Fireside Chats with Wyatt

cozy

Sometimes I have a topic in mind and I will write like a mad man, excited to deliver my thoughts to the masses, so we can all talk very specifically about what I had in mind. Other times there is just simply not much going on, and with the Canucks only seven games into the season, I honestly don’t have it in me to beat the drum of an ill-formed narrative based on such a small sample size. I’ve seen people call Sbisa the devil, I’ve seen people blame the Canucks loss to Dallas on the Kesler/Luongo trades, and I’m pretty sure someone thinks Desjardins’ moustache is ruining the power play. Based purely on seven games of action.

With that being said, it’s Saturday, it’s almost Halloween, I thought it would be fun to do the typical “what’s running through my head” article, as that is far better than anything else I could attempt right now. Unless you guys really did want me to do that article on Joacim Eriksson is the missing link to the Canucks Stanley Cup run of 2018… Read more past the jump!

– Yes, the title of this article is a shout out to FDR, which in hindsight, might be the wrong demographic to target. Canucks Army wants a piece of that sweet 80-110 demo, right?? (Editor’s note: yes Wyatt, we do. Expect to see more ads for prune juice and adult diapers soon)

– Yes, I chose a stupid picture of myself because it’s fun to laugh at, and if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

– Nick Bonino is really intriguing to watch right now because he is coming off of a season last year in which it looked like he was carried to offensive glory by Getzlaf and Perry on a productive power play. I can’t tell if he’s defensively that great yet (he had one great backcheck Thursday, followed up by a shift where he attempted to impersonate Todd Bertuzzi’s level of defensive awareness minus the punching), but so far his offensive instincts have shined in a couple of games, and I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds for him. 

– Plus his nickname is Bones, which for some reason really amuses me.

– It feels like the Canucks have had one line that plays really well for them each game and then everyone else just kind of flounders along until Hansen screws up on a breakaway and we all share a quick laugh.

– Again, small sample size, etc, etc, but one of the biggest criticisms of this team has been the fact the Canucks have one top line, and around a dozen third lines. As the season rolls on, if the team doesn’t start finding its groove offensively, it will be interesting to see if Desjardins keeps spreading out the ice time so evenly.

– I really enjoyed Maxim Lapierre’s time in Vancouver, but watching him play for St. Louis last night reminded me how often he would “almost” score all the time. He would pull off this amazing move once a month, deke out three guys, then slide the puck harmlessly in the corner. “Almost….” I would whisper to myself every time.

– The biggest thing I am watching for this season is to see if Ryan Miller proves he’s worth that $6 million dollars in net. I have nothing against Miller, I just wonder how the Canucks defensive corps would have benefited from another top four guy, vs bringing in a goalie who’s upgrade in nets over Eddie Lack vs the cap hit he brings is debatable.

– Ryan Miller played like garbage against Dallas (with a huge helping hand from the Canucks) and he played great against St. Louis. These freaking sample sizes are killing me.

miller

– I love Ryan Miller’s new mask by the way (he has yet to wear it). I was hoping the Dallas blowout would cause Miller to turn to this mask, instead of his current, dime a dozen Vancouver goalie mask, but alas, he is still using his trash mask. You wear a trash mask, you get trash results Miller. Wear this glorious mask! Corey Hirsch is even jealous of it!

– The reason I bring up the Canucks defensive corps is because when injuries happen (and they will happen, this is Vancouver we’re talking about), I fear the day when I read about the Canucks luring Andrew Alberts out of retirement due to injuries to two of their top guys.

– I’m not even comfortable with Sbisa and Weber as the 3rd pairing, so the thought of one of them jumping to the top four scares me.

– Linden Vey is so much fun to watch in the offensive zone. I was always a huge Kyle Wellwood fan, so anytime a small guy (assuming Kyle was on a diet at the time) can wheel and dangle in the offensive zone, I get excited.

– The thing about Vey that I enjoy is you can see what a smart player he is. He is really good at spinning away from checks and using his speed to create room for himself, something Jordan Schroeder never learned (for some reason Tom Sestito never taught him tricks on how to use his speed in their time playing together).

– The question for Vey, much like it was for Kyle Wellwood, is how useful he can be in a bottom six, even strength role. The good news for Vey is that the dozens of third lines the Canucks have means he won’t have to suffer the fate of Wellwood (passing to Bernier) or Schroeder (passing to Sestito), which means the chances of his line being flat out awful doesn’t just ride on his shoulders. 

– Another thing going for Vey is the fact his spot on the top unit of the power play has shown a ton of potential, so just having him on the team for that alone means he will get ice time.

– As I was watching Zack Kassian jump into the St. Louis bench to avoid a too many men call (slick play by the way), I realized that Kassian doesn’t play anything resembling a power forward game. He doesn’t really hit, he doesn’t use his size to win many battles (Higgins wins more board battles), he just kind of exists. I think he has underrated playmaking skills, but other than that, it’s hard to tell just exactly what kind of player Zack Kassian is. All I know is he’s young, and the world is still waiting to see if he crosses into Brad Isbister/Taylor Pyatt territory by the time he turns 26.

– The Canucks/Blues game had a segment during the intermission where the Canucks were asked what was on their bucket list. Most of them, of course, said winning the Stanley Cup (though kudos to Dan Hamhuis for being the only one to say “Winning a Stanley Cup WITH Vancouver.”)

