Canucks Army GDT #63 - Sens @ Canucks

Dimitri Filipovic
March 01 2014 05:28PM

spezza_henrik_heritage_classic

Don't let the smiles fool you, these guys hate each other! [Image via Sportsnet]

Dating all the way back to April 17th, 2013 when the NHL announced that the Canucks and Senators would be competing in the "Heritage Classic" (as part of the 6 outdoor games to be played in the '13-'14 season), there appeared to be quite a few flaws with the plan. 

Looking past the fact that it was an oversaturated and transparent cash grab by the league, from a storyline perspective it sure seemed odd to have the game feature two teams that have as little history with each other as possible, having played only 31 total times since 1992. 

When your main marketing angle is "these two franchises played for the title back in 1915!", you're reaching. Then there was the fact that it was set to be played in March, which in Vancouver, generally doesn't lend itself to prototypical outdoor hockey weather (though apparently they knew something we didn't, because it has been snowing up here in the past week).

Even taking all of that into acocunt, there were still plenty of people that were excited about the fact that their city would be hosting an outdoor game, and that they'd get to witness it up close and personal (even if it meant spending their life savings). But leave it to the Vancouver Canucks to Canuck it up by creating a self-inflicted goaltending controversy on the eve of the game, which has somehow, someway managed to overshadow a regular season game between these two well known rivals. Even if it's being played in a CFL stadium.

The Canucks

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 3.26.42 PM
Image via The Stanchion

The news that Eddie Lack will be reportedly getting the nod over Luongo against the Senators on Sunday afternoon is just the latest chapter in the fascinating case study being run by the Canucks over the past two seasons. I'm sure that they'll be able to gather some very telling information as it relates to how far you can push a rational human being before he finally snaps. They'd have already reached their conclusion if not for the fact that they picked the most modest, patient, persistent subject around.

In all seriousness, though, there are two ways to approach this news. 

a) Eddie Lack has stopped 42 of the 43 shots he has faced in the team's two games since the Olympics (and 70/72 dating back to his last start against Detroit before the break). While he didn't exactly have to carry the team in front of him against the Blues and Wild, he was still very solid in earning 3 of the possible 4 points from those contests. 

On the season his numbers (2.05 GAA, .925 save percentage) are superior to Luongo's (2.38 GAA, .917 save percentage), though I would mention that he has also started 22 fewer games, which means that we need to be cautious when comparing the two. Regardless, Lack has far and away exceeded all expectations in his first season in the league, and has at least made it a legitimate conversation as to not only which goalie the team should ride as recently as next season, but also which one gives the team the best chance to win right now. 

I still lean Luongo (sample size is very important, and don't you ever forget it!), but I'm open to having a debate, and that speaks volumes to how impressive Lack has been. Taking all of that into account, there's also..

b)

Those that know me know that I usually try to refrain from letting emotions dictate how I evaluate and analyze situations. When you're trying to win games and get ahead of the competition, there's very little room for sentimental value. 

But what's the end-game here? Unless they're on the verge of pulling off a trade involving Luongo (which I highly doubt), why do they feel the need to continue treating the best goaltender in franchise history - who, I should note, is still very good at his job - like he's an unwanted red headed stepchild? How they've handled everything related to him seems awfully bizarre to me, and somehow continues to unpleasantly surprise me. 

This tweet sums up my thoughts on the matter pretty aptly:

The Canucks will have cap space in the coming years, but if you're a star player watching all of these events develop from a distance, would you really want to come here? Don't think that players don't watch and take note of all of this stuff. It's hard to believe Ryan Kesler wants out, really.

Judging from Twitter (which is, granted, always dangerous to do) people in Vancouver are furious about all of this. And while I tend to preach calmness and "logging off", I think the outrage in this particular instance is pretty well justified. #FreeLuongo.

The Senators

I spent some time going through all of the games involving these two teams in the past decade or so, trying to compile a "Top 10" list of the best moments, or something to that effect. The task proved difficult; quite frankly, very few noteworthy things have happened involving the Canucks and the Senators, and to do so there would've been a whole lot of self-indulgent, tongue-in-cheek anecdotes involved. So instead I just figured I'd pass along some of the things I found interesting along the way:

The time their matchup was built up as a potential "Stanley Cup Finals preview"(!!!):

No, seriously. Read this. Looking back on it 8 years later, it's kind of hard not to enjoy a good laugh about it all. The sentence "Vancouver also moved into a first-place tie with the Calgary Flames in the Northwest Division." was unironically written. It's also amusing that Alex Auld beat Dominik Hasek in a shootout. He has some thoughts on it:

.. me neither, Alex. For the record, the Canucks actually failed to make the playoffs that season, while the Senators, as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, fell to the Sabres in 5 games in the 2nd round. I don't blame you if you've erased all memories of a season that ended with an Oilers/Hurricanes Stanley Cup Final from your brain.

The Sami Salo Trade:


Ah yes. Salo went on to put up 236 points in 9 memorable seasons as a Vancouver Canuck. That puts him 5th on the all-time franchise list. Peter Schaefer, the player traded for him in a 1-for-1 swap, had 155 points in 4 seasons with the Senators before playing for the Bruins, coming back to the Canucks, and then retiring. I'd say the Canucks won that trade.

