Canucks Army Postgame: Anaheim Keslers Lose to Vancouver Spare Parts

Vancouver entered tonight with the hopes of making good on the final leg of their California road trip. Going 2-1-0 in three trips to California would go a long way in validating this franchises belief in themselves as a playoff team. Beyond that, using a victory over Ryan Kesler and the Anaheim Ducks to tilt the needle above .500 would surely be icing on the cake for a team that so desperately needs to find positives after their 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings just one night earlier.

It took a weathered storm in the first, a draw in the final two periods and a series of posts in the shootout to do it, but they left Anaheim with the victory. Read past the jump for a full recap.

The Rundown

Considering everything at stake beyond the all too valuable two-points tonight, there wasn’t much to get excited about in the first period. If tone-setting and fighting and all that fine stuff is up your alley, there was Kevin Bieksa dueling Patrick Maroon off the opening draw. But beyond that, not a lot happened. At it’s worst, Ryan Kesler rocked Jannik Hansen to the point where the pesky Dane came up sans-helmet. At it’s best, Eddie Lack wasn’t left hanging by his teammates; which has been rare in the second half of back-to-backs for the handlebar mustached netminder. 

There’s a lot more to chew on from the second onward though. The pace increased considerably, which favored the Canucks more than the Ducks. It didn’t show up early, though, as a power play goal from Sami Vatanen (noted Canucks Army favourite and guy I wanted back in the Kesler trade) launched a wrist-shot immediately off the won offensive-zone draw for the opening tally. Winning the faceoff, of course, was none other than Ryan Kesler.

The Ducks lead would be short lived though. Vancouver continued to up the ante and it eventually paid off in the form of an Alex Burrows goal off a deflected Dan Hamhuis shot from the point. It was the highlight of a great night for the second-line, which has carried the scoring of late for Vancouver. Nick Bonino had an assist on the play, going tit-for-tat with Kesler and keeping the comparison story line alive. 

While the score didn’t change in the third, the speed at which the game was played took a significant step forward. Both clubs traded chances, with the Canucks second-line doing the lion’s share of the work for Vancouver. When all was said and done though, regulation ended a 1-1 draw. Overtime did nothing to settle this one.

Here’s a breakdown of how that went:

Canucks Shootout Ducks

Bonino scored the only goal and with the game on the line, Lack was able to stop Kesler with the help of his trusted crossbar. I’m not one to overreact, but I think Vancouver won the trade.

The Numbers

chart (4)

Courtesy of HockeyStats.ca

Not bad, all things considered. Firstly, the Ducks have been the better of the two teams since the start of 2013-2014 and they should have a legitimate chance of contending in the playoffs. Secondly, Vancouver came into tonight on the second half of back-to-backs missing three regulars from their lineup. Despite the Ducks rash of injuries that rivaled Vancouver’s, the Canucks were punching well above their weight class and left on-top. 

The Canucks faith in Linden Vey is beginning to frustrate me. Despite playing the second-half of this game on the Sedin line, Vey finished the night with a 34% Corsi. It’s an ugly trend for Vey, who’s struggled mightily this season at evens. His value as a finisher on the power play is undeniable, but if the Canucks could get half of that from Vey at even strength, I’m sure they would be thrilled. I certainly would.

As for Mr.Malcontent himself, Kesler, he had a vintage #beastmode night. His boxcars aren’t necessarily overwhelming, but he had the highest Corsi of any Ducks player and managed this shadowing the Sedins all night. How’d Kesler fare against the Twins? Well, he came out in the black with 52% possession when hard-matched against Henrik Sedin. The Twins also didn’t muster much in the way of scoring chances tonight, so I’m going to have to label it a victory for Kes. 

The Conclusion

The Canucks get one days rest, then it’s right back to it against the Ottawa Senators. Those pesky Senators and their “cost per point” philosophy are as middling as it gets, so this should see a return to success for Vancouver. One would think, anyways. See you then!

  • BlazingSaitls

    So, the dreaded road trip comes to an end. We get a win we deserved (with some help from Miller), a win we didn’t deserve (with some help from Miller), a shelacking we deserved and a win well deserved due to some hard skating and good goaltending. All in all, I consider this road trip a win. Just look at the shambles we were in coming out of these trips to Cali last year – certainly, there has been some improvement under TLJB and Willie.

  • pheenster

    You know, I’m no cheerleader, but the fact was the Canucks were the better team tonight and deserved to win tonight, just as much as they deserved to lose last night. Being that last night’s post-game was doom and gloom, can’t we maybe give credit where it’s due? “Ooh California, I’m so scared oooooo California anything but that…” time to move forward, amirite? (Ps, I live in California and it’s not scary)

  • pheenster

    The Canucks played a very good road game tonight.

    They were a bit on their heels expecting a charge from the home team at first but the ice slowly began to tilt for the Canucks. They played hard and they played well. They deserved the two points tonight. The three destructive losses the boys have endured seem like outliers. Just what happens in an 82 game season. Sometimes you don’t show up, the other team does and the breaks all go against you. Most of the games the Canucks work hard and create scoring chances.

