The Stanchies: Rick Tocchet says players need to “buckle up” following 5-2 loss to Kraken

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Cody Severtson
1 month ago
Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken was a game of sacrifice for the greater good.
And no, I’m not talking about the Canucks game.
As the entire Vancouver-based NationNetwork team convened downtown at GRETABar, taking in the Canucks’ lethargic fourth-straight loss alongside CanucksArmy’s loyal, passionate fanbase, Good Old Cody was on double-duty, providing Canuck Nation with the best in Canucks post-game coverage from the comfort of his lonely, isolated, dark, sad cave computer room.
It wasn’t just me, either. Our prospects guru, Dave Hall, bags packed, sightseeing brochure in hand, was forced to cancel his ferry ride to the party to provide us with an instalment of Instant Reaction.
While Lachlan, Trent, and Wyatt yucked it up, swapping war stories of Stanchies’ past, it was up to me to put together my atypical brand of sarcastic post-game Stanchies AFTER editing Hall’s Instant Reaction debut for a game that, quite frankly, was really tough to watch.
See what I mean about a ‘game of sacrifice?’
While Ian Cole laid his body on the line to keep the score somewhat even, Dave and I were sacrificing our social lives for the greater good of Canuck Nation.
Since David Quadrelli was busy hosting the event, the person editing this overly long run of embarrassing back-patting was me! So, if you thought that was bad, wait til I make my 25 PDO-God references to explain away the awkward, chaotic play of this demoralizing Thursday night loss.
Alright, let’s get into this bummer of a game to try to get over the bitterness of being uninvited from the GRETABar meetup.
Best Available Lineup
Ins-bain Start
The first few minutes of the game were punctuated by a bunch of Canuck giveaways and bad bounces in the favour of the Kraken. Because it wasn’t the greatest start, we’ll focus on the efforts of Arshdeep Bains, who inched up to the second line alongside J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser.
Arshdeep Bains began his tenure on the second line with a faceoff start in the d-zone. He and Miller combined for a quick breakout and an eventual dump into the Kraken’s zone. Ultimately the most that we got from the sequence was Bains keeping pace with his check as the F3 in the zone, supporting the Canucks’ D in anticipation of a Kraken regroup in neutral territory.
For his second shift, Bains and company began a solid cycle with Noah Juulsen crashing down from the right point for a wraparound pass to Miller.
During the sequence, the Canucks really found their mojo and started working the Kraken with their quick puck movement around the perimeter. Somehow, Philipp Grubauer lost control of his stick as Bains crashed down low on a wide shot from Nikita Zadorov.
While crashing down on the rebound, Bains’ arm flung Grubaeur’s stick around the post, wedging it into the netting, prompting several attempts from the Canucks, including this snappy shot into traffic from Pius Suter, who’d subbed on for Bains.
A hot-second after a fan was heard on the broadcast shouting, “C’mon, boys!” Brock Boeser threw a shot attempt off the stick of Yanni Gourde, unintentionally rebounding off the backboards and to the crease for J.T. Miller to settle and reach for a backhander to open the scoring.
Look, you know I have to say it.
Do you know what the shooting percentage was after Miller’s goal?
100% baby.
PDO Gods, etc etc.
You know how the Cody Stanchies go. I’ll try to spare you.
I wonder how the GRETA bar food tastes?
Worst power play
Six minutes deep into the opening frame, Pius Suter drew a tripping penalty against Jordan Eberle to give the Canucks a power play opportunity. Much to the fanbase’s dismay.
The first unit didn’t do anything, so Rick Tocchet’s solution was simply, “MORE HUGHES.”
Yep, that’s Tyler Myers exchanging with Hughes down the left wing. The Norris contender (Hughes) then wired a shot that bounced precariously into Grubauer’s crease and would stand as the club’s lone highlight from the power play all evening.
That was the only GIF I could get from the power play.
