Canucks Army Postgame: RIP

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“The jig is up.”

Those were the wise words of John Shorthouse, the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, as he summed up the situation rather concisely with the final seconds of the team’s playoff hopes running off of the clock.

Realistically speaking, the season had become a lost one a long time ago and we’ve been preaching it on this platform for weeks now (in true Vancouverite fashion, we were in the tank helping steer it long before it was cool to do so!). 

But while we’d all – at varying speeds – come to terms with the inevitability of how this particular season would ultimately conclude, it feels somewhat different now that they’re actually mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

I’ll give you guys a final minute with the body to say your goodbyes before we proceed.

The Rundown

We usually devote this section to telling the story of how the game unfolded in a quick and efficient featuring highlight videos we’ve embedded from the team’s official Youtube account. Weirdly enough, I’m looking at their page right now and the most recent uploaded videos go from “PREVIEW: Canucks vs. Ducks (Apr. 7, 2014)” to “Vancouver Canucks Pre-Game Introduction Video” to “LIVE: Canucks/Ducks post-game reactions (Apr.7, 2014)“. 

Hm, that’s odd. By the looks of it there wasn’t a single noteworthy highlight from a Canucks perspective over the course of the entire game..

Just kidding. I actually watched the full contest from start to finish – even going through the trouble of recording it while I watched the end of the UConn/Kentucky National Championship Game, and then going back and watching the 5-6 minutes of “action” I’d missed as a result – and that sounds about right. Heck, we didn’t even get a fight from Top Sixtito, which has on occasion served as lone highlights for the team to use during the horrendous excuses for hockey games that’ve become all too customary this season.

Heading into the game the players and coach continued to say all of the right things; that “they knew the importance” and that they’d try to “get off to a good start and build some momentum“. It was all pretty laughably transparent. But then it became even more laughably transparent when they surrendered a breakaway to Andrew Cogliano 14 seconds into the game. Then just 6 minutes later they surrendered another one, this time while on the power play, and Daniel Winnik made them pay.

It really didn’t get much better after that. Ryan Kesler forgot he wasn’t the only player on the ice, Brad Richardson forgot what sport he was playing, and Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa forgot where their jockstraps were. The end result was our buddy The Stanchion forgetting what his name was and where he left the bottle of Advil

I’m sure that no matter how hungover he gets, though, he’ll still feel better than Mike Gillis who was serenaded with “Fire Gillis” chants those who chose to stick around until the end of the game.

The Numbers

via Extra Skater [dot] com:

Fenwick chart for 2014-04-07 Ducks 3 at Canucks 0

EV fenwick chart for 2014-04-07 Ducks 3 at Canucks 0

The shot attempt charts I’ve included paint the team’s performance in a pretty favourable light, but in reality most of the damage in that regard came when the game was over in the 3rd period. It took the Canucks 41:55 to finally hit double digits in shots on goal, as they routinely either missed the net or had their attempts blocked, making John Gibson’s debut all the more cushy. 

What made it all even more egregious was how shaky Gibson (understandably) looked early on in the limited exposure he was subjected to, and how the Canucks seemed all too willing to let him off the hook.

The power play took a major step back in this one, after I praised them for their improved efforts against the Kings on Saturday night. They managed just 5 shot attempts in their 3 separate opportunities with the extra man, while surrendering the only goal that was scored during that time. 

Ryan Stanton and Shawn Matthias were the only two Canucks to not be in the black on the possession front, with Matthias somehow managing to wind up with a 20.0 corsi for % on a night where nearly everyone was >60%. He was also victimized on the 2nd Ducks goal by Kyle Palmieri, who manhandled him along the board and caused the turnover that led to the eventual goal. 

The Eulogy

First off, I’d like to thank the Anaheim Ducks for showing some mercy, and compassion in finally pulling the plug and putting the Canucks out of their misery. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but I’d like to think they’re going to a better place now. Like, you know, the draft lottery. 

When it’s 2018 and you’re jumping up and down on your coach celebrating something Nikolaj Ehlers or *fingers crossed* Michael Dal Colle did for Canucks I hope you remember everything these Anaheim Ducks did for you. Those 5 losses, and 24-6 goal differential were instrumental, but so were the 3 extra losses they enabled the Canucks to willingly take as Jacob Markstrom got peppered by beach balls.

