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About DownUndaCanuck

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  1. Got a scary feeling WD is going to throw Stecher up with Edler. I'd rather we replace a shutdown defenceman with a shutdown defenceman and save Stecher for if we have a puck mover go down. For example, replace one of Tanev, Gudbranson or Sbisa with Tryamkin, and Edler, Hutton or Larsen with Stecher. That being said though, Tanev is the least shutdown and most puck-mover-esque of the shutdown guys. Still, top pairing minutes for a kid is dangerous. Hopefully we shelter him from those big time matchups.
  2. Say what you want but Larsen was a weapon and a factor in that game. There is a place for skill and a place for toughness and at the end of the day, a bad game by Edler, Tanev and some weak goals by Miller with rusty rebounds cost us the game - not physicality or lack thereof by Larsen. Address what needs to be addressed. It looks bad having Larsen get beat up but he had a strong game. Edler and Tanev got embarassed by the big skilled forwards. It's happened in the past and it happened again, they just can't deal with them whereas Hutton and Gudbranson were fantastic against the Anaheim top forwards.
  3. Ouch, bad game but these sorts of games just show who gets affected by fatigue the most, and what the coaches need to do to prevent it going forward. 1) The Sedins were invisible all first two periods then come alive when it matters most. Victimized a bit defensive at times but they just control the game in the 3rd period and somehow tie it up when we're getting dominated. That PP when it was 2-2 was the game though, the Ducks out-coached us, took away the point shot and we couldn't adapt on the fly, the powerplay gets burned and that's the end of our chance at winning the game. Still, brilliant clutch effort by Henrik and Daniel but they can only do so much. As for Eriksson, he had chances but made some brilliant plays. He's not scoring goals but he's making great screens and assists so at least he's contributing, that confidence will come eventually and when he does he'll start scoring, I'm not worried about him just yet. 2) Granlund, Hansen and Sutter had chances but were stoned for the most part and they looked a bit tired. Passes weren't as crisp and connected as they have been in the past and they were a step behind but fair enough for the amount they've played lately. 3) Horvat with a nice goal but he and Baertschi couldn't generate much else against a quick defence and really struggled on the forecheck. Virtanen had a couple of sharp angle shots which was the only reason the announcers said his name, apart from that he was invisible and didn't even throw any decent hits in a game he really should have been throwing his body around. I'd rather Labate in over Virtanen right now, even with 2 bottom-6 forwards injured. 4) Skille didn't do too much but wasn't expected to, Biega obviously more or less useless but I was impressed with Gaunce again on the forecheck. At least he threw the body a bit and caught the Ducks defenders a bit off guard. 5) Edler and Tanev had a BRUTAL game, they've never been good against the big strong Ducks forwards and again Edler cracked under pressure. He's been logging 25ish minutes a night which is way too much for him, for him to be effective we need Edler at 22-23 minutes max. We saw what fatigue does tonight once again. No excuse to the coaching staff, they've got a very solid 2nd pairing and even Sbisa-Larsen are good enough to take up some of Edler's minutes, there's no need for us to burn him out now because if we play him properly, Edler is our best defenceman, if we don't, he's our worst. Tanev struggled tonight too and I believe it's the same - fatigue for our top pair. We don't have a top defensive pairing, we should be defending as a group which is why Edler and Tanev shouldn't have to log such heavy minutes because they're simply not stars. 6) Hutton and Gudbranson on the other hand had a fantastic game, Hutton was skating well and showed up nicely against some pretty talented forwards and a fast forecheck. Gudbranson fared really well too, which makes me think we should really play these guys more, almost even ice time to Edler and Tanev, especially for these big matchups. 7) Sbisa had a few mistakes and also looked tired but I was really impressed with Larsen. We know he's not great defensively or physically but he's becoming a real weapon on the PP and his shot is getting better and better. Stecher will be a nice addition at some point in the season (when a puck mover gets injured) but until then I'm happy with Larsen, especially now that his shot is getting through more. 8) Miller had an up and down game, looked a bit rusty at the start, some really bad rebounds throughout the game, then got into the swing of things and kept our team in the game but two very pathetic goals salt this one away in the end. He completely lost track of the puck on the game winner and that Perry goal was embarassing. A combination of a rusty Miller and worn out Edler and Tanev = game over. TL;DR - We've burnt out Edler and Tanev and that, along with a rusty starting goalie, leads to 4 goals against. Nothing to worry about, a lot of tonight was fatigue and they still hung in there when in the past this would have been a blowout.
