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JamesB last won the day on May 1 2015

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  1. 1. As others have said, the Canucks are not giving up anything of value, so this cannot be a bad trade. And there is some chance it turns out to be a good trade. So I like the move. 2. One difference between Spooner and Gagner is that Spooner is 2 1/2 years younger, having just turned 27. By normal age-progression he should be in his prime right now. It is therefore really weird that his scoring fell off a cliff this year. Up through last year he was scoring at a consistent rate of about 0.5 PPG, which is a decent second line level. If he can recapture that, it would obviously be great for the Canucks. And guys don't usually crash and burn at age 27. Maybe it was a long string of bad luck or bad chemistry or a bad environment and he will do well in Vancouver. I am not saying it is likely, but it certainly worth trying. If he gets a chance to play with EP that should help him recapture his confidence and his enthusiasm. 3. Another difference between Spooner and Gagner is that Spooner is better defensively. I think that fits the Travis Green model better than Gagner did. 4. The Canucks are planning to call him up, so it does suggest that Sutter and/or JV might be out for a while. As Jimmy McGill suggests, I suspect that Sutter at least won't play for a while. 5. I think Rekker is right. It is a class move by Benning to find another NHL stint for Gagner. I have been critical of some of Benning's moves, especially in his first two years, but he is an unusually decent guy for a GM. Gagner was good in Edmonton in the past and will probably feel a lot more comfortable there than he did in Vancouver.. This is a move that could help both guys (Spooner and Gagner), as joe-max says.. At least it gives both guys another chance. I agree that the odds of it working out for either guy are not that great, but I think it is a lot higher than zero, especially for Spooner.
  2. JamesB

