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Vancouver Canucks @ Colorado Avalanche Post-Game Recap: Cabo for the Win

Warm Up

Hockey fans in Vancouver were justifiably excited to see the blue and green back in action tonight. Coming off of a nine-day break, the Canucks were in Denver for their second meeting with the Avalanche this season, and it would prove to be a highly positive night overall for most of the team.

The Canucks went into the break with a 2-1 record in their last three games, but the reality is they were pretty awful in all three. Inexcusably poor starts and low effort levels were, in hindsight, signs of general fatigue. A sizeable break was exactly what the players needed.

The roster notes were provided by Jeff Paterson via Twitter, as usual:

A lot of people out there were relieved to see Nikolay Goldobin finally back in the lineup, and included in that group is most definitely Goldobin himself. There’s going to be a huge spotlight on him over the next handful of games to see how he reacts to the tough love he’s been getting from the coach. Tonight was definitely a good start.

This is clearly the biggest sporting event of the weekend (right?), so let’s get going!

1st Period

There are few better ways to start a game than a Shotgun Jake goal. The poor guy hadn’t scored since that December 20th game against St. Louis. Fresh from what was surely a nice, quiet vacation in Cabo, Virtanen started what ended up being an awesome comeback game for him by putting the team up on the board early. A bad pinch by the Colorado defence created an opening for him to get his feet moving, and boy did he:

This is exactly the sort of goal the Canucks want to see Virtanen scoring. He sees an opportunity, jumps on it, and drives straight to the net with speed. Good for Jake. Maybe don’t take Dry January so seriously next year, though.

Despite the early goal, both teams had a highly energetic start to the game. Both teams were obviously aware of the playoff implications given their position in the standings relative to each other. The Canucks desperately needed to break their pre-vacation habit of waiting until games were already halfway done to get going, so this was an encouraging sign that concerns of post-vacation rust were unnecessary.

A great series of individual moments from Canucks players followed, including a great save made by Jacob Markstrom under pressure from Sheldon Dries, a Sven Baertschi breakaway scoring chance, and Virtanen continuing to do excellent work right in front of the net. It culminated in a lightning-fast goal by Brock Boeser immediately off of a Pettersson face off win:

Bang. From down on one knee, right off the bar and down over the shoulder of Semyon Varlamov. The high pace continued throughout the period, and really would carry on for most of the game. Pettersson and Boeser were prowling around Colorado’s end, looking very aggressive and dangerous.

It’s worth noting that, despite the team in general playing really well, Gudbranson and Pouliot continue to be… Gudbranson and Pouliot. Pouliot continued to “endear” himself to fans by making a particularly ugly pass from behind his own net. Had Pettersson not expertly received the pass and quickly moved it away, there was a real opportunity for Colorado to take advantage of a dangerous mistake and claw back into the game.

Pettersson’s best moment came with just over 3 minutes left in the period, where he… uh, you know what? Just watch:

That is some unreal stick work. The period would end with Colorado on the power play after Alex Edler was given a penalty for interference, but good defensive play and great goaltending by Jacob Markstrom kept the score 2-0 going into the first intermission.

2nd Period

Colorado clearly wanted the 1st period to end so they could have a chance to hit the pause button and reset. When the 2nd frame started, they came out strong. Their strategy was obviously to focus as much on Markstrom as possible. They were aggressive around the net and did everything they could to create traffic right in front. Gudbranson even did a little of his “famous” crease-clearing when Gabriel Bourque took a wack at Markstrom’s pads after a whistle. No penalties were handed out, but there was a moment where it really looked like we could have a fight on our hands. Good for Gudbranson, but it was, unfortunately, his only bright moment in this game.

