Canucks Army Postgame: Crash And Burn

Great teams have Michael Frolik on the fourth line, Andrew Ladd on the third, and play Dustin Byfuglien as a complimentary forward. Mediocre teams have Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik on their first line, and lean on Dustin Byfuglien as their promary offensive weapon. Bad teams lose to teams who employ Frolik, Ladd and Byfuglien in major roles. Tonight, as with most nights of late, the Canucks were a bad team.

They were thoroughly out-played by a streaking but still below average Winnipeg Jets team, hemmhoraging scoring chances like a hemophiliac at a Gillette factory, and ultimately losing 4-3 on a late goal by Devin Setoguchi. And if things weren’t bad enough, Vancouver lost yet another defenseman to injury. Read past the jump for a recap of tonight’s events.

The Rundown

Winnipeg got of to a quick start in the game, holding an obvious territorial advantage for most of the first period (note: this is a euphemism for "Vancouver sucked"). Zach Bogosian would open the scoring for Winnipeg with a blast from the point that eluded Eddie Lack’s glove just 5 minutes in to the game on a sequence that was largely caused by Frank Corrado’s inability to handle Andrew Ladd in the corner.

Then, the dreaded second quick goal happened as a total defensive zone meltdown left both Byfuglien and Devin Setoguchi alone in front of the Canucks net. Byfuglien slid a quick pass to Setguchi to tap the puck past Lack , bringing the score to 2-0 for the home side. On the play, Yannick Weber dove back across the crease in an attempt to break up the opportunity, but crashed awkwardly into Eddie Lack. Weber left the game after just 3:25 of ice time and would not return.

The shots at this point were 7-2 in favour of the Jets, and that probably undersells how poor ancouver was to start the game. All night, their defence was noticably porous, and they simply could not contain the Jets on numerous occasions. That’s really not a good sign.

The silver lining for the Canucks was that Ondrej Pavelec was the opposing goalie, and with Ondrej Pavelec in net, anything is possible. Even a powerplay goal:

That was Edler’s first goal since November 22nd, and Vancouver’s first powerplay goal in 7 games. I would say that it ended a run of futility, but let’s be honest with ourselves, the futility is still very much running wild and free.

The Jets almost scored to restore their two-goal lead late in the period however, as Devin Setoguchi absolutely turnstiled Jason Garrison before sliding the puck cross-crease to Dustin Byfuglien. Eddie Lack was up to the task as he came sliding across to make the save.

Thanks in large part to the Daniel-Kesler-Kassian line, the second period got off to a much better start than the first. After a long sequence in the Winnipeg zone, Kesler shoveled the puck in front, collected his own blocked shot, and fired the backhand past Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game at 2-2:

But, once again, the Jets responded by taking the play to the Canucks, generating a beautiful Mark Scheifele scoring chance that Eddie Lack turned aside before breaking the tie and restoring their lead on a Michael Frolik goal just two minutes later. Frank Corrado’s pairing was victimized again, but Jannik Hansen and Kellan Lain are to blame here as well, as they decided to go for a change while Winnipeg had control of the puck and were entering Vancouver’s zone.

Of course, once the Jets took a 3-2 lead into the 3rd, score effects kicked in and Vancouver got their first real run of sustained pressure in the game. It resulted in a Jason Garrison goal about halfway through the period to tie the game back up at 3-3:

Eddie Lack would stop one more Winnipeg scoring chance before Devin Setoguchi scored his second goal of the game with just 2:56 remaining to put Winnipeg back up by one goal. Alex Burrows also took a 4-minute high sticking penalty  on the play, so he went to the box for 2 of the final 3 minutes. Vancouver never generated much else, losing to the Jets by a 4-3 final.

The Numbers

Extra Skater is down right now, but I’ll post the Fenwick graph when it’s back up again. I can tell you it was pretty ugly after the second period though.