    At 3-1 the trip is a winner for sure. Something to build on and hopefully make Rogers Arena a tough place to play.

  • Brent

    Yea!

    This was a needed salve after last nights pathetic outing. Reality is that the Kings are a great possession team, and when they are on, they are very difficult to play against. And last night they were on. I am trying to keep expectations in check but the fact that we faced the dreaded California trip and actually got 6 of a possibly 8 points is way above what I hoped for.

    Great effort, exciting hockey, great goaltending and an exciting finish. Thanks to both teams for the entertainment. That could be one of the best games I have seen so far this year.

  • pheenster

    If Vrbata is out for more games, Coach Willie should put Burr back with the Twins.

    I understand wanting to keep the second line together, but the first line needs to keep scoring. Move Hanson into the second and Burr back next to Danny and Hank

  • NM001

    Credit where it’s due — after stealing the win in SJ and getting absolutely destroyed in LA that was just about the most satisfying win this season so far. Even without Vrbata, Kassian and Dorsett the Canucks didn’t look thoroughly outclassed — even when the shot count was about 11-3 in the first and the Ducks announcers kept going on about the big and fast forwards in the Anaheim lineup I thought the Canucks played a pretty good game. I also think the recap is off in describing the top line as being quiet — I actually thought they had a pretty solid game with Andersen making some excellent saves off of Daniel in particular.

    I think the two players who’ve impressed me the most in recent games are Hansen and Matthias. Hansen in particular despite getting rocked by numerous hits was hustling and making plays all night as he has the last few games. Matthias has slowly reversed my sense that he’s completely useless and has been using his speed and size on the wing really well. Once the injuries are sorted out I really hope they send Horvat back to the minors (while he hasn’t looked terrible other than a few boneheaded giveaways and attempts to stickhandle through everyone like last night I think he’s better off getting more top line minutes in the O). I also don’t get the hate for Vey — for a guy adjusting to the NHL after a solid AHL/fourth line NHL start, this is his first full season and I think he’s been decent. I’m torn about that sixth D slot — Sbisa is mobile and big and doesn’t get pushed off the puck like Weber does but Weber’s bomb from the point and his puck movement on the PP make me think he should definitely stay on there (way better than Bieksa).

    All in all a satisfying road trip though I more sustained games like this rather than the debacles in between will make it seem more realistic. On another note, have we ever had a less memorable top-5 draft choice than Bryan Allen? And yet he’s probably been one of the most successful picks we’ve ever made — he’ll have close to 800 games played at the end of this year, not just with crappy VAN and FLA teams but with the Ducks at this stage of his career.

    • RIP

      Eddie looked good out there. Glad he finally got enough run support (barely) for the win.

      I’ll have to agree with you about Matthias. I was one of the guys calling for Matthias to come out for Horvat, so I’ll have to give a mea culpa here. He looks like he’s finally figuring out the wing, which can only be good for Vey & his faceoff struggles. If Matthias can take Vey’s weak-side draws, then Vey can focus on learning the trade when on his strong side, which can only help him develop faster.

      Loving the ongoing evolution/revelation of Bonino as a bona fide NHL 2C. He’s not going to be in the Selke conversation any time soon, but he’s decent enough defensively, and he certainly helps with the secondary scoring. I sure do wish Bones could win faceoffs, though.

      Small sample size & all, but I’m going to enjoy being #3 overall in the NHL while it lasts.

  • RIP

    “Those pesky Senators and their “cost per point” philosophy are as middling as it gets, so this should see a return to success for Vancouver.”

    Well, there’s a guaranteed loss right there. C’mon man, learn from history!

  • RIP

    Good game for sure.

    For me this year one of our most consistent players has been Higgins. Not a lot has been said about him and he has beed a big reason for Bonino’s success, and of course is on track for 50 again this year as well.

    On Lack, I though he had a decent game but nothing to write home about. He had a couple of really good positional saves, but he was fighting the puck on a couple as well. Also I though his puck handling was poor to say the least. I am very happy he got the win and he is a great back up, but hope to see better in the future.

    Great finish to the road trip, still undecided about Sbisa so no comment on that.

  • RIP

    I dunno, I’m still looking at the trip overall as an indication that the Canucks aren’t anything resembling a real threat in the West. Three contests, utterly destroyed twice, played a relatively close fought game once. Not really anything to get excited about. Can’t argue with the results, but as always, process is more important.

    • RIP

      While it’s still pretty early and the two teams are surely more different than simply Kesler and Bonino, the possession battle looks quite different between Anaheim & Vancouver compared to last year:

      http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/teamstats.php?disp=1&db=201314&sit=5v5close&sort=CFPCT&sortdir=DESC

      http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/teamstats.php?disp=1&db=201415&sit=5v5close&sort=CFPCT&sortdir=DESC

      You are right, of course, that this California trip should not be seen in a positive light (although last night was solid).

