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The Stanchies: It’s time we talk about Tyler Myers’ negative impact on the Canucks

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Photo credit:© Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
6 months ago
Plac’d on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus’d;
Still by himself abus’d, or disabus’d;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl’d:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man might not have been written explicitly to explain how Tyler Myers plays hockey, but I don’t think we can rule it out, either.
Time-travelling poet or not, trying to figure out just how the Chaos Giraffe works has been a rather popular hobby in Vancouver circles as of late. This tends to happen when you have a very tall defenceman making $6 million dollars, still chasing the dragon of the 2009 Calder Trophy. And if we’re being honest here, it feels like Tyler Myers is debated and discussed more often than not after games in the last couple of seasons. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it feels like his name has trended more than any other Canuck player over the years, and usually not for the best of reasons.
The latest Canucks game, a 4-3 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning however, might be one of the biggest Myers’ talking points yet, as his gameplay can at best be described as “alarming”, and at worst be described as “actively trying to ruin the game of hockey.”
After all, a humbling loss at the hands of the Flyers, the game on Thursday night was meant to be a prime test for the mettle of this year’s Canucks. Are they a good, competitive hockey club, or are they merely a team that knows how to beat the Edmonton Oilers? Cole Cassels in group form, as it were.
And yes, a 4-3 loss fits nicely into the classic Henrik Sedin quote territory of “one bounce here or there, and we had them!” but the underlying stats of the game tell another story.
Another game where they got doubled up on high danger scoring chances.
Another game in which they failed to generate power plays.
Another game in which Demko was their best player.
And yes, another game in which the right side of the defence is going to be put under a microscope, because quite frankly, Tyler Myers has been a huge problem this season.
If he was 5’11, would he still be in the lineup?
If he wasn’t being paid $6 million a year, would he still be in the lineup?
These are the questions you find yourself asking as you watch him play for the Vancouver Canucks this year.
And to Tocchet’s credit, he limited Myers’ minutes on the night to 15:58, the second lowest on the team.
But for a team whose stated plan was literally “if everything goes right”, it’s hard to see how Tyler Myers fits into that vision if he continues to play this way.
Do you simply ride out the year and hope Myers figures his game out? After all, it has only been four games, and players have ups and downs throughout a season, it’s only natural.
Or do you go the extreme route and sit him a few games to see if you can jumpstart Tyler? Because four games or not, CG57’s resume the last two seasons is a good sample size, and it feels like it’s been trending downwards for a while now.
This is the crossroads Rick Tocchet now sees in front of him.
As for me, the only crossroad I have is do I want to make gif money or do I want to make gif money?
I want to make gif money.
Let’s go.
Best enough is enough and it’s time for a change
I love seeing this many games booked for the Skate jersey. This jersey is basically the NWO for me. When I see it, I’m that guy in the crowd pointing to the Skate logo on my shirt jersey saying “4 life”.
But you know what, I’m greedy now. I want the Skate jersey back, both home and away, black and white, full time.
Initially, I was very compromising on my approach. I was all “oh you know a handful of games would be okay, then the Orca can have the rest of them!” I would high five and hug other people as we met in the middle of our jersey vision, sharing coffees and swapping stories of summers spent at Galiano Island in our youth.
But you know what, eff that.
It’s the Quinn Hughes era, and we deserve new hot freshness…in the form of a vintage logo.
And I don’t want to hear your insights about how seeing the Skate only a few times makes it that more special when you do finally see it. I’m sure your 67% average in psych 100 has served you well in life, but I don’t need to hear you try and apply it to the Skate jersey.
Just give me what I want.
Skate jersey.
Full time.
Best checking in on old friends
Oh.
Best start
People sometimes like to accuse the media of holding grudges or running smear campaigns on certain players. JT Miller has caused a lot of fans to get into online fights with the press due to their belief that all of us writers got together and game-planned a grand scheme to belittle his defensive play for reasons I can only assume end with us profiting like madmen.