Thanks in large part to score effects, Vancouver finished at a respectable 5v5 Fenwick of 50.7%. Zack Kassian once again led the way for the Canucks, finishing with a 66.7% Fenwick. Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin were similarly strong at +6 and +5 Fenwick as well. On the other hand, the Higgins-Richardson-Burrows line was a disaster. Burrows and Higgins both had a -8 5v5 Fenwick, while Richardson finished at a game-worst -9. The only other forward who finished in the negatives was Jannik Hansen at -1.

Also of note, the Sedins both now sit T-43rd in scoring among forwards. While they haven’t been as potent as they have been in recent years, I can’t help but think that part of this is luck-fueled. Daniel is one of only two players in the top-50 scorers with a personal shooting percentage below 10% (the other being Nicklas Backstrom), and his mark of 7.3% is by far and away the worst. He still sits 15th among all forwards in shots on goal, one spot ahead of Sidney Crosby, so it doesn’t make any sense that his finishing abilities have withered away to below the level of a 4th liner.

The talent is still there, it’s just ridiculously frustrating when he does things like taking a weak slapper on a clean 2-on-1 from a bad angle rather than trying to snap or wrist a puck past the goalie from a better scoring area. His wrist shot was one of the most accurate in the league at one point, and I find it really hard to believe that it’s withered away to the point that it’s unusable at the NHL level. I don’t know if it’s confidence or what, but someone has to get through to him and hammer home that weak half-clappers are a bad idea in beer league. Get back to what made you successful, Daniel. Take more wrist shots.

The Conclusion

Vancouver has the weekend off before they travel to Detroit to take on the also beaten and bruised Red Wings, who have been without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, and Jimmy Howard for large stretches of the year. As a result, Detroit has struggled to keep pace in the weaker East, and sits just one point up on Columbus, Ottawa, Philadelphia and New Jersey for the East’s final playoff spot.

John Tortorella also makes his triumphant return, hopefully giving the Canucks some stability and energy and all that crap. Anyways, the Canucks need wins and the Red Wings need wins, so it should be a fun game. We’ll see you then.

  • Big Cap

    Not that Lack cost them the game, because he played great, but why would they start him??

    This was gonna be the easiest test of the trip and the 2 points were desperately needed. This now forces a back to back scenario for Lou in 2 tough buildings. Or will the club once again wimp out and not play Bobby in a rough and hostile Boston.

    Once again, the lack of depth and heart cost the Canucks a win. How and why this club comes out so slow and confused at the start is unacceptable. Its 2 Zip before they know what hit them.

    This club looks tired, played out and weak. Their desire is shrinking by the game, and no one has the heart to step up. Cant wait to see this team after 7 of their best players return from half way around the world in a super tournament.

    The window has closed in Van City! At least the Canucks faithful can say at one time they were up 3 games to 2 in the SCF before they gassed games 6 and 7!!!!

  • Big Cap

    The Canucks right now are 6 points out of a top five pick. Its time to do the awful thing get some young assets for our older players. Gillis has to see the writing on the wall. LITR is our friend, put Henrik on it. Stubbed your toe? LITR.

    That Detroit pkg that was offered for Edler should have been taken. The NTC that have been given away like candy have come home to roost. NOT GOOD.

    Gillis has to know this is not a one year fix. Send Horvat to the AHL for a year, we are not the Oilers. Utica will be much improved with Horvat, Shinkaruk, Gaunce, Cedarholm joining the team. Grenier is a revelation but will need at least another year.

    I pray the team does the right thing and that the owner lets them do the right thing. #tank

  • Just One Cup

    To followup my post post on the #tank. I have more faith in the scouts in Vancouver than most and I wanted to post why.

    It seems that for the last few years the Canucks drafting strategy was focused on overseas players, overagers and NCAA players. Most felt that it was Gillis trying to find areas where other teams were not going.

    My opinion is that they were drafting that way because they did not have a real development system with Chicago and to a lesser way Manitoba. When you own the team you have the ability to play people into roles and play not to win, but to develop.

    All these non-18yr old CHL players had avenues to develop outside the AHL (overseas/NCAA). The best way for them to get better is to play in the AHL as much as they can. Chicago was an independant team that was trying to win and would not put the players in a position to develop their skills.

