Canucks Army Post-Game: Nobody saw this coming


Jannik Hansen returning to the Canucks lineup wasn’t enough to get them back in the wins column. They dropped their third straight game, convincingly, at the hands of the powerhouse Minnesota Wild.

This trend is a month-plus in the making, though. Even when Vancouver was winning and clawing their way back into the playoff picture, the signs that games like these were on the horizon were readily apparent. When this team doesn’t get elite goaltending from Ryan Miller, they’re a have-not in a league of haves.

That was apparent tonight. Oh, how very apparent it was. The Wild came in waves, and for each Canuck return volley, Minnesota’s increased in frequency and intensity. Markus Granlund tallied a hat-trick for the Wild, and Eric Staal, Mike Reilly and Zach Parise contributed a goal a piece. Brandon Sutter led the way for the Canucks with two goals and Bo Horvat chipped in with an even strength marker.

Miller stopped 33 of 39 Wild shots for Vancouver. Devan Dubnyk held the Canucks to three goals on 27 shots.


Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 10.14.57 PM


Quick Hits

  • Miller’s had a renaissance season. He’s under siege most nights and went into tonight’s game with a .918 Sv%. The league average is .912. Considering the quality of shots he faces on most nights, too, that’s a remarkable feat. All this at 36-years-old. I have serious concerns about his ability to continue performing like this as the starts mount. This is a player who in each of his first two seasons as a Canuck has broken down at one point or another; one who’s vocalized concerns about his workload in each season. He’s on pace to start fewer games than he did last season, but with a compressed schedule, I’m more concerned about the space between each start as Vancouver rolls down the stretch. Miller’s let in ten goals in his last two starts. This could be an omen.
  • Philip Larsen’s had a rough couple of games. There’s no doubting this much. He looked physically outmatched on many occasions tonight and coughed the puck up as a result. This caps off probably the worst two-game stretch in his NHL career. 
  • If anyone had a worse game than Larsen tonight, I tend to think it’s Nikita Tryamkin. All the problems in his game that keep him from realizing his top four potential were magnified tenfold this evening. Several passes went into his teammates’ or the Wild’s shins. Some of these miscues led to goals. In fact, Tryamkin was on the ice for four. Each of them came with a different partner. Tryamkin also took six penalty minutes. That’s not a good look.
  • On the positive side of the ledger, there was Brandon Sutter contributing with a pair of goals. I’ll say this much: he’s contributing his fair share offensively.
  • The Canucks honoured Henrik Sedin for his 1,000th point before tonight’s game. That’s about as good as the night got, if we’re being entirely honest.
  • Hansen’s back! He was playing on the Canucks second line with Markus Granlund and Sutter. Only Tryamkin had a worse Corsi For than Hansen’s 34%. I’m none too concerned, though. He struggled in this sense when he returned from his last injury, then went on to be one of the Canucks most productive players.
  • Brent

    Can I complain that it seems like we missed part of the Presentation for Herik’s 1000th point so we could watch Babcock yell at a referee? For crying out loud CBC, just throw a switch so we can watch the Canucks while the Toronto groupies keep watching. You won’t alienate you core in ontario, and we will feel a little more appreciated out here.

  • Braindead Benning

    This wild team is good and fun to watch!!! Quite a stark contrast of the Jacques Lemaire days

    Also a stellar signing in Staal 10.5 for 3 years what a comeback season for him… But hey… we have Loui Eriksson @ only 6 years at

    • Vintage

      This is such a BS point of view. If the Canucks had signed Staal for $10.5m for 3 years he’d be playing 4th line by now and have 2 goals, while Eriksson (who signed in Min for $6m x 6 years) would be leading the league in scoring.

      • Braindead Benning

        Dam you have great point man… most definitely Staal would have turned into that perennial 4th liner with 2 goals…

        And I totally agree that Loui would be leading the league in scoring and then some….and probably Years to come…lol

  • Bud Poile

    Brandon “Barely a third line center.” Sutter on pace for a personal record goal-scoring season.

    With 11 of 15 face offs won tonight he also continues to lead the team in the circle.

    Not bad for a fourth liner,eh,J.D.?

    • Braindead Benning

      On the positive side of the ledger, there was Brandon Sutter contributing with a pair of goals. I’ll say this much: he’s contributing his fair share offensively.

      Looks to me that the writers on this website have indicated he is clearly contributing ?

      Don’t recall reading where the 4th liner comment comes about…. maybe in some other article ???

      • crofton

        Are you trying to say Sutter isn’t responsible defensively? Or that he’s not a good penalty killer? And what usage exactly do you mean that would negate his goals scored?

