Canucks Postgame: Kassians 3, Hodgsons 0

All the Canucks needed on this night was Higgins’ 1st period tally. (Image via Sean Rubnyk)

Good lord, the Buffalo Sabres are as bad as the numbers, and the people on my Twitter timeline say. I’ve got to say that I hadn’t seen much of them through the first few weeks of this early season, but by essentially any metric they had been absolutely abysmal through the first 8 games of the season.

The Canucks pounced on them early, and took advantage of their general ineptitude en route to another victory against an inferior opponent. I’m not going to fault them for beating a poor team – you can only play the team that’s in front of you, after all – but we need to keep things in perspective and not get too carried away since there’s a strong chance that the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres will go down as a historically bad team.

Still.. the Canucks are now 2-0 on their season long 7-game roadtrip, and have secured 4 meaningful points ahead of their upcoming matchup with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

You really can’t ask for a better start to a game than the Canucks had in this one (though I guess they didn’t score any goals during their early flurry, so there’s that). According to Extra Skater, the Canucks registered 10 unblocked shot attempts before the Sabres countered with their 1st. And that was all in the opening 1:49 of the game. You reply that sequence 10 times and I bet they come away with at least 1 goal about 8 or so times. After the first 3 and a half minutes, the shot attempts were 15-1 in favour of the visiting team. Madness.

Right. That’s the process we try to preach here at Canucks Army, though. If you direct enough puck towards the net, and spend enough time in the opposing team’s zone, sooner or later you’ll begin to generate your own form of luck. That’s what happened in this one after a brutal turnover by Cody McCormick came right to Chris Higgins, who made no mistake. That’s back-to-back games with goals for Higgins, who now has 29 shots on goal for the year (which is a 297 SOG pace).

That was the 2nd goal of the game, as Brad Richardson showed off some slick hand-eye coordination to put home yet another shorthanded goal for the Canucks (their 3rd of the season). Meanwhile that was Jason Garrison’s 8th point, who continues his point-per-game pace.

And finally, the scoring was capped off by none other than Ryan Stanton, who tied Cody Hodgson’s total number of goals on the season with this gem:

It’s pretty cool that he’ll get to tell his grandchildren one day that both of the Sedins assisted on his first career NHL goal. I mentioned yesterday that Stanton has been very serviceable this year, and he had himself another Ryan Stanton’ish game (no mistakes, flying under the radar, doing what you want from a 3rd pairing defenseman). 

A lot was made heading into this game about how Tortorella had split the Sedins up in the most recent game, and what it meant going forward. I didn’t indulge in the discussion too much since I thought that it wasn’t something that would actually be a big part of the future. I was right, as Henrik and Daniel played roughly 75% of their 5v5 minutes together tonight. What I didn’t see coming, though, was the staff putting all of their eggs in one basket with Ryan Kesler on their line.

That line was by no surprise awesome to watch.. but you have to wonder whether it’s a feasible option going forward, given the way it exposes the rest of the lineup. I’d have a hard time believing we’ll see too much of it against a team like Pittsburgh on Saturday morning.

Finally, obviously the main storyline heading into this one was Cody Hodgson vs. Zack Kassian. Kassian had easily his best performance of the season, as he used his size and (supremely underrated) passing ability to set a few chances up. Him and Jordan Schroeder looked good, which has to give fans of the team some optimism for the future.

As for Hodgson, he was very.. Cody Hodgson tonight. He was a defensive liability (getting pylon’d by Schroeder in one memorable instance in the 3rd), but he was also a creative playmaker as he set up what was initially a goal, but eventually waved off, with a wicked pass to a streaking Thomas Vanek. He also ran Roberto Luongo resulting in a goaltender interefence penalty, which I thought was pretty criminal of him. You can tell which organization he grew up in.

Oh yeah, Roberto Luongo had a shutout, too. Ho hum. He only had to make 25 saves (11 of which came in the 3rd), and was obviously good when he needed to be. His save percentage is up to .912 now.

  • It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a classic Luongo shutout streak.

    Just sayin’s all.

