Horvats_Big_Head

Early Season Musings: A Big Head Edition

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Willie's deployment isn't controversial at all. He's a rookie coach and wants to be on the winning side of things for his resume and his employer. He isn't willing to compromise winning for the sake of developing one kid.

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Just now, Roger Neilson's Towel said:

 

Technically? The answer is one.

::D

Apparently not to everyone.  

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Not to sidetrack things but every coach is or was a rookie. Some were good, some were not so good. Some went on to be great, some not.   I get that a lot of posters can't stand Willie. I'm not a fan of or not a fan of Willie.  Maybe we would do better with a new coach, maybe not. Willie really isn't the problem though and he isn't the solution. By the time we are good again Willie will be happily retired and we may be on a 2nd or 3rd Coach After Willie. No matter how many draft picks we accumulate this will take time. A lot of time. Problem is people who want to tank don't have the patience for it.... Witness many of the comments in the Virtanen threads. Kids don't even get 2 years anymore.  I dunno, maybe we don't deserve a team any more.

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Personally I think a proper rebuild is needed.

Yes we're one of the youngest teams in the NHL (minus Sedin/Burrows), but the young players we have aren't really that exceptional (not including Horvat, Baer, and Virtanen, Markstrom).

 

We have decent prospects and we need to grow that pool of prospects through draft. Something Benning knows how to do. He needs to be given the leash trade for Picks and then draft well for the future.

 

I've said it before in other threads and i'll say it again.. Leafs did it right for last 2-3 years. They were awful and they cleaned house. They signed free agents for 1 year deals and traded them at deadline for picks and then drafted well.

 

Their cupboards are full now and their prospects are thriving and putting up solid numbers already.

 

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52 minutes ago, Horvats_Big_Head said:

Hello all, I've taken a break from the boards the last couple weeks, because I wanted to just wait and see how the team performed up until now. I have watched, or tried to watch, most games throughout this terrible stretch of Canucks hockey, and want to sort through all of the CDC BS so possibly we can come up with some real solutions to the problem. Here are my observations:

 

1. After a hot 4-0 start, we have now just obtained 5 out of a possible 26 points in the last 13 games. That is just abyssmal. Added to the fact that in the first 3 wins of the season we never led ONCE in the game. They have played well as a unit throughout stretches of games, but seem to give up far too many opportunities against. They were lucky to even have a chance in the Dallas win last Sunday.

 

2. WD's deployment is again at the center of controversy. Never plays Jakes, and when he does, gives Jake hardly any chance to prove himself. I thought earlier in the year, it was fun to watch Jake, Baer, and Horvat on a line, and thought that should've stayed that way. However, I am glad Jake is in Utica now, away from WD. Aside from the Virt situation, playing Dorsett in the top 6, starting the season with Horvat at on 4th line (glad thats over), not matching up the Sedins to weaker D pairs, the amount he plays Jack "no" Skille, are just a few of the other very questionable decisions by this inexperienced coach. Did I say I hate his twitching? I really hate it, he looks so nervous all the time it must rub off on the players in some way. I give WD until the midway point of the season to either resurrect this group, or be fired. He won't be fired before Christmas, that is for sure. 

 

3. Young players: I am not even going to go into Baer but he has struggled mightily this year. He just needs to start finishing his chances. Horvat has been a beast this year and has surpassed my expectations. I truly think he is the future C of this team and he is proving it with every game. Stecher has been a nice surprise, although his defensive play is not real good, his offensive skills and puck moving ability out weigh that for now in my opinion. Hutton has taken a little bit of a step back this year but I think he will work his way out of it.

The real disappointment for me this year has been Gaunce, which I don't see a lot of chatter about. He was great in preseason, but watching him every game gets me questioning if he is NHL ready. A lot of his passes are off the mark or get blocked, he seems to lose a majority of 50/50 battles along the boards, which is something I would expect him to excel at. I know he is only the 4C, but I don't really see him bringing much energy to the team, other than him skating hard around the ice not really accomplishing a whole lot. I honestly can't picture Gaunce taking one shot on goal from what I have watched. If anybody disagrees with me here I would like to know, because at this point, he is a fringe NHLer. 

