CANUCKS ARMY POSTGAME: HIGH FIVE

Matthew Henderson
January 04 2017 10:59PM

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After a thrilling World Juniors game, the puck dropped in Vancouver with the Canucks game riding a four-game winning streak, trying to make it five against the Coyotes. They were successful, thanks to a shutout performance from the team, with comfortable goaltending from Ryan Miller. Plus, a kid got a puppy (hopefully). Here's the recap!

 

The Rundown

There wasn't much to write home about until the Canucks opened the scoring midway through the 1st on a snipe from Sven Baertschi:

Except for this sign in the crowd, which means we were all really pulling for a Bo Horvat goal in this one.

That was about all the noteworthy things that happened in the first, and Alex Burrows got to take most of it in from the bench as the stats show:

If you thought the first period of the game lacked much energy, the second period wasn't exactly your cup of tea either. The period passed with not much happening at all. We had an impromptu Sleep Country song session.

The first few minutes of the third were much of the same, but Brandon Sutter was hooked on a close breakaway and the refs awarded him a penalty shot. He got the most of it.

The goal was nice but we have one important request.

Then the moment of the year happened. After the game got into garbage time, sure enough, Bo Horvat was sprung on a breakaway. And he did not disappoint the kid.

That was all the action in the game with the Canucks polishing off a 3-0 shutout win extending the streak to five.

Notes

  • Willie decided to bench Anton Rodin for this one, which is questionable considering the Canucks have not yet given him a chance to show what he can do, and with injuries in the top 6 it would make sense to give him a shot.
  • Perhaps somewhere he could slot in would be alongside the Sedin twins, who have found little success with Jayson Megna.
  • Henrik Sedin didn't notch any points in this one, meaning he still sits four points away from 1000 in his career.
  • It was Ryan Miller's first shutout of the season, and his 37th in his career. 

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Matthew Henderson was born and raised in the outskirts of Vancouver and is constantly finding ways to blend his love for puck with his love for graphic design. Find him at @MHenderson95 on Twitter.
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#1 RIP
January 04 2017, 11:21PM
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Ok. Time for some real recap. First off the recap should have mentioned that although the second period was boring. Arizona posted a lowly 2 shots. That is the system Willie is preaching coming to fruition. Next: Megna- sure the points have not been there and he shouldn't be there. But when I watch him play with the Sedins it is so obvious that he is playing as though he shouldn't be there so he gives it his all. People wonder why Vrtanen wasn't given more of a chance and it's precisely the effort. All Vrtanan had to do was that, effort, and he didn't. That is the key and note the Sedins were giving all sorts of props to Megan tonight. Also should have been mentioned that Sbisa was excellent tonight. Active at their blue line, hitting, few mistakes. Poor Stetcher tonight. Love that kid but man he looked like it was just a bit too much tonight. Baer is playing with all sorts of confidence and it is something wonderful.

This is exactly what a team rebuilding on the fly looks like. Give props where there are due.

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#2 TD
January 04 2017, 11:30PM
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Horvat 1g, +2, 15:50 Baertschi 1g, +2 13:00 Burrows 1a, +2 12:36

Sutter 1g, +1, 17:21 Granlund 16:35 Eriksson 15:40

Henrik 18:24 Daniel 17:47 Megna 14:46

Chaput 11:08 Skille12:02 Gaunce 12:00

The stats and ice times are from Sportsnet. I put them here to show JD that the Willie is trying to tank. He is playing his best line almost the same as his 4th line.

Didn't see the game, heard it was a sleeper. Saw all three goals; they looked nice, especially Horvat's.

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#3 RIP
January 04 2017, 11:36PM
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@TD

"Willie D is trying to tank". Is that seriously what you think? How did Canucks Army deserve this audience.

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#4 wojohowitz
January 04 2017, 11:40PM
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What caught my attention was that Willie gave the fourth line more icetime because they have to make some personnel decisions with both Rodin and now Boucher looking for a place to fit in. Gaunce 12 minutes, Skille 12 minutes and Chaput 11 minutes. Who gets a ticket out of town?

