Daniel Sedin injured in Canucks season ending romp over Flames

Mercifully the 2013-14 Vancouver Canucks season, which even at the best of times was difficult to watch, came to an end on Sunday night with a lopsided Canucks beat-down of the Calgary Flames. Its been a long time since the Canucks had a season end in the first half of April, without so much as a home playoff date, but that’s where we’re at. At least the overall dissatisfaction in this market, combined with the team’s lack of success, should usher in an interesting offseason (draft lottery Tuesday!).

For the first 38 minutes, or thereabouts, this was a vintage Northwest Division style smack down; the Flames completely outmatched by a Canucks team that was actually generating offense and goals (for once). Then Daniel Sedin took a nasty hit in the numbers from Paul Byron, and appeared to be severely injured as he lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before leaving the game on a stretcher. The reports are that Daniel is in stable condition, was in a good mood, and was able to move his extremities; so that’s excellent news (Update: Daniel has been released from hospital).

We’ll recap the game at length after the jump.

The first period opened with the Vancouver Canucks dictating play and building a lead thanks to a pair of goals from Daniel Sedin, the second of which was an example of some vintage Sedinery:

The Canucks crushed it with the twins on the ice on Sunday, which is legitimately impressive. Though the Flames aren’t good, they do boast a legitimate top-pairing defenseman in Mark Giordano. Giordano played the game with an anchor named Chris Butler tied around his ankle, but let’s still credit Vancouver’s top-line with kicking Giordano’s teeth in all game long. 

In the first forty minutes, before Paul Byron boarded Sedin late in the second period, Vancouver’s top-line had managed 15 shot attempts while Calgary managed just two. Meanwhile at even-strength the Canucks managed to outshoot the Flames eight-to-one with their top-line on the ice.

Also in the first period, there was a lovely Zack Kassian pass right on the tape to Shawn Matthias that the big depth forward flubbed. Despite some stubborn deficiencies in the defensive end of the rink, it should be said that Kassian showed pretty well this season and legitimately seemed to progress – something you couldn’t have said at the end of his two previous years with the team. 

Still that perfect pass and Matthias flubbing it was a perfect crystallization of how Kassian’s season went, in some ways. The burgeoning powerforward progressed and developed, but very probably spent too much time playing with players who were unable to accentuate or play off of his occasionally impressive offensive skill-set (and his playmaking ability in particular).

Kassian’s line-mate for the majority of the season was Brad Richardson – a nice fourth-line piece and a solid penalty-killer, but a guy who is somewhat out of his depth in the top-nine. When Kassian and Richardson were on the ice together at evens, the Canucks lost the territorial battle too often, and only barely outscored their opponents. It’s a good sign then, that in nearly 400 even-strength minutes with Kassian on the ice without Richardson, the team was a 51.7% Corsi team and outscored their opponents by a much wider margin.

This suggests that if Vancouver can find some useful depth pieces, or just play Kassian in a top-six role occasionally, there’s reason to believe that he could make the leap next season. And, like, actual reason to believe it; not just “look at his raw tools, he’s so toolsy, wow,” reasons to believe it.

Though Vancouver authored a mostly dominant performance against the Flames, defenseman Alex Edler was on the ice for a goal against and zero goals for. That earned Edler a minus and the ignominious – but completely meaningless – distinction of finishing the season with the worst +/- rating of any NHL player.

When a player finishes the season dead last in +/- you can expect a lot of hand-wringing about their defensive abilities – or lack thereof. In Edler’s case it’ll be a theme all summer: “He’s a defensive liability.” 

Now, look, if we’re being totally honest that’s probably partly true. It’s a bit histrionic, but there’s at least a kernel of fact there. Certainly the strength of Edler’s game isn’t his defensive play, but throughout his NHL career he’s consistently been able to help the Canucks possess the puck and generate offense at a good enough clip that he’s a net positive at even-strength, even despite his occasional penchant for unforced errors and brain dead defensive positioning. 

This year that changed, obviously, and the Canucks were outscored by a wide margin with Edler on the ice. But the thing to keep in mind here is that it wasn’t Edler’s defensive play that changed. It’s not like his effectiveness in his own end is atrophying. Actually most of Edler’s losses in terms of personal on-ice goal differential are the result of brutal luck in the offensive end of the rink

Consider that the Canucks only scored 19 goals with Edler on the ice at five-on-five in over 60 games this season; last year they managed 27 in 45. It’s the lack of goals with Edler on the ice that represents a massive departure from what we’ve come to expect from the maddening Canucks blue-liner; not his defensive abilities. Basically Edler picked up minuses at roughly the rate we’d expect, he just didn’t get any pluses to compensate. 

