CANUCKS ARMY POST-GAME: 3-2 OT LOSS TO WINGS OVERSHADOWED BY HANSEN TRADE

Canucks Army Postgame

On a night when the Detroit Red Wings were in town, Canuck fans could be excused if their attention was focused elsewhere. One day into the post-Alex Burrows era, the Canucks continued their rebuilding efforts in earnest by dealing fellow 2011 alumnus Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional 2017 fourth round draft pick.

The action on the ice was not entirely devoid of excitement, either. After falling down 2-0 early to the visitors from Michigan, the Canucks battled back to tie the game late and sent it to overtime. Although the Canucks eventually dropped the contest on a Justin Abdelkader overtime marker, the loss moved the Canucks into sole possession of 28th place in the NHL – and the third-best draft lottery odds.

STATISTICS

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GAME HIGHLIGHTS

With Hansen held out of the lineup – initially for “precautionary measures” – the club dressed Croatian winger Borna Rendulic for his first game in a Canuck uniform. It was the visiting Red Wings, however, who earlier in the day had traded Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers for draft picks, managed to strike first courtesy of the stick of Frans Nielsen.

After Alex Edler was penalized for a slashing infraction, the Danish winger (making up for the absence of his countryman?) struck again on the power play to double the Wings’ lead.

Despite the deficit, the Canucks actually bested the Wings 14-13 in 5v5 Corsi in the opening frame. Brendan Gaunce had one of his stronger periods as of late, and had the Vancouver’s best scoring chance in the first 20 minutes.

The Canucks got off to a solid start in the second period with a classic throwback Sedin shift. The twins were throwing the puck around the Red Wings’ zone (with a little help from a pinching Luca Sbisa) and found Markus Granlund in slot for his 16th goal of the season.

Vancouver continued to control the balance of play throughout the period, but was unable to equalize the score. The home side was out-attempting Detroit 31-23 after forty minutes of play at even strength.

For a team trailing by a goal, the Canucks played a mostly lacklustre third period. Lacklustre, that is, until Reid Boucher tied the game with his first goal as a Canuck.

Poor Reid Boucher. Almost everyone in Canuck-land not at Rogers Arena (and probably not even there) was distracted by some other news.

With Hansen now officially an ex-Canuck, the game progressed to overtime. Brandon Sutter took an early penalty in the extra frame, and Justin Abdelkader would tip in a perfect Henrik Zetterberg centering feed to give the Wings the 3-2 win.

GAME NOTES

-Let’s be honest. The moment Jannik Hansen was removed from the lineup after the opening warm-up, the game itself became a secondary story. A couple of weeks ago, I said that it would be a successful trade deadline if the Canucks traded away at least two of Burrows, Hansen, and Miller. In the span of two days, not only have the Canucks traded the first two players on that list, but the club has actually managed to simultaneously bring back a solid return and better position itself for the expansion draft. It’s not even trade deadline day, and many would agree that it is already “mission accomplished” for Benning and company. This is the rebuild for which fans have been clamouring. Now let’s see if the Canucks can manage to trade Miller tomorrow.

-Speaking of which, why did the Canucks find it in their best interests to scratch Hansen but start Miller in goal? Yes, Jacob Markstrom is injured – and that would mean Richard Bachman would have played – but the Canucks have already tacitly acknowledged that the playoffs (and, by extension, this season) are a lost cause. Why run the small risk of Miller suffering an injury? Granted, Benning may already have come to the conclusion that the Miller market is now, for all intents and purposes, closed. But on the off-chance that it isn’t, just sit him for one, meaningless game.

-There was a game tonight! For a contest featuring the third- and fourth-worst teams in the NHL, it was actually mildly entertaining. The Canucks managed to claw back and earn a point, but allowed the Red Wings to pass them in the lottery standings. A good night overall for those wanting to hit the accelerator on the rebuild.

-A further note on Brendan Gaunce. The young centre had one of his most noticeable games as a pro tonight, and nearly managed to score his first goal of the season on several occasions. He finished the night with a +5 CF at even strength.

NEXT GAME

Thursday, March 2 @  San Jose Sharks, 730 PST. TV: SNET; Radio: TSN 1040

Update: Jannik Hansen will not play on Thursday due to US work visa issues.

  • I am Ted

    Boy oh boy I can’t wait for CA editor Butthole Burke to come in here, spread his butt-cheeks and shat all over Goldobin using his analytics and so on. Captain Killjoy is typing away as we read this!

    Glad to see Benning go rebuild. He got some pretty good returns considering Burr had a full NTC and Hansen had a limited NTC.

    I’ll miss 14 and 36 but it’s time to get the rebuild on and then some.

  • Roy

    Oh man poor Gaunce. He deserves a goal. I like him the more I see him.

    I might eat these words but I doubt they’re trading or shopping Miller. They’re likely keeping him for at least another season. He’s too old to get any offer of serious worth, teams in playoff contention have mostly depth in net, and the goalie market right now is the only apparent buyer’s market, so why not keep him and let him slide for “future considerations” in a couple seasons while he plays out his contract. He does his job.

  • I am Ted

    I am all in for dealing Miller too but I don’t think it happens. I’d like to see the rebuild go into full effect. I think Miller wants a Cali team and may try to be closer to home over Van next season.

  • DJ_44

    Boucher looks good. Put Larson on the second unit PP…get edler off the first unit.

    I like Larson more and more. He defensive zone play has dramatically improved. The reason? I think Larsen has taken serious study notes from Stecher…how he uses his positioning …especially on the boards…to compensate for his size. He has very good skill. Resigning him should be considered.

