Contrary to popular belief, the Vancouver Canucks are not currently mired in their worst stretch of the season, though it certainly feels that way. The bandwagon might be a little roomier than usual after dropping three straight on the East Coast, but this is a team that has already lost four games in a row on two separate occasions this season – once in November and again in February.
So, this isn’t the slump to end all slumps – but if it continues any longer, it’s almost certainly going to be the one that defines the Canucks’ year.
As of this writing, Vancouver sits in the top wildcard position in the Western Conference, but by the time you read this that will probably have changed – that’s just how tight things are this season. The team’s current marketing slogan is “Every Moment Matters,” and it couldn’t be more apt. Every single game, and every possibility of picking up two points, is going to be vitally important to the Canucks’ playoff hopes from here on out – unless they continue to slide, in which case they’ll play themselves right out of contention.
Entering the final month of the regular season, the situation is undeniably tense, and everyone is feeling the heat; players, coaches, front office, even the media.
In fact, the only ones without any concerted pressure on them right now are the fans, and so we’re turning to them this week to ask:
What would you do to bump the Canucks’ current slump? What changes can be made to the way the team is currently playing to turn things around in a hurry?
Last week, we asked:
What would you do with Thatcher Demko and Louis Domingue for the rest of the regular season? How would you divvy up their starts?
Your responses are below!
Beer Can Boyd:
Green seems to have got the Toffoli thing right. As for Domingue, he should at least start one leg of the four back to backs. Starting with Columbus on Sunday. I’m hoping the Canucks go into that game having beaten Ottawa and Toronto, which would ease the pressure on him considerably in his first start.
(You jinxed it, Boyd!)
Domingue should play the more daunting game in each of the four back-to-backs, and that’s it. At least he’ll get another NHL jersey to frame for his trophy room.
Obviously, I would play Thatcher every game except back-to-backs. Now, who to play against the perceived lesser team on back-to-backs? If Thatcher is the future, you match him up with tougher opponents, especially if a Western team.
Every athlete from elementary school to professional ranks has a moment where they can prove themselves. This is Demko’s moment to prove he is a #1.
Agree with J-Canuck. Let Thatcher play as much as he wants (except back-to-backs), as long as he plays well. Hopefully he will rise to the occasion and, like Q. Hughes, show us and himself that he is all that everyone thought he could be and more.
It’s kinda an easy WWYDW. Ride Demko until he falters. Give him a rest and let him run again. It’s almost an ideal scenario. Maybe he can pull a Matt Murray and answer all our goaltending questions. He has proven himself at every level, at every challenge presented. I see no reason not to believe he isn’t ready to rise to this challenge and get us to the playoffs.
(Who you calling “easy?”)
Puck N A:
Play Domingue once in each of the back-to-backs.
Behind the scenes, Jim Benning should be flying David Ayres to Vancouver at the Canucks expense, wining and dining him, then secretly flying him with the team through March JUST IN CASE!!!!
This is Demko’s time to shine and will impact how JB handles the goaltending situation. Toffoli has looked great so far and would certainly fill a void, but cap space, term, and cost are going to dictate how that scenario plays out. But until then, onward to the playoffs! Go Nucks!
I feel Demko will play roughly three of every four games. Green will spot Domingue in there when he feels Demko needs a day off. The way Domingue played in Tampa tells me he is a goalie that just lost confidence in Jersey. I think he will surprise us all when he gets his chance. We are definitely going to miss Markstrom, but I believe the new combo will get us into the playoffs, and possibly win the Pacific
I have to say it again. Just like Cory Schneider, the Canucks have overly babied Demko his entire career. Wasting potential great years in the NHL. Other goalie contracts aside, he should have been up and playing as the backup sometime in the middle of the 17/18 season, when he was lighting it up in the AHL with a .922 save percentage.
He’s only started 21 games this season. If Markstrom hadn’t been hurt, he probably wouldn’t have come anywhere close to matching the game totals he achieved in the AHL. Of course, Markstrom’s earned his playing time – but again, Green this time has babied Demko in the NHL. He should have been playing way more than he has at this point in his career. The guy is 24 years old, was considered the best or second-best goalie in his draft year.
Demko has been ready for a tough workload for years now. Play him the rest of the way. Non-stop. The only reason to give the other guy a start is if you see Demko obviously looking tired during one of those stretches in March where they play three games in four nights. But if he looks like he’s handling it, just leave him alone.
Demko’s not in good enough shape to play every game. He will get hurt, so he will need to be paced so he could can stay focused and ready to play. That’s why it takes awhile to become a number one goalie in the NHL. You have to be super fit, focused, and mentally tough.
Demko starts and Domingue plays one of the games in back-to-back starts. For the coaching staff to decide which games.
Hopefully Markstrom is only out for 2-3 weeks?
Domingue should get as much time as is necessary to give Demko sufficient rest and technical work to stay sharp, however much or little that happens to be. To start with, the expectation should be Domingue gets into a game when there is a back-to-back.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
If you want to take a stats-based approach, you play Demko against Western teams (where points matter more than against eastern teams — yes, points are points but a loss against a western rival where they get two and you get none matters more than an eastern team who won’t impact your standings the same way).
Second, play Dom, where possible, at home where the Canucks have a better record.
Third would be to play Dom in the first game of back-to-backs when the team isn’t as tired.
So, ideal for Dom is the first game of a back-to-back against an Eastern opponent at home.
What you don’t need is Dom getting a repeat of Mikey D’s premiere as Shark bait.
Seeing how crappy Demko has been playing with a .892 save percentage since Marky went down, it wouldn’t hurt to play Dom to see if the team can get a win. Played well enough against Toronto to get an easy shutout, but Demko was awful. He’s choking big time.