Canucks Army Postgame: Dirty Wins

With a must-need win behind the Canucks against the Detroit Red Wings, the Canucks are out of the basement and back in a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. 

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Oh, wait… I forgot to mention. The Pacific is terrible, so they’re still in danger of falling back into the basement. 

How about that win, though, eh? 

The Rundown

This was Vancouver’s first game without Brandon Sutter AND without Henrik Sedin, and the team did… well, I suppose better than expected. 

Jared McCann picked up a goal in the first period to remind the team that he’s sticking around for the long haul (sorry, Team Canada) and Jannik Hansen got a nifty primary assist to help the team enter the second frame 1-0. 

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Then, none other than Sven Baertschi picked up goal number two of the game, earning the team a two-goal lead… which, of course, they promptly blew. The game ultimately had to be settled in the shootout, which is the world’s biggest nightmare and shows that the Canucks even want us to hate their wins. 

Radim Vrbata FINALLY capitalized on one of his eight hundred thousand shots on goal, scoring number ten of the season on a night that saw the Czech record 4 SOG. I won’t talk about Ryan Miller (jk, yes I will, just wait for it), although he did prevent the team from falling for yet another time in extra minutes. He’s fading fast this season, but he held on long enough to give the club a chance at the shootout – which is Jimmy Howard’s kryptonite. 

Canucks win, and they’re one game closer to this season finally coming to a close. 

The Stats

chart (2)

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This team blew another 3rd period lead! *waits for head to inevitably explode*

The Ups

Linden Vey had some pretty frank words when he was recalled earlier today, mentioning that there were some points in his game that needed addressing when he was sent down to the Utica Comets to start out the year. 

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Admitting that there was stuff to work on – and that you knew it – is a big thing for a young kid to do, but Vey did it. Now, he’s up with the big club during the holiday season, and doing big things… like, winning the game big things. 

The actual game itself saw very limited action from Vey, who was a bit of a bummer when he tried to put up top tier production on a power play unit last season with the Sedins. He only recorded one shot on goal in his eleven minutes and change during tonight’s game, and found himself a pointless skater when the team hit the shootout. 

The shootout, though. 

Being the shootout hero isn’t something that’s necessarily replicable, and Vey will need to show us more than just a shootout winning goal to prove he deserves a second chance in the NHL. Finding the back of the net to win the game, though? Not bad for your return to the lineup, Vey. 

The Downs

Ryan Miller walked away from a game in which his club outshot their opponents 40-28 with a shootout win over a goaltender who’s notoriously terrible at shootout wins, so that’s how I feel about him right now. You can’t blame a whole loss on the goaltender, but the Miller that would have been expected to bail his club out during their iconic third-period collapse succumbed to exhaustion in mid-November. 

The way that Miller has been playing in the last few weeks looks nothing short of tired, which is worrying to me, If he’s already starting to tire out before Christmas break is even under way, next year is going to be the farthest thing from fun. 

Normally, I’m a Christopher Tanev fan, but he sat on Miller during one of the goals. Derek Dorsett, Brandon Prust, and Adam Cracknell also failed to provide next to any offense, and the club still has a ways to go before they’ll look like the deserve a playoff spot (if they even get one). 

I guess Auston Matthews Matthew Tkachuk is still cool, right? 


I want to applaud the team for winning, but Jimmy Howard is (and probably always will be) terrified of the shootout – so this was literally a must-win. If Howard walked away with two points in the skills competition and the Canucks earned another one-point night, things would have been pretty bad. 

They won, though, so let’s celebrate. Vrbata scored, Sven Baertschi had a two-point night, and welcome back, Linden Vey! 

  • Steampuck

    Game was pretty entertaining. Wonder if it is just me but I thought Higgns blew it on the late Zetterberg goal. Not only was he to slow to get over to boards but a wave of the stick as the player walks by you. (Won’t get into him in shoot out). Biega is looking decent, seems to improve daily.
    Don’t know how Detroit always seems to get away with interference/picks in offensive zone.

  • Steampuck

    Definitely an entertaining game from my two favorite teams.
    Now who wouldn’t prefer Biega over Weber? He’s no giant but he plays like one.
    No McCann in the shootout? Higgins??
    Miller = over the shoulder glove side. Nobody tried it in the shootout.

  • Steampuck

    Markstrom needs to get a series of starts. We knew that Miller was going to wear down, and he hasn’t been spelled nearly enough.