        • Freud

          I’m not saying it, the evidence says it.

          Sutter plays the 2nd most minutes a game. He plays top power play minutes.

          Take his 5on5 goals per minute and he scores at the same rate as Skille.

          Look at his goals for % at 5on5 and he’s last on the team with 39.5%.

          Look at his adj. corsi relative to teammates, again, last on the team at -5.81.

          If 60% of the goals scored when you’re on the ice are in your own net, there are obvious two way problems. If you do that with top minutes, you’re a leading reason for losing.

          If you get outshot more than anyone on your own team, there’s an argument you should be the 3rd or 4th line centre, no matter how many goals you scored.

  • Braindead Benning

    On a positive note, At least losing to the wild and sharks is more understandable/acceptable then losing to the coyotes.

    Maybe this team could pull a few wins against tougher opponents going down the stretch ?but its clear it’s only going to be inevitable that the team will finish short.

  • wojohowitz

    When they get past the all star break the competitiveness goes to a higher level. It becomes the home stretch. The veterans know it and sharpen their game while the young guys hit a wall and get exposed. It partly explains why a young team – like Columbus – has a great season, becomes a playoff favourite but bows out early.

    The Canucks young defencemen lost too many puck battles and had too many turnovers. That was Tryamkin`s worst game and even Tanev was coughing up the puck.

    It also shows how Willie can`t make an in-game adjustment because he`s clueless. The fourth line played their usual eight minutes but should have seen a lot more in the third and that short handed goal really took the starch out of them. The power play has been lousy all season and they can`t figure it out. Short handed goals suck the life out of the team.

    Bruce Boudreau could coach from the upper deck. He sits back, rolls his lines and doesn`t spend the game yelling in their ears about their mistakes. His players like him and his regular season record is very good. Can he finally make hay in the playoffs.

    Quite right about Staal. He can`t carry a team like Carolina on his back but he fits right in as just another winger who can contribute.

    • TheRealPB

      If you’re comparing their draft records as GMs, Benning has done considerably better in terms of games played for his picks over the last three years than Fletcher (10 games played from 19 picks versus 253 games played from 20 picks for Benning). A couple of the Wild’s picks I think are going to be really good – Greenway and Tuch I’ve seen play and are absolute beasts. Fletcher by the way has also traded away his 2nds and a 3rd in the past three drafts, though I haven’t seen him get excoriated for it — perhaps it’s people understanding that draft picks are the lubricant for getting deals done in a hard cap era?

      If you want to go back further into Fletcher’s drafting record he certainly has other good picks like Zucker, Granlund, Dumba, Brodin, Graovac, and a few others. But it’s hard for me to look back at that history and not also remember that he gave up Brent Burns for fourth liners Charlie Coyle, Devin Setoguchi and Zack Phillips, and Nick Leddy for Cam Barker (!).

      • Dirk22

        Over the last three drafts, with a worse draft position Fletcher has added the following forwards: Tuch, Kunin, Kaprisov, Eriksson-Ek, Greenway and Sokolov. Looking at our latest draft rankings, these guys would occupy 6 of the top 7 forward spots with only Boeser making his way in there.

        Didn’t say anything about trades or signings – just pointing out what an actual good drafter looks like.

        • Freud

          Tuch looks like the power forward Benning was looking for in Virtanen. Except he was taken much later in the draft.

          Too bad Tuch wasn’t related to a Bruin assistant coach or was from Burnaby, maybe he’d be something we could be looking forward to.

          • Bud Poile

            Fitting that you refused to mention the other eleven GM’ that passed on Tuch.

            Those eleven GM’s must all be from Burnaby and all be related to a Bruins assistant coach.

            Yet another load of nonsense.

          • Freud


            More senility.

            I said Benning was looking for a power forward.

            The other 11 GMs chose to pick talent, not look for a magical power forward.

            I guess that’s why those other 11GMs have better teams.

          • Chris the Curmudgeon

            Hmm, let’s just see here:
            7th overall: Haydn Fleury, chosen by first time GM Ron Francis of the Hurricanes. Regrettable pick by a rookie GM.

            8th overall: William Nylander, Dave Nonis, Leafs. Nylander is a top 6 forward on a playoff team.

            9th overall: Nikolaj Ehlers, Cheveldayoff, Jets. Ehlers is T-14th in the entire NHL in scoring.

            10th overall: Nick Ritchie, Bob Murray, Ducks. A power forward, also, who has 11 goals in 52 games in this, his first full year.

            11th overall: Kevin Fiala, David Poile, Predators. Fiala played 32 NHL games this year but is low on the depth chart for a strong Preds D. Probably a weak pick, but still showing better than Jake.