      But as long as Vancouver posts an actual, possession or moral victory, delusion Canuck fans will have something upon which to cling…

    • RIP

      You know, there’s something a little backwards about talking about being “utterly destroyed” in a game the team actually won.

      I know the “fancy stats” are popular and all, but wins are still wins and losses are still losses. 4 out of 6 points against three highly touted teams, all on the road, is nothing to shake a stick at.

      I remember back 10 years ago when we’d play the Red Wings and get a ton of shots on their net but they’d still pull off the victory and people would say “good teams win games they don’t deserve to”. Why, when the shoe is on the other foot, do the Canucks get no benefit of doubt? At the very least, next time the Canucks dominate possession in a game but lose, I would hope to see you back here to talk about how we “utterly destroyed” the other team.

      • RIP

        I assume this was directed at me…

        The Canucks are plenty capable of playing at their true talent level and dominating teams at the possession game.

        As long as the competition isn’t particularly good…

        “I remember back 10 years ago when we’d play the Red Wings and get a ton of shots on their net but they’d still pull off the victory and people would say “good teams win games they don’t deserve to.”

        Those great Red Wing teams used to kill teams at the shot differential game:

        http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/team/_/stat/scoring/sort/avgShots/year/2006

        This includes shots at all game states and, yes, I cherrypicked a particularly dominant Red Wing season.

        The best Red Wing teams – like the better Canuck teams – outshot their opponents by a healthy margin.

        Personally, I do believe the Canucks are better than their current mediocre possession numbers.

        But only a little bit better…

      • pheenster

        Were they not out-attempted something like 80-23? That’s getting utterly destroyed in a fashion you wouldn’t expect to see happen to anyone other than the Buffalo Sabres.

        This is living in the world of the 2012 Minnesota Wild or last year’s Avalanche or this year’s Flames. How many times does it have to happen before everyone recognizes that the process is more important than the result, in terms of going forward? “Good teams win games they don’t deserve to”… no, that’s basically nonsense, every team wins games they don’t deserve to, including the good teams. They just also deserve to win most of their games, and in the long run, the results will follow. This is why in spite of their early record no one ever seriously doubted the Hawks would and will end up contending for the top spot in the Central.

        The trip was in part about results, but the narrative going in was, “let’s see if this Canucks group is for real”. Well, based on the results, they are exactly what we thought they’d be pre-season: a decent team that can hang with the big guys on some nights, and possibly a threat to make the playoffs and if fortunate win a round, but in no way on the same plane as the heavyweights in the conference.

        This is fine, because that’s a team that’s still going to be entertaining to watch and cheer for during the season but let’s maintain a modicum of realism when it comes to our forward-looking expectations.

        • pheenster

          But that SJ game was a bunch of low percentage shots from the outside.

          We gritted out 2 road victories in 3 tough buildings.

          We hit, played with courage and stood up for each other.

          I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.

          Signed,

          Randy Carlyle

        • Orpo

          The point is you seem to think the process matters more than the results. In the end, it doesn’t. They won against San Jose, in other words, they weren’t utterly destroyed. You might say that “well if they play that way next time they play San Jose they’ll lose badly”, but that’s a horrible double-standard, because it’s basically suggesting that one game is too small of a sample for the score to be representative, but that one game is enough of sample to be representative for fancy stats. In other words, why do you think the fact that the Canucks won on the scoreboard was just luck but the fact that they lost on the possession stats was actually reflective of their actual possession abilities?

          This is the core of the issue I take with the way possession statistics are used. The larger the sample there, the more you can learn from them, but there’s this trend (and it’s really bad on this blog) instead to look at them in isolation and extrapolate them. That totally defeats the point of a metric that is most effective when applied to a large dataset.

          It’s also completely arbitrary to say that “oh well, we found out that the Canucks weren’t really for real”. No we didn’t, at all. It’s November, it’s a long season, there’s major room for improvement and some cause for optimism. There’s this arrogance when looking at possession stats to think they are more predictive than they are. Last year, the Canucks looked like world-beaters into December (and had the possession metrics to back it up) then fell flat. That could easily happen this season, or the possession metrics could catch up to the play on the ice, say as some of the Canucks’ veteran d-men catch up to their typical career numbers. All we know so far is that the team is 11-5-0, has looked far more dynamic offensively than last year, a bit suspect defensively, and will be very interesting to follow going forward. Beyond that, the prognostications are mostly just guesses.

          • NM001

            Again, yes they were destroyed, demolished, outplayed by several miles – by any reasonable metric besides goaltending. In evaluating a team’s ability to play hockey, because of the role that luck plays in determining outcomes game to game, process matters more than results. This is why I can look at the 2014-15 Blackhawks and say they are better at hockey than the contemporaneous Calgary Flames.

            The one game sample size is representative of how they played in that game, and you don’t really need any fancy stats to recognize that that sort of play, over the course of 82 games, will result in far more losses than wins. Same as the game in LA. These were not close games in terms of the flow of play. Miller stole one, but as Saturday demonstrates, that isn’t something that should be counted on.

