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Canucks Army Postgame #77: Meh-lino

Perhaps it’s just that the bar for entertainment has just been significantly lowered in Vancouver over the past two seasons, but tonight’s tilt between the Canucks and Kings felt oddly fun. At least, as fun as a 2-0 game between two offensively anemic teams can be. The Canucks generated a lot of chances, many of which came courtesy of their youngsters, and Ryan Miller had yet another solid outing. It wasn’t enough to result in a win, but at this stage in the season that’s probably not such a bad thing.

The Canucks probably deserved a better fate tonight, but they just couldn’t get anything past Jonathan Quick, and fell 2-0 to the Kings.

STATS

HIGHLIGHTS

GAME NOTES

  • Griffen Molino made his NHL debut tonight for the Canucks, making him the 39th player to suit up for Vancouver this season. There’s been some hand-wringing over the signing of Molino, but overall he didn’t look terribly out of place. He skated primarily on a line with Drew Shore and Alex Biega that got it’s teeth kicked in at even-strength, but was notable for it’s speed and physical play. Molino finished -4 in shot attempts but also had one of the better chances of the game late in the first period. He’s got a long way to go towards being an everyday player, but players have certainly had worse debuts.

  • The trio of Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat, and Brock Boeser came to play tonight. Not only did they generate a number of high quality chances, but that line also led the team in shot attempt differential. That’s notable considering Horvat and Baertschi have struggled to remain solvent at even strength this season without the presence of Alex Burrows. The Canucks’ plan is ostensibly to have Boeser start in Utica next season, but if he continues to look as good as he has he’s going to make it awfully difficult for the team to send him down.
  • The Sedins looked like their old selves again tonight after a two-week stretch of indifferent play. Daniel Sedin alone had 6 shots on goal, and they controlled play at the level we’ve been accustomed to over their careers. It’s been tough to watch them struggle this season. They can still do most of the things that have made them so successful, but you can see they’ve lost their fastball a bit over the past few seasons. Daniel had a couple of chances for a one-timer on the power play, only to see one go off the heel of his stick, and the other off the toe. It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches their deployment next season, but I’d like to see them get an extended look with Boeser. They’ve looked dangerous on the powerplay together, so I’d like to see what they can do at evens. The Sedins could really use somebody that can drive shooting percentage and Boeser has looked like that type of player, albeit over a very small sample.
  • Jarome Iginla scored his 625th career goal tonight, tying him for 15th all time in goals with Joe Sakic. He’s slowed down over the past half a decade or so, but he’s truly one of the all-time greats. It’s disappointing that he’s wasted the past few years on mediocre teams, and with the Kings on the outside looking in, it appears as though that trend is going to continue.
  • pheenster

    Molino came to play. Goldobin was absolutely invisible, making one wonder what the millions of wasted keystrokes on Twitter were all about earlier in the day.

      • Naslund

        I’m not sure if you were being facetious or not, but the basics of English grammar should matter for this type of blog. The premise of this site is that by using analytics, one will have a better and more intelligent approach to understanding hockey. Thus, when one’s mandate is presumably to appear intelligent and knowledgeable, it detracts from that aim substantially when the writer makes the most rudimentary of grammatical errors. Perhaps CanucksArmy should enlist the help of a proofreader?

      • Freud

        Good gawd. You had Radim Vrbata playing 2nd line centre a few days ago.

        I always thought sound hockey analysis starting with knowing what you’re talking about.

      • Jackson McDonald

        What makes this even funnier is that the grammar was proper in the first place. The sentence read, “perhaps it’s just that the bar for entertainment has been significantly lowered”, which is the correct usage of “it’s” because the sentence still makes sense without the contraction, ie, “Perhaps it is just that…” so I don’t know what his problem is here.

        I’ve noticed people mention “it’s” vs. “its” in my articles before when there has been no error. It’s very strange.

  • Bud Poile

    Boeser outshot both of his linemates and outhit Bo,which is very simple to do.
    Bo was 5 for 17 in the circle, or 29% , which really sucks.
    Nice 2 c Miller riding on top of Team tank-again.

  • Killer Marmot

    I couldn’t get a good read on Molino’s straight-ahead speed or stick handling, but quick, agile, and crafty were my take-aways. And he made at least one good defensive play.

    But playing on the 4th line was not the best way to expose his capabilities.

    • theminister

      His straight ahead speed is good. Certainly NHL calibre. On the back check after the tip shot miss, passes many players from his starting position. Not just his two step burst, which was also apparent in 3rd, but he kept his feet moving and wasn’t slow to react on the defensive responsibility. That shows two things to me, hustle and ability to read the play in transition. He followed it up with a very solid tie up of yhe opposimg player, no penalty and wasn’t outmuscled.

      His calling card will have to be habits until he can find his pace with the puck. He told me after the game that he has really learned that in the last two years under Andy Murray, transforming into a responsible player. We may be able to glean then that he’s a coachable and willing student of the game, knowing his strengths and limitations.

      His game is in his feet. Kerp those moving, withstand the punishment, and be an opportunistic scorer. That will be his shot, at first glance as a pro. We will see if that intensity is something he can maintain.

  • wojohowitz

    Willie suggest the problem is a lack of talent, as in it`s all Benning`s fault. I don`t think he does himself any good by passing blame. He should man up if he wants to work again in professional hockey, or at least stop the blame game. What puzzles me is if the Canucks have a NHL defence because at times they all look like minor leaguers with their poor passing and giveaways. Do they need an upgrade on defence or is it just bad coaching?