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#5 TD
January 04 2017, 11:46PM
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RIP wrote:

"Willie D is trying to tank". Is that seriously what you think? How did Canucks Army deserve this audience.

It was meant to be tongue in cheek, let me see if I can dumb it down for you.

I was pointing out the ridiculous deployment that Willie uses. Megna has 3 points on the season but played almost 15 minutes on our supposed first line. Horvat is first in goals and points and Baer is second in goals and tied for third in points with Daniel, yet they are getting used like they are the third line. Look at the minutes and try to explain why Willie divides the ice the way he does. Hence the tongue in cheek comment about Willie trying to tank. Let me know if I need to explain it further.

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#6 Killer Marmot
January 04 2017, 11:52PM
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I put them here to show JD that the Willie is trying to tank. He is playing his best line almost the same as his 4th line.

If Willie is trying to tank the team then he is doing a damn poor job of it. The Canucks have won five in a row, and are vying for a playoff position. This with a roster that many experts said was the worst in the league.

The reason a coach might occasionally want to give the fourth line 12 minutes of play is because it's a long grinding season, and he wants his players to have some jump when they step on the ice. Given that the Canucks' fourth line plays solid shut-down hockey (Gaunce has a +/- of 0), it's not a bad strategy.

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#7 RIP
January 05 2017, 12:13AM
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TD wrote:

It was meant to be tongue in cheek, let me see if I can dumb it down for you.

I was pointing out the ridiculous deployment that Willie uses. Megna has 3 points on the season but played almost 15 minutes on our supposed first line. Horvat is first in goals and points and Baer is second in goals and tied for third in points with Daniel, yet they are getting used like they are the third line. Look at the minutes and try to explain why Willie divides the ice the way he does. Hence the tongue in cheek comment about Willie trying to tank. Let me know if I need to explain it further.

Toung in cheek. Of course! Sorry I missed that, in the future dumb it down for me right from the start. Cheers.

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#8 Killer Marmot
January 05 2017, 12:19AM
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It would not be untoward if a postgame analysis was posted that read as if it were written by a, you know, fan.

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#9 crofton
January 05 2017, 01:19AM
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My posts don't seem to be getting posted:(

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#10 crofton
January 05 2017, 01:21AM
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Crap. People that have to hate, have to hate I guess. TD....never heard of rolling 4 lines?

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#11 crofton
January 05 2017, 01:24AM
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1 the Sedins with Megna is an experiment, one worth more than a few games. The young man has some serious tools 2 The rest of it is one or two, maybe 3 taps on these shoulders instead of these....dumbing it down, each 30 second shift taken by another line is a one minute difference

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#12 Bud Poile
January 05 2017, 01:45AM
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TD wrote:

It was meant to be tongue in cheek, let me see if I can dumb it down for you.

I was pointing out the ridiculous deployment that Willie uses. Megna has 3 points on the season but played almost 15 minutes on our supposed first line. Horvat is first in goals and points and Baer is second in goals and tied for third in points with Daniel, yet they are getting used like they are the third line. Look at the minutes and try to explain why Willie divides the ice the way he does. Hence the tongue in cheek comment about Willie trying to tank. Let me know if I need to explain it further.

The team is winning,on a roll,no less.

They are above .500 so I won't speak for an NHL coach but let me guess,as we all do:

Megna is being used there with Hansen out so as to not disrupt successful chemistries on the second and third lines.

With Sedins/Megna doing the heavy lifting against 1st line NHL'ers,the second and third lines can light it up and win games for the team.

Willie is deploying a winning strategy using marginal NHL players on the first and fourth lines.

A little praise of appreciation is in order.

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#13 Braindead Benning
January 05 2017, 01:46AM
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one thing that is getting more and more noticable is how well Horvat protects the puck on his rushes, reminds me quite a bit of how Kelser used to do the same coming in off the wing and bolting for the net.

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#14 TD
January 05 2017, 02:28AM
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crofton wrote:

Crap. People that have to hate, have to hate I guess. TD....never heard of rolling 4 lines?