    Horvat seems to be finding his game again. He’s looked busy and useful the past couple of games…

  • Laxbruh15

    Pretty depressing game recap. It would be nice if there wasn’t an overwhelming sense of despair when going over a win. The team played well aside from higgins and sven’s been playing pretty well for the last five games. So has bo and mccann. Vey looks like a career ahl player. Bo and sven both look like they’re improving each game which is great considering it looked like they were both struggling. I doubt that the team will get matthew’s, I’m guessing he’ll go to arizona. Patrick Laine would probably be a realistic expectation and he isn’t really a game breaker. This year’s draft is pretty weak aside from matthew’s, I would rather get into the playoffs than get a decent future second liner. Carl neil and tate olson look like potential top four defensemen and tryamkin could be a number one. Other teams may have more prospects, but the prospects that vancouver has have the ability to develop into good players. It’s not like prospects are tickets to the lottery, getting as many as possible isn’t going to result in a greater number of nhl players unless they’re quality picks. Winnipeg has a large prospect pool but there are only one or two players who could realistically develop into strong players. The others are potential third or fourth liners. Vancouver has enough now to replace pretty close to all of the spots in the line up with young players. Benning isn’t a good gm long term but he’s finding the player’s that are needed.

    • andyg

      What games have you seen of Tryamkin’s that makes you think he’s a future 1st pairing defenseman? Other than the fact that he’s really really tall (like Sustr)? And how is a high 1st round pick turning into a 2nd loner a bad thing? Do you know the success rate of players drafted in the 1st even playing regularly in the NHL? Look at our 1sts for the past decade, how many of them even turned to 2nd line players?

      • andyg

        Lets be realistic now!

        After the top 4 the draft is stacked with players of Bo and McCann’s talent level. Players who could be first line players. Matthews is the only one who looks like a sure thing. I am someone who would really like to see us go low enough to get a good shot at Matthews but if the team pushes and makes the playoffs I am OK with that to.
        Even if we just squeak in we could be looking at a nice player or two out of this years pool. Lets not forget that Benning pulled Boeser out at #23.

        It would be really nice to pick up a couple of more 2nd’s at the trade dead line.

        • andyg

          Agree that the upcoming draft is looking pretty solid. Should be some quality players available throughout draft. May not all be 1st or 2nd liners but players that may be able to fill out bottom half of roster, and solid depth players. Hoping that we stock up on draft choices to stock up Utica &Kalamazoo. We must not forget that a glaring weakness for us is Defenseman prospects, another young goalie in system would also be nice. We need to have faith in Bennington, as this seems to be his true area of expertise.

        • Ruprecht

          I’m pretty much in the same boat. Either way, we’re going to have a bunch of money to spend and a good amount of draft picks going into the off season. A nice place to be for phase 2 of the rebuild.

          It’s hilarious, injuries finally force Willie to give us a show of the youth movement…the one everybody has been complaining about not being utilized properly. They get their minutes and put on a nice show last night for the win, and people still find something to complain about.

          Even the writer of this article can’t be unbiased enough to call last night what it was, a surprisingly enjoyable game in the midst of a giant crapstorm. But it was.

      • Laxbruh15

        It really isn’t. Aside from matthews, scouts have been saying that the last twenty of the first round from last year would be the first twenty from this year. Chychrun’s been compared to jakub zboril who was taken with the twelfth pick. There’s no longer a guarantee that a team will pick in the top three which means tanking for the fourteenth overall pick. Doesn’t make sense for the fans or the organization. Especially considering the difference in the schedule in the second half of the year and that the team’s missing the player filling in as second line center. It doesn’t really matter if the pick is successful in creating a player if it’s another third or fourth line player. There are plenty of players utica or the juniors who could fill those roles. The reason there’s the perception that a rebuild should be a multi year process with large amounts of failed picks is primarily because most gm’s don’t know how to do their jobs. Tryamkin’s playing 19:43 a night in the khl which is considered the second best league in the world as a nineteen year old. He’s also producing fairly well. Another year and he could fill a spot in the top four and then eventually take over for edler. The team has enough players to make up a new first line and two seconds plus decent players for the fourth line. As long as the players are developed properly in utica, the team will be refreshed within two to three years. The sedins will hopefully be on a successful team again before they retire.

  • andyg

    Well at least there was effort,and the team did not quit like they have lately when getting some adversity. And a desperate team shot the puck tonight and Willy even changed his mo in the ot and had 2 forwards/1dman, at least we did not lose in ot!

    Burrows effort at not get the puck out on the tying goal typical of his cocky attitude. Throw in his lack of goal production and offensive zone penalties and we should move him while we can.