When you see me roll up in my nice new Lamborghini, just know that I saved up for it by recycling my cans, and nothing more.
The reality is that sure, maybe you can focus too much on certain players at times, but overall, you go where the stories take you.
Which is why tonight I entered with a clean slate for Tyler Myers and was excited to see what kind of game he was going to bring to the table. Heck, I even clipped a simple play where he merely skated with his check and blocked a passing lane, deflecting the puck into the crowd:
Little did I know that this game would later unfold into Myers trucking Elias Pettersson into the ground, but more on that later.
The point is, the slate was clean, damn it.
Best home town calls
Sam Lafferty, whose name sounds like it would be at home as an NPC suspect in a murder case in L.A. Noire, started the game off with one of those boarding calls that ends with a question mark at the end of it.
Two minutes for boarding?
Calvin de Haan, or deHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!! as his jersey states, does the shoulder check, then gets shoved by Lafferty into the boards when he makes a play on the puck, despite Sam’s insistence to Cole Phelps that’s he innocent in all of this.
The end result was a power play for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The good news for Canucks fans? Vancouver killed it off.
The bad news? This was the last time they killed off a penalty in this game.
Best spidey-sense moment
Sometimes you get a feeling about a player early on in a game.
Like, sometimes Elias Pettersson is looking extra shifty out there, and you have the feeling he’s about to go off.
Or Demko huffed those smelling salts extra hard today, so you think for sure he’s going to be in the zone.
On the flip side, sometimes Tyler Myers looks extra chaotic, and you wonder what kind of night you’re in store for.
Early on, Myers decides to make life difficult for himself by taking the puck into the boards instead of trying to clear it, and ends up getting double-teamed and losing the puck:
Now if this was another player, maybe you watch this and shrug and tell yourself this sort of thing happens. Maybe you recount a time in your beer league game where you yourself made this very same mistake, and you ruefully laugh to yourself about how maybe we aren’t so different from pro players after all, before reaching for another beer to quiet the white noise of your mediocre day.
But this has kind of been the Chaos Giraffe’s MO lately. He finds ways to work harder, not smarter.
Rather than going with the simple play of trying to clear a puck, he takes it, skates into trouble, and ends up extending the zone time for the Lightning.
Sure, maybe this works against the Oilers, but as we’re quickly finding out, the Canucks don’t get to play the Oilers 82 games a season.
Best bright spots
Pius Suter has shown several flashes of the gritty defensive acumen that was boasted about online when the Canucks signed him this off-season, and I have to admit I am intrigued to see what he brings to this hockey club:
His instincts seem solid, and on this play, his stick manages to deflect away what looked to be a sure goal:
Looking like a young Mark Mancari out there!
Best locked and loaded
Thatcher Demko continues to be a bright spot for this team because he has been playing absolutely fantastic to start the year.
Remember how odd it was to see Demko struggle last season? To watch Spencer Martin and Colin Delia put on better performances at times?
That’s because we’re used to seeing this from Demko:
His ability to track the puck then make a quick reflex save on a rising shot in close is a chef’s kiss of a moment in this game. It’s like watching Jay try and get a five-kill Ult in Overwatch except you sneak in and take out the Mercy at the last second. These are the moments we live for as humans.
Just an absolute delight to watch right now.
Best questionable start
JT Miller has been one of the better Canucks this season, which is good because he seems like he’s the kind of player Rick Tocchet loves:
During a first period in which you both a) wondered if Elias Pettersson is suffering from 37 different injuries and/or maladies and b) wondered if the Canucks would get any offensive chances at all, JT managed to answer the latter.
As we know, North/South hockey is a favourite of Rick, and when JT Miller is feeling it, he is all about that lifestyle.
Does this mean he still doesn’t have “ah **** it” moments on defence? Of course not.
But he’s still been one of the most noticeably effective offensive players on the club this year.
Best all the small things
Despite a pretty tepid period from the Canucks, there were some small moments that stood out. The kind of moment where you bump your buddy’s arm and ask them if they saw that, then smirk as if your heightened knowledge of hockey allowed you to see something they didn’t.
