The Hangover: Recapping all of the many, many injuries (+ last night’s event)

Pictured above is the most important member of the Canucks, Mike Burnstein. 

The Vancouver Canucks once again lost last night, after a rapid flurry by the Blackhawks proved to be too much to overcome. If you were one of the however many people that was able to make it out to The Pint for our viewing party, all of the other festivities surrounding the game hopefully dampened the blow of another relatively meek loss. Judging from the mood in the room I don’t think anyone really carried the loss with them, allowing it to ruin their night [more on this later].

But as is usually the case with every fun night, the following morning provides some challenges. After you finally gather the energy to get up and evaluate the landscape, all you can do is hope that the damage is manageable. In the case of the Canucks, the hangover is of the mean variety this morning, as there’s some more bad news on the injury front. Why did the party have to end?

Acting head coach Mike Sullivan gave some updates this morning:

Kevin Bieksa 

Interesting. If that’s the case, then why on earth was he playing these past handful of games? I mean, it was nice that he was around to provide us with this moment (which was one of the few hockey-related things that fans have actually had reason to get excited about over the past month or so). But he’d also been on the ice for at least one goal against in each of the past 5, including being directly responsible for Toews’ eventual game winner last night. 

If he was hurt, he should’ve been resting it. Especially after the miserable season we witnessed from him last season, when a litany of bumps and bruises ultimately added up and handicapped him in a big way.

Luckily for the team the Olympic break is just 10 days away. With Bieksa joining Tanev on the injured list, the team has recalled Frank(ie) Corrado from Utica for the 2nd time this season. Since the first recall happened just over a month ago, I think that most of the thoughts I had at that time are still relevant here.

You’ve got to feel for poor Dan Hamhuis, who could conceivably log 1 billion minutes over the course of this upcoming 5-game road trip. But it’s okay, because he’ll have a few weeks during this upcoming break to rest u–.. oh, crap.

Mike Santorelli 

You have to genuinely feel bad for "Santo". Prior to that ruthless criminal Marty Hanzal destroying him, he was having a fine season with 28 points in 49 games. While that random little outburst he had (from December 8th to the 19th, putting up 8 points in 6 games) probably gave fans the wrong idea regarding what he was actually capable of moving forward, there’s no denying that the team has missed him/will continue to miss him.

That probably says more to how dire things are up-front these days, but it also speaks to Santorelli being a nice little find off of the scrap heap by Mike Gillis leading up to the season. While this news must be devastating for him, thinking big picture it’s probably a sneakily fortunate one for the Canucks. The way he was playing and producing looked like it was going to have us headed for one of two situations:

a) He prices himself out of Vancouver’s range, and the team loses him this summer.

b) The team’s decision makers value him a little too much for my taste, and wind up signing him to a bad contract, which we wind up hating and making fun of.. ultimately depriving us of the ability to root for him the way we have this season because he’s now overpaid.

Whoever was going to be giving him the money, I think there was little doubt that he was going to get paid, one way or another. Now I think it’s far more likely that he takes something along the lines of the 2 year, $3.2 million deal he signed back in ’11, to stay at home. 

Then there’s also the fact that his departure has now created a natural opening for Jordan Schroeder to get a longer look than he otherwise would’ve in a situation that could help him out moving forward (i.e. not playing on a 4th line with Dale Weise). Schroeder will be an RFA himself this summer, so creating a larger sample size to evaluate him off of is in the team’s best interest. For as long as he can stay healthy, at least.

Henrik Sedin

Hey, that’s legitimately good news! I do think that the team has been very wise to give Henrik an extended rest (since the last couple of times we saw him, he really looked like he was labouring in a bad way). Once he finally missed that first game against the Oilers back on the 21st, putting an end to his ironman streak, I figured there was a good chance that he’d get a couple extra games to really let his ailments heal up. So this wasn’t exactly a surprise.

Neither was how lost and helpless the team has looked without him. Aside from the 5-goal outburst on Mike Smith, they managed to score 4 total goals in three games against the Predators and Oilers (two of the three most defensively susceptible teams in the league), losing two of them.

While the team was struggling with the man advantage even prior to his injury, their difficulties in that aspect of the game have reached a whole new level without him. Without Henrik, they don’t really have anyone who can penetrate the defense as it waits along their own blueline, and the team is left with two choices: watch Ryan Kesler try to split the 4 defenders (and fail 99.99% of the time), or dump it in, basically forfeiting possession of the puck, and ultimately having to go back to their own zone to retrieve it.

