Canucks Army Post-Game: Nashstill


The Canucks entered tonight’s contest with the opportunity to start anew on the road, as they set off on a crucial six-game road trip that has the potential to define their season. All that stood in their way was the resurgent Nashville Predators.

One hopes that as the Canucks descend opposite the Predators, they might meet somewhere in the middle. Of course, that operates under the assumption there was much further for the Canucks to fall. The Canucks are now 0-3 opposite the NHL All-Star break, and they’ve been outscored 15-5 in that stretch following tonight’s 4-2 loss in Tennessee.

Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok led the Predators offensively with a goal and an assist apiece. Markus Granlund opened the scoring in tonight’s contest and Alex Edler chipped in with his second goal of the season to pull the Canucks to within one in the third period. Mike Fisher sealed the deal with the empty net goal.

Jacob Markstrom played well enough, stopping 29 of 32 Predator shots. Opposite him, Pekka Rinne, who looked shaky from the first shot on, stopped 31 of 33 Vancouver tries. Vancouver dropped their fourth straight and remain at just six road wins on the season.


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Quick Hits

  • I tend not to look too much into peculiarities when it comes to home or road records. When the team you cover has a coach who does almost everything in his power to avoid matchups, maybe it becomes more and more difficult to see the point? Whatever the case, the Canucks road record this season is the elephant in the room that bears addressing. They have five games after this one, and if they don’t address it in time for number two, that could spell the end of their improbable playoff run. I just wish I had even a clue as to why the Canucks are so bad on the road. The only answer that comes to mind is that they’re just not a good team and that’s especially profound when they don’t have last change.
  • Sven Baertschi left tonight’s game in the first period after sustaining a concussion on a Cody McLeod cheap shot. The puck was nowhere near Baertschi when McLeod caught the unexpecting winger with a shoulder to the craw. Baertschi struggled to the bench and did return for another shift, before eventually throwing in the towel and calling it a night — a wise decision, though I have serious questions about why he was allowed to return to the ice in the first place. Back to the injury itself, Blake Price was wise to point out how peculiar it really was for the Canucks to come out and announce it was a concussion as soon as they did. At first glance, I wonder if this is because of the impact injury has on the NHL’s desire to suspend the offending party. For some, it was the fact Daniel Sedin returned from the Nazem Kadri head shot was enough to grant the former a pass from supplementary discipline. I don’t think the injury should matter anywhere near as much as it does, but if these are the cards the league has dealt, it’s best to play to them. If we’re being honest though this hit shouldn’t really require injury to warrant a suspension. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Loui Eriksson missed enough scoring chances to generate an entire highlight reel of plays to illustrate how low his confidence is. And speaking frankly, based on the hesitation and poor timing of each, even someone so invested in an analytics-based approach as myself has serious questions about how comfortable Eriksson is playing the puck. As Jeff Paterson pointed out, Eriksson had nine attempts, and six of them landed on goal. Some of those were damn good chances, too. The game was on his stick on a number of occasions. The hope — and I mean it when I used that word — is that he’ll start converting on those chances. Then again, his seasons been hanging on that hope from the first game. 
  • Three of the Canucks worst five players by 5v5 shot attempts skated on the fourth line. It’s also the Canucks first game since sending Brendan Gaunce down to the Utica Comets. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Regarding two-way impact, Gaunce was having a fairly strong season. And as the sample of games played without him in the lineup grows, we might come to appreciate that. As is, he’s left the Canucks lineup with the single highest CF%Rel. Tm with a positive 7.2% mark.
  • With tonight’s loss, the Canucks are in 27th place. I never felt the playoff dream was alive, but if it was, it’s on life support now. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. The split between road and playoff games doesn’t leave them at Rogers Arena anywhere near as much as they’d like. The Canucks have kept in the chase for much of the season, and that’s too their credit, but I think the playoff pipe dream is about to hit a bumpy road.
  • Tonight was Ben Hutton’s first game since an injury sustained to his hand in a January 6th game against the Calgary Flames. And he led the Canucks blue in Corsi For percentage tonight with 68% — expressed as a single number, that a plus eight. I thought he was at his best exiting the zone. Looked far more smooth than when he last played for the Canucks. Hopefully, that’s a trend that continues.
  • So, I’m not what you’d call the biggest Brandon Sutter fan. I think he’s maybe passable as a third line centre. He has a few valuable skills, though. He draws penalties like nobody’s business, has a great shot, and he wins faceoffs. The latter of those played a key role in the Canucks first goal. Sutter wins the draw, and Markus Granlund comes in to retrieve the puck and launch it over the goalie’s shoulder. If that play seems familiar, it’s because they won a game in overtime against Dallas on the exact same play. Interesting when things like that actually work out with any level of regularity.
  • TD

