Canucks Army Postgame

With one game remaining before the All-Star break, the Canucks waltzed into Phoenix tonight to play the hapless Coyotes, fresh off a victory against the last-place Avalanche the night before. What followed was one of the most collectively uninspired games in recent memory. Vancouver failed to register a shot on goal in the first period and failed to score a goal in the remaining two, ultimately losing 3-0.

With an excellent opportunity to consolidate their position in the Western Conference wild-card race, the Canucks instead came out flat. The Canucks would finish with only 19 shots on goal against the NHL’s 29th-place team. That, coupled with the Los Angeles Kings’ win against Carolina (coincidentally, also by a 3-0 margin), the Canucks again fell out of the playoff picture.


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Somewhere, the Canucks are probably still waiting for the game to start. After registering a season-high 20 first period shots on goal the previous night in Denver, the Canucks managed an ignominious follow-up tonight. Vancouver recorded nary a shot on Arizona goalie Mike Smith in the opening frame, after the league rescinded an earlier Daniel Sedin attempt. The goose egg t tied a club record (obviously) for the fewest shots on goal in a period. The Canucks did direct 15 shot attempts towards the Arizona goal – compared to the Coyotes’ 19 – but by all metrics it was a very underwhelming first twenty minutes of play.

Vancouver would not register its first shot until nearly halfway through the game – and shorthanded, no less.

The Canucks would kill off the penalty but surrender the game’s opening goal to Lawson Crouse a couple of minutes later.

The Canucks finished the period with a flurry of chances, led by (surprise!) the Skille-Gaunce-Chaput unit, but could not even the score.

Sven Baertschi would take a double-minor for high-sticking early in the third, and the Coyotes’ Alex Burmistrov would bury a rebound home to make it 2-0.

Burmistrov had not scored since March 13 of last year, also coming against Vancouver, in a Winnipeg Jets uniform.

The Canucks would rarely threaten the rest of the way, and Tobias Rieder would ice the game with an empty-net goal.



-The aforementioned Skille-Gaunce-Chaput line was by far the Canucks best tonight. Chaput and Gaunce were both +9 in the Corsi department, while Skille was an even more impressive +11. The trio ate the Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy defence pair alive late in the second period during the Canucks best stretch of sustained pressure on the night

-One of my favourite moments from the game came courtesy of Troy Stecher. Stecher had been buzzing in the Coyotes end and, after the losing the puck, he tracked down Christian Fischer in the neutral zone, stole the puck, turned around and rushed the puck back up the ice, and finished with a shot on Mike Smith. Great effort.

-Philip Larsen made his return to the line-up tonight after recovering from a concussion. He had a mostly unspectacular game paired with Nikita Tryamkin, finishing with a -1 Corsi. But glad to see him return to the ice after a devastating Taylor Hall hit that could have been far more damaging. Alex Biega drew out of the line-up.

-Curious decision of the night: With a minute left in the game, and Ryan Miller pulled for an extra attacker, the Canucks sixth skater was Michael Chaput. Yes, Chaput had himself a great night – even by fourth-line standards – but keeping Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Brandon Sutter, and Markus Granlund (the club’s leading goal-scorers) all on the bench was a bit of a head-scratcher. The Canucks maintain that their mandate is to make the playoffs, so why Desjardins didn’t put all his best options out on the ice while down two goals late is a little confusing.

-On the Coyotes side, former Canuck Radim Vrbata is having himself a nice bounce back season. He already has 34 points in 48 games, which constitutes seven more points in 15 fewer games. Not bad for a guy on a bargain $1 million contract. Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise, however. Vrbata experienced a career-worst 5v5 team shooting percentage of 5.9% last year, well below his career average of 7.9%. This season, that mark is back up to 7.8% and he has the results to show for it.

-Was looking for a tweet that would sum up the game succinctly.

I think that works.


Thursday, February 2 vs San Jose Sharks. TV: SNET; Radio: TSN 1040

  • TD

    Wow, glad I missed the game. So much for the team showing up to play hard for the coach like we have been hearing about. That was a game they needed badly at the end of their easy January schedule. Their opponents in February and March look way more difficult.

