Did Vigneault start Manny Malhotra too much in the defensive zone?

Cam Charron
November 27 2012 10:17AM

During the 2010-11 season, the Vancouver Canucks' third line benefitted from some stellar play from Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider in 2011, sure, but the steady, reliable play of Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres was also important in establishing not just the best defensive team in hockey, but also the most explosive offensive group.

If you bury a player on the Canucks' third line, it's not a benefit unless the player is good enough to tread water, i.e.: old their own against top-competition, soak up defensive zone-starts and maintain a close-to-even possession rate. Taking a defensive zone face-off, winning it, and chipping the puck out, or what Manny Malhotra was doing in the 2012 season just isn't good enough to allow the offensive players room to move.

When zone-start deployment is as extreme as Alain Vigneault's was in 2012, you're entering unexplored territory. You try to find a player who has filled a similar role in the past to what Malhotra's did in Vancouver this past season and it's quite obvious the player just flat-out doesn't exist. The Behind the Net era only goes back so far, and I find it hard to believe any coach prior to 2007 would knowingly put a defensive centreman out on the ice for virtually every possible defensive zone face-off he could.

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KHL: Yakupov's 2 Points, SKA fires coach, Gonchar's cannon breaks glass

Steve Dangle
November 25 2012 09:40PM


Can you imagine how much everyone would freak out if a team won a game that moved them into 1st place in the league and then they fired the coach? Well, that happened today in the KHL. No, really.

Some great action around the KHL today. Check it out!

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The Best of the Nation - 11.25.12

Jonathan Willis
November 25 2012 08:42AM

After the jump, the best of the Nations from this past week, including a bunch of lockout talk, whether the Sedin twins are Hall of Fame-calibre players, which unknown Europeans might deserve an NHL shot, the best and worst jerseys in Oilers history, a healthy dose of comedy and a look at the only player to compete for the Grey Cup and Stanley Cup in the same season.

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KHL Highlights: Kulemin scores 2, Komarov's big return, and more

Steve Dangle
November 23 2012 08:29PM


Last week Leo Komarov was riding a bus with the AHL's Toronto Marlies. Now he's on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Not bad.

The NHL keeps cancelling games, and the KHL keeps churning them out. I hope you like the videos we're putting out, and as always, I'd love your feedback.


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The Top 20 Canucks Prospects: An Update (Part II)

Jeff Angus
November 22 2012 11:47AM

We here at CanucksArmy published our top 20 prospects list this past summer, and have provided follow up coverage on a lot of the organization's prospects this season, especially those playing in Chicago with the Wolves. However, there are many notable prospects in the organizaton playing elsewhere - the CHL, NCAA, or over in Europe. Although the season is only a few months old, why not check in and see how the top 20 prospects are faring?

This week, Alexandre Grenier, Patrick McNally (seen above), Billy Sweatt, Anton Rodin, and Alex Friesen are profiled.

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