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Photo Credit: @Canucks Twitter

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings Post-Game Recap: Hughes If True

The Warmup 

The Vancouver Canucks entered Thursday night’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings knowing that anything less than a win would eliminate them from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs—but somehow, that didn’t seem to matter at all.

Thursday also marked the NHL debut of 19-year-old Quinn Hughes—7th overall draft pick in 2018 and the franchise-savior-to-be on the blueline. With expectations far higher than they should reasonably be for a teenage defensemen exiting an NCAA career, Hughes hit Vancouver ahead a storm of social media excitement—and in doing so, he gave Canucks fans one last reason to get hyped about the 2018/19 season.

Us too, Quinn. Us too.

As if Hughes’ arrival wasn’t exciting enough, he was joined in the lineup—as provided by @CanucksPR in graphical format—by a bevy of other young stars, including Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Adam Gaudette, and Thatcher Demko:

The rebuild may not be complete in Vancouver—but it’s made substantial headway, and that was firmly on display as the Canucks circled the ice for warm ups and anticipation built in Rogers Arena.

In less-positive news, Sven Baertschi was again kept out of the lineup with a mysterious malady, leading to the return of Ryan Spooner. Ben Hutton was also back from injury.

1st Period

Two minutes into the game, Quinn Hughes hit the ice for his first NHL shift—on an offensive zone faceoff, no less. After the play moved back into the Canucks’ end, Hughes won a puck battle with Michael Amadio behind the net—much to the delight of those in attendance. Hughes then efficiently exited the zone and moved the puck up ice, which eventually led to an Adam Gaudette chance. So far, so good.

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Hughes’ second shift—which featured some clever stickwork, a bold pinch, and a deft pass to Jake Virtanen—was also suitably impressive.

Of course, other players were also playing in this game—including Bo Horvat, who set up a couple of Tanner Pearson attempts from the slot as the Canucks moved into an early lead on the shot-clock.

Hughes rolled off a sizeable check from Carl Grundstrom during his third shift, and defensive partner Luke Schenn skated over to let Grundstrom know—in no uncertain terms—that such behaviour just wasn’t acceptable. Hughes, for the record, seemed none the worse for wear—but there’s no doubt that this sort of bodyguarding will provide further ammunition for the #SignSchenn crowd.

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The entire first half of the period passed without either team earning much in the way of significant scoring chances. The action picked up 13 minutes into the frame—but not in the way Canuck fans were hoping, as Austin Wagner opened the scoring on a pseudo-wraparound off a weird bounce.

After a solid stint of pressure from the combo of Gaudette, Ryan Spooner, and Markus Granlund, the play came back up the ice—resulting in a brilliant Thatcher Demko save, but also a Jay Beagle penalty for hooking to give Los Angeles the first powerplay of the game.

To make a bad situation worse, an attendee could be seen flashing white power signs in the background as Beagle sat in the box. Here’s hoping that the Canucks organization is able to ensure this individual never attends a game in Rogers Arena again.

The Canucks’ penalty killers came out strong, and the best chance of the man advantage actually went to the PKers—with Granlund and Tim Schaller taking off on a two-on-one that ended in inevitable bobbling.

With the action back to five-on-five, Hughes brought the Rogers Arena crowd to their feet with a blazing rush through the neutral zone—a play he concluded what can only be described as a sideways drop pass at the blueline. With Hughes deep in the zone and the Canucks buzzing, Jonathan Quick wisely decided to smother the puck.

On his next shift, Hughes did the same thing—but this time he carried the puck deep into the zone himself before dishing it off. The rabid #Canucks fanbase would have to be satisfied with a couple of uber-competent zone entries—as the score remained 1-0 Kings as the period ended.

Intermission Highlight

Watching #Canucks Twitter clearing space on their collective mantlepiece for Quinn Hughes’ multiple future Norris Trophies.

2nd Period

Just under two minutes into the second, Troy Stecher was hammered by Kurtis MacDermid on a hit that looked an awful lot like interference—and Stecher went off for helmet repairs, but thankfully for not concussion protocol.

In the game that made him the Kings’ franchise leader in games played, Dustin Brown beat Quinn Hughes twice and Thatcher Demko once on the same shift—but he could not beat the post. In just his first NHL game, Hughes got to take part in an important Vancouver tradition—not liking Dustin Brown.