    Canucks looked great tonight. I don’t care that they did it against one of the worst teams in the league, they could easily have won this game 5-0 or 6-0 if it wasn’t for Ryan Miller.

        • 5minutesinyourass, your grammar is poor as usual. Mediocrity is accepted by those who embrace it…much like you do with your mediocre team. It takes one to know one. You tolerate and embrace mediocrity, so guess what that makes you?

          Har dee har…har.

          • DCR

            If you think there is something grammatically incorrect about my post I would love to hear it.

            Mediocrity is accepted by those who embrace and tolerate it? How very deep of you. Does that mean you need a hug, and you want me to mean it?

            We all tolerate mediocrity here. We have to deal with you on a daily basis.

            And please for love of God, stop talking about wanting to be in my ass. You are creeping me out.

          • NM001

            You grammar is again is getting “worser”, kid.

            Mediocrity is what you live for, fanboy. You tolerate it and it shows. It’s because you and your team have no standards and you want everyone else to do the same. That’s why you keep continuing with your excuses and now you come out to admit that you and your team are just that. What took you so long? You’re a shill, cause no one unless they’re mental could believe that such a mediocre team is anything but.

            I have to deal with your shilling and delusions on a daily basis. You keep talking about mediocrity as if it was something great, day after day here, flip flopping from one false opinion to the next. So long as you keep spouting your delusions I will be here to remind you and folks like you how wrong you are. Deal with it, just like we have to deal with your flip floppy delusions.

          • argoleas

            Good luck getting an answer. This is the same guy that learned proper sentences and paragraphs don’t end in LOL less than a week ago, now the self ordained local grammar police. Kid’s soaring like a Peacock.

          • argoleas

            What’s there to clarify? You’re wishy washy, flippy floppy and you clearly have reading problems as well. Can’t you just accept his opinion of you? Oh but no, you want your voice your wishy washy views but you donèt like someone else to have a straight forward opinion.
            The guy called you a virgin. You want a literary professor to come and decipher his statement for you? LOL

          • argoleas

            As clearly you have an innate inability to comprehend anything other than your own drivel, Im going to just chalk it up to the fact that you are actually ‘retarded’ as you love to say repeatedly. The clearly denotes a lack of creativity and the minimal vocabulary of an 8th grader. Hey look, fun with facts.
            But if you want to talk about opinions, lets just make this poignantly clear, so we all form the correct opinion of you. We wouldn’t want any wavering would we. In order to form any real opinion you need to analyze the facts

            Well this should be easy.

            Its 2 am on a Saturday night and you are posting on a hockey blog for a team you cant stand, to a bunch of people who cant stand you, and you are attempting to make a funny by criticizing my masculinity by referring to me as a virgin?

            You don’t get irony do you?

            So by these findings we can clearly deduce that you are likely a) living in your parents basement b) likely a high school student (or more likely a drop out) and c) you have no life whatsoever, and thus have yet to be touched by anyone outside of creepy ‘Uncle’ Bob. Which would be even more ironic because you were named after him.

            You know what the best part about this all is? If that you keep posting and I just keep owning you. Over and over. Its so cute that you keep trying.

        • jung gun

          And now you admit your team is mediocre. Yeah, right after your hissy-fits at Hard Puck City for calling your team average, you come out and say it’s so. You know your team is mediocre but you take offense when someone else says it.
          Are you sure you’re not retarded?

          • DCR

            Sure, they are currently a mediocre team, that’s how they are playing. I accept that, but I do think they are no where near playing their best hockey, which means they will not be mediocre for long. Do you think I actually care what you or your tug buddy have to say about the team I happen to cheer for? The reality is, its just a game, and has absolutely no affect on my life whatsoever, win or lose.
            I just really enjoy watching two pathetic internet trolls fail so miserably at life.
            I just have one question, with all of the stupid that falls out when you two open your mouths, does it ever run out? So far it seems endless.
            Keep it the good work.

          • NM001

            Well, seems like you care enough to reply to me. Next time try sticking with what you stand for to begin with instead of flip flopping around like the Canucks. And yeah, your two faced replies are endless, you got that one right.

