Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Tryptophan Edition

Botch is great, but I’m not sure how down I am with the whole “Alien” nickname. Through two games, Elias Pettersson has looked good, but not inhumanly so. It only seems that way because Vancouver hasn’t seen a lot of good hockey over the last five years.




I realize that’s a buttery soft defense, but those three pairing have all had success, and can all move the puck to some extent. In terms of being physical not just for the sake of it but to push play, Alex Biega is a better option on a third pairing than either of Michael Del Zotto or Erik Gudbranson.

I’ll be honest with you, I think the importance of the captaincy is massively overblown. Leaders emerge naturally regardless of whether or not their leadership is officially acknowledged. The main purpose of the position is to communicate with referees and the media. Some people will find that stressful, others will relish the opportunity. Ultimately, I don’t think giving the C to Horvat will make Pettersson or Boeser any better or worse, or any more or less likely to take on leadership roles. It seems like both the team and Bo Horvat really want him to be the next captain, so I don’t see any problem with giving the C to him. It’s mostly symbolic, anyway. The team has more pressing things to focus on.

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It’s a great name, but unfortunately the mailbag was here long before I was and will live on long after I am gone. To make it about me would be narcissistic and self-serving. I’ll keep the hashtag in mind if I ever have my own mailbag, though.

It’s difficult to imagine the three of them not playing well together. All three are/were very cerebral players, but Elias Pettersson is dynamic in ways the Sedins never really were. I would think they’d have complimented each other quite well, especially on the man advantage.

It’s a good thing Brandon Sutter told Elias Pettersson to go out and score a goal. I’m not sure he could have thought of that on his own.

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I have a very hard time believing Michael Del Zotto could end up on waivers. Then again, I said the same thing about Sam Gagner. The difference is that Travis Green never really utilized Sam Gagner in a way that indicated he thought much of his abilities. That’s not the case with Del Zotto. Rightly or not, Green utilized Del Zotto like a top 4 defenseman at times last season and has defended his play on multiple occasions.

I’d say it’s improbable, but not impossible.

Is confidence the issue? He looks like he’s playing hurt to me. Either way, it’s been two games. There are 11 other players on the roster who haven’t scored yet. Give him some time to figure it out.

It’s also worth noting that the numbers indicated Boeser’s scoring pace last season may have been unsustainable. I was accused of magical thinking for saying a regression was inevitable, but by and large, players just don’t convert on 17% of their shots over long periods of time.

I’m assuming this is a bit, but you have to figure he’s got a head start on the Calder, don’t you? I still think people are sleeping on Andrei Svechnikov since he’s got a few years on the competition (allegedly), but Petersson looks very much like the favourite at this point in time.

It’s hard to compare anyone to the ostensible greatest player in the history of the sport without raising eyebrows. Personally, I’m not really interested in how he’s similar to other great players from history. I’m a lot more interested in how he’s unique.

I think smart players can adapt to their surroundings. Take the Olympics, for example. For years, fans would analyze the importance of the different ice size and attempt to handicap certain nationalities based on their familiarity level with North American or European rink regulations. It never really seemed to matter that much. By and large, the best players were the best players regardless of whether it was on a small or large ice surface. Turin is the notable exception, but I would argue Canada’s struggles had more to do with not picking the best players available than it did with picking players who weren’t suited to the European ice surface.

As far as Pettersson is concerned, no one should be surprised that he’s had success early this season. He was the best player in a men’s professional hockey league last season as a teenager and broke longstanding records held by other players who went on to be NHL stars. Hockey is hockey. By and large, the best players are good regardless of how much room they have.

  • DJ_44

    Alien is a brutal nickname for the kid. Botch is a dochebag. Jason “Douche-bag” Botchford, has a ring to it actually.

    His Nick name is Petts or Petty… Although there later is also Palmu’s.

  • Sandpaper

    I wasn’t a fan of the EP pick, the kid has me a believer now though.
    He is very aware of the whole ice, at all areas of the rink.
    I don’t see anything wrong with comparing certain aspects of a player with former players, I actually think EP is more of a cross of Gretzky and Lemieux.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Alien is a horrible nickname for Pettersson.

    Ice size has a much greater impact on lesser players than on the truly good ones. Weak skaters, especially Dmen, will look worse on international ice. Forwards who tend to play on the perimeter may have success in Europe but struggle on the smaller ice.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Gudbranson makes 4 mil per, Del Zotto 3 mil per. Biega makes 825K. And base on their play so far, you have Biega in the lineup, and the other 2 sitting. I would agree, but something is very very wrong with this picture.

  • Kanuckhotep

    EP: “Alien” as his nickname doesn’t work for me either. I thought his teammates call him “Petey” so that’s what I’m calling him. Boeser: Once the Canucks stay out of the box and get their PP going then we’ll see the Big Shot we all know he can unload go in the net. The abnormal amount of PK time in the first 2 games made it difficult for Green to roll his lines properly. Brock should be fine.