So allow me to bump your arm and ask if you noticed Carson Soucy separate the puck from his check, allowing Pius Suter to sweep in and collect the puck before swaying too and fro to create enough room to pass the puck back to Soucy for the calm, collected zone exit:
If Tocchet’s vision is one that involves fighting for the puck, making every moment hard on the opponent, and playing with structure, this is the exact kind of play he’s talking about.
Best invisible crimes
Yes, that’s Fil Hronek, who I always announce as “Philharmonic” in my head, both because it sets a nice musical backdrop in my brain, and because I get confused easily:
If you’re curious what you just watched in that clip, you just witnessed a slashing penalty. It’s like being told you’re going to be a father when you’ve been celibate for two years running; You understand the mechanics of how it works, you just can’t quite grasp how it happened.
Now, to be fair to the NHL, they have actively called those weird little stick taps near the hands as slashes the last several seasons. The problem is the consistency of these calls, because if you called it this tight on every play, you’d be handing out 40 penalties a game.
So yes, this call did appear quite toilet paper soft.
Best what are we even doing here
If this was Game of Thrones, this wouldn’t quite be the Red Wedding, but it would certainly be akin to a moment like Eddard getting offed in book one:
Yes, in that clip, you have Philly De Giuseppe passing the puck back toward his own zone, which you can at least understand the concept of. It’s a soccer move, PDG is Italian, he more than anyone, knows the beauty of killing time by slowly passing the puck back into your own zone.
The problem is of course, he misses his pass, and the puck ends up behind the net.
At this point, though, everything is still fine. Maybe not ideal, but it’s still fine.
The real problem comes when Demko slides the puck over to Joshua, and in the ensuing board battle, the puck finds its way to Tyler Myers.
Now, Myers has a choice to make when he gets the puck: Clear it down the ice and kill time off the penalty, or pass the puck directly to Nicholas Paul. Paul, of course, plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, so this would be absurd-
Yes, Tyler Myers chooses to pass the puck directly to Nick Paul of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now, look, normally when a bad play happens, you can count on a couple of things, with lack of time and lack of space being the major ones.
On this play, there is none of that.
Tyler Myers has both the time and space to lift that puck up in the air, just as Jimmy Eat World intended, right down the middle.
To float the puck gently down the ice, killing precious time off the clock. Maybe even give a quick glance to the bench to flash a small smile as if to say “hey, I did it. I just did that,” and to get a fatherly nod of respect back from Tocchet.
Instead, he fires the puck into coverage and turns it over.
WITH THAT SAID, this play still isn’t over. No, Myers still has time to get back into the play, which he does.
The problem is, he plays with the stability of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, so he promptly slides past Steve Stamkos with an ill-advised pass block attempt.
The end result is he’s now floating at the faceoff circle while two Tampa players are literally standing over Demko, free from restraint, whacking at a loose puck.
It’s just a needless goal from a play that never should have started. And when it did happen, Myers doubles down by going all out on his recovery. There is quite simply no subtly of any kind to his defensive game. Watching Myers play defence right now is the equivalent of Justin McElroy’s park rankings — there is just no rhyme or reason to it.
Best in his own words
Best colors of the wind
We’re officially at the “hey, there were a few good things that stood out” part of the article, so here’s Quinn Hughes drawing in a defender and creating room to feed Hronek for a nice shot on net:
Philharmonic gets a nice shot off, and Anthony Beauvillier gets to prove he still exists by digging at the rebound.
Best if only numbers counted as goals
This is where I really lean in on score effects and high-danger chances being greater than Corsi at the end of a game.
Again, it wasn’t the worst game from Vancouver by any stretch, but aside from a brief Brock Boeser backhand, it never really felt like Tampa Bay was at any risk of losing this game.
