Canucks Army Postgame: Missing the Mark(strom)

You have to imagine Jacob Markstrom envisioned a more triumphant return to the big leagues. Surrendering three goals on his first four shots, the towering Swede did nothing to ease concerns about his delayed transition from AHL stud to NHL regular. Down three goals less than 10-minutes into tonight’s contest, Vancouver had quite the hole to dig themselves from.

Mounting a second period push, the Canucks were able to drag this game back into the realm of respectability. A pair of goals from Henrik Sedin made things close, drawing the Canucks within a goal of their razor-toothed, ocean-dwelling counterparts. The comeback came to a screeching halt thereafter, with a Daniel Sedin turnover resulting in a Matt Nieto goal from the slot. Two empty-netters later, the Sharks left Rogers Arena on the winning side of a 6-2 final.

Highlights

Quick Hits

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[Canucks.com Recap] [Face-Off Summary] [Event Summary] [War-on-Ice Stats Pack] [NaturalStatTrick.com Stat Pack] [HockeyStats.ca Stat Pack]

  • After tonight’s .250 Sv% performance there will be doubts about Markstrom’s ability to make the jump to the big leagues, and rightfully so. This season wouldn’t be an exception to the rule. For the entirety of his professional career, Markstrom has been a dominant goalie in every league aside from the NHL. Failing to parlay his brilliant campaign with the Utica Comets into a full-time gig with the Canucks would be more of the same. By that same token, I have to caution against overreacting to tonight’s performance. I wouldn’t give Markstrom, Eddie Lack, Ryan Miller or Dominic Hasek a chance on the first two Sharks goals. The third? Well, yeah, the rebound control could have been better. But again, the defense in front him leaves much to be desired. 

  • So, about this whole Linden Vey… thing. I can’t reasonably expect coaches to hold themselves accountable to any sort of meritocracy where lineups are concerned. It’s not realistic. Yes, they all have favorites. Move along, nothing to see here. By that same token, this Vey thing is getting out of hand. Despite getting prime, first-unit minutes alongside the Sedins, Vey hasn’t potted a single power play goal since November 30th. Not one. Vey is also posting a -7.7% SF Rel. in this span, which would suggest that he’s a drag on the most important component of an efficient man advantage: shot volume. Vey had nearly 5-minutes in power play time tonight. Wrap your head around that one.
  • Stick-tap for the captain himself. With his two-goals on the night, Henrik is now the first Canuck in franchise history to hit the 900-point mark. According to the Sportsnet broadcast, Henrik is also the third fastest Swede in NHL history to reach that mark. With 15-goals on the season, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Henrik hits the 20-goal mark for the first time since 2009-10. Not bad, for a 34-year old.
  • Tonight’s game was easily the best of Brandon MacMillan’s time as a Canuck. The waiver wire regular was banging and crashing, forcing turnovers and playing a pivotal role in several extended forays into the Sharks zone. MacMillan also caught the Sharks – along with the entire Canucks fan base – by surprise with an impressive bull rush to the net, a la Shawn Matthias. Might have a legitimate fourth liner in this kid if he can put together more games like this.
  • Not sure whether to file tonight under injury or growing pains for Frankie Corrado. Didn’t look especially awful tonight, but posting a -2 GD in even strength play in relatively soft deployments isn’t overly flattering. Then again, his D partner for the night was Luca Sbisa.

Conclusion

These aren’t your father’s Sharks, sure, but they’re still a good team on the whole. Better than their record would indicate, and with a dangerous to-6 I am sure. I’d hardly file tonight’s loss under “panic time”. Besides, the Canucks will have as good an opportunity to bounce back as any, facing the tanking  Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. We’ll see you then!

  • Dirty30

    I would def agree the whole Vey thing is getting out of hand. It’s been out of hand for some time now, as has the Sbisa experiment. I don’t know if it’s Benning or Willie – but those 2 gotta go. Both were stupid trades to make, as I’m sure the Sven trade will be.

    Time to park Vey once Kassian and or Burr comes back.

    • Dirty30

      I agree — at least with Sbisa there is a reason for him being on the ice until some of the other D returns. But Vey should not be on the ice for any reason. Coach Real Good needs to realize this sooner than later and tough cookies if Vey’s feelings get hurt.

  • Dirty30

    I certainly understand that developing young players means not always making the same lineup choices as when the focus is on winning alone (see: Torts).

    However, I’d love to see an article comparing the Canucks’ regular young players now to when they started the season.

    Horvat sounds like he’s improving far faster than anyone dared to hope for, but what’s missing from Vey and Kassian’s games? I’ll assume that Sbisa is just the anti-Burrows, blessed with all of the individual skills he needs, but paired with the hockey sense and decision-making of a pizza.

  • Dirty30

    The Vey debacle must end. Should have ended awhile ago i personally beleive. Also generally I love pizza, its delicious, but clearly Pizza on ice is a cataclysmic failure. I dream about him no longer in a Canucks jersey. Certainly not ready to heap praise on Jimbo.