In a somewhat bizarre play, Luke Schenn was piggybacked and horse-collared to the ice in front of the referee—but no call was made. Schenn got to his feet irate, and grabbed the next guy he could get his hands on—who turned out to be MacDermid. The two dropped the gloves, but Schenn slipped to the ice before real punches could be thrown and they each received minors for roughing.

The four-on-four play saw Elias Pettersson almost—but not quite—spring Brock Boeser on a clean breakaway, and a Sean Walker shot pop the straps on Demko’s mask—but no real scoring chances for either side. With seconds remaining on the coincidental minors, Jake Virtanen hooked Adrian Kempe and Kempe responded by grabbing his stick—but it was Virtanen who was sent to the box for two minutes.

Schenn exited the box alongside MacDermid and was forced to play the penalty kill as a forward—and he nearly capitalized on the rare opportunity with a steal and a Jay Beagle two-on-one that Schenn failed to finish. The penalty kill ended with an Anze Kopitar off the crossbar and a wildly bouncing puck, but the score remained 1-0 heading into the period’s final TV timeout.

The Quinn Hughes show continued with a quick shot that Quick was forced to kick out, followed by a deep offensive foray and another chance at the net. Shortly thereafter, Ryan Spooner was robbed by Quick on a cross-crease passing play.

The Canucks received their first powerplay opportunity of the game with just under six minutes remaining in the period as Carl Grundstrom headed off for interference on Stecher—which Grundstrom had presumably thought was legal, given recent events.

It took the Canucks first unit all of five seconds to capitalize, as Bo Horvat won the faceoff and Elias Pettersson poked the puck back to the point—allowing Alex Edler to fire a wrister that snuck through the legs of Quick. With his 10th goal of the season and the 94th in his career, Edler moved into the top spot all time in franchise goals by a defenseman—passing Mattias Ohlund.

And that wouldn’t be the last milestone of the night.

Less than a minute later, Hughes smoothly skated the puck from the far point to behind the net like it was nothing and then played it to himself off the net to beat the defender—before attempting a wraparound shot that Quick stopped. Quick was unable, however, to stop Boeser from roofing the rebound—giving Hughes an assist and the first point of his NHL career.

Make it two goals, and two milestones, in 56 seconds. As far as first assists go, this was a pretty memorable one for a whole host of reasons. Even the Avengers were impressed.

Schenn picked up the secondary assist, and he also attempted to pick up the puck for safekeeping before Quick was ready to give it up—inciting a short but spirited scrum. Suddenly, the Canucks were ahead 2-1—and that’s where they would remain as the middle frame drew to a close.

Intermission Highlight

Who knows? This author just went back and watched that same two-goal sequence over and over again.

3rd Period

Most Canuck fans were probably satisfied with the events of the first two periods, but there was still another 20 minutes left to go.

The first five minutes of the final frame were devoid of whistles and relatively uneventful, though Adam Gaudette did leave the ice in distress after taking an errant Jake Virtanen shot to the ribs. Fortunately, he returned to the ice shortly thereafter.

Toward the halfway point of the period, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes conspired to create a handful of opportunities that Jonathan Quick aptly turned away—but that also left Rogers Arena buzzing.

Adrian Kempe ended the momentum by tying the game at the 11:47 mark—beating Thatcher Demko on the blocker side after having ample time to pick his shot.

As the teams settled into safer play with the score knotted, Virtanen gained a measure of revenge for Troy Stecher by rattling Kurtis MacDermid with a hard hit along the boards. The Larscheiders went wild.

Alex Biega put the puck over the glass with a little under five minutes remaining, putting the Kings on the powerplay and giving them a late opportunity to take the lead. They nearly did just that when a Dustin Brown point shot banked unexpectedly off Alex Edler—but Demko was able to make a sharp pad save on his own teammate. His fellow PKers were just as sharp, killing the remainder of the two-minute minor with ease.

Pettersson and Boeser broke out on a sizeable two-on-one shortly after the penalty expired, but Pettersson ultimately shot the puck wide. Hughes arrived on the scene to keep the play alive, and the Canucks’ holy trinity kept the pressure on the Kings’ defense for a sustained period—but were unable to beat Quick.

With the score tied after 60 minutes, the Vancouver faithful tried their best to pretend to be disappointed that the Canucks had blown the lead—and to hide their excitement at the prospect of seeing Quinn Hughes’ play three-on-three hockey.

Overtime

Coach Travis Green bowed to experience, starting Alex Edler in overtime—alongside Bo Horvat and Josh Leivo. Horvat nearly converted on an Edler pass and crashed the net, but Jonathan Quick stood tall in his crease so deny the opportunity—and send Horvat flying.