Here’s a table breaking down Edler’s goals against at five-on-five (although the 2010-11 numbers are “even-strength) rated per sixty minutes over the past four years. As you’ll notice, ghastly +/- numbers aside, the Canucks weren’t surrendering goals against at an appreciably higher rate with Edler on the ice at evens this year

Alex Edler Defense Goals Against/60
2010 – 11 2.06
2011 – 12 2.58
2012 – 13 2.34
2013 – 14 2.42

Those of you who’ve read Canucks Army loyally over the years (and thank you for sticking around and reading our site this past season, despite the team being, y’know, bad), know how much I hate the misapplication of +/- in hockey journalism and analysis. I’ll complain about +/- absuse with no regard for my own personal dignity, like I’m SA2 and the Rogers Arena scorer just credited David Booth with his 10th on Sunday. 

Edler’s case is particularly telling because his “struggles” this season (actually just bad luck) were in the offensive end of the rink, yet his -39 number will be hung around his neck all summer, incontrovertible evidence that he’s a defensive liability. 

But I digress. Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau made his NHL debut Sunday and played pretty well, which shouldn’t be the least bit surprising because he’s really good. The Flames out-attempted and out-shot the Canucks with the young Boston College phenom on the ice at five-on-five, and the diminutive sniper managed his first NHL goal for good measure. He also won a lot more puck battles along the wall than a 20-year-old his size has any business winning in the NHL. An auspicious debut for the man they obnoxiously call “Johnny Hockey” (we need to stop with that everybody). 

Canucks defender Frank Corrado also scored his first NHL goal, beating Karri Ramo with a high-velocity wrist shot to put Vancouver up 3-0. Corrado had a really impressive game overall, logging over 14 minutes in a third pairing role and showing off excellent poise, speed and hockey sense through the neutral zone. Clean breakouts seem like something the Canucks could’ve used more of this past season, and hopefully Corrado gets an extended look, and some actual third pairing ice-time, at the NHL level next year.

Finally at intermission Trevor “Boston model” Linden appeared with Dan Murphy to talk about his plans and such. I transcribed part of the interview over at theScore if you’re interested. It sure seems like we’ll get an answer on John Tortorella’s future with the team this week. It also seems very likely that Tortorella is surely a goner, and good riddance. 

What a mess this season was, from start to finish, and what a relief that it’s finally over. 

  • “Edler’s case is particularly telling because his “struggles” this season (actually just bad luck)”

    Yeah, that’s one way to look at it. HAHAHAHA!

    “Finally at intermission Trevor “Boston model” Linden appeared with Dan Murphy to talk about his plans and such. I transcribed part of the interview over at theScore if you’re interested. It sure seems like we’ll get an answer on John Tortorella’s future with the team this week. It also seems very likely that Tortorella is a goner, and good riddance”

    High hopes from Trevor but even if he decides to make Torts his scapegoat and Quinn his lover it can only mean one thing. Trevor Linden’s managerial hockey career will be the way his playing days ended…not having won a thing.

    Even Gordon Ramsay couldn’t fix this pompous organization.

    Orca Nightmares.

  • Brent

    Well Thomas you got the last game summary in the Canucks Annus Horribilis. Congratulations…….I guess, at least they scored a lot of goals. And didn’t Corrado look totally happy! Nice. Glad to hear Daniel is alright. Missed it in real time but saw the replays. The one angle shows it the “best” where his head hits the glass hard. Scary stuff. Reading the comments about it on puck Daddy just make me shake my head. Get some rest Daniel!

    Sounds like Hartley was a real dick while Daniel was injured. Glad Torts didn’t erupt, he gave a good presser after. His last? Probably.

    I am glad you are optimistic about Edler. You have the numbers to back it up but certainly based on my simple eye test, and selective memory, this year was an UBER-annus Horribilis, and I was hoping he would get traded. But who the heck would want him?

    Be an interesting off season. lets hope for some luck in the draft lottery. I still don’t fully understand all the in’s and out of it, like how much we can move up etc. I guess we will find out soon.