    The Canuck D is closer than we think

    Here a few follow-up comments. 1. In the brief period after Hutton and Stecher had made progress and were paired together, and the D was fully healthy, the D was actually not bad -- probably not far below the NHL average. And most of the problems were with the Pouliot/Guddy pairing. If Pouliot drops off the bottom of the depth chart and Hughes slots in at the top, the D gets a lot better (just like adding EP to the center position) and the D moves from a little below average to a little above average. That is playoff territory given average or better goaltending and average or better forwards. 2. Several people pointed out, correctly, that a lot depends on how Hughes pans out. (Just like, at this point last year, a lot depended on how EP was going to pan out.) I am not saying Benning and Brackett will hit a second consecutive draft home run for sure (Hughes after EP), but it is possible. . 3. Being a top player in the NCAA counts for a lot. Obviously the NCAA has older and more developed players than the CHL. A guy who is star in the NCAA in his draft+1 year -- playing against older, bigger, and stronger players -- has a very good prognosis. Also, Hughes' biggest strength is his skating and I think that is a skill that translates well. 4. We do need some depth and we will need someone to replace Tanev and Edler down the road, so the prospects are important. And, as others point out, there is a lot of uncertainty with any given prospect. But the thing is that the Canucks have quite a few good prospects (lots of irons in the fire) and it is very likely that some of those guys will pan out. I think Woo looks particularly good. Like Western Red, I was disappointed to see him left off the WJC team last year but it did seem to motivate him. I agree that he might surprise some people as early as in camp next year. So my point is not that the D is a sure thing -- just that it is not that far away. As Jan says, if Hughes turns out as good he looks at present, that does a lot. And there is at least a decent chance that happens. . And with Juolevi, Woo, Tryamkin and others in the mix, we could get another shot in the arm pretty soon as well.
  3. At the beginning of the season, a lot of people picked the Canucks to have the worst D in the league, or close to it. And there was good reason. The year before (2017-18) the Canuck D was poor -- with very little offensive support and among the worst in the league in goals allowed and, for 2018-19, the D had exactly the same guys. Furthermore, the two best Ds, Edler and Tanev, both had a lot of miles on them and had suffered a lot of injuries. Also, at age 32, Edler was at an age where a lot of players start to show significant age-related decline. And no-one on the D was on an obvious upward trajectory. Both Hutton and Stecher had taken a step back in 2017-18, Pouliot had failed to make progress, and Guddy, MDZ and Biega were all veterans who would not be expected to improve. And none of the prospects were ready to play in the NHL. And all season long, although the Canucks have done better than expected, the D is the area that has attracted the most criticism: We don't have a legitimate top pairing, Edler is too old, Tanev is declining, Pouliot should be in the press box, MDZ should be in the press box, Guddy is a third pairing guy at best, Hutton and Stecher are placeholders, Biega is no more than replacement level for short stretches, etc. And just yesterday i read a couple of articles arguing that the Canucks need to made big changes on D for next year -- acquiring someone in trade or free agency. I have a different opinion. I think the Canucks are much closer than a lot of people think to having a good D -- good enough to make the playoffs and maybe be a foundation for a Cup contender. Here is my reasoning. (I am thinking about next year so I am not going to incorporate current injuries.) 1. With the example of EP we have seen what a huge difference adding a guy to the top of the depth chart makes. Without EP, the Canucks are weak at the center position. With EP they are strong at the center position. Instead of having a borderline 1C (Horvat), an inadequate 2C (Sutter) a very low-scoring 3C (Beagle) and either a replacement level 4C (Granlund) or a rookie (Gaudette), the Canucks have a legitimate high quality 1C (EP), a world-class 2C (Horvat), a good shutdown 3C (Sutter), an excellent 4C (Beagle) and a young guy (Gaudette) who might contend for the 3C position pretty soon. The same thing can happen on D. 2. The big question mark is Quinn Hughes. If he can step in as a legitimate high-end offensive D, that makes a huge difference. The current left side of Edler, Hutton, and Pouliot is one of the weaker left sides in the NHL. But a left side of Hughes, Edler, and Hutton could be very good. 3. Edler. Some D's start to show age-related decline in their early 30s. Some hold their peak until their mid-30s. Edler is 32 now and is having an even better year than he did last year. Based on his trajectory and his style of game, I would expect him to have at least two more years at near-peak performance. And any team in the league would be happy to have him on the second pairing. I think Benning will re-sign him and he will be a valuable player. 4. Tanev. Even though Tanev is only 29, I do worry about wear and tear given his extensive injury history. He is signed through next year. He has not been as good this year as the year before, but he is still a good top-4 D. 5. Hutton and Stecher. Hutton has made tremendous progress this year. In pre-season there was some question as to whether he had any kind of future in the NHL. Recently, he has been playing top-pairing minutes, including tough shutdown minutes, and doing it well. And his scoring is way up. Last year he had 6 pts in the entire season. This year he has 19 pts so far with over 20 games left. I think Stecher has always been under-rated. In the underlying analytics he looks good. He is also an excellent skater. His +/- (+14) leads the team, despite moving up to the second pairing and now the first pairing. And he also has 19 pts so far. He has looked good on the PP recently, and his PK numbers are good. If were 4 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier he would be viewed as a star. Even at his current size, he is very good. And Hutton and Stecher play well together. They are a legitimate second pairing going forward. 