            All I used the possession stats for was to demonstrate how tilted the ice was in that particular San Jose game. That’s not really necessary, though – the eye test told the same exact story, if you’re being at all honest with yourself.

            Sure, I totally agree it’s a long season, but if we had to use those three games as a measuring stick for where the team is at, we’d have to conclude that they just don’t measure up. Maybe those three games just aren’t representative, I don’t know, I hope that’s the case. But they were billed as a test, measuring stick, what have you, and the Canucks failed to meet that challenge in spite of a solid road effort last night. In other words, you’re right to say that any statement to the effect of “the Canucks are doomed to mediocrity because we just saw the real Canucks” is a guess. However, the statement, “if that is representative of the Canucks look like when they play good teams, they’re probably not winning anything that matters this year” is totally reasonable.

          • Orpo

            “Again, yes they were destroyed, demolished, outplayed by several miles – by any reasonable metric besides goaltending.”
            Yeah, that and, you know, goals. That, of course, being the metric that gets counted.

            I went to that game, and sat in the end zone corner, and the one thing that was plainly obvious from where I was sitting was that Miller could see basically every shot the Sharks threw at him. They may have outplayed us in shot attempts, but they took a lot of low percentage shots. Outside of the first and last minutes, and the PK, the Canucks did a really good job of limiting the Sharks’ true good quality scoring chances. One example that sticks out for me was Bonino’s goal. The Sharks got a CorsiFor event from Hertl’s shot at the blueline that Burrows blocked two feet away. That was a Corsi event but FAR from being a bona fide scoring chance, and if that had been Edler doing that for us and it ended up in our net, Canucks fans would be up in arms about how stupid he was being. I think having the end-on perspective really made it clear how many of the Sharks shots were of the “get it on net” variety rather than the primo scoring chance variety. The Canucks, especially later in the game, spent most of their offensive zone time cycling the puck behind the net, setting up the shots they really wanted but also just killing time. Not going to look good on the fancy stats ledger, but potentially sound strategy all the same. That is my honest opinion.

            The Canucks were better than the Ducks yesterday, on the second of back to backs, no less. If that game is part of the 3, it should cancel out one of the two where they were outplayed, because it was clear evidence that they could actually skate with the “big boys” and is a counterexample to the case against them in the LA game. But my point about the long season is that teams are often extremely different near the beginning and the end. Last year’s Canucks were pretty good near the beginning (both results and possession wise) and then dropped off. The early season team looked competitive against everyone, the later season version looked like they would lose to my nephew’s peewee team. Not sure whether 16 games in this team is overachieving on the scoreboard, or whether their possession abilities will regress to the norms of their players as they get more used to playing for Willie and with a host of new teammates (or whether they are a statistical anomaly like last year’s Avalanche may have been). And neither do you. That’s why all of this measuring stick talk is kind of stupid.

            I’ll also point out that the Canucks were on the road, meaning that they got all the bad matchups, and with a young work-in-progress team, that matters a lot. If we want a truly representative “measuring stick”, that’s a major variable affecting representativeness.

          • pheenster

            Do any of us think for a second that the Sharks or Ducks consider the outcomes of these games to be a “moral victory”. Or rather do they see these as a game that they played well enough to win with a few more bounces or without running into a hot goalie? I respect that having been at the game maybe you saw something different but from TV at least it really looked like the Canucks were pretty badly outplayed. I love the fact that they didn’t seem to collapse into a hot mess as they seemed to last year (except for the LA game) but I still don’t know why we are having this debate on whether or not this road trip proves the Canucks are “for real”.

            Nor should a realistic outlook on the team be dismissed as somehow being a downer or a troll. I get the irritation at NM00 and his style can be grating at times, it’s certainly pissed me off on occasion but I actually think he’s been surprisingly upbeat most of this season and he usually makes interesting and good observations. Just because I’m being cautious about the Canucks success doesn’t make me a non-fan. Even when I grouse about them getting killed by the Kings I still find myself sitting down to watch the next day, even when watching every game of the season means a very different commitment when you’re not living in PST anymore.

            By the way, I don’t think “delusional” qualifies as a slur. Leaf-fan, maybe…

          • Orpo

            Sure, they could have won. But they didn’t. I’m not trying to hand the Cup to the Canucks in November. I’m just saying that to know who the “real Canucks” are, we have to watch them all year. Good teams get outplayed badly some times, even by bad teams, and it’s how they perform over the long run that will tell us about them. The games you stole in November still count for 2 points, and other games you play better in will offset a bad night on the possession scoreboard.

            I didn’t mean to imply that the Canucks outplayed the Sharks, only that I didn’t think the Corsi stats really reflected the generally low quality of a lot of their chances, and that the “Canucks were clobbered” narrative was a little hyperbolic. The Sharks have been a bit flat to start the year, despite solid possession stats, and I wonder to what extent the fact that they seem fairly shot-happy might be causing that apparent underachievement.

