Canucks Army Postgame: Minnesota Wildin’

I’ve wasted no digital ink on this platform, or others for that matter, discussing the threat that the an upstart Minnesota Wild pose to Vancouver’s playoff aspirations. By most underlying metrics, they are the better team. With the addition of Devan Dubnyk, they’ve addressed their Achilles heel. This in mind, the Canucks should have had no problem getting up for a contest against their playoff bubble Western counterparts. This is the home stretch and these are four-point games if there ever was such a thing. 

Instead Vancouver wandered aimlessly like lambs to the slaughter into tonight’s contest. Defensively, the Canucks treated their structure as an afterthought. The two clubs traded chances early; Dubnyk was up to the task, Ryan Miller was not. This trend continued until Miller was relieved of his duty and the game was well out of reach. Eddie Lack did his best to stop the bleeding, keeping the Wild at five. The final score 5-3.

Lets find out where it all went wrong on the other side of the jump.

Highlights

Quick Hits

chart

shot

[Canucks.com Recap] [Official Event Summary] [Face-Off Report] [Canucks Post-Game Show] [War-on-Ice Stat Pack] [NaturalStatTrick.com Stat Pack] [HockeyStats.ca Stat Pack]

  • Saturday night’s performance aside, Miller’s play has been slipping of late. Since those back-to-back shutouts in mid-January, Miller is posting an even strength sv% of .926. Seems high, but compared to this seasons totals from goaltenders that have played 1000 minutes or more, it’s just slightly above average. I shudder at how low that number sinks without that shutout of the Pens. Miller isn’t a bad goalie. At this stage in his career though, he can’t be playing this often. Besides, the Canucks have a pretty capable back-up in Eddie Lack. Maybe that’s an option worth exploring?
  • It was inevitable. From the moment you knew he was lacing them up tonight, Jordan Schroeder was doomed to have an amazing night in spite of his old team. Schroeder notched the opening tally on a sneaky backhand, short-side. He also had a strong possession game, leaving well in the black for Minnesota. I never quite understood the thought process behind Vancouver not qualifying Schroeder this summer. It’s hardly a life or death decision, but a poor showing of asset management with a player who could very well provide value as a 13th forward. Here’s Nations Network overlord Thomas Drance on that decision:

It makes no sense not to qualify Schroeder, though. 

For context, consider this: do you remember Bill Sweatt and Anton Rodin? Both forwards struggled to establish themselves as NHL players, and ultimately spent the past season in Sweden. Both players also received qualifying offers last summer, because the Canucks wanted to retain their rights as RFAs. That’s just how asset management works in the NHL, at least that’s how competent asset management works.

  • If you’re getting a little sick and tired of the Minnesota Wild, I can’t blame you. The Canucks played them just eight days ago – another game to forget. And in another seven days, they will face-off again. It will be crucial that Vancouver win their contest next week, so as to create a little distance. There’s three points of distance between the clubs tonight and it’s entirely possible that this gap could all but disappear between now and the Canucks next meeting with the Wild. 
  • Having a hard time understanding Willie Desjardins decision to sit Adam Clendening tonight. Of course, room had to be made to accommodate the return of Dan Hamhuis, but again, why Clendening? In the time since his acquisition, he’s a 54% Corsi. That’s higher than Luca Sbisa and Ryan Stanton in that exact same time frame. As a matter of fact, going into tonight’s contest Stanton was at 46% Corsi since the acquisition of Clendening. Don’t let tonight’s garbage time goal fool you either. Stanton’s ability to contribute offensively is miles from Clendenings. The latter of those two had even proven himself to be a useful member of the power play. Bizarre. 
  • Don’t look now, but that’s back-to-back games with goals for The Big Guy. Had to figure Kassian was overdue for a little regression at some point. War-On-Ice.com has his PDO at 95.7. As disengaged as he may look at times, I’m beginning to think it’s much more likely that Kassian had been mired in a stretch of horrid luck, more than anything. 5-3 losses aren’t exactly where you start looking for positives, but Kassian finding the back of the net again offers a little something. 

Conclusion

The Canucks have been wildly inconsistent of late. It’s one game-on, one off. When playing a greedy puck possession team like the Wild, you’re gonna suffer for the latter of those two. Next up for Vancouver is another Central Division powerhouse, the Chicago Blackhawks. 

  • Ruprecht

    Sorry for the correction but I’m pretty sure Clendening was sat for the return of Tanev as opposed to Hamhuis.

    It would be nice to see the Sedins show for a couple of these big games as the standings tighten as well.

    I actually thought they should put Kass with them in the 3rd with things pretty much over, just to get them going. Because, you know, they’ve been pretty inconsistent with their effort over the last little while.

  • ReBaum

    I’ve been annoyed by a lot of moves both management and the coaching staff have made.

    I’m increasingly inclined to believe that Willie is actually very old-school in terms of hockey mentality, as are Benning and Linden.

    As far as I can tell, they don’t know, pay attention to, or care about anything other than their “gut”.

    That doesn’t bother me when we’re talking about who shoots on the shootout, but it bothers me when it means who is on the team and who isn’t, and who is playing and who isn’t.

    I’ll give them a little more time, but I’m not particularly enthralled.