 

4. The rest of the season: So what kind of team are we? Are we rebuilding or are we going for the playoffs? I think most fans hope for the former, but nobody truly knows. JB should know, but I doubt he does either. If we are going for the playoffs and trade either Hutton/Tanev for Kane, I think that would be a huge mistake. Some say that the emergence of Stecher has made Tanev expendable, but I can see that our defensive coverage is MUCH worse without Tanev. Losing Hutton would be even more catastrophic, the kid has a bright future and is just working through a sophomore slump. The only defenceman I can stomach losing would be Sbisa, but thats not going to happen. To get Kane we would have to add a great piece on top of Sbisa for Buffalo to even consider it. The way I see it, adding another top 6 forward is too expensive for our future right now, we should be focused on getting another high draft pick this year, firing WD, and turning this ship around next year with more experience for our younger players and more young players coming through the pipeline. 

 

5. The Vets: Sedins are getting worse, Hank won't shoot at open nets, Sutter has looked decent but not the foundational type that Benning crowned to him. Dorsett has shown leadership but he is just not very good. 

 

So what do we do CDC? Lets have a real discussion instead of all the "sky is falling" crap. If you truly think this team could fight for the playoffs, I would like to hear why. I would also particularly like to hear your opinions of Gaunce. 

 

 

I respect WD as a person and I think the players also respect him. But, if everyone on your team is in a slump/struggling, then the common factor is usually coaching. See Pittsburgh last season for example. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, etc, all those stars were struggling to score. It wasn't just one or two guys, but all of them. Then, a new coach comes in and everyone starts scoring.

 

Look at the Canucks. Eriksson is struggling. Sedins struggled/struggles at times. Baertschi is struggling. Almost everyone on this team is underperforming and no one is overperforming. Even Horvat is playing to his abilities, not over his abilities. OK, only Hansen was overperforming but he is now injured.

 

It's not about playing Virtanen more or less. Most of us don't care about that issue, it's a small issue.  I think Jake needs to play in the AHL for a season anyways so that he can play in all situations including PP. The problem with coaching goes deeper. It's the lack of system to generate offence and at times, defensive breakdowns resulting in quick goals for the oppositions.  

 

Other issues are as following:

 

When AV was the coach here, he commented about Sedins' ice time. Apparently, some research/experiment was conducted and found 18-19 minutes to be the ideal ice time for the duo. Now, they are playing 21 minutes. It's like Torts era all over again. They looked better with Sutter but they still should not be playing more than 20 minutes.

 

Horvat's deployment is another issue. Horvat has to take Kesler's role at some point. He has gotta be trusted upon to play 18-20 minutes a game. There just isn't an alternative at this point, especially with Sutter on Henrik's wing. Is he at Kesler's level? Not yet. He will make mistakes but he is the best we've got at this point. And, sometimes you see Horvat get 14 minutes and wonder, what is going on?

 

Dorsett. He is a warrior. I respect this player a lot for what he brings and what he does for the team. But sending him out with two minutes left, down by a goal? You need players with skill that can maneuver the tight space and thread a pass when going 6 on 5. Not Dorsett. 

 

There's just not very much evidence based decision making going on with this team at the moment. Is that all on the coach? No. Absolutely not. I think JB is partly to blame. Not handling Virtanen's development well is definitely on JB. But the offensive system, defensive structure, line combination, and in general, the ability for the players to trust each other and play as a team, these things are all on the coach. The main issue is that we don't have the personnel, yes, but even bigger problem is that these players don't even have good teamwork. I think that's on the coach.

 

 

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Even though they started 4-0, I wouldn't call that a "hot start" when you actually look at the games and how they won.

 

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Gaunce:  yes he has been less effective in the regular season than he was in preseason, but so has the whole team.  He's a rookie, shows good things at times then reminds us he is still learning.  I don't think he is in anyway responsible for this teams record though.

 

As for the coaching.  He was asked to implement a more structured system this year.  aka the trap.  Daniel and Henrik had decent point totals in the previous years under Willie.  If scoring is down you can't blame the coach for doing what he has been asked.  Although it seems like he will take the fall for it.  It was obvious that last year when he let his players focus more on offense it didn't produce wins.  Focusing on defense hasn't either.  Is that the coaches fault or a testament to the roster depth?