  4. Yes I know, by the end of the season McCann and Virtanen ended up being pretty similar but at the time (the end of their 9 game stints) McCann had done far more than Virtanen. Both really should have gone back to junior, there is no need to rush rookies unless you're a top-3 pick and superstar. We had no right to even keep McCann but at the time, he made it difficult for the coaching staff with 4 goals in 9 games. Virtanen was really just along for the ride. You can always assume a rookie is going to go through a drought and both of them did. As for first line point per game player I was mainly referring to Nylander because that's what we could have had. Never expected Virtanen to score at a PPG but for a 6th overall pick, 30 goals, 60ish points and good physical play would be nice. Those are his realistic expectations but with this terrible bumpy start to his career (serious shoulder injury, only played half his final junior year and only PPG in the WHL, very average, then benched for a lot of his rookie season in a losing environment etc.), I think it's safe to say his potential ceiling is dropping. Good teams use their high picks wisely and more importantly, they develop them properly. Babcock is doing what he did for a long time in Detroit over in Toronto right now. He's rushing players like Matthews because they are super stars. Look at Marner, he did his time, now he's in the NHL. Look at Nylander. He did his time, now he's a top liner. WD should be taking a page out of Babcock's coaching book. The guys over in Toronto may not have made the best picks to build a solid defensive, physical team up front but they know how to develop players and they're going to get the absolute best out of those high picks.
  5. Eriksson - 5 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, -3, 5 shots Vbrata - 5 games, 2 goals, 2 assists,+1, 13 shots (and still playing right now) lol
  6. Hate to say it but I think this is a big reason McCann and Virtanen stayed last season. McCann really earned his spot with something like 4 goals in 9 games, Virtanen scored one nice goal against an AHL defender against Philly. A big reason I think Virtanen stayed was to accompany McCann and Hutton, but also because there was SO much pressure on the Canucks coaching staff to move away from playing veterans and try to infuse youth into the team. They did, they didn't do it well, Virtanen ended up bench warming and really looking out of place and the Canucks break records for worst team in franchise history. Bravo. Now this season we've got better coaching staff, more sophmores and more experienced young players in Granlund, Hutton, Gudbranson, Sbisa etc. These guys have played for a couple of seasons and are playing well now, closing in on their prime while learning at the same time. That builds for a successful team. Now that we've got this luxury, the Canucks coaching staff and management have to bite the bullet and send Virtanen down to the AHL. Look at what's happening in Toronto and Nylander. 7 points in 5 games. First line player. He went through the SEL, AHL and now NHL. Virtanen went from 50 games in the WHL injured and playing mediocre hockey to the NHL. Look at the difference in their developmental pathways and look at what they're doing now. Bite the bullet. Admit you cocked up WD, TL and JB. Send Virtanen to Utica for the entire season. Let him score in the top-6 and gain some confidence and don't call him up unless we get destroyed with injuries or it's 2018 because that's where he belongs. We should have taken the slow gradual developmental path with him from the beginning - he's a powerforward and it doesn't take a genius to realize they take far longer to develop than skilled players, yet still we rushed him. Now before turning him into a failure project like Zack Kassian and only expecting him to max out as a 3rd line 15 goal grinder, lets try and salvage some of his development. Otherwise this will be one of those unforgivable turning points in a franchise where we could have had a first line point per game player and instead have a 4th line grinder by wasting a pick and then destroying it with bad development and coaching decisions.