      • TD

        I don’t mind they way our defence projects a couple of years down the line. Joulevi, Tryamkin, Stecher, Hutton are all young. Even Gudbranson is young still. While nothing is certain, that group is all in the NHL already and could develop into a top NHL D corp.

        I agree with you on offence, I see a lot of potential top 9 forwards in Baertschi, Granlund, Boeser, Goldobin, Dahlen, Gaudette, and Boucher, but they won’t all work out and I don’t know if there is a lot of top line point per game players that championship teams need to have.

    • Silverback

      I think our defence is on track. With the addition of Juolevi they will mature into a formidable group. Not there yet, but in a few years, with the addition of a couple more years of draft picks, and off the map signings, I see this team being a solid contender in a few more years.

    • Dirty30

      This is the Coach who has deployed Vey, Dorset, Sutter, Megna, Chaput and Skille more than any other players during his tenure. How could that be Benning’s fault? I think WD really is stuck in Junior hockey mode with deployment, strategy -PK and PP — and assignments. Almost 100 losses and no new PP strategy? No new assignments? This crap might have been fine in Junior, but is WD doesn’t figure out soon that his tired routine on the ice isn’t working he’s going to be playing a lot of golf.

    • Braindead Benning

      I agree bud… they are despartley needing Olli, this player will
      No doubt turn this current Defence into feared contenders for years to come…like Virtanen, please enlighten us with how far they have progressed.

      Apparently the teams 6th overall pick is “starting to learn the game” yay….

      • Braindead Benning

        Yes again I agree with you, careers are not judged on any level regardless of games played. However tell me that when Tkachuk nails your poster boy “Olli” behind and in front of the net and pops a goal and give the middle finger to dim Jim.
        Even with your low hockey IQ you know Tkachuk was a much superior pick and player

  • Bud Poile

    ISS:
    “Smart two-way defender with size. Fluid skating stride with quickness and speed. Very effective running PP, has a very high panic threshold when being pressured. Changes angles well and can walk the line to open up shooting lane. Not physical, relies on body positioning and a good stick to defend. Very good skater with mobility, good gap control and pivots. Retrieves drop-ins quickly. He has solid point production this year, which is due to the way he reads the ice so well and finds the open man. Ability to slip the first man in on the fore check. Equally as good on defense as he is on offense. Close to being NHL ready. Still needs to get stronger physically as he has a lanky frame.”

    Eliteprospect

    ” competitive spark plug, Olli Juolevi is a complete, all-around defenceman who can hem the opposition in their own end or make things difficult for the opposition at home; either way, he puts the pressure on and lays it on thick. A strong and balanced skater, he can rush the puck through the neutral zone with ease or backcheck with haste. Uses his size to his advantage, but knows his physical limits and plays within them. Instead of playing overly physical, he makes his presence felt by exhibiting his high-end playmaking ability and puck possession play. All-in-all, a well-rounded blue-liner who thrives under pressure and can be trusted in all situations”

  • Rodeobill

    Moligno looked better than half our guys tonight. Definintely worth another look. No way boeser is going to utica, cant see it unless we deliberately want to tank next year too. He brings it and sees the game excellent. He is a team player with a mature approach to the game. Biega looked great again on the fourth. Tryamkin played physical and aggresive, these are the small wins this game, oh and Daniel’s dangle was sweet too.

    • Killer Marmot

      I no reason for sending Boeser to Utica. If he continues playing as he has (5 shots on goal last night) then he’ll get all the ice time he can handle.

  • Jimjamg

    I agree that Molino looked good, like a water bug, fast in traffic and got to a lot of pucks first. But I thought Tyramkin and Boeser were the two dynamos which is great from a future perspective. Tyramkin was pinching deep and crashing the front of the LA net showing great offensive instincts as well as punishing a few guys in the D zone and Boeser seemed to make something happen every time he was on the ice, only a heeled shot away from scoring his 3 Rd goal in 4 games. He has clearly shown he has no problem with the NHL pace of play already. We can hope he will be one of those guys who is even better in the show than college because they have better players to play with and know how to use them. In 40 years of following the Canucks I can’t remember a better looking group of prospects as most of our talent of the past came via trades.

  • Jamie E

    Goldobin will hopefully learn that being a perimeter player in the NHL is difficult unless you are supremely talented player like Patrick Kane. The other 99% of would-be NHLers need to pick their intensity, get into the difficult areas and learn to win puck battles. Sven Beartschi has learned this lesson and benefitted enormously. I hope Canucks coaches are spending lot’s of video time with Goldobin showing him how Beartschi used to play versus how he plays now. It would be most instructive.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I think I’ve figured out the Molino signing: Benning is looking for AHL depth, but figured he’d get a head start on it and get a look at them in NHL games now, so that he can groom them to be more effective next year. Most teams usually make a bunch of minor signings of guys they expect to be on the taxi squad (most don’t play their Megna equivalents on the top line) in the off-season, but Benning saw an opportunity to jump the gun and get a look at one of them in the big leagues in garbage time. Molino may be a long shot to be a high level NHL regular, but the strategy of signing your extras early to see them in action before training camp actually seems like a sound one to me.

    • wojohowitz

      Benning has more than one problem and signing Molino helps to improve team speed. Besides being slow the Canucks are small and soft. What a combination for a professional hockey team; Slow, small and soft all at the same time.