Canucks Army Postgame: Consider the Kraken! Released

Dale Weise wearing the Haida Hat as the Player of the Game. [Image via @VanCanucks]

Something had to give heading into Thursday’s night’s game. On one hand, the Canucks were 1-4-3 in their past 8 games, having scored just 15 goals over that span (with 6 of them coming in one game against a less than stellar opponent). They’d dominated most of those games from a shot differential standpoint, but despite all of their efforts, the goals weren’t coming.

However, they were facing an LEastern team in the Ottawa Senators; this was significant because they’d been 8-3-2 against the inferior conference. I noted in the preview that if the Canucks were ever going to put together some goals, it would be against the Sens, who have been giving ’em up in bunches all year long. 

It turns out that the latter trend prevailed, and the Canucks broke through in a big way with a 2nd period flurry en route to a 5-2 win. The most surprising part of it all, though, was the guys who stepped up in getting them there. Read on past the jump for a look at all the goodness from Thursday’s contest.

The Rundown

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Canucks gave up the 1st goal, and got off to a slow start themselves. The Senators went up 1-0 on a goal by MacArthur; which there’s no shame in really, since he’s really good at hockey, making the fact that the Maple Leafs let him walk so that they could sign David Clarkson (for significantly more money) even more hilarious.

I’m not sure how responsible Jannik Hansen and his lazy backcheck were for the goal itself, but who cares because John Tortorella let him have it anyways: 

GIF via @TheStanchion

The team’s fortunes quickly changes in the 2nd period, and they didn’t wait long to make it happen. Just 31 seconds into the frame Daniel Sedin scored his 300th career goal. Thanks to a nifty little graphic from Sportsnet we learned that Henrik has assisted on 214 of those, which is a pretty remarkable stat. Those two guys seem to have some chemistry, eh? In case you were wondering Alex Burrows is 2nd on that list with 35 assists. Speaking of Burrows, he didn’t actually get an assist on this one, but he really should’ve considering it was his strong forecheck that caused the turnover, and eventual goal:

Here’s another fun stat for you: David Booth and Dale Weise both hadn’t scored a goal since October 6th, while Jason Garrison hadn’t scored one since October 5th. I think you know where we’re going with this, don’t you? Booth finally scored – and in the process put an end to Jason Botchford’s "YOSO" (You Only Score Once) nickname, which I thoroughly enjoyed while it lasted – on a shot that I wouldn’t necessarily consider a high quality scoring chance or anything. If anything, it was just another Corsi event that happened to go in.. because that’s what happens from time to time. 

Garrison’s goal was sweet, but probably wouldn’t have happened if not for Ottawa’s completely incompetent penalty kill which is the 2nd worst in the league. What are they doing on this play? Regardless, good on Garrison for finding the open space and buring the goal. Ironically enough it wasn’t his patented bomb that got it done, but a nice little snap shot. Don’t look now but Garrison has 4 points in his past 3 games, and looks to have regained his spot on the top power play unit from Dan Hamhuis (thank goodness!).

And finally there’s Dale Weise’s goal, which came from in front of the net on a rebound, which is what you’d expect from him. He followed up what quite possibly was his best showing as a Canuck with another inspired performance, likely earning him a longer leash on that 3rd line with Santorelli. I like his game when he keeps it simple, works hard, and doesn’t try to do too much. Knowing the limitations to your skillset is an oft-overlooked skill.

One last thing before we get to the numbers. I spend a lot of time getting on Tom Sestito’s case.. which I think is warranted, because he’s more times than not a very useless member of the team. I think his value as an "enforcer" and someone who throws hits is vastly overrated by some Canucks fans, for whatever reason. He’s almost always a liability to the team I cover, which is why I pick on him. Not because I personally dislike him or anything like that.

On Tuesday though, he stuck up for teammate Ryan Stanton after that rat Chris Neil went after him, and maybe more surprisingly than anything else that happened in this game, held his own in the ensuing fight. I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing that. Unfortunately, Neil went on to shove Alex Edler right into Roberto Luongo after the play had been blown dead later in the game, proving once again that having a guy make someone like Chris Neil "pay for his actions" really doesn’t act as a deterrent.