          • NM001

            Well obviously someone needs to show you some love because its obvious you are not getting any at home. Your replies just keep getting less and less coherent. Are you upset because you are failing at the internets? So sad.

          • andyg

            Is that your new opinion? You keep flipping and flopping your views. You must be a politician. Tell you what, find out what first what opinion you stand by without being so wishy washy and then come back and reply to me, son.

          • argoleas

            What opinion are you even talking about? Im not flipping on anything…youre an idiot…Ive said so all along. And I stand by that opinion….I also believe most people here will also stand by that.

            If you actually want to talk hockey Im all ears because so far you just keep regurgitating the seem drivel every post. Like somehow its going to actually become funny and/or more meaningful. You wont even stand up like a man and tell the folks here what team you even wave your little pom poms for.

            Win or lose at least the fans on here stand by their team. You got nothing.

            And really? Son? Do you want me to start calling you Daddy now creepo?

          • argoleas

            You think the Canucks aren’t mediocre, then you admit they are mediocre, then you think they aren’t. You really must have some form of retardation don’t you, son?

            Start with typing something that isn’t wishy washy and flippy floppy. You have no standards to stand by, and you want everyone to do the same. You’re wishy washy, flippy floppy and two faced to boot.

            Seek some counseling, son. You seriously need it, fanboy.

          • argoleas

            Oh, Teddy. Don’t spend so much of your time preparing for the Canucks Stanley cup. That party is never going to happen so long as the team has your mentality.

          • argoleas

            You’re definitely a special kind of moron, aren’t ya? I don’t think too many are expecting the Cup. I think most are just cheering on their favorite team. Most people understand it’s entertainment and at the end of the day, it won’t really make a big diff if we win the Cup or don’t. Some people really need to get a life 🙂


    • jung gun

      Genuinely curious if you actually hope the Canucks win on a nightly basis or not.

      If not, is that born out of a sense of “NBA style either tanking or contending” or simply to be proven right?

      • DCR

        As I’ve said before, it may take some actual losses to ignite some change in the organization.

        I care about the next contending Canucks team.

        If losing now is a quicker path to contention, so be it.

        • argoleas

          By any measure this must be the decisive season for this. Should they exceed expectations and reach at least the conference finals (meaning at lest beating SJ and/or LA in the playoffs), then we can consider the current changes to have been a success, and can look forward to a gradual SJS-style retooling. But if the result is anything below that, or even if they tank and miss playoffs, then the writing would be on the wall for major changes. In any case, the team will be in desperate need of younger legs, and can hope that their current crop of prospects can mainly fill that. A Calgary-style rebuild would be a disaster of Messierian proportions.

          Having watched 8 game already I’m not yet sold on any arguments on the expected direction of this team for this season, good or bad.

          On one hand, I see them adjusting to the new system, and results are getting better, they have some new players that are contributing well, and the Schroeder/Kassian combo may end up being a bigger story of the season than is now apparent, because it could give the team a potent third line.

          On the other hand, as has been stated, so far, they have lost to every playoff team they have played, and we dont mean close losses, but genuine beatings. Perhaps this will change and we will see improvement in the upcoming weeks and months. Perhaps not. I still see a significant depth problem, and the team is lucky that Edler’s suspension came when they has 2 mediocre teams to play. In Pitts the team will be very healthy (just Burrows out) and that is just not sustainable. And as much as we ant to talk about bad luck with the PP, and the impressive puck movement and Garrison’s angle-breakers, its goals that matter. If it is bad luck, then it will even out, but what if it doesn’t? This is the same argument everyone used 2 years ago when the PP suddenly dried up, and guess what, it stayed dry. And the team is not drawing penalties. And after all this talk of needing a 3rd line center, the team is now effectively down a 2nd line center as well, with Kesler playing with the Sedins. I know it is an experiment, but unless this line is scoring bushel-loads, it makes the rest of the line up more vulnerable (and we will see how this works against a very good team like Pittsburgh). Currently overall goals for/against is in the middle of the league. Finally, I see a lack of balance in the player ATOI. I see issues with this being sustainable for the season and what the team hopes is a long playoff run. Its like eating your seed corn.

