Canucks Army Post-Game: Christmas Holidaze

There were parts of tonight’s game that left the impression the Canucks never left Vancouver after last night’s loss.

Take the second period, for example. The Canucks bookended that frame with two near-ten-minute stretches without a shot attempt at even strength. Even their one goal came by accident. Unless, of course, you think Nikita Tryamkin practiced that Snooker shot goal off the Flames defender and over a confused Brian Elliott’s head. Colour me skeptical.

That lead, tenuous as it was, didn’t last long into the Canucks’ listless second frame. It took the Flames less than three minutes to draw even and pulled away 3-1 by the second intermission. Matthew Tkachuk put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to secure the 4-1 victory for the Flames.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 of the Flames’ 36 shots for the Canucks. Brian Elliott stopped 13 of the Canucks’ 14 shots.


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Quick Hits

  • Seven-plus years after the Canucks drafted Anton Rodin 53rd overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, he made his NHL debut. Talk about an interesting career arc. Wasn’t noticeably good or bad tonight, which is a positive given you can’t say as much for most Canucks tonight. Rodin left tonight’s game in the black, just barely, by Corsi For with a 50% mark. Frankly, I’m a little surprised to see him taking shifts with the Canucks nominal second line. I thought they’d ease him into the lineup in a role similar to Sam Gagner’s with the Blue Jackets — easy minutes on the fourth line at even strength and heavy power play usage. It’s encouraging that he didn’t buckle under these circumstances.
  • Don’t really have anything to add here, but I find it somewhat interesting that the Canucks have played in three straight 4-1 games. Remember the spat of 5-2 losses last season? I’m getting flashbacks.
  • There were a couple of short-term casualties on the night. Daniel Sedin blocked a Flames shot in the first period and skated gingerly afterwards. Bo Horvat suffered a similar fate in the second period and left for the Canucks dressing room to have the medical staff check him out. The good news, of course, is that both returned to game action tonight. A sigh of relief from Canucks fans, to be sure.
  • Horvat’s line seemed to contribute on all of the Canucks sparse scoring chances in tonight’s game. They continue to be effective, no matter the circumstances. It really is something. I spoke to Sven Baertschi about that line and the difference of playing with Alex Burrows opposite him instead of Jake Virtanen. Baertschi said that Burrows slows the game down and helps them play more of a cycle based attack. That’s probably why Horvat and Baertschi have turned the corner in terms of their ability to tilt shot shares. Certainly a theory worth exploring.
  • It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Baertschi. Playing on the Canucks first unit power play, the Flames sent an odd-man rush towards the Canucks net. Troy Stecher took the puck carrier and directed Baertschi towards Mark Giordano. Baertschi took his man, until he decided not to. Giordano jumped onto a rebound unimpeded and sent home the shorthanded marker. That wasn’t an especially good look for Baertschi. I’m surprised he didn’t get the white board treatment a second night in a row.

This was the last Canucks game before Christmas, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy Holidays! Your readership and support is very much appreciated. We’ve great things in store for the new year, and look forward to continuing to cover the Canucks for you on a daily basis.

All the best from the Canucks Army Staff!

  • wojohowitz

    Clueless Willie thought they were only one lucky bounce away from being back in the game. Not once did he look at the shot clock and realize his team was comatose. Willie`s version of shaking things up is playing Eriksson on the left wing instead of the right. Time for ABW – Anybody But Willie.

  • Hooker

    One team wanted 2 points and the other just wanted to go home.
    Sedins looked their age last night
    Nothing to look forward to in the New Year except the Lotto, Canucks time for the golden ticket!

  • Whackanuck

    Like the recent posts J.D.

    You seem to have cut out the sarcasm. Nothing wrong with pointing out where the team was lousy. Insight into things like Baertschi in this post are a good example. Merry Christmas

  • Marvin101

    if my math is correct, we’re on pace for a 72 point season. way better than those fools at usa today predicted but a bit short of the hockey news predictions so i guess the players are pretty much performing to the best of their abilities.

    thank you mr benning and thank you mr linden.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Wow that was bad last night. Right before he potted it, I turned to my friend and said “I don’t think an empty net goal by Tkachuk will carry quite the same sting as the two beauties from Ehlers the night before, but it would be a nice deserved kick in the nuts to the drafting expert Benning anywa…TKACHUK SCORES!”

    Here’s where we separate the wheat from the chaff among Canucks fans. If you can still watch and care about this team right now, congrats, you are the chaff because any person with two functional brain neurons to rub together would have jumped ship on this travesty by now.

    • Whackanuck

      For me, it is going to be like one is on an icy hill confident in 4WD and suddenly you feel all 4 tires letting go.

      I’m going to be one of the last fans who pisses on Benning because it is still early for a lot of his decisions BUT that group has to do something now. They cannot sit on this situation until the expansion draft – 2 wins mixed in every 3 losses. If they don’t, like last year, they are going to lose more credibility and deserve to be replaced. It’s even worse because a lot of fans told me so two years ago.

      Enjoy Christmas folks, it’s only a game but it could be so much better for Canucks fans.

      • Dirty30

        What can they do? Relive every draft while self-flagellating themselves with broken hockey sticks?

        Analyze every trade and contract down to punctuation and quality of paper?

        Any asset this team has is either broken or ineffective or expensive or all three.

        Who do you trade and for what? Is it finally and absolutely time to simply ask the Sedins to walk in the hopes of collecting some assets? Would that be enough to change this team?

        Every move has implications and not all of them will be positive.

        I cannot see an easy fix for this team, but there is some hope that over time improvements can be made.

        Whether this management group is the one to make them is a legitimate question but it still begs the question: what can anyone do to improve this team right now?

    • TheRealPB

      I’ll not defend a single second of that turd-fest but am just wondering where you fit into the contingent you described. Are you saying you’re watching but not caring about the team? For myself, I’m still suffering through at least parts of games and do care about the team, though I have no illusions that they’re any good. Of course it’d be generous to say that I have two functional brain neurons.

  • Fred-65

    What this game pointed out to me was the fact Vcr no longer has a genuine #1 line we have 3 number 2-3 lines and a 4th line. You look and look and eventually think where do you start. I’d have to guess management has to be replaced not by first time around people but a knowledge based and experienced GM who presided over by a solid experienced president and last but not least a Coach who hales from the NHL not the AHL.

    I can’t imagine any other way ?

  • Roy

    If I was going to pick a game to lose, I’d pick an away game on the prairies mid winter two days before Christmas and the xmas break. That is not an excuse for listless, lousy play, but I am glad I predicted it and missed this dud. Would have preferred to have been proven wrong.

    So, do they quietly let WD go on Boxing Day?

      • Roy

        Nothing personal, but as an athlete myself, you could not be more wrong. Some days/games/events just suck regardless of how much you want to win.

        There are several layers of responsibility for the lack of success over the last few years, but adding a sense of entitlement does not contribute any meaningful ideas or analysis.

  • Bud Poile

    Christmas is the most special time of the year for us in predominantly Christian nations.

    It is a time of thanks, giving and hope.

    This Canucks fans has enjoyed NHL hockey in Vancouver since 1970 and I am grateful for the gifts and opportunity.

    The most recent years of winning have been centered upon the backs of two Swedish superstars with the Canucks picking just once in the top-five over the last 16 years.

    After decades of highly competitive hockey in this city and now with two former,great Canucks at the helm of our hockey team to rebuild it this begins yet another period of hope and rebirth.

    May Canucks fans everywhere be filled with the hope,promise and gratitude that is gifted to us with NHL hockey in our provinces and our country.