Best Flower of Battle
Again, JT Miller has shown flashes of Rip Wheeler this year, as here he is jumping up in the play to cut off a pass along the end boards, and promptly spins to set up Brock Boeser for the goal:
First off, can we congratulate Brock Boeser for getting back in the groove and sheathing his stick after goals? You know The Flow is feeling good when he’s putting his sword away like he’s Fiore dei Liberi.
Secondly, give PDG for putting some pressure on the forecheck, because even hurrying someone up a half second to make a pass can lead to moments like this where maybe the puck doesn’t have as much accuracy on it as they would have liked, or it didn’t have as much zip behind it. When that happens, you get moments where a hustling JT Miller can jump up and cut off the pass.
Give people time and space, and you’re dead meat in the NHL. Even fourth line players can be elite when you get lazy in coverage. We saw it countless times in seasons past with the Canucks where some random player would have a huge game simply because the Canucks didn’t pressure anyone.
Take away that time? Take away that space? Throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going.
Now you’ll see missed shots. Now you’ll see bad passes. Now you’ll see turnovers.
Best clapping back
Because his nature is chaotic, it was only natural that Tyler Myers would, mere moments after the Canucks second goal, unleash a clap bomb that was just inches away from being a bar down Hodgson moment:
That’s a fantastic goal. That’s a goal from a rather large man leveraging all of his height and weight onto his stick flex and unloading a bomb that Jonas Johansson is still trying to make a save on.
The problem is we haven’t seen nearly enough of that from Tyler Myers in this city. Tyler Myers has scored a single goal in each of the last two seasons with the Canucks.
His first year with Buffalo? 11 goals, 37 assists.
In Winnipeg, he had a 36 point season.
He hasn’t hit more than 21 points in a season with Vancouver.
Part of the appeal of the Chaos Giraffe is his neutral status. He can, as that tweet states, giveth and taketh.
The issue is he has been taking far more than he’s giving, and it’s starting to get harder and harder to pretend it isn’t the case.
All of which brings us back to his salary cap, because if he’s getting paid $1 million, nobody cares.
Well, people care, they’ll still get mad online, that’s just what people do.
But the noise wouldn’t be nearly as loud because of the implications. His salary cap wouldn’t be viewed as a roadblock to improving the team. We wouldn’t be debating sunk cost fallacy in regards to his spot in the lineup.
OEL in Florida on a cheap deal? Nobody cares how he plays now.
Myers and his large contract still in a Canadian market on a team with playoff aspirations up against the cap?
That’s about as big a magnifying glass as you can get in hockey.
Best trending topic
Best proof that it happened
The Canucks only had one power play on the night, and just so you can tell your friends you saw it, here it is:
Kuzmenko drew the penalty, proving the Canucks can get a call.
One call, specifically. Just one tripping call.
Best at least they tried
Alas, that power play resulted in a Quinn Hughes post:
And a Kuzmenko failed pinch that resulted in the Lightning almost scoring shorthanded:
I feel like Andrei Kuzmenko more than anyone is very interested in knowing if EP40 is hurt or not, because while Kuzmenko was actually quite good at even strength this game, people are going to start asking questions if he doesn’t start producing points.
Yes, we all know his shooting percentage was unsustainable, but there haven’t been many high-skill plays on display from AK96. This is in line with my theory that Kuzmenko is a very very good passenger on a line, but might not have the ability to drive a line. So, during stretches where EP40 might not be at his best, it’s kind of unknown whether Kuzmenko can carry enough weight on that line by himself.
And there is nothing wrong with being a good passenger! Some players can’t be elite-level passengers, and there is a definite benefit in having smart players who know how to utilize that symbiotic relationship with star players better than others.
But much like Tyler Myers, when you get paid a lot of money and take up a sizeable chunk of the salary cap, it will put a target on your back when the losses mount and the points just aren’t there.
Even if you do outshoot the opponent 10-1 with you on the ice at even strength.
Worst cheap shot
Mark Friedman played his first game for the Canucks, taking the place of Noah Juulsen, who had struggled mightily through three games.
