For my Stanchies debut, the team scratched Andrei Kuzmenko for the first time in his young NHL career.
For my sophomore debut, the team scratched Vasily Podkolzin for the fourth straight game. The Canucks eventually sent him down to Abbotsford, where Podkolzin has posted five points in nine games since.
For the trifecta, it was the entire “Brock Boeser healthy scratch/non-scratch on Hockey Fights Cancer night” debacle.
On Saturday night, the fourth installment of the Severtstanchies™ saw Elliotte Friedman drop an eyebrow-raising status update regarding the direction of the Vancouver Canucks’ organization.
“They aren’t interested in a rebuild or a tear-down, but they are interested in changing their mix and breathing some new life into the team. The team has indicated that they have one untouchable, and that’s [Elias] Pettersson. What does that mean about Quinn Hughes?”
Friedman added that “it’s not something they are looking to do [trading Hughes], and that it would take an “absolutely mammoth offer for them to part ways with a tremendous young defenceman.”
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Upon cursory glance, the state of the union reads like the usual same old, same old team direction. However, after revisiting the quotes, I thought the two statements were completely contradictory.
So the organization is neither interested in a rebuild nor a tear-down but is ready to listen to offers on every player?
Suppose the team feels 99% of its roster is expendable, that only one player is worth keeping on this contract and beyond. Then why is there such a staunch refusal to acknowledge the writing on the walls inside Rogers Arena? The writing they recognize to be true according to Friedman’s information?
None of it makes sense!
On a snowy Saturday night, the 25th-ranked team by points percentage Vancouver Canucks met the 8th-ranked team by points percentage Winnipeg Jets, and wouldn’t you know it? The 25th-ranked team no-showed.
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Again.
Let’s get into the game, I guess.
Best starting lineup
Best worst start
The first minute of the hockey game looked like a Winnipeg Jets power play. Bruce Boudreau elected to start with his fourth line, and a failed pinch down the left wall by Riley Stillman gave the Jets the first shot of the game.
The Jets’ transition game was crisp to start. After facing a scoring chance set up by Quinn Hughes, the Jets quickly retaliated with a two-on-one against a sliding Luke Schenn.
Cole Perfetti showed some tremendous patience waiting out the sliding Schenn before sending a pass through the crease to Karson Kuhlman. Fortunately, a backchecking Quinn Hughes managed to skate back into the crease in time to deflect Perfetti’s pass out of danger.
Perfetti kept Martin busy through the early goings of the period.
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The Jets’ pressure eventually resulted in the game’s first power play, with Axel Jonsson-Fjallby drawing an interference call against none other than Tyler Minors Myers.
Best worst PK ever
Naturally, the Jets scored.
A slow change from Bo Horvat while the Jets cruised up the neutral zone with possession led to an uncontested drive down the right wing from Pierre Luc-Dubois, and an uncontested short snapping wrister past Spencer Martin for Kyle Connor.
OOF.
The line change itself isn’t that egregious. But three Canucks were caught stacked tightly together along the blue line, allowing PLD to add an extra gear to cruise down the wing. Though Curtis Lazar and Ethan Bear made a decent effort to get back to deny a shooting lane, Ilya Mikheyev was too late entering the zone to pick up Connor alone at the left circle.
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Best ode to System of a Down
Before the Jets could even grab a brush and put on a little makeup, they were back inside the Canucks’ zone, dominating on the cycle against the flatfooted skaters.
During the above cycle, it isn’t Nik Ehlers, Blake Wheeler, or Kyle Connor outworking the Canucks. It’s 24-year-old 3rd-line forward Morgan Barron, playing his 20th game of the NHL season for the first time in his pro career.
Best scoring chance of the first period
Through the first period, the Canucks spent most of the period inside the d-zone. Even through two power play opportunities, the Canucks struggled to generate anything.
After eight minutes, the Canucks had three shot attempts across all situations.
The Bumper-Bo play at 5v5 was the Canucks’ best scoring chance until New Petey, Lane Pederson — hereafter referred to as Pedey — skied the puck late on the Canucks first power play.
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Through 20 minutes, the Canucks registered three shots on goal over 16 shot attempts.
It was unwatchable.
Karson Kuhlman, who had not had a single practice with his new team since being picked up on waivers, had the second-most individual shot attempts across all situations for the Jets.
Best we’ll always have Schenndaddy
On the bright side, Luke Schenn worked on his DAWG rating with some brouhaha-ery against Kyle Connor.
Schenn also led the Canucks in the first with three — count ’em — three individual shot attempts across all situations!
Beyond Elliotte Friedman’s pre-game news drop, we were stretched thin for content throughout the first period.
Don’t blame me, folks!
Best little things of the period
Within the first two minutes of the second period, the Vancouver Canucks had doubled their total shots on goal.
First, Conor Garland uncorked a wrister from the left circle, earning an offensive zone faceoff.
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Then Ethan Bear uncorked a bomb from the blue line off a pass from JT Miller.
Tyler Myers drew a funny reaction from his former tendy, Connor Hellebuyck, after preventing a clearing attempt by gloving the puck to himself before driving into the slot for a backhander.
The broadcast zooms in on Hellebuyck just in time to see him presumably go, “Mysey, was that you?”
Again, the Severtstanchies are pro “move Myers to forward.”
Best freebie!
Cole Perfetti continued to give the Canucks fits well into the second.