  7. Hopefully we roll these lines: Sedin - Sedin - Baertschi Granlund - Sutter - Hansen Eriksson - Horvat - Virtanen Burrows - Skille - Pedan Not enough time to replace Virtanen with Labate which would be my go-to move. Grenier's looked alright in Utica so far too but Labate had a strong training camp and is a big physical body who needs to come in and replace Dorsett. Let's not touch our defence. They've shut down some pretty good offences at times so far, but this will be a big test just like the L.A game. Keep the Ducks to 2 or less goals and we've won this matchup. 4-2 Canucks with an empty netter. Sutter with a goal, Hansen with a goal (big night by that line, great matchup) Baertschi with an empty netter. Larsen with a PPG.
  8. Tough situation because he was promised an NHL role, then JB goes and gets Gudbranson and Larsen to fill his minutes anyway. We should never have promised him those minutes without knowing how good/bad he'd be. Sure, then he doesn't come over, but now you end up in this situation. Right now I wouldn't go touching our defence at all, it is down-right perfect. A perfect mix of puck-movers (Edler, Hutton, Larsen) playing with shutdown defencemen (Tanev, Gudbranson, Sbisa). If Tryamkin is going to step in, it'll be in place of a physical shutdown guy like Sbisa or Gudbranson at the very best, maybe not even Tanev. He's got a niche to play and will only crack the lineup if he can outplay Tanev, Sbisa or Gudbranson. Sbisa was his best chance and he's having a career year right now IMO so good luck Tryamkin. 1st injury call up for sure, and it'll happen at some point which will be his big chance, but he can't keep bench warming until then. Hopefully JB and TL have communicated this to him, that's his role, that'll be his opportunity and until then he can either sharpen his game down in Utica or get rusty with just training. It's all about communication and communicating a team's intentions to that player in the hope that they understand their role in the team and it doesn't sound like our management and coaching staff have done a good job of it so far.
  9. Wouldn't go giving up on Eriksson just yet. Classically rookies have a red-hot start to the season but it's the old vets who get clicking later on and start to score and produce. Eriksson should still be good for 20 goals by the end of the year. I wouldn't put Sutter there just yet until our "2nd" line starts to slow down, Hansen Granlund and Sutter have been our best line and one of the league's best two-way lines so far this season. Clutch goals, good defence, good +/- and they're producing offence too. They're our 1st line right now IMO. As for the Sedins, I would love to see them play with Horvat and really mix things up. Call up a center from Utica, but Horvat needs an offensive spark and the Sedins could use that big body and shot to help them out. Different styles of play, sure, but we've tried everything else. Sedin - Sedin - Horvat Granlund - Sutter - Hansen Baertschi - Gaunce - Eriksson Burrows - Skille - Labate Virtanen Doesn't have to be right away, but if Baertschi can't click with the twins we might as well try that.
