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JamesB last won the day on May 2 2015

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About JamesB

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  1. The thing about Burrows is that he was a huge outlier. His basic talent was not that impressive but, as @Alflivessays, his compete-level (drive and determination) were off the charts. Every time we acquire a guy with marginal talent someone says "maybe he is like Burrows". But guys with Burrows compete level are rare. We can also hope, just like we can hope that a 6th round draft pick turns into Pavel Bure. It happens, but don't put your money on it. I see no similarity between Burrows and Boucher. As others have pointed out, Boucher is more like Wellwood, except not as good. I think @bigbadcanuckshas the right read on Boucher.
  2. Boucher does not have much "potential". At age 23 (turning 24 in September) he are pretty much at "what you see is what you get". Good NHL scoring forwards pretty much always show something significant by the time the turn 24. Boucher is not an NHL quality player. He has a good shot but is weak defensively. He was just a low-cost late season Hail Mary by Benning. I can understand why the Boucher thread turned to discussion of Sutter, who is at least a legitimate NHL quality player, albeit an overpaid one. His numbers continue to be very similar to those of Bonino, who gets paid less than half as much. And Pittsburgh of course continues to be overjoyed by that deal.
  3. Goldobin and Boucher are in very different situations. Goldobin is 21. He is young enough to improve his game quite a bit and he has good natural skills (which is why he was a first round pick). He has a decent shot at becoming a top-9 NHL regular. San Jose was willing to trade him, but they knew they had to give up something of value to get Hansen. Boucher is almost exactly 2 years older and is 23. He will be 24 next September. Forwards who are not legitimate NHL players by age 23 usually never make it. Boucher is weak defensively, and he was picked up off waivers which means New Jersey did not think he was good enough to play in NHL, even on a very weak team like New Jersey. He has a good shot but has nothing approaching a complete game (and that is why he was not picked until the 4th round). He is unlikely to make the Canucks out of camp next fall. If he does, that means Benning has failed to bring in enough legitimate NHL talent to field a competitive team (again).
  4. The whole Larsen experiment never made sense. He washed out in the NHL before, hard to see why things would be different this time (and the aren't). Looking for quick fixes (guys coming back from Europe, high priced UFAs, etc.) is not the way to rebuild.
  5. I feel compelled to comment on Boucher's role in the second Anaheim goal. He lost a puck battle in the neutral zone that allowed the play to start, then he was in the wrong position ("wrong side of the puck") when Anaheim scored. If he had been playing better defence he could have prevented the shot. This is why he has been put on waivers. He is weak defensively. On the first goal, obviously Edler had the give-away, but the Sedins were (once again) just standing around on defence. They rarely win puck battles in their own end and have trouble even getting to the puck in time to get into a puck battle. They have have had great careers and are great guys, but at their age and at this point in the season they are really struggling on defence. Henrik won't "win" the green jacket this year (worst plus-minus) but he will be the top (or bottom) 10. Larsen also was clueless on the first goal, although it is hard to blame him given that he has not played in a while. No complaints about Miller. Both those goals were on prime opportunities. Boeser, Baertschi and Horvat continue to look good. Time for Goldy to do something, though.
  6. It looks like next year the Canucks will set a team record for least Canadian content ever. Among the forwards, the only Canadian who is a lock to make the team is Horvat. Virtanen could be on the team, but I think he is more likely to be in Utica. Gaunce could be on the team, maybe as 13th man. Dorsett will be on the team if he comes back, but his career could be over. Barring trades, there will be four Canadian D's on the team: Tanev, Guddy, Hutton, and Stecher. No goalies, though. The 2011 Cup Final team was about half Canadian. Next year the percentage will be more like 25%. From 2011 remember guys like Raymond, Hammer, Bieksa, Torres, Malhotra,Tanner Glass, Aaron Rome, Volpatti and Lapierre (not to mention Burrows and Lu and Hodgson, who had a few games with the team that year.) Pretty heavy attrition among the Canadian players. The only Canadian holdover from 2010-11 is Tanev. And the only other holdovers are the Sedins and Edler. Things change pretty fast in hockey.
  7. Putting on weight is harder than it sounds. (I admit it is not hard for me. All I have to do is eat as much as I want.) It has to be the right kind of weight. And it is not just a matter of adding muscle. Adding upper body muscle adds weight without adding skating power and slows players down. It also raises the center of gravity and makes guys less stable on their skates. Bulking up (with muscle) did not help Virtanen and the same is true with a lot of guys. The best additional weight comes from natural growth, especially growth in the lower body -- more muscle and increasing bone mass and bone density. That happens naturally in late teens and early 20s, and can be helped with lower body weight training, diet, sleep, etc. And, as lower body strength increases it can of course be balanced with upper body weight gain. Some young guys, like Juolevi, are just slim to start with (at the draft) and can usually benefit by adding 5 to 10 pounds of upper body muscle. But it is important not to overdo upper body weight training.