    • j2daff

      don’t like the alien nickname either and in EP’s shows I’d to be frank hate it but that’s my opinion and no one else’s… Petey in all honesty sounds better and has a better chance of sticking if it is coming from team mates.

      Boeser does scare me a little this year as far as expectation for his production. In game one he was wide open for a shot and chose to force a pass that did not work. Makes me think he’s either over thinking or the wrist is worse than last year but it’s just one play. Aside from that I just don’t see him getting the space he did last year and am not sure if it’s tighter checking or him just not finding the open space. Last year he seemed to always have more time to get his shot off then you would think, some of which was him finding the space but not all… More PP and less PK will help and help us get a better idea as well. All the pk time has likely thrown off the rhythm of all the players that don’t kill penalties as well.

  • bobdaley44

    Didn’t Botch bash Benning for the Pettersson pick. “How could he pick a kid who’s only 165 lbs ” I think was the quote. Guy knows nothing about hockey but flaps his gums like he’s an expert.

  • Bud Poile

    1.”Through two games, Elias Pettersson has looked good, but not inhumanly so. ”
    2.”It only seems that way because Vancouver hasn’t seen a lot of good hockey over the last five years.”
    1. According to @StatsCentre on Twitter EP became only the fourth teenager in the last 30 years!! to score 3 goals in his first two NHL games. Considering EP nearly scored his third and Gretzky had 0 goals in his first two NHL games,the ‘Alien’ nickname still has a chance of being relevant.
    2.Four seasons ago the twins and Vrbata combined for 212 points,the Canucks finished second in the Western Conference and the team scored 242 goals,third best in the entire West.There have only been three rebuilding seasons.

  • TD

    The captain does more than just talking to the refs. While I agree that many players naturally become leaders in the room, the captain is one of the faves of the franchise and has a heavy media burden attached to it. I have no doubt Edler is a leader in the room, but can you imagine home being the player that has to answer all the media questions every game?

  • Bud Poile

    Pettersson first Canucks teenager in franchise history to score goals in each of his first two GP:

    ‏ @StatsCentre
    Oct 6
    Elias Pettersson becomes the 1st teenager in @Canucks history to score a goal in each of their first 2 career NHL games- also the 1st one in the NHL since Christian Fischer (Jan 21-23, 2017).


    • truthseeker

      Personally I think, given the inherent value of positions is that the canucks should always, with their first round pick, choose either the best D man or center and avoid wingers. Players with the ability to play center and shift to the wing, along with D men, can always be traded for scoring wingers, but the reverse is not true. Plus any centers drafted can be shifted to wing fairly easily. So if we were to draft a high scoring “1st line prospect” center like Hughes for example, EP could easily be shifted to the wing where we already know he can play.

      The only exception is if there is a winger who is so obviously way beyond his competition that the choice is obvious.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Botchford’s nicknames suck and this one is no exception. That guy gets way too much respect around Canuckland in my opinion. He’s just a slightly younger version of all the other media blowhards there.

    And I don’t understand why people think the top scorer should be an automatic choice for captain. Sometimes they’re appropriate but not always, and it’s clear as day that Horvat is the guy with true future captaincy potential on this team. Though I also agree that the whole conversation is overblown.

    • Macksonious

      Yeah, that “Alien” nickname sucks. Not a fan of ’em in general.

      Botchford’s a good writer, but overrated nonetheless.

      Horvat does seem like the natural choice to assume the captaincy. With that said, maybe Boeser and/or Pettersson will also emerge as candidates. Something to keep an eye on.

  • Captain Video

    I wouldn’t label Pettersson as a prospect anymore. He’s outplayed the veterans on the team for the last two games and I can’t see him being sent down to the AHL any time soon.

  • Jabs

    Regarding Biega over Guddy???…..In case you haven’t noticed, Biega has a tendency to look on fire his first game and then is terrible for all consecutive games after.

  • Kanuckhotep

    48 years ago today: Oct 9/70. Canucks play their 1st NHL game vs LA Kings and lose 3-1 on this Fri nite. Len Lunde set up Barry Wilkins for the lone VC goal. And Pat Quinn took the first penalty in Canuck history. Two days later they beat the Leafs for first NHL victory ever.

    • Giant-Nation

      What makes EP the most dangerous offensive player the Canucks have employed is the fact he like top playoff performers has the ability to make players on his line so much better. Currently he is paired with a underperforming vet and a kid that might not even crack a NHL line up on most teams. I honestly believe Goldy has left some EP points out there with his play, and that is scary. There is always some homerism especially after some dry years in Van but EP is not like any player Van has had at any point. Such early days …the Canucks will lose this year but EP just fixed FA’s Gate, he is a highlight machine ….goals assists and dekes.

      • Kneedroptalbot

        I thought Goal-Dobin looked really good in the 1st 2 games. A lot of scoring chances and has fit in nicely with EP.
        Just need him to clean up the weak hooking and slashing penalties. I certainly hope Travis keeps them together for at least 8 games.