Small, But Not Insignificant

Thomas Drance
February 21 2012 01:27PM

Alain Vigneault's extreme situational deployment strategies have been a hot topic among hockey stats nerds this season. The topic even went mainstream this weekend when Malhotra's O-zone start rate was mentioned by Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada during Saturday evening's game.

I'm of the opinion that zone-starts have a major impact on a skaters point production and possession stats. In my view, they also tell us a lot about which skaters a coach thinks are his team's best at either end of the ice. Most people wouldn't dispute any of the above, but David Johnson of isn't most people.

Read on past the break.

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Trade Deadline Preview: Inventory

Thomas Drance
February 21 2012 11:05AM

More lopsided trades please (image via thestanchion).

Show me the hockey fan who doesn't love hockey-trades - and I'll show you a liar. With that in mind, Canucks Army will be bringing you an exhaustive trade deadline preview from now through Friday. We'll look into Canucks deadline history, drool over unicorns, and circle menacingly over the cellar-dwelling carcasses of the "sure-fire sellers" at the 2012 trade deadline. Today, however, we'll start our trade deadline preview series with some yeoman's work: a thorough inventory of Canucks needs, assets, possible strategy and cap-space. What should the Canucks look to add, what chips do they have to play with, how much cap-space do they really possess and how much risk should the Canucks take at the deadline?

All that and more, just click past the jump!

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Player Polls are Overrated

Thomas Drance
February 19 2012 04:09PM

You know whose over-rated? The team with the 3rd most wins since the lockout - that's who!

The results of the the NHLPA/CBC  player poll were released on-line this afternoon, and the Canucks didn't fare particularly well. In fact, in a poll that was answered by 318 NHL players, they fared very poorly indeed. Not only were individual Canucks skaters and coaches conspicuously absent from any individual accolades - but the team was overwhelmingly the most common answer to the question "which team is over-rated?" 

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Game #59 Preview: Children of the Corn

Thomas Drance
February 19 2012 11:33AM

And then bam! Stanley Cup. via thewonderofafairytale.

The Oilers are not a particularly good hockey team, which is largely the result of brutal management. After a hot and totally unsustainable start to the season, they've plummeted like a stone to the bottom of the standings, which, is where they belong. They don't belong there because I have any particular dislike for the Oilers - though I do - they belong there because the Oilers "brain trust" is composed of unserious, snake-oil salesman who've mastered the art of marketing false hope, and failing to back it up with any substance.

The Oilers sit 10 points clear of Columbus at the bottom of the Western Conference, so it's in their best interest to just lay down tonight, and dream of Nail Yakupov. Of course, the Oilers always get up to play the Canucks, especially when Vancouver's club visits their North Albertan barn. The Canucks are coming off of a clinical dismantling of the Maple Leafs last night, and this will mark the first game of a relatively difficult six game road-trip - the teams last extended road-trip of the season. Hopefully the Canucks can start their trip off on a winning note, which they'll do so long as they feel comfortable pummeling the hell out of some children.

A more detailed recap and underlying numbers after the jump!

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Canucks Ventilate Lifeless Leafs: Recap and Chance Data

Thomas Drance
February 18 2012 11:25PM

Henrik and Burrows celebrate Burrows' second goal in Saturday's 6-2 win over the Leafs.

Tonight's game between the Canucks and the Maple Leafs was decided early, and then descended into embarrassment for an out-matched Toronto club who looked lost on defense. Right from the outset, the Canucks dominated puck possession, and handily out-shot and out-chanced the Maple Leafs. By the game's 25th minute - the two points, and the clear victory were in the bag for Vancouver.

The Canucks top-line opened the scoring about eight minutes into the game, as Alex Burrows finished off a pretty pass from Daniel Sedin by going nine-hole on James Reimer. Daniel's  pass to set up the goal was lovely, and Burrows' finish was clinical - but that was some leaky goaltending on Reimer's part. I swear the puck beat the Leafs keeper through the logo. From there the Canucks continued to dominate, scoring their second goal just 90 seconds later when the fourth line put together a nice shift against Phil Kessel's line, and were rewarded when Manny Malhotra tapped-in a nice Maxim Lapierre feed for his sixth goal of the season.

In the second, Burrows potted his second goal on a blocker-side top-corner snipe that Reimer had no chance on. Burrows was left unmarked in the slot for this goal, and had all-day to pick his spot. Seriously, he was left alone for so long on this sequence that he got lonely, grew a beard and befriended a volley-ball named Wilson.

While Toronto's club generated a number of five-alarm chances against the Canucks, Luongo was mostly up to the task. The Leafs looked momentarily threatening as Phaneuf scored on a slap-stick sequence for Bieksa and Luongo in Vancouver's crease, which, cut the deficit to two - but from there it really went into the tank for the Maple Leafs.

First Clarke MacArthur slipped on the puck, leading directly to the easiest goal Daniel Sedin will score this season. Sedin's tally also ended James Reimer's night.  Then Matt Lombardi - who had a very weak game overall - limp-dicked a clearing attempt with an ice-cold Jonas Gustavsson in net, and his team short-handed. The Canucks power-play unit pounced on Lombardi's brain-fart and set up a Sami Salo slap-shot that beat "the Monster" and stretched Vancouver's lead to four. At that point a buxom woman wearing a Viking costume began an obnoxious madrigal, which, was only fitting as the game was functionally all over.

A more detailed recap, your statistical three stars and goats and scoring chance data after the jump!

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