6. So I envision Hutton and Stecher as a pairing next year, and Hughes, Tanev and Edler are in the mix. The 6th guy on my depth chart is Guddy. He has taken a lot of heat this year. Part of the problem is that a lot of people over-rated him initially -- viewing him a legitimate top-4 D. He isn't. The data makes that clear and even if you just watch his play closely, you can see the problems just using the "eye test". However, Guddy plays a necessary role. I think that one guy on the D needs to be a tough, physical player who can act as a deterrent to other teams taking liberties with top players and who can just wear down the team with hits and in puck battles. Guddy is that guy. He is pretty good on the PK and if he has protected 5-on-5 minutes (i.e. third pairing duties), he is a valuable guy to have around. 7. I would pair Hughes and Tanev. It might seem strange to pair two guys who are both good at puck retrieval and zone exits (which is probably the key defensive skill in today's game). The answer is that the "weakest link" is important. If Hughes plays with Guddy, even single shoot-in will go to Guddy's side and Hughes won't get much opportunity to retrieve the puck and skate it out. With Tanev and Hughes together, they would do a great job of puck retrieval and zone exits, which would be great against top offensive lines. So they would be my top pairing. Stecher and Hutton would be the second pairing at 5-on-5 and Edler and Guddy would be the third pairing at 5-on-5. But Edler would take the point on the 1st unit PP and Edler and Guddy would get a lot of PK time. If anyone can cover for Guddy's problems, it is Edler. 8. Prospects. Aside from Hughes, the Canucks have other good D prospects. There is Juolevi, of course. His progress to date has been disappointing, partly due to injury, but he could still emerge as a good top 4 D. I love Woo's progress. He was projected as a first round pick before injuries derailed his draft year. The Canucks were fortunate to get him in the second round and he is having an excellent draft+1 year. Rathbone is also a high potential prospect. Both Woo and Rathbone move up in the redraft. And Brisebois is in the mix, along with other guys in Utica. I don't know which of these guys will emerge as good NHL players, but some will, as this is a good prospect poll. I also expect two or three more good D prospects to be drafted in 2019. (And I have not mentioned Tryamkin and Utunen, both of whom I view as longshots, but they are at least "lottery tickets".) 9. Bottom line: If we add Hughes, if Edler and Tanev get healthy (a big if, I know), if Hutton and Stecher continue to play well, and if Guddy plays to his strengths and is not asked to do too much, the D could look very good without any major moves for next year. And guys like Juolevi and Brisebois will be getting close. Footnote: Despite my argument against major moves to shore up the D, if Erik Karlsson indicates that he wants to come to Vancouver as a UFA, I would consider it. .
  4. Just when everyone was giving up on the Canucks after another set of injuries, they come up with a character win. LA did have the edge in the game overall and outshot and outchanced the Canucks, but the Canucks played hard and kept the game close and were able to win in the shoot-out. Here are my impressions. 1. Three of the quotes above relate to Gaudette, who did have his best game yet, as Coconuts says. He is an example of guy who just seems to get better every game. Loved his game tonight. Gaudette is a genuine 200 ft player in that both his offensive skills and his defensive skills are good. As others have said, I don't expect to see him back in Utica this year except for the playoffs if Utica is in and the Canucks are out. 2. There has been a lot of talk about Gaudette replacing Sutter. WIth another groin injury, for Sutter, there have to be concerns about his long run role. Sutter's greatest value to the team this year has been on the PK. The forward combo of Eriksson and Sutter was one of the best PK forward combos in the league in the time they were together. Gaudette can't replace that. Sutter also plays a lot of shutdown (but, in the data, not as well as Beagle). Gaudette is not ready to play shudown yet -- at least not at center. But Gaudette has better offensive instincts than Sutter or Beagle. I don't see either of those guys making the pass Gaudette made on Boeser's goal. And, down the road, Gaudette could play shutdown and Pk, just not yet. It was great to see Green's vote of confidence in Gaudette by putting him out in OT. 3. Hutton and Stecher had another big game, with 32 minutes for Stecher and 29 for Hutton. Nice to see Stecher get an assist on EP's goal. He deserved to get on the board tonight. 4. EP had another great game. I am putting this down at point 4 instead of at point 1 because it seems to happen every game. There are so many good things to say about him. Tonight we saw two completely different dimensions on his goal and his assist. On his goal we saw smart passing and a great shot. On his assist we saw his willingness to make physical, "greasy" plays. EP got into a puck with both Doughty and Kopitar at same time and was able to neutralize them, deflect the puck to Gaudette with his foot and create space for Gaudette. He outplayed Dougthy and Kopitar on the same play, and I have heard that those guys are pretty good players. 5. Marky also had another very good game. 6. I wanted to pay special attention to Brisebois and MacEwen tonight. I did not notice Brisebois a lot, partly because he only played 9 minutes. But for a defensive defenceman, not being noticed is a good thing (kind of like a cornerback in football -- if you don't get noticed it means the guy you are covering isn't doing much). When Brisebois did handle the puck I thought the he did pretty well. He was paired with Guddy. Guddy was on the ice for all three goals tonight. Guddy did not make bad plays on those goals, but he did not make good plays either. The problem is that he does not make enough good plays -- too many off target passes, late getting to the puck, losing situational awareness, etc. I appreciate Guddy's fight with Getzlaf against Anaheim and he contributed to the physical game tonight. I think it is valuable to have a D like Guddy (a big, strong, tough physical D who can play). But he really should be on the third pairing. Tonight the Canucks really had two third pairings with Stecher and Hutton carrying the load. 7. MacEwen had his moments tonight -- playing with energy. He has some offensive skill, and his size, toughness, and physical game are valuable. But he did struggle at times tonight and it is understandable that Green kept his minutes low (under 9 minutes). But I definitely see him as part of the solution, not part of the problem. 8. Great to have high skill go-to guys like EP and Boeser for the shootout. 9. I hope Virtanen is okay soon. Would love to see him back in there. With Guddy, MacEwen, Virtanen, Motte, Roussel, and Leivo all in the line-up, the Canucks would be "hard to play against". They still desperately need Edler and Tanev back, but the team came up with a character win tonight. ,
  5. JamesB