            12th overall: Brendan Perlini, Don Maloney, Coyotes. Maloney has been fired since making this pick.

            13th overall: Jakub Vrana, Brian MacLellan, Capitals. Buried behind insane scoring depth in Washington, but pretty hard to compare anything the Caps, the league’s best team, do with the Canucks anyways.

            14th overall: Julius Honka, Jim Nill, Stars. Defencemen take longer, just breaking into the league this year. Time will tell.

            15th overall: Dylan Larkin, Ken Holland, Red Wings. Need I say more?

            16th overall: Sonny Milano, Kekalainen, Blue Jackets. Looks a bit bust like, but the Jackets aren’t quite as desperate either.

            17th overall: Travis Sanheim, Ron Hextall, Flyers. Also a rookie GM, also probably regrettable pick, though defencemen take longer.

            18th: Tuch

            So there you have it. After Jake was taken, 11 GMs passed on Tuch as well. In that stretch, there were 4 defencemen taken, which is an apples and oranges comparison so we can’t really judge the acumen of the GMs on it. 4 forwards were selected who are plainly better than Virtanen and Tuch (Ehlers, Nylander, Larkin and Ritchie), ie: the GM’s judgment seems sound. 2 forwards are still trying to crack the NHL, ie: what Jake is doing, albeit in their case for the two best teams in the Eastern Conference so it’s hard to really question the GMs of the Capitals and Jackets at this moment. The other forward, Perlini, was selected by a GM who has since been fired. Nothing in all of that shines a particularly good light on Benning, does it?

          • Dirk22

            What’s going to happen next year when the Canucks have a worse record than they did when Benning was hired despite him saying they would be among the elite by year 4/5? Straight resignation? Blame injuries? Blame Gillis?

  • TheRealPB

    Two losses against very good teams and one against a very beatable team. It’ll be interesting to see if Colorado or Arizona keep playing as poorly as they were before; if either starts to turn it on we might be in a lottery hunt yet. As it is we are deep in the midst of the parity of this league; 5 points separate 16th from 28th. Regardless of what’s said publicly, there can be no way that anyone actually believes in management that this is a competitive playoff team. We lack a credible power play, a sustained first line, and a decent first pairing (offensively) on D (though I actually think Edler has looked fantastic since coming back from injury; on the flip side I think Tanev has looked much worse). The young players have made some strides forward but look inconsistent as they often will. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Tryamkin has looked so much worse since Larsen has rejoined him — as much as people criticize Biega he’s worked alongside Tryamkin much better (Hutton also looked better with him). It’s not great to see them lose but I’ll stick with it as long as we don’t do something inane like trade picks and prospects for vets (rather than for young on-the-cusp players). If we could ship out some of our vets that would be ideal; I think a brutal February would contribute a lot towards achieving that.

      • TheRealPB

        Perhaps it’s the definition we disagree on but tanking for me is setting out to lose –as the Leafs did last year, acquiring and inflating the value of complementary players so they could sell them off as draft picks, taking on onerous contracts so they could get a prospect or two in return and so on. There’s a difference between that and realizing where you are at and trying to make the best of it.

        The major criticism I have of the Benning regime is when the reality is there not taking advantage of the situation. I totally get why they would sign a Miller or an Eriksson — they have to make it look to the ownership that they are still trying to remain competitive (and to at least a portion of the fanbase as well). But during the season when it’s abundantly clear what’s happening I think you can’t sit on your hands as they did with Hamhuis or out-strategize yourself and be left with nothing. They seriously undermined Vrbata’s worth (if and when he gets flipped by Arizona this year I would be surprised if they didn’t get at least a 3rd) and letting Hamhuis for nothing was ridiculous.

  • sh1t4brains

    Pedan CANNOT be any worse than Larsen. IF WD was indeed sheltering Larsen….he needs to find another job. Let the players play and drain the swamp! SMH.

  • Hooker

    What’s with the headline ‘Nobody saw this coming’? Don’t the Wild have the best or one of the best road records? Haven’t they proved to be one of the tougher wins in the league this year? Canucks have been scraping wins by virtue of excellent goaltending. Not hard at all to see that this result was possible

    • Dirty30

      Exactly — had the Canucks won 6-3 the headline would make sense. It’s credible to expect a win from the Canucks, though it might have been considered a challenge to achieve. Given the Wild’s record and strengths, it’s credible and achievable for the Wild to win, so only Bud didn’t see this one coming!

      As for Tryamkin, even the best of the best of the league’s D have off nights. So whether it was playing on his weak side, with a weak partner or just basic ‘reversion to the mean’ play, I don’t see what the media fuss was about regarding his play.