    • argoleas

      I`m not very optimistic about Edler either. Check this out, I don`t know how many brain dead players Edler`s made in the last 3 years but this one is definately top 5 quality..


      Some players just fadeout/ lose it for whatever reason.This appears to have happened with Edler, maybe it was that last back injury.Mabye he misses playing with Erhoff.? whatever the reason this guys claerly not the player he once was, and I see no hope that he will magicvally recover his form next season.
      Finally remember Troy Gamble? ( yes I go back that far lol).He lit it up big time for the Canucks, he was their star goalie.(thought of as a major find at the time)Then he got hurt, (I think a concussion) ?thing was he never was the same.He came back and was a sieve,and in the following year or two, he was gone, and out of hockey.

      • andyg

        Some athletes in sports get exposed and then they realize that they aren’t as good as they and everyone close to them thought.

        The some athletes retrain and try and meet that bar and challenge themselves while most other athletes decide to opt out of the real hard work ahead. I think Edler is in the ladder group.

        Like a volleyball team the Canucks once had a balanced number of specialized spikers, setters and diggers. There were two problems, their players were specialized only in one thing and when Gillis traded away some key setters and diggers the team collapsed because they couldn’t function anymore.

        Often we see the spikers and and think it’s them that gets the job done but it’s the guys who set them up for the spike and the guy who dig the ball out for the setters, the unsung heros.

        Once the Canucks lost key guys, play makers, the passer, the guy who goes into the boards to get the puck, their PP dropped like lead weight in water. you could see it, once those guys where gone, it seems like the whole team couldn’t score.

        If the Canucks were the army they’d have only snipers and radio carriers. The other teams barged in and basically filleted everyone with machine guns and grenades. Gilis was monumentally stupid enough to think that it was ok to lose key personnel and not replace them. A sign of a man who doesn’t understand a very basic concept of any team sport, let alone hockey.

        It was like Gillis let all the best setters and diggers go and expected the spikers to run and dig the ball then set themselves up for the spike.

        Gillis will go down as the worse GM in sports. Certainly, the worst ever for Vancouver….and that is saying alot.

        • andyg

          Very good insight,I agree.Sorry for the many spelling mistakes in my posting.I work the graveyard shift.Hence, I don`t get much sleep.LOL..Wish we could edit our comments like you can on The Province page.Thanks again for replying to my post, it was well written and though provoking.

  • Interesting last words from Torts, he’s really got his hate on for Hartley. Actually feeling not too bad about next years Canucks (my expectations are lowered so will feel good if they just get in the playoffs). Although I dislike the Flames, they may have a good team next year as well, Johnny Hockey looks like he’s a beaut! Good news about Daniel.

  • Fred-65

    On a Canuck related side note the Blues have lost their last 6 games. The Blues, once considered a contender may go out a pretender.
    They will not get far in the playoffs.

    Why is it Canucks related? Because their team has the arrogance of the Canucks and their captain Backes is from the same mold as Burrows. They have bitten off more than they can chew. Miller is also damaged goods. The years in Buffalo have given him Canuck PTSD.

    Karma always comes to those who deserve it.

  • Know what?
    This last presser with Torts made me that much more fond of him. So he’s a hard-ass, maybe he can learn to adapt, use what he has. He isn’t stupid, he is a professional NHL coach, he has a lot of talented players and he wants to keep his job. The ring on his finger says that he can accomplish great things if, IF, the right parts are there and he uses them correctly.
    One more year to prove himself. Besides, what-else-who-else is there that could right this leaky ship? I see no no decent names.

    6th round- 36th round pick. Life goes on.

  • Lots of talk about Winnipeg shopping Evander Kane. He’s only 22 and had 19 goals and 41 pts in 66 games along with 176 hits. He’s NHL ready and might look good on a line with Kesler and Kassian. Could be some creative line names. Would he be worth our 1st this year and a player like Hansen or is he a cancer to be avoided?

    I hope Shroeder watched Gaudreau play last night. That’s how a little guy plays.

    • Mantastic

      are you serious? the 6th overall pick and some garbage for a former 4th overall 30 goal scorer in his early 20s with a great contract??? might as well throw in Booth and ask for Byfuglien and Enstrom as well!

      • Mantastic

        There are sure to be a lot of fantasy trade proposals for Kane from delusional Canuck fans in the next few weeks.