 

I agree with @khay that Horvat needs to be playing bigger minutes and the Sedin's roles scaled back.  As much as I hope that happens, it still isn't going to change the outcome of many of the games.  We need to let the year play out and hope that some prospects can step in next year and we see some improvement.

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Willie can only coach the players he is given. So, not all of this poor season is on his plate; in fact I would say less than half is coaching (the entire staff). I mean, line by line:

 

Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson   I think it was becoming apparent last season, and even the season before, that the twins are slowing down quickly. They were never the fastest players, but what little they had is gone. Their current contract needs to be their last with the club. I wouldn't trade them, but all players, at some point, finally have the game catch up to them (unless you're Jaromir Jagr: quick, find out what the h**l he is taking!!!). Eriksson has been known to have slow starts, I'm willing to wait on him, but I would place him on a different line.

 

Granlund-Sutter-Burrows   Third line, not second. That was the problem with Horvat last year, he was matched up against players that were basically above him. i'm definitely not a fan of the trade for Sutter, and way not a fan of his contract. Burrows gets the same treatment as the twins. Granlund; ok Benning, you won this one (so far), but he too is not a top-six player...yet. Him, I'll give some leeway

 

Baer-Horvat-Virt   Horvat is the one forward (that's not injured) that is playing at or above his line status. I'd like him to be the #1 center at even str. Baer is struggling, but I believe he will come around. Virt is where he belongs, for now, in Utica. I know Burrows has been playing here, but I would really like to see Eriksson here.

 

Guance-et al   Guance is playing...meh. Dorsett belongs here, no where else. Skille...Benning, WHY???

 

Injured: Hansen   I think we all agree on the Honey Badger. For him to go after the jacka** from the Maple Laughs, with a broken rib, says it all about him. No way does he go anywhere, we would never get value for him. Megna   I don't know that much about him, but he seems like a halfway decent 4th line center with some playmaking abilities. Rodin   he seems to have playmaking abilities that would complement Sutter's shoot first mentality, along with good to very good speed

 

Overall on the forwards. I would have no problems trading: Granlund, Guance, Dorsett, Skille, Megna. Would we get much? Nah...not much more than a 3rd-4th, at best, for any of them, and wouldn't be surprised down to a 5th.

 

What I would like to see for the remainder of the year:

Baer-Horvat-Eriksson

Sedin-Sedin-Hansen (once he's back)

Rodin (once he's back)-Sutter-Burrows

Dorsett-Megna-Labate

Grenier

 

Defense

Much has been said about Hutton and Guddy not playing well together. Uh yeah, agreed. So

Tanev - Gudbranson

Tryamkin - Stetcher

Sbisa - Hutton

Edler; trade him. Either he or Tanev would fetch the best return on this team. Tanev is younger, steadier (less prone to brain farts), plays positional so he is not dependent on hard checks, and has a nice contract. Edler could really help a contending team, playing in their second pairing. I could see a 1st (low, like 20th or lower) and maybe, maybe a depth player.

Biega stays up, gets his remaining games (I believe 18 now) to be eligible for the expansion draft. I would cycle through some of the depth D in Utica, including Subban, to see if any really have the wherewithal to make the NHL. All but Pedan; I would keep him nicely kept and protected in Utica.

Larssen; he stays with the team until the trade deadline, then goes to whatever club believes that they are a second power play away from true contention.

 

Markstrom   not entirely sold yet. He's way improved from when we got him, but...is he truly a #1?

Miller   bye-bye at the trade deadline.    A 2nd + ?

 

Now the coaches. Again, WD has not been given that good of a team. But...I do agree with many, he has multiple game management decisions that quite frankly are puzzling at best, and god-awful at worst. Jarvis...I don't see much improvement with the special teams. Malhotra   if its just faceoffs, then he's doing what he is supposed to; Horvat's back over 50%, Megna was over 50%. Overall...new coach after the season. I would rather not have one a mid-season come in and set fire to this team, barely make the playoffs just to get blown out or just barely miss out, and end up with a #1 in the teens.

 

I don't get to see all of the games, so yeah I have probably missed some things. Fair enough...this is just opinion.

 

Edited by Father Ryan
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1 hour ago, Mathew Barzal said:

Willie's deployment isn't controversial at all. He's a rookie coach and wants to be on the winning side of things for his resume and his employer. He isn't willing to compromise winning for the sake of developing one kid.

