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Photo Credit: Bob Frid - USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Army Preseason Postgame: All Goldobin Everything

Final Score: Arizona Coyotes 4, Vancouver Canucks 1

The Vancouver Canucks got a chance to show off some of the province’s most beautiful scenery this weekend, when they hosted the Arizona Coyotes and a whole slew of enthusiastic fans out in Kelowna.

It was a gorgeous backdrop for the team to host one of their fiercer division rivals, if only by virtue of the pair living together at the bottom of the standings for the last few years.

While the Coyotes brought a fairly injured forward corps to B.C., though, what’s been a largely forgettable preseason ended on a fairly flat note anyways – the Coyotes flexed some of their new, shiny toys, and the Canucks’ brightest young stars just couldn’t do it all.

THE RUNDOWN

The game could have gotten started with a bang. The Coyotes opted to put Darcy Kuemper in net for their final preseason tilt, and he’s had a nasty habit of getting burned early in games through the preseason.

The Canucks got off to a sluggish start, though, failing to get any kind of sustained offense going in Arizona’s zone and allowing their first goal just over four minutes into the game.

The Coyotes have been struggling to ice a complete offensive roster since losing both Christian Dvorak and Alex Galchenyuk to injury.

Despite a severely depleted center depth chart, though, their ability to slate Clayton Keller in as a pivot in their top six gave them a chance to audition youngster Christian Fischer in a higher role on the wing – and after a neutral zone turnover led to Derek Stepan’s arrival in the slot, a quick cross-ice passing sequence with Richard Panik gave Fischer a chance to bury the final centering pass on Jacob Markstrom’s front door.

From there, Vancouver would manage to hold Arizona off for a little over 10 minutes of game play, but dropped to a two-goal deficit in the sixteenth minute when a power-play shot by Derek Stepan from the point deflected off of Erik Gudbranson and right past Markstrom into the net.

Arizona would score a third unanswered goal in the second period when Brad Richardson redirected a bomb from Niklas Hjalmarsson, which pretty much sums up how the game went through those first 40 minutes. And while Brock Boeser and company managed to actually challenge the Coyotes and give them at least a few quality looks in the second frame, not a single veteran in that forward corps looked like they had any life left in their bodies.

Elias Pettersson and the newly-dubbed ‘kid line’ actually managed to get things rolling in the third period, combining with Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin to finally – FINALLY – get on the board with 10 minutes to go in the final frame.

There’s an argument to be made that Pettersson clips Kuemper’s left pad, or his skate, or whatever. That’s fine. But there’s still somehow no one manning Goldobin there, which is a bit of an egregious error on Arizona’s part. And for a massive guy, Kuemper sure did feel like playing that one out of his crease; I’m not convinced that, even if Pettersson hadn’t have clipped him, he would have stopped Goldy:

In any case, the goal breathed a bit of life into Vancouver, but not enough to prevent a fourth goal by Arizona when Michael Grabner managed to find the back of the net to really seal the deal. Vancouver skated away after being downed 4-1, outshot 27-20, and without much to really gloat about.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

There’s not really a ton to say about Vancouver’s preseason, including this game.

Gudbranson struggled to keep the Coyotes contained to the perimeter, and the team allowed too many bad turnovers for there to have been any realistic chance to things going their way. While Arizona was guilty of as many dump-ins as Vancouver, their ability to trip the Canucks defence up in the neutral zone and hem them in close to Markstrom provided too many screens for the starter and gave them too many quality chances.

The bright spot was the Nikolay Goldobin goal, of course, but that was almost a necessity at this point. He certainly wasn’t the only player who needed to have a good game to get into some good graces (and the others didn’t exactly wow), but it was high time he got things rolling.

Brock Boeser didn’t manage to find the back of the net, but credit where due; he managed to provide some of the only sustained pressure Darcy Kuemper saw all night, and things are bound to start going his way once the regular season gets rolling. There’s only so long he can take to get the offense really rolling again.