Fortunately, after the Jets caught the Canucks scrambling inside the d-zone, Perfetti heeled a one-timer over a glorious wide-open scoring chance.
Best threading of the needle
Unfortunately, off a d-zone faceoff loss, Kyle Capobianco extended the Jets’ lead with a picture-perfect needle-threading from the point.
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I mean, can you even fault anyone here?
Capobianco tees up the one-timer that bounces off Dakota Joshua’s left skate, past Nils Aman and through Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Sam Gagner under Martin’s glove side.
It’s a phenomenal shot.
Best memo to Gary
Lookin’ good, Gare!
If this was a paid advertisement from the Canucks, subtly hyping up the return of the black skate, then I’m fine with this very Tron-like sequence.
Worst effort
Look, we’ve all had days like this. You’re at work, and you don’t have the energy. You’re gassed, and everyone around you appears to be checked out. You put in a decent effort. But, ultimately, you’re just watching the clock while doing the bare minimum.
That’s the only way I can justify this shift from JT Miller.
Watch this sequence from start to finish.
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After benefitting from a turnover by Winnipeg’s Brendan Dillon, Miller moves the puck around the Jets’ d-zone before Dillon recovers by shoving Miller off the puck. Miller returns to the neutral zone and completely stops skating.
After receiving a pass from Ethan Bear, Miller loses possession again off a stick check. Kyle Connor picks up the loose puck, and despite being within spitting distance, Miller does not move his feet to challenge. Instead, Miller allows Connor to burst up the ice and into the offensive zone for Winnipeg.
Miller then flips a board and out and coasts slowly to the bench for a line change.
John Tortorella scratched the Philadelphia Flyers’ leading scorer for lack of effort. I wonder what he would think of this current Canucks roster?
Best screen
With eight minutes left in the second, the Jets’ scored their third straight goal and second straight from a defenceman.
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Bo Horvat got caught in no-mans-land inside the d-zone, accidentally providing Pionk with the perfect screen to beat Martin’s high blocker side.
Best moral victory szn
After capitalizing on OEL’s egregious turnover, the Jets’ Adam Lowry drew a roughing minor after having the audacity to fall over in front of Spencer Martin.
Incredibly, the Canucks did not give up a power play goal.
For those keeping score at home, Canucks fans are reliving “moral victory szn.”
…in December.
Worst start: redux
56 seconds into the third period, the Canucks were again stretched thin by the Jets’ quick transition and capitalized with a tic-tac-toe goal scored by ex-Canuck Sam Gagner.
Worst teamsmaship
Looking to spark the team following the Ganger goal, Nils Höglander sent Lane Pederson into the offensive zone on a breakaway, after which Pedey elected to curl back for a pass to Riley Stillman for another shot from the perimeter.
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Lane Pederson is the new kid on the block, but in a game when you’re down 4-zip, you might as well try something a little selfish. Because the Canucks’ team play to that point was clearly not making it happen.
Take the shot, Pedey!
Take the shot!
Worst glove side
Another lousy line change.
Another quick transition from the Jets.
Another goal over Spencer Martin’s glove side.
Look, the Canucks weren’t doing Spencer Martin any favours, but three goals on Martin’s glove side has to be a little concerning if you’re the goalie coach.
Best performance of the night
Hey, it’s good to know that at least one person in the organization gave their A-game on Saturday night!
Best so you’re telling me there’s a chance?
I mean, there wasn’t. But the Canucks made things interesting with Bo Horvat scoring his 22nd goal in 30 games, eight seconds onto the power play.
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Worst gratuitous Twitter self-promo about the jersey toss
Moments after Horvat’s goal, a surly fan in the front row began the long walk out of Rogers Arena, backhanding his jersey over the boards and onto the ice like he was JT Miller making a pass inside the d-zone.
Midway through the game, the arena was noticeably dominated by Jets fans on the broadcast. The jersey toss drew a smattering of boos.
Worst Oh nO-E-L
Through 17:10 of ice time, the Canucks were outscored 3-0 with OEL on the ice at 5v5.
With OEL on the ice, the Canucks gave up 17 unblocked shot attempts while generating just 8.
Best/Worst After Hours
After Friedman’s pre-game state of the union, Canucks fans patiently waited for After Hours with Scott Oake for a follow-up from GM Patrik Allvin.
Unfortunately, it was more of the same media wizardry from Allvin, saying a lot without saying anything.
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The team’s direction is still nebulous and uncertain.
Following a pathetic display of effort against the Winnipeg Jets, Allvin’s praise of the talent level of his roster rang genuinely hollow.
The Winnipeg Jets have been without star winger Nikolaj Ehlers for their season. During that time without Ehlers, the Jets are 19-8-1, good for a .700 points percentage. The Jets came out of Saturday’s matchup third in the Western Conference and second in the Central Division.
With their star players in the lineup for most of this season, the Vancouver Canucks are 13-14-3 for a .483 points percentage. The Canucks came out of Saturday’s loss 11th in the Western Conference and sixth in the Pacific Division.
It’s not too late to tank for Bedard.
The Canucks have three more wins than the Columbus Blue Jackets, only one of which came in regulation.
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They aren’t catching Anaheim, or Chicago, who have three and five regulation wins this season, respectively.
But the Canucks can get a game-changer in the top five of the 2023 draft if they play their cards right.
They might as well! Because the current “chip away at the roster” method of the last eight years has yielded one player that this current regime feels is untouchable.
One player.
After eight years.