As the period went on, the Avs continued their aggressive play. They were pushing hard to steal back momentum, which resulted in Edler taking his second interference penalty of the game. It wouldn’t matter much, as the Canucks continued their excellent defensive play and Loui Eriksson of all people even had a grade-A scoring chance with a shorthanded breakaway:

Varlamov had no idea where the puck was, but had the presence of mind as he slid back to turn himself sideways to keep his pads out of the net. There’s no way to call it a goal without definite proof the puck crosses the line, but he was smart not to take chances considering how his team was playing in front of him. This was a huge save, and fans started to boo shortly after the penalty expired, leaving the Avalanche 0/2 on the power play. It didn’t get better when Roussel later snapped home a pass from Horvat right on Varlamov’s front porch:

Halfway through the period, Matt Calvert finally got Colorado on the scoreboard:

…but any boost that gave the Avs was lost when Tyler Motte responded only a few minutes later:

The period would end 4-1 for Vancouver, and oddly enough again with a Canuck in the penalty box. Virtanen took a questionable penalty for holding the stick, but luckily the second intermission arrived without anything more than a decent scoring chance by Gabriel Landeskog to show for it.

3rd Period

The Avalanche once again came out strong to start the period, but once again also came up short with the man advantage. It’s a real problem for the Avs offensively when that top line isn’t clicking.

After a relatively strong second push from Colorado, a slightly alarming thing happened:

I don’t know what it’s like to be Derrick Pouliot these days, but it can’t be good. In fact, it probably feels an awful lot like Brock Boeser’s hand there. Yikes. The only positive thing that came out of that was the frankly adorable sight of Pettersson carefully icing Boeser’s hand for him back on the bench:

That’s some Disney movie level stuff, right there. Adorbs.

The Canucks finally got their first power play of the game at the 4:30 mark when Carl Soderberg interfered with Alex Edler, but nothing would come of it. There was a lot of continuous action back and forth throughout the middle frame until Matt Calvert would give them another chance for high sticking Bo Horvat. This would set the night up for what is probably it’s biggest moment:

That’s right. GOALdobin. Wide open, great shot high short side. The player the coach is at his wit’s end with. The player who doesn’t work hard enough. The player who can’t get into a lineup where Tim freakin’ Schaller has managed to play 34 games and has only 5 assists to show for it.

Honestly, I feel really happy for Goldy. He sat for what must have seemed like forever to him. He took all of the criticism and all of the flak, and when his opportunity came he had an awesome game and scored himself an awesome goal. I mentioned earlier how I was interested in how he would react to the tough love approach. As a player who not many think reacts well to that sort of approach, you have to give him credit for ponying up when he got his chance again. It’s only one game, and like Virtanen before him, we have to be careful of going too crazy over one game. He’s still going to be under the microscope for the next week or two as everyone watches intently, waiting to see what he’ll do.

He’s not done. But it’s a start. And that’s a great first step towards redemption.

Summary

The Avalanche definitely brought their A-game tonight. The effort was real. They finished with 35 shots, and it wasn’t enough. How many of those shots actually threatened the Canucks? They also, oddly, wildly outhit the Canucks 32 to 16. What failed them was their lack of execution on the power play, which went 0/3, and their lack of scoring depth 5 on 5. Shots are great, but the team just lacks finishers beyond the big line.

On Vancouver’s side, Virtanen, Goldobin, and Markstrom all stood out as having great games. Virtanen was fast and went to the net. Goldobin looked perfectly in place playing alongside Pettersson and Boeser again. And Markstrom has, surprisingly to me, continued his fantastic play. I’m still not sure if his incredible play lately is anything more than a really great hot streak, but to come back from a nine-day absence and post a .971 save percentage is pretty nuts. Particularly considering his tendency for the longest time to start games by letting in weak goals and putting the team down early.

Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson both looked sharp all night, and Ben Hutton was a standout as well with 22:40 in ice time. All great signs. Everyone had energy and looked refreshed. Even Sutter had a good game. No, really! He legitimately had a handful of good scoring chances, and best of all didn’t handicap Virtanen when he wanted to use his speed.

All in all, this was an overwhelmingly positive night for the Vancouver Canucks. Almost everyone on the team had a big night, and I’m sure they’ll be feeling good about themselves as they head to Philly tomorrow to take on the Flyers.

  • Locust

    A great game all around yet every CA writer can’t help to heap on a little douche.
    There is a difference to be objective, critical and purposely douchee.
    Tiresome.

    • petey 40

      As ‘tiresome’ as you being first in line to comment, WHINING the same ‘tired’ narrative for FOUR YEARS and using your numerous accounts to thumb yourself up numerous times. Pathetic.