I would say more about Elias Pettersson, but we already know exactly what’s going on there. The future is bright, he looks like he actually gives a damn, and he’s a ton of fun to watch whether you cheer for the Canucks or against them. In a division where Max Pacioretty, Erik Karlsson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Galchenyuk, and James Neal all arrived with new teams this summer, the ass kickings that Vancouver may inevitably suffer will at least have some bright spots, a la Connor McDavid in Edmonton and Clayton Keller in Arizona during that streak last year where they lost 18 of their first 20 games.

I don’t even really know what to say about Alex Edler anymore. He was a fairly respected defenceman in the NHL not so long ago. He may even still be good for spurts. But tonight was *not* his night, and it’s not a huge stretch to say that it hasn’t been his preseason, period.

He was bad. Tanev looked stressed. Gudbranson started the night off with a nice, whopping hit, then promptly had himself another mediocre, when-will-he-get-his-sea-legs outing that inevitably some will defend but none will admit was ‘lead the defence out of this mess’ worthy. Loui Eriksson recorded one paltry shot on goal, and Jacob Markstrom certainly isn’t looking like he’s going to be the Carey Price who drags his team to a surprise Wild Card appearance any time soon.

As Jason Botchford put it after the game, in response to Travis Green’s comments about how EP is bound to struggle a little bit: if only the rest of the Canucks struggled like EP.

This is about where I remind you that both the 1990 Bills and 2000 Giants went 0-4 in their preseasons before going on to appear in their respective years’ Super Bowls. Preseason really is about shaking off rust. Unless you legitimately think that Boeser has lost his scoring touch a la Ryan Getzlaf from two years ago, this team isn’t going to be quite as much of a train wreck as they were in the preseason here.

Still: the rebuild is here. They aren’t fun, we all know it, and that’s about all there is to say.

  • Break The Canuck's Curse

    So….Benning and Green fired by Christmas? Cull takes over the coaching job and we have a new GM for next year? I say this because Benning obviously knows nothing about defense and how to build one and he sees no crisis in ours

    • DogBreath

      That thinking is a page out of the Edmonton Oilers school of hockey management. This is the stage of the rebuild we are at. Their record will suck this year. Get ready for it. Anything better will be an overachievement. The fan base needs to recognize this. Benning and green should be fried if their young talent does not develop in Vancouver and Utica this year. Next year success looks like 2-3 young players in the lineup and challenging for a playoff spot.

    • Everyone and their grandmas knew the Canucks were going to be bad this year. Ownership and management knew or ought to have known last year, pre-Benning extension, they’d be bad this year. How does it make sense to can everyone when what you knew was going to happen, happens?

      • East van canuck

        Absolute nonsense as usual…

        “The bottom line is our goal is win games and to be competitive to make the playoffs. That’s what we’re here for.” Jim Benning Feb 14th 2018

        “I like our goaltending, I like our defence now and I like our centre ice. I can’t wait until the season starts.” – Jim Benning 2017/18

        “This is a team we can turn around in a hurry.” Jim Benning May 23 2014

    • DB1282

      I was really feeling optimistic this year until the preseason, looks to me the Canucks are going to have the best chance for 2019’s first draft pick, they are going to suck big time this year

  • truthseeker

    The preseason is about shaking of rust for teams that are decent. For teams like the canucks it’s about executing systems and showing you know what you’re doing and hopefully giving some effort to show you don’t take your position as a professional athlete for granted.

    I missed the third period, but saw the first two. I thought they worked a bit harder in this game than in the previous games. The “try” factor was slightly more present, but still pretty awful. Bo, Brock, EP and Goldy looked OK. JV had some moments.

    But this team is structurally brutal. They’re soft on the dump in plays, don’t enter the zone very well, brutal in the NZ and a mess in the D zone. Thinking this kind of play is just the team “working out kinks” in their game, is stupidly naive. It’s plainly obvious that the fundamental base of their play is completely flawed. The looks on Green’s face over the past few games should be enough to tell even the biggest apologists (short of Bud) that things are totally off the rails right now.

    At least last year…even in the preseason, they were trying to jump on teams and push the play. This year…all of that is gone.