I get rolling four lines. What I don't understand is Sutter's line getting 3 minutes more on average than Bo's line. I also think that with Bo and Baer having the same number of points as the Sedins, Willie should even out the ice. The Sedins are 36 and should not be relied upon for typical first line minutes. Daniel and Baer have the same number of points on the season, but Daniel played 4 minutes more in the game.

The Sedins had poor second halves three years ago when Tortorella over played them badly. They bounced back in Willie's first season when Willie rolled the lines fairly evenly. Last year (partly because of Henrik's injury) they disappeared during the second half of the season when Willie quit rolling four lines evenly. I love the Sedins, but they should not be doing the heavy lifting at 36, especially when Bo's line can take up the slack. The Sedins will play better down the stretch if they aren't overplayed.

If they rolled the lines evenly, Baer and Burrows would have played more and Granlund and Eriksson would have played less. Baertschi is just over a point per game in his last 10 and Bo is a playing at a point per game pace during the same period. Considering the above, I can't figure out why they aren't getting more ice.

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#15 Cageyvet
January 05 2017, 03:34AM
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@TD

I'd be fine with the Horvat line playing more and still not taking time away from the Sutter line. The Sedins should absolutely not be asked to hasten their decline by being over-played. Just like Ryan Miller, they still have a lot of value if you use them correctly.

Pull 2 minutes off each Sedin and move them right over to Horvat & Baertschi. Keep the rest where they are, Burrows minutes will fluctuate depending on the amount of PK vs PP as he only gets used on the former.

I'm happy that we're playing better and while I'd love to draft a Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick, I think the younger players benefit more from the playoff experience than anything else you can do for the team, since the lottery makes relying on that high-end pick even more perilous than it used to be.

Willie's deployment still hurts me, but I don't for a second think he's tanking. For those who think team tank is the way to go, I can sympathize, but I can't cheer for my team to lose until the last 10 games of the season. At that point, I'm all in on getting the best draft position if all hope is lost.

I just want to point out to those who ask too much of some of the kids (like a Virtanen), we shouldn't expect these players to light it up so quickly. I'm happy if Benning can draft players, never mind all-stars. We've had a bunch of crap-outs, and so has every other team.

When the Sedins were drafted I had friends who wanted us to draft Pavel Brendl - the next Bure, he went 4th overall and fell short of 80 games in the league. 1st overall that year was Patrick Stefan, he of 188 pts in 455 games. Not a disaster, but not what you want from your 1st overall selection.

Just for fun, I pulled the 2007 draft, mainly because it's 10 years ago and featured Patrick Kane, one of the mainstays of the rise to power of the Blackhawks. After 10 years, you know what you've got with these players. I show the top 15 because that's your lottery zone, and it's where your hopes are highest anyway.

Only 5 of the 15 have played in an All Star game, and other than Kane's 1.01 points per game over his career, the others are all around half a point per game, except Couture and Voracek (.77 and .70). The defense are typical, your best players are the ones taken later on. Take a look, 4 of the 5 all stars are in the bottom half of this list.

1 Patrick Kane (RW).............NHL All Star 2 James van Riemsdyk (LW) 3 Kyle Turris (C) 4 Thomas Hickey (D) 5 Karl Alzner (D) 6 Sam Gagner (C) 7 Jakub Voracek (RW)............NHL All Star 8 Zach Hamill (C) 9 Logan Couture (C).............NHL All Star 10 Keaton Ellerby (D) 11 Brandon Sutter (C/RW) 12 Ryan McDonagh (D)............NHL All Star 13 Lars Eller (C/W) 14 Kevin Shattenkirk (D)........NHL All Star 15 Alex Plante (D)

It's a tricky thing, drafting the right player, and you can do this exercise with virtually any year. I like shiny new toys as much as the next person, but suffering a brutal 3-4 year span of lifeless hockey to end up at the whim of the lottery seems over-rated. If it happens, so be it, but I'm not going looking for it.

The top 10-20 picks of the first round are generally full of legitimate NHL players, but not very many of them are going to re-shape your franchise. In 2005, the lottery that year handed Crosby to Pittsburgh, and also saw our buddy Jack Skille go 7th overall, right after Gilbert Brule. Anze Kopitar went 11th that year.