      Now, why are you here, and why do you keep coming back. Seriously? Tiresome.

        • Cageyvet

          Yeah, the king of multiple user-names, self-up-voting and tiresome narratives devoid of intellect weighs in again. The truly sad part is the continued accusations of other posters using multiple usernames, while his “style” is so obvious it screams “here’s the resident dbag troll using yet another name.” I post here less and less often because the quality of writing and the aptitude of the trolls to be entertaining are on a steady decline.

    • Dank22

      That’s exactly what I thought. Even Cory is doing it in the Comets write-ups. Not even subtle at all and extremely tiresome. It’s like when every new CA writer signs up, they’re contractually obligated to douche it up. You want an eventual career in NHL management? (LMAO) You better follow the guidelines here left by the great Jurke!

      Last night, Gudbranson was good. Pouliot had some of his usual brain cramps… so here’s the opportunity. Lump the big fella in and get your shots in. I’m sure because Calvert scored, it just invalidated every else. In the first period, Stetcher and Hutton were giving up 4-5 prime scoring chances. But but but… zone exits. There was a stretch of 30+ seconds in that first period were Troy was stuck with Pouliot and quickly gave up two prime chances in close.

      I don’t recall that much vitriol towards Luca Sbisa, who for the life of his NHL career has been around the bottom 5 in these metrics that are so treasured here. Yet, I’m sure everyone saw some of the things he brought were very useful for where the team was at the time and despite all the pizzas, those stats didn’t fully reflect on his overall decent play on a nightly basis.

  • RIP

    Goldobin was certainly not great all night. In fact prior to the third I was surprised he was not taken off the top line. He has great hands when he is given time and space and a great pass from Petty. His feed to the blue line in the first I think it was was so terrible and nearly caused a goal. Other that the wide open net he scored on I was not overly impressed with his game. Better than Schaller? Absolutely, he should be playing not benched, but he is a far cry from someone we want permanently in the top 6. I say trade him as soon as possible.

      • Dank22

        A little bit harsh, but not entirely wrong. He did do what was asked of him effort-wise, but still committed some of the same mistakes… like the aforementioned bad pass at the blueline. Let’s hope he continues to apply the lessons he’s been taught. I liked his game last night, but let’s give Leivo some credit for that brilliant fake and pass to set him up.

        • canuckfan

          Goldobin has a good game if he isn’t noticed for his blunders. Don’t need him to be a player we don’t notice we need him to create offense as well as holding off the other team and backchecking to move the puck off the other team onto another Canucks stick. If he cannot do that he is not worthy of playing on the top 6.
          I agree with some of the above comments of the Sutter and Beagle lines man they did their job and some including contributing to the score sheet. A couple pretty tuff games coming up with the Caps and Hawks. Be nice to pull off a great 100 percent road trip but that will be a tough feat. Who knows though we will take it one game at a time. No more Carolina type efforts that was horrible.

  • Nuck16

    Virt, Rous, Bo, Petey, Brock all looked great.

    Marky picking up where he left off, stud

    Impressed with Goldy’s compete level, and nice finish finally…def enough to earn a start next game.

    Sutter had a slow start but played solid later. Granny should take his spot next game, though doubtful they’ll make any adjustment to the lineup.

    How predicable was the Edler’s shot getting blocked leading to a penalty penalty. IDefence looks great great, especially 51

    CBC/Sportsnet should stop advertising Huawei.

  • TD

    That’s not the game to judge Goldobin. With the lead for the whole game, Green gave most of the minutes to the Sutter and Beagle lines. The only top 6 forward over 15 minutes was Horvat and that was because of all the d zone draws he takes. The other 5 of top 6 forwards all played under 14 minutes with Goldobin under 12. I though he was decent with some nice moves and entries vs that one bad pass at the line. I’m holding judgement for some games where we are tied or behind and need to create offence.