          • Orpo

            While I don’t think there were many positives to take from the SJ & LA games, the ANA game was different.

            There WERE positives considering it was the 2nd game of a BTB and the Ducks are a decent team.

            Just out of curiosity, are the Sharks your 2nd favourite team now that you live in SJ?

            My one experience in SJ was quite pleasant and, in my section at least, the fans were quite friendly.

            I have a soft spot for the Sharks considering they’ve been a good team for a long time and have managed to do so largely on the strength of some great trades and drafting…

          • pheenster

            Nah, I’m still bitter about the first round sweep a few years back. Sharks fans are generally pretty decent people, though i got a pretty good ribbing in the bars that year (I live in San Francisco not San Jose). My dislike of the Sharks was somewhat assuaged by what happened to them last year though. Anyways, it was a fun game to watch even if the nerds tell me we were bad, better than the last few where I had to skulk out of the building.

          • Orpo

            NM00 was basically saying the same things a year ago during the December delirium and was largely hated.

            For some reason, the persona has developed a cult following in recent months.

            Am I assimilating with you rubes or is it the other way around…

      • NM001

        Yeah but forget the stats — just based on the eye test how did the Canucks look for the three CA games? The LA game the first period was ok with subpar goaltending for us but otherwise we weren’t in the same league. The SJ game we all agree Miller stole. And last night’s game as I said before was the most impressive with a depleted squad. But that still doesn’t leave us overall I think in the same conversation as the CA teams over the long haul of the season. While I’ve said on here that there’s enormous qualitative differences between last year and this given the absence of Tortorella’s Lazy/Angry style, there was still a lot of optimism around here given “results” for the first half of last year. While I do think we are playing a much more sustainable style this year the truth is we still squeaked through CA with 2 out of 3. That’s not pessimism that’s looking at the reality — we could well have come back 0-3 and we’d be having a very different discussion right now.

        I’m torn as to whether I would want to see the Canucks get the 7th or 8th slot and get into the playoffs or get a high draft pick in a promising year — the Sedins aren’t going to get any younger so part of me would rather see us give them another shot at the playoffs under what seems to be a coach whose style fits them much better.

        • pheenster

          While it’s still early, the possession numbers continue to decline each and every year since 2011.

          I’d say it matches the eye test as well.

          Henrik and Miller are what’s propping up this team from the McDavid sweepstakes.

          It’s almost as though the Canucks should have waited until the year played out last season before signing the Sedins and charting their course for the next few years…

    • NM001

      I can’t decide wether to laugh or be shocked at two ridiculous statements in such a short post.

      So the Canucks got utterly destroyed in a game they won, and results don’t matter as much as process??

      So winners don’t really win the game and there are such things as moral victories? That would get laughed out of every locker room in any professional sport.results matter and wins are results.

      Ask any coach that has played an entertaining style, but got fired because fans pay $ to see their teams win. Why do you think season tickets dropped last year? Losing or losing in a boring way. I guarantee if Torts had made the playoffs and won a round playing slog it out goon hockey, then fannies in the seats and a positive out look.

      Ridiculous nonsense!

      • NM001

        Um, they did get utterly destroyed. They were massively outplayed, except for the goaltending matchup. That’s not a recipe for winning games in the future, which is why process matters more than results at this point – for the purpose of analyzing the Canucks as a team following the road trip, it exposed them as maybe a pretty good team, maybe a playoff team, but not a great team like the powerhouses in the conference. Which is what we thought before the season.

        I don’t care what makes money, and I don’t care what’s exciting, I also do not care what causes coaches to get fired. I do care about winning – and this is not how you win going forward. You focus on the process. Had the Canucks completely dominated all three California teams, and lost all three games, we could at least rationally predict that they would win more games in the future if they kept playing like that. Here, the opposite holds true: if they play like they did on this trip overall, they will lose most of the games they play against good opposition. It’s not a “moral victory”, it’s data on which you can base a rational prediction.

        It’s like people commenting here don’t actually care about how hockey works, which is weird because this blog is pretty analytically dedicated. You would think that people who read these articles regularly would know that past play driving ability is a better predictor of future success than past success is.

        If you just want to shut your eyes, plug your ears and enjoy the two wins this past week good on you. I’m also enjoying the wins, incidentally, I’m just also pretty cautious about optimism given how they got the first one and how bad they looked in the loss.

        • pheenster

          I hope you are over thinking, because I believe you are a fan that wants the boys to play well and win…
          If they don’t hit the graphs, give them some slack. It’s a new group that we all “Hoped” Bonino may score 10 goals…. The team is doing a great job and it is a team.

          I’m not shutting my eyes, I paid to watch this team. I’m watching some vets that are skating and some rookies that like playing next to a couple of goaltenders that will stop whatever puck they can….

          If you see me standing outside of Trevs office holding up a Jam box blasting The Safety Dance, while Benning agrees…

          Don’t hate!