The Numbers 

Image via Extra Skater

As the puck was about to drop to signal to start of the 3rd period, John Shorthouse seemed to be somewhat surprised as he read out the shot totals: "the Senators are actually outshooting the Canucks 25-17 through 2.."

The thing about that though is that it wasn’t all that surprising. Shots on goal were actually just 11-10 for the Senators in "score close" situations, and both teams were actually tied with 20 unblocked shot attempts (i.e. Fenwick) following the goal that made it 4-1 Canucks. After that, the Senators attempted more shots with the Canucks holding onto a bigger lead, playing a somewhat conservative brand of hockey. 

I’ve seen people making jokes about how the Canucks pulled a play out of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playbook, getting badly outshot but still winning. That 34-20 shot on goal (and 58-36 shot attempt) margin is deceiving, though. Most of that has to do with score effects, as the Senators went on a 12-1 run in the dying minutes of the game. The Canucks definitely do as well as I thought they’d do against a poor possession team like Ottawa, but it was hardly the type of lopsided effort that you’d think it was at first glance.

In his preview today Jason Botchford had some interesting quotes re: the Edler/Garrison pairing, which will stick together for the forseeable future despite some ugly results. On this night at least, that paid dividends, as they had a really nice game (beyond just Garrison’s offensive production). I’m still skeptical about whether it’ll actually begin to turn around as we go along, but we’ll see..

For those scoring at home Roberto Luongo bumped his save % on the year up to .915 following his 37/39 performance in this one. That’s certainly nothing to write home about, and I expect that’ll get up to .920 as we go along, but just keep in mind that the following guys currently have a lower save % than Luongo: Jaroslav Halak, Mike Smith, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick, Sergei Bobrovsky, Jonas Hiller, Craig Anderson, Dan Ellis (lol).

Finally, I should point out that after Hansen’s incident on the MacArthur goal, he was replaced on the Higgins/Kesler line with Zack Kassian. Back on November 16th I cited that as a combination I’d really like to see. I think it’s an ideal situation for Kassian to finally begin to thrive in. I’d be much more excited about this development if I figured there was any chance it would stick around, but given Tortorella’s juggling, I really don’t.

The Conclusion

Just a programming note: the Canucks next two games come at 11 AM PST on Saturday against the Rangers, and at 10 AM PST on Sunday against the Hurricanes. I can’t really remember the last time they played two early games like that back-to-back, and I’m not looking forward to that Sunday morning performance.. it’ll probably littered with sluggish, ugly hockey. Oh well, that’ll still probably be better than all of the Alain Vigneault talk heading into Saturday’s game..

  • acg5151

    I’m really starting to like Torts and everything, but… man, don’t pick on Hansen. Ever. For any reason. Don’t do that.

    For one thing, Hansen’s awesome. Not right now, but just, y’know, in general.

    Thing number two, he might just straight up shank you. Guy once crosschecked a referee for no visible reason, who knows what he’ll do if you start poking him like that.

  • Origamirock

    Ok so:

    – The Canucks won

    – They scored 5 goals

    – They got a power play goal

    – They were outshot by their opponent

    David Booth scored

    – Dale Weise had his second consecutive dominant game

    – Bryzgalov got a shutout.

    Did whichever god that usually determines NHL game results take the night off?

      • argoleas

        I just don’t get you, man. It’s obviously super important to you that we all know you’re not a Canucks fan. It might be the MOST important thing.

        All right. You think the Canucks are terrible. That’s fine. No seriously, that’s your opinion and it’s one that’s shared around the… well, the continent, really. But why come here? People who comment on this blog don’t think you’re insightful. We don’t think you’re the lone sane voice crying out to the mindless horde.

        I could see if this was an unfairly homer-ish blog, you might see the need to try to inflict reality on some deluded fanatics. But the guys who run this joint are pretty even-handed, so I don’t think that’s the case.

        We all know you’re not going to stop posting, because… I guess attention is good? In which case, hey, I just wrote four paragraphs for ya! Enjoy!

        I know a biased rant is not really a constructive response to someone known for their biased rants. Then again, I’m not planning on doing this after every game for the rest of the season.