On the next shift, Green gave the fans what they wanted putting all three members of the trinity on the ice at once—and they did not disappoint. Quinn Hughes nearly set up Brock Boeser tap-in before cycling the puck back to Elias Pettersson—and the trio toyed with the Kings for a while before Boeser suffered a near-miss in the crease.

The next time Pettersson and Boeser came out, they were accompanied by Edler—but the good times kept rolling. The dynamic duo broke in on yet another odd-man rush, and Pettersson deferred the puck to his linemate—who was absolutely robbed by the glove of Quick.

Before leaving the ice, Edler set a rather obvious pick on Anze Kopitar and—after thinking about it for a while—the trailing official called the penalty, putting Los Angeles on the powerplay with 1:36 remaining in overtime. The Kings spent that entire time in the Canucks’ end—but Demko, Jay Beagle, Luke Schenn, and Ben Hutton stymied everything that was thrown at them and sent the game to a shootout.

Shootout

Elias Pettersson was the first player to shoot, and he attempted to beat Jonathan Quick with a Sam Steel-esque backhand move—but Quick denied him with the glove.

Adrian Kempe shot next, and missed the net on the first NHL shootout attempt in Thatcher Demko’s career.

Rogers Arena got on their feet as Quinn Hughes came out next—but his attempt to beat Quick five-hole was easily denied with the stick.

Anze Kopitar then tried to slide the puck under Demko’s pad with a clever backhand deke, but Demko was able to squeeze it to the ice and keep things tied moving into the third round.

Brock Boeser was the next contender, and he got in close before unleashing a shot that Quick smartly turned aside.

The record-breaking Dustin Brown then did his best to beat Demko low, but Demko kicked it right back out at him.

Former King Tanner Pearson was next up, and he fired a hard shot that hit Quick’s shoulder and trickled over—putting the Canucks ahead with the shootout’s first successful attempt.

When Alex Iafallo missed the net shortly thereafter, Demko had earned his first shootout victory—and the Canucks had beat the Kings to the tune of 3-2.

The Wrap-Up

What more could Vancouver ask for out of this one? Quinn Hughes had a sparkling debut that featured a highlight-reel assist and Alex Edler set a franchise record. Elias Pettersson added to his already impressive totals and Thatcher Demko got back in the win column. Three-on-three overtime provided all the excitement Rogers Arena could handle.

As an added bonus, the win keeps the Canucks technically in the playoff hunt—albeit, only until the Colorado Avalanche gains a single point. That being said, nobody was watching the out-of-town scoreboard tonight.

Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser sharing the ice is a dream come true for Vancouver fans. Having them each score a point in a victory over an old rival? Well, that’s just gravy.

Fancy Stats At A Glance

Gameflow from Canucks vs Los Angeles March 28, 2019 (courtesy of naturalstattrick.com)

 

Heatmap from Canucks vs Los Angeles March 28, 2019 (courtesy of naturalstattrick.com)

 

Top Performers

Quinn Hughes

Who else but Hughes? A fair percentage of fans in attendance tonight probably bought their tickets with the sole intention of viewing Hughes—and he was more than worth the price of admission. He had a highlight reel assist for his first NHL point, and he looked consistently bold and confident—especially during three-on-three overtime. In short, Hughes joined Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson in making memorable Canuck debuts—and Rogers Arena is probably still buzzing because of it.

Alex Edler

As one generation of Canucks defense begins, another reaches an important milestone. For all that will be said about Hughes’ NHL debut, Edler allowed for the rookie to enjoy some sheltered minutes by taking on his typically enormous ice-time—and he continues to help the Vancouver powerplay look dangerous.

Thatcher Demko

Demko’s last start was a tough one, so it’s nice to see him bounce back with such a strong performance. Demko turned aside 32 of 34 shots and all four attempts in his first ever shootout—but most importantly, he looked calm and steady in a game that was fraught with emotion.

Next Game

The Canucks have just four games remaining on the season—and just two at home! The second-to-last home game of the season comes Saturday, March 30, against the Dallas Stars. The star-time is 7:00PM PST and the game will be broadcast on both CBC and Sportsnet Pacific.



  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    I watched the game with my dad and I haven’t seen him that excited watching a game since Pettersson put up 5 on Colorado. Hughes has marvellous control of his edges when he carries the puck. I like Schenn’s presence out there in case anyone is thinking of taking a run at our PP quarterback.

