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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Trade Miller anywhere, Markstrom gets burnt out by Christmas, starts losing games, has to play 70 over the course of the season, we miss the playoffs and destroy the development of a potential future starting goalie. Bravo. JB knows what he's doing and how to groom young goalies into a transition. He's been a part of a very good transition scheme of goalies in Boston and he won't let Markstrom just get worn out by taking away his safety net. Forcing goalies into a starting role is how you break them, letting them earn it gradually is the best way to do it. The value we get back from a Miller trade isn't worth the value lost by breaking a young goalie's development in his prime learning years.
  7. Kapanen and Leipsic could probably play in the NHL this or next season but the Leafs are stacked up front with young talent and probably don't want to over-do it with rookies. Subban for one of those two makes perfect sense actually. However I'd be really interested to see how Subban develops and would be scared that if we trade him away we end up losing a Forsling-type player. Late pick, slick puck mover and Subban is racking up AHL points right now in only his second season. If he can play even a little bit of defence, we can pair him with a shutdown defenceman of any sort (not necessarily Tryamkin but also thinking Edler ,Sbisa on the left) and he'd be a very valuable weapon. Thinking Tyson Barrie-type defenceman. Undersized, not great physically but a point machine which is what the Canucks desperately need on the back-end. Give him another year, see how he looks next training camp then decide. If he can't crack the 7th spot next season we might as well trade him, but he'd be a nice addition to the NEXT wave of Canuck defencemen (Juolevi, Tryamkin, Subban, Stecher - a fantastic mix)
  8. Edler - A-. Not much offence but logging big minutes and very sound defensively so far Tanev - B+. Not much offence, a few mistakes defensively but on the whole very solid Gudbranson - A-. Not much offence, don't expect that from him but plays very hard. Only one or two big gaffs so far, great calming influence and veteran presence on the ice and in the locker-room. Hutton - B-. Scored a nice goal, need to see more of that but he's been poorly positioned and shaky defensively at times. Still very good, bumps up to an A if he gets his offence going. Sbisa - A+. Doing more than he's asked of. Don't expect offence but physically he's been a beast on the blueline, moreso than Gudbranson and hasn't made any big mistakes so far. Larsen - B-. Needs to produce more offence, especially on the PP. He looks slick and good passer, but needs to get that shot through. On the whole I say we have a top-10 NHL defence right now, combined with our great goaltending we're one of if not the best team to shut opponents down. Will be interesting to see how we stack up against a big physical forward group in L.A and then against the offensive powerhouses but so far we've shutdown some very good above average offences.
  9. Bit of a sloppier game defensively, you can see the mistakes starting to creep in, but unlike last season when we make defensive mistakes we don't compound them - someone's always there to mop up someone else's mistakes and if not, Markstrom is there to save the day at the end. That sort of layered defence is how you win games, especially in the playoffs. 1) Eriksson really hasn't done much and the Sedins were pretty average once again 5-on-5. All powerplay long they struggled and finally put together a pretty important game winning goal on the PP. They've been quiet all season long except for when it counts most and that's just great leadership. The Sedins piling up the game winning goals. Still, we need to chance this PP desperately and Eriksson really needs to start to get going and scoring some goals. 2) Hansen, Granlund and Sutter are yet again our best line, especially 5-on-5. They do it all, great PKing, great defence, great speed and a great goal. Sutter is IMO this team's MVP right now and we're seeing him do exactly what Kesler did for this team in it's prime. They're undoubtedly our best all-round line so far, Hansen looks like he's taking his game to a new level without the Sedins, we're seeing what Sutter can actually do when healthy which is scary good and Granlund is slowly starting to emerge and really complements the line nicely. Without these 3 we don't win many of the first 4 games. 