  • Dirty30

    Markstrom over Lack (unless the latter has an undisclosed injury)
    Biega over Sbisa. (Guess which ones should be in the AHL)
    Vey over Kenins (see above).
    Curious coaching decisions by Willy to say the least…

  • Dirty30

    Some thoughts on the game.

    (1) The Canucks/Sharks game was good, with Vancouver leading 2-1 most of the game. The Markstrom/Sharks game, at 3-0 Sharks, sucked.

    (2) I am happy when I see Horvat and Co. on the ice – they seem to generate plays.

    (3) I am not happy with that Vey line on the ice – it seems flacid.

    (4) Our injured D corps shows yet again….

  • Dirty30

    The Canucks really needed a win last night. Calgary and LA also won and it was a 4-point game against the Sharks.

    The Canucks play 9 of their last 19 against the Pacific. 3 against LA, 3 against Arizona, 1 against Anaheim, San Jose, and Edmonton. If they cant beat LA twice and SJ on Saturday I don’t like their chances of making the playoffs because 5 of their last 7 games this season are against St.Louis, Nashville, Chicago, Winnipeg, and LA. It wouldn’t surprise me if their final game against Edmonton was do or die.

  • Spiel

    The Canucks efforts on home ice against divisional teams has been a joke.

    I don’t expect them to win any of their remaining games against LA or San Jose, but I don’t think it will matter, the Canucks will still squeak in to the playoffs. The Sharks and Kings don’t get to play in Vancouver every game.

  • Ruprecht

    Is it just me or is our record on Tuesdays brutal?

    Feel for Markstrom. Tough night, not a lot of help early when he needed it to settle down. I also thought it was really cool for Willie to go down the bench after he pulled him and have a chat. Not a lot of coaches think to do it but in that instance, to a developing goalie, it means the world.

  • bigdaddykane

    Clearly Linden Vey is canuckville’s whipping boy. I too, dislike his play. When Backes brushed him aside like he was flicking a mosquito, scoring with ease, i thought ” emkay. Not likely to play center, ever, in the western conference. Maybe wing. Hasn’t hit, doesn’t score, is behind the play constantly, and only makes the occasional nice pass….time to try Jensen. At least he doesn’t get annihilated in every puck battle

    • Dirty30

      One could only hope but unfortunately it seems like Coach Really Good made Vey part of his package for signing with Van rather than Pittsburg and it won’t be easy to let that go this season.

      I just hope it’s not a pattern of picking some project out of the Hat each season that Coach Really Good thinks deserves a chance because he played really good for Coach in Junior.

      It’s about the Cup; the Stanley Cup and only the Stanley Cup.

      The fans pay for this through tickets sales and are not paying for someone’s pet project to get a shot because of his character if his on-ice production doesn’t help or worse, actually hurts the team.

  • Mantastic

    I still can’t get out of my mind the idea that the Canucks’ brain trust sees Vey as a possible transitional #1C, thinking that he will be able to replicate his AHL success in the NHL (115 points in 117 games). I gotta be honest, I simply don’t see that happening from what I’ve seen this year. He’s simply not physically strong enough.

    And honestly, I think if that was the plan, they should have found a way to get him down to Utica to develop his game.

  • Mantastic

    I see what everyone sees that Linden Vey is a little under sized, skates well, good on ice vision, good hockey IQ, needs to work on his faceoff, needs to work on his shot, and his consistency. However, I will reserve my judgement on Linden Vey. If you have ever been in a hockey pool, you’d know that the majority of NHL players usually peak around their third or fourth year in the league. Vey is still a rookie. I wouldn’t give up on the kid yet.

    • andyg

      Exactly. Vey has had a pretty up and down year but he’s been put into roles and under expectations that aren’t always fair to put what is essentially a rookie under. His defensive awareness is not great (not just the Backes goal but a number of others where he’s behind the play) but there’s a lot he does well too. I don’t think he should be on the PP and he’s not strong enough to be 3C — but as a winger on the third line I think he’s fine. I don’t get the vitriol over him or really any of the Canucks other young players. Best thing that’s happened this year is that there’s been extended auditions for multiple players — when’s the last time we’ve seen that happen? Yes it’s mostly because of injuries but we’ve actually had many young players get prime minutes this year. Isn’t this what we’ve been asking for for a long time? Why are there these unrealistic expectations that unless a young player produces at the same clip as a top-5 draft pick they are a total failure?

  • andyg

    Tough to gauge a loss like last nights….

    Markstrom was awful, but it was his first start in the NHL all year. He will be need through the month of March, so let’s hope it was jitters mixed with trying too hard. He is changing styles and on the last goal went back to his old self.

    Vey is in almost the same spot. Has he been given more of a leash than Kass??? Yes, but Kass has been in the NHL longer. 3/4 of a players first season does not decide who that player will be. I had higher hopes for Vey, but he isn’t Jordan Schroeder yet?

    The Canucks made a decent comeback, but with all the injuries it’s hard to fight from that far down. Maybe Markstrom should get the call in Zona?