And as advertised, Mark stood up for his team and had no trouble dropping the gloves, in this case with Tanner Jeannot:
And hey, if you drop the gloves, you have to expect to get hit. My issue with the fight, however, was the cheap shot to the back of the head as Jeannot absolutely drops a haymaker to the neck/head of Friedman.
And yes, I get it. All those FAFO fans who furiously google “stand your ground” videos while blasting Kid Rock at 2am are fine with this.
But man, shots to the back of the head can be so incredibly dangerous.
It just seemed very unnecessary for a man who was clearly already winning a fight against someone not even in his weight class.
Best working hard or hardly working
JT Miller’s line was once again feeling it in the second period:
That deft touch from JT Miller as he pushes the puck slightly in a different direction over to Quinn Hughes is absolutely sublime, as is the fact Brock Boeser continues to get shots off from dangerous spots of the ice this season.
Also for the record, I can’t get behind naming this line yet because they need a bigger stretch than two wins against Edmonton to deserve a name, and also the “PBJ” name offered up seems so bland.
So they’re a sandwich you ate as a kid? That’s striking fear in the heart of opponents? That’s a worthy name for a point producing line?
Was “Sliced apples and some cheese sticks” too wordy?
Best outside of the paywall
Worst DAWG rating
Last game saw Tyler Myers get a negative rating in the vaunted Faber DAWG rankings, and while tonight was better, Myers still ended the night in last place with a 3.121 DAWG rating (JT Miller was first with a 90.36) rating.
How did he get so low? By offering up token resistance in the defensive zone like this:
Hey, Tampa Bay has great players. They know how to make people look foolish. But it’s the overall resume of Myers where we see one of hockey’s tallest players somehow make themselves seem like they’re the world’s shortest man.
Honestly, it feels like Tyler Myers is one of those long stick guys in dome hockey where it’s a lot harder to handle the puck and get good shots off. Maybe if he borrows a stick from Kyle Wellwood he’d be out here dangling people for days.
As it stands now, it feels like the closer you get to Myers, the less he can do to you.
Best repeat after me
Take away that time and space:
And baby, you’ve got a stew full of turnovers going!
Best here comes the pain
Now while I love the idea of taking away time and space, I do have to say you better have the cardio for it because after a better bounce back second period, it felt like the Canucks collapsed.
Whether that’s due to the skill of the Lightning, or maybe the Canucks used up too much fuel trying to get back into the game, the end result was the same; The Lightning tied the game up:
Mark Friedman did the opposite of taking away time and space on this play, as he casually observed Michael Eyssimont from afar like he was playing Settlers of Catan and was unaware Mike had two victory points hidden in his development cards.
Giving Mike all that space allowed the Lightning player to race in unopposed, scoring a goal that I’m sure Demko would like back. Still, the endpoint is if you give time and space, these are things that can happen.
Watching it back, I’m not even sure what Friedman is doing on the play, as he looks like he’s keeping an eye on the guy at the point for far too long, delaying his approach on Eyssimont.
Best it was fun while it lasted
Tampa Bay would then score quickly after on a Kucherov shot, which is nothing unusual in the NHL:
The guy is a sniper. This is what he does.
But we haven’t riled up JT Miller truthers in a while, so hopefully it’s okay for us to point out that JT Miller is very breezy in his approach to blocking the shooting lane. I think I saw one half-hearted stride as he glides towards one of the most lethal shooters in the NHL.
Again, we praised JT Miller earlier, and he has been playing very well offensively for the Canucks. But he still has large blind spots in his defensive game.
We’re legally allowed to say that, and you can’t yell at us. I checked with the lawyers.
Best of the Demko Effect
Surely the Canucks can lean on Demko like this all season. Surely.
Best what’s up with Pete?
At 5 on 5, EP40’s line was solid in outshooting the opposition, but this is Elias, man. We know top form Pettersson, we know what it looks like, and this ain’t it.
Maybe he’s hurt, maybe he’s sick, or maybe he’s just off his game, but we know that Elias has more to give.