  • Kanuckhotep

    QH came as advertised and did not disappoint. Where does one get guys like #6, #40 and #43 on that very exciting 3 on 3 segment we saw with them out there? The draft of course and all 1st rounders. If there is any evidence of any kind of positive rebuild this is it. The kid has wheels, hands and creative ability. It’s only one game but good pick, Benning.

  • Rodeobill

    This is going to be fun from here on out. Someone should put the Harlem globetrotter’s theme song onto some of those clips. I think Hughes surprised even his teammates tonight on some of his set ups, as he made some Petterson-like moves to draw defenders and pass it, and they just weren’t expecting it – even EP! Once they start keeping their heads up and knowing the pass is coming and how he plays, there are going to be points to follow. I hope Schenn keeps it up and play this way with consistency, He looks like everything we were hoping to get with Guddy. Good on Edler too.

    Just enjoy the show for the rest of the season, and let the draft chips fall where they will.

  • Burnabybob

    Pretty cool. Hughes definitely looks like he’s ready for the show. Even if the Canucks don’t make the playoffs next season, he will make them much more fun to watch.

  • TheRealPB

    Last year’s closeout to a disappointing rebuild season was a fitting tribute to the Sedins. It was all about a deserving farewell to the past. Another disappointing rebuild season but it’s hard to remember another one leaving with so much promise.

    Boeser was injured at the end of last season, Gaudette was raw, Virtanen was slowly making his way back. Goldobin, Markstrom and Hutton were still question marks.

    A year later, that Boeser, EP and Hughes trio looked dazzling at times. Demko had I thought his best game so far, even with the poor play on the first goal. Hutton had a really good first game back and Leivo has just continued to impress me with each game. Great puck pursuit and much better skill than I thought.

    I also thought this was yet again a good audition for Schenn for the 7th defenseman spot. No offense to Biega, but I think if we roll with a D lineup of Edler-Tanev, Stecher-Hutton and Hughes and someone (Juolevi? Schenn?) that would be so far superior to what we’ve had most of the past three years — but the big challenge is can they stay healthy? As others have said, it’s great to have a couple of players who actually stick up for one another — not as the nonsensical deterrence, but just to give a sense of solidarity. Gudbranson never really did that (nor did Prust or Sestito or a bunch of the other so-called tough guys) whereas I see Leivo, Hutton and now Schenn really stepping up anytime a Pettersson or Hughes gets hit. I’ve also noticed a real uptick in EP’s own physicality, regardless of how ‘slight’ he his — he’s been throwing himself into forechecks and pushing much larger players right off the puck. I was impressed to see how Hughes handled himself with a few of the runs taken at him by the Kings meatheads too.

    Good times to come, now wait for the troll(s)…

    • DJ_44

      Another disappointing rebuild season but it’s hard to remember another one leaving with so much promise.

      I do not understand how this season is considered disappointing. Their goal was to play meaningful games in February and March. They did that, and although they fell short of the playoffs, you could point to 3 or 4 areas where, had they had marginal improvement, would have been over the playoff bar.

      This season is was a big transition year, and the young team provide excitement, hope, and some disappointment. There is little argument that with the prospects here and coming, they are on the right track.

      • Goon

        That the Canucks were in the playoff hunt in February doesn’t say much about the Canucks – it’s about the weakness of the bottom half of the Western Conference. Most years teams need around 94 points to make the playoffs – this year it’s going to be closer to 87.

        The Canucks *shouldn’t* have been in the playoff hunt when they were on pace for 80 points – most years that wouldn’t have put them anywhere near the playoffs.

      • TheRealPB

        I guess it depends on what your objectives for the season are. I think there are clear wins in development and progress for some players — EP, Boeser coming back from injury, Markstrom, Hutton, Gaudette, Stecher, Horvat, Motte, even guys like Sautner, MacEwan, Brisebois and a number of the prospects. There’s more uneven progress for Virtanen, Demko, Lind, and DiPietro. There’s some great and solid adds we’ve made – Leivo, Pearson I think is good, Roussell. Edler’s had an excellent year. There are those who are incomplete like Baertschi, Tanev and Beagle due to injury. And there are the real disappointments like Eriksson, Sutter, Goldobin (or how they’ve handled him), Dahlen and Palmu (perhaps ditto), Pouliot, Schaller, Gudbranson, MDZ, Nilsson and so on.