        And while a number of other teams have better assets to offer than Vancouver, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Winnipeg sell low on Kane.

        Just as Boston did with Seguin & Philly did with Carter/Richards due to alleged off ice nonsense…

        • argoleas

          I don think there is anything delusional about such a trade. I absolutely agree that many other teams have better assets to trade, the “issue” of his attitude may keep many of the away.

          What I would question is whether he is worth selling our 1st round pick (lets assume its still 6th or 7th after end of tomorrow) and one of our top prospects, which I would assume would be the asking price. The team will be in serious need of young bodies in a few years when the existing core is done, and surrendering 2 for 1 is not my idea of a good plan. Then again, if we couple that with a trade of Kesler somewhere that brings extra picks/prospects, then maybe it could work. Just as long as it is understood that we would not be getting a Kane just to have another shot with this core.

          The Boston-Dallas trade was basically a player swap, and I dont see anyone on this team being available for that.

          • andyg

            Why not keep our picks and prospects. Trad Kess for more prospects and picks. Sign Santo and go all in on someone like Stastny or Moulson.

            The more youth that we can acquire the better.

  • Brent

    1. Gillis fired

    2. Torts on the chopping block.

    3. The team tanking all the way down to #25 with a realistic shot at an impact player via the draft.

    Aside from Daniel’s injury, and hopefully he has a full, speedy recovery, the last few weeks of the season could not have gone better for #tanknation…

  • Fred-65

    Tortorella may be many thing but apart from disgraceful actions trying to get into the Falmes dressingroom his style crushed one of Vcr previously best players. I hope Edler can recover to his former level. It would be a high price to pay for the Tororella experiment if he can’t.

    Listening to Ray Ferraro on 1040 a while back he described Tortorella ( from his days with TSN ) as a great guy but who sees hockey in a pure black and white manner. His veiw is every thing and variations will never be heeded. He coaches a static dumb down style much like Freddy Shero did years before him. While it worked for Shero the game has changed and it’s no longer a style for todays game IMO.It does not encourage ad hoc plays by talented players. More like the old communist manifesto, every ones the same.

    Unfortunatley it looks like Benning may be Linden primary target which means (A) we don’t fill the GM role until very late, Boston is heading for the SC and (B) Many of the better candidates for coach will already have been picked over….I’m thinking Barry Trotz who has just been let go by Nashville but won’t be on the coaching market for long. This means that Vcr will get the dregs of coaching candidates.

    Seeing Corrado with a grin from ear to ear last night made me realize even more how much youthful exuberance can add to a tired roster. Lets hope we re-enforce that next season with one or two more young players. This roster as much as any thing needs excitment and b@lls to the wall approach

  • Mantastic

    Schroeder needs to play RW or he should be shown the door.

    Line 1: Sedin/Sedin/Jensen
    Line 2A or 2B:
    Line 4: Sestito/Richardson/Santorelli (or Hansen)

    IF we get rid of Kesler for Pouliot and Youth movement in full swing:

    Line 1: Sedin/Sedin/Jensen
    Line 2: Horvat/Matthias/Kassian
    Line 3: Burrows/Gaunce/Santorelli (or Higgins/Hansen)
    Line 4: Sestito/Richardson/Santorelli (or Schroeder)

    I would not be opposed to these lineups next season just for Gaunce and Horvat to get some NHL games.

    Why Horvat and Gaunce?
    Horvat slots on LW next to the big bodies and should offer more technical ability than the likes of David Booth and Brad Richardson. Horvat can take draws here and there to slowly acclimatise him to being a Centre with Matthias. If Matthias sucks next season, we will need to find an upgrade at 2nd Line Centre (same story for the last 3 seasons).

    Gaunce can play next to Burrows, Higgins and Hansen.. or Gaunce/Santorelli/Hansen or Higgins.

    What’s becoming more and more evident?
    There’s a sh*tload of 3rd and 4th liners on this team. Linden needs to really show whether he has a willingness to put young guys into the team… unlike any of his predecessors. Every year, the media raves about all these bluechip prospects and then Vigneault keeps sending them back to juniors and/or AHL… (i.e. Bourdon prior to his accident, Grabner, Hodgson, Schroeder, etc). The question is are we drafting sh*tty players or are the Canuck coaches not giving them a chance and can it be rectified if the GM forced his hand and pushed for young guys to be on the team? It seems like having young guys around the team can work too because (a) young guys seem to be able to make the jump alot more often nowadays (that’s if they are not expected to do too much) and (b) the older guys aint that good anymore.

