knowledge and experience of putting all the pieces together to create a great team. No doubt, Gillis has been lucky to inherit a good core, young enough to still grow and develop. But after 5 years, that core is starting to age, and there's not a whole lot waiting in the wings. I don't have much faith anymore in Gillis' ability to judge talent, both at the junior and pro level. But he'll probably be given one more chance.

Unfortunately, AV will shoulder most of the blame (typical of the NHL). But the assistants should also go. Again, who will replace him? I can only hope that it's not Arniel!

Obviously, retooling this team will not happen in one off-season. So don't get your hopes up that everything will be "all better" next year! Obviously they need top 6 scoring wingers, as well as a real 3rd C.

I would like to see Bieksa traded. The balance between his gaffs and his positives are tipping too far in one direction. Plus he's not getting any younger! Ballard must go. Keepers - Hammhuis, Garrison, Tanev, Alberts, and maybe Edler. Not sure about Edler. Will a new coach make a difference? He's young enough to learn. Playing on the left side with a steady right D (like Tanev) would probably help too. Is one bad 1/2 season, plus bad playoff run last year enough to give up on him?

Guys to say "sayonara" to: Booth, Ballard, Raymond, Bieksa, and lesser lights like Sestito (is he on a 1 year contract?). And those guys who just signed for a year. I'd also trade Schroeder, by the way. We need more from a C, than what he can provide.

We need at least 2 new wingers who can score (top 6). A good, young 3rd C who can contribute at both ends. Kassian is a project that may take a few years to bear fruit! So, I imagine he will continue his learning curve traveling up and down the top 9 next year. Maybe Jensen can shine enough at training camp to make the roster? There may be one or two more from the farm who get tryouts. Even if all this pans out, will it be enough (to regain the status as a contender)?

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#40 bb
May 06 2013, 08:08PM
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GRR wrote:

I think you're trusting in underlying data a little too much. Call Games 1 and 2 coin flips all you want, but the Sharks wanted it more and found a way to win.

This is where "clutch" comes in. I know you guys don't believe in it, but look at games 1 and 2. Two evenly matches teams. One has been clutch, the other not so much.

15 games may not seem like much....but I'd say 3 play-off series being completely destroyed is a large enough sample size. A team this could not being able to get past the 1st round in two consecutive seasons has some issues that need addressing.

Obviously the core was good enough for back-to-back presidents trophy's and a trip to the Finals. Dismantling it to start over would be silly. It's the role players that need adjusting. A real 3rd line centre who can win face-offs is a MUST need. As are some wingers with some grit to their game who can score.

Mike Gillis has done a respectable job and deserves a chance to right the ship.

I'm on the Fire AV bandwagon myself. His style is just not effective anymore. The team needs a fire-starter more than an x's and o's guy right now. The time is right with Lindy Ruff on the market..

if you think Lindy Ruff is a "firestarter" you must be high. Buffalo tuned him out, how fast do you think Vancouver would? One thing Vancouver doesnt need is another coach who cant coach defense.

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#41 isaac
May 06 2013, 08:56PM
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LOL can the canucks suck any more. You guys will never win a cup .....i mean ever . bunch of babies.

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#42 Canooks
May 06 2013, 09:06PM
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@matt

Here's a prime example of canucks mentality.

“I believe we can win one game,” Vigneault said. “We haven’t beaten the Sharks once this year. I believe we can do it tomorrow.”

So , by that logic, I were to take get into a ring and fight Floyd Mayweather and lose miserably 3 times in a row, then maybe on the fourth fight I could win. LOL

This is why the canucks will NEVER win the cup...ever. Delusional fans to delusional coaches and management, and a greedy useless owner, from the cheap grffiths family to the aqullinis...the curse of Bure continues.

The boys are out there looking at the uselessness of the sedin sisters, and burrows, and raymond, and edler and so on and wondering to themselves..what the hell have i gotten myself into? Bet your ass the Sedin sisters have talked amongst themselves to hang it up this or next year and go back to playing in the swedish league because there's no hitting allowed there. LOL What team in the NHL wouldnt want a pair of icetime eater doing nothing in the play offs?

43 years of sucking. The facts speak for themselves. Cased closed.

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#43 Wetcoaster
May 06 2013, 11:01PM
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If you're talking about tough first rounds, I think it's a mistake to leave out 2011's near-loss to the Blackhawks. The Canucks almost didn't get it done that round either.

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#44 Canooks
May 07 2013, 12:13AM
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@Wetcoaster

Here's another signature Canuck mentality. After every post game loss you can here Sedin always saying the same thing with a smile on his face. " we have to do this, we have to do that..." or " we played well enough to win.."

Ah...WRONG, you dont play "well" when you lose Sedin. don't TALK about what you should do about your non-existent scoring, go out there and DO IT, Sedin.

Yet the fansters never get tired of hearing the same old excuses. If Sedin were really honest he'd say" Look, my brother and I are completely useless when it counts. We dont check, we dont hit, we cant score when we are not given any room on the ice, we are only good in the regular season when it doesnt count"

There are no captains on that ship, only passengers. The Sedins or one of them wears the C, yet the only thing I can see that it may stand for is complacency, or chicken, or Can't or CRAP. If the fansters ever do wake up, all that's going to happen is empty seats and the owner moving this garbage of a team to another city. Anyone ever hear of a team called the Nordiques? The Whalers? People in Quebec back then had enough of the koolaid and the losing. The canucks are no different tot he Nords, accept that the new owners, now the Avs, actually got winners in their organization who got winners to play and won a couple of cups. What have the Canucks ever done?

