Canucks Army Post-Game: Sventrophy

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

Riding the high of a three-game win streak, the Canucks played host to the sinking Colorado Avalanche in a slugfest for the ages. Not the kind that involves two heavyweights trading shots, so much as a pair of slugs dragging their way to the finish line.

That’s just the way Canucks Head Coach Willie Desjardins wants it, too. When the team rails on about structure, this is what they have in mind.

It’s hard to argue with the results — tonight’s, at the very least. Vancouver was far and away the better team at even strength, especially when one considers they had the lead for much of the game. Sven Baertschi led the way offensively for the Canucks, contributing a pair of goals.

When the final horn sounded, the Canucks left tonight’s game winners of four in a row with a 3-2 victory. Ryan Miller stopped 24 of the Avs 26 shots. Calvin Pickard stopped 21 of 24 Canucks shots.

Stats

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Quick Hits

  • Well, Baertschi’s having himself a season. And to think, at one point he was a healthy scratch. With tonight’s two-goal affair, Baertschi has ten on the season in just 36 games. Over the course of a full season, that’s a 23 goal clip. If you look at Baertschi’s overall point totals, he’s on pace for nearly 46 points. That’s a near first line clip, based purely on raw production. It’s even better if you look at his rate production — check Ryan Biech’s Twitter feed for the rundown. It’s not just Baertschi’s production that’s catching fire, though. He’s steadily improving his two-way play, too. He used to be the single-worst Canucks player. He’s not in the black yet. Not by a long shot. He’s slowly working his way into that becoming a distinct possibility, though. 
  • On a less serious note, I noticed Baertschi’s goal song changed to a Young Jeezy number. I observed in-game that’s the same artist that serenades Rogers Arena after every Bo Horvat goal — different songs, though. I don’t have any hard-hitting, numbers-based analysis on that. Whether that’s always been the case or not, I think it’s kind of cool.
  • Speaking of Horvat, he had himself a pretty alright night himself. He scored the opening goal on a two-on-one rush with Ben Hutton, and was buzzing around the net most of the night. He finished with a pair of shots. Here’s his goal!
  • After tonight’s win, the Canucks are tenth place in the Western Conference, just a mere point behind the Los Angeles Kings — though it should be noted the Kings have two games at hand. The Western Conference is a joke this season. The Canucks are getting healthy. They have a relatively easy schedule ahead of them. Are the playoffs a possibility? All of a sudden, it’s not such an absurd notion. The Canucks are getting the bounces right now. There’s no denying that. Considering the ill luck they suffered immediately after their season-starting win streak, it’s fair to say they’ve earned a little good, though.
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  • I’m going to go on the record as a fan of the Ben Hutton and Nikita Tryamkin pairing. I’ve wanted to see the Canucks try Tryamkin on the right side, and everything Tryamkin brings to the table defensively is a nice match with Hutton’s skill set. It’s basically what the Canucks imagined they were getting when they dealt for Erik Gudbranson, at a fraction of the cost. Tonight, the Canucks controlled about 70% of on-ice shot attempts with them on the ice. They might have found lightning in a bottle.
  • It’d be cool if we could get an extended look at Anton Rodin. He played about seven minutes in his season debut last Friday, and was pulled from the lineup for a few games after. Alex Burrows’ injury paved the way for his return, but by the night’s end he was taken off Horvat’s line for Michael Chaput. I get that he has to earn the coach’s trust, but it’s hard to do in limited ice-time, returning from a serious injury. The Canucks need scoring from everywhere they can get it. Put another way, they need it to come from some unlikely contributors. Rodin is far more likely to be that guy than Chaput. Maybe give him a chance?
  • Sorry there wasn’t a post-game for Saturday night’s contest with the Oilers. Life got in the way. It won’t happen again, I promise. Hope everybody had a happy, safe New Year’s Eve!

  • monkeyman991

    Great game by the Canucks. If they are to make the playoffs, they will need scoring from all lines, good goaltending, and some injury luck.