The first game home following the '10 Winter Olympics (RIP, Pavol):


Markus Naslund's wicked end-to-end rush (which got me thinking: what's a "goal"?):


Alex Burrows DoorGate (in which Burrows opened more doors than he has goals scored this season..):


Daniel Sedin's 300th goal (which happened earlier this year, so you should remember it!):


The Numbers

Canucks Senators
5v5 Corsi Close % 52.1 (9th) 51.6 (11th)
5v5 GF/60 2.16 (19th) 2.49 (6th)
5v5 GA/60 2.12 (10th) 2.68 (28th)
5v5 PDO 99.9 (T-16th) 99.5 (20th)
     
5v4 GF/60 4.22 (T-27th) 6.12 (16th)
5v4 SF/60 57.5 (4th) 50.3 (17th)
4v5 GF/60 4.36 (2nd) 6.92 (24th)
4v5 SA/60 40.0 (1st) 48.5 (T-9th)
     
Penalty Differential -4 -31

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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 van
March 01 2014, 06:05PM
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On top of the Luongo mess, we're trading Kesler to the Pens. Gillis satisfying his Sutter boner is just like Hodgson for Kassian. About time he's fired, but unfortunately too late. Luongo/Schneider, Hodgson, Kesler, Torterella - too many big decisions gone bad.

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#2 PB
March 01 2014, 06:17PM
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Yeah, I was willing to give Tortorella the benefit of the doubt for this season and Gillis on the basis of past success but injuries or no injuries there's just no excuse for this level of incompetence, ineptitude and an almost unbelievable amount of unprofessionalism. I can't wait for the news of a deadline deal packaging Horvat, Kesler and this year's first for Kovalchuk. Oh wait...

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#3 Ted
March 01 2014, 07:28PM
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I'm all on the fire Gillis bus but it sounds like he has some big moves brewing. I'm eager to see what they are and then decide.

So far I'm hearing Lu to Wsh (Edler might be in a big trade as well) for Kuznetsov and others. If Gillis can swing Lu for Kuz straight up then that'd be awesome!

Kesler to Detroit? They have some nice pieces. Kes and a pick for Manthat, Jurco and Tatar? I'm all over that one.

Edler? Wherever he is dealt, we'd need a nice power forward in return. Our top 6 will be a lot smaller without Kes.

Anyway, there are options so I'm eager to see if Gillis can pull us out of this death spiral.

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#4 Matt
March 01 2014, 07:30PM
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What if they're not close to a Luongo trade, but are instead showcasing Lack for a possible deadline move?

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#5 andyg
March 01 2014, 07:48PM
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@Matt

They would be more concerned about an injury I'd think.

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#6 andyg
March 01 2014, 07:53PM
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@Ted

I could see Edler to Tampa.

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#7 JChecks
March 01 2014, 08:01PM
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Matt wrote:

What if they're not close to a Luongo trade, but are instead showcasing Lack for a possible deadline move?

I don't post often,but when I heard that Lack was playing for the 3rd straight time before the trade deadline.I couldn't help but think someone's taking a good look at him.

And I could help but think that Lou's absence from the olympic games was in part due to some kind of injury. It seems to me he was struggling a little before the break.

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#8 Ted
March 01 2014, 09:02PM
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andyg wrote:

I could see Edler to Tampa.

Yeah, I can see them deal some offence our way.

I pray the Pitt rumors are false. What an awful package for Kes.

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#9 andyg
March 01 2014, 10:21PM
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@Ted

One thing is for sure. If Edler and Kess have given the go on a trade then their is a real chance for the Canucks to aquire a couple of very good young players and draft picks.( no rush though)

I do wish that Gillis would just find a way to set Lou free.(he has earned it) I don't care about the return any more.

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#10 Wetcoaster
March 01 2014, 10:50PM
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Luongo: Mike, it's a new start this year, new coaching staff, new backup goalie. Why do the coaches still hate me?

GMMG: Lou, we've been over this. Stop sleeping with their wives.

Either that or they think the Millionaires jerseys are Kryptonite to Luongo given last year's game against Detroit

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#11 Ted
March 02 2014, 12:13AM
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andyg wrote:

One thing is for sure. If Edler and Kess have given the go on a trade then their is a real chance for the Canucks to aquire a couple of very good young players and draft picks.( no rush though)

I do wish that Gillis would just find a way to set Lou free.(he has earned it) I don't care about the return any more.

I agree. It'd be nice to move Lu but that contract is still rather onerous. I hope they move him.

I still don't see how Lack gets the start on Sunday (unless a deal to move Lu is imminent). It seems like a total slap in the face to Lu.

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#12 Ruprecht
March 02 2014, 09:44AM
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Ted wrote:

I agree. It'd be nice to move Lu but that contract is still rather onerous. I hope they move him.

I still don't see how Lack gets the start on Sunday (unless a deal to move Lu is imminent). It seems like a total slap in the face to Lu.

