Not for a “Läck” of effort, Canucks lose first preseason game to Sharks

The NHL preseason is for two things: using small sample sizes to convince people that the assertions you made over the summer are correct, or defending your assertions made over the summer because of a small sample size.

This was the first time that the Vancouver Canucks have played a hockey game since May, and it was against San Jose again, who returned to Vancouver without Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi, several other of their stars, and no tail stripes or shoulder yokes on their sweaters. If the preseason has any modicum of importance, it’s probably in the field of uniform aesthetics, and I don’t like how plain the Sharks new white sweaters are. They looked like the old threads ditched by the Dallas Stars when they flipped to a more traditional design. With teal, silver and orange in the scheme, the Sharks had one of the truly unique colour combinations in pro sports, but they always wore their dull black sweaters in the playoffs.

Wait, there was a hockey game, wasn’t there?

I found the game moderately enjoyable. The congress of Utica Comets in Vancouver Canucks sweaters got outplayed for the most part by the Worcester Sharks disguised as San Jose Sharks. There weren’t enough NHLers on either side to really come up with any legitimate conclusion from this game, of course. It’s easy to point out that the Canucks blocked 21 shots to San Jose’s 10, but that probably happened because San Jose took a lot of shots in general, led by Joe Pavelski, the best player on the ice for either team, and not because the Canucks had a specific gameplan to block a lot of shots.

San Jose won 3-2, but I think you already knew that. Tommy Wingels finally cracked the Canucks’ penalty kill late in the third period on a deflection that eluded everybody in front of the net. Pavelski took the shot and his stick broke. That was the only powerplay goal the Sharks scored on their 9:38 of powerplay time, which looks OKAY I guess, until you realize that the Sharks also generated 9 shots in 6:30 of 5-on-4 time.

The Canucks had a powerplay late to attempt to tie the game for a third time but didn’t really generate much. Just goes to show what kind of game this was, when Dale Weise was the guy that touched the puck the closest to the net. He then crashed into the boards and failed to get a shot away. Weise was just one of two Canuck forwards in the game that played half the season last year (the other being Alex Burrows)

Brendan Gaunce and Hunter Shinkaruk scored the Canucks’ goals. Gaunce scored off of a rebound from Weise, and Shinkaruk scored on a pretty good short-side wrist shot that San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock probably should have had. I’m not going to pretend either Gaunce or Shinkaruk were all over the puck, but they didn’t look out of place in a game full of professional hockey players, which I suppose is a good thing.

Shinkaruk’s goal, ICYMI:



Ryan Kesler played 26:26. Considering he played 414 minutes last season total, I’m not going to go overboard and suggest John Tortorella is going to overplay him, especially considering Torts wasn’t behind the bench. I think there’s a way to work Kesler up into game shape and play him in a bunch of situations.

Lots of penalty kill time for the Canucks. nine shots on 6:30 of 5-on-4 looks bad, but two shots against 2:58 of the Sharks deadly 5-on-3 powerplay looks good on the record. I really don’t have a point to make with this, but the Canucks looked particularly good on that late extended 5-on-4 with the Andrew Alberts high stick and later Henrik Tommernes high stick. Defencemen should learn to keep their sticks down.

Alberts also lost “Big” John McCarthy behind the net in the play leading up to the Sharks second goal. Say what you want about his game tonight, but he’s going to look a lot better playing for $600K as a seventh defenceman than for $1.23M as a seventh defenceman. I’m unsure about Yannick Weber, but he didn’t exactly look great in any situation tonight. But who knows. Nobody really did. It was one game.

Canucks’ goaltending was fine. Eddie Lack made some big stops and Joe Cannata made a nice one off of Tomas Hertl on a breakaway in the third and on Pavelski on the 5-on-3. Lack’s big moments came midway through the second, robbing Matt Tennyson, whoever he is, moving to his left, and scrambled to grab an Adam Burish shot that was reminiscent of the right bumper shot from the EA NHL series. He poked at it and scrambled into position to cover the puck. He looked pretty cool, but a few preseason games is not the place to judge a goalie. Lack will be the backup, and it won’t be because of anything that happens in the next two weeks.

This isn’t a detailed recap, and it came late, but these were my overall impressions. I don’t want to say anything for certain based on a preseason game, except that I don’t really like San Jose’s new white jerseys. Perhaps the teals will look better. Perhaps the Canucks will look better in the next two weeks.


  • Haha the first “game” of the year! Your enthusiasm really bled through the screen.

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, so I can’t really comment.

    I would like to ask one question of NM00 though: How do you compare the past three seasons as predictors? You mentioned it in one post, and I believe it was .8, .6, .4… But I am looking for confirmation.

    I used a .5, .8, .6, .4 weighting (the .5 being for’s projections and the other three for the past 3 years) for a ranking I am doing for It actually produced a nice list, I might have weighted it a tad more towards recent results but not by much.

    • Some of the writers on Fangraphs use 50/30/20 as a quick and dirty tool to predict the next season’s performance.