        And the bottom line is that while I understand and have the patience for a rebuild, it still sucks that we miss the playoffs again and as someone who tries to faithfully watch every game, it’s really frustrating to see so many losses, regardless of how rationally it might be for the longterm interest. And what I find perhaps the biggest challenge in the season is the number of shutouts and the general failure for some of the highly paid veterans to deliver on protecting some of the younger players. I think those are among the reasons I’d say that this was disappointing even if I agree with you that this is a transition year, one of several.

        • Goon

          The play of Pettersson has been phenomenal, and Hughes looks great. There are bright spots without a doubt. I don’t disagree with any of this – I just take exception to people saying the team “outperformed” this year or were “competitive”. They’re going to finish somewhere in the mid-20s, again, which is neither competitive nor “outperforming expectations”.

          • TD

            Since they were expected by all experts to be the last place team in the league, I think its quite accurate to say they outperformed expectations. Their lack of depth shone through in November and February, but I also think they were a competitive team when healthy. Counting OT losses as losses, the Canucks were 26-25 in Oct, Dec, Jan and Mar vs 7-21 in Nov and Feb.

            They aren’t a good team and are probably at least 2 years from being a playoff team, but they were competitive when they weren’t devastated by injuries and played way better hockey when than was expected of them. Moreover, their best players were their future (Edler and maybe Markstrom excluded) vs relying in 55 and 50 points from the Sedins and still sucking like last year.

        • DogBreath

          Good, fair summary of the team this year. Though at the end It almost reads that you’re disappointed that they’re going through a transition. This is really the only path for them at this stage. The question really becomes how well are they moving through the transition phase. On balance, they’ve progressed well this year but still have some serious work to reconfigure the D, add a top winger, build depth, and as Green says, figure out who he can win with. Lots of strides this year. Next years bar must be the playoffs.

          • TheRealPB

            You’re not wrong. It’s not rational — I know and believe that the higher the draft pick the better. But it just sucks to see them lose, even if I know it’s better in the long run. I got spoiled with the Sedin era after growing up watching the team be mostly terrible in the 80s and seeing flashes of success in the 90s.

      • FairPM

        The pessimists will be pessimists. Canucks do well, and they are complaining about being stuck in limbo (convo kinda started already when they were on the playoff cusp). Good enough for for the playoffs but not enough for the cup. Miss the playoffs and it is a disappointment and a continuation of ineptitude of missing the playoffs. Bottom line, you can’t win an argument with the pessimists.

    • crofton

      Sestito did. Remember a few years ago, Jordan Nolan took a run at one of the Sedins, and Stanton challenged him, while giving up about 30 lbs and 3 or 4 inches. Fast forward to anothe LA/Vancouver game, Nolan took a run at one of the Sedins…and Sestito, who is pretty much the same size as Nolan, challenged him. Of course Nolan turtled, and Sestito took about 17 PM’s.

      • TheRealPB

        Sestito was uneven. He mainly took on the other team’s goons in the kind of staged fight that has mostly gone away. He also added very very little to the rest of the lineup. I wonder if there are examples in the last three drafts of someone spending a 3rd round pick on a player like him again.

  • canuckfan

    Yes it was just the Kings who have fallen hard this year Dallas will be more of a challenge. Now that we are at the end of the season it will be fun to watch the last few games and have a reason to actually want to watch.
    Their is hope for next year and I believe that the defense will have mostly the same group back Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Stetcher, and now Hughes. Does Hughes get some time on the right side to see how he is because if he can play the right side that opens things up for Juolevi who has had some tough luck to start his NHL career, or to be able to start his career in the big league.
    Nice to see Hughes looking good in his first game he will learn a bit in these few games to get ready for next year. No use signing any free agents as the salary cap will be eaten up with resigning Brock, Pettersson, and Hughes next contract. Was cool that Petey had an assist on the Edler record breaking goal. The future got just a little bit brighter.

  • wojohowitz

    I don`t know if Schenn is the man for the job but they really need someone just like that who plays tough – and without all the dumb penalties.

    The surprise from Hughes was his ability to make an accurate and crisp pass. It galls me that so many NHLers can`t complete a pass if their lives depended on it.

  • Locust

    What impressed me was the speed of his passes. He can really rifle the puck. Will be interesting to see his shot when he gets some time to load up. Besides Edler, the Canuckleheads have little if any firepower from the point.

  • PotKettleBlack

    Not a bad debut from this tiny kid but not in the same league as true Canucks greats like Lumme, Jovocop or Ohlund for starters.