  • wojohowitz

    I look at the TOI in that game and shake my head. Rendulic gets 4+ minutes, Grenier gets 5 minutes, Labate gets 8+ minutes. So what did we learn. Willie is not the guy. If he`s not going to play the young guys then get a coach who will play them.

    • DJ_44

      ….and this is because Grenier and Redulic are the future?

      The will be back in Utica…..I would much rather see Boucher play with Horvat. Meg a is also better than both of them.

  • Braindead Benning

    Good to see the Canucks compete again but how does Eriksson get over 20 minutes of ice time and fails to even get a single shot go figure???

    I can’t see anything positive about that signing? And with old Jimbo finally pulling off a couple of good trades for the future loui’s play and contract are going to look even more brutal then it already does.

    • Bud Poile

      ‘I can’t see anything positive about that signing? ” Braindead

      11 year NHL veteran playing for the second to worst goals scored team in the league that is now in 28th place and out of the playoffs.

      He’s about as motivated as he should be.

      • Braindead Benning

        11 year NHL veteran playing for the second to worst goals scored team in the league that is now in 28th place and out of the playoffs.

        He’s about as motivated as he should be.

        So then what you’re saying is that it’s perfectly alright to be an 11 veteran and when the team is out of the playoffs it’s acceptable to be unmotivated and NOT try and play your best???

        Nice!! Exactly the type of player you want to sign for 6 X 6… Sure sets an example for the younger players?

        • Bud Poile

          Anybody that has ever played hockey does not go all in when the season is already lost.

          Just how in the name of your fantasy world is any veteran with a contract going to be motivated ?

          For what? Now it’s time to tank and mgmt. to play the prospects. You’ll get all the right answers from the vets but they will be looking ahead to a fresh start next year.

          • Braindead Benning

            Just how in the name of your fantasy world is any veteran with a contract going to be motivated?

            I don’t live in a “fantasy world” although I would like to at times, Aldo Nova anyone? great video and guitar solo for the time Lol

            Anyway, besides yourself, we all have witnessed players such as the Sedins, Burrows, Hansen and many more professional players that dressed for the Canucks being “Motivated” to perform during their tenure regardless of the teams position, so making an excuse like that is laughable.

          • Silverback

            Bud, I know you have a pissing match happening with a few others on this site, but you are way offside on this one. It is indefensible to say a player is not motivated to play his best. That is Vrbata speak for I don’t care about my team or team mates.

            I simply hope Erikson is having an off year. I will not make excuses for him, but in my mind I will give him another year before I judge him.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Sutter was a disaster out there tonight. Let’s his man go for the first goal. Puts the puck on the Wings stick for the second goal. And takes a penalty in overtime for the third goal. Just awful.

    Gaunce played really well. I think he is close to breaking through and producing.

  • Rodeobill

    To me this game should have been titled “Stecher, Horvat, and the comets play a tanking Red wings” but it was fun to watch.

    Gaunce needs to see more action, he was good in all zones.

    Boucher was fun to watch.

    Spisa made some classic deliveries this game (which has been uncharacteristic of him this season)

    Mrazek plays with flare and pageantry.

    The ref must have been ice blind all game with the obvious calls he missed on both teams.

  • TheRealRusty

    “Speaking of which, why did the Canucks find it in their best interests to scratch Hansen but start Miller in goal? Yes, Jacob Markstrom is injured – and that would mean Richard Bachman would have played – but the Canucks have already tacitly acknowledged that the playoffs (and, by extension, this season) are a lost cause. Why run the small risk of Miller suffering an injury? Granted, Benning may already have come to the conclusion that the Miller market is now, for all intents and purposes, closed. But on the off-chance that it isn’t, just sit him for one, meaningless game.”

    I highly doubt that Miller will be moved today due to the lack of depth in the goaltending position with the Markstrom injury. The facts are that Demko is 1.5-2 years away from paying on the big team and Markstorm has not (or given a chance to) prove himself capable of handling the 60+ game workload which a #1 goaltender is expected to play. I would like to see Miller signed to a cap friendly 1-2 year contract ($4+mill per year?) and unprotected during the expansion draft. If Vegas picks him then it’s a win win scenario for both parties as he gets to play closer to his LA home and we get to keep another one of our younger assets. We can always sign a free agent goalie for tandem work with Matkstrom next year in this scenario.

    Now that Hansen has been moved, I would also hope that GMJBTL explore possible trade options for Sbisa even if it means retaining a bit of salary for this and next year. I would assume that contenders loading up for an extended playoff run will have a need for an extra 3rd pairing defenseman who is having a bounce back season (sell high on Sbisa!). I would even take a 2nd/3rd round pick back if it means that we get to expose Gaunce or Biega to Vegas. The alternative is that we will lose him to expansion for nothing.

  • JuiceBox

    Gaunce has quietly been one of the Canucks best players all season long, he just hasn’t put the puck in the net. The more I watch that kid, the more I like him. I sure hope Las Vegas isn’t looking to hard as I would hate to lose him in the expansion draft.

    I think the writing is on the wall for a Ryan Miller trade. If there was any chance there was a trade happening today there is ZERO chance he starts last night.

  • wojohowitz

    Something else that sticks out with that game was the number of turnovers by defensemen. The heavy forecheck, the weak passes, mishandling the puck. It`s been an issue all year and maybe like the power play it`s not so much the personnel but the coaching. I recall Tryamkin being criticized for flipping it out but when there is no one to pass to then flipping it out is the only option.