  • NM001

    I was at the game last night. I agree that Matthias had a strong game and Lack was excellent. Higgins and Bonino have some good chemistry. Sometimes Higgins does very impressive things with the puck, but seems to struggle to turn those into scoring chances. Bonino, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite style- he is not very flashy, but is great at getting passes through and getting shots on goal in tough situations. They complement each other well.

    Horvat made one bonehead play in particular. Some may use that play to support the position that he should be sent down. I could equally suggest that he should stay up for the same reason. That play was the ultimate junior move: “I’m just going to stick handle through three guys on the way out of my zone… Woops!”
    I watched him going back to the bench after that play, and he was visibly upset with himself. That is the kind of emotion you want to see from a young player – make a mistake, admit it, and try to learn from it. Major credit to Coach Willie for not stapling him to the bench after that mistake. Under either Torts or AV, Horvat would not have seen another shift after that play. As long as he shows improvement over the next few games, he should stay up, in my opinion.

    • NM001

      I think it’s important for Horvat to learn, but the Canucks also want him to be playing a lot of hockey right now. If the coach has to deploy him tentatively because he’s prone to mistakes, it sort of clashes with the objective of winning. There seems to be this assumption that junior is bad for a player’s development, whereas in junior, Bo would be playing against the toughest the other teams have to offer, huge minutes every night, and would still have the opportunity to grow in strength and speed as much as he would in the NHL. Getting an extra year of Bo at entry level money would make great managerial sense too.

      I think your point about the coaching is interesting though. Willie is a coach who’s been renowned for his ability to coach young players to success, and you’re right that he clearly takes a more measured approach to dealing with growing pains. I’d just rather he was taking that approach with Horvat next year, rather than this one.

      • RIP

        The biggest problem I have with keeping Horvat with the Canucks this year is that it could mess up his development if he needs to spend the majority of next year in Utica.

        If he plays out the latter half of the season in the minors, then Utica is a promotion; however, if he sticks with the ‘Nucks for the rest of this year, getting his 8 minutes per game in, then it’s going to be hard to sell him on Utica being a promotion, no matter how much more ice time he gets.

    • RIP

      Only you could come in after a well-deserved win against a 1st place team with this level of pessimism.

      If we’re going to extrapolate small sample size, what it really says at this point is that the Canucks would probably go out and win a playoff series 4-2, with 4 close victories for Vancouver where they post a slight Corsi advantage, and 2 blowout losses where they get dominated on every square foot of ice. That, more than a consistent level of mediocrity, has been the pattern of the season so far.

      • RIP

        Because the results are a better indicator of Vancouver’s true talent than the process where they got dominated in two games and played even in the last one…

        To be fair, though, the last game was the 2nd of a BTB and all three games were on the road which was/is a disadvantage.

        What is this negativity of which you speak?

        I have already suggested I think Vancouver will grab the 8th playoff spot.

        And I implied that their best shot to win a playoff series would be against the Ducks as opposed to the Sharks or Kings.

        Nothing particularly groundbreaking about any of this…

        • Orpo

          No, my point is just that the underlying stats are so stochastic that it’s not really fair to analyze them in isolation.

          Actually, I sort of agree with the latter part of your post, though as things sort themselves out in the West, the higher wild card might not be entirely out of the question. Without overanalyzing Thursday’s game, it’s also possible that San Jose’s slower start might actually reflect a bit of decline on their part too (their 5 on 5 possession stats are only slightly above ours).

          It’s still very early. I think one thing that should be said is that the Canucks, more so than most of the other Western teams legitimately vying for the playoffs, have had a fair bit of roster shakeup coming into this year, so it’s not outrageous to think that familiarity will improve some of their underlying numbers a little bit. Usually steady Bieksa and Hamhuis have been really underperforming, and I can’t help but hope that they will get it together a little more too. It’s so easy to project that the “fancy stats” where the Canucks are outperforming the odds are going to fall back to Earth but the fact is that most of the team is playing below their career standards Corsi-wise so it’s not unrealistic to expect that to regress upwards as well.

          On the one hand, I’d like to see San Jose in the playoffs because then I could go to the games and I’d love to get those jerks back, but I tend to agree with you that the Ducks might be the most favorable matchup. It’s sort of funny to be saying that because last year, it was the Ducks, much more than the Sharks or Kings, that really owned us both scoreboard-wise and in the general flow of play. Your boy Bonino did have 3 goals against us so that’s probably why.

    • RIP

      While you are correct in that the Canucks average out to being an average NHL team with their overall advanced stats, you also have to agree that the standings, coupled with the aforementioned performance, show not an average team (or a ‘mediocre’ one, which is just another, more pejorative, way of saying the same thing), but rather a team that swings from top-5 to bottom-10 in performance.

      I suspect that time, and more games, will sort this out; but for now, the evidence seems to suggest that the Canucks are either a bad team that is vastly overachieving or a good team struggling with maddeningly inconsistent play.