    Hilarious to see the armchair yappers buying into the Benning/Aquilini smokesreen after ONE game though. PT Barnum woulda loved you suckers. :-p

  • Benning managed to find elite impact players by going “off-the-board” (Pettersson at #6), snagging players that fell through the cracks (Hughes at #7) or finding them right where the consensus ranked them (Boeser at #23). It’s a shame that #TeamTank can’t even acknowledge Benning’s successes.

      • DeL

        That’s Gradin’s job, he’s a scout and ya he got lucky with Hughes but that’s drafting. He hit the podium and said the right name. There were people on this board advocating for other D

        • Giant-Nation

          Fan base is still complaining, it’s crazy we are in year 3 of the rebuild. Not trying to squeeze water from the Sedins rock at the end of their careers the first two years JB was in charge. Since then we are moving in the right direction. I still think another high pick next year is the way to go, don’t sign any expensive free agents this year it will only push us to mid NHL range, bad timing for Hughes Petey Boeser peak years. Get Byram then pick a forward off in free agency next year and draft high again, then its go time for years to come…20/21 – Canucks will be legit again.

      • Bud Poile

        The Canucks draft picks are a result of a collabarative scouting effort.
        Lindgren initially identified Pettersson and the process of developing a concensus began within the organisation.

      • PotKettleBlack

        Speaking of ‘resident drooling idiot’ let’s see…

        “The Comets are headed for the top of the AHL standings. Isn’t the justification for these terrible FA signings that the young players need to develop in a “winning environment”? The Comets are that.” – Goon on Utica and ‘his grand plan’ LOL

        Great news – Newell Brown’s a great PP coach – Goon on the Brown re-hire LOL

        What a douche… give this clown a job as Benning’s water boy!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dirk22

      Forever – “Team Tank” is about accumulating elite talent at the top of the draft – any arguments against that’s premise (and there have been many on here) are the ones that should now be retracting all of their harsh words over the last few years. This team has a glimmer of hope – why? Because they have been terrible the last few years and were able to draft Petterson and Hughes. Those guys aren’t available down in the wild card spots many of you have argued for. Do not try to spin this as some sort of drafting genius by Benning to turn the ship around.

      As for Hughes – we all know who was pining for that pick. We all know who was flipping out because of the ‘CA bias’ towards him. It should be ‘team playoffs’ acknowledging they were wrong ….not that that’s a big surprise!

      • DogBreath

        Team tank rarely discusses that a team has about a 78.5% chance of not picking first overall if you finish last overall and then it quickly jumps to approx 90% and 95% and less from there. In my mind those odds significantly diminish the case for tanking. Further, team tank rarely factors the cumulative impact of being crappy for so long and don’t seem to be able shake their losing ways.

        Try to win every night. Have the best draft day possible. Have superior player development and create a winning culture despite the losses (the two are not necessarily tied).

        • I agree 100% with everything you say. Now we can look at both Edmonton and Buffalo for evidence of how tanking is bad, even when it works. Edmonton was incompetent, no one can save Edmonton from Katz and their old boys’ club. Buffalo, despite having Eichel, Reinhart, and Dahlin, still suck despite Botterill’s best efforts because Murray built a team that was designed to lose.

      • Larkin, Pastrnak, Boeser, Barzal, Schmaltz, Point, DeBrincat, Aho, MacAvoy, Chabot, and I’ll even throw in Chychrun were all drafted outside of the Top 10. Moreover, there are plenty of busts or “non-elite” talent in the Top 10, and that’s only 2014 to 2016. So your argument is patently false.

      • Do not try to spin this as some sort of drafting genius by Benning to turn the ship around.

        Benning is turning the ship around, whether you can acknowledge it or not. Moreover, I fully recognize Benning’s flaws. However, your assumption that picking Pettersson and Hughes was a slam dunk, even with those draft positions, is again patently false. Everyone assumed we would take Glass but Benning went against the grain with Pettersson. Hughes was *not* the consensus number two defenceman in the draft but was lumped into the same tier as Bouchard and Dobson. Moreover, Dobson was the only player who was deemed to have No. 1 potential in any scouting reports.

        One can point to obvious draft errors with Virtanen and Juolevi (i.e. failure to adhere to the best-player-available philosophy). However, Top 10 “flops” also happen, see Puljujarvi, Alex Nylander, Jost, Zacha, Dal Colle, Fleury and Ritchie. Between 2014 and 2016 alone, 9 of 30 Top 10 picks were clearly not elite impact players for a failure rate of 30.0%.

