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JamesB last won the day on May 1 2015

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Canucks Third-Line

Canucks Third-Line (10/16)



  1. 1. Yes, even if the season is completely cancelled, the players don't stop growing older. There will have to be a draft and the league will have to decide on a method for ranking the teams. 2. I think the obvious ranking approach will be to take winning percentage. On that basis, the Canucks would be in playoff position. 3. I don't think there is anything that stipulates what happens to conditional picks that depend on some outcome like "making the playoffs". 4. I am not sure why the Canucks would be given the option. I think it is more likely, as Rabbit suggests, that the teams will be allowed to negotiate and see if they can agree on which season the pick applies to. If the teams fail to agree then the league would have to make the call. 5. I think that the Canucks would probably prefer to keep the pick this year as they expect to be further up the standings next year. 6. Who knows what will happen with the pandemic, but if it comes under control, I think the NHL will try to get in a few games to equalize games played and then go ahead with the playoffs-possibly a full version or possibly an abbreviated version depending on how much time is available. 7. Given the trajectory of the virus in China and South Korea and the move into spring (when the normal flu declines), my guess is that the NHL will get some version of the playoffs in this year. But that is just a guess. Obviously there is a lot of uncertainty.
  2. Some quick late comments. 1. I don't suppose you can ever say a goalie "stole" a win when he gives up 4 goals, but Demko was very good tonight. He really was the difference. 2. The Canuck D-system does give up a lot of low probability shots from the outside. But tonight the Canucks gave up too many high quality chances as well (obviously). The Islanders was ahead 19-13 in high danger chances. 19 high danger chances is a big number. 3. Fantenberg and Myers were both -3 tonight and they deserved to be. They both played the 1st and 3rd NY goals poorly. On the first goal they just failed to clear the puck despite several chances. On the third goal, Fantenberg was beaten cleanly 1-on-1 by Nelson. Myers should have been coming over hard to get in the play but instead had his hand in the air complaining to the referee about a hand pass. The play was a legitimate play. Nelson made a hand pass to himself. Those guys struggled all night. Hope Tanev is not seriously hurt. If he is hurt, Benn will come in. (Benn has been better on the right side than on the left side.) 4. The line of EP, Toffoli and Miller was obviously very good again, generating lots of chances. 5. Great to see Boeser back. I don't think his timing looks 100% (which is expected). Hope he gets back to 100% in terms of timing and conditioning soon. 6. Hughes continues to be excellent, although he is a better player playing with Tanev than with anyone else. 7. Finally, good to see Edler get his 400th point (and 401st), extending his record for most career pts by a Canuck D. It was an exciting game and it was good to get the win. And the Canucks are still in the thick of the playoff race. MoneyPuck has them at 52% to make the playoffs. But they need to play better than they did tonight if they are going to make it. Obviously they need tighter D.
  3. Great to finally get a win after 4 straight losses. 1. In those four losses as a group the Canucks actually played pretty well. Every game could have gone either way and if they play that way in general you would expect 4 or 5 points out of a possible 8 instead of 0 pts out of 8. 2. Tonight was another game that could have gone either way and Colorado did actually have an edge in play. In fact, they had a pretty big edge in high danger chances (13-8). The Canucks were fortunate in that the Colorado goalie did not have a great night and the Canucks were able to capitalize on their chances. 3. A lot of people (including me) have been complaining that big Mac does not play enough. He only played about 7 minutes tonight and obviously had 2 big goals. He also led the team in hits with 4. And, unlike Motte, who also makes a lot of hits, a hit from MacEwen is something guys remember. (Nothing against Motte and I appreciate his energy but Big Mac brings a physical presence that this team needs.) 4. Loved the Gaudette, MacEwen, Roussel line overall. Gaudette made excellent plays on his two assists and he was instrumental in 4 of the 8 high danger chances the Canucks had tonight. Roussel has been disappointing this season but probably had his best game of the season tonight. 5. The Horvat line was hard-matched against the MacKinnon line -- and that is a tough job. Horvat had 12:55 against MacKinnon tonight at even strength and the other three centers COMBINED had only 3:38. So Horvat, Eriksson and Pearson had a tough job but they only gave up 1 goal to that line. Loui is taking a lot of heat in the PGT tonight and I was pretty unhappy with him in the first period. But he played a good defensive game in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I still hate signing him as UFA of course, but he deserves to be in the line-up based on his play tonight. 6. As for the Pettersson line, Miller continues to be a rock star. EP is struggling. He made a great play on the second goal but later in the game on the PP he had a lot of opportunities to shoot and did not shoot and then got frustrated and attempted a couple of low probability shots. He was also "credited" with 3 give-aways and I thought he had some other near-giveaways. He is still an excellent player but the last third of the season is obviously a challenge for him between fatigue and the changes in the de facto rules that allow a lot more holding, interference, etc. He just looks a bit frustrated. 7. Tanev is amazingly courageous -- among the league leaders is shot blocks again.He was out there against MacKinnon all night -- initially with Hughes but then Green switch edto go with Edler and Tanev against MacKinnon, which I think was the right call. Fantenberg had a solid game tonight. 8. Finally, what about Demko. He was okay. Obviously he has not been great in relief of Marky since the injury -- not bad, but not great, and he has had some bad luck. But maybe tonight's game can help him build some confidence. Bottom line: the Canucks are back in playoff position -- first in the wild card chase -- but with only a paper thin lead on Winnipeg, Minnie, Nashville and Arizona. No more margin for error.