    While I can understand why people want the Canucks to tank for a top pick in the draft, it makes more sense to me for the Canucks to continue to win. I for one do not want the Canucks to trade the Sedins, and I can imagine that most true Canucks fans are with me on that one. A high draft pick does not mean success. Look at Colarado. They got Nathan Mackinnon, a sensational player, surrounded by many other young players in the prime and yet they’re still bad.

    I hope to see the Canucks continue on this winning streak. People say “well we need to lose these games for a higher draft pick” but you know what? Two of our youngest studs scored all three goals today. Are you saying that you want your young players to stop scoring and developing? Just some food for thought.

  • TD

    Thanks for the write-up, but why all the little jabs, ie “Pair of slugs” etc. I agree that Bo and Baer aren’t likely the first line players on a cup championship team, but why slag them and say they are exceedingly unlikely they are the type that a franchise can build around. A good team needs more than just a first line. Many of the best players on a championship teams aren’t the highest point scorers. As much as I currently can’t stand Kesler, he was as much of the key piece to the game 7 run as any other player. Like Bo, he broke into the league as a 19 year old. He played 28 games scoring 2g and 3a for 5 points. He played all 82 games in his 20 year old season scoring 10g and 13a for 23 points. In his 21 year old season he played 48 games scoring 6g and 10a for 16 points. Comparatively, Bo had 13g 12a for 25 pnts in 68 games, 16g 24a for 40 pnts in 82 games and 11g 15a for 26 points in 39 games so far this season. He had 4 points in 6 playoff games as a 19 year old tying for the team lead during that sh**y series. 55% in the face off circle so far this year. He may never be a top 10 scorer, but he could easily become a 60-70 point guy that could be very good on a team with a 1a and 1b pair of top lines. By the way, Kesler (damn him) is currently 13th in league scoring with 34 points. That’s only 8 ahead of Horvat who doesn’t get the pp time that Kesler gets. In fact Horvat is third in line for ice time amongst centres on the team. If we end up with a first line way stronger than Horvat’s line we are going to have a great team.

  • RIP

    Nice to see Sven turn it around after getting benched. Such a good move by Willie D as he knew he’d get flack for it. Heard Sven on the team TSN 1040 about getting benched and how it changed his mentality and got him refocused. Rodin looks so so, not sure he’ll make a real difference but we’ll see. S

  • Bud Poile

    Having Tanev and Edler back makes everybody look good and the team has responded with four straight wins.

    The club is a .500 team with these two premiere d-men back in the lineup.In fact the Canucks are tied for 20th overall in league standings and only 16 more teams have more wins than the Canucks.

    Competitive ,winning hockey is a much better environment for players and fans,alike.

    Well,most fans.

    “Riding the high of a three-game win streak, the Canucks played host to the sinking Colorado Avalanche in a slugfest for the ages. Not the kind that involves two heavyweights trading shots, so much as a pair of slugs dragging their way to the finish line.” J.D. Burke

  • wojohowitz

    I have to feel a little sorry for Iginla. He always was a very competitive guy and to have his career end like this must pain him something awful. He`s probably on the top of the list for `get me out of here`.

  • TheRealPB

    If I did a post-post-game recap in the same manner of this post-game recap it would read as “despite yet another review that seems dripping with snark and regret over the fact that the Canucks won another game, a glimmer of light appeared in the form of the insight that Baertschi’s goal song has changed for the better.” Because seriously that is the only useful piece of info in this recap. I get that this is a free blog and a “public service” and in general I do appreciate that you guys do these but they are so wildly inconsistent.