          So hope remains, but questions continue and concerns mount.

          • argoleas

            On what basis should we be looking forward to a SJS-style retool?

            Have a look at the picks the Canucks have had the last few years compared to SJ.

            And also consider, for example, how some of these picks have been used in trade.

            Coyle was a key piece in landing Burns.

            Whereas Grabner & Hodgson have been key pieces in landing significant dead cap space for 3 years (Ballard) and Kassian…

            Point being, the Canucks have had every opportunity to do what SJ has been doing.

            And we still don’t see a lot of upside on the roster.

            Without a risky Holmgren-esque trade, I find it hard to believe the Canucks are going to contend again in the Sedin/Luongo era.

            “A Calgary-style rebuild would be a disaster of Messierian proportions.”

            Yes it would be.

            But that’s the path this franchise is on and will continue to be on without significant improvement from management.

            The Canucks have one – ONE! – homegrown player drafted in the salary cap era on the roster in Schroeder.

            Dead last in the NHL by a landslide.

            And it’s not as though they’ve acquired a talent such as Seguin or Ryan through trade to add some gamechanging upside to the roster.

            At this point, I don’t see what makes Kassian any better than Bernier when the Canucks acquired him 5 years ago.

            But since he is inextricably linked to Hodgson, we must put all of our hopes and dreams into him…

            I’m kinda neutral to this team at the moment and probably will be through the first 20-40 games.

            But if the team performs as I expect them to through the first half, sign me up for tank nation…

          • argoleas

            So….. to sum up what you said, the Canucks are still shooting themselves in the foot. One step forward, two steps back. the Canucks have always cared about developing and drafting as much as folks enjoy scraping gum off their shoe with a twig.

          • argoleas

            Another brilliant post by SFB00. Brilliant. He’s already written off Kassian. Has also concluded all of our prospects will be no better than bottom 6 forwards and fringe D. Bravo. Oh how I miss the sheer stupidity of FH00.

    • jung gun

      Buddy, it’s sports. Misguided optimism is part of being a fan of anything. Have you grown that stale and critical you have to criticize fans for, well, enjoying the reality of sport?

      Bottom line is we won and did exactly what we were supposed to do, dominate a lesser opponent. I feel much better after watching that game going into Pittsburgh than if we were to go in after Philly. Call it misguided, or just enjoying something positive when it happens. It’s people like me that you are being critical of because we still know how to enjoy a win for what it is. I feel sorry for the state people like you and Lard Puck find yourselves in because even a win is a loss. When you feel like a loser all of the time it sucks, because in the end it can take over and you become one…and that’s all you can talk about.

      • DCR

        How much enjoyment do you get out of watching a mediocre team?

        I’ll always watch the Canucks.

        It doesn’t mean I blindly support everything the organization does because “We Are All Canucks” or some other such nonsense…

        • andyg

          I agree with you. I watch the Canucks games but realize that the chance of a Cup is non existent without a major influx of youth and a team with 4 line depth.
          I think the difference may be on how to reach that goal.

          Some one should do some research on the best way to rebuild. Oilers template or say Red Wings

          The oilers have brought their kids in too young and they have not had the benefit of learning from solid pros and it shows. They may have ruined some of these kids.

  • jung gun

    I think it’s very possible that the reason tortorella put kesler with the sins for much of the night is that he is trying to jumpstart what has so far been a dismally unlucky PP. Chemistry needs to be established, and it makes sense that more would be gained during a game versus an inept opponent. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed by the canucks tonight in terms of finishing, but part of that should obviously be attributed to miller’s outstanding performance. Considering that the canucks first 11 shots came before the five minute mark, i’m disappointed the game total was 25 or so. That sounds like a drop in effort to me, combined with an increase in effort from the opposing team. Taking the latter consideration seriously, I would still say that the canucks looked lacklustre throughout the following periods, and in fact shined their brightest during the first. On another note, kassian was impressive, and I think he deserves more ice time, as does booth. Players of their calibre shouldn’t be restricted to third line roles. That said, i’m not convinced that higgins and hansen belong down there, but it seems to me that if kassian plays and produces alongside the sedins, then burrows can perform as a playmaker for kesler and booth, seeing as both of them aren’t very good passers. Needless to say, I’m excited for the return of burrows and edler.