    [PGT] Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks | Feb. 13, 2019

    Very frustrating game to watch but I might as well offer a few impressions. 1. Marky did not face a lot of tough chances tonight but he was good. 2, The Canucks were the better team tonight and outshot the Ducks by a big margin. As others have pointed out, a lot of the those shots were perimeter shots and when the Canucks had high danger chances they seemed to be shooting at the goalie's crest. Still, EP had a couple of great looks including a rocket off the underside of the crossbar on the PP. EP looked dangerous again tonight and was unlucky not to get on the board. 3. I liked seeing Leivo go after Kesler for taking liberties with EP. 4. Gaudette looked good. MacEwen did not do much and did not get a lot of ice time, but he was okay. He certainly was not the problem. 5. Admittedly, the Ducks are a poor offensive team, but the Canuck D was pretty good tonight. They did not allow the Ducks many good opportunities. 6. There is some positive commentary about Gudbranson tonight on CDC. I think he was generally okay. However, the one goal was partly due to a weak play by him. With a quicker stick, quicker feet, or slightly better anticipation he would have been able to stop Silfverberg (his man) from scoring. And he continues to have trouble making good passes coming out of the D-zone. The ice-time on D was hugely skewed. Stecher played 29 minutes and Hutton played almost 28. Even though Tanev got injured, Guddy still played only 13 minutes. Admittedly, Guddy had some penalty time and does not play much on the PP, but that is a very low number. I am not sure of what Green is seeing, but he obviously does not like it very much. 7. The biggest problem was the PP. They had a few good looks on the PP tonight, but should have done more. 8. Among other things, the Canucks miss Edler on the PP. I think one thing is that the opposing PK has to respect Edler's heavy shot and that opens up more space for EP and Boeser. The PP also misses Baertschi. Admittedly, he has not played much this year but the PP has been at its best with those two guys along with EP, Horvat, and Boeser. In fact, in on-ice PP goals scored per 60 min, Baetschi and Edler are first and second on the team. 9. Horvat looked a little off tonight. He was not sharp on the PP. He was partly at faulty on the Anaheim goal, and he had a rare night at under 50% on the dot. 10. Anyway, the Canucks have an opportunity to come back strong tomorrow against LA. With Tanev apparently hurt we might finally get to see Brisebois. 11. On the plus side, Gadovich and Jasek both scored in a Utica win tonight and Dahlen was on the scoresheet again with an assist. The prospects in Utica have made progress this year and I look forward to seeing what they do the rest of the season.
  6. What I am looking for from tonight's game. 1. EP continues his point a game pace. 2. MacEwen continues his point a game pace. 3. Gaudette returns with a bang and puts one in the net. 4. I wanted DiPietro to make a surprise start and record a shutout. But I see Marky is starting. I will settle for a shutout from him. 5. Brisebois gets a surprise start -- partly to confirm that he does actually exist.
  7. Here is my take: 1. Mazanec has been sharing the goaltending duties in Hartford. His save percentage of.903 ranks 24th out of 49 qualified goalies in the AHL. His numbers were about the same last year. He is an average AHL goalie. He is not as good as the normal "replacement level" NHL goalie, but he is not far off. At age 27, he is a "veteran". He could still improve but there is no reason to expect it. 2. His contract expires after this year, after which he is a UFA. With Marky, Demko, DiPietro, and Backman all in the system for next year there is no obvious spot for him anyway. Re-signing him is not impossible but probably this is "one-and-done". He stays around until Demko and Marky are both healthy, then he gets sent to Utica unless Benning can swing some kind of trade. 3. He is on a two-contract that pays 650K in the NHL and 200K in the AHL. Obviously money is not an issue. 4. Benning probably figured they could not afford another debacle like the game last night against San Jose. For DiPietro, one game like that on an emergency basis against a good team is not that big a deal. As Lois says, it should not affect his confidence. The whole thing probably seems like some crazy dream or roller coaster ride. But, as Kelly, says, it is not the kind of thing you want to repeat, both for developmental reasons and because the Canucks are in a playoff race and cannot afford to give away points. 5. Benning has promised several times that he will not trade away draft picks going into this year's draft. So he traded a 7th round pick for next year's draft. That helps the optics. The Canucks won't be a draft pick down for this year's draft in Vancouver. 6. A 7th round pick is not much, but data shows that there is not much difference between picks from the 4th through 7th rounds. They are all longshots with maybe a 10% chance of every becoming regular NHL players. The 4th round round is a bit better than the 5th, etc, but the differences are slight. Still, good players do come from the late rounds on occasion. Consider Gaudette (5th round) or Hansen (9th round, back when there was a 9th round). So giving up a 7th round pick is something. 7. The Canucks could have brought up one of the guys in Utica at no cost, or signed a guy currently on an AHL contract. Personally I would have preferred either of those options but I guess the Canucks thought Mazanec was a better option. I wonder if this means that Demko is not that close or if Marky is expected to be out for a while. Anyway, I am not going to get worked up about this situation. I don't think it was handled perfectly but, in the end, it will only cost a 7th round pick in next year's draft.
  8. JamesB