    I appreciate the need to be critical. And there’s much to remain critical about, whether on lineup decisions, roster moves, playing strategy or much else. But I don’t get why there is such a sense of being so begrudging with every single victory. We beat Colorado — well they’re the worst team in the league. We beat Anaheim, LA and Edmonton? Well it was the holidays and they were tired and they played their backups…

    It’s clear that Vancouver isn’t a world-beater, we’re a competitive team with aging superstars and pretty thin in the skill positions. But with most of its full complement, some lucky bounces and a good effort, we have a decent shot at winning — including against teams better than us. We just beat the #4, #6, #8 and #14 teams in our conference and league parity means that we’re within a handful of points of top ten. That doesn’t mean that we’re great, just that outside of the top six in the league there’s not a whole lot of difference.

    I get that there’s a real desire to rebuild the team. We already are doing that and while a high draft pick would help, it’s not clear that lacking a generational player like McDavid it would do it on its own. For all the pre-season predictions it’s hard to see that we could be as bad as Colorado or Arizona. I’m personally less worried about dropping out of the draft lottery than I am in seeing us trade a prospect or pick for an aging vet, something that hasn’t happened yet. If it’s so soul-sucking to have to write a review of a Canucks win without peppering it with backhanded insults, perhaps it would be better to hand it off to someone like Vanessa who seems able to write a much more even-handed review?

    I didn’t think it was a particularly great game but nor was it a “slug-fest”. Both goalies were sharp, yet another disallowed goal, and some bad luck on both sides. The COL PP goal was basically a 5-3 after Edler broke his stick, and that Sutter shot was properly disallowed for a change. And you can question why Baertschi was benched — I certainly did at the time — but it’s also inaccurate to say it hasn’t had an impact. There is a qualitative difference in the kind of shots he’s taking — look at his goals, driving to the net and getting rebounds on many occasions. With a few better bounces he’d have five more goals, but he looks far more confident and assured. Part of that is playing with Horvat — the two of them really have fantastic chemistry — but it’s not like it’s the first time benching a young player has a result.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fanbase (or purported sports media) so unwilling to let go of things. I wonder if LA fans are still complaining about giving up Roland McKeown for Andrej Sekera? Is Dallas continuing to regret sending Tyler Parsons and Brett Pollock to Calgary for Kris Russell? Do Florida fans wring their hands thinking of the 6th rounder for Jakub Kindl (toiling on their farm team) the 2nd and 4th rounder for renting Hudler, or the 3rd rounder for renting Teddy Purcell? As much as we can’t ever seem to let go of the picks and prospects we have traded for other young players?

  • Whackanuck

    Ah, it’s hard for amateur writers to convey feelings like humor, self-mocking, and irony without tone available in verbal exchanges. I’ll give JD a pass as he didn’t rip management.

    I don’t get the relevance of “shot attempt share”. Aside from it being more incomprehensible jargon, it sure doesn’t align with players results in this case. Why can’t you just call it Corsifor% like the chart headers? No comment either on the shot map that shows most of the Canuck shots came from the slot, which is unusual for the Canucks as they usually shoot from the outside. Good penetration by the Canucks.

    Canuck stay away fans are missing a .632 home winning percent team(14th OA). Mind you they are dead last with a .219 road winning percentage, worst in the league, but for the paying games, not bad.

    This team continues to puzzle me. Just when hope fades they rip off a series of wins. Whatever Benning has assembled, quit is not a common quality.

  • Locust

    Trolled in the first paragraph – so very, very classy.

    JD – you need help man, obviously on the wrong site. If you hate your job, keep it to yourself, we don’t need to hear it or be exposed to your constant negativity. Writers use words to express feelings and your feelings of disgust whenever anything Canuck goes well is obvious and palpable.

    Everything you write has a passive – aggressive undertone that you probably think is edgy or funny – and I’ll speak for many on here – we think it is childish, classless and very douchey.

    You must just be a real ‘conversation piece’ at the dinner table……

    More Vanessa please…..

    PS: Thanks for your continued readership…..

  • andyg

    How many people said that Hank and Danny would never be first line players? How many points did the twins have in their third year?

    Horvat is one of the hardest workers on the team and his skills have improved each year. He is very driven to be the best he can be. He also has the physical stature to deal with the NHL grind.