      • truthseeker

        If they keep it up like this is certainly will be. As I’ve said before…I don’t mind a losing season if there is effort. Last season the team worked fairly hard on a nightly basis and the structure was much more entertaining than the awful season prior under Willie.

        This looks like regression.

        But of course there will things to watch. I’m not all that worried about Boeser and Bo….they’ll get their points. EP should be fun to see develop. Still though…if the players phone it in on a regular basis during the season like they have so far in the preseason…I’ll simply go do something more entertaining. This isn’t that important to me.

        • argoleas

          Regression is to be expected as the likely outcome. Losing the Sedins (and Vanek) is not just a loss of points, but all the intangibles. EP can’t replace all the points, nevermind all the other stuff. This season is about development, in both Van and Utica, and everyone else is there to plus the slots as not to force any prospect to be rushed. One can hope some of the older players can step up, like Goldy, Hutton, and Marky, that Edler can delay Father Time, Tanev can delay the Injury Fairy.

          If everything came together, maybe they improve on last season in terms of points, but that was never the likeliest of outcomes.

  • Braindead Benning

    lol… i think that train wreck in the nations capital may have a better and more watchable team than the Canucks hell, at least they can score… Its also so frustrating having to watch this D yet again and having to listen to that arrogant and clueless coach.

  • I am Ted

    Is this an actual rebuild? After those 3 FA signings, I’m not too sure.

    I guess CA has to find a whipping boy or two each year. I don’t know if it should be Edler. He’s still a solid D man playing on a crap team. He’s going to have lots of bad moments but, overall, he’s still a solid NHL D man.

    Lots of blame to go around for these awful games. I am kinda scared to see the regular season happen to us! Yikes!

    • B_Rad77

      I have been one of those people totally confused on the direction the management team was taking this club. Angry at times over their waffling about giving us a direct answer. In light of FA’s comments recently about his dad age, and the SC it’s become clear what’s going on. The pre season means nothing, but the effort level hasn’t been inspiring, which leads me to believe, couple with the tough stretch on the schedule to start, that the rebuild will be forced on this management as we sink to the bottom early. I will still hold the faith and enjoy watching the few bright lights on this team, patiently waiting for the next great talents to arrive and bring this team back to relevance.

  • bobdaley44

    Not sure why all the hate for Eriksson but I thought he was one of the better forwards. Around the net in the dirty areas and good forecheck pressure. Glad they didn’t give Boeser the big money Pettersson is way better and that 7-8 mill should be reserved for him. Boeser’s skating is very suspect.

  • Bud Poile

    The Canucks were out shot tonight for the only time over the entire preseason schedule.
    The club out shot the Oilers 35-28 but lost 6-0 on the night.
    Excellent goaltenders allow middling teams to become or remain competitive.
    We have been witnessing the other end of that scenario since Miller left town.

    • Dirty30

      Miller and Markstrom in the net at the same time wouldn’t help this mess right now. Even if goaltending had stopped half the goals the Canucks would still have lost.

    • Macksonious

      Good points about the goaltenders, Bud Poile. That position been downgraded significantly since Miller left.

      With that said, they’re going to have to tighten up their defensive play. Too many gaffs.

      Offensively, they need to find a way to create more high quality scoring chances. Bad luck is partially to blame, but there’s certainly room for improvement in that area.

      Preseason results can often be misleading, so its probably wise not to formulate too many conclusions just yet. Fortunately, the real games will begin soon.

  • Rodeobill

    I was much happier watching this game as opposed to the last few, it seemed a little more evenly matched, but against the only team other than the Sens to fight us the most for a lottery spot. It seems like the yotes defense is a little better than ours, lol. I think Loui and EP should play a little more together, even though it was technically just one shot, he was right in his office on a lot of shifts with EP, and that is just a matter of time. I thought the D was partnered up pretty good, but they still needed to play better. off night for the Eagle.

  • TheRealPB

    I appreciate the non-snarky recap from Cat.

