Canucks Army Postgame: What are score effects?


This picture was not taken on February 3rd, 2014.

Heading into Monday night, it felt like there was some reason for optimism building around these parts. For the preview, I spent some time talking about how the team was getting its coach back, its best player back, and had just managed to pull off a heist of a trade. 

To boot, they were going up against an opponent that has been even more injury-riddled than they’ve been, barely getting by in the LEastern Conference. Maybe they missed Brad Richardson. Or maybe they’re just not very good. Whatever the cause, they wound up going out there and dropping a stinky one on everyone that devoted 3 hours of their early evening to watch some hockey.

It wasn’t that they lost 2-0, but moreso the manner in which they did. Read on for more.

The Rundown The Numbers


via Extra Skater

On normal nights, we start our game recaps on this platform off with a succint summary of what went down, to help paint a picture for those that weren’t able to catch the game. Only then do we get into some deeper analytical analysis. Tonight isn’t a "normal" night, though, because the Vancouver Canucks really managed to redefine incompetence.

The concept of "score effects" is one that I think most readers of this blog are already familiar with, but for those that aren’t (or would like a quick refresher/clarification), I recommend reading this. The term can basically be explained as:

"The overwhelming tendency for NHL teams to play more conservatively with either a big lead or any type of third-period lead, generally yielding the neutral zone with greater frequency and thereby allowing more shots."

I quickly compiled some numbers from the indispensable Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com following the game, to look at what percentage of all shot attempts team control depending on the different score situations. Below are this season’s averages for all 30 NHL teams:

  Fenwick For %
Down 2+ 54.6%
Down 1 53%
Tied 50%
Up 1 47%
Up 2+ 43.4%

Not at all surprising, but still nice to visual and put into perspective. The Canucks, for the record, control 58.3% of the fenwicks in the 500+ that they’ve been trailing by 1 this season. It was a listless performance all the way around, with Tortorella calling the team out (very deservedly so): 

It worries me too. The performance on Monday night in Detroit was more than unacceptable, which is saying something considering we’re saying that about a team that very recently got their collective butts handed to them by the Edmonton Oilers on their home ice (who themselves got out-corsi’d by 27 by the Sabres tonight).

The Canucks went into the third period trailing by one. In the following 20 minutes, they managed to get a grand total of 4 shot attempts off against a fairly middling team that’s missing its best player (and another top guy). According to Extra Skater, those attempts read as follows:

47 ft. wrister (miss) – David Booth

29 ft. backhand (shot) – Daniel Sedin

62 ft. slapshot (shot) – Alex Edler

59 ft. wrister (shot) – Dan Hamhuis

(UPDATE: I rewatched it, and with 1:23 Jannik Hansen streaks down the right wing for a legitimate scoring chance to tie the game – which he proceeded to sail wide – but for some reason this wasn’t registered. Regardless, I think the point stands..)

My thoughts on all of this verbally. And then pictorially

Eddie Lack 

I just wanted to give Eddie Lack some quick love before calling it a night, because he was fantastic, and basically the only one that showed up in this one. He stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced, with the only one that got by him bring a result of two of his own players failing to block a shot in front of him and inadvertently screening him. He made a couple of great saves, and even tried his best to provide some comic relief:


GIF via The Stanchion

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      With Santorelli out, the Canucks don’t exactly have the kind of pending UFAs that are typically traded during the season.

      The blockbuster we are all hoping for is more likely to occur in the offseason.

      If it occurs at all, that is…

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      Hopefully nothing, really? I’d like to believe that the people calling the shots understand that a Derek Roy isn’t going to come in and fix the operation.. Take your lumps.

      • Mantastic

        I somewhat agree with this. I think teams can make rash decisions near the deadline. I’m hoping the Nucks are sellers and someone overpays for an Edler or a Hamhuis or both. We might even talk someone into taking Burrows off our hands (that contract is NOT appealing).

        Gillis must be getting a bit of a reality check at this point. If we keep losing I am sure a few of the NTC guys may give Gillis a list of trade teams.

        If we have the same core in October 2014 then Gillis will need to be fired soon after the start of the season.

  • argoleas

    Vancouver has become a victim of its own attempt to be a great place to play, by handing out, and honoring, those NTCs. Every team survives by constantly regenerating, and this is true regardless if you are winning or losing. Those NTCs were a legitimate attempt to get players to sign for cheaper terms, but now we see the folly of this, and for giving out so many. I don’t mind if the team sacrifices draft picks to compete when the window opened for the 2011 run, but now it has closed for this group. Torts attempted to win games by squeezing 1 year’s worth of effort out of his stars into a few months, and we see the catastrophic results, and those would be more apparent if the goaltenting in my view has not been so good. By continuing on this ridiculous run of saying that the youth is being integrated yet playing them only 2 minutes, the team will fail even faster. They are so out of gas now, its beyond painful to watch. If Torts continues to coach like this, then his employment was a grave mistake. I have not seen someone try to punish the bottom 6 so much for even the smallest mistakes, yet blindly overplay his top 6 regardless of how they produce.

