11
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Postgame: What an awful game to lose

But hey, did you see Mario Lemieux Josh Ho-Sang out there?

What a game.

The Rundown

I had a friend who flew to Vancouver for the first time this week. She got to sit down two rows above the ice and watch a Vancouver Canucks game, for the first time, not at Gila River Arena (she’s a nice Coyotes fan).

I thought it would be fun to ask her a bit about her experience at the game.

What did you see? I asked. Who stood out to you at eye level?

I got a text at 7:24: “Jayson Megna = good Canuck.” (This was bad analysis, as she admitted not long after.) 

Then: “Luca Sbisa = very very V E R Y bad Canuck.”

Some waiting. Then: “I think Sutter’s having a rough night.” 

Ultimately, she gave me a few takeaways from her perspective. The Sedins looked gassed – we knew that. Brandon Sutter had the kind of game that made fans cry about his trade and contract and raise that dead horse from its grave to beat it again. Nikita Tryamkin blew his coverage on the second goal, but Jayson Megna’s turnover was the real sticking point.

The Canucks had no business losing that game. They looked bad – when have they looked consistently excellent this year?  – but the Islanders were a disjointed team that struggled to cleanly enter a zone or properly shut down a play headed back towards their end. They won on a talented goal scorer, an awful Canucks turnover, and the virtue of Thomas Greiss standing on his head.

A point is a point, and Troy Stecher deserves all the credit in the world for forcing overtime with 19 seconds left in the final frame.

For a game that could have been an easy win, though, the Canucks sure made that extra point pretty hard.

Five Positives

  • I’ve done like three recaps this year (because I have a new baby and a newfound disintrest in watching Pacific Coast games when I could be catching up on sleep), but I’ve pointed out positives for Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi in I think all of them. They are the future of the Canucks; maybe they aren’t the new Sedins, but they’re very, very good. Horvat finished with a positive shot differential logging massive minutes, and Baertschi got himself a goal. I don’t think they’re anywhere close to the problem in a loss like this.
  • Reid Boucher, eh? I don’t think he ever got a fair shake in New Jersey, for whatever reason. Maybe because he’s short? Whatever the case, I think he was a workhorse for Vancouver. The team faded fast in the third period (minus Stecher in the final seconds), but he was always buzzing around the net, trying to put the puck in. And hey! It even worked once.
  • Ryan Miller had a garbage game for him, but he cleaned it up enough in the third period to keep the team in it enough to get the extra point. Baby steps, baby steps.
  • Possession! Say what you will about Corsi, but the team that puts the puck on net more often than the other team gives themselves the most optimal chance of taking home two points. The last recap I did, Vancouver took 18 shots all game. This one, they took 39 – and while I’ve got some things to say about the third period (we’ll be getting to that), they put themselves in a position to hopefully succeed with their offense in the first two frames.
  • Troy Stecher, duh. Although he may have caused New York’s third goal, he capitalized in the final seconds to equalize and earned the team a point in a game where, had they walked away empty handed, heads probably would have rolled.

Five Negatives

  • We’ve gotta love Brock Boeser, but Anthony Beauvillier still kind of stings as a missed opportunity. He was a Canucks Army favorite leading up to the draft, and his goal in the second period certainly showed that he would have been an impact player – probably as soon as this year.
  • Ryan Miller had a garbage game.
  • So did the defense.
  • So did Jayson Megna. Kid’s gotta stop getting consistent ice time. I don’t care if he’s a workhorse – so is Reid Boucher. Only difference is that Boucher gets results.
  • That third period play was atrocious. The Canucks have made a pretty bad name for themselves in the Desjardins regime of fading in the final frame – only usually, it comes when they’re playing to protect a lead. This game, they were outshot 13-7 in the final 20 minutes. BY THE TEAM THAT ALREADY HAD MORE GOALS. Against any other club (translation: an actual playoff contender with actual cohesion on the ice and an actual polished product) would have wiped the ice with Vancouver over that kind of play. I know it’s a rebuild, but that part was unacceptable.

The Numbers, Nerds!

Takeaways

It blows my mind that Willie Desjardins openly knows his job is on the line and puts the Sedin twins – one of which had an uncharacteristically poor game – out together for the overtime period.

I’ve always given Desjardins the benefit of the doubt. I’ve had bigger fish to fry with how management handled the roster; how was Willie D. supposed to ice a winning team when he was being given the wrong pieces to do that?

He’s been overplaying the Sedins this year, though, and it’s showing. They’re only effective if they aren’t completely gassed.

He’s been overplaying Jayson Megna. He’s been struggling to put up good special teams results (although I did like the final Canucks penalty kill in the third period quite a bit, considering). He’s been using youth recently, but it’s hard to tell exactly how much of that has been because he actually wants to – and how much of that has been the mumps, trade deadline, and other maladies.

Anyways. Here’s a fun picture my friend sent me of her seats at the game. She said you guys were all real nice people, so thank you! Sorry you guys lost another game.

  • Cageyvet

    Sorry Cat, but your recap reads like you’ve watched all of 3 games this year…….if they walked away empty-handed, heads probably would have rolled? What? Why in the world would heads roll now, when it’s a given that we’ll miss the playoffs and we unloaded veterans at the deadline?
    We get a guest analysis from your friend the Coyotes fan who seems, by virtue of having no credentials whatsoever, to be about as qualified as you…..Beauvillier is on pace for 25 points and you want us to already regret picking Boeser?
    The points you make that are accurate are about 2 months behind every other hockey commentary on the Canucks, with the whole Megna/Willie/Sedins/Bo & Baer comments being the worst re-hash of old news. Maybe Boucher didn’t get a fair shake because he’s short?….stunning insight with some in-depth research there. Even the commentary about the poor 3rd periods rang hollow, how often have we really been protecting a lead this year?
    Seriously, this reads like you took up covering hockey as a hobby last year, and have about as much insight into the Canucks as any casual fan could get by reading the paper daily, except you’re a little behind because you missed a few editions…..and I love the American being happy about being in row 2 like it’s a basketball game, Canadians actually prefer to get a few rows higher so we can see the entire ice, but I’m glad we were nice to her, despite her inability to spell the name of the arena she was in.
    I know, I’m sour for no good reason, but when the self-proclaimed analytics site throws out these puff pieces with one graph labelled “The Numbers, Nerds”, I tend to think that the CA team is due for as much, or more, criticism than they’ve hurled at the Canucks management this season. New look, same tired blogs. Time to tear it down and do a rebuild CA, this is like the Canucks putting on new uniforms and expecting us to like Megna better in the snazzy new duds…..