  8. The scoring line of Boeser from Horvat and Baertschi (and other permutations) is something most of us are hoping and expecting to see a lot in the future. Great start for Boeser. In addition to scoring a goal he had a pretty solid game. He is not a great skater by NHL standards, but he has an instinct for getting to the right place at the right time (hockey IQ). And I admit that was it great to see him play. That should certainly boost ticket sales in Vancouver for the last few home games of the season. But I am still not in love with the decision to play him on the Canucks this season. I notice he is still wearing something around his wrist. The Sedins struggled today. At their age this is the kind of road trip that wears them down. But Horvat, Baertschi and Boeser were good, as where Stecher and Tryamkin and Boucher (of course). The transition from the old core that took us to the Cup final in 2011 and President's trophies in 2011 and 2012 to the emerging young core is well underway and will probably be pretty much complete by next year. The Sedins and Elder will still be on the team, but it will be other guys doing the heavy lifting. I like going with Marky and Backman next year -- leaving a spot for Demko the year after. It certainly makes no sense to sign Miller for two years with Marky already signed long term and Demko looking great in Utica. Miller has had a good year but at his age his chances of being good two years from now are slim -- not zero, but slim.
  9. Also, his father had some health problems which the family could really use some money, or at least for Brock to become completely self-supporting (NCAA scholarships don't pay much). It was something of a sacrifice even for Brock to stay in college for a second year, even though that was clearly the right move for Brock in terms of getting an education as well as for his development as a player. But I don't think there is much doubt Brock will sign with the Canucks before next season and the sooner he signs, the sooner he gets his signing bonus. I know a lot of fans are impatient to see him play for the Canucks (and Benning probably is also), but I still think it is a bad idea -- wrist problems, being in a losing environment, not being physically ready for the NHL, big mental adjustment, and burning off a year of his ELC. (I know several posters have said they don't care about losing a year of his ELC. I believe them. They don't care. But that is the kind of thing that GMs like Dean Lombardi and Stan Bowman (you knows, guys who have won multiple Stanley Cups) do care about.
  10. I have pretty much the same view. As I wrote earlier, if "playing in a winning environment" matters, this is not a good time for Boeser to join the Canucks. Also, I bet this wrist is still not 100%. Good enough to play but rest and rehab would probably help. And of course burning off a year of his ELC is not a good move. (I know people will sometimes justify it by saying they come up for an RFA contract when they are cheaper. Agents understand the point and don't fall for it. At worst the player can take the qualifying offer and wait another year before asking for big money. But typically all that happens is that the big money starts earlier.
  11. Lots of guys try to improve their skating in the first few post-draft years, but it is rare for players to make as much progress as Horvat made. So it is not something we can count on. But you can be a good scorer without being a great skater (like Tkachuck or the Sedins). The reverse is also true. You can be a great skater and not be able to play effectively in the NHL (as has been true for Virtanen so far and that probably also applies to Pedan). Other things equal, skating well is very valuable, but other things also matter a lot, especially "hockey IQ". I doubt if Boeser will ever be a great skater and would be very surprised if he is ever as good as Horvat or Baertschi. But I still expect him to be a good NHL player and would like to see him with Horvat and Baertschi.
  12. Pedan has been called up at least twice but did not get a chance to play for the Canucks this year. I was disappointed. I thought WD might at least want to see what he could do. But I take the point that things are not going well. Being a healthy scratch in Utica is definitely not good, and Travis Green gets a lot of respect as a coach. So if he scratches Pedan, that is a pretty strong signal. At age 23 he is no longer really a "prospect". This is the transition year from "prospect" to "tweener" or "AHLer". Last year I attended a game where he played forward and I watched him closely. I was disappointed. He just skated up and down the ice but seemed unable to get involved in the play. Of course he is a D, not a forward, but still that is not a good sign. Biega has looked better as a forward than Pedan did. So, like Elvis, I am not optimistic but I hope he gets one more shot next year. And for now obviously we are all hoping that Utica can finish strong and have a playoff run.
