Graphic Comments: No win situation


Well, what now, Canucks fans?

Even the most stalwart among you must finally have given up that last glimmer of playoff hope now.

Heck, even real good Willie has surely realized the jig is up, right?

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So where does that leave this organization? Because no matter what Meatloaf might tell you, missing the playoffs two out of three actually is bad.

And as the Canucks ride out this string of games, there is still quite a bit at stake here down the stretch.

First and foremost, these games will help to determine the final draft position, which will be determined by lottery on April 30. So while real good Willie might have to say that the priority is still to make the playoffs (and I don’t begrudge him saying this for one second, I mean what else is he supposed to say?), the cold hard reality is that at this point, the fewer wins the better.

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Yes, there is a lottery in place, so yes, just because you finish last doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed the top pick. A slightly higher probability of getting a better pick is still slightly higher. I mean, just because there’s a pretty small chance of getting hit and killed by a car while crossing the street at 2:00 am doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look both ways before crossing.

Second, there are important things to learn from this washout of a season. One of them, however, is not, “they were just unlucky to get hit by so many injuries to key players.” The injuries certainly didn’t help, but this was not a playoff team, no matter what the management team said last summer. Oh, and say it they did, notwithstanding recent statements to the contrary:


But as we’ve come to expect from Canucks Sports and Entertainment’s Ministry of Good Decisions,


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Anyway, the point is that there are indeed things to learn, one of them being that injuries do happen, so be prepared for them. That means maintaining versatile, flexible and capable organizational depth. You need players that can step in when and as a needed without handcuffing you due to cap issues or having to clear waivers. 

Depending on what the Canucks do over the summer, they could wind up with eight waiver eligible defensemen on the roster next season. Carrying two extra defensemen on the active roster is less than ideal. Losing one for nothing, is even worse.

Another lesson to be learned is the need to maximize the value of the assets at your disposal, rather than running them into the ground until they have zero value. You didn’t really believe you’re a 100pt team over the summer? Well, why did you wait until February to trade Radim Vrbata? Why not trade him then, as he’s coming off a 30 goal season? Why not play him with the Sedins to boost his production? That is what smart teams do. Every little edge counts.

Third, and final, as the season winds down, start prepping for next year. Break this last stretch down into three game segments and try things out. Like your power play looks. Your defensive pairings. Your forward lines and line assignments. Don’t just run out the season with lines in a blender. Run controlled experiments. Set them in stone for three game segments and then look at the results. I don’t care if you don’t believe in stats like shot attempts or scoring chances. Use whatever internal evaluation system you have and actually evaluate things.

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This is your chance to try things out in a real life NHL environment. Identify what works and what doesn’t. Narrow down what to focus on. Be systematic and intentional about it. The last thing you want to do is just run out the season and not actually come out better for it. Then it really will be a waste.

While their playoff hopes might be long gone, the Canucks are going to have lots of cash, and quite a few jobs to hand out. 

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  • JuiceBox

    Is there anything more tragic than when dumb people have a voice and a computer?

    Please keep sending me your money, though.

    There is no such thing as bad publicity.

  • JuiceBox

    Please Help!!!

    I am working against a hard deadline, and I need to find out what is the NHL record (modern day) for longest stretch without a goal? I’ve got to think the Canucks’ 228:00 and counting is getting pretty close to it. I understand the Blackhawks went 8 games without a goal in the 1928-29 season, but I’m looking for modern day (i.e., post-expansion) stats.

    Please and thank you!


  • JuiceBox

    “Well, why did you wait until February to trade Radim Vrbata? Why not trade him then, as he’s coming off a 30 goal season? Why not play him with the Sedins to boost his production?”

    Lost in this is the fact the Vrbata has an NTC.

    Why would he waive it last summer when he is coming off a 30 goal season and there was a possibility of being able to do it again this season?

    There is the very real possibility that Vrbata made it clear he was playing out the season in Vancouver and had no intention of waiving. If he was clear in his intention to stay and the Canucks were operating under those conditions why would WD show case him to boost his trade value in advance of the TDL?

    There is also a very real possibility that Vrbata decided to waive his NTC only weeks before the TDL when the reality of a lost season started to sink in which would explain why the Canucks waited so long to start shopping him.

    Of course all this is just speculation too. Just like I can’t give management a free pass, you can’t throw them under the bus when you don’t have all the facts.

        • Whackanuck

          It might as well have been as the teams to go to wanted nothing to do with him. The Canucks could have waived him, the one thing available in a NTC as opposed to a NMC.

          BTW the Canucks in October were playing at a 104 point seasonal pace.

          By the end of December they were playing at an 80 point pace.

          By late March they were playing at a combined 75 point season, but actually playing at about a 49 point pace in their last 10.