        • NM001

          So, which is the delusional part: thinking that the team is either as good as their record, as bad as their defense, or as inconsistent as their advanced stats suggest? I actually stated in my comment that they were all 3, so I’m not sure which is the delusional one that you refer to.

          Perhaps, and I’m just going out on a limb here, but perhaps the delusion was in my first sentence, when I said “you are correct”.

          • NM001

            How exactly are the advanced stats “suggesting” they are inconsistent?

            The delusional part is also taking into consideration your recent semantic comment about a “mediocre Western Conference team” being in the 5-10 boat or whatever nonsense you were deluding yourself into believing.

            This is an average team with an over the hill core.

            It has been getting worse each and every year since 2011 although there was some (self-inflicted?) bad luck last season.

            Good enough to make the playoffs.

            And that’s about it…

          • Orpo

            How do the advanced stats suggest that they are inconsistent? Well, when you click on the different columns on the link you provide, they rank everywhere from 4th or 5th best overall in some categories to 20th or worse in others. I may be a delusional Canucks fan, but when the same people under the same coach rank everywhere from 5th to 20th, I think “inconsistent” is a very good descriptor.

            And the “delusional” part of my comment today is some comment I made weeks ago, for which you corrected me and I did not argue with your interpretation? Good to know. What about my comment that you corrected me on where I read the data you referenced and agreed that you were right and I was wrong, and then publicly came back on here and said so? Was that delusional as well (or just the first part)?

            I have noticed one thing, however. When I’m wrong, and you point out *how* I’m wrong, I do the research, then come on here and say so.

            When you are called out on an opinion (by anyone) and do not immediately have backup for it, out come the slurs.

  • pheenster

    … I mean, if bad teams didn’t also win games they didn’t deserve to, Buffalo would be somewhere in the vicinity of 0-16 right now. I say that having watched most of their games out of a sheer sense of amazement at how awful they are. I reccommend it; it’s popcorn munching material, especially the ones vs. the Pens.

    • pheenster

      Completely true — there are AHL teams that I guarantee are better than the Sabres.

      I bear Hodgson no ill will but it is kind of fascinating to see him barely able to hang on to a 3rd/4th line role on that awful team. While being paid north of $4 million…(not that we should keep going with the comparison but Kassian is rather effective at $1.75, no?)

  • NM001

    Anyone else get the feeling that NM00 is one of the writers or managers of the site. He never gets banned, and can get away with direct insults like

    delusion Canuck fans will have something upon which to cling…

    He always takes the contrary opinion too, which I believe is to drive hits. If everyone is like man this California road trip is going to be hard, he’s an optomist we might make the playoffs, it won’t be that bad a trip. We have a good roadtrip 3-1, and he’s back on the negativity train, about everyone being delusional and that we would be lucky to even compete with the California teams.

    He seems to like to drive arguments, throw insults, make fun of other commenters, all the while if anyone insults him they get a time out and the post gets edited to read something like we are all friends here no need for that.

    If he is not here to drive hits, and therefor money to the site, then I’d be completely shocked. I used to come to this site cause it was informative, and the comments section was an actual discussion. But since NM00 came on the scene it’s been nothing but trolls, people who make political statements, riot jokes, preach rape (check the previous articles) all the while little is being done to clean this place up.

    I liked the old site but now that greed has taken over here, where views and trash talk is encouraged, and meaningful discussions aren’t I find myself coming back to the site less and less which is a shame cause this is still arguably the best Canucks site for statistical analysis.

    Hope this site cleans itself up one day, I miss the old Canucks Army site.

    • NM001

      “Anyone else get the feeling that NM00 is one of the writers or managers of the site. He never gets banned, and can get away with direct insults like”

      You’re about a year too late to the party.

      As should be obvious to all by now, not a single CA staffer has the lyricism of NM00…

      “He seems to like to drive arguments, throw insults, make fun of other commenters, all the while if anyone insults him they get a time out and the post gets edited to read something like we are all friends here no need for that.”

      I have no control over what the dullards that manage this site deem worthy of censorship.

      If you properly read the thread to which you are referring, you should know that I was in favour of keeping the comment up as NM00 bashing has turned into a hobby around here…

      “But since NM00 came on the scene it’s been nothing but trolls, people who make political statements, riot jokes, preach rape (check the previous articles) all the while little is being done to clean this place up.”

      Don’t be dumb.

      NM00 has never engaged in mysogynistic (i.e. ‘Sedin sisters’), xenophobic (such as some of the underhanded slurs directed at Mr Filipovic when he used to work here) or heteronormative (such as one of the comments on the weekend) discussion.

      Nor has NM00 ever encouraged some of the vile comments that were posted on the weekend.

      Someone as delusional as you, though, really shouldn’t be in charge of an NM00 parody account.

      Your limitations are not my problem…

      • NM001

        “Don’t be dumb.