We’re seeing a lack of puck control from EP40 that we normally don’t see, and he has lost more puck battles than he’s won, which is very unusual for him.
One such lost puck battle resulted in Kucherov rushing the puck the other way, in which the Canucks decided to back up and give all the time and space in the world, resulting in a post:
I mostly included this clip because holy hell, does it remind me of a lot of goals Markus Naslund used to score, where the other team would back up and give too much respect to him, so he’d just uncork a wrist shot of doom and snipe one home.
Best game winner
Tampa scored their fourth and final goal off of a powerplay after Ian Cole was called for hooking:
Did Ian Cole save a goal? Yes.
Did he save a goal for long? No.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored their fourth goal on a perfectly normal play in which nothing unusual happened at all. No bad defence occurred on this goal.
Yep. Just another day in bland hockey land.
Best son of a bitch
Sigh.
Let’s check the replay:
Yes, you saw that right. That’s the Chaos Giraffe watching a puck battle and thinking to himself, “I gotta get involved with this somehow.”
He then proceeded to take the body, which is a good instinct! Grind out those battles!
The problem is he seemingly skated right at Elias Pettersson and body-checked him into the ground, taking them both out of the play.
The resulting chaos allowed Tampa Bay to push the puck toward the net and pass it across the ice for the tap-in.
Nothing about this play makes sense. Much like Myers’ pass earlier, you watch the replay, and you still have no idea why it’s happening.
Even if his goal was to throw a big hit on Brayden Point, is Myers’ mobility so poor that he can’t adjust on the fly when Point moves over?
Did Tyler Myers make a blood oath to only skate one direction?
If this were wrestling, I would assume this was all leading up to a giant heel turn from Myers where he proclaims innocence in all of this, only to hit Elias Pettersson in the back with a steel chair at Wrestlemania before joining the Bruins.
Within two games now, Myers has blasted a slapshot at the leg of EP40 and now has seemingly run him over.
Jokes aside, we all know he is not trying to hurt EP40; he has no grudge, but watching that clip, I still have no idea how he, as an NHL hockey player, ends up trucking his own player like that.
It’s not like Point jumped out of the way at the last second. Myers has plenty of time to realize, “Oh that sneaky Brayden skated away from me, curses, foiled again!” and hold up from plowing into Elias.
Just.
Man.
Not great, Bob!
Best in his own words, part two
But Petey WAS the pile.
Best
I will say at this point in the game the Canucks had to over-extend themselves to try and produce offense, so they had to take some risks. But the point does remain, the Canucks have seen themselves get caught on bad pinches consistently this season. Which can result in teams almost scoring like this:
The good news is not a single Canuck player attempted to throw a body check on Elias Pettersson on this play.
Best tease
JT Miller made it a one goal game on this play:
Offensively, JT Miller is just a very smart player. Watch as he sneaks slowly in from the point once the puck is being cycled on the left side. This allows him to get into the gap of the defence of the Lightning and pop in the rebound on the shot.
See, sometimes gliding in with a half-hearted stride is the right play.
Best one or two bounces
Despite all that you’ve read, despite all that you watched, the Canucks somehow came within an inch or two of tying this game up in the last minute of the game:
Brock Boeser’s backhand doesn’t have enough sauce on it, and as he stared at the Hockey God’s up above, he knew that was as close as the Canucks were going to get.
Best Summary
So where does that leave the Canucks?
If they had beaten the Flyers, this loss would have been easier to write off.
“Oh, they lost to an elite team in Tampa Bay, but at least they kept it close!” would have been the comments.
But now the team stands at two wins and two losses.
Now you start to wonder who the real Canucks are.
Are the team that beat the Oilers and took two wins? The team that looked like it finally had a hard working identity?
Or are they a team that still relies too heavily on Thatcher Demko, a team that struggles with structure, and still has a long way to go?
Four games in, we have no idea who the real Canucks are, but we do know one thing:
Chaos reigns supreme.

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