 

this!

 

boom done, 

 

i think WD would like to play the style he and Linden talked about, but if you have no guys who can score and you want to try and get another NHL job someday, you do what you have to do

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My heart is broken for the few diehards that still believe this is a playoff caliber core. 

 

As ghetto as we are, so is the rest of the west. 

 

Imagine how confused the "Tankers" and the "on the flyers" would be if we made the playoffs with a sub 500 record.  

 

Tanker - this team is garbage.

Flyboy - this is a playoff team. 

Tanker and Flyboy shake hands. 

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2 hours ago, Horvats_Big_Head said:

Hello all, I've taken a break from the boards the last couple weeks, because I wanted to just wait and see how the team performed up until now. I have watched, or tried to watch, most games throughout this terrible stretch of Canucks hockey, and want to sort through all of the CDC BS so possibly we can come up with some real solutions to the problem. Here are my observations:

 

1. After a hot 4-0 start, we have now just obtained 5 out of a possible 26 points in the last 13 games. That is just abyssmal. Added to the fact that in the first 3 wins of the season we never led ONCE in the game. They have played well as a unit throughout stretches of games, but seem to give up far too many opportunities against. They were lucky to even have a chance in the Dallas win last Sunday.

 

2. WD's deployment is again at the center of controversy. Never plays Jakes, and when he does, gives Jake hardly any chance to prove himself. I thought earlier in the year, it was fun to watch Jake, Baer, and Horvat on a line, and thought that should've stayed that way. However, I am glad Jake is in Utica now, away from WD. Aside from the Virt situation, playing Dorsett in the top 6, starting the season with Horvat at on 4th line (glad thats over), not matching up the Sedins to weaker D pairs, the amount he plays Jack "no" Skille, are just a few of the other very questionable decisions by this inexperienced coach. Did I say I hate his twitching? I really hate it, he looks so nervous all the time it must rub off on the players in some way. I give WD until the midway point of the season to either resurrect this group, or be fired. He won't be fired before Christmas, that is for sure. 

 

3. Young players: I am not even going to go into Baer but he has struggled mightily this year. He just needs to start finishing his chances. Horvat has been a beast this year and has surpassed my expectations. I truly think he is the future C of this team and he is proving it with every game. Stecher has been a nice surprise, although his defensive play is not real good, his offensive skills and puck moving ability out weigh that for now in my opinion. Hutton has taken a little bit of a step back this year but I think he will work his way out of it.

The real disappointment for me this year has been Gaunce, which I don't see a lot of chatter about. He was great in preseason, but watching him every game gets me questioning if he is NHL ready. A lot of his passes are off the mark or get blocked, he seems to lose a majority of 50/50 battles along the boards, which is something I would expect him to excel at. I know he is only the 4C, but I don't really see him bringing much energy to the team, other than him skating hard around the ice not really accomplishing a whole lot. I honestly can't picture Gaunce taking one shot on goal from what I have watched. If anybody disagrees with me here I would like to know, because at this point, he is a fringe NHLer. 

 

4. The rest of the season: So what kind of team are we? Are we rebuilding or are we going for the playoffs? I think most fans hope for the former, but nobody truly knows. JB should know, but I doubt he does either. If we are going for the playoffs and trade either Hutton/Tanev for Kane, I think that would be a huge mistake. Some say that the emergence of Stecher has made Tanev expendable, but I can see that our defensive coverage is MUCH worse without Tanev. Losing Hutton would be even more catastrophic, the kid has a bright future and is just working through a sophomore slump. The only defenceman I can stomach losing would be Sbisa, but thats not going to happen. To get Kane we would have to add a great piece on top of Sbisa for Buffalo to even consider it. The way I see it, adding another top 6 forward is too expensive for our future right now, we should be focused on getting another high draft pick this year, firing WD, and turning this ship around next year with more experience for our younger players and more young players coming through the pipeline. 

 

5. The Vets: Sedins are getting worse, Hank won't shoot at open nets, Sutter has looked decent but not the foundational type that Benning crowned to him. Dorsett has shown leadership but he is just not very good. 