          • acg5151

            I think we all know who you are posting about Mitch.

            I’m surprised he didn’t post another “The window has closed.” For someone who doesn’t care for the Canucks, he sure wastes a lot of time on the behalf of the Canucks.

          • argoleas

            Yeah, I think it’s clear who you’re talking about and also why. I’m not sure what’s more annoying, the negativity or the pretentiousness…

            I’m not denying the fact that the East is clearly less good than the West (by a wide margin); however, there is more parity in the league today overall than I’ve seen in a long while. With the obvious exceptions of Buffalo, Calgary and Edmonton, just about any team in the league is a threat to topple the others, including the frontrunners in the West.

            I don’t think beating the Sens or any of the upcoming teams if we do so is cause for planning the parade routes, but it can only bolster the fragile confidence and give some momentum (not just self esteem) to some of the players — Booth, Garrison, Burrows if he can ever get his scoring touch back, etc.

          • argoleas

            You would do well to look up the word ‘negative’ instead of continually resorting to the ad populum in a poor attempt to distort reality.

            The pretentious one has spoken…

          • argoleas

            Here’s one (there are of course others)

            “(of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic”

            It seems to fit pretty well, no? Or am I mischaracterizing you? You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, I’m quite curious as to how YOU define negative if you don’t think yours are.

          • argoleas


            Pronunciation: /ˌnɛgəˈtɪvɪti/
            [mass noun]
            the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something:
            he was taken aback by the negativity of the press

            In order to avoid being labeled, you can try to twist around the definition as much as you want, but it’s there for you in plain English. And it fits you quite well.

          • argoleas

            Between optimism and pessimism lies realism.

            Hence, one must show where I am being unrealistic to toss around slurs about “negativity” with a modicum of accuracy

            You can twist around the definition all you want…actually, you would have to understand the meaning in the first place…

          • argoleas

            Since you are harping on about definitions, here’s a couple for you again:

            Unrealistic: not realistic
            Negative: (of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic:

            (I know, I didn’t find that terribly illuminating either but that’s the OED for you)

            Perhaps this might be more to the point:

            You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means – Inigo Montoya

          • argoleas

            Please show me any dictionary that defines negative as unrealistic. They are not even close to the same thing. One can, for example, be quite positive and unrealistic (c.f. most Leafs fans).

            It’s not about whether or not your predictions could possibly be accurate — they might well be true and they might well not. No one I see on here who is actually a fan and not an idiot troll is denying that the Canucks have some serious and potentially fatal flaws — many of the same things that you’ve pointed out ad nauseum, an aging core, a suspect prospect pool, a lack of secondary scoring, a tough conference and division. I think it would seem a little less negative if you didn’t seem to disappear during actual positive results for the Canucks or seem to diminish them with snarky comments. Lord knows you’re certainly all over the boards when they do poorly.

        • argoleas

          “I just don’t get you, man. It’s obviously super important to you that we all know you’re not a Canucks fan. It might be the MOST important thing.”

          Are you actually this clueless in real life?

          “All right. You think the Canucks are terrible. That’s fine.”

          Mediocre if you want to be accurate…

          “People who comment on this blog don’t think you’re insightful.”

          I always thought you needed an editor. You also seem to need a ghostwriter.

          “I could see if this was an unfairly homer-ish blog, you might see the need to try to inflict reality on some deluded fanatics.”


          We are all Canucks so I hope that was cathartic for you…

          • argoleas

            Dude, you gotta chill. Sometimes a win is simply a win and I remember someone being awfully quiet when the Canucks ripped through the East earlier this season. Now, this team is mediocre. I don’t think anyone can question that. But reserve your criticism for the squad when they show their mediocrity, and stop trying to be the wet blanket around here.

            We all know, inside, your a heck of a person.

          • argoleas

            Y’know, it really was. Sorry if I got personal. You know how it is, though. Sometimes you just want a win. And then you get that win. And then someone craps all over that win. And it drives you up the frickin wall.

            And are you actually claiming to be a Canucks fan? No snark, just… really? That’s… I dunno, that hasn’t come across very much.

