Dan Hamhuis and David Booth taking a wiz (out of the play).
Today at Canucks Army we wrote a treatise on Vancouver’s power-play struggles and discussed the disappointing returns the Canucks have recouped on the Booth gamble so far. We also put off writing a game preview for too long (I’ll admit that I forgot that Columbus is located in the Eastern timezone) so we’re going to do a "Game Preview/Headshots mashup" today!
Read on past the jump for that!
So on the game preview front we’ve got injury news: Keith Ballard and Kevin Bieksa are out of the lineup for the Canucks, and according to Alain Vigneault – by way of Jason Botchford – that means the Canucks will deploy a third-pairing featuring both Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts. Luckily the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t possess much in the way of offensive firepower, huh? [The Province]
If you want a Columbus perspective on tonight’s game, you can’t do better than Aaron Portzline who is one of the best beat writers in all of hockey (top-five I’d say) despite covering a depressing organization. He says that possession dynamo Nikita Nikitin will return to action tonight – which is bad news for the Canucks – but on the other hand Fedor Tyutin is "quesitonable" and Brandon Dubinsky is out.
Jim Jamieson thinks Chris Tanev deserves a shot on the Canucks power-play, which, isn’t actually the worst idea. In limited power-play action, the Canucks power-play has averaged north of fifty shots per sixty minutes with Tanev on the ice which is best among all Canucks defenseman. On the other hand his slapper is scaring exactly nobody which would allow the Blue Jackets – who are pretty damn good on the penalty-kill by the way – to collapse like the Vancouver housing market. [The White Towel]
The Vancouver Sun’s Brad Ziemer also has a take on Vancouver’s special teams woes. [The Vancouver Sun]
Andrew Eide points out that Mason Raymond has been among Vancouver’s most consistent forwards this season, and gives him some due credit for bouncing back from that ghastly back-injury nearly two years ago. [The Hockey Writers]
Daniel Wagner unveils a "Big Numbers" feature over at Pass it to Bulis that focuses in on advanced statistics and pretty damn cool. Here’s a big number for you: zero, the number of people who are interested in reading about hockey stats on a regular basis! [Pass it to Bulis]
Really interesting take from the Sloan sports analytics conference from Nucksmisconduct writer Blake Murphy. I really enjoy the comment from one of the Nucksmisconduct editors who doesn’t like us praising Murphy’s "diplomatic approach" to advanced statistics. Gee, I wonder who that jab is directed at? [Nucksmisconduct]
Elliotte Friedman also has a must read take on Dorkapalooza featuring a money quote from Laurence Gilman who contends that there are "percentage results that allow you to coach/manage your team to hege bets." Gilman, the best. [CBC]
Finally the NHLPA has agreed to realignment so woo hoo! A big, happy hello to new rivals the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, and a hearty remorseless goodbye to the Minnesota Mild! Sucks about the Coyotes being in the division though…
And let’s end this Frankenpreview with a shot of Alain Vigneault’s shootout duckface (via Taylor Pyatt):
If it looks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it must be a milt – right shappers?