3) Horvat had little bursts of good play here and there but is struggling to generate offence with his linemates. Baertschi has REALLY struggled so far, I think expectations of him scoring 20 were a bit high and we need to be patient with him, hoppefully like Eriksson he'll start scoring more and generating more offence soon. Skille is a tough linemate to have for both, but as a trio they were decent defensively (except for the own goal against). I really think having Rodin in there instead of Skille will completely change the line and give Baertschi and Horvat more to work with offensively. 4) Gaunce has been decent so far, we haven't asked much from him and he's done it all, and Burrows and Dorsett were a bit more quiet tonight but did all they needed to do. Obviously for 7M for two 4th liners you expect a lot more but for their ice-time they're doing a good job. Not their best game, not their worst. 5) Edler and Tanev were huge tonight, very tidy defensively and our best pairing. Nothing flashy tonight but they didn't get embarassed by a red-hot Buffalo offence that has recently exploded against Edmonton and was flying high with confidence. Great job by these 2 tonight. 6) Gudbranson and Hutton really struggled against the Buffalo forwards tonight, they came a bit unravelled. Gudbranson took a completely unecessary, stupid penalty late in the game that could have cost us the win and was a bit of a retaliation hit. Hopefully he gets a talking to after that. As for Hutton, he was really challenged by the big strong Buffalo forwards. This was a great game to see how this pairing would go shutting down physical, strong forwards and they were exposed a few times so hopefully they can clean up that side of their game before the matches against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks because it'll be a lot more of the same there. 7) Sbisa and Larsen both had strong games IMO. Larsen looks amazing defensively skating the puck out and around the defensive zone, and obviously has some quick hands and feet on the PP to keep the play going when often in the past Edler would miss it or let it go. He's by no means a complete defender but putting him with Sbisa has been magic, they're one of the best 3rd pairings in the league. Sbisa had a strong game tonight as well, another game with a few big hits, he was great on the PK and wasn't a liability defensively at all all night long. 8) Our special teams finally comes through with a nice PP goal, despite very few A-grade chances. Even the goal was a sharp angle shot. We need to work on getting that point shot through a bit more and I think we need to take out one of Eriksson or Sutter because two of them is a bit superfolous, especially if we can't get point shots through two screens in front. I say take Eriksson or Sutter out, throw in Edler on the point and take more point shots with screens. Regardless, that was a clutch Sedin goal on the PP. The PK has been brilliant so far and apart from the one goal we let in a few days ago, they've done fantastically. Buffalo had a red-hot PP and didn't get a sniff, mainly thanks to goaltending. 9) Markstrom has been brilliant in the last 2 games, our best player, and the final safety net. He's had to stop a couple A-grade chances at key moments in both the last 2 games and only really let in an own goal tonight so really does deserve the shutout. Brilliant clutch game by him, we'll see if he can keep it going over longer stretches but hopefully we don't burn him out too early in the season. TL;DR - Another great defensive effort against a very good Buffalo offence, Hutton and Gudbranson showed some cracks but clutch goals by our top 2 lines and fantastic goaltending wins the game. Markstrom is really emerging but he's been hit a few times in the last couple of games and really needs Miller to come back and give him a break soon.
  10. Doug Jarvis. Defensive structure has been emaculate. Forwards are defending hard, defenders are skating well and making crisper passes, and those bone-headed defensive gaffs are almost completely eliminated. Everything builds from the defence. Goaltending is much better with good defence. Forwards can move up the ice better and form a more co-ordinated attack with good defence. I stressed this last season, JB went out and changed our coaching and personel and now look what we have - a defence good enough to shutdown some of the best offences in the league. We kept the Blues to 1 goal. We're one of the best defensive teams in the league right now. Keep this going and we'll make the playoffs easily.