    I’m not the biggest Sutter fan, but I like him as long as its not playing the wing with the Sedins. While he may not have a great CF%, I fail to understand JD’s dislike for a player that often takes on the opponents’ best players and is on pace for 20 goals, which is like 30 goals in the historic entertaining NHL of bygone years. I think this type of blind dislike is why many fans think poorly of analytics in hockey.

    • Dirty30

      I agree, but believe that if Sutter had been brought in with little ‘fanfare’ from Benning — maybe a comment that Brandon was a solid third to second line centre who would provide stability and some veteran presence for the young guys — there’d likely be less harrumphing about his Foundational Player Status and concomitant Salary, stats etc.

      He is a good player in the right deployment.

      He may not be a Beast like the guy who left, but he’s not a B—— in the room either.

  • Bud Poile

    The Nucks need an effective offensive d-man in the worst way.

    Edler had 49 points five years ago and should be at his peak performance at 30 years of age but has but 10 points on the season.

    Larsen has 6 points in half as many games played.

    Sbisa,Hutton and Stetcher all have more points,which underlines how far he has fallen offensively.

      • Bud Poile

        McInnis was 28.

        Savard was 29.

        Murphy was 32.

        Housley was 29.

        Suter was 28.

        Chelios was 31.

        Lidstrom was 26.

        Park was 33.

        Bourque was 2 points shy of his best year at 31.

        Robinson was 3 points shy of his best year at 35.

        • Dirk22

          Hey Bud. How’s it going big guy? Good to see you back after yesterday.

          Just a heads up. When JD says something like that it because they’ve actually looked at the career paths of hundreds of defencemen and concluded the ‘peak performance age’ lies around 24. The same has been done for forwards. You can look up the articles. It’s not speculation or opinion, it’s statistically backed conclusions. Will there be exceptions? Of course there will be. Suggesting Edler ‘should’ be peaking at 30 has no basis though. Nor does cherry picking the careers of defencemen from 20 years ago.

          • Hockey Warrior

            Woops = looks like ‘CROFTON’ forgot to sign in as ‘BUD POILLE’ today guys… or maybe he is still too flustered after i outted him as BOTH and he got his a$$ handed to him on a plate over Benning not drafting LUCIC and MARCHAND lol

            So Bud/CROFTON – were you cheering for the Canucks during the 2011 Cup Final YES or NO?

            Guys, after another lacklustre LOSS in Smashville how about that stealth tank then… as I’m sure MOST true fans will concur, it’s great to see us sliding into prime draft position again.

            So who’s it gonna be fellas, NOLAN PATRICK, HISCHIER or my own personal pick if we don’t get one of the big two… offensive defenceman Timothy Liljegren?!

            Don’t mess it up this year (Tkachuk, Ehlers, Nylander) BENNING!

            Have a great day guys :-p

          • Bud Poile

            Hey,just a head’s up,I was referring to elite,offensive d-men,not your garden variety plugger that tops out at 24.

            I researched and referenced the majority of the offensive leading d-men of all time in that comparison.It wasn’t a garden variety google search.

            Edler was once considered capable of being that type of d-man but topped out with the Sedin’s best years.At his age he can have a resurgence but he will need lots of help.

  • JuiceBox

    @ JD Burke

    “even someone so invested in an analytics-based approach as myself”

    Excuse me, what? I hope you were being facetious.

    In one article you say Larsen is adequate because he has passed the eye test a few times yet completely ignore the analytics; which, by the way, say the exact opposite. Then you come out and say that you are so invested in analytics? So which one is it?

    Or is it perhaps that you willfully ignore the eye test or the analytics depending on the situation to support a narrative and hope the readers don’t catch on?

  • JuiceBox

    This is paraphrased from an article on CBC news.