      The rationale is pretty simple: three years gives a large enough sample but extra emphasis should be placed on the most recent data.

      Though the lockout-shortened season kind of screws things up…

  • A few things did stand out in the game. Lack looked very composed for his first game action in a while. He did slide a lot which can put him out of position on rebounds, but he looked like a solid back up. Jensen always seems to disappear when he puts a Canucks jersey on . The two game he played last year and last night, he just wasn’t around the puck.
    Corrado needs to remember what happened to Tanev last year! Sure he bulked up, but Tanev missed the playoffs because he was always taking big hits and last night Corrado took two big ones. The hit behind the net was to protect the puck, but one at the blue line in the offensive zone didnt need to happen. Live to play another shift bro! Shinkaruk looked very good to me. A faster feistier version of a Luc Robatille. Nice quick moves in a small space and a quick shot. Disagree the goalie should have had it, that was a perfectly placed hard wrister. The goalie wasn’t expecting a shot. Hunter won’t make the club, but might see time farther down the road.

  • Here’s my one game overreaction:
    – Shinkaruk could make the team before Jensen does.
    – Kellan Lain is gigantic.
    – Lack should be a solid backup.
    – Kesler’s shot is back.
    – (As Cam said,) Alberts is good value for 600k

  • I was thinking the EXACT same thing about the white jersey’s. They may improve performance (we shall see) but they certainly ruin aesthetic enjoyment…

    I have no real thoughts on the game itself,except that I was impressed with Shinkaruk’s energy. And Corrado’s steady, poised play one-on-one to prevent an empty net goal was kind of neat too…

  • Cam,

    Your first line was the best one.

    “The NHL preseason is for two things: using small sample sizes to convince people that the assertions you made over the summer are correct, or defending your assertions made over the summer because of a small sample size.”

    Other than that, I caught the end of the third period, and the Sharks dominated us in terms of possession. But, with so many regulars out, I’m inclined to not give a damn about that.

  • I watched the game, so just to add something I thought Gaunce looked right at home on the wing and played pretty good. My 3 stars for the Canucks would have been Lack, Shinkaruk and Gaunce. Very sloppy and undisciplined otherwise.

  • The Canucks don’t have much room for young players so most will be developed properly. Nice game from Hunter and Gaunce. Bo was looking decent too. I liked Lain and Archibald as well. Corrado rocked it.

    I have no idea why Kes played 25+ mins. I hope management doesn’t wonder why he can’t stay healthy…

    • I think penalties had a lot to do with skewing Kesler’s iceteime. It was a good thing we took killing penalties seriously or it could have gotten really ugly.

      Horvat was just OK in my books. From what I saw he was getting a nice education from Pavelski. Which is to be expected throwing a raw rookie against a world class center. Gaunce is looking like he’s going to morph from center to wing. He just looks more comfortable there in my eyes.

      • Yeah, Gaunce might get moved to wing. He actually looked quite good out there. I still say he gets another season of junior to figure it out.

        Kes was out there lots for PK etc and I agree they needed him or the score MAY have gotten a bit ugly. So what? It’s exhibition. Let the younger guys play and learn.

  • I don’t know what game you guys were watching, but Gaunce didn’t really stand out. Most of the Canucks really didn’t.

    If there’s one thing I somewhat cared about this game (big “if”), it’s that, like another poster above mentioned, Jensen just continues his streak of not standing out in any way as soon as he puts on a Canucks uniform. I hope we’ll see a little more from him in the next few weeks.

    That being said, I hope we see some more cuts and some more vets in the next game, because that will probably give the youngins a more defined role rather than having to be the guy, and give us a better idea how they’d do in a position more like they’d be likely to have during the course of the season.

          • “What game were you watching?” is hardly meaningless, it’s a speech act that expresses my disagreement with your evaluation of the game. It’s fair enough that it annoys you somewhat though, I’ll try to be more diplomatic in the future.

            “The game within the game” is, as far as I can tell, meaningless. I’m open to correction though, like I said.

          • Yeah…semantics. Do you have any idea how important semantics is?
            Go study some linguistics, maybe you’ll have a better appreciation for the ways in which our language affords communication of ideas through such important concepts as “speech acts” and other important aspects of rhetoric, semantics, and pragmatics.

            Meaning can be as individual as opinion, but it’s usually not. You don’t say to someone “can I have have your pen” and then they say sure and you take their car, because to you “pen” means “car”. That’s clearly ridiculous, and it’s the same thing as saying “what game were you watching?” doesn’t have meaning when it is clearly used to express a disagreement with the analysis of the game in question. If I didn’t mean anything by saying it, I wouldn’t have said it.

            I’m still waiting to understand what the subtext behind “the game within the game” is.

          • Geez, with all of this great knowledge of language and it’s importance you’d think you would have come up with something a little bit better than, “What game were you watching?”. Especially on a board discussing said game…That, my friend is a perfect example of “The game within the game”. You provided the subtext, thanks BTW.