  13. Not sure what I am hoping for. I want Boeser and his team to do well. But I also would not mind seeing his college career come to an end so he can sign with the Canucks. After all, UND won it all last year so he has already done that. I am not sure I want him to play for the Canucks (or Utica) this year, though. In addition to burning a year off his ELC, I think it might be a good idea just to let his wrist continue to heal and take a long break from hockey so he is as healthy as possible next fall. Also, as for the Canucks, there has been a lot of talk about developing players in a "winning environment". Maybe the Canuck brass has abandoned that concept. But, if there is anything in it, being with the Canucks right now would not be great. They are eliminated from the playoffs, have a tough schedule remaining, and have a lot of injuries. It might not be pretty.
  14. Now that the Canucks have been officially eliminated from the playoffs there will be even more focus on what went right and what went wrong this year. One of the things that took a turn for the worse this year was the penalty kill. Two years ago it was second best in the league, last year it was about the middle of the pack, and this year the Canucks rank 27th. One thing we can do is look at individual player performance. Evaluating the PK is cleaner than trying to evaluate most things. On the PK pretty much all that matters is trying to stop the opposing team from scoring as there are not many short-handed goals. Furthermore, the biggest problem in evaluating performance 5-on-5 is adjusting for strength of competition and strength of teammates. There is no good way to do it. However, on the PK there is much less variance in the quality of opponents. On the PK pretty much every opposing PP unit is good -- the equivalent of a first line or second line. In addition, PK players change up more frequently than PP players -- so in a given penalty at least two PK units will normally face the opposing first PP unit. Similarly, a PK player's on-ice teammates are normally at least decent defensive players. So looking at net goals given up (goals given up minus shorthanded goals scored) per unit of time played is a pretty good measure of PK performance. It is not perfect, because some players will still get tougher matchups but, as noted, that is less of an issue in evaluating PK performance. So, how do things look for the Canucks? I took the base numbers from stats.hockeyanalysis.com for all Canucks with at least 30 PK minutes and did a couple of extra calculations. There are some surprises. Among the D's, the biggest surprise is how similar most of them are. Here the numbers for net goals given up per 60 minutes played, from worst to first: Tanev: 8.29 Hutton: 7.67 Sbisa: 7.64 Edler: 7.45 Tryamkin: 7.35 These numbers are remarkably similar. It is actually hard to believe how similar they are and it suggests good handling of the D by the coaches. The differences are not statistically significant and can be easily explained by even small differences in quality of competition. (Tanev probably gets the toughest matchups). However, there is one outliner: Gudbranson: 4.82. Guddy's numbers are way better than the others, And he had a lot of tough PK matchups as well. He has a reputation as a good PK defenceman and it turns out to be deserved. And the claim that losing him to injury really hurt the PK (made by Willie and JB, among others) turns out to probably be true. Stecher and Biega did not have enough minutes to appear in the data. Sbisa has logged the most minutes (157 minutes so far), followed by Edler at 145. As for forwards, the numbers are surprising. Here they are from best to worst. Eriksson: 5.29 Sutter: 6.44 Granlund: 7.31 Burrows: 8.64 Horvat: 9.7 Hansen: 9.95 This is hard to believe. Eriksson has the best numbers and Hansen and Horvat have the worst. This must be partially explained by quality of competition. Horvat and Hansen had the toughest matchups, but the differences are much too big to be fully explained by matchups. It is not a shock to see Sutter near the top, and he has logged the most PK minutes among the forwards (130 minutes) and gets tough matchups. But Eriksson is a surprise for most of us. Some of the reporters (like Botchford, I think) have complained that Horvat is getting too much PK time (he has 123 minutes) and that he is more valuable as a scoring forward and should not be burned out on the PK. Botchford probably looked at the same numbers I did and that is probably right. Gaunce, by the way, did not have a lot of PK minutes but did very well in the minutes he had.
  15. Yup, 18 pts. back of the final wild card spot with 9 games left to play and with the tiebreaker against them. The Canucks are on pace to get exactly the same number of points as last year (75) but, with a tougher schedule, are likely to do worse than last year. And they are on target to break last years record for fewest goals ever scored by a Canuck team. They got 191 last year and are on pace of 187 this year. It has been a tough season. I also think they set a record for games played by replacement level players (i.e. the kind of guys who can always be picked up if needed -- through waivers, PTOs, call-ups from the AHL, coming back from Europe, etc.I have been critical of Benning but, in fairness, the Canucks have had more than their share of key injuries (again). He was good again tonight. Maybe the biggest positive surprise spot of the season. If Tryamkin wasn't the biggest bright spot, then Horvat was, although his quality of play is not a huge surprise (although he has already reached or exceeded what most draft commentators had as his ceiling when he was drafted). The other big positive was Stecher, although he has struggled a bit toward the end of the season.