  • Kootenaydude

    Good team effort. I didn’t even notice Goldobin was playing til the second period. Played better in the second half though. Kind of getting bored with the usual Gudbranson slanging. It seems CA needs to always have a whipping boy. They used shot differential to prove how lousy Gudbranson is. Yet they gave Stetcher praise last week against Carolina when he was a minus 12 in shot differential. The “TEAM” played a good game last night. The grinders and checkers won this game. They shut down a very talented Colorado team. CAs negative attitude towards certain players has gotten old. The quality of the articles have gotten worse. Monday mailbags don’t show up on mondays. The analytics have fallen off a cliff. There really isn’t much insight into the game of hockey from this website lately. Gudbranson might not be the greatest player out there, but he is playing in the NHL. You guys on the other hand are beer league. Go Canucks!

    • Lord Stanley of Preston

      Yah. It’s obvious that the focus of the editors/writers here is solely to use CA as a stepping stone to paid media gigs – The Athletic being the priority.

      The site was bad under JD but it’s even worse now. This mega late postgame is a prime example, why even bother! Much like the mailbag which is about as reliable as Canada Post! Laziest site on the Nation hands down.

      • Defenceman Factory

        It’s easy to find things to be critical of but I disagree this site is worse now than under JD Burke. I think there has actually been a significant improvement. The trio of Burke, Davis and MacDonald became insufferable. The trio probably still get together each full moon to have a seance to speak to the ghost of Mike Gillis’ career in hockey. Throw in the odd piece of petbug’s whiny drivel and it was just sad. What was most unfortunate is all 4 could, and on rare occasions, did write decent, analytics based articles although JD’s obsession with CF% was always a little weird. Last season there were several missed post game reports missed and many more that should have been missed because they were clearly written by someone who didn’t watch the game.

        Ryan Biech was always a bright spot and still is. Ryan has brought on several new writers and toned down the snark. The content level is up, Comets coverage is extensive and we are getting some interesting articles from the new writers. I think there has only been 1 missed post game and that was over the holidays during the WJC. I really appreciate Ryan’s recent efforts to rid the comments section of its most egregious trolls.

        No I don’t agree the site is worse now. In fact I think it is better than it has been for a couple years. I don’t begrudge at all young writers/analysts using a free blog to hone their craft and move on to better paying gigs. CA is the best free site out there for Canuck fans and I hope Biech can continue to bring improvements. I appreciate his efforts.

          • Bud Poile

            This was a fine game,hard fought,secondary scoring,defensively executed with great goal tending.
            Ryan is the brightest light within CA but this site is but a stepping stone so his moderation is sorely missing.Moderation is nonexistent as the troll derides the board on Jackson’s and the new writer’s missives.
            The comments section now attempts to moderate itself and that is thanks to the precedence Biech has set by banning PQW numerous times,already.

          • John McCaw

            Hi ‘Bud Poile’, just wondered why you keep talking about J Mac and are still here yourself, as I believe Jackson himself told *you* to leave some time ago… here are the direct quotes…

            “Bud has generally served to make the comment section an unwelcoming place not just for the authors but also for a lot of the commenters as well. ” – Jackson McDonald

            and…

            ”the least I could do is occasionally remind Bud that CA’s readership is constantly growing and if all he is going to do is be rude to other readers he doesn’t need to come back especially because this isn’t Tim Hortons and I don’t get brownie points for smiling and being polite while someone makes the work area a nuisance to be in for staff + customers. ” – Jackson McDonald

            Could you explain why you haven’t left (or indeed been banned) as the associate editor demanded, you clearly aren’t wanted here… what gives???????????????

          • Bud Poile

            Biech banned you three times now and yet here you are.
            I wouldn’t have to be rude to predatorial scum such as yourself if Jackson did his job but he has failed in his responsibilities to his readers and the Nation that gives him his voice.
            Your obnoxious behaviour is abhorred on this site and your continued presence here is inadvertently supported by those entrusted to protect this site and its patrons.
            Blow your sanctimonious act out your a$$, PQW.

          • Green Bastard

            Sounds like John McCaw is telling on people, trying to get his boi Bud in trouble. Hide behind a new name and run to J Mac like a lil biotch. Funny stuff. Where in your “direct quotes” was he told to leave?

        • DogBreath

          Ryan has upgraded the site significantly, though there are still a few easy things for him to do to take it to the next level. That said, the guy has to be the hardest working guy around – he’s everywhere and frequently thoughtful and insightful.

        • Macksonious

          “The trio probably still get together each full moon to have a seance to speak to the ghost of Mike Gillis’ career in hockey.”

