Breaking down regression hitting the Canucks like a truck: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
4 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, Harman Dayal and Irfaan Gaffar offer some insight into the Canucks’ slumping performance of late.
“I’m concerned, but I’m not panicking, and I’ll tell you why,” started Harm. “Over the course of a season, you’re going to have some guys who are inevitably hot, some guys who are going to be underperforming. The idea is that as certain players go from hot to cold, some of your other players who were previously cold start producing again. For example, Elias Pettersson is quiet in this stretch; you would hope Quinn Hughes is playing at the top of his game, that J.T. Miller – as he has been – is playing at the top of his game. You maybe have some depth scoring, and you can then weather that storm. Later in the season, maybe secondary scoring or Miller slows down, then it’s Pettersson’s turn to take over. That’s how, as a team, you continue maintaining success even when you don’t have every player on your roster meeting expectations.”
Harm noted the regression for Vancouver was likely expected, just not to this extent.
“It’s rare for everything to go right,” he said. “That’s how it felt for the Vancouver Canucks; everybody was exceeding expectations. Now you look at this rough patch, and it’s the opposite. Everybody except Miller and maybe Boeser and Hoglander has been underperforming. Quinn Hughes isn’t going to have another stretch where he gets 6 points in 12 games; Elias Pettersson, at some point, is going to figure it out. Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith aren’t going to slip in play at the same time; Elias Lindholm isn’t going to be this ineffective the rest of the way. You look at some of these numbers: Pius Suter hasn’t scored since the All-Star break. Ilya Mikheyev has gone 30 games without scoring. Teddy Blueger hasn’t scored in the calendar year of 2024. Phil Di Giuseppe does not have a single point since November. Lafferty has 6 points in his last 31 games. All those guys were producing in the first half of the season, even Mikheyev. I’d be panicking if players were playing up to their potential, but this is a stretch where almost everybody except a couple of guys is playing bad hockey, and that’s going to reverse at some point. There’s just too much talent. They do need to figure it out because the schedule after this Anaheim game isn’t getting any easier.”
“When it gets to March and April, you need to know who your four lines are,” Irf added. “The trade deadline is in a week; it’s going to come and go, and you need to know your team. You can’t be Rick Tocchet and your coaching staff tinkering with things. You need to have your lines set, defensive pairings set, and you need to know what your powerplay units are. The mix-up-by-committee power play unit just isn’t going to work. There’s too much talent on this team; you need to find a role for Elias Lindholm on that powerplay. You need to get the puck moving more; the other four guys can’t just keep passing to each other and not shoot the puck. There are so many things that need to happen. The Canucks are lucky enough they’ve afforded themselves so many points with so many good stretches this season that they can have a stretch like this.”
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