Canucks Army Postgame: Thanks, OBAMA

Tim Thomas stops Alex Burrows' shootout attempt en route to a 3-2 win.

There was a story making the rounds on Twitter this morning about Florida Panthers’ interim coach Peter Horachek. To motivate the team, he told his players that the Panthers had never won at GM Place/Rogers Arena. Tim Thomas was having none of his crap, piping up and telling his team, "I have."

Well, now Thomas has won at Rogers Arena with two different organizations, leading the Florida Panthers to their first win in Vancouver since March 7th, 1994. Not to pump his tires too much though, the Canucks made it easy. John Tortorella called it the "worst game of the year." I’m inclined to agree with Tortorella, because I Watched This Ga– oh we don’t do that here? Okay, then read past the jump for more.

The Rundown

The game got off to a slow start for the Canucks, as Florida jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the Fenwicks and more importantly a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard. Brad Boyes netted a powerplay goal after a mad scramble in front, caused largely by some awful defensive zone coverage. Kevin Bieksa and Mike Santorelli chased the puck to the corner, leaving Edler and Richardson to cover three Panthers out front, like so (Kulikov was lurking just out of frame, he enters the high slot seconds later):

This goal was significant mainly because the Panthers had (and still have) the worst powerplay in the entire NHL at 10.4%, while the Canucks have the league’s best penalty kill at 88.2%. Even so, giving a team as brutal as the Panthers three chances to score on the powerplay means that there was about a 25% chance they would score at least one powerplay goal. The Panthers beat the odds with the man advantage tonight, which is something the Canucks have failed to do quite often.

Vancouver almost surrendered a shorthanded goal to Canucks Army favourite Marcel Goc a little later in the 1st, but Roberto Luongo flashed the right pad to keep the score 1-0:

At this point the Canucks started to pick up their play, taking 21 unblocked shot attempts to Florida’s 9 between the start of the 2nd and Jannik Hansen’s 3rd period go ahead goal. True American Hero Chris Higgins also scored in this stretch, as his shot evaded Tim Thomas like Thomas evades White House visits. The highlights:

Soon after Hansen’s goal, newly acquired Canuck Panthers 4th line centre Shawn Matthias scored on a nice setup from Canucks rookie centre Nick Bjugstad to tie the game at 2-2. It was all down hill from there, as the Canucks failed to direct another Fenwick at Tim Thomas for the final eleven and a half minutes of the 3rd period, and didn’t manage to get a shot on goal until the Sedins’ final shift of overtime.

The game went to a shootout, where Jonathan Hoobadoo scored the game winner on a sprawling Roberto Luongo. Chris Higgins hit the post, and Mike Santorelli and Alex Burrows both missed their attempts as the Canucks fell to 1 win and 3 losses in the skills competition, scoring on only 13% of their shots – good for 6th worst in the NHL.

The Numbers

Hoo boy. That 3rd period. That just shouldn’t happen, not against the Florida Panthers, not even against the L.A Kings if leading by a goal. From the point when Matthias scored, the Panthers out-Fenwick’d Vancouver 9-0 in regulation. Henrik Sedin admitted to sitting back to preserve the single point. In a tie game. At home. Against Florida. In November. I can’t imagine this was a tactical decision by John Tortorella, especially not in light of his post game comments.

Despite the awful 3rd period, the Canucks pulled 53% of the Corsis, with Henrik and Daniel leading the way at 65.5% and 60.7% respectively at 5-on-5. The twins played monster minutes too, as each had over 25:30 of ice time, leading all players except for Brian Campbell and Tom Gilbert.

Shawn Matthias had an astounding 84.6% Corsi% tonight (11 for, 2 against), but that’s probably dampened by the fact that he did not start a single shift in the defensive zone, and saw more time on ice than only Jimmy Hayes and Krys Barch for Florida.