His absence has also meant that we’ve seen waa-haaaay too much Brad Richardson. We know the Sedins have been capable of all sorts of wizardry in the past, so maybe Henrik will be able to defibrilate Daniel Sedin’s lifeless corpse when he returns..

Another silver lining: we’ll always have Top Sixtito..

Image via VanCanucks

Wait.. what..

.. oh thank god.

The Viewing Party

Seriously though, it was great to finally get to meet some of you guys last night. I speak for all of the Canucks Army staff (which was in attendance last night, including proud papa, Ryan Getzlaf Thomas Drance, pictured above) when I say that we had a great time putting faces to twitter handles. I personally thought it was a pretty cool experience. We all appreciate the turnout, and hope you guys keep on reading the work we do here, and engaging in thoughtful discussion (despite the window-centric theme that the comments sections below have deformed into this year).

Unfortunately it was a pretty dark setting (literal lighting, not mood) so we don’t have too many photos to share. Except for this one of David Booth, inexplicably missing last night’s game so that he could jump behind the bar and serve us some drinks:


All of the money we raised last night will go to the BC Children’s Hospital. We’ll make sure to have another event along these same lines, and hopefully those of you that weren’t able to make it out last night will come out for that. In the meantime, we’ve got a ton of snazzy Canucks Army tshirts printed that are left over from the event, and we’ll be giving those out via Twitter in the coming weeks.

  • Brent

    How about pictures with labels, I have no idea who the three people are, although I know I should.

    Maybe there should have been more windows so there were more pictures?…..

      • Brent

        Thanks Man,

        In my defence, I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of Thomas and assumed he had better fashion sense, you are in disguise with a beard and Can looks different without a big plate of food and a beer in his hand. But ya, I feel stupid now.

        Wish I could have been there. When is the next one?

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Awhh, wish I lived in Van so I could attend the Canucks Army drink up!

    Can anyone name a teams that has had the magnitude of injuries equivalent to the Canucks this year? There isn’t one. No team has had this level of injuries to key players. It’s absurd. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. Wow.

    I think it’s time to tank this year and go for a high draft pick. This team, as is, ain’t getting anywhere near the Cup and we all know it.

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      Can you think of a single team that has done this and come out better for it?

      Also, this is a business, and getting 4-14 playoff games in is a lot better for business than not getting those games. The Canucks are a long-shot for a cup run this year but when they’re healthy it’s not a stretch to think they could win a series or two, and that’s the most important thing for the owners.

      • Dimitri Filipovic

        You mean tank for one season – and come out for the better? I’m not sure a team has ever done it before, have they? In application, it’s a tough sell to a hockey knowledgeable fan base – esp after your GM declared he wants the Cup. But logically, it makes sense. This team is not getting through SJS, STL, LA or Chi. No team is.

        This team has so many injuries (guys who might come back and still won’t be 100%). Plus there are guys like Kesler, Garrison, Luongo, Hansen who I’m fairly certain are playing injured.

        This team can’t afford to be buyers at trade deadline. They don’t have the prospect depth. But they are a tough mins 3C and top 6 winger away from even ‘competing’ with teams like LA/SJS etc.

        But you make an excellent point about business. Even 1 round of playoff hockey is millions in Acquillinis pockets. So that might trump everything. But this team gets swept again in the 1st round and the fanbse goes even more bananas than its done in past.

        I really do think their best option is to ‘stay pat’ at trade deadline (which is essentially saying we’re tanking for a higher draft pick cause we know we’re not winning the Cup this yr).

          • JCDavies

            Full season to this point.

            It also includes retired players on LTIR. The lighter shaded bars for Bos, Phi and TB are for Savard, Pronger and Ohlund. If you remove Pronger, Phi hasn’t really lost that much.

          • JCDavies

            “If you remove Pronger, Phi hasn’t really lost that much.”

            A number of franchises, including Philadelphia, would argue that losing Pronger is more than just a footnote…

          • JCDavies

            If you want to argue that a player that hasn’t played in over two years and won’t ever play again should reasonably be considered in a measurement of how injuries have impacted teams for this current season, then so be it.

            And it’s not like Bos, Phi and TB, who are all top-10 payroll teams, haven’t spent large portions of those LTIR cap savings on other players potentially helping their cap aspirations…

          • JCDavies

            If you notice, I’m not lumping Ohlund & Pronger together.