Upon the reset at 5-on-5, we got more Bains-cam action, with Bains cutting up the middle on a three-on-two rush alongside Hughes and Boeser. Unfortunately, Hughes’ drop pass to Boeser was out of his reach, giving the Kraken a quick three-on-one the opposite way following a regrettably aggressive pinch inside the neutral zone from Miller. Bains got on his horse to go from the first forward into the offensive zone, to the second man back in the d-zone, taking away the middle from Eeli Tolvanen.
Fortunately, Thatcher Demko made the stop on Tolvanen, keeping the game knotted at one apiece. After ten minutes, the Canucks had only managed two shots on net, lowering their shooting percentage from 100% to a pathetically-low 50%.
Worst “refs, uh, hello?!”
Past the midway point of the opening period, Seattle’s Jaden Schwartz took one of those “stupid stick infractions” that Tocchet talked about after the Minnesota game. The Canucks killed the penalty (technically), but it wouldn’t be without a bit of controversy.
After flubbing a pass off the backboards meant to clear the d-zone, Ian Cole stood near the left circle watching the point. Oliver Bjorkstrand cruised past Cole, executing the classic “accidentally-on-purpose” hit to the head from behind.
Naturally, there was no call on the play, leading to the Kraken’s eventual equalizer.
To Dan Milstein’s horror, Ilya Mikheyev misplayed the puck in the d-zone for the second game in as many nights, resulting in a crucial goal against.
For this one, Mikheyev attempted to glove down the puck along the right wall before turning to clear the zone. However, under pressure, Mikheyeve never quite settled the puck, and the Kraken pounced all over Mikheyev to regain possession.
Just as Lindholm was racing into the d-zone after the conclusion of his penalty, Vince Dunn scored his ninth of the season with a heater from the point.
It wasn’t just the poor glove but the lack of foot movement from Mikheyev in attacking Andre Burakovsky from behind at the point. Burakovsky shakes Mikheyev with little effort, opening up a Grand Canyon-esque chasm of space for Dunn and ex-Canuck Jared McCann to work.
And before you race to the comments to tell me, I’m being unfairly harsh on Mikheyev for the sequence. Here’s a GIF showing how Rick Tocchet felt about his work on the sequence to convince you otherwise!
Alas, the period resumed at 5-on-5, where the Canucks played some more inconsistent hockey.
Miller sprang Bains and Boeser up the ice for a two-on-one, where Bains again elected to pass instead of shoot.
Demko was called to heroics after Filip Hronek forgot what colour jersey he plays for, resulting in a dangerous point-blank chance for Eberle and, eventually, nearly three minutes suffocating in the d-zone for Lindholm, Pettersson, Suter, Hronek, and Hughes.
Miller then went “SO BIG!” trying to keep a clearing attempt inside the d-zone, allowing Tyler Myers to rifle a shot through traffic. The puck then dropped at the feet of Bains, who rifled a shot off Grubauer’s outstretched pads.
The period concluded with Nils Höglander taking a second stupid stick infraction, hooking Eberle along the d-zone wall.
All told, the Kraken outshot Vancouver nine to five, but the bounces favoured Seattle even more.
As well know at this point, there are three guarantees in a Canucks game:
  1. the Canucks on the receiving end of a momentum-changing non-call/missed call
  2. the Canucks rocking a plus-70 shooting percentage at some point in the first period
  3. the Canucks getting all of the weird bounces in their favour
After knocking off one of those two in the first twenty minutes—two depending on how soft you thought the Höglander hooking penalty was—the game got into chaos-territory beginning with the opening minute of the second period.
Best/Worst second start (chaos edition)
Less than a minute into the Canucks’ second PK of the game, Ian Cole threw the puck up the gut (for some reason) right onto the tape of Jared McCann’s stick.
2-1 Kraken; McCann’s 25th of the season.
Looking to wake his team the f*** up, Conor Garland got in a featherweight match against Brandon Tanev.
Garland was seen shaking out his hand inside the penalty box, which would be devastating for this team at this point. However, losing two-thirds of their best line on a single road trip would be very on-brand for this team’s legacy of suffering. Fortunately, Garland was fine.