    I’d appreciate more if the Canucks looked like an actual NHL team. I am all for trying to develop young players in a winning or at least a professional culture. With the Sedins, Vanek, Miller, and Vrbata there was at least the effort and the skill that they could bear the brunt of the drubbing night after night. There is simply no excusing the current crop of veterans who have demonstrated nothing — Edler and Tanev are overwhelmed by the poor play not just of the young players who have some excuse, but fundamentally by Gudbranson and Del Zotto who have none. Eriksson continues to get blasted and rightly so, but where is Sutter? Where is Gagner? Beagle and Schaller at least have looked like they give some effort, but for $21 million for Eriksson, Gudbranson, Del Zotto, Sutter and Gagner, we should get at least NHL competency. It may be a combination of poor coaching, poor pro evaluation and poor play by the actual players, but it is disgraceful.

    • Braindead Benning

      Great points @ 21 million for those 5 listed I am sure money can buy a better product with only 3 @ 7 mil… If you include the other 10 mil handed out to the likes of the 2018 3 UFA JB signed to fill the bottom 6 then it even makes it worse regardless of one or two comes of the payroll next year… Very disappointing and sad effort by the vets.. looks like a retirement team now

      • TheRealPB

        Except for the point that the bottom six guys actually look like they are…bottom six guys. Win face-offs and kill penalties. Overpaid, but at least doing their jobs. If MDZ isn’t bringing any offense, Gudbranson can’t actually defend, and Sutter, Gagner and Eriksson can’t score, it is really not clear to me what they are doing. I actually have far less problems with the Roussell, Beagle and Schaller signings than those of the players that are supposed to do the heavy lifting on offense.

  • Kid Canuck

    Absolutely distraught and disgusted by this embarrassing incarnation of the Canucks.

    Getting whooped by the ‘yotes like that is the lowest point in years and there is only one solution. Total reset. Benning, Green need replacing, they are clueless, the standings and results just don’t lie. Deadwood and bloated contracts need to be cleared out – Guddy, Eriksson, Sutter, Edler the prime candidates, this simply cannot go on any longer.

    Game goers and real fans who support this franchise with their pockets deserve better than this, dont they?

    • bobdaley44

      And who’d you suggest replacing them? Free agents? If you think they’re so bad what trade value do they have? Theres going to be plenty of pain before there’s gain. You’re underestimating veteran presence in the lineup. If somebody offers a deal they can’t refuse take it but if not let them show the kids what it takes to be a good pro and insulate them from taking on more then they can handle.

  • VancWOOver QUINNucks

    If Goldy, Brock and EP fully develop they could be a freakishly dominate line. Goldy needs that Leipsic “dog ona bone” mentality, Brock to be a touch faster and EP stronger. Can’t wait to that line with Quinn Hughes getting involved from the back end.

  • LTFan

    IMO the best thing to say about the last 7 games – they don’t count in the standings. They have 3 days to try and fix the problems before they play meaningful games on Wednesday. Probably not possible to expect much this season but I believe we all expect the guys who are playing to give it their best effort every game.

    • TheRealPB

      Actual wins and losses in the preseason means nothing. But playing essentially the regular season team — which is what we mostly did — and getting completely dominated regardless of the opposition (and regardless of whether we were playing a team full of prospects, AHL regulars or the NHL team) is pathetic. I can honestly say I have not seen such a poor display of systems and effort in any of the past five years, during most of which we have been a bottom 3 team. How do we possibly turn this around in 3 days? I am at the point of thinking we should send EP down to stay away from this mess. Horvat and Boeser are strong enough to withstand the stench but I think EP shouldn’t have to deal with this.

        • LTFan

          Kid C. – I agree, EP will stay in Vancouver. I also agree with The RealPB – that it won’t be fixed in 3 days but hopefully there will be an improvement in the next 3 days. We will know this time on Thursday.

  • Captain Video

    Good game for Goldobin. A pity that none of the veterans put in a similar effort.

    It would be very instructive for CA to put together an in depth look at the analytics in their pre-season games of the three best performing youngsters who are sent down to Utica, compared against the three worst performing veterans (who obviously will be staying with the big club).