– My favorite by far, though, was Ryan Stanton’s. While some players talked about travelling to new countries or jumping out of planes to conquer fear, Ryan Stanton looked at the camera and just honestly said that he simply wanted a wife and some kids. He then stared sadly at the camera.

– Vancouver, find this man a girlfriend.

– Speaking of jumping out of planes, Eddie Lack was the one who said he wanted to jump out of a plane, but was too afraid to do it yet. So at the risk of “doing my photo shop shtick” (which I have been told is so 1999), here is what I imagine it would look like:

sky

– I don’t dabble in hockey rumors, I dabble in movie watching rumors. Eddie Lack has never seen Guardian’s of the Galaxy and will be watching it this week. I am always your go to source for random Eddie Lack rumors you never knew you wanted to know.

– The Buffalo Sabres have yet to score a power play goal this season as they attempt to out suck the Carolina Hurricanes (currently 0/27). If anyone in Vancouver holds ill will against Cody Hodgson, you couldn’t have asked for a more fitting fate than him ending up in Buffalo. 

– For those scoring at home, Hodgson has one assist so far this season. But it was a really nice assist. (I lied, I have no idea if it was nice.)

(Editor’s note: here’s Hodgson’s lone point on the season:


Zack Kassian has had better passes die on the stick of Brad Richardson this year, but CoHo plays for the Sabres so he’s likely suffering a similar fate.)

  • Kassian needs to start playing like a Power Forward or he will be Taylor Pyatt! He has slick passing skills but coasts and gets lost for stretches of time. If this team is to do anything Kassian needs to be a twenty goal scorer!

    Miller has played pretty well so far. Three of the goals vs Dallas were flukes for sure. burr deflection, Blocker butt of stick and wipe out by Tanev. I believe he will be a stabilizing force over the season. Again Markstrom starting 20-25 games was the problem w signing a top 4 Dman and the likely contact that would be too long ala Gillis.

    Corrado needs to be given an opportunity to play. His ELC is being wasted because AV and Gillis played him too many games in a lost cause of a season in 2012.

    • “Corrado needs to be given an opportunity to play. His ELC is being wasted because AV and Gillis played him too many games in a lost cause of a season in 2012.”

      Corrado may never be anything more than a replacement player/fringy NHLer.

      That’s the information that Gillis/AV had when they made the decision to burn the first year of his ELC in 2012 to try and improve their chances to win playoff games.

      It was the right call for a player like Corrado (or most every young player that doesn’t project to be a star).

      The objective is to win in the playoffs and, at the time, the Canucks were pretty much at the top of the win curve.

      The fact that the organization didn’t have anyone else they trusted for a 3rd pairing role (including Ballard) is another story…

      • Corrado held his own in that playoff series and I for one would rather see him with Sbisa than Weber! Weber is a fringe NHLer also

        2012 was a lost cause because Danny was out until the final game. One of AVs biggest blunders… Not planning for Danny being out in that series.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see Corrado get a chance this year and establish himself as a good 3rd pairing defenseman hopefully.

          And, in an ideal world, he earns more trust and ice team if his play merits it just as Tanev has done.

          I’m merely defending the decision in 2012 – which is rare for me since many of the decisions of the previous regime weren’t particularly good in my opinion – since the objective is to win in the playoffs.

          We still don’t know what Corrado is.

          If he turns out to be another Yann Sauve and has a short NHL career as a replacement player, burning a year off his ELC becomes immaterial.

          What exactly did you want AV to do in that series with Danny out? Pack up his bags and begin summer vacation early?

          I never understood the negativity for AV.

          The core of the best team in Canucks history developed under his watch – even if some of it like Burrows with the Sedins was dumb luck.

          AV seems to be doing a lot better than Vancouver since the marriage ended…

  • Sounds like that if anyone would benefit from the return of the mind room, it might be Kassian, although Hansen and Edler would probably benefit too.

    I’m more than okay with Kassian not being a power forward. I’m also okay with him being a bigger Burrows or Daniel Sedin, a healthy Samuelsson, a Joe Thornton that plays on the wing, etc, but those guys also win board battles, protect the puck, make smart decisions and avoid ‘looking lost’. Those are far more imporant than simply skating fast and laying big hits or they wouldn’t have bought out Booth

  • Interesting article, but I have a few points of disagreement. First, Kassian, when he gets hyper aggressive this blog attacks him as being childish and dumb, when he plays smart hockey, he isn’t power forward enough. My only view is that he needs a person who can shoot the puck on the line with him. I would like to see Higgins on the 3rd line, Matthias on the Bench and Jensen on the second line or if they don’t want to bring up Jensen, move Vey to second line, Higgins to 3rd and Matthias to 4th line. Second, the dmen. I am more concerned about Bieksa than the bottom 2. Sbisa is clearly a gambler, who is going to make mistakes, but may bring rewards. I have actually felt that Weber has played okay and he has a decent +/-. Overall I think the Canucks have done a good job. Miller is solid and I think this gives Lack (our long term goalie) a year or two to develop with less pressure. What dman did you want to bring in with the about $4million in cap room you might have had, there were not very many medium level quality dmen available this summer. Finally, it is nice to see the development of a legitimate 1 and 2 defense pair, Edler and Tanev.