    I would not count this kid out.

  • DJ_44

    “I’m going to go on the record as a fan of the Ben Hutton and Nikita Tryamkin pairing. I’ve wanted to see the Canucks try Tryamkin on the right side, and everything Tryamkin brings to the table defensively is a nice match with Hutton’s skill set.”

    Credit where it is due: Hutton had a solid game last night. A large part of the credit for that lies with Willie D. Recognizing Hutton is not a top 4 defenseman and giving him very sheltered and restricted minutes. He demonstrated that, even with Tanev, he was brutal and a liability in a top 4 role.

    There was a reason why he was not out in the last five minutes of the game (and, barring injury, he will not be — if the Canucks are leading).

    The Avalanche are and example of a team without a good defense corp (or great goaltending). If you look at the speed and skill (and size) in their top six: it is impressive (I love watching MacKinnon).

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      I believe you mean Gudbranson, who is not a top 4. Your hidden jab at Hutton is nonsensical, he’s been very solid when paired with someone who isn’t a plug, like Gudbranson, a fact Willie may or may not recognize. We’ll see what happens when Gudbranson returns re: whether the plainly more effective Hutton-Tryamkin pairing is kept intact.

      • DJ_44

        No, I meant Tanev. When Gudbranson was initially out with injury, he partnered with Tanev, and was awful. But I agree, he was equally as awful with Gudbranson.

        I realize Hutton is mid way through his second year, but that is not a reason for making out like he is something he is not, and then blaming performance on his playing partners.

        He shows signs of offence (the nice pass to Bo last night was an example), can skate and is okay on the PP (not bringing the puck up the ice). But his “improvement” of late is due to being demoted to third pairing minutes and responsibilities. To be honest, Tryamkin-Biega pairing was just as good than Hutton-Tryamkin.

        Tryamkin is going to be a very good NHL defenseman. He is improving in leaps and bounds. I like how he is starting to shoot the puck more and more.

        The much maligned Sbisa gets more minutes and greater responsibility than Hutton. This is for good reason.

  • DJ_44

    And, since the tanking, 65-point season crowd has retreated to their twitter circlejerk, I will say it again in the midst of the winning streak.

    The Canucks are in the process of rebuilding. They are a young team with some talent and some aging veterans. They are growing and getting better. A successful season will be if they are competitive in every game and hopefully make the playoffs. Will they? I would say probably not, but the west is weaker this year (how about the predicted 108-pt Preds?).

    I like the attitude of the Canucks. Mistakes happen, but laziness is not acceptable. Work hard and good things can happen.

    • Dirk22

      Why do you think they will get better? Do you mean this year or next when the Sedins are 37? Who do you envision taking this team forward to ‘get better’ as you say?

      Horvat, Baertschi, Boeser – only three young players in the entire organization with top 6 pedigree. Most likely all 2nd liners.

      • DJ_44

        This is a very valid question and opinion expressed.

        I think they are getting better because I see improvement in individual players in the line up. Goaltending looks solid. Markstrom and Demko moving forward. The defence is looking miles better than last year. Tanev is very good and youngish, certainly young enough to make it through the transition times. Tryamkin and Stetcher are unexpected gems, Hutton I am less impressed with, but he has something and may improve, Juolevi will be a absolute stud. Gudbranson I also like, but it will come down to value and $.

        Young forwards are an issue. I like what I have seen with Boeser. I think the 2nd liner label is way too early. Horvat will be a number one centre (not elite, but there are very few who really are elite). Baertschi is probably top six (nine).

        Sutter, Eriksson, Granlund, Rodin(we will soon see) are valid top six/nine useful forwards on any team.

        We need more, but it is a process that does not happen in one or two drafts. We also have good defensive assets that can be traded for forwards.

        I do not pretend to think that rebuilding is a linear process, but as long as the lines trend upwards at the start, we are heading in the right direction.