I had the same feeling last week. All of this talk about Kesler means something is brewing with Lu. Gillis speak. I'm not sure I trust the guy pulling the trigger on any deal concerning the future of our team. Especially when you consider this present mess is his old view of what would help the team's future. We're still trying to buy our way out of his old mistakes. It's useless to treat symptoms at this point. Since the cause is still flourishing.

Listening to Lu whine about always wanting to play an outdoor game almost made me puke. I mean, why not be happy for the guy getting the chance, he's a kid who earned it and you are a teammate? In the grander scheme of things it's only 3 missed starts in a row. Just proves the guy hasn't learned a thing from last season. Buy him out, trade him, send him packing along with Gillis. 2 huge problems gone.

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#13 DiehardNuck
March 02 2014, 12:10PM
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"...fascinating case study being run by the Canucks over the past two seasons..."

Next phase is trading Lack to Florida and watching Lu's head explode.

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#14 Gunnar
March 02 2014, 01:24PM
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Lou not playing....... that is a dick move. This is why we/nucks can't have nice things.

Its becoming harder and harder to face all the oiler and flame fans I'm surrounded by and argue that at least my team is a well run classy origination and not the tire fire their crap teams are. Thank you GMMG.

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#15 Senrik Hedin
March 02 2014, 01:33PM
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this must be all part of a grand scheme to sway the public to all support luongo through the crap years in 2018-2022.

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#16 andyg
March 02 2014, 03:14PM
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@Gunnar

I do hope that Lou gets moved more to get a break from the Medea.

Let's not put this on Gilli's though. This is a choice made by the coach. Lou has not played much in 3 weeks and Lack has been hot.

Lou has played 42 games this year.

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#17 NM001
March 02 2014, 04:04PM
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I completely agree. Fire Gillis already. If he start Lack then he's just slapping Luongo in the face, and clearly can't manage players. If he plays Luongo fire him as we'll cause clearly he doesn't care about making the playoffs, as why wouldn't he start Lack with the hot hand.

Also his trades are attrocious, anyone remember Christian Ehrhoff, Maxim Lapierre, and Chris Higgins. The way he mortgaged our future for those 3 players is unnaceptable.

Also have you see how badly Cody Hodgson worked out for us. He has 32 points, Kassian only has 17. That's 15 points which is a crazy amount given that Cody plays on their first line, has seen almost twice the amount of ice time, half of those points were with Vanek (who he clearly had to pick up the slack for) and he's on their first pp unit while being a full year older. I can see why that was such a catastrophic loss that it reminds me of Neely. I hate losing future hall of famers like that.

Also remember we need to fire Gillis because of his draft record. He hasn't drafted a player playing for the Canucks yet. So epic fail. You can't include Hodgson cause he's not playing for the Canucks, and you have to ignore the games that both Corrado and Schroeder have played but otherwise this holds 100% true.

Last but not least let's look at his non drafted prospects. Why he keeps trying to pick up garbage like Eddie Lack, Joacim Eriksson, Chris Tanev and Dane Fox amongst others is beyond me. Clearly none of them will ever work out, as if no other team in the NHL wanted them, then they clearly won't ever amount to anything in the NHL.

I say bring back Nonis, so that he can bring this team back to Stanley Cup glory, with the Clarksons of the world.

I want a GM who wins 100% of trades made, never takes any risks, can cast voodoo on other GM's to get Crosby out of Pittsburgh for Diaz straight up, can forsee the future knowing when they hand out contracts that things like the Cap will be going down (despite revenues going up), and that contracts like Luongo's while good at the time they were signed will carry penalties on it that will be written into the future.

So my reccomendation is since Nonis is clearly still with Toronto and Burkie does not look like he wants to be GM, we go with a different approach. Let's fire Gillis and sign current witch doctor extrodinair of Pemba island Chaka Chaka. Not only is he cheap but he can't fail with all of his spells and rituals. It's time for a new management team my friends and make no mistake, Voodoo is the way to go on this one.

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#18 Gunnar
March 02 2014, 04:48PM
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@NM001

Wow, thats quite the measured response there chief.

I've been a big fan of GMMG and the great things he's done for this franchise. Tambo and Fester he is not. But, and isn't there always a but, he hasn't had a whole lot go right in number of years now.

All the good things your trying to point out, in a totally coherent non insulting and not at all sarcastic way, were done 2011. I'm no math wizard but that was three years ago and unless you want to go full oiler fan and live in the past than he's just not been good enough.

The Lou debacle last year is his crap sandwich alone, the inability to find scoring wingers or playmakers for Kesler land on GMMG's lap. The hiring of Torts by his own words was his decision. Letting Torts bench Lou today, knowing that this would create a new goalie gate, and not stepping in is damn well his fault and the final straw for me.

This was a classes stupid move with no up side that a blind monkey/nmoo could have seen coming.

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#19 andyg
March 02 2014, 06:40PM
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There we go it is official!

No Daniel, trade Kess and we could get as high as the 5th overall pick.

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#20 Ruprecht
March 02 2014, 09:54PM
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andyg wrote:

There we go it is official!

No Daniel, trade Kess and we could get as high as the 5th overall pick.

Reset button engaged!!!

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