        NM00 has never engaged in mysogynistic (i.e. ‘Sedin sisters’), xenophobic (such as some of the underhanded slurs directed at Mr Filipovic when he used to work here) or heteronormative (such as one of the comments on the weekend) discussion.”

        I never said you did. Not once. I’m saying since you came on the scene and started to preach hate towards Cancucks fans calling us delusional and the like, and not being censored in any way, it has oppened the flood gates to accounts that talk about bike lanes, mayor robertson, riots, and rape comments. It’s a shame cause before you were here, we could get negative comments about the team from other fanbases and that was ok, but now it’s just preaching hate towards the fane base.

        I mean seriously if you don’t like the Canucks or the fane base, or the direction of the team, why come on to a site for fans. That got me thinking though this site isn’t for fans it’s for hits and dollars.

        THE ONLY WAY SOMEONE SPENDS THIS MUCH TIME PREACHING ARGUMENTATIVE LACED COMMENTS IS IF THEY STAND SOMETHING TO GAIN, OTHERWISE WHAT IS THE POINT.

        • pheenster

          What exactly is the implication of “since NM00 came on the scene” if not that NM00 is a gateway drug for, as I noted, mysogyny, xenophobia, heteronormative and rape-based comments?

          “I mean seriously if you don’t like the Canucks or the fane base, or the direction of the team, why come on to a site for fans. That got me thinking though this site isn’t for fans it’s for hits and dollars.”

          I normally wouldn’t bother responding to someone that has displayed limited critical thinking abilities like you have.

          But it seems necessary to tell you that there is a difference between what I and other “trolls” post and you should really criticize us with seperate posts if it bothers you so much…

          • NM001

            I actually quoted you calling Canucks fans delusional and that’s in this thread alone. You hide under the guise of contributing meaningful or relevant stuff, but you don’t. Although pull some more baseball draft stats or other useless info that has never been proven to corelate in any meaningful way.

            Your a troll. You know your a troll. And your the worst kind of troll, the kind that honestly hides as something other then a troll all the while trolling. Sure you don’t spit hate, but why comment on here, and call the fans who come here delusional as though we all are.

            You want me to single out individual commentators, but you can paint all Canucks fans as delusional, pot call the kettler black much.

          • NM001

            “I actually quoted you calling Canucks fans delusional”

            Do you want a cookie?

            “You want me to single out individual commentators, but you can paint all Canucks fans as delusional, pot call the kettler black much.”

            When have I ever said ALL Canuck fans are delusional…

            “Your a troll. You know your a troll. And your the worst kind of troll, the kind that honestly hides as something other then a troll all the while trolling.”

            Then why engage?

            And why dedicate your user name to my existance?

            The demon is a liar.

            He will lie to confuse us.

            But he will also mix lies
            with the truth to attack us.

            The attack is psychological…

          • NM001

            the very fact that people give you props for trolling and throwing insults (I never called you any names) just goes to show how this site was once for canucks fans, and is now caring more about hits and dollars then providing an experience for the fans.

            Maybe I”m just sick of coming to a blog that doesn’t care anymore. If I posted like you on the oilers blog I’d be downvoted, flogged, and then banned (i’ve seen them do it with trolls) but for some reason canucks army encourages this. Then again the oilers blog (oilers nation) has more commentators, and worthwhile comments to read.

            Maybe it’s time I just read another blog, and leave this one to the trolls. It’s clearly trending that way, and anyone who has been here since the early days can see that plain and simple.

            Enjoy your blog NM00 it was clearly made for you (or made by you perhaps?)

            NM001 out

  • Orpo

    I wouldn’t read too much into possession numbers 16 games into the season, especially with a new Coach. Nor would I take the last three games against tough teams as indicative of the Canucks performance moving forwards as, (Anaheim aside) the rest of the NHL will be a step below these teams in terms of performance.

    There’s been a huge swing towards analytics in the last little while, but I fear we are overextending their use. CORSI and those other metrics are meant to be long term leading indicators over large sample sizes, their value diminishes in the short run. There was a chart earlier (posted by Rhys on twitter) which suggested that the 30 game point is a more appropriate bell weather point. Until then proclaiming any sort of label on the Canucks based on possession metrics is speculative.

  • Orpo

    NM00 is one of the reasons i bother to read the comments on CA. In fact i wish he had his own regular article. Lol it’d be pretty great i imagine, maybe it’d feature the most ludicrous replies he’s received that week, all the ones that we might have missed…
    Anyways just wanted to say i’m a big fan of NM00. If you think he’s a troll i’d advise you to not feed internet trolls. Unless you too are on the nation network payroll. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Orpo

      Definitely agree. Who wouldn’t want to read someone who cherry picks stats and repeats the same misleading drivel over and over? Look at how well that formula works for American news networks…

  • NM001

    nm00 really does enjoy a verbal tussle, that much is obvious. it’s not enough to relay facts; he likes to include something snarky to stir the pot. he kind of reminds me of ryan lambert and his style of writing. it comes across as arrogance to many but, how would nm00 describe himself?