          The Canucks could have decided to bolster the roster sometime with some vets in December and they might have scraped into the playoffs. They chose to go with what they had.

          When your team has the second worst player level adjusted injuries in the league, it’s laughable to say injuries had no effect on their playoff chances. That’s like saying Carey Price’s injury had no effect on the Canadiens’ season.

          Let’s be real, this is a much better team than we are seeing in March. Piling on at this point is …well pointless. Imagine Mathews as second line center, or Laine playing with the Sedins. You’ll feel better.

          • Lumme21

            “It might as well have been as the teams to go to wanted nothing to do with him.”

            Was this true last summer when management made the decision to take him off the Sedin line permanently and crush his value? He was coming off a 30 goal season…

          • Whackanuck

            Of course not. The point is what existed at the trade deadline. But any GM knows Vrbata needs linemates that lift his play. All they needed to have was a center that can get him the puck. And yet they passed on him.

    • Lumme21

      Trading players isn’t as easy as it is on NHL 15…

      You have to have to have the players agreement when dealing with NTC, a partner willing to deal and an asset worthwhile in return.

      Funny how when Benning traded Lack for a 3rd round pick everyone jumped on him for giving him away. Fast forward…. Everyone derides Benning for not giving away Hammer and Vrbata!!

      Benning has had to deal with NTC that result in negotiations with one team. He got a very good return for Kesler and something for Juice. Hammer probably will be resigned to mentor the young kids and Vrbata had no real value.

      Facts are stubborn things

  • Lumme21

    I really think that pundits are down playing the injuries the Canucks have suffered this year. While the paper thin depth is to blame, having your #2 center miss almost the entire season… Which catipults a 20 yr old and 19 yr old into the mix, and losing first Hammer , then the night he comes back, Edler… In between Tanev missing games?? How could it not effect the teams playoff hopes.

    The last few games mixed with the last 11 will tell a lot about next year. The young guys will need to play together, train in the offseason, and have a full training camp to put it all together.

    FA signings will be huge. Sedins need a real threat on the wing and resigning Hammer to a club friendly contract would be great. As long as we are playing the young guys it’s not tanking, it’s experience!

  • Lumme21

    Longest goalless streaks of recent memory (I haven’t checked anything else, these are just streaks I had in mind from the last few years):

    Montreal, 2010-11: 199:01 between March 20 – 26, 2011
    Toronto, 2014-15: 133:10 between January 9 – 15, 2015
    Vancouver, 2015-16: 228:00 between March 16 – 22, 2016 (and counting)

    Noticing a trend that it seems to always happen after the start of the new year, I’m guessing it’s the time when teams have started losing hope.

  • You didn,t really believe you were a 100 point team over the summer???? But the management of this team did believe they were that good!

    Picking up other teams trash does have an effect,and its negative. There was a reason Bartkowski could not make the Boston roster. There was a reason Sbisa was expendable, just the same as Columbus not paying Dorsett.

    Losing theway we have by not scoring a goal for 3 straight games tells the obvious,the team has quit.
    Desjardins lost the room months ago,heck maybe last spring when he refused to deviate from the 4 line rotation against the flames and quick round1 loss.
    Still there are grade A prospectslike Boeser/Demko and budding young talent like Virtanen but we need a more seasoned coach or a young ex nhl player to guide the team. Not the revival of the MedicinehatTigers alumni!!

    • JuiceBox

      Hard to believe people are still trying to say The Kesler deal was terrible and stuff like there’s a reason Sbisa was expendable. Yeah maybe he was expendable but thanks to whiney Kesler’s demands, there weren’t a lot of options. Please get over that already!

    • Lumme21

      The Laffs with their yard sale are an example of tanking, the Canucks are an example of poor coaching / management. The article says it really well, now’s the time to be running controlled experiments in NHL conditions, and instead we are getting 8 Rinks pick up games.

      • JuiceBox

        Just because you don’t know about any “controlled experiments” doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Unless you have a source inside the locker room, you have no idea what is going on.

        Have you thought that maybe the team is failing not due to poor coaching but due to so many inexperienced players trying to find their way in the NHL? No amount of coaching can stop a team from losing if the players aren’t up to the task.

        Poor management would be if the Canucks were in this position with a team filled with aging veterans and all their prospects still in the CHL or AHL. At least they realized they were terrible and make the decision to get as many young players as much playing time as possible.

        It’s not this management groups’ fault they are in this position. They are doing the best they can with what limited resources they were left with. Its going to take longer than 2 seasons to clean up the mess they were left with.

  • Surprised nobody has picked up on the fact that AGM Weisbrod is also part of the infamous Ryan OReilly offer sheet during this time with the Flames. Now the botched 3 year contract to Tryamkin… Coincidence?