    The only way for the NTCs to go away is by having a frank discussion with the players and tell them that a major rebuild is on the way, and not worry about how it may reflect on the team’s reputation. My feeling is that players, above all else, want to play for a winner.

    I cant say which players should leave (its not as easy as simply pointing at the guys who are severely under-performing), and I cant even begin to assess what team in their right mind would want them and their contracts. Fact is that we are stuck with them for many, many years, taking up valuable spots, eating up money and cap space, while any youth that can only grow by being played, will continue to cool their heels.

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      It’s almost as though resetting an old core and playing them into the ground was always an ass backwards idea that only the most gullible fans lapped up…

      Considering the god awful youth on the NHL roster, it’s inexplicable that Utica doesn’t have a single useful player to help the Canucks during their swoon.

      There’s no Logan Couture or Thomas Hertl on the NHL roster to help the Sedins & Kesler.

      But there isn’t even a Matt Nieto anywhere in sight…

      • argoleas

        I think the 2013 draft was a good one for the Canucks (of course time will tell how good or bad), but those are not yet in the AHL system. I think the team not having their own AHL team is something that hurt them a lot too, and we may see some of those Utica hands to develop into useful pieces for next year, when they will also add Shinkaruk, Fox, Gaunce, and possibly Horvat. But that just reinforces the need to begin to clear space in the team.

        My thinking at the start of the year was that this was supposed to be a stiffer team, which usually means getting bigger at the bottom 6 to absorb minutes and dish out hits, then hit them with a fresh top 6. Nothing like this ever happened. Instead we got this overplaying circus.

        • Mantastic

          Remember when the 2008 draft (mostly on the strength of Hodgson, mind you) looked like a good one?

          Remember when the 2011 draft (on the strength of Jensen & Corrado) looked like a good one?

          Considering the fact that this management team sat on Schneider two years too long while the Canucks were at the top of the win curve, Horvat had better turn into an impact player.

          Although a lot of forwards from the 2013 draft arguably look better than Horvat already.

          While it’s reasonable to give Shinkaruk a mulligan, he certainly hasn’t done anything to look like a “steal” thus far.

          And FFS (anger not directed at you), what about the bloody 2008-2012 drafts…

    • Mantastic

      Amen to most your post brotha.

      There has been very little to ‘no’ regeneration on the Canucks. Not 1 single drafted player has played a full NHl season under Gillis. Not one. Lack and Tanev (both undrafted) have been good finds, but can’t make up for 7 years of bottom of the league drafting. As such they’re left with an aging roster that’s full of holes. Holes that good drafting teams like LA, Bos etc can fill – but Van can’t.

      Overusing your top 6 has left them stale, injured and unproductive. Of course, most of us predicted this would happen. It’s called ‘inevitable’.

      The goaltending this season has been very poor, with a 1 month bright spot. Luongo has not been good. For first 1/3 of the season, his EV SV% was bottom of the league. He had a good Dec, then got injured and is back to stinking. Lack has been very good for a 1st yr NHLer, but he’s the back up who barely gets games unless L is injured.

      I don’t think this team needs a full rebuild though. I think they are a top 6 winger and tough mins 3C away from competing with the big dogs. They are still a top 10 puck possession team and have had more injuries than pretty much every team with better metrics. This team as constructed is average, with all the injuries this season – they stink.

      Gillis needs to find a way to add a top 6 winger and tough mins 3C in the summer without giving up the talented back end he has.

      Good luck Gillis 🙂

  • It was not that long ago that a Wings vs Canucks matchup was a tantalizing proposition. Something to look forward to with optimism at the inherent possibilities.

    This game was Oilers vs Sabres putrid.

    and that Burrows penalty at the end.

    *shakes head*

  • There is a special someone I would like to call out for special attention because he has been SO atrocious. Alex Burrows has been the worst player on the ice just about every game since he returned from injury. Handles the puck like its full of nitro glycerin and just seems absolutely clueless, especially offensively. There is a guy who should be sent to Utica for “conditioning stint”.

    • JCDavies

      “Handles the puck like its full of nitro glycerin and just seems absolutely clueless, especially offensively. ”

      Justin Bourne and Elliotte Friedman wrote about this recently:

      http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/01/21/thoughts-on-thoughts-nothing-wrong-with-starting-fourth-line-in-nhl/

      Friedman: 22. Something to watch for as Alex Burrows tries to get going – zero goals in 18 games of an injury-riddled season – is that he switched helmets/visors for the shootout last Saturday. The bigger mask protecting his broken jaw obviously isn’t anything he’s comfortable with.

