Gillis, Hodgson and Advanced Stats

Thomas Drance
April 24 2012 01:47PM

We've long suspected that Mike Gillis and the Canucks use advanced metrics when making personnel decisions. Certainly they're up on the importance of zone-starts, that much is clear from the way the team deploys, but throughout this season they've openly discussed stuff like scoring chances while writing off the utility of plus/minus. We now think that the team looks to acquire players who demonstrably suppress shooting percentage, and based on the way Raymond has been deployed the past couple of seasons, and the acquisition of players like David Booth and Chris Higgins - there's suggestive evidence that the Canucks pay attention to possession numbers, and the idea of acquiring players who "drive play."

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Gillis Defends Vigneault's Record, Ducks Questions on His Status

Thomas Drance
April 24 2012 12:45PM

Gillis' season ending Press Conference was chock full of discussion fodder. Hockey fans in Boston will doubtlessly mock his assertion that the team never got their emotional edge back after beating the Bruins in January, fans in Columbus will react defensively to his shot across their bow, and I'm sure Sabres fans are readying their defenses of Hodgson's personality.

Gillis also gave several tantalizing answers to some big questions about what happened with the Canucks since the trade deadline. Certainly we know more about the motivations behind the Hodgson trade, and it's pretty apparent from Gillis' comments as well, that he wants to stay with the organization and continue down this road (something that wasn't so clear earlier this morning). Perhaps Gillis' most interesting comments, however, were the ones he largely refused to give, specifically on the status of Alain Vigneault.

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What's Next?

Thomas Drance
April 24 2012 09:52AM

On Tuesday morning, Mike Gillis will address the Vancouver media for his season ending press conference. It will mark the first time in his tenure as General Manager of the Canucks, and Team President (also Warden of the West, presumably) that he'll meet the media to discuss the demise of another Canucks season, this early in the Spring. Gillis will speak at 10am PST, the players will meet the press at 10:30am PST. Alain Vigneault, the coach on the hot seat, will notably not join the General Manager or the roster he put together to face the tough questions - that'll happen sometime later in the week. Read into that what you will.

Most Canucks fans, and certainly the team itself, expected Vancouver's club to contend this season. But five games into the postseason and the Canucks Stanley Cup "run" (stumble?) was already over. Fans are angry and want change, many in the media and in the fan-base are calling for Vigneault's head and indisputably, Mike Gillis' reputation has taken a serious hit. 

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Canucks Eliminated by the Kings in Game 5

Thomas Drance
April 23 2012 11:30AM

The Los Angeles Kings celebrate their third period, game tying goal.
The Kings advanced in overtime, and will advanced to the second round for the first time in a decade.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

"There's always next year" Canucks fans.

Yes, it's the worst day of the year - the day after Vancouver is eliminated from the postseason. For forty odd years, without fail, Canucks fans have mourned the passing of another season on some day in the Spring. We've gnashed our teeth, and hung our heads, and contemplated the grim possibility of slipping our mortal coils without seeing a Canucks captain hoist Lord Stanley's Mug.

Last year, the Canucks lost in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final and expectations were high this year. The Canucks, however, down 3-1 in their preliminary round series, were unable to hold onto a one goal lead and were buried by the Kings over the final twenty-five minutes of play. The result? A longer summer than the Canucks and their fans have gone through since 2008.

Click past the jump for a thorough recap, analysis, scoring chance data and the statistical three stars!

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Western Conference Quarter Final Game 5 Preview

Thomas Drance
April 22 2012 09:01AM

Banner courtesy theyslayedthedragon.

The Canucks are coming off of their belated first win of the postseason, way back on Wednesday night. That feels like ages ago, doesn't it? Now that Chris Martin and his merry band or love-songster have cleared out of Rogers Arena, the games can recommence. On Sunday night the Canucks will try to make like the Bee Gees and stay alive in their preliminary round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

In game four the Canucks were buoyed by the return of leading scorer Daniel Sedin, and the calm competence of Cory Schneider - who has been excellent in his two starts so far this postseason. The club is still in a significant hole, down three games to one in the series and facing elimination, but there is some cause for optimism. The steadying presence of Schneider, the apparently rejuvenated power-play and Samme Pahlsson's ability in game four to legitimately contain Anze Kopitar's line is a winning recipe. Can the Canucks fend off the Kings and prolong their season Sunday night? That's the big question.

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