The Vancouver Canucks have had a tough November thus far – with a record of 2-3-2 as of this writing – and while much of that can be blamed on the team’s lackluster performance, the travel schedule has undoubtedly been a factor as well.
Following back-to-back losses on the road in Chicago and Winnipeg, the Canucks had only a single day off before facing the New Jersey Devils at home on Sunday afternoon – essentially forcing them to play three games in three-and-a-half days. That goes a long way toward explaining – if not exonerating – the fact that it took the home team a period-and-a-half to put up some semblance of a fight against Jack Hughes and the gang before ultimately falling 2-1.
A tough travel schedule is something that every NHL team has to deal with every now and then, but it’s a constant struggle for the Canucks, who will remain the most geographically-isolated franchise in the league until Seattle shows up in 2021. Most fans have accepted that the Canucks will thus have it a little bit worse than the average squad in this regard – but does it really need to be so bad?
With that in mind, this week we’re asking two questions:
What would you do to improve the Canucks’ travel schedule, if you were the NHL?
Failing that, what would you do if you were the Canucks to mitigate the impact of travel on the team’s performance?
Last week, we asked you to knuckle-up and answer:
What would you say to the Canucks about fighting if you were head coach Travis Green?
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Green is paid to win hockey games, pure and simple. If a situation gets to the point where it warrants a fight, he will ask his players to do so (either by inferring or stating it directly). Otherwise, he will defer to the rule book and hope his PP can dish out the punishment.
(Winner of the author’s infrequent award for “we don’t officially endorse this)
Jam your stick up and under his visor. That`ll make him back off.
There is only one valid reason to fight and that is when an opponent is taking liberties. There are two ways to exact revenge for serious infractions by the other team; by scoring or by fighting. A team must consider where they are in the standings and what the score in the game is, but if one of your players is being hurt often fighting is the right message if not desperate for a goal.
I don’t know what sparked Ferland’s fight but it was either selfish, stupid, or both. It looked staged and pointless. I remember Ryan Miller going after someone with his blocker when an opponent slammed Stecher. That sent the right message and got the place jumping.
The Canucks should fight a bit more. Watching a teammate get injured just doesn’t rile the Canucks like most teams. This has to be, at least in part, due to the coach.
The Canucks have a number of good Canadian boys who came up in the CHL. They know how to do it. Luke Schenn was great in that regard. The last guy who threw down with Horvat quickly regretted it. Green needs to loosen the reigns a bit.
I think TG should just let them call it. Hockey is a passionate game, and fighting in the game looks WAY different than it did back in the [Bob] Probert/[Tie] Domi days. But I don’t like the idea that the coach should tell specific guys to do that. If it happens, it should be something that “naturally” occurs (for lack of a better term). When a team plays hard for each other, they look out for each other. Often times, a fight can actually defuse some of the violent tension in the game by “settling” it. It can change the momentum, rally the troops, and add passion to the game. Other times, it can feel staged, obliged, etc. Those are the moments where I feel “someone is being told to, or feels obliged to.” Those are the kind of moments that seem to end momentum. The coach should only encourage them ‘not’ to fight, when doing so would hurt the team more than helping.
It’s my view that TG has told his team not to fight unless there is no alternative. I believe he thinks the officials will handle it and the powerplay will be the deterrent. This may even be a strong suggestion from the League office. The Detroit Red Wings started this trend with some success during Babcock’s reign as coach, and the Leafs are continuing under his watch. I have always felt that you need team toughness instead of designated scrappers. I resist to use the Bruins as an example, but seldom do you see their smaller skilled guys get abused after the whistle or run from behind. With Ferland, Roussel, and some new size in the lineup I hope they develop an “all for one, one for all” attitude. I do not want to see Pettersson, Boeser, or Hughes run over or injured, but without some pushback it’s likely to happen.
It would be interesting to see the percentage of fights that end up with serious injuries. I suspect that cheap shots in the course of play cause more serious injuries.
Hockey is a fast game, played by large men with sticks in their hands. There has to be some type of consequence beyond a few dollars’ fine or a game misconduct.
“From now on; Loui Eriksson does all our fighting.”