Canucks Army Postgame: The Shane Doan Show

The Vancouver Canucks have gone up and down the standings throughout the 2015-16 season, swinging from the top to the bottom within games on what seems to be a week to week basis. 

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The good news? Tonight’s game didn’t send them plummeting all the way to the bottom. 

The bad news? With another win for the Arizona Coyotes, the Canucks moved farther from that elusive second-place spot in the Pacific Division – which, with the way that the Central and Pacific have played this year, is the spot of security for a team hoping to see the post-season. 

For the Canucks fans who read CA often (but don’t know who I am), confession time: I’m an Arizona Coyotes development coach. I’ve watched most of Vancouver’s games this year, but there’s a chance that I may have seen more of Arizona’s games on the season – so this was one of those matchups that had me hooked from the start. 

The general consensus? Both teams have some good young players coming up in the system, but damn. Those veterans can still get it. 

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The Rundown

Last season saw now-39 year old Coyotes captain Shane Doan score 14 goals on the season. It looked like he was on the decline – and while he may still be, Vancouver was certainly the unlucky recipient tonight of another game in his current white-hot goal scoring streak. 

With Doan’s two-goal game, the veteran right wing now has 15 goals on the year, and a whopping 7 goals in just 3 games heading into 2016. With 919 points and counting, the 20 year league vet is closing in on the highly-elusive 1,000 point mark, and he’s made it clear in recent months that he plans on helping the Coyotes to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship. While he may fall just short of the centurian mark, it’s clear that the captain plans on giving it the old college try to hit the milestone so few players do. 

Vancouver’s veterans were far from unimpressive tonight, though. Daniel Sedin’s third period goal from his brother and Christopher Tanev was absolutely filthy, putting him closer to his own 1,000 point mark as his career continues to progress. 

The young players on each team looked sharp in their own right, but it was the veterans who really brought the momentum to the game. Doan scored the ultimate game-winner for the Coyotes, but the Sedins found the back of the net themselves just after the disallowed goal scored by Arizona’s Michael Stone; that could have been the tipping point that brought the team back to a tie game, and that’s credit owed to the Sedins in a big way. 


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High Points

I hate giving too much credit to ‘dirty players’; I know that grinders and role-players have an important place in the NHL, but I think that heart and soul are sometimes given too much praise over tangible assets. 

That being said, I liked Bo Horvat’s game tonight. He’s been one of my least favorite Canucks prospects this year, falling behind Ben Hutton and Jared McCann despite my undying London Knights fandom. Tonight, though, he was pretty relentless around the net – and it paid off once, with a close call later in the game, as well. I liked the edge he brought to the game, and it reminded me why I missed him in the Knights lineup last year. 

Low Points

Conversely to how I’ve felt about Horvat, I’ve been pretty high on Markstrom this year. I didn’t love his game in the AHL, but he’s been holding strong as Ryan Miller starts to tire out throughout the season. 

Tonight wasn’t his night. 

Poor reads and sloppy save control made this a game that Markstrom will likely want to forget; even with the disallowed goal for Max Domi going off-sides, Markstrom’s head kind of checked out of the game after the second goal allowed. I’ve certainly seen him be better, and the Canucks will need fewer games like this if they want this season to finish well. 

On to the Next One

It’s a light week for Vancouver, who play Carolina on Wednesday and then have two days off before facing the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Carolina and Tampa Bay are doing poorly this year, but want to change that; Vancouver has a week of desperate matchups ahead of them, and it could set the tone for the rest of January if they can’t bring the stronger desire to win. 

  • Bubbalicious38

    This is BS. We are not winning with the guys we have so why not play the prospects. Grenier and Pedan deserve a chance or send them down for some game action. The team is stalled out of the playoff picture. It is time to fish or cut bait. This season is becoming a total embarrassment.

    • Bubbalicious38

      Definitely agree on playing the kids more- an example of an overplayed vet is Chris Higgins- he has 3 points in 24 games, and is a minus 12 according to the Canucks website… I don’t notice any emotional or physical edge in his current game either.

