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 30 2013 09:56AM
Image via Canucks.com
On Thursday night Team WHL defeated a team of Russian born junior aged players 4-2 to close out the Subway Super Series. The branded Super Series is a friendly tournament played between Russian born players and the best the CHL has to offer and is generally used by Hockey Canada executives to evaluate candidates for Team Canada's U20 roster. Those are the players, of course, who will participate in the World Junior Hockey Championships, which this December and January will be hosted in Sweden.
Three Canucks prospects (Hunter Shinkaruk, Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce) participated in the series for their respective CHL leagues. This Monday, Hockey Canada will announce the invite list for the U20 Team's selection camp and according to Hockey Canada executive Scott Salmond, only 28 players will be invited (a relatively meagre number in comparison with years past).
The Canucks haven't had a prospect on Team Canada's U20 Team since Cody Hodgson, and Team Canada hasn't medalled since their U20 entry won Bronze in 2012. So let's handicap Shinkaruk, Gaunce and Horvat's chances of breaking that streak ahead of Monday's announcement from Hockey Canada.
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.
November 29 2013 10:22AM
Goals I do adore.
This is a regular Friday feature combining a healthy mixture of observation, analysis, and foresight on the Vancouver Canucks. If you'd like to get at me about anything covered in this column, follow me on Twitter at @yyjordan and let's start a textual relationship (wink).
November 28 2013 09:39PM
Dale Weise wearing the Haida Hat as the Player of the Game. [Image via @VanCanucks]
Something had to give heading into Thursday's night's game. On one hand, the Canucks were 1-4-3 in their past 8 games, having scored just 15 goals over that span (with 6 of them coming in one game against a less than stellar opponent). They'd dominated most of those games from a shot differential standpoint, but despite all of their efforts, the goals weren't coming.
However, they were facing an LEastern team in the Ottawa Senators; this was significant because they'd been 8-3-2 against the inferior conference. I noted in the preview that if the Canucks were ever going to put together some goals, it would be against the Sens, who have been giving 'em up in bunches all year long.
It turns out that the latter trend prevailed, and the Canucks broke through in a big way with a 2nd period flurry en route to a 5-2 win. The most surprising part of it all, though, was the guys who stepped up in getting them there. Read on past the jump for a look at all the goodness from Thursday's contest.