 

So what do we do CDC? Lets have a real discussion instead of all the "sky is falling" crap. If you truly think this team could fight for the playoffs, I would like to hear why. I would also particularly like to hear your opinions of Gaunce. 

 

 

Stopped reading here.

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2 hours ago, CeeBee51 said:

Not to sidetrack things but every coach is or was a rookie. Some were good, some were not so good. Some went on to be great, some not.   I get that a lot of posters can't stand Willie. I'm not a fan of or not a fan of Willie.  Maybe we would do better with a new coach, maybe not. Willie really isn't the problem though and he isn't the solution. By the time we are good again Willie will be happily retired and we may be on a 2nd or 3rd Coach After Willie. No matter how many draft picks we accumulate this will take time. A lot of time. Problem is people who want to tank don't have the patience for it.... Witness many of the comments in the Virtanen threads. Kids don't even get 2 years anymore.  I dunno, maybe we don't deserve a team any more.

We deserve more knowledgable fans  for sure. Not the Province and 1040 parrots that make up the majority of posters.

 

Bo was never a 4th line guy this year. He started there at the beginning of game one. That's it - I think the 'stache was trying to remind him what made him sucessful last year.

 

Gaunce - meh. Easily replaceable type of player. Think Steve Bernier,  Taylor Pyatt without the hype.  

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2 hours ago, CeeBee51 said:

Not to sidetrack things but every coach is or was a rookie. Some were good, some were not so good. Some went on to be great, some not.   I get that a lot of posters can't stand Willie. I'm not a fan of or not a fan of Willie.  Maybe we would do better with a new coach, maybe not. Willie really isn't the problem though and he isn't the solution. By the time we are good again Willie will be happily retired and we may be on a 2nd or 3rd Coach After Willie. No matter how many draft picks we accumulate this will take time. A lot of time. Problem is people who want to tank don't have the patience for it.... Witness many of the comments in the Virtanen threads. Kids don't even get 2 years anymore.  I dunno, maybe we don't deserve a team any more.

 

He might be the solution in 2 years, in fact I think he would.

 

In the meantime no one is going to get this team to the playoffs if we can't convert our NUMEROUS chances. And if we can, most of us would not be having this conversation. This is a player problem, a timeline replacement problem, that had its roots in the last 4 seasons of Gillis's management. 

 

We have to get 20 promising players channeled through Utica, at present we maybe have 6-8 in the pipeline. In two years we will be up at about 12 and in 3 years hopefully 18-20. If JB has done his job we will get 6-8 who will boost this team up the league.

 

Why anyone expects it to happen any other way defeats me. Every successful team in the league has taken 5-8 years to build a contender.

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2 hours ago, k_man08 said:

Personally I think a proper rebuild is needed.

Yes we're one of the youngest teams in the NHL (minus Sedin/Burrows), but the young players we have aren't really that exceptional (not including Horvat, Baer, and Virtanen, Markstrom).

 

We have decent prospects and we need to grow that pool of prospects through draft. Something Benning knows how to do. He needs to be given the leash trade for Picks and then draft well for the future.

 

I've said it before in other threads and i'll say it again.. Leafs did it right for last 2-3 years. They were awful and they cleaned house. They signed free agents for 1 year deals and traded them at deadline for picks and then drafted well.

 

Their cupboards are full now and their prospects are thriving and putting up solid numbers already.

 

What would a proper rebuild mean to you?
Sedins aren't likely going anywhere.
The remaining vets aren't valuable trade assets right now. We are probably getting marginal draft picks at best for many of our vets. If (that's a big "if") other teams even want them.
Goalie market is weak. Miller won't go for much. Burrows won't go for much. Hansen might net something decent, but don't expect a roster changing return for him.
Tanev may be the only asset we have that'd net a significant return.
And let's say we do unload all our vets. Who takes their place? Our pool of prospects is actually pretty shallow. We have next to nothing in Utica. Players like Labate, Zalewski? They are marginal roster players at best. Nothing that will change the outlook of our team going forward.
So what does a proper rebuild mean to you? What are realistic things we can do? Not trying to be rhetorical. I really want to hear answers because a lot of people want to go younger and unload vets, but what dos that actually mean with realistic examples of moves we could make?

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Can we at least wait until Toronto actually wins something this century before we say that they are the team to emulate?

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