          “What was most unfortunate is all 4 could, and on rare occasions, did write decent, analytics based articles although JD’s obsession with CF% was always a little weird.” ~ Defenceman Factory.

          1st quote: Ha! Good one.

          2nd quote: Agreed in that those 4 have all written some thought provoking pieces. Unfortunately, some of the ideology seems to cloud their judgement.

    • Dank22

      You nailed it with the hypocrisy. Any chance this place has to take a shot, they will. Yet there are ample opportunities to apply the same lens like shot differential to others… crickets. But but but, Troy was +2 in that game!

      Stectcher’s metrics will go down now that he has more minutes against tougher opponents. I think part of the reason Green made the switch is that he hitched his cart to Pouliot over MDZ, and Stetcher is just not good enough defensively to watch over Pouliot. With a big time regression in Pouliot’s game recently, Green must be terrified to have Stetcher or Biega paired up with him.

    • Holly Wood

      Gudbranson and Pouliot get dumped on almost every night by CA, even the snark about Guddy’s crease clearing shows the writers view is being influenced by the rest of the staff. No mention of Hutton coughing up a giveaway that gave Colorado their best chance of the game. I suppose it’s to much to ask to have a journalist with a little bit of a hockey background writing on here.

      • crofton

        Hutton’s attempted pass was bad, yes, but it was a physical mistake as he fanned on it, and everyone has those from time to time, even our new phenom. Better that type of mistake than the boneheaded ones.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        “even the snark about Guddy’s crease clearing shows the writers view is being influenced by the rest of the staff”.

        Your conclusion doesn’t flow in any way from your premise. Perhaps the writer also simply sees a gigantic pylon of a ‘professional hockey player’ just like the masses?

  • Defenceman Factory

    One of the biggest surprises last night was the amount of praise the Sportsnet crew had for the Canucks. Big compliments for Markstrom, Green, Roussel, Beagle and others. Been awhile since Eastern media had much good to say about the Canucks.

    It was a solid effort up and down the line-up. Goldobin had a decent game and when his effort level is up he is the best available to play with EP and BB. Every game I watch I can’t help thinking that with a Panarin, Skinner or other top end LW instead of Goldobin or Leivo that would be one of the very best lines in hockey.

    First full effort Virtanen has put in for over a month. I often wonder if he realizes just how much positive impact he can have when he works hard. Is some of the reason for Leivo not looking so great come from him playing his off wing? The PK looked pretty good, the PP has its moments but looks disoriented much of the time.

    If the Canucks can play that well consistently they will make the playoffs and deserve to. Unfortunately the calibre of their Dcorps and top 6 wingers make playoff success unlikely.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    A great game by the team. More snarky unwarranted shots at Gudbranson who also had a good game. His “famous” create clearing. For this much hate the writer must have been turned down by Gudbranson for prom.
    Hope the team keeps up the good play

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Goldobin was great, hopefully he can keep it up. I still think the Canucks are too passive allowing the opposition zone entry, and without Markstromm playing another stellar game, the result would have been a different story. I know that no-one on Canucks Army or in the other local media really wants to acknowledge it, but the guy is now a bona fide #1, and has been by far their MVP this year. At least for the last 25 games.

    • DJ_44

      Goldobin was great, hopefully he can keep it up

      Great? I thought Goldobin had an acceptable game; he worked hard enough, put in enough effort, to get another shot. It was nice to see him get a goal, albeit wide open after a great setup from Leivo. Good to see him hit the net. He only had one brutal give away at the offensive blue line. It’s a start.

      The third and fourth lines were the best tonight. Sutter, Jake and Rousell, along with Loui, Beagle and Motte. They should get a lot of credit. Big props to the PK.

      Markstrom was solid. I agree his is a bona fide #1, and I think this designation is due to consistency and him making the saves he should make, with some great saves sprinkled in.

      …and finally, this comment in article epitomizes the lack of comprehension this CA author has about Goldobin’s situation:

      The player who can’t get into a lineup where Tim freakin’ Schaller has managed to play 34 games and has only 5 assists to show for it.