        See, you’re so beholden to your tanking religion that you can’t even acknowledge when Benning did right. The facts clearly show that simply holding a high draft position (e.g. Top 10) does not guarantee an elite impact player. Yet, you wholly attribute the success of Pettersson and Hughes to position and completely discount Benning’s input. Again, a patently false argument.

        • Dirk22

          Absurd. Boeser was a great pick as was Pettersson – has been stated countless times. Hughes was about as easy a pick as you can make – I bet they would have picked him even if they had the third overall. That’s not even the issue though – it’s you taking a shot at team tank when we’re literally seeing the merits of it right before our eyes. Listing good prospects and players drafted outside of the top-10 is making what point exactly? You want to do a comparison?

          • DogBreath

            I’m not sure anyone’s disagreeing that you’re more likely to get better picks that pan out in the top 10. It’s weighing that against the odds, the likelihood of still getting good picks after that AND the risk of long term damage to fostering a winning culture.

            Are we getting to a point where we just agree to disagree on tanking vs not?

          • Dirk22

            If long term damage to a winning culture were real then the Canucks would be screwed.

            There is such a thing as good team culture – no denying that. It can be fleeting though and changed in an instant. For instance, the losing culture from the 2016-17 team where they finished second the last is not going to affect the 2019-20 team. A good coach and unified organization can help a team’s culture – and I actually think Green has done a good job. More than anything, elite players can help. There’s no better place to get elite players than the top of the draft. The evidence is there with the Canucks. It’s there with the cup contenders this year. You can agree to disagree all you want but there is no argument to be had….unless you want to envision the Canucks future without Pettersson and Hughes.

          • Dirk22

            Dog breath – btw you need to do some reading on what ‘tanking’ actually is implying. Tons of posts on it. Long story short it has nothing to do with player effort…can’t believe that still needs explaining

          • We can always agree or disagree on the tank strategy. However, as the Canucks improve and the argument against the tank emerge in the form of a competitive team that did not require ticket holders to pay hard earned dollars to watch a team designed to lose in an unentertaining fashion, I will gladly extol those victories to undercut the tank position. Also, I will challenge any statements that are patently false or presented without appropriate context, whether they are related to tanking or not. I’m 110% against the tank. It cheats fans who pay to attend games and support the team, builds a losing culture that cannot be overcome by having high draft picks, and is not a sustainable way to build a competitive and winning franchise.

          • “You can agree to disagree all you want but there is no argument to be had….unless you want to envision the Canucks future without Pettersson and Hughes.”

            Dirk22 – Do you see how you contradict yourself? If we don’t tank, we don’t get players like Pettersson or Hughes. BUT WE GOT PETTERSSON AND HUGHES WITHOUT TANKING.

          • Dirk22

            Worst team in the league over the last 4 seasons – if that isn’t tanking than what is!?

            Tanking is just another way of describing bottoming out – it wasn’t deliberately done in this case – or basically in every other case – but the end result is the exact same. The chance at elite players.

          • Dirk22

            I’ll try to explain it to you with a bit of context using this season.

            I guarantee that every member of ‘Team Tank’ is hoping the Canucks lose their next 4 games. Why? Because ‘Team Tank’ wants another top-10 pick – maybe even 6 or 7 as that looks the best case unless the unthinkable lottery win happens. That’s what ‘Team Tank’ is about – they’re not expecting the players to stop playing or the coach to stop coaching. They are aware their are significant talents within the top-10 picks and know that the best thing for the Canucks future is to get one of those – it’s not to win the next 4 games.

            If you want to argue that losing these next 4 games will do enduring damage to the players then make that argument – but do so understanding where Team Tank is coming from. There’s been lots of articles on this….why am I still explaining it.

          • DogBreath

            Dirk, I’ll bet we agree that we both want Hughes or Kakko. Under the old lottery system I’d be more inclined to see your perspective. Under the current lottery system the odds are so poor that it doesn’t make sense to want your team to lose the last four games so we can go up a percent or two to improve our odds. We just see it differently.

          • Dirk22

            Dogbreath – It’s not just about winning the lottery – although that’s the dream scenario it’s still really unlikely. Surely as a Canucks fan this is obvious.

          • kermit

            Forget the lottery, under the present system it’s just a game of chance, it’s really about how many spots you get bumped down and where you wind up picking. Benning got the player he wanted at 7th last year (thanks to Montreal and Arizona), but what would have happened if we had picked 8th? My guess is that Quinn would be a Blackhawk. One draft position can cost you the player you want. Yes, you can see the players are pumped when they win one, especially if it was a close game, but if they lose these last four they will not be forever traumatized. None of this matters, our players, and the players on the teams around us in the standings will not play to lose. Really, our fate is already sealed, we are going to be picking somewhere between 7th and 10th, and exactly what spot we wind up in is as random as the lottery itself.