Play the game to win. Draft well, and draft often (I'm looking at you, Benning, when I say OFTEN). Jamie Benn was a 5th rounder. Not all the game-changers are top 3 picks.

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#16 JuiceBox
January 05 2017, 06:51AM
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@TD

It's called sheltering and every NHL coach does it. Sutters line gets more of the heavy lifing allowing Bo and Baer to do their thing against weaker competition.

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#17 backup bob
January 05 2017, 08:36AM
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Not much enthusiasm in that post game review.

Every win is a good win. Good job guys, five in a row feels pretty good. Vrbata hit a couple of posts, so it could have gone the other way. Yotes need work though, not a great team.

Speaking of Yotes and their all in approach incorporating analytics. I have to wonder how this turns out. Same with Florida. Panthers also went all in with big contracts to Demers and Yandle. Both analytic darlings, but not very good defensemen in my book. Both guys were not getting new contracts from their previous teams. Florida had a winner last year, not so much this year. Maybe too much too soon. (This is not a rant against analytics, just an observation)

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#18 Hooker
January 05 2017, 08:56AM
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Borvat is the real deal, clearly replacing the Sedins as leader of this team. You need 4 lines rolling over 82 game season

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#19 Locust
January 05 2017, 09:20AM
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"Not much enthusiasm in that post game review.

A little praise of appreciation is in order.

This is exactly what a team rebuilding on the fly looks like. Give props where there are due.

It would not be untoward if a postgame analysis was posted that read as if it were written by a, you know, fan."

SORRY readers and commenters - this is Canucks Army. The fan site that directs its writers to slag and disrespect anything Canuck at every opportunity.

WE are all happy when the Canucks play well and have success - the writers here are not.

Canucks Army is more of a Canucks 'troll site' and is really just a comment forum.

Much more info and interest in 'our comments' than what the perpetually hemorrhoided writers write. Except for Vanessa, she does a good analysis and isn't a snark-douche like the rest of them.

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#20 Ragnarok Ouroboros
January 05 2017, 09:58AM
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Megna played hard, but had not finish and lost the puck often. I would have really preferred to experiment with Rodin with the twins instead of a fourth liner. I would send Chaput and Megna down and keep Rodin and Boucher instead. Good win for the Canucks despite questionable line deployments by Dejardins.

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#21 apr
January 05 2017, 10:02AM
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We just saw in the past two games a team that is mismanaged to incompetence and another where winning is not a priority. It blows me away that there are such strong advocates for these approaches. Yes there has been some duds here and there, but the effort has always been there. We're top 5 in 1 goal games I believe.

With all of the Willie hating pundits out there, there are clearly none in the room, as these guys are trying their best for their coach. Willie is stewarding the development of Bo, Baer, Granlund, Hutton, Tryamkin, and Stecher. I'm excited at the prospect of adding a more mature Virtanan and Boeser to the mix and to the culture of trying to win each game as best as you can. I see Phoenix with Duclair, Perlini, Dvorak, and a bunch of kids who I think will be ruined by this abhorrent no effort losing.

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#22 Jamie E
January 05 2017, 10:28AM
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"Canucks Army - The better the Canucks do, the more passive aggressive we get. "

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#23 Killer Marmot
January 05 2017, 10:29AM
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apr wrote:

We just saw in the past two games a team that is mismanaged to incompetence and another where winning is not a priority. It blows me away that there are such strong advocates for these approaches. Yes there has been some duds here and there, but the effort has always been there. We're top 5 in 1 goal games I believe.

With all of the Willie hating pundits out there, there are clearly none in the room, as these guys are trying their best for their coach. Willie is stewarding the development of Bo, Baer, Granlund, Hutton, Tryamkin, and Stecher. I'm excited at the prospect of adding a more mature Virtanan and Boeser to the mix and to the culture of trying to win each game as best as you can. I see Phoenix with Duclair, Perlini, Dvorak, and a bunch of kids who I think will be ruined by this abhorrent no effort losing.

The Canucks aren't always the most talented team on the ice, but they are playing hard. Desjardins seems to have made it crystal clear this year that every shift counts. Hopefully that will prevent a repeat of last year's second-half meltdown.