    As for you bam bam or sham sham I have not been on the nuck bandwagon eversince we gave up Kesler and Bieksa. 2 guys who hated to lose and were forced out by negative press and indifference. The sedins are great and classy and showing they can still get it done. But if you believe that this team is going the right direction then I suggest you quit smoking funny things.

      • andyg

        Kesler gave up being a Canuck and made it quite clear on the way he left. Appropriate that he is a Dick,I mean a Duck.

        Bieksa wanted to stay but at -8 with 0 goals and 3 assists on the year we know Kevin is in a better place now. Kevin was lost to excessive salary that coincided with inadequate foot speed but not popularity.

        Benning earned 101 points in his rookie campaign and is rebuilding before our eyes.Since Gillis did not know how or neglected to build through drafts and development I guess Benning has a few more years to ultimately gauge his worth.

    • Dirty30

      Are you suggesting that we hold on to all aging and declining veterans because some fans love the way they played the game several years ago? What Bennington is doing (rebuild) with this team now should have started 3 or 4 years ago. I was and still am a big fan of Bieksa but his time here was done. Time to turn the page and move on.

    • andyg

      Youve already taken a decent amount of flack on this, but I just wanted to add that you should probably thank Benning for the fact that you’re left with fond memories of Bieksa and Kesler. The way they’re playing right now would have left a pretty negative impression. Not to say that Kesler didn’t do that himself with his trade demand… I’m not sure how your favourable opinion of him dodged that bullet.

    • Ruprecht

      exactly..Kes and Bieksa are gone and you quickly jump off cause they made moves you didn’t agree with. again shows the type of fan you are.

      bieksa was done, washed up. had to go. kesler realized his TEAMMATES didn’t like his attitude and knew he couldn’t go back into that room. guys a good player but hes a doosh and forced himself out.

      and yes I believe they are going in the right direction. they lack depth and young talent cause of previous regimes not drafting well and trading picks trying to get over the top cause you know we were one of the best teams for a long stretch there. it will take a few years but we will eventually get back there. most teams go through these cycles.

      i smoke weed, but what are these funny things you are talking about??

  • Dirty30

    Recap is overly negative whereas I thought yesterday’s was overly positive. There was a much better effort in an entertaining game — my main hopes are that many of the young players really seem to be continuing to grow even if the results don’t always show it. Horvat was flying all night, he’s getting better in the face-off dot and I thought Baertschi again was creative and tenacious, I don’t know why he gets the hate that he does. McCann did not wilt under the pressure of having to play against Zetterberg (!) a lot of the game and looked dangerous all night.

    As they have through most of this stretch I was far more unimpressed by the vets, not just their inability to score but by lazy plays that cost us. The first goal Burrows couldn’t clear it where he clearly should have, the third I have zero idea what Higgins was doing in waving at Zetterberg so feebly off the face-off and then Miller let in that stinker while barely moving. Miller at least made up for it with some very good saves but Tanev also has looked like garbage for a few games (that terrible pass straight up the middle, several other times where he got himself into Sbisa-like trouble). Even Daniel made some very weak plays throughout the game. And what was that idiotic tough guy move by Prust at the end of the 2nd? What discipline does that show the young players when you take a needless roughing penalty at the end of the period nursing a 1-goal lead? The only veterans that really seem to be playing with any emotion and responsibility the last little while are the Sedins, Hansen, Vrbata, Cracknell and Edler.

    On the back end Biega I think has proven he should stay in the lineup at Weber’s expense and I think potentially even more than Bartkowski who is a misadventure. When Sbisa is back Weber should go out and Bartkowski should alternate with Biega.

    Next to face Lu in FLA who’s coming off a shutout

  • andyg

    nice win and very happy to see the “new generation” contribute

    Like i said before, goals are much needed to build confidence especially for the Horvats and Mcanns, as a fan i have no problem with team losing as long as they develop.

    Most would agree that this team/franchise needs to get @ least a top 4 pick this year to go ahead for the future and many such as myself will be happy if they lose but at least try and score…

  • Steampuck

    I couldn’t disagree more with your negative assessment of Miller. We are lucky to have a veteran, proven #1 NHL goalie. He’s done a great job this year. He gives our younger goalies a chance to develop without crippling pressure. He’s a calming influence in the dressing room. He’s great in shootouts. And he WON the game last night.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    For the El Puke-O

    What a bunch of hot air in these comments, first it was tank and get some draft picks, so now we’re in tank mode and its fire Willie and fire brain dead Benning and Linden too. Hell fire everyone and trade the Sedins and get rid of this stale core and play the kids a la Oilers. What? We have injuries? Put them on waivers. Come on lets really stink.