      Bourne: I also tweeted about this the other day: it is really, really hard to see through those jaw protectors. The plastic is so thick they’re damn near opaque. Bubbles and visors have chin caps which put pressure on your jaw with every hit, so you can’t wear them. It’s just bizarre that those jaw things are the best solution. I tried to get used to one after my jaw injury, but I kept losing track of the puck when it was somewhere fairly important – on the ice. You have to turn your head to all kinds of angles to see the thing. It’s awful, and tough to be effective offensively with them on.

    • Mantastic

      Sigh.

      Burrows is on a legacy contract.

      If he had not scored the goal to exorcise the demons, this management team would probably have been fired by now.

      Cap wizardry isn’t just about trying to win a cup.

      It’s about loyalty…

  • Big Cap

    The un-raveling of Torts has begun!

    We all new at some point it was gonna happen but its officially here. Watching him selfishly play the tough guy “hold me back routine” was a joke. Then his comments tonight… Com on!

    Having the Twins, Kesler, Bieksa, Burrows, Lou, this team SHOULD have the leadership needed to pull its self out. But for many years EVERYONE out side of Van City has been saying how SOFT, GUTLESS, and NO HEART this team is, and now were officially seeing it when the talent drops off, and the going gets tough.

    Be thankful Eddie and Lou have played a great as they have or this disaster would be a flat out joke of a season!!!

    There is NO chance that Gillis has the Stones or Brains to pull off a trade(s) that will turn this circus around.

    The beginning of the end is well underway. NO Payoffs this year or for many years ahead!

    At least you have the Back to Back “President Trophy” banners proudly flying overhead.

    • Mantastic

      People like you and DogCrap00 need to get a life. You’re not really telling anyone they don’t know other than you’re whiners. We know the Nucks are struggling. We know they didn’t win the Cup. We know the team is trending downwards. Oh well. It’s entertainment and there are other things going on in the world. Maybe you fellas should get out of your mom’s basement once in a while 🙂

  • Mantastic

    Lack was very impressive last night and almost every start this year. Which makes me believe trade isn’t the only way to go. Booth is off the books after this year and the Nucks still have a buy out, which could be the end for Luo. Luo has played well this year and if he wins a gold medal that will make a buy out even more difficult, but 10 mil in salary cap is 10 mil!

    The honest comparison to the Flames run would be that Cal loaded up the backend in front of Kipper and got no results from Phaneuf, Boumeister et al. While Nucks don’t have 6mil guys back there the top 4 have not paid consistent dividends. Don’t see Twins or Kess being moved because there won’t be an honest return, Burrows is at a low point so it would be pure salary dump…. So Defense is the battering chip. Now will MG convince a Bieska or Edler to go to say…. Ny to play for AV again w a winger for Callaghan?? Or trade a Tanev as part of a deal, knowing he has Corrado ready to step in.

    NTCs are a tough one because they can save your team 2+ mil a yr on salary but can cost in repairs or rebuilding? I’m as opptomistic a Canucks fan as there is but this play is pathetic and weak. Almost last in the league on the PP…. How does that happen?! Good thing is that the break is coming and there won’t be any over reactions, but a chance to work the phones and hopefully watch good hockey for a change. I do like Torts honesty about the teams play. Better than usual coach speak. Now I’m just hoping for a spark against Boston… A good loss for a change.

    • Mantastic

      how is booth off the books after this year and you have another buyout?

      the only way booth is off the books is if you use the only buyout left… then you have 0 buyouts remaining…

  • Big Cap

    well, the end is hear. We are now on our way to the bottom and we will be there for some time. The signing of the twins was the nail in the coffin, years of decline ahead. Trade our best player, kesler for what we can get, do it before the deadline, Edler must go, buy out Burrows, enough is enough blow this mess to kingdom come. MG must go no one will trade with him he’s as dead as the team.

  • Mantastic

    If Gillis is selling, he’s selling low, which is bad news. But if he does go into sellers mode, I think this is what shakes out…and I hope it happens before March 5 when buyers seem to overpay:

    Edler – to Detroit for a first rounder and second. Don’t see many pieces on that roster that Tort’s would approve of.

    Kesler – to Ottawa for Zibanejad…come on! Kesler’s value will be inflated after the Olympics. Or to the Rangers for Stepan or Kreider or to the Blue Jackets for Jenner

    Bieska – to Tampa Bay for Brett Connolly – Bolts need D and they must be close to bailing on Connolly

    Hansen – to Columbus for a second and third rounder

    Burrows – to Pittsburg for Beau Bennett. if the Canucks get that deal, drive Burrows immediately to the airport

  • Mantastic

    I don’t think it’s pessimistic or overly negative at this point to say that the window is closed for this iteration of the Canucks. That’s not to say that it can’t re-open, but that would require pretty significant re-tooling. And how do we pull that off?

    As a fan of this team and as someone who pays decent money to see these guys play, seeing at least 2 of Horvat/Shinkaruk/Gaunce/Corrado on the roster next year full time would make me feel a bit better about continuing to spend my money going to games. If we’re not going to win the Cup any time soon, at least we can witness the growth of some young players.