  • North Van Halen

    I get we are all disappointed by the preseason but….it is the preseason. If we get 10 games into the regular season and we’re 0 – 10 and been outscored 45 – 12, then we can start firing people. Until then, I think we need to relax and see where this goes.
    That said they do look absolutely brutal and if they can’t get this turned around fairly quickly, it’ll be interesting to see how Francesco reacts. I know better odds at Jack Hughes is a good thing for this team but at least entertain us on he way there. This is not that.

    • Macksonious

      Judging from the preseason, Boeser is on pace to score how many goals…. 0?! Think he’ll score more … just a hunch.

      Agree with your assessment NVH, to early to panic, but their performance better improve, jobs will likely be on the line if it doesn’t. Expectations aren’t high, but that was painful to watch.

  • wjohn1925

    I’ve tried to stay positive and look at the big picture. I’ve not made any disparaging comments about individual players (what good does it do after all except allow me to vent a bit), however after watching last night’s game, it’s hard not to be both frustrated and discouraged. I thought we were closer to turning a corner of sorts and with a couple of years of patience, we would be able to watch competitive hockey again. Although the Sedins had slowed to a crawl and were an enormous defensive liability, they were always able to control the puck and keep possession for stretches. Their passes actually were directed at teammates; their positioning was always spot on. This current 2018-2019 team seems to have no clue about how a team sport functions, where to go on the ice to receive passes, how to receive a pass so it doesn’t bounce 10 feet away, when to hold the line and when to pinch, when to go into the corners or when to find openings in the slot where your teammate might actually be able to find you etc. Watching Gudbranson try (and obviously fail) to be Brent Burns is so depressing. Boeser and Stecher seem lost out there. I don’t know what to say about Edler’s play last night other than I hope he was on some sort of misdiagnosed medication. Pouliot played as if he wants to learn a new language (in this case, Russian). I could go on. I’ll just save any positive or hopeful comments for another day … or perhaps another year.

  • myshkin

    it’s only pre season but Benning has lost the benefit of the doubt, if he ever had it. on july 1, it was pretty much agreed in the hockey world that Benning’s free agent signings were extremely questionable.

    will Aqualini listen to Benning’s excuses by christmas if things unfold as predicted by most?

  • East van canuck

    30 goals against in 7 games and we are going into the season with the same goalies a D as last year while Juolevi has been sent down to the minors!?

    I cannot fathom how any legit Canucks fan can approve of this and actually believe it will magically turn around by Thursdays season opener against the Flames ‘because it’s just pre-season’. C’mon man, be honest with yourselves here, this is really bad.

    • Braindead Benning

      It’s all good man. They will figure it out..after all, they had all of last year together and are just waiting for the season to begin. JB and TG are like professional magicians, 5 years and they are going to fool us in 2018-19

  • Defenceman Factory

    As the losses mount and the Canucks play from behind each game it gets more difficult to even notice the positive things. I was at this game and there were a few. The Canucks did have a number of good scoring chances but like most of the preseason they were off the iron, wide or into the goalie. Horvat even had one of his pseudo toe drag moves actually work.

    Stecher and Leipsec work their tales off. Unfortunately the most memorable thing in Stecher’s game was the giveaway leading to the first goal. This was Ericksson’s best game of the preseason. Instead of half he only took every 3rd shift off. He was effective defensively and an important part of killing off 2 5v3 chances.

    The first 3 goals by Arizona all came from serious errors; Stecher’s giveaway at the blueline, Goldobin let’s his check take the puck from the wall straight out to the slot and Guddy’s check just left in front of the net with a screen. By Guddy just standing there any chance Markstrom could have seen the puck were gone. There were lots more bad mistakes and Markstrom made some key saves to bale guys out.

    The errors, lack of effort and poor D zone exits are just burying this team. Hopefully a little luck on offence (their shooting percentage must be horrible) will provide some spark but the Canucks looked beaten right from the first Arizona goal.

  • Nuck16

    I like starting the season with
    Goldy, Petty, Brock
    Baer, Bo, Leipsic
    Also, Stetcher looked great and Edler, well…Hopefully this is the season where Edler loses his job on the power play in favour of Stetcher.

