December 04 2013 01:53PM
Image via Matthew Henderson
Man, where does the time go? It seems like it was just a few days ago that we were patiently drudging through the preseason, eagerly awaiting the return of meaningful hockey. Remember when Hunter Shinkaruk was scoring sweet goals, and Yannick Weber was looking like a competent NHLer? That was nearly 3 months ago now, crazily enough.
We're now over 1/3 of the way (36.6%, to be exact) through the 2013-14 regular season, as the Canucks played their 30th game of the season on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators. As you'd expect, there have been some notable peaks (see: 5-1-1 Eastern Conference road trip), and some ugly valleys (1-4-3 stretch, with just 15 goals over that span). Overall I think they've have performed roughly around the expectations I had for them, but I feel like this opening part of the season has served as somewhat of a wake-up call for those of you out there expecting the Canucks of old. Things have changed, and expectations need to be tempered.
We'll get into this in rather excruciating detail just past the jump, but it has become abundantly clear that the team we're watching these days doesn't quite have that other gear that it once did. Their margin for error has shrunk, and as a result we've seen them take some difficult losses due to mistakes they used to be able to get away with. That's not to say "they suck!" or "their window has closed!!", because I actually still think they're a pretty competitive team. There are certainly reasons for optimism and room for improvement.
I'd recommend you pour yourself a big cup of coffee, settle in, and get nice and cozy for this one.
December 03 2013 09:49PM
Ryan Kesler and the Canucks defenseman wearing #5 celebrate in Nashville. Wait a second..
The footage from the first 35 minutes or so of Tuesday night's game between the Predators and Canucks may as well be buried in a secret place where no one will ever find it, because my god was it ever boring. The most exciting part from that stretch came when Viktor Stalberg went in on a breakaway, missed the net, but the goal horn went off anyways. It was looking like it'd be that kind of night..
.. but then business picked up. Lineup changes happened, goals were scored, and trends were continued/busted. Read on past the jump for a recap of the 3-1 Canucks victory. As Mike Santorelli wisely said in his postgame interview with Dan Murphy, "3-1 is a lot different than 2-2." Those words have never rang truer than they do tonight.
December 03 2013 01:24PM
Carrie Underwood apparently isn't the biggest Marek Mazanec fan..
The Canucks visit the
house Joel Ward built JP Dumont's old stomping grounds Music City to take on the Nashville Predators for the first time this season, as they conclude their 4-game roadtrip. If recent history is any indication, they're due for a stinker.. but trends are there to be broken, so I wouldn't be putting too much stock into this particular one of up-and-down play.
If you haven't heard by now, they'll be without Alex Burrows (for both this game, and the next several ones as he tries to recover from a recently broken jaw). That's no excuse, though; their opponent tonight has been dealing with a litany of injuries all season long, and they'll be icing a depleted lineup once again in this one.
Wake up, Carrie, there's a game to be played!
November 30 2013 03:45PM
John Tortorella had the best seat in the house, unfortunately for him.
I hope you enjoyed your Friday night so much so that you slept right through the morning and into the early afternoon. You'd probably be a happier person in that case. "Why on earth are the Canucks and Rangers playing a game at 11 AM PST on a Saturday" was a recurring question in my head throughout the contest, and I don't really have an answer. It doesn't get better, at all, as the Canucks play again at an even earlier time tomorrow morning for some ungodly reason.
Speaking of answers, I wish I had some answers for John Tortorella and his Canucks, who got their butts handed to 'em by a team that played yesterday, and I suspect isn't actually even all that good. I guess you could say this was a prime example of two steps forward, three steps back following Thursday's encouraging showing in Ottawa.
Read on past the jump for a look at what went wrong.
November 29 2013 01:14PM
Tom Sestito, in his haven.
I'd say that over the course of the Mike Gillis Era in Vancouver, the Canucks as an organization have employed a fairly avante-garde approach. They've done an admirable of thinking outside of the box in an attempt to maximize their assets and stay ahead of the curve. This includes sleep doctors, extreme zone deployment, and tracking all sorts of "advanced" stats (like passing efficiency, for example). After leaving the organization back in February, Craig MacTavish acknowledge this with a choice quote:
"The one thing that Mike Gillis brings is a real progressive outlook. As we all are, he's looking for new and creative and innovative ways to give ourselves a competitive advantage."
It's always difficult to quantify how much any of these innovative tactics actually contribute to the sustained success on the ice over the years, but I'd argue that the effect has been profound. You'd think that a braintrust with that sort of track record would be cognizant of the value in icing a full lineup of players that can actually, you know, play hockey. Or even better yet, the handcuff that sending a constant liability out on the ice presents.
For whatever reason, the Vancouver Canucks have shown an inability to apply the forward-thinking approach we've seen from them when it comes to 4th line
Hockey Player FacePuncher Tom Sestito.