  10. As much as I wish we drafted Nylander, I strongly believe we can have a good player in Virtanen but it's all about how we develop him. Toronto has done a marvellous job of taking an already-well developed player in Nylander who's played against men in the SEL, throwing him into the AHL without a thought last season for about 30-40 games, and only gave him a sniff of NHL action. That's a perfect, steady developmental pathway and now he looks like he fits in the NHL. Meanwhile, we really messed it up with Jake so far. We take a kid who played only half of his final junior season due to a long-term injury where he was only scoring at a point-per-game pace, well below the average for most super-stars or even top-10 NHL draft picks. IMO he wasn't ever ready to leave junior, he needed at least another full season. Then we throw him right into a 9 game NHL stint last season and for whatever bone-headed reason decide to keep him along for the entire year. Needless to say the Canucks have a terrible season, Jake learns in a losing culture and sits most nights. Compare the two developmental pathways. Nylander got to play with men in the SEL, play well over there, come over to the AHL, dominate there, then play in the NHL and have similar success gradually. Virtanen goes from an injury-filled last year of junior where he played very averagely anyway, bypasses playing with men all together in the AHL and goes straight to bench-warming in the NHL. Now this season he's expected to be a scorer all of a sudden and play on our 3rd line? Canucks coaching staff and management NEED to take a step back with Virtanen. He is not an NHLer. He is being forced to do far too much, too soon. We've seen big powerforwards take longer to develop many times over and over again, I have no idea why they're rushing this kid. We also had carbon copies of him in Gaunce and Etem, there was no need for Jake to be rushed. Personally I think the coaching staff and management got a bit light-headed and carried away last season with McCann and Virtanen and the new "youth movement" which seemed fun at the time and ended in disaster. Learn from your mistakes, learn how to develop players properly and send Jake back to the AHL. Junior would be too far a step down but we should slot him in to Utica where he can play consistently in their top-6 and score some goals again, learn how to play against slightly worse defenders and gain some confidence back. He should IMO spend the entire season there and we should have held on to Etem for security but oh well, it is what it is now. Let's make the most out of a situation and try and salvage Jake's future. Send him to Utica for the season. Make him earn a roster spot, not just have it gifted to him because he's a local boy and a high pick.
  11. This is definately a different Canucks team, the LA announcers know it and hopefully we come back with some fire and show the same competitiveness against Anaheim tomorrow. Finding a way to get wins and points in this league is the opposite of what we did last year, which was finding ways to lose points. 1) Baertschi had a strong game, couple of good chances and more importantly he was brilliant defensively and in the neutral zone. Not sure if he's the right fit for the Sedins but he's bound to explode offensively soon, and until then he's a cheap player and not a liability defensively. The twins had an up and down game, BRUTAL defence on the first Kings goal but then they come back to show a good performance on the PP and tie the game. That pretty much sums up our year so far - a few defensive brain farts that lead to goals but then great character to come back and tie the game in the clutch moments. They need to get it together defensively though. 2) Again, Hansen, Sutter and Granlund are our best line, not as much offence as they've produced in the past against a much better Kings defence but still that was a sick set pass from Sutter to Hansen to lead to the Granlund goal. Brilliant pass by Hansen with Doughty all over him and they make the Norris trophy winner look stupid on that play. These guys are IMO our 1st line. 3) Eriksson has been terrible so far. $6M more or less wasted. All he did was a nice screen on the tying goal, but you need to bring more to the table than that. We have to get him going and I don't think it'll be done with Virtanen on his wing. Virtanen was invisible all game long and belongs in Utica to be honest. This kid is nowhere near NHL ready and most importantly his confidence is shot. He's not contributing to a very strong forward group right now, he's not even hitting, so he might as well be down in Utica. Wish we kept Etem right now. Even with Dorsett going down, get Skille in and bring up Labate. As for Horvat, he doesn't have much of a chance playing with two skill-sink holes in Eriksson and Virtanen. 4) Burrows had a terrible game, pretty embarassing for him but to be fair this is the real Alex Burrows now. Stupid penalty to take to lead to the big 2-0 goal against, then he completely fluffs his SO attempt. He's done, doesn't bring much to the table anyway but tonight he was a liability which is when it gets bad to have him on the team. The Canucks will miss Dorsett, looks like he might be out for a while, so hopefully we can call up Labate to bring some physicality. Not sure if there's enough time for the Anaheim game, otherwise can Tryamkin play on the 4th line? Gaunce was brilliant tonight however, a real quick stick defensively and fantastic on the forecheck. He looks one step ahead of the other team's defence at times which is a great sign, really good at stealing pucks and you can tell he's had plenty of defensive training in Utica. This guy is the opposite of a defensive liability and even if he isn't scoring, he's generating chances and stopping the opponents attack. Probably our best forechecker right now. 5) Edler and Tanev had strong games, Hutton actually did a brilliant job shutting down Kopitar all night long. They went head-to-head for the most part and he did great physically stoning Kopitar on a few plays. Gudbranson wasn't bad, Larsen and Sbisa did have a couple of bad brain farts that lead to the defence being shaken up but on the most part we played well against our first true test. Physical forwards have always plagued the Canucks, they did a little bit tonight and we'll see how they handle even bigger boys in Anaheim. 6) Markstrom had a shaky start, not his sharpest game and may look a tiny bit fatigued but he got better later in the game. The Kings use a lot of screens making it difficult but he still played well to keep them to 3 goals. Very little defensive help on all 3 goals. TL;DR - Another good showing, cracks starting to develop and we're seeing where we really stack up in the league and conference but the fact that we broke down a 3-0 Darryl Sutter lead is pretty amazing, not many teams do that. This Canucks team has character and fantastic defensive structure at times, they just need to try and eliminate those occasional brain farts. We got gifted with late game powerplays and a bit lucky to get a point to be honest.