    • Ruprecht

      It’s pretty much like squeezing water from a rock at this point. I’m not too sure there are any moves that could make a huge difference, no matter how they are made. That was just a flat out dud. Hopefully a few of them are getting crap from their Dad’s on the way back to the hotel tonight.

  • Ruprecht

    Great recap- totally bizarre to sit Clendening… really weird as his play has been excellent… only thing I could think of is that they were going to (foolishly) trade him/he’s got a bit of an injury… doesn’t make any sense from a “try to win” perspective…

  • Steampuck

    great recap as always Canucks Army.

    This coaching staff, and management regime for that matter, are rookies. And it shows. Benching Kassian when you can’t score or drive play. Keeping Vey high in the lineup despite him being a total drag on the team. Benching Clendenning over Stanton or Sbisa. Keeping Sbisa in the lineup -period. Extremely low o-zone usage of Sedins. Inablity to get Edler/Tanev out with Sedins as much as in the past. Using Miller over Lack. All of the too many men on the ice calls against Canucks.

    The list goes on. The list is long. This coaching staff come off as complete idiots. Listen, I know advanced stats aren’t everything – but the smart coaches use them. Ask AV, Quenville, Sutter and McLellan. All have admitted to use them during games (for match ups etc). Clearly the Canucks org, and now Willie no longer use them. And it shows. The #’s are abysmal, and they are making stupid decisions like benching Clendenning over Stanton/Sbisa. I mean, really?!? You think you have such a cushion that you can just throw away games like this?

    It really doesn’t make any sense other than these guys are rookies, and it shows.

    • Spiel

      Great comments, that`s why I come onto this site for, comments like these.Comments that make you think, or entertain you.I agree, many nights I`ve spent watching this team have left me with a WTF? feeling.

  • YeahHeDid

    Also pretty confused by Clendening getting the scratch over Sbisa/Stanton.

    Thought maybe it was a left side/right side thing, so I pulled the depth chart by handedness.

    Left – Edler, Hamhuis, Sbisa, Stanton
    Right – Tanev, Bieksa, Weber, Clendening, Corrado, Sanguinetti

    So, unless any of these guys specialize in playing on their off side, the coaching staff decided to replace a righty with a righty so they could keep their squad of ineffectual left-handers intact. OK, so it’s just Sbisa/Stanton, but still.

    On an unrelated note, when you look at the defensive depth all laid out like that, it sure doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

  • Steampuck

    It’s time to talk about Miller. The coaching staff needs to manage his starts more aggressively. It seems almost as though the call is Miller’s, and he plays when he wants. Everyone wants to play, but there have been too many soft starts. I’d love to see a post quantifying the number of ideal starts for a goalie, based on age, rest, and playoff success. I appreciate the Stanley Cup isn’t a realistic objective for this year, but Miller shouldn’t be playing more than 55-60 games in a season.

    This came up with Luongo’s workload in those years where the Canucks couldn’t shake the Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs. Was burnout an issue by playoff time? Miller’s too old to “find a rhythm” and defy Father Time with heavy usage. This is all the more galling since Lack represents a more than adequate replacement.

  • Steampuck

    At this stage, with respect to goaltending, two things need to happen.

    1. If it’s apparent, as it was to everyone here ten minutes in, that Miller doesn’t have it on a particular night, remove him and play Lack. The latest this should have happened was the start of period 2.

    2. The Canucks have 30 games left. Lack should start in ten of them.

    And yes at this stage I think it would be preferable to have a competent righty playing his off-side than having both Stanton and Sbisa playing. Try Clendening at it. If it doesn’t work, fine, at least we know.

    • Spiel

      Re 1. Agree completely. Miller isn’t the youngster that once played 70 games for Buffalo. Neither he nor Lack is going to be at his best when Miller plays too much and Lack needs all his hands and feet to count the days between starts on his hands and toes.

      Re Righty/Lefty-Canucks were playing 4 left handed shots-Edler, Hamhuis, Sbisa, Stanton. Only Tanev and Weber were dressed among the right handed shots.

  • Mantastic

    the reason why Rodin and Sweatt were qualified is because they wouldn’t take up a contract spot while retain their rights because they are playing in europe. if they did qualify Schroeder, he would have taken a contract slot and contract slots are very valuable to GMs. Drance usually has a poor understanding of these things.

    • Mantastic

      Schroeder continues to be a competent AHL scorer. But it’s not like he’s tearing up the NHL. Another poor pick by the Canucks and one that I am not surprised they moved on from though I suppose you could make the argument that it would have been a better use of AHL depth than O’Reilly or Jeffreys.

  • Spiel

    Think there’s a little over reaction to Clendening being benched in favor of Sbisa/Stanton. If Clendening doesn’t get a shot soon then I’ll be concerned, but he’s hardly been here a week and may need time to adjust.

    Say what you want about why Sbisa/Stanton are playing in the NHL, but Clendening has been an AHLr this year so trust will be slow to come.

  • Spiel

    Garbage move to sit Clendening when the alternatives are Sbsisa, Stanton or Weber. I like his game overall, huge offensive upside…… but you can’t sit here and tell me that he has not had some questionable defensive moments. I mean, he has come as advertised for me. Terrific passing, offense, getting shots through, but questions on the back end.