    [PGT] San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks | Feb. 11, 2019

    1. Hockey is a weird game. Two really good prospects (DiPietro and MacEwen) get their first NHL game tonight. One guy has a really nice night, picking up his first NHL point and the other guy has a nightmarish night. But, down the road, things will balance out. Tonight's game will be something DiPietro can laugh about over beer a few years from now, even though he must feel kind of bad right now. 2. Events sort of conspired against DiPietro. He was a surprise starter against one of the best teams in the league due to Marky's illness. And the first half of the first period was like the second period versus Calgary -- complete domination by the Sharks. And the D in front of him (or sometimes behind him, like on the first goal) was like the keystone cops. There has been back and forth on Guddy in the PGT (as usual) but he did make a bad play on the first goal on the first shot of the game. Not a "mistake" exactly but a lost puck battle and poor positioning. And then Hutton bats the puck into his own net on the second goal. 3. The Canucks got their first shot on goal after about 12 minutes, but they improved a lot after that, including a great play by EP on Horvat's goal. Once gain, credit to the Canucks for playing hard after a bad start. 4. As others have pointed out, tonight shows (again) how valuable Marky and also Edler have been for the Canucks. With the struggles the D has been having I agree with Nuxfanabroad that they should give Brisebois a shot. We all like Biega, but he has reached the point of diminishing returns and needs a rest. And bringing Brisebois in would allow Tanev to move back to the right side, where he is much more comfortable. 5. As Vic_City says, the positives tonight are EP and MacEwan. We have gotten used to EP so his great plays are not exactly a surprise anymore. But MacEwen is a positive surprise. His start is not in the same category as the starts that EP and Boeser had, but he played a solid game. He only played just under ten minutes but the Canucks outchanced San Jose 6 to 3 with him on the ice (according to Natural Stat Trick). 6. Back to EP.(sort of). I have been a bit worried that Philly's rookie goalie Carter Hart might give EP a run for the Calder. He was rookie of the month in January and almost set a record for consecutive wins by a young goalie. But he lost tonight and gave up 3 goals on 27 shots. So he seems kind of human after all, which should give the edge to EP. Actually, I like Carter Hart and wish him the best, as long as his best falls short of what EP does. And of course EP has been a strong favorite for the Calder since the first week of the season. But I am kind of focused on EP winning the Calder, so I am a bit paranoid.
  9. JamesB