  4. Saw the game in real time on TV but could not make comments until now. It is a bit late, but there are a few things I would like to add. It was far from a perfect game but there were quite a few positives. 1. Yes, a gritty character come-from-behind win for an important 2 pts after the long trip east and with Marky injured. 2. Demko was good. He gave the team a chance to win and the guys came through with the OT victory. 3. Toffoli coming up big since being acquired (at high cost) with the OT winner tonight and 5 pts in 3 games. I am feeling better about that trade now. 4. Although Montreal outshot the Canucks, the teams were basically even in high danger chances. Natural Stat Trick has it at 13-12 for Montreal. VancouverHabitant has a good commentary but I disagree with the statement that we had no business winning the game. This game could have gone either way. Obviously the Canucks started badly for about the first half of the first period. But Green made a good move to take the timeout and the Canucks were a lot better after that. I wonder what Green said. 5. Nice to see Gaudette and Virtanen come up big. They both had good games at a crucial time. 6. Horvat is showing a lot of leadership in my view and had another good game (after a poor start). But there are some not-so-great aspects to the game. 7. Yes, Hughes did have a subpar game. He was still good and still got on the board but struggled more defensively than he has recently. On the first Montreal goal, Domi passed the puck through Hughes for a goal-mouth chance that Byron put in the net. Hughes has great hand-eye coordination and normally picks off that pass or deflects it out of danger. That is just one example, He had a number of mis-step tonight in my view. In terms of high danger chances at 5-on-5 he was 3 for and 7 against. He is almost always ahead on that stat. He was definitely not at his best but, like a lot of great players, still managed to get on the board and help the team. 8. Opinion seems to mixed on EP. He had some good chances but couldn't bury anything. This year looks a bit like last year as he is slowing down in the last third of the season. (Although he has improved over last season overall and he was excellent last year.) Part of the problem is that the referees basically stop calling cross-checking and interference penalties in the final third of the season. I don't think it is bias, the do the same for both teams, but I am really getting p****d off about the amount of abuse EP takes -- crosschecks and interference all the time. I would like the NHL to figure out what rules they want and actually enforce them. 9. I would still like to see more team toughness. Montreal took some liberties tonight, There was some pushback but I would like to see more. I have suggested a couple of times that MacEwen should play in place of Roussel but Green keeps ignoring me. (i don't feel bad; he also ignored Benning's hint to play Big Mac.) Roussel had a reputation for being "tough to play against" but we have not seen much of that this year and not much scoring either. A lot of people would favor replacing Eriksson instead, but he still provides good defence and is good on the PK. 10. Bottom line: great to get the 2 pts and move on. Every point is huge at this stage. Hope Demko can keep it up.
