Narratives, Damned Narratives and Statistical Anomalies

Graphic Comments
December 02 2013 10:11AM

Never let stats get in the way of a good story.

Talking heads on TV sports panels have never met a statistical anomaly they didn't like. No matter how meaningless. No matter how lacking in context. No matter how irrelevant.

No. The only thing that matters is whether they contribute to a narrative, or tell a story.

Well, there they were on December 1 and the Canucks sat three points out of a playoff spot.


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Canucks Army Postgame: Rock You Like a Hurricane

Rhys Jessop
December 01 2013 04:44PM

Well after that dog's breakfast of a game in New York yesterday, we can probably forgive Canucks fans that decided to say "to hell with this", and do something more productive with their Sunday morning than watch Vancouver play a second consecutive morning game against a bottom-feeder in the worst division in the NHL. And let's be honest, anyone who missed this game missed essentially nothing. Aside from a bizarre sequence in the 2nd when 3 goals were scored in 37 seconds, it wasn't a very eventful game.

So if you're just waking up now, and it's 4 in the afternoon, you can be thankful that your friends at Canucks Army appreciate you so much that we watched the spreadsheets entire game and put this handy recap together just for you. Now read the damn thing so our work doesn't go to waste.

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Canucks Army Postgame: You're Having a Better Day than John Tortorella

Dimitri Filipovic
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.

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Handicapping Canucks Prospects Chances of Making Team Canada's WJC Team

Thomas Drance
November 30 2013 09:56AM

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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.

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Tom Sestito's Value As a Hockey Player

Dimitri Filipovic
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.

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