Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Extremely Belated Edition

With all the injury trouble the Canucks have had over the years, I think it’s fair to have questions about the Canucks medical staff. The problem is that the average hockey fan probably doesn’t know the first thing about the field of medicine. So all anyone can really do is react to what they hear. The recent revelations about Thatcher Demko and Antoine Roussel definitely sound bad, but unless you’re familiar with neurology it’s tough to judge the staff too harshly for clearing them to fly. As someone who hasn’t taken so much as a high school biology class, it would be unfair for me to speculate as to whether or not these issues could have been prevented.

In general, it seems as though the team staff would be wise to err on the side of caution from now regarding injuries that affect the head, but I don’t think that’s unique to the Canucks. The league itself has had a myriad of problems when it comes to dealing with concussions, and everyone is culpable.

It really depends on how many games he plays. He averaged a point-per-game during his brief stint in the AHL before being called up, but it’s tough to say whether or not that’s sustainable. My guess is he’ll probably finish the season at a strong clip, somewhere around 0.7 or 0.8 points per game; but if there are injuries to the big club he might not get the chance to see much more AHL ice. I get the sense the team wasn’t exactly eager to send him down to the farm in the first place.

Jack Daniels.

I don’t think it’s up to Jim Benning. Nikita Tryamkin probably has a spot if he wants it. It’s just a matter of whether or not he’s willing to uproot his life and leave the financial security of a KHL gig.

I’d like to see how the players at the top of this year’s draft progress before I commit to that, but I don’t hate the idea. You could even argue trading Bo Horvat for futures this year might line up better with their rebuilding timeline. The issue is obviously who’s available with that pick.

Do the Canucks have a turn-the-other cheek culture? This is a team that’s spent significant money and assets on players like Derek Dorsett, Luca Sbisa, Brandon Prust, Erik Gudbranson… the list goes on. Even if they did, would that automatically be a bad thing?

The league suspended Matheson for two games and I’m inclined to believe that will do more to deter players from taking liberties with Pettersson in the future than anything the Canucks could have done.

As far as whether or not the team is worth watching without Pettersson in the lineup? That remains to be seen. It won’t be nearly as entertaining, that’s for certain.


Obviously the league has handed down a two-game suspension since I received these questions, but I was pleasantly surprised with the league’s decision. I had hoped Matheson would get a game or two, but wouldn’t have been the least bit shocked if they had elected not to administer supplemental discipline. I have to say that overall I’ve been impressed with the job the Player Safety Department has done since the promotion of George Parros.

I’m inclined to believe the inevitability of injuries will probably solve a lot of their problems for them. The other option is a trade, which you have to think will probably be on the horizon at some point this season.

It seems unlikely to me that Gudbranson would be moved in the first year of a four-year extension. I also think the fact that he’s right-handed will keep him on the roster for the time being. I also think we should probably give the Canucks a bit more credit. I’ve been as critical as anyone of them over the past few years, but even I don’t think they’d be so reactionary as to trade a player because of a single game.

Your guess is as good as mine.

I’d probably put him behind all three players you mentioned, although it’s worth noting I’m too young to have seen Snepts play.

If I were Lars Eller I’d be looking to taunt them even more after Marchand’s reaction. That’s the whole point of taunting.

I think fans have a tendency to overestimate the degree of familarity executives or coaches have with their market, with the exception of former players. At the time of the Steve Moore incident, Jim Benning was wrapping up his time with the Buffalo Sabres organization, Travis Green was playing for the Boston Bruins, and John Weisbrod was working in administration for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. The most notable person in the organization who would have been intimately familiar with the situation in Vancouver at that time left during the offseason. I’m not saying there’s no possibility it played a role, but I doubt it was at the front of anyone’s mind immediately after the game.

I’m assuming you’re referring to Pettersson and not Petrus Palmu, who isn’t likely to be calling many shots from Utica. To be honest, I think any suggestions that the events against Florida are going to fundamentally alter the Canucks as an organization are probably an overreaction. It’s certainly not impossible or unheard of for an elite player to use their superstar status as leverage to extract concessions from their team, I don’t think there’s any risk of that happening with Boeser or Pettersson, and certainly not so early in their careers.

I go back and forth on this all the time. The Canucks look good at the moment because the league chose to suspend Matheson, but given the league’s track record for most of its history, it’s hard to fault players who take matters into their own hands.

I understand the desire for pushback. At the end of the day, you just want to believe the players and personnel who make up the organization you channel so much energy into actually give a shit. There are a number of levels to that. Even as somebody who doesn’t endorse fighting, I’m not sure I would want to see the scrums or the pushing and shoving taken out of the game unless it happens organically.

Overall, I thought Green’s comments struck the right note. Sometimes the players just miss things. We’ve seen the team respond more violently to hits that weren’t nearly as dirty.

  • Derek Dorsett, Luca Sbisa, Brandon Prust, Erik Gudbranson… the list goes on.

    I doubt that the Canucks saw Gudbranson as an enforcer when they traded for him. A physical player for sure, but not that much of a pugilist. In 2015-1016 he fought only three times in the regular season (as compared to Dorsett’s eleven), well down from his more combative earlier years.