  11. Canucks play the right way, dominate for parts and have a few sloppy plays against St. Louis. Great game and very close game against the Blues, of the 3 games they were most closely matched up against St. Louis. 1) The Sedins and Eriksson were average again all night long, some B-grade chances and Eriksson has objectively not looked good so far. Not dynamite but I expect him to pick up his game and at least score 20 goals this season for that amount of money and ice-time. They're certainly not the best line on our team right now but nevertheless they generated chances consistently and end up winning the game in a situation they'd normally stink at. Terrible defence by the twins on the Tarensenko goal but then great defence in the 3-on-3 and effort that lead to the winning goal. That's leadership. 2) Baertschi had a few moments but didn't generate too much, Skille looked fantastic defensively and really made some nice plays, and Bo Horvat had 2 A-grade chances, ends up scoring a massive goal anyway. This powerplay has been dreadful so far with Eriksson, I say put Horvat in that spot and get him to do what he did on the tying goal. He's a big, strong body who can screen and bang in rebounds and that's how we need to score more goals on the PP - by scoring ugly rebounds. Brilliant clutch goal by Horvat, we're just grooming a clutch culture at the moment and it's going to pay off big time in the playoffs when we've got 3 lines who can score timely goals. 3) Sutter, Hansen and Granlund were again our best line. Constantly generating big time chances, Hansen has been flying all season long and his passing ability seems much better this year, his vision is very underated. Granlund probably deserved another goal and Sutter could have had a couple, and as a line they've been our best defensively and offensively so far this season. Don't break them up. 4) Gaunce had a couple nice hits, nothing big, and Dorsett and Burrows were decent on the forecheck but nothing special. These guys disappointed me. When Steen was running around cheap-shotting Edler, Horvat and then Markstrom, these are the guys who need to step up. Instead we get Sutter go and give him a chat, that's it. No one took out Steen after the Edler hit, or the Horvat hit, then he goes and knees our goalie in the head when we've already lost our starter to injury. Disappointed in Dorsett in particular but they're relatively soft 4th liners anyway. You do that to the Blues and I guarantee you Reeves comes after the player throwing punches. Sure, it was a tight game and you don't want to take a stupid penalty, but it wasn't that tight after the Horvat injury and there was plenty of time to play. That's were a 2 minute penalty is worth sending the message. Pathetic once again. It was hard for the guys on the ice to do anything (Granlund, Edler, Hutton, Baertschi) but it was going on all game, I expected at least a big targetted hit but nothing. 5) Edler had a pretty rough game tonight. Few bad turnovers, passed up a lot of shooting opportunities to play it down the boards and really had his worst game of the season. We need to get this guys minutes down to 22-23 minutes a night again for him to be sucessful because we all know if he's overworked, he makes mistakes. 6) Tanev was the same all night, didn't have a good game, made some bad turnovers in our own zone, then just goes and wins the game with a huge goal. Sure, any one on the ice with the twins would have scored that goal but it's still a big one. 7) Hutton and Gudbranson looked great again tonight, big spread out on the Tarasenko goal which was a mess all over the ice but they really shut down the Blues nicely all game long apart from the one messed up play and odd-man rush.Hutton with a few good chances, it's good to see someone on our defence happy to try and shoot the puck a bit more. 8) Larsen was flying nicely tonight, he's really starting to look good but he needs to produce more on the PP. We've been dreadful, he's been great at moving the puck and keeping it in despite some tight situations on the blueline but he still needs to be able to get that shot through with more weight, generate 2nd chances and rebounds if not score. Edler's shot is far better suited to the point but he's nowhere near as quick as Larsen. I'd say give Hutton a chance - he's about as quick-footed (but not as safe) as Larsen and has a nice heavy shot. Either way, our PP needs a shakeup desperately. For the next game I say we keep Larsen on the PP, just replace Eriksson with Horvat, and if still no success give Hutton a chance on the point as well with 2 defenders. We need a BIG change on the PP because it's simply not working and is coming close to costing us games. 9) Obviously Markstrom was massive tonight, made a lot of clutch saves with about 10 minutes to go in the game that ended up keeping us in it and that huge game saver in OT too. Brilliant game by him after a shaky game against Carolina, he looked like a real starter tonight. TL;DR - The Sedins were average apart from the game winner, Sutter's line has been the best so far with Hansen and Granlund, Horvat needs to replace Eriksson on the PP and maybe give Hutton a chance at the point with Larsen if that doesn't work because we can't keep bleeding this PP dry. Brilliant defensive structure for the most part, came unravelled at times but stuck in there and won against a very solid St. Louis team in the end. This style of play bodes well for the playoffs.