    Tyler Madden | C

    I have not seen Northeastern play before. I enjoyed tonight's game. Madden looked great, especially considering he is only a freshman. I am probably guilty of home bias, but he looked to me like the best skater on the ice. On his assist he reminded me of Quinn Hughes - great skating with quick changes of direction to set up a quality scoring opportunity. I was also interested to see him trying to play a physical game. I saw him attempt a hit against a guy who must outweigh him by a good 50 pounds. He sort of bounced off but he still made an effective defensive play. He could have made a better play on BC's second goal (I think it was the second goal) but he looked great overall.. Maybe Benning should have said "why has nobody taken Madden", when he was still there in the third round. I was happy to see Andrew Alberts doing commentary between periods. I always liked him. He had his career ended by a sucker punch and resulting concussion and the guy got a one-game suspension, which I thought was outrageous, It should have been more like 10 games. Anyway, glad to see Alberts looking healthy.
  10. JamesB

    [PGT] San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks | Feb. 11, 2019

    That was painful to watch. Feel so bad for DiPietro. At least the game is over. But, as Coconuts says, nice to see EP get another point, great to see MacEwen on the score sheet, and Bo hits 20 goals.
  11. JamesB

    [Report] Canucks recall Zack MacEwen

    1. My story is that I was just about to predict the Canucks would call up MacEwen but the Canucks announcement came first. 2. So here is another prediction. He will actually play. I would love to see him and Brisebois in the line-up for the next game. Realistically, the Canucks might want MacEwen to watch a game or two and get in a few practices before getting into a game. But the sooner the better from my point of view. 3. The Canucks said yesterday (or was it Friday) that Baertschi would be out for a while. With post-concussion syndrome, even if you feel fine for day-to-day activities, you are highly vulnerable to further problems. Getting a long rest is the best approach and Baer should be cautious. It would not surprise me if he is gone for the season. Giving him a solid 6 or 7 months might be the best way of minimizing the risk of further concussion problems. 4. I would certainly slot MacEwen ahead of Schaller, who has been disappointing this year. And I would also put him ahead of Granlund, who has not been very good lately. Granlund has the advantage that he can slot in anywhere. He can play center or either wing. He can play shutdown, PK, and PP. And he has enough skill to play with top 6 players. The problem is that he does not do any of those things particularly well. He is ok, but that is far as you can go. He is a decent skater but not particularly fast, and he does not contribute much to team toughness or to the physical game. He is fine as 13th man but he does not have a "separating skill". 5. The thing I really like about MacEwen is that he has improved a lot over the season. While I have not watched Utica games, from what I have read and from looking at the numbers it seems that both his offence and his defence have made a lot of progress. And, of course, having another tough guy in the line-up would be a plus. So I would play him in place of Granlund. And I would play Granlund in place of Goldy if Goldy has an off-day or two. (Goldy is still too inconsistent, especially in the D zone.) Anyway, looking forward to seeing MacEwen play.
  12. JamesB