    The Canucks need to:
    (1) Buyout David Booth;
    (2) Trade Chris Higgins and/or Jannik Hansen for draft picks
    (3) Re-sign Mike Santorelli
    (4) Trade Ryan Kesler for a young D (Derick Pouliot) or a young C (Scott Laughton)
    (5) Do not trade Alex Edler — instead maybe sign a veteran European D-man to help and mentor Edler
    (6) Give Bieksa a nastier D-man to pair with… even Andrew Ference would be nice. Ference-equivalent/Bieksa as a shutdown pairing
    (7) Sign Vladimir Sobotka and make Sobotka/Gaunce/Burrows as our 3rd line
    (8) Give Jensen and Kassian a chance to play more top 6 minutes next season!

    Yes.. every fan wants a fkn blockbuster deal but the reality is that Vancouver doesnt really have many assets to give… and there’s no or very minimal established NHL assets that other teams are willing to give the Canucks unless you wanted injured and/or high risk goods. So I say we really just get rid of Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins for draft picks and we give our young guys a chance. Honestly, Horvat/Matthias/Kassian will be pretty decent.. and they might even strive if you give them a test… or Gaunce/Matthias/Kassian… and then you put Horvat/Sobotka/Burrows together.

    Just my two cents. Small signings and being patient is the key.

    Thanks for the read.

  • Mantastic

    Canucks have some issues, but I don’t think we need to blow it up.

    Looks like the Sedins can maintain their possession game carrying Jensen around, so you can move Burrows to a more defensive line. Booth (healthy) and Kassian are starting to resemble power forwards and seem to have chemistry. Maybe with Kesler the production would come too. Santorelli can be another valuable piece if we can sign him at a reasonable cap hit.

    On D, you’ve got to reunite Bieksa and Hamhuis as the shutdown pairing. Give Edler a steady partner and softer minutes with the Sedins. Hope Garrison’s problems were injury related.

    Sedin-Sedin-Jensen – above avg comp ~65%+ z starts

    Booth-Kesler-Kassian – avg comp/z starts

    Higgins-Santorelli-Burrows – tough comp ~40% z starts

    Richardson/Matthias/Schroeder/Hansen – buried

    Hamhuis-Bieksa – tough mins

    Edler-Corrado – sheltered z starts

    Garrison-Tanev – avg comp/z starts


    Obviously you’d want to upgrade on Jensen, Corrado, Markstrom and maybe Booth but I don’t think we’ll add significant pieces in FA and the offers mentioned for Edler/Kesler over the last year have been so far off good value we’re not going to win a blockbuster trade. You can pray Kane falls into your lap but it’s not going to happen. The 2013 draft class will all get a year in the AHL so any contribution from them would be a bonus. We’re not going to be a contender straight away, but you’ve got three lines who can win the possession battle and I think we can get closer to the 55% corsi tied mark (rather than hovering just above 50%).

  • Brent

    I love reading the “proposed line” things from Vancouver fans. It’s so stupid.

    Why would you put Jensen, a still-unproven rookie with the Sedins. Burrows is by far, BY FAR, the best winger they’ve ever had. Vancouver fans have a deserved reputation…

    I agree, NM, I couldn’t believe the Canucks made it down to 6th, honestly. Everything had to go right. I was worried when they won the game yesterday, but luckily Carolina managed to get the SO victory.

    This was indeed a great victory for #tanknation.

    • Brent

      How many ppl would tank for the future? to me that’s what sacrifice is all about.

      Most other self serving lazy ppl prefer to soldier on through a field of useless mediocrity.

      No one thing should be bigger than that of the team. If 44 years of mediocrity hasn’t taught you that…

  • Fred-65

    With a little luck in the lottery a turn around May not be too far away. Just getting Santo back brings real up the middle lift. Sedin/Kessler/Santo/Richardson is a fine center group. Add in Jensen, a better Kassian with 2 FAs and we have a much improved forward set. Not too mention Shinkaruk and Horvat on the way.

    The new coach will need to improve the defensive play. This year it was sloppy and maddening. John Stevens seems like the right hire, but a year too late.