  12. Unbelievable character from this team. They did it against a rubbish team in Calgary, a middle-of-the-pack Carolina team and now a Cup contender, Most importantly, the Canucks are playing the right way and it's paying off. This just shows that at their best, these Canucks and this fantastic defensive and passing system can beat any team in any situation. It'll be nice to see how they stack up against the big Pacific teams, in particular the Sharks, because at the moment the Canucks are one of the best teams in the league.
  13. The Oilers, Flames and Leafs have all been pretty brutal defensively so far this season. No true star starter goalie is the real difference between them and the Cup contenders. Worst of all, their forwards are all great and flashy, but can't help defend to save their lives. Watching the good teams like Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Jose, their forwards all track back and defend hard, whereas the kids of Edmonton and Toronto in particular don't really play a complete defensive game which is going to be their short coming. At least the Flames have some rocks on defence. Edmonton's defence can help out their forwards but it's wasted with their rubbish goaltending. Flashy, exciting to watch, and may show some promise at times, but without a complete defensive effort from forwards, defenders and goalies, these teams aren't going to make it far. They may even make the playoffs but that's when you really need a full defensive effort which is why they'll end up getting bounced. The Canucks have shown signs of fantastic defence from the forwards in the early season which is IMO the biggest promising sign so far. Miller was fantastic, Markstrom was shaky, the defenders were well above average but more importantly the likes of Sutter, Granlund, Hansen, Baertschi, Dorsett/Burrows, even Gaunce and Eriksson defensively have been supurb.
  14. Hard to say when Skille or Rodin will slot into this lineup. You'd have to think Virtanen or Gaunce will be the first men out but even they've been playing well so far. Gaunce likely to be replaced by Skille for a few games here and there, and Virtanen will probably go down the lineup or sit to let Rodin in eventually but that'll be ages off. As long as we don't touch or 2nd line of Granlund - Sutter - Hansen which has been our best line this season. On another note, Edler has averaged 25 minutes and the Sedins and Eriksson have played 20 minutes. Granted both games went to overtime, we need the twins at around 18 minutes a night and Edler at 23 at the most. For regulation games I'd like to see this minute split: Sedin (18m) - Sedin (18m) - Eriksson (19m - gets PK time too) Granlund (15m) - Sutter (18m) - Hansen (17m) - Sutter gets PP1 and PK1 time, Hansen just mainly PK time, Granlund only with PP2 time Baertschi (15m) - Horvat (16m) - Virtanen (12m) - Baertschi and Horvat both on the 2nd PP, Virtanen doesn't do PK or PP really Dorsett (12m) - Gaunce (10m) - Burrows (12m) - both wingers play PK, Gaunce does neither PP or PK This way we have some players on the PP, some on the PK boosting their minutes and only really Gaunce and Virtanen playing neither, if at all very few PK minutes depending on the night. This gives us the best balance down the lineup, gives our 2nd line enough ice-time together as well as on special teams and most importantly, gives the Sedins a rest. They can't consistently play 19-20 minutes a night, hopefully this was just because our team was behind and went into OT but the Carolina game didn't last very long. Sutter and Horvat's line are more than capable of replacing the Sedins' even strenght ice-time. Edler (23m) - Tanev (20m) - Edler plays 2nd unit PP and lots of PK time, Tanev mainly PK and no PP time. Hutton (21m) - Gudbranson (22m) - Hutton gets the same PP time as Edler on the 2nd unit and we need to drop his minutes down too, Gudbranson mainly PK time Sbisa (16m) - Larsen (18m) - Larsen mainly PP time, Sbisa mainly PK time but depending on powerplays, ideally we have Sbisa play more than Larsen.
  15. This is true. There are plenty of smaller defencemen in the NHL and with the way the league is trending towards more skilled, puck movers on the back end, I'd be happy to see how he goes next season as long as he's playing with a veteran shutdown defenceman. It's likely Stecher will get some NHL games this season on rotation with Larsen and even when injuries hit, but Tryamkin is probably the #2 call up right now. Next season however depending on what happens with our veterans, I'd hope Subban at least gets an entire pre-season. Defence-aside, these offensive numbers he's putting up are scary good.