The number that’s really of interest right now to the Canucks is team shooting percentage, though. Since the Toronto game, the Canucks have 12 goals on 237 shots, good for a shooting percentage of 5%, powerplay included. The good news is that no team has finished with a shooting percentage under 7% since the Sedins have been in the NHL, so even if you believe the Canucks are terrible at manufacturing scoring chances you have to admit that they’re due for some major correction soon, and more goals are on the way. They also now sit dead last in the NHL in powerplay shooting percentage at 6.3%, so that is due for some serious regression too.

The bad news of course is that Vancouver now sits 5 points back of 4th place in the Pacific, and 4 points out of the wild card crossover spot and every team they’re chasing has games in hand.

The Conclusion

This game stunk. It was awful and Tim Thomas got to celebrate on Vancouver ice for the first time since… I won’t go there. Fortunately, the 3rd period performance looks like the exception and not the norm, so we should expect better performances going forward. Results should start coming too, as teams don’t shoot at 5% forever.

The next game is at home against a team that just lost 7-0 to the 2nd worst team in the entire NHL. So hey, what could possibly go wrong?

  • There will be no regression to the mean so long as the Canucks continue to play to the outside. period.

    Sure, they dominate possession. But not in prime scoring areas.

    Teams are defensively playing the Canucks game to a tee. Keep them along the boards and let them cycle all they want. Who cares about puck possession when it is in an area that you (almost) never can score from?

    • Thank you. This is what I’ve been preaching. Your Fenwick’s and Corsi don’t mean squat, heck outshooting a team doesn’t mean squat, if you can’t finish. You need goals to win. I’m tired of seeing this team loop-de-loop the competition, with about zero impact on the score sheet.

          • Peachy

            I think leaving Burrows back with the Sedins would likely be fine too. The bigger issue remains the second line. Kassian is wasted on the fourth and Booth might fit there except for his salary. Should probably stop all the line juggling and stick with a few for a few games.

          • asdf

            Line juggling is not going to solve the issues here.

            The Canucks are 1-2 frontline forwards short.

            There are plenty of complimentary forwards on the roster (basically everyone aside from Sedin, Sedin & Kesler).

            It’s time for the complacent,risk averse GM to grow a pair and do something bold.

            And preferably this bold move isn’t a stupid move like the $20 million offer to Sundin or the goaltender-as-a-captain fiasco.

            Sitting on the Burke/Nonis/BC-born defenseman core isn’t going to work ever again.

            Holmgren appears open for business and may be willing to part with Brayden Schenn.

            If it takes Edler & Kassian and absorbing a salary dump like Meszaros, so be it.

            It may make the Canucks better, worse or simply rob Peter to pay Paul.

            But at least it’s a chance to improve even if it means Gillis has to admit the Hodgson trade was one of his many blunders…

          • asdf

            That’s actually a pretty good deal and Philly is crazy enough to do anything. They’d probably force us to take the other Schenn though. I would take Brayden Schenn over either Hodgson or Kassian so it might take more than that.

          • asdf

            To be clear, Kassian on his own doesn’t get you Brayden Schenn.

            Not even close.

            I doubt he’s even worth the 2nd and 3rd it took to acquire Steve Bernier at this point.

            But Edler & Kassian is at least a conversation, I think.

            Although if I’m Philly there is no way I consider doing such a trade.

            But a ripoff trade is what the Canucks need if there’s any chance of fixing this…

          • asdf

            Oh how I miss your stupidity, SFB00.

            So, Kassian and Edler is what you’d deal for B Schenn? You would make Mike Gillis look like a genius if you were a rival GM. So, a top 4 (maybe top 2) D man with a good contract and Kassian (who still shows signs of turning into something) for Schenn. Ya. No.

            I’d deal Edler and a late pick for Schenn and that would be somewhat fair. Sadly, Gillis gave Edler a no trade clause so that’s out the window.

            I really think Gillis could’ve gotten more for Schneider. Burr should’ve been dealt at last year’s trade deadline (maybe Washington for Kuznetsov and Forsberg) and Edler should’ve been dealt while we had that window to swing a deal around the time of the draft.

            Sadly, now most of our pieces are locked in with NTCs. What you see is what you get.