  • TheRealPB

    If I was the coach I’d probably put Chaput, Skille or Gaunce out on the ice at the end too — mainly because it looked like that was the only line that actually showed up for the game. That ranked as one of the worst games I’ve seen in a couple of years — maybe alone with that Calgary game. Even the epic collapses against Chicago and Carolina were more entertaining (at least in parts) than that.

    It’s games like this that we will really regret when we face that murderers row through February. The only silver lining is the ability to sell off Miller and Burrows if we do drop out of the race (though hopefully no one watches film of this game when assessing our talent).

    • apr

      I don’t necessarily think that last night’s game is indicative of what will happen after the all star break. The Canucks have largely been competitive with the top teams in the league, especially at home. Like the first leafs game, and the Calgary game during the holidays – this is just character check for the team. Unless we lose 2-3 key players (like last year with Sutter and Edler), we will be neck in neck for a playoff spot.

      I know that you have been advocating moving Miller or Burrows – but given what is available in the trade market, I really don’t think you get much for Miller. And I highly doubt Burrows gets you anything outside a third round pick. Its a week draft year anyway.

    • Nucklehead

      Hey all, I’m a long-time reader, first time poster. Enjoy all your comments and the lively discussion about our team.

      My eyes widened when I saw that Desjardins put Chaput out there as the extra man but the points (that Chaput had showed up for the game and had more in the tank with little playing time the night before) are well taken.

      I know much hay has been made about Desjardins being slow to adjust and loyal to certain players but I guess my thought here is if you’re the coach, and you see your team gassed from playing the night before in Colorado, do you put in Reid Boucher for his first, along with Larsen and Miller? Probably not the difference maker alone but it would have been nice for us to evaluate him rather than this lackluster team effort.

  • Beefus

    One of the most painful games to watch that I’ve ever endured. How do you account for making the Coyotes look like the 1976 Montreal Canadiens? Team party last night? Golf this afternoon?

    And why was the 4th line playing so much when they were down two goals in the third?

    This team is lacking something in the integrity department. Other than Troy Stecher there was not one of their skill players giving a damn tonight.

    • Roy

      The fourth line got more minutes because they were probably the least tired by the end of the game due to playing least the night before. The team played well against Colorado, but that is at elevation, which is extremely taxing if you are not acclimated. And they weren’t.

      Factor in a flight, who knows when, which exacerbates any muscular tiredness or soreness (sitting, even for a few hours, is the worse position for recovery), and little chance for rest, rehab, massage, etc before suiting up and warming up, etc…?

      Back-to-back games regardless of elevation and proximity of the next opponent are always more difficult on the road, especially for professional athletes: they work their bodies the absolute hardest, and then have to try to do the same less than 24 hours later.

      I still think they could have played better, my breakdown is not a complete excuse for that stinker of a game – and this is the ideal situation to sit a couple of forwards for rest and slot in some new guys, hello Willie!!! – but you have to look at the facts as well.

  • wojohowitz

    That really was an ugly performance but I can`t blame the coach. When that happens it`s all about leadership on the ice but not the twins – the secondary support has to step up. Players like Sutter, Eriksson, Burrows and Horvat should have been ready to carry the load and did not.

  • Braindead Benning

    Not to sound to “cliche” however, losing like this without a concerted effort is going to bite the team in the A$$ if they are still competing for a playoff position come late february or early march…

    One another note, losing in Chicago was a heartbreak reminding me of the playoffs a few years back but the effort and urgency was commendable in that game rather than this DUD of a game…

  • Hockey Warrior

    Well guys, we all know that hardly ANYONE on here actually goes to the games, let alone buys a SEASON TICKET, which is WHY no one questions the bigger issue – this is SUPPOSED to be ENTERTAINMENT ffs, and this horrendous team is taking the franchise to a new LOW in this regard, under the worst management/coaching regime in decades!

    Last nights travesty and the New Jersey game rate as the WORST games i have seen in decades! It’s unacceptable for the prices punters pay isn’t it?! No wonder there is so much ANGER and APATHY in and around the city and province these days.

    Guys, as we head into the break I ask you this… WHY would you even want this TRAINWRECK to make the playoffs to face the likes of CHICAGO or MINNY in a seven game series?!