      Goldobin is not in competition for a roster spot with Schaller. Schaller is bottom six checking forward. Goldobin is apparently some sort offensive, top-6 wizard. He is in competition with Leivo, Baertschi and to a lesser extent Granlund. The latter being a player that has scored 2 more goals, plays both center and wing in all situations.

      • TD

        I couldn’t agree with your comment more. Goldobjn is competing for a top 6 spot, but if he doesn’t get one then he is in the box cause he can’t play bottom 6. Leivo, Bartschi etc are also competing for a top 6 spot, but they can play I the bottom 6 if Green doesn’t have them in the top 6 for a game.

      • IBT

        One flashy goal makes all the difference to many but not Green. I am always amazed at Goldy’s puck control however he frequently stickhandles himself out of options. He will play keep away spectacularly for 5-6 seconds then cough it up because he has no idea where anyone is. Not sure this is something that can be learned, same comment for Pouliot really, control followed by panic.

    • Macksonious

      @Beer Can Boyd:

      Calling Goldobin great might be a bit of an overstatement, but he did have a good game.

      You’re correct in that Markstoms play has probably gotten less recognition than what’s deserved. He looks like a true #1 goalie now. Significant reason why they’re currently in a wildcard position.

  • canuckfan

    Now that was a great game to watch. Av’s never stopped pressing but with Markstrum now playing like a real solid number 1 the team is competitive. If not for Markstrum we could have just as easliy had lost the game. Didn’t notice Goldobin except for his offensive play, which is a good thing as he was not responsible for handing the puck to the other team or blowing his check. Lets hope he can gradually piece a full game together as he build confidence. He can do it and I hope he does but he will have to work his ass off until just becomes part of his game. When he is in the lineup and contributes in both ends of the rink he becomes a great asset, when he doesn’t it is a tire fire where he has no where to hide. He will make mistakes as he is trying to get a complete game it is now or never for him to define his career and I hope his agent who knows the game is also helping him through this. We need Goldie to become a complete player as the left side has been needing some beefing up with him and Baerchi (sp) playing well we are a much better team that will bbe harder to defend.

  • Kanuckhotep

    At least two positive things took place for the Canucks in this impressive win tonight. 1) Marky played like a bonafide #1 NHL goalie ( again), and 2) Secondary scoring from up and down the whole line up. Shotgun and Goldy proved this point in this crucial 4 pointer. Eddie and Tani very solid D pair and I think Roussel is our new Burrows. Play like this every outing, guys, and you just might end up with a very memorable turn-around year like we haven’t seen in a long time.

  • TheRealPB

    I appreciate the postgame recap and I agree with a lot that you’ve written, but it feels like you could have subtitled it The Redemption of Goldy. I don’t know if you guys go into writing these recaps with the narrative already mostly set, but sometimes it feels like it and to me that was NOT the story of the game. I thought Goldobin had some good moments, including obviously the goal and a few other nice forays into the offensive zone. He also had a couple of glaring giveways which reminded me why he was benched. On balance, I’d rather that Goldobin played (as long as he’s in the top six) over Granlund and Schaller certainly and arguably over Virtanen as well. But if you were to ask me having watched that game which 23-year-old stood out for Vancouver, there’s no question, it’s Tyler Motte. Motte was hitting everything that moved, provided excellent penalty-killing during that three PK stretch, scored the goal that sapped any real momentum from COL after the 3-1 goal (and it was a really nice deflection after retrieving the puck and getting it to Stetcher), and most importantly gave zero time and space to Rantanen throughout the game.

    Motte to me is one of the most underrated and excellent stories of this season. He beat out Leipsic, Schaller, Gagner and some others for the roster spot and has stayed in the lineup when Granlund and Goldobin could not. He hustles every single play, has a bit of offensive pop (sure he has ten points less than Vanek but only four less than the ever-mourned Jared McCann) and is strong defensively.

    I thought in terms of the actual game, it was the Beagle and Sutter lines who were matched up along with Edler and Tanev against one of the very best lines in the NHL and other than a couple of nice rushes by Mackinnon were mostly invisible. They caused a couple of turnovers but that was mostly because our D wasn’t moving the puck fast enough (especially if the tire fire that is Gudbranson-Pouliot or even Stetcher-Hutton were on there). I also thought you’re being a bit harsh to Leivo and Baertschi based on shot attempts; I thought there was a lot of sloppiness out there, but both generated some good chances that didn’t result in shots (or in Baertschi’s case making that breakaway out of sheer effort and speed but a good stop by Varlamov).

