Does Jannik Hansen Belong on the Power-Play?

Thomas Drance
March 26 2013 09:14AM

Mason Raymond gives Jannik Hansen credit for a set up that led to a goal.
Or maybe he's telling him that he can't pass and looks foolish on the power-play?
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images North America

It's not a secret that the Canucks power-play smells like stilton this season. While it appears to me that the systems are mostly fine - especially through the neutral zone - the execution, the habit of getting outnumbered down low in puck battles and the personnel's overall reluctance to shoot have contributed to a ghastly 13.4% power-play conversion rate. That's good for 29th in the league, quite a shocking fall from grace for a team that has consistently generated shots at an elite rate with the man-advantage and has capitalized on power-play opportunities at a top-five rate over the past several seasons.

There's no doubt that this an area of the game where the Canucks really miss Ryan Kesler, who has been by far their most efficient power-play goal scorer since the 2009-10 season. In Kesler's absence, the Canucks have struggled mightily to find a suitable replacement and all of Zack Kassian, Alex Burrows, Jordan Schroeder and Jannik Hansen have been given a look in this spot. It's a veritable ploughman's lunch of round holes and square pegs.

Recently Jannik Hansen has emerged as the coaching staff's first choice, a tactical selection which Tony Gallagher recently described as a "pathology" because apparently Jannik Hansen "has demonstrated over and over again that he can't pass the puck very well." Yeah okay. Let's unpack Gallagher's nonsense claim after the jump.

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Canucks Close out Successful Road Trip, Bury Hapless Opponent

Thomas Drance
March 25 2013 12:28PM

Weird how no one is criticizing Jason Garrison's play lately, huh?
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Canucks rolled into Denver without their time on ice leader, their best two-way forward, a couple of top-nine powerforwards and a pair of useful bottom-six grinders. It was also the team's fifth game in six nights. So a let down game - even against a reeling Northwest Division opponent like the Avalanche - would've been understandable (albeit disappointing). 

But that's not what happened. Instead the Canucks got some stellar goaltending from Cory Schneider and his three pals (his posts and the crossbar), scored a power-play goal (what even?) and dominated the contest from a possession standpoint on their way to a gutty regulation victory.

Read on past the jump for chance data and more analysis.

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Game #32 Preview: Canucks @ Avalanche

Cam Charron
March 24 2013 01:13PM


*Movie about the hapless Cleveland Indians

In order to assemble a losing team, the owner distributes a list of players to be invited to spring training. The baseball executives say that most of these players are way past their prime. Fans see the list in the paper and remark, "I've never even heard of half these guys."

Our situation closely resembles the movie.

I can't go a post on Canucks Army, even a game preview, without quoting Moneyball in some form, but that explanation is as good as any for how the Canucks have managed a three-game win streak with a skeleton squad. Even worse, they're doing it with several players who have two first names.

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Canucks Steal One From The Kings Thanks to Strong Goaltending, Quick Strike: Recap and Chance Data

Dimitri Filipovic
March 23 2013 06:17PM

The Kings tried to rattle Cory Schneider, but he was in the zone, yet again.

At this point of the season, the Canucks and their fans can't be overly picky about how the team gets the two points. Given how hotly contested both the Northwest Division and the Western Conference in general are at the moment, all that matters is that they get 'em, any way, any how.

Which is why it's hard to be overly critical of the Canucks after their performance in Los Angeles, considering they managed to pull one out on Saturday afternoon against the Kings. Despite the fact that they were pretty thoroughly outplayed, Cory Schneider served as the great equalizer.

Read Past the Jump for Analysis, and Scoring Chance Numbers.

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Game #31 Preview: Canucks @ Kings

Dimitri Filipovic
March 23 2013 11:48AM

How the Sedins hold up against Anze Kopitar's line will go a long ways towards determining the result of this game.

I'm not quite sure how they have managed to do it - especially given their lineup construction in the most recent game against the Coyotes - but the Canucks have won two straight games. They'll be hard-pressed to stretch that streak, though, as they'll be invading the barn of one of the best teams in the league. 

As if that wasn't tough enough of a task, they'll have to do it without Alex Edler, who was (rather absurdly) suspended for two games following his run-in with Mike Smith. Thomas Drance did a fine job summing the situation up, so we'll just leave it at that. With the missing pieces up front and now on the defense, the team will need its medley of role players to step up once again if they wish to keep this thing moving in the right direction.

Read on Past the Jump for More on the Game.

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