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#24 DJ_44
January 05 2017, 10:32AM
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Ragnarok Ouroboros wrote:

Megna played hard, but had not finish and lost the puck often. I would have really preferred to experiment with Rodin with the twins instead of a fourth liner. I would send Chaput and Megna down and keep Rodin and Boucher instead. Good win for the Canucks despite questionable line deployments by Dejardins.

I agree with the sentiment of this statement. I would like to see (a lot) of Rodin on with Bo and Sven, or with the Sedins. I think he has the offensive skill and maturity to handle either situation.

I do not quibble so much with Willie's deployments: the Sutter line has been matched against the top line more often than not. I do not like the lineup Willie has iced, specifically the exclusion of Rodin. Let's see what we have in him.

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#25 Big D, little d
January 05 2017, 10:59AM
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@TD

>> Look at the minutes and try to explain why Willie divides the ice the way he does.

Well, first of all we should probably look at 5v5 time, not all situations. Some guys play the power play, some guys the penalty kill, some both, some none. So special teams are somewhat going to mask the deployments.

Here's the Canucks 5v5 ice time for forwards:

Henrik 15:57, Daniel 15:19, Megna 14:19, Granlund 14:04, Sutter 14:01, Eriksson 13:07, Horvat 12:43, Skille 11:49, Baertschi 11:48, Burrows 11:13, Chaput 10:36, Gaunce 10:31.

So that breaks down pretty obviously into first, second, third and fourth line minutes. Except for Skille who got an extra minute of ice time from somewhere. I'd have to look at the shift charts to explain that, but that's for another time.

So naturally this brings us to the question, why is the Horvat line getting third line minutes when they're scoring the goals? Wouldn't you play them more if they're the most productive?

The answer comes if you look at the matchups they were getting. The Horvat line was matching primarily against the Coyote's third pair (Connauton and Murphy) and eating them alive. (Horvat's line was basically even against Stone and Goligoski and got nowhere against Schenn and Ekman-Larsson.) It's not much of an exaggeration to say that the game was decided with the Coyote's third pair on the ice. All the Canucks had to do was play the rest of the game even up, and they book the two points.

Of course Tippett can see what's happening as well, so he's leaning heavily on his top two pairings and trying to hide his weakest link. Connauton and Murphy played the least of all the Coyotes - even less than the 4th line forwards. Since Willie is trying to get the Horvat line out against those two, the opportunities for the Horvat line are going to be limited. Fortunately in this case they were able to take advantage of their opportunities and the Canucks went home with the win.

TL:DR - The ice time for Horvat's line is situational, and makes a lot more sense if you look at the details.

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#26 detox
January 05 2017, 11:28AM
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@Locust

"WE are all happy when the Canucks play well and have success - the writers here are not."

It is as though much of the media can't let go of the desire to see the club go full tank. There is a belief that the tank is the only way to create a winning or team that can make a cup run.

So if the team isn't built the way these writers envision as the proper way, then any success we see is only fleeting because you can't cheat the tank, it is going to happen.(I wish I could get one of those reliable crystal balls)

I'd rather watch games we win than lose. Both lines with Sutter and Horvat look more capable now than at the start of the season.

whichever direction the club goes in, it is going to take time. I hope the tone changes on here or it will be no different than visiting a tsn or sportsnet page.

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#27 sloth
January 05 2017, 11:29AM
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Would be nice if the recaps focused on some of the details of how the teams played, rather than just complaining about how boring the game was and sharing dumb twitter jokes... Where's the shot plot chart? Who won the Corsi battle? Who played well and who didn't? I come to this site to read Canucks analysis, not snide tweets and gifs.

I thought the Canucks looked like they had a swagger and urgency that has often been lacking this season. It was most pronounced in the 1st, which is especially encouraging given how badly they've been outscored early in games. It seemed like they were determined to not let an "easy one" get away from them, and they were able to impose their will on Arizona in a way they normally don't (or can't?) do against other teams. This fell off a bit in the second a bit as both teams dug their trenches, so the excitement fell off too, but it was a 1-0 game against Arizona - what do you expect? When it opened up again in the 3rd, the Canucks took control and scored 2 beauties.