  12. He may not be there just yet, it's a future comparison similar to how everyone compares Virtanen to Perry/Lucic. Not going to happen, pretty unlikely, but I think Nylander's shown that he can end up being that sort of player. When they were drafted they were all compared to all sorts of players and Nylander has continued on that the trajectory whereas Virtanen has really slowed down and his ceiling is starting to look a lot lower now. Nylanders IMO is looking much higher. Two more sick goals against the Blackhawks tonight and no signs of slowing down at all.
  13. Hopefully this isn't the sort of game that kick starts the Kings, and hopefully Budaj doesn't stand on his head. 3-1 Canucks. Baertschi with a goal with the twins. Gudbranson with his first goal. Sutter with another.
  14. Exactly. At the very best, Lucic just went to Edmonton. We'd be crazy lucky if Virtanen became a Lucic, but even then they can be had through UFA. At the worst Virtanen becomes a Torres type player and he's going for 1-2M. Meanwhile good luck snagging a Nylander/Pat Kane type player off free agency. Good teams lock them down in a hurry, and if they don't they'll be commanding well over 7M nowadays.
  15. Always knew he was going to produce offence, the question and big reason I think Vancouver took Jake was because of physicality and the haunting of the 2011 Bruins, as well as how Nylander VS Virtanen would perform in the playoffs. To be frank the NHL is moving away from physicality and towards skill. Look at the last 3 playoffs - top tier skilled forwards won Cups. You need skill and offensive talent to win in this league nowadays, it's simple. Our top skilled guys are mainly guys taken through trades and free agency and we haven't valued those high end picks. Getting guys like Baertschi, Rodin etc. who are supposed to be top end skilled guys is great, but they're nowhere near as good as those top-10 draft picks. Everyone knows my stance on Nylander VS Virtanen but simply put, at the time we needed a replacement for Henrik Sedin and there sat a young Swedish center/left winger who played in the SEL, has amazing offensive vision and talent, is deemed a bit soft but was scoring at a crazy pace in the Swedish league. Now he's gone to dominate the AHL in half a season and is currently PPG in the NHL. Meanwhile we have Virtanen who throws a hit every now and then but spends most of the time bench warming. I know it's still hard to judge this pick until the playoffs, but the early win obviously goes to Nylander. Even in the playoffs, I'd rather a top-6 winger/center who may be soft but can score goals compared to a 3rd line checking winger who can't produce any offence. Those who think Virtanen is still the better pick are dwindling as Nylander dances around the NHL embarassing grown men. As for the argument of playing with better linemates - Nylander is playing with rookies. He's the best player on that line. Some of the passes he's been making to Matthews are Pat Kane/Crosby level and he's making Matthews a better player, not the other way around. Matthews doesn't score 4 goals without Nylander. He's the definition of an elite player, making those around him better, and is scarily similar to how the Sedins made other players better around them. We really messed up by missing Nylander - would have been Henrik's immediate replacement, and having Nylander - Horvat - Sutter - Granlund down the middle would have been dynamite.