    [PGT] Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks | Feb. 09, 2019

    1. Not much doubt that Marky was the top story tonight. It is not often that a goalie gives up 3 goals and still gets a "steal". But Marky gets an official steal on my scorecard. 2. The other big story is Pettersson. He was credited with 3 hits tonight, tied for the lead among the forwards. Oh, and he also got two great assists and the SO game-winning goal as well. Boeser was also good. But he had a lot of good looks tonight and needed to bury one, which he did. A lot of those good looks came courtesy of EP who is a great playmaker and a great sniper (not to mention his physical game ). 3. I was going to make the same point as canuck73_3, and I might as well repeat it. Hockey is a weird game. You can outplay the other teams in three straight games and lose all three then get outplayed pretty badly and come away with a win. Part of it is goaltending but Marky played well in all 4 games. Part of it is just the way the puck bounces. 4. Nice overall summary from DownUndaCanuck. I was actually going to make many of the same points, especially about Stecher. For most of the year I have been arguing that Stecher in underappreciated. He looked good on the PP tonight and we were unlucky the PP did not score. I have been arguing that Stecher should get more PP time and more PK time. Tonight he got more time than Guddy on the PK. I am pretty sure that is the first time this season that has happened and it is the right call in my view. Stecher led the D with 26 minutes tonight. 5. The only point made by DownUnda that I do not really see is giving a lot of credit to Green. I think Green is a good coach who has gotten as much we could reasonably expect from the team this season. But I don't see anything special about his role tonight as opposed to other nights. I see tonight's game as a steal for Marky, so it is hard to give Green a lot of extra credit for tonight. I admit that the team played hard in the third (after a terrible second) but Green has had the team playing consistently hard for a while now, so I don't think tonight was an outlier. 6. The PK was important again tonight. Hutton and Tanev were rocks on the PK. And the forward combo of Sutter and Eriksson has become an excellent PK pairing (and was out there for about 70% of the PK time tonight, which is very high for one forward combo). But neither of those guys is doing anything offensively. 7. The team gave up 47 shots, including a lot of grade A chances. According to Natural Stat Trick, in the 2nd and 3rd periods, Calgary outchanced the Canucks 37 to 17. 37 chances is a huge number for two periods. So what went wrong with the D? One obvious point is that, as always happens, Biega is wearing down after a few games. He has to play a high energy game just to compete at the NHL and he can't keep it up for long. He needs a break and I hope we see Brisebois get a chance. Pouliot of course continues to struggle. The Pouliot/Biega pairing is not really a legitimate NHL pairing. The Tanev/Guddy pairing is also not doing particularly well. Tanev is worse with Guddy than he is with anyone else, probably diue to playing the left side. Guddy is okay on a third pairing but in the top 4 he struggles. Big emotional win tonight against a top team. That has to help team morale. And Hughes has a good night tonight in the NCAA. With the the recent talk about him turning pro this season, I can't help thinking that if Edler and Hughes slot in to the D in place of Pouliot and Biega, the D overall goes for poor to good and the Canucks could be a threat to upset someone in the first round of the playoffs, if they make it that far.
  13. JamesB