    Utica changes all of this. I expect to see the scouts to continue this now focus on CHL players now that they have a proper development pipeline. Last years draft of Horvat, Shinkaruk, and Cassels is no joke and great improvement from previous years.

    In summation the scouts for Vancouver should improve their draft record with an actual development pipline existing. Now if they could get that AHL team moved to the pacific time zone.

    • Just One Cup

      Good post Darryl, totally agree.

      The other thing I like about Gillis drafting CHL players is the players being Canadian. Not to sound too much like Don Cherry, but when playoff time comes around, which kids are the most likely to have grown up dreaming of winning a Stanley Cup, and will do just about anything to get it?

      I mean, in my opinion you gotta build your team for the playoffs and we all know what the playoffs are like…..CHL kids having gone through the playoffs there have the most similar experience playing in those playoffs.

      Don’t get me wrong, if the talent is there take it, doesn’t matter where it comes from. Still, gotta be ready for battle……

    • Just One Cup

      So excited to hockey back in Utica and be a part of the Vancouver orginazition. I agree you now have a pipeline for the future. I truly hope that this is a long term relationship. Your prospects have become a staple of our hockey loving community , and we have been playing to sold out games. Utica, and all of the Mohawk Vally are greatfull to the Canucks orginazition .

  • Big Cap

    The tragedy that is unfolding in Vancouver is a carbon copy of the Flames demise after they were up 3-2 in the 2004 finals; hanging on to your old glory players, trade away your future for one more run, hire an idiot coach to rile up the lazy entitled team.
    Look at the Flames 10 years later…….it is your future.


    • Big Cap

      I’ve been thinking about that lately. Gillis is a pretty cautious GM it seems. He doesn’t seem to find the idea of trading any of the core to be palatable.

      That being said, San Jose also has a fairly old core, but they’ve been able to make it work with their younger guys coming up through the system and solid secondary pieces. But maybe that is a rare thing to swing it the way San Jose has done…

    • Just One Cup

      The major difference between the two regimes is that the Canucks hired an “idiot coach” with an excellent track record for developing young talent, while the Flames hired one that has an excellent track record of getting the most out of veteran players.

      To me, that suggests that the ‘Nucks have plans to make some significant retooling efforts in the next couple years. It would be odd to make that hiring decision and not take advantage of it.

      Of couurse, these are te ‘Nucks we’re talking about…

      • Just One Cup

        I was talking about “idiot coach” Mike Keenan; as a timeline and idiotic comparison to Tort….not sure we are on the same page….

        I would be shocked if Tort is around “the next couple of years”…….


  • Fred-65

    This is one of the most bizarre stretches of hockey I have seen in a long time. The Jets game was a perfect microcosm.the Canucks were out played from the jump but fought back to tie it at 2-2, then proceeded to give up scoring chance after scoring chance then finally a 3-2 goal. They fight back and blow up again.

    The team is not an aging Flames team after 2004, the talent is still there and 28-33 is not over the hill. Teemu and Alfie are still playing strong hockey for the best team in the West. The injuries have been many but very precise in their timing. Kassian suspension then Burrs foot caused shuffling of the lines which started the defense dominoes to fall. Once Burr comes back then Hank and Santo are out…. Now the defense is back to call ups. The amount of injuries aren’t as important as when they happen. The lines and D Pairings have been up down and all around. The ironically the break will be a welcome sight for many reasons but mostly for healing.

    Also the “whoa is me” syndrome has set in. Burr is visually frustrated on the ice and Kess is trying to beat 4 guys by himself because he doesn’t trust his linemates. This team is going through a whatever bad can happen will happen time and it seems like they aren’t in control of their performance.not to mention Scheoder doing his best Mason Raymond imitation! Every pass is in the skates, every shot wide or high and evey penalty is called like it was preordained! Get over it guys. Stop being soooo precise, gripping your stick too hard and play the game.