    I would like to say to you that even though my name may be offensive to many i never indicated the “fire sale” of all or to “fire” anyone one in particular.

    I am just a simple fan that has been following the team since 1982 so you can get the drift of my age and how many management “teams” i have seen.

    Without going into detail i have alway said that.

    EVERY TRADE JB HAS DONE HAS NOT BEEN IN QUESTION !!! (besides the Forling (fourskin) for the Cleaning man)

    its what he given up to get what he wants and the DUMBBBBB contracts… and the 2nd rounders he keeps thawing away?

    and not to mention firing LG…. WTF is that all about? JB is DUM….

    D will come later

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Higgins had the best view of Zetterburg’s goal considering he literally stood there on the ice as Zetterburg skated around him uncontested to score the goal.
    Higgins has been invisible this year.

  • Ruprecht

    Taken a lot of flack,lol? Hey my main points were this Kesler won the key draws,at one time ran the pp with the sedins in 2011,the same yr. he single handedly took us past Nashville en route to the eventual game 7 beantown home ice loss.

    The following yrs surgeries he was hurting but Alain a winning coach commented they needed beastmode back again to get by the sharks in the playoffs. And Bieksa stood up for his team/self when he tried to get the younger Ferland who was making a mockery out of us in the first round last yr. Instead we keep the more expensive Hamhuis who also has dimishing skills and add Batkowski who could not make Bostons backend in 3yrs and think thats an upgrade? How about Sibisa and his game when he is not hurt? Is he worth north of 3mliion at 3 yrs plus? Then a lot of posters here want Vrbata traded,lol? Why? He along with Hansen are the only 2nd or 3rd line scoring we have! I am all for going after the local kid Ryan J.Likely he would cherish a move back home and the asking price could probably be matched by us but given the poor choices of this current management team they will not make this trade! Bandwagon? Hey a team that gives there farm kids 1 game is not really re tooling at all. Shinkaruk/Gaunce/Grenier/Pedan/ etc etc . Moving Jake to the worlds the only logical choice given he was not playing anyway. Thatcher Demko playing for BostonC, remind anyone here of another Cory Scneider? We do have young prospect talent but how are we going to manage them?

  • Steampuck

    So hands up everyone who, before the season started, thought the Canucks would win a game this year with a line-up of Horvat, McCann, Cracknell and Vey at Center.

    Total NHL regular season experience of the Canuck Centers that played against Detroit – 338 games.

    Total NHL regular season experience of Henrik Sedin – 1125 games.

    Regardless of the reason it would appear that the people who want a youth movement are getting their way.

  • Ruprecht

    The Minny game was a disaster, but both Chicago and Det were games in which and over matched team gutted it out.

    Winning environment is one thing, but learning how to battle and not give up is priceless. McCann as the first line center was unfathomable at the start of the season!

    The Twins got to develop behind the West Coast Express, but they are different players than Mac and Bo. These two will be dare I say, more Kesler-ish. Tough two way players and grit will be their calling card. Stretches like these will help to shape the Canucks of the future as Sutter/Horvat/McCann take over.

    This team will battle the skill of teams with an in your face defensive style. Western conference teams will not like seeing the Canucks on their schedule. We will be hated again, but for different reasons!
    Nice win boys.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Last night was a great example of the need for veterans to help the young players along in their development.

    Vrbata made a great play to draw the defender in along the boards and make a perfect pass to Horvat on the second goal. Then he patiently finished on the third goal after a great play by Baertschi to keep the puck in along the blue line then find Edler for a shot on goal which led to the rebound. Without Vrbata Baertschi doesn’t get those two points.

    It was Hansen who made a smart play on the first goal by sending the puck wide for a wild rebound that McCann corralled and quickly put in the net.

    Miller made some great saves both in the overtime and shootout to set Vey up with the opportunity to win it, though I can’t understand why Horvat and McCann didn’t get a chance to go before Vey did.

    Then there are the stories about the Sedins having discussions with the rookies in practice, passing on their wisdom and sharing their own experiences in becoming two of the best players in the NHL.

    It’s hard not to question some of the decisions by Benning and even more so Desjardins, but overall I am happy with the direction the team is taking. I don’t believe that going full Oilers and shipping out all of the veterans is the way to go because there is so much that the young players can learn and there will be opportunities that open up due to injuries just like we are seeing right now.

      • Canuck4Life20

        Horvat played a great game too. Play the kids, but keep some solid veterans in the mix to help them along. Allow a more natural roster progression by slowly shipping out the veterans as their performance goes down like Benning did with Bieksa over the summer. That is what I see Benning doing and why I am happy with the team’s overall direction.