While it’ll be tough dealing with the new reality that the Canucks won’t be competing in the playoffs for the first time since ’08, you’ll hopefully be able to gain some comfort from the ongoing tradition of a Californian team eliminating the Canucks. For those of you old timers that’ve been hanging around since the very beginning, this ultimately means that we’ve now technically been subjected to the same ending for the 43rd year in a row now. There’s something to be said for consistency, right?

See you on the other side.

  • I thought the Canucks looked great, outside of those two ridiculous turnovers, in the first ten or fifteen minutes of the game, and were just awful after that. But in the early going the Sedins looked like the Sedins, Kassian was moving the puck around like he had been, things were looking good.

    This has been a theme this year – team looks great for one or two periods, can’t sustain it, gets sunk by bad turnovers and stretches of terrible play.

  • Most painful moment of the night for me was post-game show, where Gary Volk was recapping the season, and repeatedly atated his favorite game was the LA one in January (yes, the “moral victory” game). A bunch of “character”, momentum, and other uninspired tedium followed. Just painful.

    So, essentially watching the whole Canucks season in a 2 minute sports show.

  • pheenster

    Let’s hope Gillis is fired before the draft.
    And let’s hope the Canucks lose their last 3 games too. I’d be so happy if the Canucks managed to squeeze their way into the top 5…

    • Considering that it’s way too early to even tell if any of last years picks actually WILL develop into something other than bottom-6 grinders (Shinkaruk is the most likely to do so, and even he has some question marks), are you going to argue Gillis’ drafting as a reason to keep him?

      Sick him, NM00!!

      • GarthButchers

        But what about all those guys tearing up the OHL playoff scoring race!?!

        You hit the nail on the head.

        The fact that delusional Canuck fans have set their gaze on the 2013 draft while ignoring his first 5 drafts (including some curious trades) speaks volumes…

        • GarthButchers

          This is why I really wish we’d continued the collapse for longer or had some spectacular blowout (though hope springs eternal with Mount Tortorella). I am shocked by the number of people who are buying this retooling nonsense or the idea that Gillis should be trusted to fix the mess that he has mostly made.

          It’s not even worth watching the games now since they are still playing useless players not part of our future (is there a plan or is “skill” or equivalent of Toronto’s “compete”?)

          Instead I’ll enjoy going to see Tampa Bay try and crush the Leafs last hopes tonight. It’s the last joy in this miserable season

          • GarthButchers

            It sounds like we may have an actual organization reset soon enough, though.

            Those “fire Gillis” chants last night were the highlight of the year…

          • argoleas

            So if the rumors are true and owner hired coach over GM, why then renew the GM for 5 years? Why sign coach for 5 years? Someone here made a big mistake with those 2 long contracts, and that falls on owner.

            We will see if the owner has the stomach for clearing the table.

          • argoleas

            “So if the rumors are true and owner hired coach over GM”

            There is a libel suit already in progress.

            Is there really a need to perpetuate a baseless rumor simply because some “insiders” have repeated it?

            I don’t disagree that the Aquillinis deserve blame for the general manager selection…

          • argoleas

            I dont know about baseless rumors unless you are an insider that can verify that it is not true, which I believe you are not.

            I suppose it would not be the first time that an owner went over the head of his GM. If that is the case, then seems to me that the owner has started to lose confidence in the GM. So if we agree that Torts has not worked out, who gets the blame, and more over, what does the owner do now? Sink close to $20M to fix this?

          • argoleas

            There is zero evidence that the rumor is true.

            At the least, people should not simply be lapping it up as fact…

            While I could do without Torts, I don’t believe he deserves anywhere near the blame as the GM for the disaster path this franchise is on.

            The contracts of Gillis & Torts are already sunk costs.

            If Aquillini wants to go cheap with the next GM, whatever.

            The Canucks are rebuilding anyways…

          • argoleas

            We neither have confirmation that it is true or false, so we are just debating options based on the possibilities. Either GM hired Torts or Owner did. Based on those two possibilities, it gives us a different picture of the owner-GM relationship.

            I do have to heap a lot of blame on Torts simply because he tried to play his roster the way it is not meant to be played. Like AV said, you need to adjust your style to available players, then work with GM to get players more in tune with the new style. Everyone on these boards was skeptical of the idea of overplaying his stars, and as most of us predicted, the breakdown occurred almost precisely where we all thought it would. This is 100% Torts’ fault.

            GM gets blame if he picked Torts. But what if he didn’t? That’s an important factor to discuss and ponder because it may speak to the direction the owner may take, like dumping the GM to keep the coach, versus keeping both, or dumping both, or letting GM replace torts with someone the GM wants.