    National Hockey League forwards reach their peak scoring performance at age 28 and defencemen peak at age 29, while goaltenders show little change in performance based on age, says a new study that crunched the numbers.

    Those are the key findings of a study by the UBC business school that looked at the data from the 14 regular seasons between 1997-98 and 2011-12.

    For co-author James Brander, the bottom line of their study is that “the key to winning is having good, young players.”

    “This study provides a more complete and more accurate assessment of how that works,” he added.

    The study will be published in the June issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Brander’s co-authors are Edward Egan and Louisa Yeung. They analyzed peak performance in a number of ways, but the statistics they relied on were regular season points scored and plus-minus for skaters and save percentage for goalies.

    Brander’s team also found that forwards:

    Improve more quickly than they decline and typically begin “a significant decline in their early 30s.”
    Perform within 90 per cent of their peak from 24 to 32 years old. 25 is their most common age, with 24-27 very similar.

    Defencemen, the co-authors report:

    Improve and decline more slowly than forwards and do so very symmetrically. Perform within 90 per cent of their peak from 24 to 34 years old (two years longer than forwards). 26 is their most common age, with 25 and 27 very similar.

    For goalies, they found that:

    Performance varies little by age. At every age between 20 and 37, their save percentage is between 90 per cent and a tiny fraction over 91 per cent. 28 is their most common age, with 26-29 very similar.

    • Bud Poile

      “National Hockey League forwards reach their peak scoring performance at age 28 and defencemen peak at age 29, while goaltenders show little change in performance based on age, says a new study that crunched the numbers.”

      I thank you.

  • Spiel

    Larsen would have totally made the difference tonight, right?

    No mention of Stecher and his less than stellar game.

    Failed the eye test. Didn’t tie up his man in front on the second goal, bad giveaway on the empty net goal. Minus 3. Almost 4 minutes of powerplay time, zero shots.

    Failed the analytics test. 5v5 Relative Corsi -33%, relative fenwick -29%.

    Stecher is currently miscast as a powerplay guy, he doesn’t have an NHL level point shot at this time.

    • Pat Quinn Way

      Agree with you mate, Stetch played a shocker and is never a point guy on the PP in a million years with his feeble shot (think Shay Weber, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson for how it’s done).

      The biggest issue i have with posters on here this season is that many seem to think we are set for years to come on Defence!!?? How can this be possible with no quality offensive defenceman anywhere in the system (Juolevi is another stay-at-home guy with minimal point production just like Tanev, Tryamkin and Guddy).

      This D is currently minus 29 in goal diff, 21st in goals against, and has surrendered seventeen goals in the last four games alone, all losses.

      The entire 9 man D corp who’ve suited up this season has chipped in with 13 goals total (Burns has 22 on his own, Shattenkirk has 11!)

      If that is set for years on D then please, sign me up for an entry level deal, i’ll try my best. Promise.

      • Bud Poile

        “Juolevi is another stay-at-home guy with minimal point production just like Tanev, Tryamkin and Guddy.”

        At 17 years of age Olli won a gold medal, led his team in ice time and finished tied for the tournament lead in scoring by a defenseman.

        At 17 years of age Olli won a Memorial Cup,leading the team’s defensemen in scoring in both the regular season and the playoffs.

        Olli is not “just like Tanev,Tryamkin and Guddy”.

        I’m hoping that Edler and the Swedish contingent can have an offensive resurgence next year welcoming a young countryman with star potential into the league.

        • Freud

          At 18 years of age Olli captained Finland to a 9th place finish and narrowly avoided relegation to the B pool.

          At 18 years of age Olli was surpassed on the scoring list of the London Knights by two other defenceman, taken in the 3rd and 5th rounds of the same draft year. His points per game average also stagnated from the previous year. He currently gets 2nd pairing minutes for a team known for preparing their juniors for the pros.

          Picking and choosing info to match your agenda is fun, Bud! Now teach me how to use commas without spaces when typing.

  • Fred-65

    Any one else notice Stecher does pivot as well in both directions. I’ve seen it twice now … both times resulted in a goal against. He pivots the wrong way and so turn his back on the play rather than always facing the play. The opposition picks up on it immediately and turns him inside out. I’m starting to watch for it now maybe it’s going to be an issue in the NHL