Canucks Army GDT #60- Canucks @ Leafs

Dimitri Filipovic
February 08 2014 11:24AM


I don't mean to oversell this but it may be the greatest moment in the history of hockey

There isn't much to hang your hat on in Vancouver these days. Well, unless you're in the camp that would like to see the team bottom out; which is pretty doable at this point, considering that they're only 3 points away from being 25th in the overall standings. The injury woes for this squad have become pretty comical at this point, as they're both literally and figuratively limping towards the Olympic break.

But hey, while the team may be struggling in a fashion which we haven't seen in a long time, we'll always have the video clip I've attached above. Andt the fact that the Canucks haven't lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs since November 24th, 2003. With everything that has plagued them lately I've come to terms with all of the losing in recent weeks, but if they find a way to somehow lose this one, well now that would just be plain embarrassing..

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 3:00 PM PST

TV: CBC

The Canucks

Hey now! That's a good piece of news right there. A few days ago I speculated as to whether Hamhuis may've suffered a concussion (after a reader had pointed out a play against Detroit where Alex Burrows' skate clipped the defenseman's head), but apparently he was just dealing with a nagging soft tissue injury in the groin area.

He's back, and that's a fantastic bit of news because it means that we won't be subjected to the Yann Sauve-Frankie Corrado pairing from hell any longer. While their efforts in ensuring that the Canucks would continue to tank towards a high lottery pick were noble, I don't know how many more 3 hour sittings of that trainwreck that I could endure.

As Rhys mentioned in his recap of the loss in Montreal, they're failing to crack the 40% corsi for Mendoza Line, which matches the eye test observations of "good god what the hell are they doing out there?!" Let's just hope that it never has to be a thing ever again.

Beyond that piece of news, there isn't much to say. The forward lines we saw on Thursday will be the ones we see tonight, which isn't ideal. But it's the last game before the break and hopefully we'll see a more, um, NHL-caliber lineup coming out of it.

Let's get to their underlying numbers:

Canucks:  
Corsi Close % 51.7% (10th)
5v5 GF/60 2.23 (18th)
5v5 GA/60 2.19 (12th)
PDO 100.1 (14th)
5v4 GF/60 4.40 (26th)
5v4 SF/60 57.6 (4th)
4v5 GA/60 4.41 (3rd)
4v5 SA/60 40.3 (1st)

The Maple Leafs

The Leafs are the best. I genuinely have no idea how they're 31-22-6, but what I do know is that whatever Glenn Healy and Co. wind up telling you tonight will almost assuredly not be the reason why ("Tim Gleason blah blah blah grit blah blah blah heart blah blah blah). 

I recently had to track the scoring chances for the Leafs/Panthers game (as part of a bet I lost to Cam Charron), and I came out of that game wondering how the Leafs have ever managed to win this season. They were brutally outplayed from start to finish, and as this graphic indicates (which I hope you can appreciate the beauty of) that has been a fairly common occurence this season:

Yet some how, some way, they continue to find ways to win. At this point I've become resigned to the fact that they're going to qualify for the playoffs yet again over a team that's more deserving. The Toronto Maple Leafs are so darn good at trolling all of us in the analytical community. Anyways, here are their full season underlying numbers:

Leafs:  
Corsi Close % 42.7% (29th)
5v5 GF/60 2.36 (11th)
5v5 GA/60 2.46 (22nd)
PDO 101.7 (3rd)
5v4 GF/60 7.91 (4th)
5v4 SF/60 54.0 (7th)
4v5 GA/60 6.75 (22nd)
4v5 SA/60 61.3 (30th)

[Stats via extraskater.com]

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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 Matt
February 08 2014, 12:21PM
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The Leafs penalty kill is so awful, it gives me hope that the Canucks will string together power play goals in multiple games. Moral victories!

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#2 JFR
February 08 2014, 02:18PM
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Things are very bleak in Van! In fact I have fast forwarded through the last 3rd periods because I knew there was no way this team could come back. There are only two silver linings in this low lying cloud.

1 MG will be forced to make a trade for a scoring winger that we can give an extension too. Vanek would look good next to the Sedins for a few years, buying out Luo would free up the money to make a contract extension.

2. 4 yrs ago when the Nucks were better and the Division was crappy my main concern was that bad teams with less guys going to the playoffs would get a solid break and come back like it was a new season. That bad team is now the Canucks! The injuries added with the self perpetuating bad luck have put them I a dark place. Some time off to heal will be perfect .

The return from the break will be like last seasn, a sprint to the finish. I believe the team that is hot at the end will win. Seeding won't matter so much in this Olympic year. I wouldn't mind a top pick but unless there is a massive sell off this team is too talented when healthy to get into the top 5.

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#3 JFR
February 08 2014, 02:20PM
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JFR wrote:

Things are very bleak in Van! In fact I have fast forwarded through the last 3rd periods because I knew there was no way this team could come back. There are only two silver linings in this low lying cloud.

1 MG will be forced to make a trade for a scoring winger that we can give an extension too. Vanek would look good next to the Sedins for a few years, buying out Luo would free up the money to make a contract extension.

2. 4 yrs ago when the Nucks were better and the Division was crappy my main concern was that bad teams with less guys going to the playoffs would get a solid break and come back like it was a new season. That bad team is now the Canucks! The injuries added with the self perpetuating bad luck have put them I a dark place. Some time off to heal will be perfect .

The return from the break will be like last seasn, a sprint to the finish. I believe the team that is hot at the end will win. Seeding won't matter so much in this Olympic year. I wouldn't mind a top pick but unless there is a massive sell off this team is too talented when healthy to get into the top 5.

Didn't mean playoffs..... Meant going to Olympics.

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#4 PB
February 08 2014, 03:30PM
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@JFR

So no on Vanek. It's a massive gamble to commit more resources and to suggest that the solution to the current problem is just to get a scoring winger for the Sedins. It isn't. It's trying to transition through actual player development, better drafting and reasonable signings into a sustainably good team. Going after a top-six forward through a trade is (once again) mortgaging the future and stripping a rebuilding but still sparse cupboard of prospects.

I agree that the Canucks when not playing half their team as Utica is better than this. But the post-Olympics reset has to come to some decision point where we don't run top-line players into the ground and/or go for rentals. You would have to think the top players would at least be satisfied this year with their Olympic experiences, enough that a poor finish in the regular season isn't going to be too upsetting. In many ways perhaps this is indeed the reset we need, even if it wasn't planned that way.

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#5 wayne berton
February 08 2014, 04:37PM
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Close to the break before the Olympics I leave a few comments and would appreciate your comments.

1. Sedins. Good-great players in the past and have given us years of standout hockey. However it has been very obvious that their trend is down in a big way. My complaint with MG is I believe he has signed them for 4 more years as a bonus for the past. They were well paid in the past; I don't care how much they pay them but we are stuck with both (and they are terrible now) for "4" more years i.e. 56M. This closes the door to develop some good prospects and improve our team, I believe we will not finish in the top 10 but have the Sedin Albatross flying over us for 4 more years. 2. This has been a horrible years for injuries, more than most of the other teams. 3. We value our players too highly (See Oilers) thus MG not able to trade. 4. All our decent players have no trade clauses, another obvious reason for trade difficulties although many will leave at "rock bottom" (end of this year.) 5. Except for the odd exception (Santorelli) MG thinks he is bright enough to land a "significant" player than can help our team via waived players that 29 other GM's don't want. 6. We continue to get "smaller" and now have 2 former Montreal small defensemen. 7. Help and thank you.

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#6 Canucks Suck
February 08 2014, 06:48PM
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Terrible effort against the Leafs and deservedly lose...

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