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Kevin Woodley talks adjustments on offence, DeSmith’s outlook, and more: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On yesterday’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal welcomed hockey journalist Kevin Woodley to discuss potential adjustments for the Canucks and assess Casey DeSmith’s performance and outlook as the team heads into Game 3 in Nashville.
Woodley began with his analysis of Game 2: “They’re not dropping bombs back there. It’s more finesse shots, especially from guys like Hughes who excel at moving, creating lanes, and finding lanes with his wrist shot. Guess what – those hurt, and it takes bravery to get in front of them, but you’re not taking your life in your hands. Nashville defenders can front those shots more easily than Petey or Hronek dropping the hammer. Of all those shot blocks Nashville had, there was only one I recall where McDonough got up slowly after taking a piece of defender with it. Because of the nature of that offence, it’s easy for Nashville to front, and they’ve done a nice job. However, Vancouver could counter with plays like Suter’s miss where you go off-net low and get a puck off the end boards. That can help you find layers behind that fronted defence and create chances down low. I’m not saying that’s the only play, but that’s the kind of thing Tocchet means when he talks about what they need to do.”
Harm asked, “What adjustments can Vancouver make?”
Kevin responded, “Working the puck low to high is important, but it also can’t always be the default. You can’t always dump it behind the net and go back up to the point. Indirect passes off the boards that allow Hughes to get into his wheelhouse faster, followed by working the puck down low for attacks, could be effective. We saw some near-misses off that strategy. You can even attack Saros directly from above the goal line on sharp angles – he’s not the largest goalie. The temptation will be to go short-side high, and that can work, but I’d like to see them attack the net more. Getting bodies in front of Saros to create secondary chances is key. Clearly, they can’t solely rely on soft point shots if the Predators keep blocking them so effectively.”
Addressing Casey DeSmith’s goal against on the first shot of Game 2, Kevin explained: “You couldn’t have scripted a worse start with the bounce and timing. Early in the game, with all that pressure, you’re probably going to be a little aggressive. He reads the backdoor tip, pushes over, and makes a great initial save. However, his left skate loses an edge as he pushes back, a culmination of that initial aggressiveness and an uncharacteristic inability to load the second push. Beyond that, I don’t fault him on the Forsberg goal – one-on-one with a 48-goal scorer is tough. And the rebound off the rush – that’s going to be a factor in Casey’s game, even in his best outings. He produces rebounds; they’re not all bad, as he often keeps tough chances in front of him.”
Kevin added his perspective on DeSmith’s potential leash length: “If he settles down in the first two periods but then has a rough five-minute stretch in the third, his earlier performance matters. Switching to Arturs isn’t a surefire solution – he’d be facing his own nerves since he’s never done this before. He’s had big moments for Latvia on international stages, but ignoring Casey’s experience could be a mistake too. I expect him to have a long leash.”
You can watch the full segment below:

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