      While I like what the guy has done for the Canucks over the bulk of his career, I am not sure that continuously tolerating this kind of performance is either practical for team development or a good example for the prospects (who you would think would at least be able to match this level of ineptitude).

    • Ruprecht

      I’ve watched the Canucks since 1970 and I can state with confidence that this season has a LONG way to go before it can be called a total embarassment.

      Just sayin.

  • Bubbalicious38


    This is a perfect example of a game in which FACEOFFS make a huge difference …

    In the 1st period when the Canucks were dominating the puck, they were winning FACEOFFS, then…. The ice began to tilt and Shortie said Zona was now in charge of the face off battle. It seems like a little thing, but there is no sport that has a 50/50 drop in the other teams zone or your own….

    Like Reno, FACEOFFS are the Biggest Little difference in Hockey.

  • Bubbalicious38

    I wasn’t impressed when WD filled Daniel Sedin’s spot with Higgins. What has he done to deserve o play on the top line? Cracknell and Weber were brutal all game.

    • Ca-nuckle head

      I only watched the later half of the second and then the third period, just to give some context. I’ll give you Weber, but not sure why you are on Cracknell as well. I thought he was playing a pretty strong game for a 4th liner. Played with confidence making passes and taking the body. Don’t know what else you are wanting from the guy. Weber was definetly making some bad reads but if we are going to get on the defence I think the list doesn’t stop there. You know what I am tired of seeing is Edler screening his own goalie or shots from above the circles. Get out of the way and let the goalie take it. pick up a body for rebounds

    • Ruprecht

      Agree with you on Higgins & Weber,incidentally the 2 are to blame for the 2nd goal by Arizona. Weber pinched at a bad time and couldn’t get back, Higgins did his usual skate by when trying to defend. These 2 could be press box material for remainder of season would not be missed one iota.
      Although Cracknell struggled a bit in this game, he has played better than several Canucks over the course of this season. Play the kids from Utica I am sure an honest effort will be given from these players.

  • Ruprecht

    Good lord, the first half of that game made me think this was Vancouver versus Minnesota circa 2003. Soooooooooo boring. At least these games don’t automatically make me fear a loss as with some really good teams. We did have some poor puck luck early on as we did have the run of play but as mentioned above being brutal in the face-off dot didn’t help. Domingue figured it out early as he was grabbing the puck anytime there was pressure because it was the easiest way to get control again off a draw that Hanzal in particular was bound to win.

    I thought that was one of Kenins’ better games since being recalled. What’s with the hate for Cracknell? He played less than 10 min. At least all of these injuries has given us a better assessment of the depth players. Right now I’d take Biega over Weber any day — when Sutter, Sbisa, Baertschi, Hamhuis and Prust are eventually back (and assuming no more injuries which is not a safe assumption) I’d hope they’d replace Cracknell, Bartkowski, Weber, Kenins and Vey. Though I think we should keep Vey up, he’s actually been much better than at the start of the year, I think he’s been far more tenacious on the puck than I remember last year.

  • Ruprecht

    Seeing all of the empty seats it must have felt more like a home game for the Coyotes.

    Timid hockey isn’t going to win much. But with all of the injuries, who can blame them?

    I wonder if the tooth fairy paid out for Dank’s last night and if adult teeth are worth more.

  • Ruprecht

    I too would like to see Pedan instead of Weber but I think the left/right thing mitigates against it. The Canucks are currently playing Edler/Bartkowski/Hutton on the left side so the only real option is Pedan in for Bartkowski. Which I’d be OK with but … meh.

    You could slide Bartkowski over to the right side to replace Weber. Bartkowski played his off-side earlier in the season but I don’t know how comfortable/effective he is over there. Is that a significant upgrade over Weber?

    And what would the pairings be? Hutton/Bartkowski didn’t really impress earlier in the season, but would they do Pedan/Bartkowski? That’s what the Canucks tried the two games Pedan played defence; I’m guessing they weren’t totally enamored with it or it would still be a thing. I think the Canucks are trying to stay away from all-rookie pairings so neither Hutton/Biega or Pedan/Biega is something they want to try.

    Every choice has secondary effects. That’s why coaches stick with what they have even when it’s not working.