All that support is doing nothing but putting the worse team on the ice. Id rather see them miss the playoffs then waste TIME with their eventually mandatory choking.The Canucks are like the one tennis player in the group who always sucks, never gets better, but always seem to jump on the court whenever you got a good doubles match going with better players. ..a total competitive boner buster. Theyre like the guys who think theyre tough around weaklings but get the living snot slapped out of them when the alpha male appears.

They aint fooling no one except their delusional fansters. Note how the best player Bure was treated. And yes, without Bure beating mike Vernon on that breakaway, they would have never gone to the finals..hear that Linden? At least Bure didnt make Vernon look like an allstar by shooting it into his glove. this is what a REAL great player does, they break games wide open.They stick up for themselves, like Bures elbow on Chura. the Sedins couldnt stand up for a Taco. You dont think the players see that? They sat there and watched their captain punch marchands glove with his face and enjoy it. No wonder the ppl rioted. It was a disgrace, how can anyone playing for a Canadian city have a captain like that? Is anyone here PROUD to be a Vancouverite after seeing that?

The curse of Bure continues.

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#45 Canooks
May 07 2013, 12:30AM
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@Rob

When you have team mates like Alex Error, you don't need opponents.

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#46 Locky
May 07 2013, 03:17AM
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While I generally agree with this article, I wonder at what point we can say 'this deficit in shot % is a result of a particular systemic issue, rather than simply random chance'?

Objectively, we couldn't. But the possibility of a systemic issue affecting S% (bearing in mind that scoring chance data brings about its own subjectivity problems) can't be easily discounted.

It would be interesting to see the numbers on the PP (as I think we're definitely seeing a coaching effect there) over this period. Another point would be to compare the playoff S% of all teams over this period, and further ask 'what is the S% of teams against the Canucks vs. against other opponents?'.

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#47 Word up
May 07 2013, 03:53AM
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antro wrote:

I mostly agree with the sentiment here, although I see Mantastic's (and others') points about the trickiness of saying this is a straight up coin flip each time. However, I also think that if you take a longer view and look at playoff games since MG was hired, the record of the current core also looks different.

One other thing is the call for a new coach, which TD has tended to support based on questionable personnel decisions. I realize that it's probably time for a new coach, but the problems the Canucks are facing right now would seem to be the GM's. There's a list of things Mike Gillis hasn't got done which everyone who writes about the Canucks has been saying since last spring: a 3rd line checking center; trading Luongo and finding another back-up; not finding balance b/w right and left side D, and not finding balance b/w puck-moving and defensive D; doing something with Ballard; signing or developing depth dmen more reliable than Barker and Joslin; and there's probably a couple more. Nobody could predict the specific circumstances: a salary cap about to go down, and long injuries to Booth, Kesler, and Bieksa, then late season injuries to Tanev and Schneider. But Doug Wilson did a nice job finding usable parts and trading away parts he didn't want anymore. AV hasn't been able to find good balance in his line up all season, and part of that is injuries, and part of that is not having the pieces. And it's showing now in the playoffs.

This isn't to say that the GM should be fired (not at all), but GMMG's famous patience is starting to have Tambellini-like proportions.

I tend to agree about a fair deal of the issues this yr were in the GM's hands.

On the Canucks Army podcast, I remember one of the people mentioned the possibility that Gillis wasn't prepared for this season. I agree. Granted there were unusual external variables this yr, mainly the lockout. But there's no excuse to go into the season knowing there's a 90% chance Manny won't ever play again, Kesler is injured and the only other option is a rookie whose never played in the NHL. They were lacking centres before the season started and he doesn't pick up a single centre? Quite frankly, it's ludicrous and unacceptable.

Add onto that the lack of righty d-men, 2 wingers (Booth/Raymond) who were unreliable the year previous, a $4.2M bottom pairing d-man and two #1 goalies. I think AV did what he could with what he had. He couldn't draw from the farm team, cause there's very little down there in the forward dept. Gillis has provided little in the drafting dept.

I'm not calling for the firing of anyone. I think there's blame to go around for everyone - GM, coach, players. But I feel the busload falls on the GM's shoulders.

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#48 Dmac in TO
May 07 2013, 08:43AM
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@Canooks

So do you feel better now? All that spewing you have been doing must have relieved some pressure in you. Hopefully for you the Canucks will win tonight so you will be able to come back and launch your venom again.

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#49 Brent
May 07 2013, 09:17AM
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@Cam Charron

Classic! Not only do you know stats, you are funny too!

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#50 Oilers21
May 07 2013, 10:13AM
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You guys can correct me if I'm wrong but as an outsider, it really seems to me as if the Canucks get exposed when they try to match another team's physical style. When they play a team like Edmonton they're fine because we don't pressure the puck well or hit much and as a consequence the Sedins and others are free to cycle the puck around indefinitely waiting for that perfect pass. Against a high-tempo puck possession team, that time and space isn't there and they're rushed into making quicker decisions and playing more of a north-south grinding style. That's when they get exposed because certain players are taken out of their comfort zone and either give the puck away, make bad decisions, or take retaliatory-type penalties. That's just what I see; there's obviously lots of talent on the roster but (like us) they seem to have real difficulty against teams that forecheck aggressively and initiate lots of contact

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