      • Bucket

        No kid anywhere ever said; “I want to grow up and play in the NHL so I can help a team accumulate high draft picks!” There aren’t only 2 camps of fans either. You aren’t either team tank or team playoffs. Professionals will never lose on purpose, this is a business at the end of the day and they want butts in seats buying merchandise and being entertained night after night. For a team of players to purposely lose to acquire better players is also those players not having any belief in themselves. If you have a bunch of kids in that dressing room thinking they are no good and need help then we have the wrong kids on that team! There are teams who lose more than others and get higher picks but there are never teams that lose on purpose. It is a loser mentality that doesn’t exist in a pro athletes head.

        • Dirk22

          With all due respect, you need to go back and read articles to see what team tank is all about. Long story short, it has nothing to do with player effort. It’s a big picture realization that in order for the club to be genuinely competitive they need to secure some elite talent – that talent is best found at the top of the draft. In the Canucks case this is playing out right before our eyes with Pettersson and Hughes coming in this year.

          • DogBreath

            Dirk – I don’t know how to say this any more simply. We all want elite talent. We just don’t believe the odds are worth losing games to go up a percent or two. You think it is. It’s really not more complicated than that.

          • canuckfan

            I get it now if it isn’t about player effort then we need to make sure that the team doesn’t dress any of their stars or players who could end up influencing a game where the team would win. Bo, Brock, Petey, Edler, Stetcher and Hughes should not dress for any of the remaining games and DiPietro should be getting some more net time to help him figure out the NHL game so he can figure out what he needs to work on over the summer as he graduates to the pro game. Yes now it makes sense Benning is to blame for putting together a lineup that gets too many points in the standings, and how dare the owner want to be able to sell tickets. Only way for team tank to be successful is to bury your young good talent in the farm system for years and hold back their development playing them against slower less talented opposition.

          • Dirk22

            Dogbreath – I don’t know how to say this more simply. The % has only some to do with it. Canucks have always had bad lottery luck but being bad has enabled them to get Pettersson and Hughes. Here they are again in a position to get a top-10 pick – chances are the player won’t be as impactful as those two but that is in their best interest and has been all season. It’s really not more complicated than that.

          • Dirk22

            For the record, I’ve had dozens of conversations on here over the past few years. Many disagreements – many absurd comments. This thread ranks right up there though.

            Team Tank – “Hey losing is in the best interest of the teams long term competitiveness”
            Team Clueless – “Why that’s stupid! Losing culture, the Oilers, players don’t Tank blah blah blah”
            Team Tank – “well obviously the players don’t Tank but the team is lacking high end talent and that’s the best way to get it. Look at all the recent Stanley Cup winners and the teams that are good now. Team Tank is not actually asking players to tank. They are, however, actively cheering for bottoming out”

            *Canucks go on to be the worst team in the league over a 4 year span and get the opportunity to draft a potential elite Center (Pettersson) and an elite defencemen (Hughes)…and most likely another excellent top-6 forward (ie. Boldy, Turcotte) or or top-4 dman (ie. Byrum)*

            Team Clueless – “tanking is bad!”
            Team Tank – “SMH”

          • B_Rad77

            Totally agree with you Dirk, the only way to improve a team is by drafting, and the chances of drafting those needed elite players increase the closer you get to 1st overall. The constant pattern of this team making a late season push to make the playoffs only to fall short, or in a couple season actually make the playoffs and get handily bounced has driven me crazy over the years. Yes, increasing your odds by a percentage or 2, MAY not make a difference in the lottery, but there is also a cumulative effect for all the following rounds. Id be interested in seeing what players were taken upto 4 spots ahead of Vancouvers draft position in the years they passed teams to fall short, and see what we could have had. As an avid fan since day 1, I route for this team through the good and the bad, and yet I can still see what is the best course for the overall heath of this team and fall into the ‘’ team tank’’ side of the arguement when the season is lost in reality and not when they are mathematically eliminated

  • Francesco

    Canucks officially eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth straight season. I repeat, no playoff hockey for Vancouver in four straight – our season ends in four games. It really sucks when your team isn’t going to the big dance… again. 🙁

    Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto in – and Montreal still fighting. Vancouver mathematically out. Not good enough.