Dumbest thing you’ve ever seen? Probably.
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. Last night the Canucks played the Sharks for the fourth time already this season, and for the fourth time it was on a Thursday evening. I noticed this because I play hockey on Thursday nights, so haven’t been able to watch these two rivals as much as I would have liked. It’s odd enough for two teams to play four times in the first quarter of the season, but to have every meeting on the same night of the week? Weird.
2. Speaking of which, the ending to last night’s tilt was more than a little frustrating. The Canucks controlled play for the entire game against a very good team, but a lucky bounce and a bad call did them in. Vancouver is now sporting a -1 goal differential on the season, which needs to improve if the team has aspirations of still playing in May and June.
3. David Booth is back in the Canucks lineup after unleashing the Corgis down in Utica. Booth’s only tangible benefit in his rocky tenure with the Canucks so far has been the way the team tends to dominate possession while he’s on the ice. His first game back? Not so great. In a game in which the Canucks controlled over 56% of shot attempts, Booth was on the ice for 11 for and 12 against. Not quite "getting your teeth kicked in", but when you’re not bringing much else to the table it’s also not good.
4. On the topic of puck possession, the Canucks are holding up quite well so far this season in that category, sporting a 52.6% Corsi Close, just a tick behind the Penguins. If the "Corsi Cup" was a real thing, they’d be a contender. They may have lost the game in Anaheim, but they controlled the puck against the team who, at the time, sat at the top of the NHL standings. It’s nothing without the 2 points, I know, but to put it another way, if the Canucks were eking out wins while getting outshot every night I’d be legitimately worried.
5. Another stat we’ve been wont to discuss here at the Army is a player’s offensive zone start percentage. This started around 2009-10 when Alain Vigneault suddenly realized how good the Sedins are. So far this season, with the twins averaging over 20 minutes a night and killing penalties, they are still starting over 60% of their shifts in the fun end of the rink. This shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering Tortorella was also known for giving his stars prime offensive opportunities in New York.
6. Mike Santorelli has been a nice story, but he’s probably not a 2nd line center on a contending team. It may be time to reunite Burrows with the twins and slide Kesler back to anchoring his own line. The team needs production, so nothing should be off limits at this point.
7. There is some good news on the horizon in regards to the depth chart, as Jannik Hansen is eligible to return Sunday night against Dallas. I noticed he was wearing the maroon Millionaires socks in practice on Wednesday. I’m not sure if this was to mark him as an injured player or if it was Jannik’s own humblebrag over his new contract.
8. On sort of an adorable note, Frankie Corrado’s full first name is actually "Francesco" and he was voted "most likely to be a hockey player" in elementary school. He also sort of looks like the love child of a young Al Pacino and a young Woody Allen. Just more reasons to love Frankie Corrado.
9. The Canucks will face the Dallas Stars for the first time this season on Sunday night. Dallas just demolished the Flames last night, and white that feat is not particularly noteworthy these days, Jamie Benn had 6 points and Tyler Seguin had 5, including 4 goals. Even Ryan Garbutt and Stephane Robidas scored, which is a sure sign it’s been a special night. The Canucks and Stars will be coming off polar opposite performances offensively, so it should make for a good match-up.
10. To end on a positive note, for a team that has had to fight through a plethora of injuries and a brutal 20-game schedule while trying to learn an entirely new system, the Canucks have escaped the first quarter in pretty good shape. There are depth and scoring issues to be sure, but the team has responded well to Tortorella. Was the whole "the Canucks suck in October" just an Alain Vigneault thing?