Canucks Army Postgame: Secondary Assist Wizard Luca Sbisa


Tonight, I did something special. 

That’s right, fans of the Army! I got to witness Luca Sbisa earning himself two primary assists from just a few rows above ice level in Glendale, Arizona. 

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What a time to be alive, my friends. 

I wrote last night’s recap as well, so I won’t give you guys too much of a tongue-lashing for the fact that Vancouver almost saw yet another game go into overtime that once boasted a pretty cushy lead. Instead, let’s focus on the ups (and downs) of this particular game itself. 

The Rundown

Remember last night, when I said that Brendan Gaunce was kind of slow (but built up slowly to be very powerful by the time he hit the other net)?

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Yeah. Tonight, he kicked it into another gear. He was aggressive on the forecheck, and had a nasty open-ice hit that reminded me of Nazem Kadri when he’s playing a clean game. If Vancouver can harness Gaunce’s tenacity – and get him to lay a few more of those filthy checks – he thinks the game well enough that he could be pretty useful down the line. 

Oh, and he also did this: 

There was a lot about Arizona’s goaltending early on that I don’t want to talk about, because it was pretty gross. Mike Smith wasn’t reading anything (for the two point five seconds his crazy butt was on the ice) and Anders Lindback probably could have saved that Gaunce goal. Whatever, though; it got the rookie his first NHL goal. It was awesome. 

Sbisa had two secondary assists to start out the game, which resulted in me tweeting this: 

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Then, because everything I endorse crumbles and turns to dust, he turned back into regular Sbisa for the rest of the game. Word has it he smashed his stick upon entering the locker room tonight; he knows his game could have been better. 

Across the ice, Richard Bachman (whom I shamelessly endorse more than I have any right to) played a decent game. I like that he’s a calm netminder, which is a refreshing change from watching Ryan Miller. He’s not very good at squaring himself to the play, but he got the job done. 

The Stats

chart (1)

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Arizona kind of pulled ahead more than before towards the end of the game (once again proving that Vancouver hates protecting a lead), but they honestly put up the better numbers all game.


Honestly, the Coyotes have been a fun team to watch this year – and they stayed with it against Vancouver for the entirety of the game that didn’t involve Mike Smith. 

Tobias Rieder and Max Domi were expected goal scorers; both were due for a tally, and they delivered in fashion. Rieder burst onto the scene last year as a 13 goal rookie for Arizona’s garbage offense, but even more so as one of the league’s best young two-way talents. He’s been great for the team on the penalty kill, while Domi and Duclair – who failed to record a goal, but danced circles around everyone on the ice – have more than a few fancy tricks to offer. 

On the Canucks side, though, Guance and Hutton were great. Gaunce really looked comfortable out there, and did I mention that Ben Hutton is the real deal? Hutton Hutton Hutton. I love Ben Hutton. 

Now that this game is behind them, Vancouver can focus on solidifying their dominance in the absolute trash heap that is currently the Pacific Division. Jared McCann can keep being underrated but incredible, Radim Vrbata can continue being my favorite member of the Canucks, and hopefully Jacob Markstrom will be back soon. 

  • Vanoxy

    honestly Cat, you have pretty poor read on the game and are way too influenced by your bias for and against certain players. Really weak effort tonight Cat, hopefully you can pull your game up.

  • Vanoxy

    Riding a 35 year goalie and four rookies a night the Canucks ply first place in the Pacific.

    This must be very difficult for tankers and Benning or Linden bashers.

    • andyg

      I don’t think there are nearly as many Lindenning bashers as you would all like to believe. There are a lot of critics who have problems with the trades and signings Benning has made. But it’s fair to criticize a lot of those moves.

      Where was Sutter tonight, for example? Sbisa did look bad in his own end (as usual). And it was Bachman in net, not your $6m 35-year-old starter.

    • andyg

      Even the tankers secretly want to win. They just don’t think it is possible to acquire the high end talent for the future unless we are drafting in the top 5.

      Benning is making me a believer. McCann and Boeser selected in the mid 20’s is helping to ease my concerns.

      With a mix of veterans and a bunch of talented kids we are able to role 4 good lines. Only 2 loses puts us in with the top teams in the league.

      It will be a fun year. Hunter scored 2 more last night. Six in Six games. I am sure that Sven is looking over his shoulder right now.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Slightly less satisfying than the game against Dallas if I’m being honest, mostly because Sbisa was a pile of hot garbage out there — boneheaded plays led to at least 2 of the Coyotes goals. We can’t keep icing a team that has Weber, Bartkowski and Sbisa with regular shifts (and no Corrado wouldn’t help since he still can’t crack the Leafs lineup) — the difference between the gong show with them on the ice versus Tanev, Edler and Hutton (or Hamhuis) is kind of crazy. Actually I’d put Biega in there over Bartkowski at this point. Sbisa’s thing is supposed to be that he’s big, mobile and hits, right? Why can’t he clear the front of the net? Why does he just wave at the forward’s stick and never tie it up? Why is he fishing for the puck in front of the net?