    • VancWOOver QUINNucks

      I like it. At least there will be these 2 lines entertaining a little bit. I’m sure they won’t score a ton but at least there will be something happening in the ice.

      The bottom six will be horrendous.

    • canuckfan

      You can’t blame Edler for others mistakes. From the above comment first goal “Stecher’s giveaway at the blueline” then “Goldobin lets his check take the puck from the wall out to the slot and Guddy’s check just left in front of net with a screen. By Guddy standing there any chance Markstrom could have seen the puck were gone.”
      Not sure who would take over the powerplay on defence if Edler were to be replaced.
      I see the defense being asked to be more on the attack and being caught out of position. This is not an attack defense and the wingers need to let the defense open up the lane and wingers need to let defense go by and cover the back not have everyone up front.
      I think this will be a different team when the season opens. Don’t care if they lose just want to be entertained with some effort. If they just accept the losses then those who were brought in to be leaders on a bad team to make sure there is no giving up aren’t doing there jobs.
      For those who are wanting the best odds for the draft you are going to get your wish. Is anyone now questioning why Trevor left now? I am sure he wanted Hughes to play this year but the rest wanted to be patient and knew the year the team was in for, Trevor couldn’t stand his name being attached to a losing team and left. Rather than get a high priced free agent the owners thought it was best to invest that money into giving out free beers to bring people into the game. I am hopeful that we will get that center that we need in the draft.
      All the players who were sent down to Utica now understand they were sent down to play together in a better situation in AHL and not be under the spotlight getting their asses kicked and whipped by the fans would kill any confidence they had.

      • crofton

        Other people’s mistakes, no. His? Definitely. yes Stecher gave the puck away outside the blue line, but Edler compounded that mistake but trying the big sweep check with his stick, taking himself out of the play. Opps 3 on 0. How about really really stupid penalties? Edler’s time may not be up, but his current play suggests that time is very very close.

  • wojohowitz

    There seems to be something else going on like I can`t believe the lack of emotion – the lack of commitment. After only one full season and five pre-season games has Green lost `the room`? Is he micro-managing to the point of distraction? It was Vigneault who said he let the players control the room but when he did have something to say at least he had everyones attention. Are we looking at a Dallas Eakins one and done? Could it be Benning signed free agents expecting veteran leadership only to find out the veterans wanted the contracts but lack of character means lack of leadership abilities and that on Benning – not Green.

    The first answer to a turnaround is shorten the bench – nine forwards and four defensemen. If nothing else it sends a message – no commitment, no play. I`m also tempted to put in a claim; Cracknell, Peluso, Mcllrath – somebody big tough and physical on a two way contract but wants that million dollar pay cheque.

    How bad could it get? I`ve already predicted a 3-11 month of October because it`s a tough schedule but if they are 3-17 in the first 20 then I don`t see Green surviving.

  • Kootenaydude

    Linden must be happy he left when he did. Maybe the players have just zoned Green out. Maybe he’s not the coach for the job. Who do you blame? All the players? The coach? The GM?

  • Dlw

    Management wants all prospects to be mentored by veterans to be motivated, hard working and true pros then I suggest a few should be gone. Don’t really see what Gagne, DelZotto and Edler bring to team with Sutter, Gunbranson and Eriksson not living up to salaries. Markstrom, Leipsic, Virtanen and Goldobin underwhelming. Pouliot and Nilsson just plain bad. Long season with many moves needed

  • LACANUCK

    The easiest thing to say about the pre-season is the new Canucks are terrible. Out scored 3-1, vets that are under performing and the blue line looks worse than last year. That’s… but
    EP has played center and transitioned to NA and the smaller ice better than anyone could have expected. All accounts were, “He played wing in in Swedish Elite League, so…
    His skills are ridiculous, hockey sense out of this world and he has played top notch Defense as a center. His face offs need work, but he is so far ahead of what every “expert” said.
    Enjoy watching one of the stars emerge, in a sea of mediocrity. We were fortunate to transition from the West Coast Express to the Sedin era… this one will be harder. The wait will be worth it!