    Smell the coffee fellas – you only have to LOOK at the turnaround in EDMONTON, under the ASTUTE GM who masterminded the Bruins STANLEY CUP win and NOT his lapdog underling we got MUGGED with… credit where it’s due boys, the OILERS are fun to watch and are going into the playoffs as a darkhorse CONTENDER… aren’t they?

    • Braindead Benning

      I can basically sum up why the oilers are fun to watch now.. pretty much everyone and their mom knows why the Oilers are where they now.


      Every so called “good” trade PC has made he has also made some of the most controversial and questionable “bad” trades as well…even going back to his bruins days… Seguin ?

      He and The oilers only benefited by getting the lucky draw to get CM….

      Without McDavid, PC and The rest of the oiler brass would be probably 20th or below.

  • Jabs

    When the Canucks didn’t show up for the pre-Christmas game with the Flames, Willie let them off the hook by saying “they looked tired”.
    I didn’t pay attention to the post game comments this time but I sure hope he didn’t let them off the hook again prior to a break. If this stuff keeps up then they will certainly be awful down the stretch.

      • Steamer

        Funny, AV seems to have done ok in NY after being deemed not good enough here; ditto for Torts – maybe Desjardins is over his head, maybe he’s a good coach, I don’t know. I have difficulty with his stubborn refusal to adjust:
        PP, line combos, roster selections, etc. IMO big part of the problem issues from a ‘disconnect’: Benning didn’t hire Desjardins, Linden did. Does Benning need Linden’s permission to replace the coach? Are Benning & Desjardins on the same page with regard to players/culture etc.? Lots of questions…only answer forthcoming is 14 regulation wins.

        • Off-season discussion:

          Desjardins: “Wow, we sucked last season. Jimbo, I need some help winning face-offs.”

          Benning: “No problem. Manny, get your ass over here!”

          Manny: “Awesome, I’m coming home, baby!”

          Desjardins: “We were 29th in goals-against.”

          Benning: “Doug, mon ami! Venez à Vancouver où vous pourrez profiter de notre pluie interminable, des poussins chauds dans des pantalons de yoga et des sushis à volonté.”

          Doug: “Oui! Oui!”

          Mid-season discussion:

          Benning: “Our powerplay is ranked 29th. How about…”

          Desjardins: “NOPE!”

          Benning: “What if we…”

          Desjardins: “NOPE!”

          Benning: “Ummm…”

          Desjardins (like Ben Kingsley from Sexy Beast): “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!”

  • DJ_44

    Looking at last nights effort (or lack there of) and everyone seems to be talking about Bo as the next captain.

    Nothing against Bo, but the one guy that displayed the “this is crap and I hate to lose” quality was Stecher. He seems like a respectful of the veterans type of kid….but it will be sooner rather than later he will be leading by example and calling people out.

  • Steamer

    The truth: 14 regulation wins in 50 games, 4 regulation wins on the road. Playoffs? What exactly would be the point? Think Chaput, Megna, Larsen & Co. going to top anyone? But don’t trade vets for picks, don’t give a chance to new acquisitions, don’t adjust personnel on PP, continue on without change & hope for the best – appears to be the plan.

    • Freud

      These truths don’t fit the fanboy agenda.

      Refer to one ignorant American prediction of 65 points and suggest everyone was predicting 65 points. Now that the bar has been set super low, heap praise on the team for simply not being the worst.

      3rd worst by most metrics is better than worst, hurray!

      Now add in the fact they’ve bucked the percentages so far and find themselves with more points then they should really have and we have the worst case scenario. A 9th or 10th place finish and the 13th overall pick. But that’s hard to consider, so we’ll tell fairy tales about winning culture to makes us feel better.

  • TheRealRusty

    I’ve said it before and I will say this again. If the Canucks intended goal is to make the playoffs, then WD needs to seriously consider splitting up the twins both 5×5 and on special teams. This will allow 3 scoring lines and 2 decent power play units, which would make game planning against the Canucks much harder than it is now.

  • Bud Poile

    The Canucks are netoriously consistent playing up or down to their opponents.

    All the usual fanboi reactions on the board that fail to recognise the opponent meant nothing to the players.