          • pheenster

            “Either GM hired Torts or Owner did. Based on those two possibilities, it gives us a different picture of the owner-GM relationship.”

            Why can’t it be a “consensus”. Why can’t it be that Torts was the #1 choice of BOTH Aquillini & Gillis?

            “GM gets blame if he picked Torts. But what if he didn’t?”

            We have 6 years of blunders with Gillis that have absolutely nothing to do with the middle manager.

            There are plenty of reasons to be glad Gillis was gassed (transaction record, prickly media personality, inexplicable process at the draft, PTSD after the SCF in which he started to become obssessed with “grit”) irrespective of the middle manager selection.

          • argoleas

            Well we are discussing the specific case of the Torts hire, not the whole tenure. But that also means we can discuss his moves that did work, and many others that may bear fruit in the next six years.

            Perhaps it was a consensus. That is also a possibility, although based on what GM has been saying, and the obvious clash of styles, I’m skeptical here.

            Like all things, GMs reach their expiry date. MG reached his (some will argue this is overdue). Lets see if the next one can do better.

          • argoleas

            “although based on what GM has been saying, and the obvious clash of styles, I’m skeptical here.”

            Why in god’s name did anyone trust Gillis!?!

            Torts, who was ten times more diplomatic and accountable than the used car salesman, suggests that he and Gillis were on the same page about the “style”.

            Gillis was trying to save his image because he’s deluded enough to believe he’s going to get another GM gig…

          • argoleas

            Accountability? How about results? Torts has not delivered. Simple as that.

            I dont buy that line about him and MG being on the same page, and neither should you.

            Why did anyone trust MG? Perhaps you have some line to the owner that we are not aware of so you can enlighten us? Thus we judge on what we see, even if we know it is filtered.

            This league has shown an amazing ability to rehire previous execs and coaches, so I think people are in for a disappointment if they think he wont get another job. How many GMs can boast of the regular season percentage he has, and being within one game of winning the cup. Lots of teams will appreciate that. Not sure here how your delusion observation fits in here. Do you personally know all the owners?

          • pheenster

            “Accountability? How about results? Torts has not delivered. Simple as that.”

            If by simple you mean parochial then, yes, it is simple.

            A coach does not have magical powers over the W-L record.

            If one wants to argue that Torts was not pushing the correct buttons, sure, it’s possible.

            I really have no idea.

            Torts walked into a terrible situation created by the (former) superhero GM.

            For the record, I don’t trust Torts either.

            It’s all he said/she said at this point.

            “This league has shown an amazing ability to rehire previous execs and coaches, so I think people are in for a disappointment if they think he wont get another job. How many GMs can boast of the regular season percentage he has, and being within one game of winning the cup. Lots of teams will appreciate that. Not sure here how your delusion observation fits in here. Do you personally know all the owners?”

            Hilarious.

            He was a longshot candidate to get a GM job in the first place considering his lack of front office experience.

            I guess we’ll see if another owner is going to ignore the mess he created in Vancouver.

            Do you personally know all of the owners to say that “lots of teams” will appreciate the W-L record.

            The W-L record was by and large accrued irrespective of Gillis’ moves.

            He did not build the best team in Canucks history. He simply rode it into the ground…

          • argoleas

            Seems to me MG got the job because of his relationship with owner.

            This league likes to recycle GMs and coaches so yes, I think I’m on solid ground to suggest he will have interest.

            As for W-L being there irrespective of his moves, I dont think everyone will look at it that way. I’m not disagreeing that he already had a good setup, but then again many teams had and have such setups, and their GMs dont take them anywhere. Again, based on how this league seems to work, it may be easier for him than you think.

            Then again, dont really care. Wish him well, but the focus here is on the next GM, and the new circus to come.

          • pheenster

            Yes, GMs & coaches are often recycled.

            But how many of them have Gillis’ background?

            How many former player agents received a GM job with zero front office experience, left a terrible mess and were offered a second GM job?

            He was a longshot candidate to ever get a GM gig in the first place…

          • argoleas

            Just because he may be the first player agent to try GMing is not relevant here. Someone has the be first. He has now done it for 6-7 years, so that’s experience, more than Yzerman.

            Most GMs are fired because the situation got bad. Know a few that got fired because they did too good of a job?

            I know you cant possibly see that he did anything good while he was here (and that is your right), but other owners will see it differently for the reasons I already mentioned.

            You like to point to his many mistakes, like they were terrible calls of judgement, that every other GM has done. Yet you refuse to give him any due for making right calls, because according to you anyone could have done them. That is not fair.

