WWYDW: Riding Shotgun

Jackson McDonald
December 14 2016 09:00AM

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It's been one week since my attempt to stage a walkout was quashed by J.D. "Fascist" Burke. My hopes of unionizing are dashed... for now. As a result, I'm back in the saddle for What Would You Do Wednesday. 

Personnel decisions have been a hot topic this week, with Willie Desjardins coming under fire for scratching Sven Baertschi and for keeping the Sedins and Sutter together. Now that Jannik Hansen has returned to the lineup, that line may be broken up forever, so this weeks' question is one that's been asked a million times over the last 15 years: Who should play with the twins? If Sutter's getting demoted, where do you move him? 

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Evaluating Willie Desjardins' Lineup Decisions

Jackson McDonald
December 13 2016 01:00PM

Ice time isn't given. It's earned. That's an adage that's been repeated across the hockey world, and Vancouver is no exception. 

It pertains especially to younger players, and Canucks' President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden repeated the common refrain earlier this year pertaining to sophomore forward Jake Virtanen: 

"As long as I've been part of the game, especially at the pro level, there's an element of earning your time... I think a lot of players would say, "Give me more time and I'll play better', and the coach would say 'Play better, and I'll give you more time.'" 

That's a fair stance to take, especially with a young player. It's not as though the assessment isn't without merit, either. During his tenure with Vancouver, he was the team's wort forward by shot shares and struggled to produce offence, even in a limited role.

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Panthers Army Postgame #1: Hockey Experts

Jackson McDonald
December 10 2016 11:48PM

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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

So much has been made about how the Panthers are an "analytics team" now that the club has parted ways with Gerard Gallant, but tonight they passed the eye test through the first two periods. They looked like a sound hockey club, in the most traditional sense. The Panthers set the tone early, turning the game into a track meet, and the Canucks just couldn't keep up. 

Even teams run by computer boys appear to fall victim to score effects, though, as the Panthers let the Canucks back in the game in the third, allowing two quick goals and a flurry of scoring chances. In the end, it wasn't enough, however, and the Canucks fell, 4-2.

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Brandon Sutter Is Ill-Suited In Current Role

Jackson McDonald
December 07 2016 11:00AM

Few players confound the mind the way Brandon Sutter does. Year after year, Sutter appears to be making an impact at both ends of the ice, and year after year, his underlying metrics paint an entirely different picture. Since his first full season in 2009-2010, Sutter's posted respectable raw counting totals, with paltry rate stats and shot metrics.

2016 has been no different for Sutter, who's currently on pace to best his career-high of 40 points in a season. Sutter's performance comes with a pair of caveats, though. First, a large chunk of that offence is coming by way of secondary assists, which players have limited control over and are highly volatile. Second, Sutter's breakout offensive performance is having a significant negative impact on his line's solvency at even-strength.

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Should Canucks Fans Be Worried About Olli Juolevi?

Jackson McDonald
December 05 2016 01:00PM

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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig

Now that we're over a quarter of the way through the CHL season, we now have a large enough sample size that we can begin to make inferences about how players are performing and how coaches deploy them. We're also far enough into the season that narratives and concerns can start to take form.

With Friday's tilt between the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and London Knights televised on the west coast, many Canucks fans got their first look at Juolevi this season. But to their surprise, Juolevi was skating predominantly on the Knights' second pair, behind 19-year-old Brandon Crawley and Montreal Canadiens 2016 pick Victor Mete.

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