With the bounces completely out of their favour through the first 22 minutes, Elias Pettersson resorted to good old-fashioned hockey skills to give the Canucks a semblance of momentum. After executing a gorgeous entry with his stick-handling at the point, Pettersson threaded a pass to Höglander for a shot attempt off the crossbar.
Minutes later, Sam Lafferty equalized the game at two, breaking his 12-game scoring drought with the bouncer of all bouncers.
After gaining the zone with speed, Suter whipped a shot toward the net, doinking off Justin Schultz’s skate, then doinking again off Lafferty’s arm and over Grubaeur’s glove side.
Off the faceoff, Bains executed his patented spinorama for the zone entry, drawing a tripping penalty against McCann to give the Canucks their second power play of the game.
Worst special teams
Filip Hronek hammered his patented ankle-destroying one-timer, but slim pickens otherwise, to the surprise of absolutely no one.
Recognizing the potential softness of the Höglander and McCann penalties on back-to-back calls, the refs were relieved when Teddy Blueger got a little too hot-and-heavy defending McCann on a zone-entry. The interference penalty gave Seattle their third power play opportunity.
Though Vancouver struggled again to break the puck out of the d-zone, they didn’t concede a goal.
For Bains’ second-straight shift, he was part of a sequence that drew a penalty to give the Canucks a power play. This time, Quinn Hughes drew a high-sticking penalty against Eeli Tolvanen while defending the Kraken’s neutral zone rush.
However, the Canucks’ power play is so trash that I’m not sure we can reward players for being on the ice for a drawn penalty.
An uncharacteristic stumble from Hughes gave way to a dangerous shorthanded chance for Brandon Tanev—the only noteworthy event from the club’s opportunity.
Upon returning to 5-on-5, Justin Schultz regained the lead for Seattle.
Worst take
Should Demko have made the save? Probably.
Should the Canucks have scored on any one of their four power plays through the first 40 minutes to avoid needing Demko to make the hero save on every Kraken shot? YES!
My opinion on this take: Demko would have saved it if DJ Heer didn’t write/direct/create a Canucks playoff pump-up song. Have we learned nothing from Kyprios’ How the West Was Won?
Regardless, Demko had clearly bumped into Zadorov on the sequence, taking away his ability to get in front of Schultz’s shot.
“Zadorov and I crossed legs there, and I lost my balance,” Demko explained post-game. “He’s trying to get a good box out—and it’s the same thing in Denver, just a couple weird bounces—he’s trying to do the right thing, I’m trying to do the right thing, and it ends up in the back of our net.”
Either way, blaming Demko was a precursor jinx to Eberle’s goal two minutes later to give the Kraken a two-goal lead.
Best dose of reality
The Canucks looked gassed in the third period. As Dave points out, this was a gruelling stretch that saw the club go from Michigan to Vancouver, back East to Minnesota, to Colorado, and finally to Seattle in just seven days. That’s a lot of flights, time-zone changes, altitude changes, and a steep quality of opponent. Detroit, Colorado, and Winnipeg are all shoo-ins for playoff spots, while Seattle and Minnesota are playing desperate hockey to close the gap on the second wild card spot.
“Obviously, we’ve lost four in a row, but we just want to play well and play to our system and play how we’ve played when we’re playing well,” said Garland post-game. “It’s just a part of the season, everybody goes through it, we haven’t yet. So, we’ll deal with it. We just want a good effort on Saturday.”
At one point, Conor Garland led a speedy odd-man rush into the offensive zone, which led to an even speedier odd-man rush for Matty Beniers the other way.
For every chip and chase into the zone, every Canucks’ skater would have two Kraken defencemen on them, preventing them from being able to execute a pass or take a shot. Despite being down two goals, the Canucks mustered just two shots through the first ten minutes of the final frame.
There was a desperation to their game, but the bad bounces and tired legs compounded to see more hustle playing defence than offence.