    The story of the game to me was Markstrom and Motte, as well as the general secondary scoring depth that was on display.

    • Rodeobill

      Motte gets out there and does exactly what he does every shift. Gets to the business of disrupting and moving the puck up ice. He definitely belongs on the team, and once he develops an on ice awareness for as good for his own team mates as he has for the opposition’s his numbers are going to get even better. He looks way better on Beagle’s line than Loui. I have never given up on him since we signed him (LE that is), but TBH he just cant find his skates or a proper role on this team and he seems lost. I never thought he was a bad player, but he seems to be becoming one on this team.

      • DogBreath

        Motte’s been a great pick-up. Great value from the Vanek trade (that everyone was screaming about). I’ll take a young player contributing regularly over the 3rd round pick that people were hoping for from him,

      • IBT

        I agree and the team needs guys like him. I find Biega to be much the same. Very high energy but not silky smooth. We need guys who will finish their checks and make it uncomfortable for the opposition. God knows few other players bother to. People say the team needs a tough guy, I say if everyone finished their checks you would have team toughness. Not chase guys around like an idiot but when your check has just released the puck past you give him a shot, you are already in a poor defensive position so make them think about it next time.

    • Thanks for the well thought out comment. I don’t disagree with you about Markstrom and Motte standing out in the game at all. I definitely could have said more about Motte, though I did point out Markstrom’s good play and even acknowledged that he was proving my own expectations wrong. But Markstrom has been playing well for two months now. It’s great, but not really news. The reason I felt Goldobin was the story here is because of the context around his game. You have a player who the organization desperately wants to become something for them, yet there’s been this nonstop debate over him all season long. He’s the team’s fourth leading point producer and went into the break having been scratched multiple games in a row. A lot of people were talking about whether the organization was done with him or not. We even expected him to be scratched in this game until we heard differently just the day before. And then he goes and does everything the coaching staff has been asking him to do. He had his feet moving, he was in on the forecheck, his compete level was way higher than it had been, and he even scored a nice goal at the end of the game to wrap a bow on it all. He had several great moments. It was like a switch was flipped somewhere. He might not have been the team’s best player of the night overall, but playing strong right out of the gate with the first opportunity he was given, especially after all of the drama going on around him, was what made him the biggest story of that particular game in my opinion. Anyways, that was the thought process behind the focus. Thanks again for the thoughtful reply.

      • TheRealPB

        I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and engage with my comment. I think it’s really easy to be snide and snarky — both for us readers and commentators and for the writers — but I think it’s extremely commendable that both you and Stephan Roget have taken the time to engage with the readers. It makes it feel like a real and active blog, rather than a soapbox.

        I think you’re right that taken as the bigger picture it is a good story. I think the issue is probably the double-standard — that Goldobin gets benched for making one or two mistakes whereas Pouliot and Gudbranson get trotted out regardless of the number of glaring errors they make and pretty much every other player gets at least one pass. I’ve seen Boeser and Horvat make a lazy play or Edler and Tanev have a bad giveaway but they don’t end up riding the pine. It’s hard to argue with some of TG’s methods in that they seem to have made Virtanen and Hutton better players when they looked like they were NOT improving. But I agree that whether Goldobin stays or is being showcased to be traded, he needs to play and to be put in a position to succeed (i.e. on one of the scoring lines).

        • DogBreath

          … and Goldobin needs to show that he can play a more complete game and be interchangable on the top two lines (not just effective with EP40). His contribution must exceed his deficiencies on a more consistent basis and then I think he’ll begin to get the benefit of the doubt from Green. Don’t forget that Green wants this to happen.

  • Fred-65

    It’s hard to recognize it’s the same team as when they played the ‘Canes. They looked fresh and full of energy where as the Canes game was clearly a tired group. Amazing what a little sunshine and Dos Equis can do 🙂 Markstrom is making the Luongo trade almost worth while 🙂