    Benign gets all kinds of kudos for being able to spot the talent in some of these young guys. But what does he possibly see in Sbisa?

    I did wonder after McCann and Virtanen took those hard hits if maybe a bit more time in junior and the weight room might not be a bad idea.

    And Bachmann good lord stop trying to play the puck.

  • Steampuck

    @ Aaron Coughman

    Kesler-2 assists in 10 games

    Traded for:

    Sbisa-1 goal 3 assists

    McCann- 5 goals

    Sutter(Bonino)-3 goals 4 assists

    Dorsett-2 goals 1 assist

    Benning was given Anaheim as his sole trading partner and dumped a large prima donna headache dick head in Kesler and received the above in return.

    2 assists vs.

    11 goals and 8 assists.

    You critics do have problems but they have nothing to do with Benning.

    • Canuck4Life20

      I don’t think it’s about points alone (I still would rather have had another draft pick than Sbisa) but your point is a good one. For all the moaning about the trades done by Benning all I’m still seeing at this point as what we’re ‘missing’:

      Kesler’s a 2C for which we got a young D, potential 2C, and a top end 3C

      Garrison’s a 4D for which we got a potential top-six player who may or may not still pan out; since LA flipped McKeown who they took with the 2nd rounder for their rental of Sekera I think this basically cancels out

      Lack’s a backup for which we got a potential 3D and a lottery pick

      Mallet’s now in the ECHL, and I think we regained our 3rd rounder in the Sutter deal via the Isles for which we got a potential 3D in Pedan

      Clendening has played one game for the Pens as their 7D, part of the price for Sutter

      Rasmus Anderson continues to do well for the Barrie Colts but is likely 4-5 years away from making the NHL if he does for Baertschi who for all his problems continues to show decent promise

      Forsling has cooled off a bit after his hot start in the SHL and hard to predict if he can make the transition, a decent gamble to get the asset of Clendening

      Corrado hasn’t made it into a TO game and is off on a dubious ‘conditioning’ stint with the Marlies.

      Kassian (as we know) is dealing with serious life issues that make his hockey career at this point an afterthought for which we got Prust who is much better than I could have hoped for.

      Bieksa has 1 assist, 4 PIM and is a -6 in hist first ten games in Anaheim for which we got a 2nd rounder.

      Other than maybe Andersen there’s not one name on there that Benning has traded away that I really have any possible misgivings about. Would we really be better with Kesler, Lack, Bieksa and Garrison or any of the others? Would we be better in 5 years? All the hypotheticals about what we COULD/SHOULD have gotten for our assets just tells me how much we as armchair qbs overvalue them since it’s not like they’re tearing up the league elsewhere.

  • Steampuck

    Give it a year or two, but this is going to be a heavy team. Watching Gaunce push guys around in front of the net, Horvat bulling his way to goal, and Virtanen murders: that’s the kind of solid core that will give more skilled players a lot of ice to work with. Never mind that the big guys should be decent producers themselves…

  • Steampuck

    I was trying to figure out what the top image was trying to tell us…

    Is this an artistic way of saying Kesler17’s departure was head and shoulders more douchey than Luongo1???

  • Willie looked a little nervous in the third, but the guys got it done. Nice and much needed win. 5-2-4 is pretty good.

    During the preseason Canucks couldn’t score goals. This is no longer the case, but protecting the lead in the third is a concern. Willie needs to us his time out as soon as the opposition scores on us.

    Sitting on the lead, hoping for goalie to bail you out is a dangerous game. You know they are going to score with that mad scramble in front of the net. So, keep your foot on the gas and keep pushing. No more third period meltdowns.

  • Canuck4Life20

    This is a little off topic, but I’m wondering if anyone at Canucks Army can explain why Frank Corrodo is playing for the Marlies? I thought I read when the Leafs claimed him that if they wanted to send him down he would have to go back on waivers. Does this mean that the Canucks weren’t interested in getting him back?

  • Canuck4Life20

    Everyone including myself is a little nervous about the Canucks inability to close games, but…

    Let’s face the facts that this team has had turnover in both the forwards and d-corps, as well as a good bit of line mash ups. I look at the fast starts and tough play as a positive, with the fact that with those 3rd period collapses the team has gotten points to stay near the top of the Pacific.

    If lines can get straightened out and roles defined there is no doubt in my mind the Canucks will get better as the year goes along, in April we will probably see a much younger faster tougher team than went into last years playoffs!

    I like watching Gaunce/JakeV/McCann play… Sorry vets those guys are the real deal