      • Seth

        I was at the game, and I have to agree with the points well said.
        To further add:
        – Also Horvat was “ok”. He blew coverage on both the Tavres goal and the Ladd one. Perhaps he is taking too much burden on trying to get offence, at the expense of defence.
        – Sutter – you knew he was totally off because he wasn’t skating well and falling alot.
        – Admittedly, I was irked when I saw Biega on as forward, thinking WD had healthy scratched Goldobin. After hearing it was the flu, I was more accepting of it. Biega had some good physical play, but can tell he was a bit out of his element as he seemed a bit lost for coverage in the neutral zone during the forecheck.
        – Megna turnover. Need to get pucks deep! Split second bad decision, NYI did a quick transition, stretch pass to the forward and it was in our net.
        – As quick as you want to crucify Tryamkin for the “bad coverage”, it was actually a bad change by the last pair, with the long change in the middle frame. He was a deer caught in headlights as soon as he got on. All he can do was to try to block the pass which he wasn’t able to do.
        – Sedins started the game flying in the first. They had jump. However by the 3rd, Henrik was forcing bad passes, leading to turnovers and also they looked gassed.
        – Miller didn’t have a garbage game. He was ordinary – ie he didn’t make the spectacular save when he needed to. 2 of the goals he had little chance (1st and 3rd, back door, uncovered Tavres at the face off dot and own-goal deflection by Stecher).
        – Yes, we out shot the islanders for most of the game, but admittedly, a whole whack of them were long shots – unscreened Greiss and saw the shot all the way, perhaps alot of them was to just to force a faceoff. I felt the NYI had more quality chances.

        Stats and numbers without context are like what Mark Twain said: Three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.

  • Bud Poile

    I think if Miller didn’t have a stinker we’d feel a bit better and Cat did say she has only done 3 Canucks games all year so the new baby and not really having a grasp on the team was her early confession.
    All the Megna hate doesn’t turn me on.The guy played 11 minutes TOI,had three hits, three takeaways,a shot on net and blocked one.
    He and Cramarossa are the only forwards throwing their bodies.Five Canucks forwards never threw one hit,including Horvat,and these two fringe players lay out the lumber seven times combined-with half the ice team.
    Anyways,the magical 65 points are in the bag with 15 games left to play so that means a lot of the so-called experts look pretty silly right now.

  • TD

    Didn’t see the game as I was out coaching one of my kids. We got back in time to see the replay of the OT goal. Hutton looked gassed, but Horvat completely blew his coverage on the goal. Ladd was his check and he backed up slowly and only turned to check Ladd after the pass had been made. I love Horvat. His effort is great and he is constantly attacking and trying to make something happen, but he often blows simple defensive reads like he did tonight. His offensive game has turned out way better than advertised, but the defensive game he was known for in junior seems non-existent on many plays.

  • Rodeobill

    Felt like we watched different games maybe, or maybe one of us had one too many at “the pint”,
    I thought this was and excellent game, and they played well for who they are and where they are at. They simply dominated the islanders almost all game. The kids showed up, the vets had fun, biega found a new role as wrecking ball. Plus, I always like to watch tryamkin and now he’s back. Megna made some critical errors which SHOULD give him a little less slack with the WD. Gaunce is awesome for a bottom 6’er and proved it again (this guy WILL start scoring, just wait for it). Stecher tries to fight a dude slightly smaller than tryamkin, AND we didn’t fall too far from a good draft spot, what’s now to like!?

  • TheRealPB

    I like Boucher quite a bit, especially on the PP and to some degree playing up on the Horvat line, mostly because he shoots the puck every chance he gets. That said it’s also very hard for him if he’s not in the top six (maybe top nine) to make much of an impact especially without talented offensive players. It’s not a great sign that he couldn’t crack the Devil’s top nine (Nashville is more understandable). That was a pretty winnable game and gives again a good sense of how much worse those last two seeds in the east are from the top — Toronto, NYI, Philadelphia, Boston and Florida have all looked pretty mediocre or bad the last month. My money would probably be on TB (if they hadn’t just lost three centres in one game!) or Florida after getting Huberdeau and Barkov back. It was nice to see Biega throwing his weight around out there — as much as I don’t think he belongs in our defensive rotation, he’s a really good pro and has been there for us a lot the last two seasons. This era’s Aaron Rome!

  • TheRealPB

    Also, for the PP, please go with Horvat, Baertschi, Boucher, Stetcher and Hutton for the first unit, Sedins, Goldobin, Edler and Granlund for the second. And give flip their current ice-time on the PP. At least the first unit puts legitimate and sustained pressure on and can actually build on any momentum gained or gain the zone.

    • apr

      At some point, I’d like to see what the power play would look like with Tryamkin as a net presence. I am not advocating this as a standard formation – but I would like to see it incorporated as wrinkle from time to time as it gives the penalty killing team, and particularly the goalie, something to think about. Chicago basically ruined the Canucks when Byfuiglin did this from time to time.