This is Zack Kassian’s real hair. Disturbing player.
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).
1. I am writing this post on a Halloween Thursday whilst watching Halloween, John Carpenter’s 1978 classic (don’t talk to me about Rob Zombie’s remakes unless you’re jonesing for a straight jab to the jugular). If and when they decide to do another sequel/prequel/remake/reboot of the series, Zack Kassian would be a natural to play Michael Myers. They have the same build, same hair, and Kassian is, after all, a "disturbing player".
2. Cam’s analysis of the Canucks power play is really interesting. The discrepancy between their shot rate and actual goals is massive right now, and there’s just no way the man advantage continues to yield such poor results when they’re firing this many pucks on net. This isn’t even one of those "advanced stats" things — I think most people would agree that optically the power play has looked dangerous this season.
3. Partly because of the unlucky PP and partly because it would have been ridiculous for him to continue at a point-a-game pace for much longer, Jason Garrison has cooled off from his hot start. While he may not have proved to be the instant cure for what ailed last season’s power play, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played an important role in the Canucks generating a lot more shots 5v4.
4. What has happened to David Booth? There was the healthy scratch, the ill-fated return, a mysterious injury, and now nothing. Well, other than this. The image is appropriate, because before his mysterious injury his coach and the press were carving him for his ineffective play, waiting for him to light up. Earlier in the year, Torts called Booth a "weird dude", and I’d have to agree — who wears a green plaid shirt with a green camo Blue Jays hat?
5. Ryan Kesler is back in 2011 form right now. He’s on pace for 43 goals, playing on perhaps the hottest line in the NHL. He’s averaging the 2nd highest TOI/G of all NHL forwards, only 3 seconds behind Sidney Crosby. This is another instance where +/- is such a flawed stat: despite being an even strength animal, Kesler is -1 due to his on-ice sv% of 0.887. If he were struggling right now, you know people would be pointing to his -1 as unacceptable for an elite defensive forward. But he’s thriving, so no one brings it up.
6. Sitting 3rd and 4th in TOI/G behind Kesler are his two new line mates, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Compare this to last season where the twins sat 42nd and 54th in the league, averaging over 3 minutes less per game. I’m not criticizing Alain Vigneault’s usage of the Sedins — anyone who did so would be a blind moron given the gaudy numbers they put up playing for him — but they do really seem to be embracing the increased responsibility John Tortorella has thrust upon them. Daniel’s goal against Washington was disgusting.
7. Tom Sestito is human tennis below. He is a pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth. He is the opposite of Batman. But more importantly, he’s technically a 3rd liner on the Canucks right now. I never thought I’d be upset about an injury to the Dutch Gretzky, but hurry back, Dale!
8. I couldn’t be happier to see Manny Malhotra complete the comeback and sign with the Carolina Hurricanes. It won’t be long before he plays his old team, as the Canucks play the Hurricanes a month from today. We all hope that the concerns that caused Mike Gillis to shut down Malhotra’s 2012-13 season — and effectively his career as a Canuck — prove to be unfounded and he is able to play out his career in good health.
9. Saturday night. Canucks. Leafs. Hockey Night in Canada. I am really looking forward to this game, because the Leafs are such a puzzling case for those of us that follow statistics in hockey. They allow a lot of shots against shorthanded, yet have the league’s 3rd ranked PK. They get outshot nearly every game, yet they’re first in the East. Meanwhile the Canucks have regularly outshot their opponents but are relying primarily on one line to score.
10. Finally, Pavel Bure will have his number retired by the Canucks on Saturday prior to the game against the Leafs. Everything that can be said about Bure already has, so all I’ll add at this point is it is about damn time. I personally believe the greatest Canuck of all-time is currently on the roster, but there’s no questioning the impact Pavel had on Vancouver.