            Pronger is not merely a secondary piece and should not be treated as such.

            And the Canucks have the ability to spend their LTIR savings as well.

            I seem to recall a fledgling contrarion taking a general manager to task for leaving cap money on the table…

          • JCDavies

            Like I said before, it that is the argument you want to put forward, be my guest.

            “Pronger is not merely a secondary piece and should not be treated as such.”

            Pronger is 39 and hasn’t played (or trained) in over two years and hasn’t played a full season in four. In all intents and purposes he is not part of the current Flyers team.

            “And the Canucks have the ability to spend their LTIR savings as well.”

            The Canucks’ players wouldn’t be essentially *retired*. Not exactly the same thing.

      • argoleas

        Pittsburgh. Traded what good players they had and rested others to ensure they’d fall behind NJ for the first overall pick and got Mario. The reason we have a draft lottery system…

      • Dimitri Filipovic

        “The Canucks are a long-shot for a cup run this year but when they’re healthy it’s not a stretch to think they could push the first round to six games”

        Fixed that for you.

    • Mantastic

      stop living in a bubble, Detriot’s had it worse. Zetty and Dats both going down at the same extended time, Alfy has missed a lot of games and that’s not even naming all of them. Hell, even Edmonton had RNH and Gagner out for the first month of the season. both teams with their top 2 centers out for 10 games or more.

  • JCDavies

    A thought/question regarding the power play, and regarding the forward group once Henrik returns:

    1. Why the heck hasn’t Kassian had a look on the top PP unit? The knock against him getting more ice time this year is his defensive lapses, which I totally get. But you know when defensive lapses don’t matter? When you’re parked in front of the net on the power play. Stick Kassian in front of the net and let him create space / screen the goalie, let Henrik and Daniel work down low, put Kesler at the top of the circle where he can use his wrist shot, and put Garrison at the point.

    Makes too much sense. Won’t happen. Ugh.

    2. Given Daniel and Kesler’s scoring woes, any chance Torts might reunite the Sedins and Kesler when he and Henrik return? They were dynamite to start the season, and I don’t think it’s a legitimate option long-term especially with Santorelli out long-term, but dangit, get those guys going and start scoring some goals.

    December was fun. This month has just been depressing.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Also, Detroit’s had it as bad as Vancouver with injuries this year.

    This is definitely the worst Vancouver’s had it since 09/10 when basically the entire defensive core was out for an extended stretch, though.

    • JCDavies

      Detroit has had it as bad as Vancouver and they are looking like they will miss the playoffs in the East.

      With Santo out for the season, and our injuries piling up, even if we make the playoffs there is little chance we do any damange.

      There was some positives to take from the Chicago game. Hansen, Kesler, and Higgins looked dangerous and Edler had a his strongest game of the season. If they play like that against most teams, they will come out on the winning end. Of course the Hawks are not most teams, and they will make you pay for your mistakes in a big way.

      Im going to try and not put anymore emotion into this season and try to just enjoy some hockey for hockeys sake. There really isnt anything more to cheer about at this point.

  • JCDavies

    I don’t believe Santo is going to go anywhere. Half a season is too small a sample size to drop a big contract and he obviously likes playing at home. Santo is the type of player to resign, since if he doesn’t score he can still contribute with big face offs and PK. The injuries are becoming ridiculous, but at least the Canucks can get a guy like Corrado to fill in for a few games. It might be good for Bieska to sit back and watch. He should consider the word Defense in defenseman a bit more. I believe most Canucks fans welcome the Olympic break with open arms!! A chance to heal up and hopefully a chance for our big players to get their grove back.

    1. Hammy won’t be playing #1 mins on Team Canada, but will benefit from being around the best.

    2. Sedins will play on a big ice surface with less hitting so hopefully they will get their confidence back. As long as Hansal isn’t there.

    3. Kess will be a leader on the US team and get some fire back. Again the less physical game and reduced mins will seem like a break.

    4. Trade for aguy like Jokkinen a Finn could help the Swedes get an edge

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Can anyone think of a team that has lost more man games due to injury?
    Well let’s see: Pittsburgh, Montreal,New York islanders, Buffalo, Columbus, Florida, Calgary, Winnipeg, st.louis, Philly, Winnipeg and Edmonton have all lost more man games then Vancouver this year.

    Don’t blame you lack of production on injuries.