Cheers and Jeers – Halloween Edition!

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It’s Halloween, the Canucks are… looking good, which is insanely spooky, and now it’s time for: “Cheers and Jeers!”

This regular feature was originally started by Canucks Army forefather Cam Davie during the 2011-12 hockey season. Now that I’m the old hand at this here Canucks hockey blog (that happened… quickly), I figure it’s my turn to carry on tradition.

This week, on the other side of the jump, I give some props to Linden Vey, Dave Hodge and Cam Davie, while jeering at some weak Twitter arguments. 

Cheers – Let’s start by belting out a bawdy tune to the heavens in honor of Linden Vey and the Canucks power play.

Vancouver’s five-on-four play has been pretty excellent in the early going, and there’s a number of interesting stats that have resulted from the first unit’s dominance.

Perhaps the most interesting number is that Linden Vey, playing mostly in the high-slot, is manufacturing power-play goals at the fourth most efficient rate among all NHL forwards so far (minimum of 25 minutes played). Though his shot rate is really healthy, it seems unlikely that Vey will sustain an elite five-on-four scoring rate all season. So what, it’s still a really nice start for the young forward.

Here’s another good one: Daniel Sedin is second in the entire NHL in primary assist rate. He’s also scoring power-play goals less efficiently than his brother Henrik, which is odd. Has he become the primary playmaker for the first unit? No, he probably hasn’t. Unless the twins have dressed up as each other again for an extended Halloween.

Finally, Radim Vrbata has five points in five-on-four situations this season, which is the exact number of goals the full first power-play unit has scored. So he’s been in on every single power play goal that the Canucks have scored with him on the ice in five-on-four situations.  

Jeers – Let’s all just agree that using a superpest-type player’s lack of suspension history to defend him after a borderline hit is a flimsy line of argument.

Alex Burrows is going to get suspended (or at least fined) for the first time in his career later today, as he should.

Sure he’s never been suspended before, but there have been enough close calls over the years that you know the Department of Player Safety isn’t likely to give him the benefit of the doubt. From spearing Marc Staal in the junk, to biting Bergeron, to any number of other plays – Burrows hasn’t earned it anyway.

Cheers – Let’s sounds the kazoos for negative Cheers and Jeers commenter “Dave Hodge”.

As a guy who works full-time in a job that literally everybody on the internet is dead sure they could do better than I do, I’m used to dealing with a lot of criticism. I rarely receive a critical comment on something I write that brings a smile to my face like fake Dave Hodge’s spot on impression of real Dave Hodge:

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Thanks for restoring my faith in the bottom half of the internet, Dave.

Jeers – The agonizing over Zack Kassian’s usage is getting a bit old. Personally I’d like to see Kassian skate on the second line with Nick Bonino and Chris Higgins in Burrows’ absence because I’d like to see what Kassian could do with a player who can finish like Bonino. Realistically though Jannik Hansen makes more sense in that spot for a variety of reasons.

The first is his speed, and the second is his defensive play. Burrows is probably Vancouver’s best defensive forward, and his responsible stick and intelligent puck management has been crucial in covering up some of Nick Bonino’s warts as a two-way player (in particular his lack of speed). Hansen is better suited to replacing that than Kassian is – period.

I’d also mention that with the egalitarian way Desjardins is doling out time on ice, the difference between playing on the second and third line isn’t that big. 

Finally, as much as Hansen makes more sense on Vancouver’s second line than Kassian does, Kassian makes more sense than Hansen does on the third-line – at least as it’s currently constructed. 

Basically it’s about scoring depth and if you take Kassian off of the third-line, who is providing any offensive potential on that group? You leave Kassian with Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson and you might get a goal (or two, if you’re lucky) against the bottom-end of an opponent’s lineup. Put Hansen with Matthias and Richardson? That ain’t happening (unless breakaways that don’t result in goals count as goals).

Cheers – Stand with me, stone faced, and join me in handing out a Wiserhood slow clap to Cheers and Jeers original Cam Davie.

If you missed it earlier, Davie is raising funds for Camp Goodtimes, a retreat that kids fighting cancer can go to for a week to get away from the battle of their lives for a minute. Cam is going to donate $5 for every Canucks win this season (and $10 for every additional playoff win) and he’s urging hockey fans to join him. His goal is $5000 and here’s how you can help:

If you want to pledge based on a season-long statistic (such as wins or points), let me know and I will record your pledge and will follow up and the end of the season to pay up. Just email me at cam.davie@gmail.com
and tell me your pledge and your contact information (full name, Twitter, email address).

If you want to simply donate a flat amount, you can donate now or at any time at my donation page here: Sign an Offersheet! Be a cancer fighter!

Personally I’m going to donate $10 for every Linden Vey power play goal this season (retroactive to the start of the year). Donate here and sign an offer sheet!

  • Cale

    So absent a trade that brings tertiary scoring to the third line, is there any chance we see Kassian play with people who don’t stifle his offensive talents? We know he isn’t good defensively (that backcheck on the habs’ goal last night was dreadful), but he has legitimate offensive talent. Does the lineup as currently constructed prevent him from using that talent, and if so, do we have to wait until Horvat/Jensen/Shink is ready to come up in order to make use of it?