After an offensive zone faceoff, Conor Garland broke up a two-on-one with a diving backcheck, going zero to 100 on the backcheck like he was the brand new BZ4X from shoptoyota.com!
Demko was solid throughout the third as the team in front of him skated like they were on concrete.
In the home stretch of the period, Juulsen flubbed the puck in the offensive zone, giving the Kraken their 897th odd-man rush of the game. Demko did DJ Heer a solid and made not one but three incredible saves in a row to keep the Canucks within arm’s reach of a wishful comeback.
With four minutes left, Tocchet pulled Demko for the extra attacker.
Not a typo.
FOUR minutes left in the game.
For the 6-on-5, Tocchet rolled out an initial sixsome of Hughes, Pettersson, Myers, Garland, Boeser, and Arshdeep Bains. Eventually, switching Garland, Bains, and Myers with Miller, Lindholm, and Hronek.
A tired Hronek punctuated one of his worst outings as a Canuck with another brutal pass to empty space in the slot, allowing McCann to fire the puck down the ice toward the empty net. Though he’d missed, Eberle got a full head of steam past Pettersson to nail the empty netter to kill the comeback attempt.
While it would’ve been nice to take in this loss with friends and fans inside GRETA Bar, watching another tired loss against a Pacific Division rival in the comfort of my own loneliness was pretty fun, too.
Best Dad Energy
I know this happened last game, but I wanted to give a quick shout out to Thatcher Demko’s dad, Brenton, for his incredibly touching Tweet of congratulations to Arshdeep Bains’ family.
Best Jersey Botch
Never forget that the vibes in Vancouver were so bad that Nate Schmidt waived the no-trade clause on a contract with four additional years on it for a move to Winnipeg.
To Winnipeg.
All due respect to the Peg-heads in the chat, but I’ve been there for my day job during peak winter in February. We don’t have to ignore how monumental that move was for the city.
Imagine what the vibes will be like when Elias Pettersson demands a trade there this summer.
I’m kidding.
I hope.
Worst moneybags emoji
Ignore the gratuitous self-post of my own tweets.
Again, see above RE: no editor.
Just a single shift for Mikheyev in the entire third period hasn’t scored a goal since December 17th.
Jeff Paterson asked Tocchet post-game about Mikheyev’s lack of ice time in the third, and Tocchet started and stopped a couple of answers before ending with, “I’m just looking for some guys to get going. You gotta get going.”
While it would be foolish to overreact to a small sample, the fact is the club looked off when Carson Soucy went back down with an injury and has looked even worse since Dakota Joshua went down with his.
Bains in the top six has been a great story for the team, but is he enough to buoy the club through a final stretch of the schedule that ranks as one of the hardest in the NHL?
Best last words from the coach
Rick Tocchet began his post-game scrum with, “I don’t have much to say.”
Tocchet then spent the next five minutes saying quite a lot about the state of his club!
“You can’t give in to fatigue, you’ve got to play smarter, you’ve got to do things smarter. Just play smart and compete.”
“I thought we were fine [in the first 10 minutes], then it was a comedy of errors where guys were missing pucks. Then we don’t get the clear on the PK, and then it starts to unravel.”
“We had some guys trying, and some guys just had a tough time.”
“We’ve got a couple of guys who need to buckle up; maybe change a few things off the ice, get some rest—because this is not even close to playoff hockey. Yeah, they were desperate, but if these guys think playoff hockey is that, then we’re in trouble. There’s been a couple of games here where we need some guys to get going. I don’t care what our record is, it’s been a little bit disturbing some of the efforts of some of our guys right now.”
“Talent doesn’t do anything if you don’t work hard. You’ve gotta work hard. The best power plays work hard, and we’re not really working hard, to be honest with you.”
“Our clears were awful tonight. We had three times to get the puck down tonight and didn’t.”
“We’ve had four or five guys who’ve no-showed here for four or five games; they’ve got to pick it up, they have to. They can’t just sit on the bench and do nothing.”

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