      • argoleas

        I dont know about this. I believe we can all dismiss the first two weeks of the season, so out go those lopsided Shark losses.

        So what is their record against the pacific since then?
        – lopsided win against Sharks
        – ass whooping at the hands of the kings
        – close loss to Ducks
        – a whole bunch of OT/SO losses

        Also add close losses to Hawks and Dallas

        Its not the disaster you make it out to be. We are just entering December. Where were the Canucks at this time in 2009? in 2010?

        So far, the team looks like it is sputtering and stalling, for sure, but the tank is not empty. Long way to go still. Lets see where everyone is at the Olympic break.

  • acg5151

    David Booth scores a goal and gets no praise. “Just another corsi event.” Uh, no. A goal is a goal, and deserves praise.

    Like holy cow, everyone rips Booth and then when he does good it’s just like whatever.

  • Brent

    So do we want to continue the less shots more goals in the next few games? I would be fine with that, but somehow I don’t think Lundqvist will let in as many easy goals, but it sure was fun for this game! Phoned a friend in Ottawa to rag on her team, but she must have been at the game. too bad.

    Happy that Weise had a good game, and Booth and Garrison scored. Thought Booth was back to the old Booth, driving to the net, setting up some nice plays. That is two good game for him. Congrats to Daniel for the 300th!

  • argoleas

    My thoughts on Sestito are similar to most Canucks fans in that he is a fourth liner that barely breaks 5 mins a game. He is hardly the reason for the lack of scoring which is the problem. The Canucks have not had a bonafide enforcer in years mostly under sized scrapers that usually get pounded. Only other guy that could take the place is Kassian and if people want him to be an offensive force the fisticuffs would have to take a back seat. I’m all for Kass being on a Higgins/Kessler line to bring some size and playmaking ability. No matter what people think the guy can pass the puck and when he is motivated to play hard, he can be a force. A 3 rd line of Santorelli/Booth/Hansen could do well also. Hansen is not a 2nd line player, he is an over achiever that does a lot of thing good, but nothing great. Hopefully the lines will stick together and some chemistry will develope. With booth-Burrows and Hansen missing time we forget the reasons behind all the line switching. Everyone has been waiting for Kessler to get hurt so they forget the wingers that match with them. As well as Kass’s suspension that set him back. Let’s get it together and put Garrison back in the top PP and forget the 4 forwards stuff

    • argoleas

      I believe that Sestodo is doing the job he was brought for. 4th line enforcer. With all the time allotted to the Sedins, then the other lines, the coach has no issues with giving him little time, having him on the bench mostly, yet available when the team needs someone to answer the bell. He is ok in my book when he is used in this way. His other 4th line mates do lost of penalty killing so they play more, plus sometimes they are promoted.

      As much as some have the view that Kass could do more fighting, that is not his projected/hoped role. The kid knows how to pass when he does not look like a headless chicken on there. Hansen is an excellent shutdown third liner. Him, Higgins, and Santorelli make a good 3rd line. Ideally, Kess/Kass/Booth would be the second line that could.

      • argoleas

        I agree with Sestitos role. There are many more problems the Canucks need to deal with. Also if Booth/Kass/Kess could play together, that would be great. Higgins can fill in both roles and can get hot, but Booth and Kass have the potential to be difference makers. I’m still waiting for the Torts brings young players along thing to happen. Seems like he was put in the dog house during suspension and is just starting to crawl out. Wish guys like Booth and Kass could pick up scoring slack.

  • argoleas

    I’m not sure about the rest of you guys, but I got a lot of what I was complaining about last night. When Booth scores, our PP scores, our 3rd and 4th lines carry their weight, Lu shuts the door, and we get the 2 points, to me it’s time to STFU and enjoy something good…because the rest is nitpicking.

    PS. I don’t think we’ll see Hansen backchecking like he’s in Peewee again.

  • argoleas

    Guys, I hate to rain on the crapstorm but we won. I repeat, we won. Trust me, it’s waaaay more fun dancing around the livingroom in Canucks Underoos after a win than coming here to argue about impending doom. Although some of the stuff has me gutting myself laughing in the morning, so thanks.