  5. I am sorry if the title of this thread confused anyone. As @Arrow 1983 suggests, I was assuming that anyone currently on CDC would be aware that Benning decided to stand pat at the TDL. The idea of this thread is basically: "where are we now that the trade deadline has passed and we know how the D will look for the stretch run?" But that is kind of long for a title. And, as Arrow also said, I stated in the first line of the post that there were no changes to the D, so anyone who was confused by the title would not have been confused for long. But, anyway, my apologies if anyone feels their time was wasted. With Marky out, I think the issues facing the D are real, which leads to the following post from Nucker67: Nucker suggests moving Sutter to 3C for the playoffs. I have been thinking about that. I would be inclined to try that now. I have never been a big Sutter fan, but he has been playing pretty well since coming back from his latest injury. He is definitely better defensively than Gaudette. I know that Benning and Green see Gaudette as a center and want to develop him in that role. But it would not hurt to put him on the wing for the stretch drive. I think that would help team defence. Sutter is not a great playmaker, but those 3 guys (Sutter, Gaudette and Virtanen) should be able to generate reasonable secondary scoring. As for the 4th line, I would still be inclined to try MacEwen instead of Roussel, I think Eriksson will stay on the Horvat line until Boeser comes back. After that I would probably move Eriksson to the 4th line as he is good defensively and he is good on the PK, which makes it worth while to have him in the line-up. Finally, yes it would be nice to slot Tryamkin in. Hope he comes back this season. Fantenberg has been pretty good, but Tryamkin gives a dimension that is hard to match in size and strength in addition to solid defensive play.
  6. Okay, the trade deadline has come and gone and the Canuck D has the same top 7 guys now as it has had pretty much all season, although not in exactly the same order. Here is my read on the situation. 1. I am very happy that the Canucks did nothing to the D at the TDL. It would, of course, always be great to add someone really good, but that is either impossible to do at the TDL or too expensive. 2. In this case, there was a lot of talk about trading Stecher and maybe adding Tyson Barrie. The rumored asking price for Barrie was a first round pick AND a prospect. That is of course a ridiculous price so it is no surprise he did not move. (Barrie would have been a pure rental.) 3. On to Stecher. I was pleased to hear Benning say in his post-TDL press conference that he had NOT been shopping Stecher. He said that the Canucks received calls on Stecher and listened, but did not initiate anything. He added that he likes Stecher and commented on his high level of commitment and effort and his contribution to team chemistry. Maybe Benning was shading things a bit but he sounded fairly credible to me and I liked what he said. 4. Some people were saying that the Canucks might want to trade Stecher because he would cost too much to qualify as an RFA and they would risk losing him for nothing as they did with Hutton last year. That argument is ridiculous. Stecher will cost $2.3 million to qualify (less that Hutton would have cost last summer). He has being playing top 4 most of the season and doing a good job, including a long stretch when he and Edler were playing shutdown, although Hughes and Tanev have taken over that role. He has arbitration rights but loves being here and would probably sign at a reasonable cap hit. If you can get a solid top 4 D for 2.3 or even 3 million, that is a great deal and you take it. (Hutton would have cost 2.8 to qualilfy and Stecher is better offensively and defensively than Hutton). And if Stecher won't sign for a reasonable amount he would always be tradeable in the summer (unlike Hutton). Why weaken the defence now? Frankly, I would not trade Stecher as an RFA for Tyson Barrie as a rental straight up as Stecher is better defensively and that is the biggest concern on D right now. 5. Benning also talked about Hughes and indicated that he has been good all year but raised his game after the all-star break and just keeps getting better, surprising even Benning by how good he has become. One very important fact is that he and Tanev have taken over the primary shutdown pairing and, despite that, his +/- has improved and his scoring rate has improved. Last year EP had a great year but began to wear down about this point in the season (but still won the Calder easily). Hughes just keeps improving and is now clearly the Calder favorite. 6. There is a lot of concern today about Marky's injury. The concern is that the D has been allowing too many high quality chances and that Marky has bailed the team out. Unfortunately, there is a lot of validity to that concern. Here are some numbers. Right now, the Canucks are 12th in NHL in the winning percentage -- solidly in playoff position. They are 8th in goals for per 60 minutes and 13th in goals against per 60. But they are 21st in high danger chances against per 60. And, if we use expected goals against, which is probably the best available measure of defensive performance, it is even worse, as the Canucks are 28th in the league. So, yes, that is a problem. 