January 21 2014 02:33PM
Sadly, no more.. [Image via Vancity Buzz]
It has been a rough week or so for the Vancouver Canucks, who have been progressively crumbling into pieces before our very eyes. They've lost their coach, they've lost a handful of players (including their captain), and they've lost numerous games.
What they've gained, on the other hand, is all sorts of media attention for the goonery they've partaken in over that time. The sideshow that they've allowed themselves to become has, in a way, helped take attention away from the fact that they now find themselves tied for 8th in the Western Conference standings with the Minnesota Wild (with the Phoenix Coyotes only 4 points behind them, with a game in hand).
They should probably start trying to focus on winning hockey games.. which conveniently enough should be bolstered on Tuesday night, thanks to their opponent. Then again, after struggling to eke out a shootout win against the Calgary Flames on home ice last time out, I don't think we're exactly in a position to be automatically expecting a W.
Puck Drop: 6:30 PM PST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet
I'd venture to guess that there are quite a few Canucks fans out there that have never seen their team play a game (that counts) without Henrik Sedin in the lineup, so tonight's game is going to be pretty darn weird in that regard. The last time he failed to suit up was all the way back on March 19th, 2004, a game in which Tyler Arnasan put a hat-trick on 'em en route to a Blackhawks victory. Yep, it has been a while.
Taking Henrik's place as the 1C will be Ryan Kesler, who moves up to play with Daniel and Burrows. This is how the rest of the lineup will look according to Murph (look away if you have a weak stomach):
Prob VAN lines: daniel-Kesler-Burrows / Higgins-Dalpe-Hansen / Booth-Richardson-Kassian / sestito-Lain-Weise. Luongo starts.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 21, 2014
b) Along with no Henrik Sedin tonight, there will also be no John Tortorella, as he serves the 1st of his 6-game suspension for Saturday night's tomfoolery ("WHERE WILL THIS TEAM'S LEADERSHIP COME FROM?!?!"- Talking Head Guy). We'll see Glen Gulutzan and Mike Sullivan coach the team over the course of the next 15 days, which would have me worried if not for their upcoming schedule.
They play the Oilers twice, the Predators, the Jets, and the Coyotes in that time, so things should be OK even if Zack Kassian's puppy is running the show. Just remember that when you hear someone talk about how John Tortorella's actions on Saturday "galvanized" this team, "bringing them closer together", and making them "want to work harder".
c) Speaking of Zack Kassian, though, he provides the perfect segue into the next topic of discussion - his ongoing feud with the Edmonton Oilers. If you'll recall, the last time these two teams played was back on December 13th, Zack Kassian took some time to catch up with Sam Gagner:
The Canucks have 265 penalty minutes as a team combined in their last 4 games, and with the Edmonton Oilers (a top-10 team in penalty minutes) dressing someone like Luke Gazdic (their lineup is shown below), it seems like a good bet that we'll see them add to that number at least moderately tonight.
Let's get to the underlying numbers:
|Corsi Close %||51.3% (10th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.27 (14th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.09 (9th)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.66 (25th)|
|5v4 SF/60||60.9 (3rd)|
|4v5 GA/60||3.98 (2nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||39.6 (1st)|
The Edmonton Oilers are a joke of a team and organization, for so many reasons. They currently sit dead last in the Western Conference, 3 points behind the Calgary Flames (who have a game in hand on 'em!) despite the fact that the Flames have fully embraced Tank City for over a month now.
Despite the fact that they're genuinely trying, they just can't seem to find a way to stop being the laughing stock of the NHL. Their -50 goal differential is the worst one in the entire NHL, and it's looking more and more likely that the Buffalo Sabres, who we thought would be historically bad, will wind up passing them in the overall standings. But maybe we had it all wrong the entire time.. maybe the 2013-14 Edmonton Oilers are the team that's actually the one that'll go down in history for its futility:
Here are their underlying numbers on the season (which are plummeting, and plummmeting, and plummmmmmeting...):
|Corsi Close %||44.0% (28th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.04 (21st)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.95 (30th)|
|5v4 GF/60||5.75 (20th)|
|5v4 SF/60||47.8 (24th)|
|4v5 GA/60||5.97 (11th)|
|4v5 SA/60||56.4 (23rd)|
[Stats via extraskater.com]
Another reason why the Edmonton Oilers make me laugh, besides their on-ice incompetence, is because of stuff like this..
"I have it on very good authority that the Oilers have hired a private PR/Social media company based out of Vancouver. The goal of the campaign is to promote the promise and the upside of the Oilers, while highlighting the great work of the management team under difficult circumstances and the respect of the Oilers management team around the NHL. The firm has talking notes from the Oilers and were given a list of message boards to visit and post. These are third party so called social media experts working on behalf of the Oilers. The responses will be very generic and pro Oilers."
... and this.