  • I listened to Matheson’s statement and here is what he didn’t say: “I did the wrong thing. I am sorry I injured Elias Pettersson.”

    Regardless, I think on January 13 Matheson has to man up and face a willing Canuck. Gloves come off within the first few minutes and this matter gets settled. I hope it’s Gudbramson and Dale Tallon better be ok with it.

  • “I have to say that overall I’ve been impressed with the job the Player Safety Department has done since the promotion of George Parros.”

    Seriously? You have low to zero standards. Two games for Matheson? A preseason suspension for a Domi sucker punch? Marchand clothesline Duclair’s head and gets no suspension less than 2 months after getting a suspension for elbowing Johansson in the head? NHL Player Safety is completely useless, just a PR stunt. Parros is just a shill collecting a paycheque.

  • I’m not sure player safety will ever be consistent unless they take the drastic step of eliminating fighting from the game altogether. Until that happens, it would seem that all the other infractions will just remain in a grey area like it has been for such a long time. How can you decide what is a hockey play and what isn’t (obvious and aggreiges incidents aside) when fighting is still part of the game and recognized as “a hockey play”. I used to like a good fight now and then, but since watching the 2010 olympics and subsequent international tournaments, I just don’t think it’s necessary any longer. I think if they were to ban fighting, the rest of the infractions would be easier to define and some consistency might actually be established. Just saying.

  • What you must consider about pro sports, football and hockey in particular, is the dudes on the other team are getting paid millions of dollars to stop you and to win. As post seasons near and the stakes get higher ( namely championships, more money and the prestige of Winning It All) naturally teams will go to any unscrupulous measures to beat you. Human All Too Human as Nietzsche would say. Even back in the day when it was hands off of Gretz’ come play offs nobody would be in awe of 99 because it’s every team for themselves and Waynie got roughed up too. The point to be made about all this hue and cry about Neanderthal actions taken in the NHL is that when it comes to winning it all nasty crap is going to happen. I don’t like it but this is the nature of pro sports.

    • Which is why real leagues have much stronger penalties for bad behavior. And it works. Look at the NFL. A far more violent sport fundamentally than hockey but they have WAY less incidents of cheap shot behavior and “retribution”. The answer is easy. a) they face more severe punishments, and b) the culture of the sports, especially at youth levels, promotes much more sportsmanship.

  • Gudbranson is not slow, he’s just…unaware sometimes. Although to give him credit, when he plays a dead simple game like he has in the last 3, he doesn’t hurt the team. Still would love to see him traded at the deadline though.

  • Huge NO to dealing horvath to move up in the draft 1 or 2 spots.

    Hughes is good but so is kakko, dozens, dach and pods. The top 5 or byram are all fine no matter who we get. You then need to add another top player from somewhere to replace horvat. We have no prospect depth.

    • Agreed. I’d love to win the lottery and get Hughes, but I’m not trading Horvat to do it. On the flip side, I’d think awfully hard about a team offering me their Horvat and the 3rd for Hughes if we did win…….but I still wouldn’t make that trade, although for different reasons.

      Should the improbable happen and fortune smiled on our team and we won the lottery, I pick Hughes and call it a day, short of insane offers. I see added value in having the brothers together, not for chemistry playing together, but to help build a winner. I could see both of them being more committed long term and taking a little less money to play together on a winning team. In the cap world, every little edge counts, and they both show such high end potential that the brother factor is a total bonus anyway, on individual talent alone they both look to be full value for their draft rankings.

      • To be clear, anyone can be traded for the right price, so what do I consider an insane offer? One where I trade Jack Hughes even if it pisses off Quinn somewhat? Let’s say Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel. That would get it done. Never going to happen, but that’s why I said “insane” offers.

  • Happy Legalized Marijuana Day everyone. Concession sales for Canadian market teams will go through the roof now and I understand they’ll be selling twinkies at games now. New team names now will be: Toronto Reefs, Winnipeg Joints, Edmonton Hash Oilers, Ottawa Sensamians, Montreal Cannibis, Calgary Foof Flamers but no new name for the Canucks yet. But they will have a spliff in the Orca’s mouth now on the team crest. And all on the eve of the anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s 99th birthday. I wonder if Justin designed it this way??

  • I sh*t bigger than Hughes. Do we really want a two 160 pound centres and a 160 pound defenceman? Teams would just walk right through these guys. They would get steamrolled in the playoffs when the real hockey started.

    • There have been many smaller players who were successful: Gilmore, Gaudreau Ronning, Dionne, Marchand, and so forth. And yes, many of them did well in the playoffs.

  • Here’s a question, will Justin Trudeau decission to legalize marijuana make it less likely for Tryamkin return to Vcr 🙂 He and his wife did mention that as one reason he turned away from the Canucks “the pervasive smell of marijuana ” he experienced in Vcr. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t do that trade. Nylander is a hell of a player but I don’t see him as a guy who changes a game with force like Bo can. And his point totals aren’t that much higher than Bo’s to justify the advantage that Bo has in terms of tough physical play. That ability muscle past people. Basically it’s if two guys are about the same production but one guy is bigger then take the size.

      If Nylander becomes a 70 to 80 point player and Bo stays at his 50 to 60 point level then I’d probably take the extra offense and make that trade.