7. Here are the numbers for expected goals against per 60 minutes on ice at 5-on-5 (from Natural Stat Trick). Keep in mind that low is good. Hughes: 2.27 Tanev: 2.51 Stecher: 2.55 Edler: 2.57 Myers: 2.59 Fantenberg: 2.71 Benn: 2.9 Okay, Hughes is having a fantastic season DEFENSIVELY as well as offensively. These numbers should really be adjusted for quality of opposition. That would make Hughes look even better. Tanev (his partner) deserves some credit, but Tanev is having a good season in part because of Hughes. And note that Stecher is third. (In fairness, Tanev, Stecher, Edler and Myers are all similar.) If you take quality of opposition into account, Myers would drop a bit and Fantenberg and Benn would drop quite a bit. But Fantenberg is a lot better than Benn. My point here is that by playing Fantenberg instead of Benn and by playing Hughes and Tanev as the shutdown pair, the D has improved. And the addition of Toffoli to the forwards won't hurt, although the EP line was already very good in not allowing many chances against. The Horvat line was also good. The bottom two forward lines have given up a lot of high danger chances per 60 minutes. 8. In the presser, Benning said that Myers has been "excellent" and some of the talking heads said something similar. That is not true. Myers has been okay to pretty good, and was a significant upgrade as the third pairing RD. But the Stecher/Edler pairing has been better than the Myers/Edler pairing was. I would also add that on the PK, Stecher has the best expected goals against per 60 on the team and. in terms of actual goals against per 60 is second after Motte. I would give Stecher more PK minutes. 8. In the presser, Benning mentioned MacEwen a couple of times. In terms of expected goals against per 60 at 5-on-5, Big Mac is ahead of Virtanen, Roussel, Motte and Schaller (who is now gone). I think Big Mac should be in the line-up. His defensive play has come a long way and of course he contributes a lot to the physical game and can put a few points on the board as well. I assume that Eriksson will stay on the Horvat line for now, but I would seriously consider putting Big Mac in for Roussel, who has struggled this season since coming back from surgery. 9. Finally, Benning said that rather than add D from outside at the deadline, he would rather give some guys in Utica a look. That sounds good to me. Rafferty and Brisebois probably both deserve a look. Bottom line: Yes, the D is a concern with Marky out. Hope he is not out long. But the general trend is positive.
  7. I can think of five possible reasons not to waive him. I am not saying I agree with these reasons. I am just setting out the possibilities. 1. By trading him away instead of waiving him, the Canucks lose his entire cap hit of 1.9 million. If they waive him, they only save about 1.1 million in cap relief. (Not a big difference, I know, and the Canucks may have had to sweeten the Toffoli trade slightly to get LA to take Schaller.) 2. Green believed that Schaller was ahead of MacEwen and Bailey on the depth chart. I suspect this is the main reason. For one thing, Green felt that Schaller could play on the PK, whereas he would not want to play either MacEwen or Bailey on the PK due to their "inexperience". Of course Motte is ahead of Schaller on the depth chart and is better on the PK and at 5-on-5 so when he got healthy the value of Schaller fell. 3. When Schaller was signed it is possible that Benning had a "gentleman's agreement" not to waive him as long as he played decently. Even if there is no such informal agreement, GMs often think that it shows "bad faith" to waive a guy shortly after signing him as a UFA and that this might make it harder to sign other UFAs. 4. I have heard Green say that Schaller was a popular guy "in the room", so maybe Green and Benning thought that he provided useful "intangibles" until they had to make cap room for Toffoli. 5. Schaller may have compromising photos of Benning and/or Green.
  8. @Crabcakes, you asked about buying out Loui next summer after paying his bonus. I still don't think it would make sense to buy him out. Whether the bonus is paid or not does not make any difference. Bonuses cannot be bought out. They are paid in full and count fully against the cap, whether there is a buyout or not. In Loui's 6 year contract for 36 million, most is bonus money -- 28 million. So, in each year 28/6 = 4.666 is counted against the cap for bonus money even if the Canucks buy him out. The remaining money is salary and that counts 1.3333 against the cap for a total cap hit of 6 million per year. The Canucks could buy out the last two years of the salary money. But they would still have to pay Loui 2/3 of his remaining salary money -- stretched out over 4 years instead of 2. In terms of the cap, I think they would save only about 1 million per year for the next two years but then would increase their cap hit by about 333,000 per year for the 2 years after that. They would be better off sending him to Utica, as they would save a 1 million a year off the cap with no later penalty. (And he might retire.) There is some chance his contract might be tradeable this summer after paying the bonus if there is a team that needs to hit the cap floor without paying out real money. Loui's cap hit will be 6 million per year but the team would only need to pay 2.5 million a year in real money. (And Louie's NTC changes so that he can "only" rule out 15 teams.) But right now, I think he is providing some value (nowhere near 6 million of course), but that is why he had not been sent to Utica.