          • argoleas

            “I know you cant possibly see that he did anything good while he was here”

            “Yet you refuse to give him any due for making right calls, because according to you anyone could have done them.”

            Why would I criticize the GM that acquired Ehrhoff, Tanev, Stanton, Torres?

            I have no problem pointing to his successes where I feel it is merited.

            I don’t give him credit for teaching the core he inherited how to play hockey or accepting gifts from local boys.

            Of course, you are free to join the many that make up nonsense about his shortcomings as though I am incapable of acknowledging his (few) successes…

          • Mantastic

            the reason why Torts was signed to a 5 year deal was because he had years left on the NYR deal, if he signed a deal with VAN it would have nullified the deal, so no one would have gave up getting paid to do nothing so Van had to sign him for additional years to offset the NYR deal.

          • argoleas

            I dont think the Owner (and possibly the GM) signed him for this long just so they can offset his tab. No one does that unless they are very gung ho on the coach. Based on his previous history, it would seem that that would be a profound lapse in judgement on their part.

  • THANK GOD THIS SEASON IS OVER!!

    Now, let’s see after this “horrendous” season where the “loyal” of Canuck fans, frowned and besmirched upon by the NHL (particularly Kings, Bruins, Blackhawks, Leafs, Flames fans).

    YES I know.. the Canucks were at times terrible to watch (esp Jan and Feb) what were left of the dirt of the past-but-forever-glorious 2011 #1PP in the NHL torn into tragic pieces by the “overpowering” California teams (they indeed are). I THOUGHT we knew heading into the season we were going to have trouble with in the new Pacific Division. Really, who is shocked with the personnel that we had? The injuries hurt us alot this season… I know i know.. it’s no excuse. So we just need to get more NHL-ready bodies for the war of attrition next season, right? Also, is Kesler still getting traded? Please tell me he is for something good (maybe even in the future is fine too). We have too many roster players on our team. We ADD by SUBTRACT seriously this summer:

    (a) Please get Jordan Schroeder off Centre! Dude he’s too small.. I love his vision and hockey sense. He will be better used on RW. If not, just trade him if he’s still worth something.

    (b) Ryan Kesler. Just go if you want to go. Then this will allow Henrik to be assisted by Bieksa, Burrows, Danny to be the leadership group. Burrows will blossom (if he hadn’t already) without Kesler. Maybe then Edler will calm the F**K down abit too in the D-zone (Sorry Eddie — you are the best D on the Canucks but sometimes damnit… too much talent though).

    (c) Don’t you dare trade Edler! I think if we can wait a few years with Edler.. get a Kronwall or some older Swedish dude to mentor him. Edler would be one of the elite d-men in the NHL. We have seen how he has dominated before. Maybe he needs a Ehrhoff-like player to get back into that mode? Derick Pouliot for Kesler, dooo it. Or somebody else who has a good offensive D or draft pick.

    (d) David Booth? I’m undecided on this one. I guess with 1 year left, it does not hurt. At the end of the day, if it burns you in the middle of next season, Gillis could try to dump him on waivers/trade him if a young guy outplays him.

    What else is on the agenda? Executive level and/or head coach needs to be changed?

    At the end of the day, I think one good point is that despite the loss, there’s still something there left in the Canucks as we see how Kassian has the potential to mature into a pretty special player if he can find that consistency and edge between aggression and legal checks. Honestly, I think with the economics that’s tied into the team.. It’s hard to imagine the status quo change at the end of this season AND that could be a good thing too. Who knows? Because sometimes stability is a good thing. The head coach I can see change if Gillis stays… John Stevens would be nice.. but I am not opposed to Tortorella staying too. He’s a good honest guy and if Kesler stays, Tortorella must stay to reign in everyone so they play as a team.

    I don’t agree with some of the moves that Gillis has made (i.e. Ballard trade) but I think he adapts well to market conditions. It was unfair to say that his efforts to push to spend to the cap prior to the CBA dispute would actually have backfired on him. It was unfortunate spending (i.e. Sundin signing, Demitra, do i need to say Ballard again ?, and Booth) tremendously effected our efforts to spend in the FA market right after the CBA. But what did Gillis do? He still made his best efforts to snag bargain buys (i.e. Santorelli, Weber, Lain, Richardson, etc.). Hey, he exercised other players’ fondness of the Canucks to his advantage (Santorelli). Responding to change is what makes Gillis a good GM. Like it or not, Gillis is spending as much as the owner gives him so we as loyal Canucks fans deserve to give him his time to right the ship. The Luongo trade, like it or not, gives the Canucks a chance to explore options (or not — at least they can look at the year after too). Flexibility is key.