      On the bright side, the Canucks scored three goals! I’m not thrilled with them losing, but losing a game and showing some improvements is something to build on. I’m cringing a bit over the schedule this next month, but if they can use it to make strides in developing players it’s worth the effort.

  • andyg

    What I think is that WD has been getting the max out of this club all year and there is just nothing more to be squeezed out.
    They need to start looking at next year and the trade deadline.

  • Hockey Warrior

    I SERIOUSLY don’t know what so many of the plastic fans on here want – but i KNOW what i want… a STANLEY CUP in Vancouver!

    Guys, I promise you that under THIS coach and this GM that is NEVER going to happen.

    This season has been the WORST i have seen in DECADES and the DELUDED IDIOTS supporting this MESS whilst continuing to berate the previous regime who got us to GAME SEVEN of a CUP FINAL should be tarred and feathered and RUN OUT OF TOWN.

    Now PLEASE – WAKE UP and boycott and PETITION this JOKE of a team until the AQUILINIS get in a REAL GM and COACH, BETTER PLAYERS and a BETTER prospect pool and let’s get back on track here.

    I am SICK of the excuses, bickering and FAILURE here whilst teams like TORONTO, EDMONTON and MINNESOTA are turning into contenders in front of our eyes with QUALITY from top to bottom!

    Can you not SEE IT?

  • Fred-65

    Para phrasing Willy. Games are so tight, we need to win. Then he plonks Larsen in over Biega. He uses this theme constantly to his advantage but is never true to his word.

    I was at last nigts game the highlight I thought was the game during the 1st intermission the kids game. The main event was an example of real NHL team against a wanna be team. If you just looked at some thing as simple as passes made/completed Minny was crisp Vcr terrible. The number of times a Vcr attack fell apart due to poor passes was incredible. So Minny in effect is simply more skilled in the basics and it showed. One thing that I noticed this year is the Sedins …. the master of the passing game ….. are fumbling again and again the future does not look good. On the bright side both Sutter and Horvat were engaged and the Horvat goal was a terrific shot, post and in

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    As much as I would love to trade brothers with the Wild, unfortunately it was Mikael Granlund, the one on the other team, that got the hat trick last night.

  • TD

    Going into the allstar break, the Canucks were one point out of the playoffs and 3 or 4 points out of 28th. I think they are going to be in tough with their remaining schedule.

    My ideal situation would be for them to remain competitive so that the games are meaningful and the kids learn while competing. With league parity, I’m hoping they can remain close to the hunt while still falling to the bottom 4 or 5. Then with a little luck (I know it’s the Canucks) they can win one of the lottery spots and get hischer or Patrick. In the mean time, us fans can cheer for a team that’s competing instead of hoping they lose all their games. I understand why the draftists want to lose, but I’m a fan and want to see them win games.

  • TD

    Why is Larsen playing. WD won’t put Boucher in because he was loyal to his players that were playing well and didn’t want to mess with the chemistry of his lineup. Biega has outperformed Larsen all year and somehow Larsen gets the time. It’s having a negative affect on tryamkin, it’s time to back to Biega.

    • frontman

      Larsen is playing because they need to see what they have in that player. Biega is a serviceable call up but Larsen hasn’t had a chance to do anything under this contract. Not so hard to figure out.

      • TD

        Sorry, do you watch the games? How much more do you need to see. They brought him in to run the PP. That failed. He has been outmatched in the d end all year. It wasn’t like he was lighting it up before he got hurt. What are you hoping to see from him that he hasn’t shown already. 20 games played, 1 goal and 5 assists, -9. With lots of first PP time and some second PP time. Have you watched him in his own end? I would rather they try Subban. He also struggles in the D end, but is years younger, has time to develop and may actually help our PP.

  • I am Ted

    I think many people saw this coming. February is a much tougher schedule due to quality of opponent. Canucks won’t be doing much winning for a while. Many have already made that observation.

    I can’t say I like Larsen’s play. He isn’t much for the physical game. I’d like to see what a Hutton/Tryamkin pairing can do. Gudbranson is still a ways away from what I remember hearing.

    Canucks need to be sellers at the end of the month and should move a couple of players at the very least. I’m hoping Benning is busy planning trades!

  • wojohowitz

    Larsen plays because the Canucks gave up a 5th round draft pick to acquire him. Willie could of looked at him in pre-season and decided not to play him at all and Benning would have sat up stairs in his office wondering about how much rope he should give Willie before he fired him for making him look braindead. Willie gets brownie points for playing Larsen. At the end of the season they cut Larsen loose and everybody pretends the trade never happened. Cut him now and everybody says; What a dumb trade.