    2018-19 Utica Comets Thread

    I would not be so hard on JD Burke. I think he is pretty good. There is a reason he gets paid to comment on hockey and is a frequent guest on sports talk radio. (Not that everyone on talk radio knows what they are talking about but regular guests are usually quite knowledge.) Also, you don't need to play in the minors or anywhere else to know that actually playing games is an important part of development. Palmu went back to Finland this year because he was not playing in Utica. It is very unlikely that sitting in the press box so much has been good for Gadjovich or Jasek, among others. If they can't play in Utica, they should play somewhere else. But they do need to play. Also, Burke is right that so far we have seen very little developmental value added from Utica. We can't expect every prospect to make a lot of progress but if no prospects make significant progress, there is a problem. This year, just going by normal league translation factors and variance in subsequent performance, at least one of Lind, Jasek, Gadjovich, Dahlen, or Palmu should have been able to put up good AHL numbers, and preferably two or three. But I would say that all of them have had disappointing years so far. And none of the D prospects in Utica have done a lot either, although they have had injury problems. I would say only one skater (non-goalie) both spent significant time in Utica and is helping the Canucks. That is Virtanen. And he was coached by Green, not by Cull. (Gaudette and Goldy spent some time in Utica, but not enough for that time to be more than a blip on their development charts.) I am not pretending to know a lot about what is going on in Utica but I think Burke's reporting is at least interesting and might be getting at a genuine problem. After all, some organizations do better at development than others and it is possible that the Utica operation is below average.
  14. On the positive side: 1. This team is fun to watch. EP's goal at 6 on 4 to tie the game was a great sequence, starting with EP taking the puck up the ice by himself. And Stecher made a nice pass to EP for the one-timer. And then EP almost ended the game on the breakaway in OT. 2. For the third time in three nights the Canucks came up with a gutsy performance and deserved to win. They started strong but were unlucky to be down 2 at the end of the first., But they came back strong and were the better team from then on. At least they got one point tonight. 3. Another thing I really like seeing is the growth of Hutton and Stecher. Hutton had over 30 minutes tonight and played well all game. I think both those guys are legitimate top 4 Ds. 4. Glad to see Jake reach his career high for assists and extend his career high for points. And he looked dangerous using his speed tonight. 5.And of course Leivo had an excellent game. He was a good pickup from Toronto. I still don't really like him in the top 6 on a regular basis, but he is a good bottom 6 forward who can play in the top 6 when needed. 6. Nice to see Biega score his first goal. He played a high energy game tonight, which is what he needs to do to be effective in the NHL. He was credited with 5 hits and he has some good chances in addition to his goal. According the Natural Stat Trick, the Canucks outchanced Chicago 9 - 2 with Biega on the ice. He did not play a lot of minutes and his minutes were somewhat protected, but he deserves to continue to play. He will wear down playing a high energy game like this, but he contributed effectively tonight. Here are some of the concerns. 7. In a sense both Chicago's first two goals came about as the result of one play -- Sutter's penalty while on the PK. Sutter thought Gustafsson interfered with him. It appeared to be a standard pick play, which is interference, but referees rarely call marginal pick plays. Sutter slashed Gustafsson. It was pretty obvious and the refs called it. Chiago scored on the 5 on 3 and then again on the 5 on 4. The Canucks came back strong but that was a critical play. I have never been a big fan of Sutter although he has been playing well on the PK and sharing shutdown duties with Beagle. That was an undisciplined and costly play. 8. Chicago's third goal came off a bad play by Granlund who mishandled the puck at the blueline. Murphy got the puck, passed it through Sutter to Strome, who made a nice pass to DeBrincat. Guddy got turned around and could not make a play quickly enough on DeBrincat. I am not saying that it would have been easy to stop that chance, but Granlund, Sutter, and Guddy all had opportunities. 9. A lot of people on CDC are tough on Tanev tonight. And he not have a great game, incluiding a weak play on the OT goal. Also, his overall numbers are not as good this year and in the past. Still, playing him on his off-side with Guddy as his partner in fairly tough minutes is not "putting him in a position to succeed". I would like to see him play on the right side with Brisebois as his partner and see how that goes. I would sit Pouliot and play Biega on his offside with Guddy as the other pairing. It might not pan out but it would be worth trying. 10. The PP was a negative, although it finally scored the 3-3 goal with the Canuck net empty. The basic 5 on 4 PP needs to change things up in some way as other teams have gotten too good as defending against the current system. Despite the OT loss and the negatives, it was an enjoyable game. I am not that worked up about the playoffs one way or the other. The Canucks could sneak in but the odds are against it, And they well likely pick somewhere in the teens in the draft in any case. What I like seeing is the young guys developing and the key young guys looked good again tonight.
  15. My two cents: Agree with 250Integra about the D. Obviously Stecher and Hutton stay together, and I would put Brisebois with Tanev and see how he does. The Pouliot/Guddy pairing has struggled at times but they have also been okay at times. But I guess Green wants to give Tanev/Guddy another shot after their "learning experience" against Washington. They probably will be better second time out. As for the forwards, missing Baer makes a big difference. The Canucks cannot ice two legitimate top 6 scoring lines at present. I think keeping Goldy, EP, and Boeser together makes sense, but I would put Virtanen with Horvat and move Leivo to the left side. Ganny would then go to the Sutter line. I think that Virtanen, Horvat, and Leivo can play a high energy up-tempo game and generate some chances the old-fashioned way -- good forecheck and driving the net. At the goalie position, it does make a lot of sense to play Marky as long as he continues to play well, and it sounds as though Demko is not too far away. I still expect to see DiPietro get a start somewhere along the line. Agree about Kiss.