  • Great, we can now move onto draft coverage…right after the conclusion of the Aquilini-Gillis-Tortorella soap opera. Who’ll get fired? Will they sell the team? Will the handsome playboy Kesler agree to stay? Does Sestito get named captain?? These are the thrilling questions Canucks fans can look forward to in the off season. These are the days of our lives…

  • GarthButchers

    It absolutely kills me to watch Hansen (20 pts in 68 games) getting time on the top 2 lines. He’s a checker plain and simple so put him where he belongs, on the 3rd or 4th lines. IMO Shroeders time as a Canuck is over as he’s too small to maintain puck possession in today’s NHL.

    In the offseason let’s go big on the re-set or not at all (not at all means we enter the McDavid sweeps). How about Kesler, Edler and Jensen to Washington for OV? Not enough, then what else would it take? I personally would never trade a 1st for a 28+ player. If we don’t have the assets for OV (do not trade Horvat or Shinkaruk) how about Kesler to Philly for Couturier and their 1st in 2014.

    Then trade our 1st this year, Hansen and Gaunce to Winnipeg for Kane (jets will have 2 of the top 8 picks) we can use Philly’s pick to get Josh Ho Sang.

  • GarthButchers

    Awesome new chant the fans came up with last night. This year what really blew me away about our on ice product was the stanchions. We have, by far, the nicest stanchions in the league. I spent a lot of time this year getting my “entertainment value” by tripping out on the many wonderful colours. I just have to wonder, are these the stanchions that can take us to the finals again? Also, is the ice jealous?

    • pheenster

      Allow me to be the first to offer my personal congratulations.

      While I’m generally on board with this decision, we all need to remember that the devil we know sometimes actually is better than the devil we don’t. If FA screws up the replacement then things could get worse before they get better and we could be looking back on the Gillis era rather fondly (except you, of course). I’m not talking results worse, I’m kind of expecting that. I mean management-worse.

      • argoleas

        Agreed. There are many that will dance because they are part of the anything-is-better-than-MG. I dont buy that for a second. Not because MG has not reached his expiry date, but because I’m skeptical of the magic power of any GM other than MG.

        Still, all those NTCs are in place. Next GM, good luck….

      • argoleas

        I seem to recall you suggesting AV was the problem for the “staleness” of the team.

        And that you would support Gillis’ continued employment simply because I was against it.

        After a few months of poor play, it’s quite reactionary to change your mind…

        “we all need to remember that the devil we know sometimes actually is better than the devil we don’t”

        Thank you captain obvious.

        “If FA screws up the replacement then things could get worse before they get better and we could be looking back on the Gillis era rather fondly”

        He inherited a contending team on a platter and allowed the org depth chart to erode under his watch.

        The delusional fans that supported him are the rubes that believed he had magical powers over the W-L record.

        Which he clearly did not.

        As soon as the core he inherited became old, he became exposed for the bad GM he has always been…

        • pheenster

          AV needed to go. I stand by that.

          I don’t think Gillis did anywhere near as crappy a job as you think he did (worth noting here that just because you say a bunch of stuff doesn’t make it true). I stand by that.

          If FA makes a terrible GM hire a la Kevin Lowe/Craig MacTavish/Steve Tambellini (entirely possible), we will all be wishing that he was still in charge. I stand by that.

          All that said, if you’re truly blowing this thing up (something I’m not entirely sure was necessary but that’s where we’re headed) then you have to start at the top. So let’s see where we go from here.

          As for magical powers over the W-L record, that’s just a bunch of stuff you make up in your head. The GM’s job is to put player personnel on the ice and a coach behind the bench. You think he’s the worst GM at those tasks in the history of the league, or close to it. I happen to think that he made some good decision and some bad, just like most. The “magical power” BS is just you making up a strawman out of your opinions on those who disagree with you.

          I’m out pal. Enjoy your day. Go home, throw a tarp on the floor and cover yourself in baby oil or whatever it was you promised you would do for yourself whenever this blessed day finally arrived.

  • pheenster

    @pheenster

    LOL!! Yup, it probably is baby oil.

    Some people just see the world in simplistic, black and white terms. With delusions of knowledge. Not much point trying to reason with them.

    It’s just too bad they found the comments section of Canucksarmy to pick fights.