          • asdf

            Dude, it’s time to let go of the name calling. It diminishes some of the more intelligent things you have to say. Please, it’s to the point you are demeaning yourself. You have better things to say.

          • asdf

            I somewhat agree but there are 1 or 2 people that, I feel, deserve such harsh treatment. It seems they feel they’re the authority, source and God of all things Canucks. I don’t really care but their comments are so off, something needs to be said. Someone needs to protect the naive, innocent and ignorant that come and view the CA boards. Allow me to be that saviour…it’s the least I can do…

            Most Of Us Are Canucks.

          • asdf

            I’m not sure slotting Booth on the 4th can be considered stellar. But you’re right, some guys are playing above and beyond their roles filling holes. Leaving us without a functional 4th line. I’m all for the day we get to see your 3rd line in action. Anybody who has been following along knows exactly where you think the cause of the problem lies. Can’t say I disagree after the 1st quarter, hope the next quarter proves us both wrong.

            Either way we’re a little short with our lineup as it sits and exactly where you said we’d be. Although nobody seems to want to acknowledge it. Kudos…you still suck. Just kidding, your fairy dust is in the mail. Just don’t go crazy and do it all in one big line.

          • asdf

            Actually I thought the Canucks would be as high as 3rd in the division but clearly behind LA & SJ.

            They may still get to that.

            If not, I’ll have actually been too optimistic about the outlook of this team…

      • I don’t think those particular players are the problem in terms of what they’re bringing — the Sedins have been decent over the season if not in the last few days, Lack is a better-than-competent goaltender and Higgins and Hansen have actually produced. More to the point would be some of the big money non-producers like Burrows (who you’ve mentioned before), the well documented press box champion Booth, and the inconsistent Kesler and Kassian.

        I have a harder time with games like this than with the losses to Phoenix, SJ or the Ducks because they just were flat out awful for such long stretches of the game last night. No excuse. And the Sedins need to get off the ice more quickly, not take the extra chance which then leaves them winded and pinned in their own zone. That’s happened at least three or four times in recent games.

        • pheenster

          At the micro level, each of those extensions is fine.

          At the macro level, though, it’s insane to blow the entire cap increase on raises to the same mediocre group.

          And based on the last 80 games (heck it could probably go all the way back to the day after “game 8” vs Boston), there’s little reason to expect this team to win a playoff round in the near future…

        • The real handcuff is continuing to rely on players in their prime earning years while ignoring the youth.


          There’s little chance to improve considering the god awful collection of “upside” on the NHL & AHL roster…

  • Last night we underachieved but I don’t think we’re much better than what we saw. Daniel cannot finish like he used to and is not a top line LW. Burr might be showing signs of decline. Henrik and Kes can still bring it. Hansen should not be a top 6 guy and Higgins isn’t really a top 6 guy. Unfortunately we have to rely on Hig and Hansen in the top 6.

    I am surprised Kassian doesn’t get a bit more time in the top 6. He has skill but hasn’t quite figured it out. There isn’t much on the farm. Add to that we’re up against the cap and the numerous NTC – what you see is what you get.

    There is no help on the horizon. This season should might be the end of Gillis…or so I hope. Ah well. Grin and bare it…most of us are Canucks!

  • Peachy

    The comments section gets way more interesting when the Canucks lose.

    I hated watching the game, but this was the best post-game write-up thus far on CA. Nice work That’s Offside.

  • Peachy

    The fact of the matter is the Canucks have gotten up for big games the last few years, won them….. Then went in a tail spin. Couple of years ago Chicago and then next year it was Boston revenge game and this year it was the San Jose streak breaker. They won the games and played well with emotion, then sucked after that and lost all their passion. Time for Torts to kick some passion back into them, because it can’t stand watching this Dreek!

  • asdf

    Probably because you’re a “glass half full” kinda guy. Lots of holes though, Utica being the most glaring. Most of the top tier teams can pull a couple guys up seamlessly to the big roster. Us not so much, and to my eyes at least, it’s bleeding our lineup. There’s too much Utica here and not good Utica, nothing that really helps. If we’re serious about the season I feel this necessitates some movement, and soon.