I thought the Canucks were very good at both bluelines, forcing a lot of turnovers as AZ tried to transition. Both the Killer Bs' goals came off nice clean d-zone takeaways (I thought Baertschi deserved more credit for his steal on the backcheck before his goal, given his documented struggles on defence), and incidentally Edler and Tanev were involved in both of those. Sure is nice to have your top 2 D back eh?

However, when the turnovers didn't come against the breakout/entry, sometimes it seemed like the Canucks got hemmed in their own zone a bit too easily. They're good at defending against the rush, but I feel like teams are able to get behind the D on dump-ins and are able to hold possession for a long time. Seems like most of the high-end scoring chances against come off the cycle. It also seems like the Canucks transition is a lot better when they make the steal on the fly rather than against the forecheck or cycle. There have been some fluffed passes on the breakout that have nearly cost them some goals.

Mike Smith was quite good, and the Canucks' finishing was a bit frustrating at times. Perhaps they should do some 3-on-1 drills at practice? Eriksson especially seemed to be panicking with the puck on his stick in the slot. I think he needs an extended run with the Sedins now that they've got some more depth for the middle 6 (Rodin, Boucher). Megna has been decent with the twins - he reminds me of a young Burrows with his energy, work ethic, and unrefined tools - but I don't see much short-term or long-term benefit from keeping this experiment going.

I'd also like to see Willie try swapping the deployment of the Bo and Sedin lines. Let's see if the young guns can hold their own with the workload of a top line, and let's see if the Sedins can light it up in more sheltered minutes.

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#28 JuiceBox
January 05 2017, 11:52AM
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@Sloth @Big D, little d

Combine both your comments and you basically have what I would expect would be a proper post-game write-up.

Take note CA writers, this is what you should be doing. I don't think anybody would complain about the post-games being released by noon the next day if it meant the content was improved.

All we ask is that you put a little bit of effort into it. Show the scoring chance break downs, corsi numbers, goal & shot charts, shift or 5on5 matchup charts, zone deployment, zone entry (hockeyviz.com and corsica.hockey provide almost all of those for free), GIFs of each Canucks goal along with any special play that sticks out. Take running notes during the game about what happened and include any of your thoughts or musings and find one aspect of the game and do a statistical break down and some real hard analysis. Some of us live out of area and don't get to watch every game, it would be nice to come on here and find out what actually happened throughout the game. And for the love of god, please stop using so many twitter shots just to fill the space, it's lazy and adds nothing.

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#29 apr
January 05 2017, 12:42PM
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JuiceBox wrote:

@Sloth @Big D, little d

Combine both your comments and you basically have what I would expect would be a proper post-game write-up.

Take note CA writers, this is what you should be doing. I don't think anybody would complain about the post-games being released by noon the next day if it meant the content was improved.

All we ask is that you put a little bit of effort into it. Show the scoring chance break downs, corsi numbers, goal & shot charts, shift or 5on5 matchup charts, zone deployment, zone entry (hockeyviz.com and corsica.hockey provide almost all of those for free), GIFs of each Canucks goal along with any special play that sticks out. Take running notes during the game about what happened and include any of your thoughts or musings and find one aspect of the game and do a statistical break down and some real hard analysis. Some of us live out of area and don't get to watch every game, it would be nice to come on here and find out what actually happened throughout the game. And for the love of god, please stop using so many twitter shots just to fill the space, it's lazy and adds nothing.

It does not matter if the poor attempts at sarcasm, overall negative tone, and personal assaults on Sutter, Gudbrandson, and WD and Benning's approaches continue. The comments from the fans on their subjective but fair assessment of the current situation and future is what I find most interesting.

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#30 JuiceBox
January 05 2017, 12:52PM
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@apr

If it wasn't for the comments section I would have stopped coming here long ago. I look forward to reading and bickering with you guys every day. The content has become secondary, which is sad really, because at one point this was probably one of the best hockey blogs on the internet.

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#31 JuiceBox
January 05 2017, 12:53PM
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Anybody else know this was the Canucks 1st shutout since Oct 15, 2015? Not a word of it mentioned in the post game "recap."

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