Graphic Comments: You win some, you lose some


I’m torn. I mean, I am a Canucks fan. On any given night, I want to see them win.

But at the same time, I have seen nothing to indicate that there’s any sort of foundation on which to build a contender here.

So I also want them to fall enough in the standings so that they are sellers at the deadline and wind up not only with a high first round pick next June, but also a cupboard full of other picks acquired by trading away some of the looming UFAs.

Now, I didn’t always feel this way.

It wasn’t too long ago that I made the argument in the comments section of this very blog that the Canucks should always try and make the playoffs. That the playoffs are a crapshoot. A lottery. And all you need is a ticket and you have a chance to win.

No really. I just looked it up to be sure:

The playoffs are just as much of a crapshoot as the draft. I’d take a shot at going in as an underdog over a draft pick that may or may not pan out in 5 years any day of the week.

But that was before the team self-destructed under Tortorella and the core started to show its cracks. Even last year I had hope that we could avoid the need to blow it up, run through a couple of barren years and then emerge with the high-quality prospect pool restocked.

But no more. I have seen hardly anything from this management team over the last eight months that gives me confidence that they can just squeak into the playoffs and actually accomplish anything.

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And so, I am torn on a nightly basis.

I’m torn when I see them dressing Adam Cracknell instead of Sven Baertschi:


I put Dorsett and Hansen onto that chart just so it would scale right, but Baertschi has by almost any rational measure been one of the Canucks’ better players. The puck is almost always in the offensive zone when he is out there. Sure, you can pick on his play and say he’s not strong on the puck, but the fact remains that the puck is in the offensive zone more than not.

If you want and expect him to play like Adam Cracknell or Derek Dorsett he won’t and can’t.

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But why would you want him to play like guys that are constantly buried in their own end?

Anyway, I digress. My point is this: when I see Baertschi scratched in favour of Cracknell I shake my head at the poor decision making that ices an inferior roster and increases the likelihood of losing the game. But then, I also think that in the long run, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Another loss is another game closer to that higher pick and the potential of selling at the deadline. 

So maybe it’s not so bad when they make what I think are obviously stupid decisions.

But damn, it sure makes it tough to watch the games.


You can also check out the monthly collections of Graphic Comments over at The Sporting News.

  • Dirty30

    Yeah, it’s a tightrope alright. While there’s a certain amount of pride in not purposely scuttling the team before the season starts like Toronto, Buffalo, etc, my brother is quick to point out that Pittsburgh, LA, Chicago, etc all have a few top five picks scattered throughout their core. And while I believe that the new lottery parameters will impact the ability to get better by icing a substandard team, it won’t erase the effect.

    5 years down the road, will we be applauding the shrewd drafting and prospect development we’ve achieved using this “always be good, and develop your prospects in a winning environment” incubator, or will we be looking at the leafs saying “it sucks that tanking worked for them, but man… did it ever work”?

    My hope is that mgmt is very aware of the fact they can be competitive while still being brutal when it comes to asset management: trading older ufa/expendable assets for decent picks or prospects to gain similar assets that a tanking team would receive, and thereby giving yourself a fighting chance to build a truly competitive team.

    I’m of… sort of the same mindset as the article, depending on what day it is and what I’ve had for breakfast or the temperature outside: I love seeing us be competitive, watching the prospects develop, and catching some glimpses of the future. But god help us if we do so well that we keep both Hamhuis and Vrbata, or worse yet: if mgmt is compelled to be a buyer at the deadline.

    I’m enjoying this ride right now, but the real story of asset management — and what this regime is all about — will be told in the moves made over the course of the year.

  • Dirty30

    It’s fine to wonder whether Baertschi should be sitting in favour of Cracknell. Let the debate begin.

    But Graphic Comments is over the top with his pessimism and gnashing of teeth over the state of the team as a whole. Any management, no matter how competent, is going to make decisions that GC will not agree with. That’s life – let’s keep some perspective.

    • pheenster

      True, but maybe older. The subtitle could be “I haven’t figured out how to measure 4L players’ contributions, so they must not be making one!”

      Fallacy of composition: thinking what is true of parts of the whole must be true for the whole.

      Related: I wonder how a team full of Baertschis would do against a team full of Cracknells. GC thinks Team B would run Team C off the ice. I’m less sure.

      • Dirty30

        >>Related: I wonder how a team full of Baertschis
        >>would do against a team full of Cracknells. GC
        >>thinks Team B would run Team C off the ice. I’m less

        I’m thinking the results depend on who makes the better goalie, Sven or Adam. Save percentage is everything.

  • pheenster

    If I didn’t know that Graphic Comments is a supposedly humorous take I would probably have something to say here.

    It’s hard for a Canucks fan to make a cogent argument against tanking when this iteration of the team is based on having the second and third overall picks in 1999.

    • Dirty30

      Yes you’re right because tanking is a guarantee of success and there’s no difference based on the quality of the draft pool. If we’d had the 3,4,5 picks in 2001 imagine the powerhouse we’d have had with Svitov, Weiss, and Chistov, or the 2,3,4 in 2002 with Lehtonen, Bouwmeester and Pitkanen or 2,3,4 in 2005 with Ryan, Johnson, and Pouliot.

      There is literally no other way to build a team than to tank. And we should totally panic at the 13 game mark and completely throw in the towel. Because the management has played SOME of the young guys but not ALL of the young guys ALL of the time. What will REALLY help the young guys development will be for them to come up and get their teeth knocked in repeatedly by the more competitive teams. That will really help hone their skills, not to mention the fact that there is nothing to learning pro sports as 19 year olds other than how to score points on the ice — nothing about nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, work ethic, tricks to win face-offs, how to handle positioning and spacing, dealing with the rigors of a long season, etc.

      There is nothing that can be gained from this season so blow it all up, fire everyone and move the team to Seattle. Revolution!

  • Dirty30

    I’d rather see B on the ice than C however, maybe B needs to sit and have a good think about things.

    Maybe there’s an early trade being packaged — maybe B or maybe C. Maybe both.

    Maybe C needs some ice time and management doesn’t want to send him down.

    Maybe Coach just wants to try a different combo to see if it works.

  • Dirty30

    not going to play sven? that’s it! blow it up! stick a fork in them.

    um, take for a couple hundred games to make some bets on some teenagers? no thanks.

    that’s a couple of hundred games that often come in november and frebruary wel it’s cold, wet and dark. and you need a bit of fire in that tv hearth. tune in to watch your team lose all the time, feel bad for years so that you can blow all your emotional savings on a hypothetical cup, a cup that is under the control of the nhl and the zebras and injuries and goaltending and the merciless hockey gods?

    i thought you CA guys were into playing the percentages.

    “feel good now”, should be the obvious answer