        • Big D, little d

          >> Baertschi is probably top six (nine).

          Just for reference, Baertschi’s offensive production is 26th in the league for left wingers (via NHL.COM). So arguably he is providing first line production (top 30 in the league).

          Now, you might argue that Sven’s stats are inflated because Daniel gets the primary defensive attention of the other team, but that still makes Sven a solid top six forward.

        • Dirk22

          The players currently trending upward are not going to be enough to even offset those players trending downwards, let alone improve this team.

          Sedins x 2, Burrows, Hansen, Eriksson, Sutter – 2/3rds of the top 9 on the downside of their careers.

          • DJ_44

            The Sedins and Burrows, sure. Sutter is in his prime and 27 and safe bet he will be around for 4 more years. Eriksson will be top nine for the next 5. Hansen will probably be traded (for picks or offensive prospects).

            So, in the season after next, the Canucks have Horvat, Baertschi, Granlund Sutter, Boeser, Virtanen, Eriksson. Other possiblilities? Lockwood, Gaudette, or a yet to be determined pick from the 2017 draft. Free agents, or trading some defensive assets/prospects for forwards.

            Are we set with a wealth of prospects? No. We need offensive skilled forwards. I say again: re-building does not happen in one or two years. I think the signs are there and they are moving in the right direction. I don’t expect one steady rise; there will be dips (like making the playoffs then missing them).

  • Marvin101

    Tryamkin was excellent clearing in front of the net and stapling avalance forwards to the boards. It is beyond refreshing to see the opposition pay a price for standing in front of the net.

    He also seems to have a bit more time making the breakout pass because the opposition are not making a beeline at him.

  • TD

    Does anyone know why Willie took Rodin off of Horvat’s line near the end of the game? I thought he looked pretty good. He showed flashes of exceptional hockey sense where he slowed and controlled the play. Is it that Willie doesn’t trust him or are they taking it slow to protect his knee? He only played 7 minutes in his debut and then sat for the next 3 games before playing limited minutes last night.

  • Four in a row feels pretty good. Winning is so much better.

    Bo Horvat stands out. He’s a keeper. I can see Bo having a long and successful NHL career.

    Alex Edler helps us win. Sure notice it when he’s out of the lineup, but last night, ANOTHER BROKEN STICK almost cost us the game. Avalanche scored, putting them right back in the game. It really stands out how often his sticks break, yet it continues. I know I’m not the first to bring this up or notice, but how is this allowed to continue for so long. There has to be a better option.

  • Big D, little d

    We may as well get this discussion out of the way now. The NHL schedule makers have been extremely kind to the Canucks in January. Twelve games, only two of which are against teams in the top half of the league. Seven are against teams currently below the Canucks in the standings. It wouldn’t be unexpected for the Canucks to win 8 of 12, and 9 of 12 might be possible. This is going to make it seem like the Canucks have turned the corner and are a good team but the enthusiasm should probably be tempered somewhat.

    The Canucks need to take advantage of this opportunity to bank all the points they can. Once the schedule gets harder points will be more difficult to come by and the Canucks will likely start to drop back. March has 15 games, ten of which are against the top half of the league. It will be difficult to get even half of the points available in March.

    I’d expect that the Canucks will be in playoff position at the All-Star break but I’m not sure how long that will last.

  • Dinsdale

    Is it just me or is Gaunce the smallest 6’3″, 215-pounder ever?
    Whenever I look for him on ice, he looks like a miniaturized optical illusion and frequently on his ass.

  • Burnabybob

    “It’s exceedingly unlikely [Horvat or Baertschi] is the type a franchise can build around, but I would so love those two becoming that for Vancouver.”

    Horvat looks like a franchise cornerstone to me. He’s always making things happen by driving to the net then dishing a nice pass or producing a rebound. His defensive game has improved, too, at least according to his stats. He’s on pace for 50 points this year. Not bad for a 22 year old.