Jumping to Conclusions: What we learned from the Canucks being blown out 10-0 by the Flames
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
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10-0. Ten to zip. The mother of all hockey blowouts.
But during the preseason, such a score doesn’t matter.
There’s very little to learn from any preseason result, especially ones involving the Calgary Flames’ NHL-laden lineup beating up on a Canucks roster of almost entirely AHLers. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to glean.
“Relax, it’s just the preseason!” is a good mentality when you’re talking about the scoreline. But judging individual performances is still possible.
After all, the coaching staff doesn’t see these games as just a warmup; they see it as an audition for the remaining spots on the NHL roster.
So welcome to a new preseason series called Jumping to Conclusions!
Playoff dreams are over. Time to tank
Time to pack it in, the season is lost. (Does sarcasm read well over the internet?)
Sure, a 10-0 loss isn’t great no matter how you slice it. But the good news is, this is about as bad as it can get.
As Jim Rutherford said in his opening media availability of the season, “if everything goes right” the Canucks are a playoff team.
On Sunday night, we saw what would happen if everything went wrong.
The odds of a Canucks roster that outmatched seeing the ice again, even with all the wear and tear of an NHL season, is nearly impossible. And once we put aside the actual number of goals scored, the shot totals for both teams was an even 26 apiece.
With a more established lineup, like the ones we’ll see as we get closer to opening night, those shots will start converting into goals.
Aatu Räty is making the cut
All things considered, Aatu Räty had himself a pretty decent night.
Räty’s speed made him stand out, even against a Flames team made up of predominantly brand-name players. Just look at how cleanly he entered the zone here in the second period.
Räty created a fair few chances and looked comfortable alongside regular NHLers Dakota Joshua and Sheldon Dries. If that’s how he looks in a 10-0 loss, it’ll be interesting to see how he does in more balanced preseason games.
Vasily Podkolzin is on the chopping block
To reiterate, one preseason game is not enough to change a player’s trajectory. But if it were, Vasily Podkolzin might be sweating a bit after Sunday night’s game.
Playing on the default top line with Pius Suter and Jack Studnicka, Podkolzin seemed to be gripping the stick a little too tightly in his own end of the ice. He even created some Calgary scoring chances thanks to a defensive zone turnover early in the game.
Rick Tocchet has been preaching good habits and structure ever since he got here, and Podkolzin really struggled in those departments facing NHL caliber assignments yesterday. But as a recent 10th overall draft pick, he’ll get as many chances as possible to prove the opener was a mirage.
Hopefully, he takes full advantage.
Akito Hirose is a top 4 defenceman
Let’s finish on something more positive.
In a game where his own team allowed ten goals, Akito Hirose was only on the ice for a single one of them. Technically, the scoresheet says he wasn’t out for any of them, but that’s because the scorekeeper got Hirose and Jett Woo confused. Whoops.
But Hirose is hardly to blame on that goal too. Noah Juulsen — who had a real rough night — makes a rusty mistake trying to force the puck up through the middle under pressure from Matt Coronato.
Hirose may not have a long highlight reel of great plays, but the lack of scoring luck the Flames had while he was on the ice isn’t nothing. And with fans already clamoring to see him get more NHL ice time after his short cup of coffee last year, he might be on the road to proving why.
Much like with Räty, Hirose will be a name to watch down the stretch of the preseason as he gets more prime opportunities with more experienced defensive partners.
Which players stood out to you in the Canucks’ preseason opener? Put it in the comments below.
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