    • DCR

      Then the Canucks will have beaten an elite team in one game.

      Though I’m more concerned about how they control play over the result.

      Aside from maybe the game against Montreal after the Hamhuis goal, there hasn’t been anything surprising so far…

  • jung gun

    Guys, grammar is not a necessary prequisite to genuinely interesting or valid opinions. Ego tripping won’t win any arguments and guess what; you can’t compare dick size over the internet.

    Anyway, I think there are a lot of intangible chance related elements in any dynamic sport, and so luck plays a large role on any given night. We probably won’t win against pittsburgh based on skill alone, but I don’t think that it’s even possible to separate skill and luck in a way that’s analytically sound; that is, provable.

  • NM001

    Dallas beat SJ and Vancouver got stomped twice by them. The only reason they have any wins this season at all is cause they have faced the worst teams in the league Calgary/Buffalo, or faced teams like Edmonton who had no cetermen at all (Kassian’s greatest contribution to a team victory so far).

    This team is a dissaster and it will be obvious to you all when we have a loterry pick this year. Just like the Stanley Cup though we probably won’t win the loterry even though we will be in last place with the best odds.

  • NM001

    The Canucks won. I don’t understand what all the bitching is about. Saturday is going to be hell of a test, though. I mean, getting up at 10 on a Saturday to watch a hockey game sucks.

    • NM001

      It would be a shame to let a dominant and fun-to-watch hockey game played by your favourite team get in the way of whatever narrative you would happen to be disposed to.

      That would just be ridiculous.

    • NM001

      This is the funny part. It’s not even going to be a test. The penguins are loaded with young top end talent (high draft picks) that are starting to come into their prime years. While the canucks core is only getting older, and are barely able to keep up with the younger, better teams.

      Until this team fires Gillis and tanks into the ground like Edmonton did, we will never win a cup. Edmonton has the right gameplan following exactly what the penguins did and in 3-4 years time they will be a team that is near impossible to beat winning Cups over and over again.

      This we still have a window stuff has to stop. Until we lose for years on end accumulating can’t miss first overall picks like the penguins did we will never be a winner. We have to lose so badly and for so long that fans stop coming to games and the team almost relocates a couple of times. That’s how you build a winner.

      NM00 knows what i’m talking about. This is why Gillis needs to go, like as of yesterday. His expiration date is long overdue.

  • DCR

    I’ll be watching the game tomorrow, and I’m one of those fans who wants to see the Canucks win every game. I don’t care about proving that the team’s great or mediocre, I have no hidden agenda: I just want to see my team win.

    As for a victory tomorrow, I think it’s possible, but not likely. I’d love to see it, but realistically I think a loss is the most likely outcome, at least based on how the team has been playing lately.

    I’m not here to buy into a narrative or watch “Lowered Expectations” play out on the ice. I’m cautiously optimistic that they haven’t adjusted fully to the new systems and that the PP will overtake the PK in production. For the most part, I just figure it’s too early to make accurate assessment.

    There are things I’m seeing that I’m liking about the process under Torts, but the most I’ll call them are positive signs, not proof.

    I do think that Santorelli, Richardson, and Stanton look to be panning out, and that the Dalpe experiment looks like a swing and a miss.

    • DCR

      ” I don’t care about proving that the team’s great or mediocre, I have no hidden agenda: I just want to see my team win.”

      If you were a Calgary fan, would you have supported their attempts to recapture the fleeting glory of their SCF run?

      I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest we both want to see the next contending Canucks team as soon as possible.

      Sometimes that means short term pain for long term gain…

    • andyg

      I think it is a no lose scenario.Either Torts gets them playing up to a play of level and we get play off hockey this year.Or we miss the play offs and we get a decent draft position.