    Does anyone know if the teams can practice during the Olympic break? 4 games left to get some points and start a new season after Sochi!

    • Just One Cup

      Don’t mistake being injured with being hurt…..Santerelli is injured.

      Henry Sedin and Bieksa are hurt; if this was the cup finals they would be playing, they are choosing not to play.

      Sedin wants to be 100% for the Olympics, Bieksa wants to avoid a 5 game road trip against some teams that actually have a shot at making the playoffs.

      Being Injured vs being hurt…..


      • Fred-65

        This is going to be the issue for Hank. I want to believe the best, but we all know the old saying that Canadians want the cup and international players value gold medals and world championships more. I believe that is changing, I grew up with the idea in Winnipeg and all the swedes that played for them back in the day. Hank played 645ish games in a row and to step away would be out of character. I know after last years playoff exit, the Sedins led the Swedes to gold in the Worlds…. But! Open ice is their friend and they had a winger that is a brute! I don’t think there is any tanking on any team… Stamkos could be called the same?

        I really believe the Canucks will benefit from the Olympic break. The Sedins will get reconnected, Kess will call out Luo in the US locker room and Hammy will get 15 mins a game next to his old running mate Shea.

        Don’t know if Canada will defend the gold since they do pretty terrible on other continents….. Have a feeling this break is exactly what the Nucks need and they will come back healthy and motivated! Just need to get some points in the next 4 games…. Geeze!

        • Mantastic

          holy cow, what a delusional post.

          Loui Erikkson is know as a brute winger?!

          Stamkos has a broken leg and not nursing a nagging injury, like Hank.

          Hammy will not play with Shea or play more than 15 mins in Sochi.

    • Mantastic

      “28-33 is not over the hill”

      It is over the hill for athletes.

      and Alfie doesn’t play in the west and never has.

      and don’t compare players to outliers like Teemu and Alfie. those players are 1 in a thousand, and are extremely rare cases that players can play to that age well.

  • Just One Cup

    Almost forgot another reason for cautious optimism. Kings lost again so it’s not like the playoff teams are separating themselves. After the break the Jets Coyotes will be in the mix so it will be a sprint to the playoffs like last years short seasons. If Canucks are healthy I give them as good a shot as anyone.

  • Fred-65

    Here’s the big question for management. Do you believe the prospects that Vcr has is enough to use as a future core group. That’s not as simple as maybe the same question if asked last summer. Last summer MG waxed long and poetically, about giving youth a shot at camp. Here’s the reality, every prospect failed the test. So again I ask are these prospects good enough to carry the load down the road and if you’re honest there seems to be doubt. I can’t believe that some pick-p 4th line players Vcr aquired, who couldn’t hold down a regular spot on other teams, could so easily bump the propspects MG clings to. For the most part few fans have seen much of the prospects and yet most have drank the Kool aide that this group is some thing special. I confess I get carried away myself some times and have to pull back on the reins. There’s no evidence to suggest these player/prospects will be 1 st line players down the road. Of the current roster we have too many of the same type of players, most not bad but most 3rd or 4th line on a good team. So potentially has to be a huge change of peronel to have results, scratching the eges will achieve little IMO.

    The next question is….hey what’s plan “B” 🙂

  • Fred-65

    Interesting article in the Sun about fatigues role in the Canucks struggles. The finding is what we have seen all year, the Canucks have been awful all years in the 3rd period. In December they just didn’t give up enough goals to lose, since then they have. This will be an interesting week with Torts back behind the bench since it seemed from interviews that the players missed the leadership. I hope that is what that stretch of games was about. For all the teams woes, they are still in a playoff position with a long break coming up. They need to get confident and get points versus the week East teams and get healthy. MG has to get something done right after the Olympics because the center position is way too thin. It’s a tough choice to make… A big deal or a rental? Kings benefitted from sending Johnson to get Jeff Carter, but it was apparent Johnson was not a right fit. Would he dare trade a Tanev, with. ACoreado waiting in the wings? Or ask Edler to wave his no trade.