  9. Nice summary from @DownUnderCanuck. It covered a lot of points I would have covered. I will just add a couple of things and emphasize a couple of things. 1. Note to Jim Benning: Do NOT trade Stecher. He had big game tonight and he has had a good season. For some reason Green is not high on Stecher and he always has to work his way up the line-up. But when he moved up to the first pairing with Edler, the team improved and he was solid. The Hughes/Tanev pairing has taken over as #1 pairing, but Stecher is still playing well in the top 4. It would be a mistake to mess up the team chemistry by trading away Stecher at the deadline and I doubt if they could replace what he brings to the team. 2. I agree that Fantenberg had a good game. I like his physical game. He was credited with 6 hits tonight. I wanted to be positive about Benn this season, but the Canucks are a much better team with Fantenberg in there instead. He is faster and more physical than Benn. 3. Speaking of 6 hits, the other guy credited with 6 hits tonight was Motte. With Motte and Fentenberg in the line-up the Canucks play a much higher energy game. And Motte had a nice assist on Stecher's goal. 4. The other guy I want to mention is Horvat. First, the line of Loui, Horvat and Pearson was matched up against the top-rated line in the NHL (the Bergeron line). And, as they did during the hot streak, they played great defensive hockey and great offensive hockey, outplaying that line at both ends of the ice. Horvat had a goal, but he could have had a couple more. And Pearson and Ericksson both scored as well. And Congratulations to Bo on the Gordie Howe hat trick. And Bo was 10-2 in the circle. 5. I don't want to ignore the obvious. Hughes just gets better and better and improved his chances of winning the Calder tonight. A lot of the media guys who vote on the trophy will have seen tonight's game and it didn't hurt to have the NHIC guys talking about him winning the Calder. And it was nice to see Toffoli get a couple of goals. He did well to be in the right place at at the right time and obviously has a very good shot, But Miller was the guy who did the hard work on those plays and he had another great game. 6. Obviously a great win and the highlight of the season so far. But, Boston was playing the second of back-to-backs on a tough road trip. And the Canucks did get a few fortunate bounces. Also, Boston did have a push in the first part of the third period and ultimately outshot the Canucks. However, Boston was throwing everything they could at the net. In terms of high danger chances, the Canucks crushed Boston 17-6 and were by far the better team tonight. 7. I hope it is possible to take this intensity forward. This was an emotional game for the team and there is always a worry that they come out flat in the next game. But I don't think that will happen and I expect a good road trip.
  10. Wow, the first period was good. But the second period was the best period of the year. And for a while it looked like Marchand might be hurt. But it turns out he was just getting his skate sharpened. Can't have everything.
  11. I was at the game tonight. Here are some late comments. 1. One of the highlights was the "top dog" race. Loved it. But I think Gus Horvat should have been given a head start. 2. Like a lot of other people, I made a point of watching Toffoli. He had a good first shift, playing with energy. Obviously he wanted to make a good impression. But for the rest of the first period and in the second it did not look like he had much chemistry with Miller and EP. At the beginning of the third I was thinking that this is where Green might shake things up and move Virtanen to play with EP and move Toffoli to play with Pearson and Horvat, dropping Eriksson down to the third line. But Green kept the lines stable. In his first shift in the 3rd period, Toffoli made a nice play to pick up the puck in his own end and made a great pass to Miller who rang a shot off the post. Later that shift, Miller deflected a slap pass from Toffoli for a goal, and that line played well from then on, including Miller's second goal. I was also pleased to see Toffoli get in the face of a Minnesota player who made a high hit on EP. Overall, Toffoli played a good game, including 4 shots and being credited with 2 hits. Whether people like the trade or not (and I don't) we can't complain about his performance in his first game. And he should only improve as he gets used to playing with EP and Miller. 3. Motte is back. I was interested to see the Beagle line (with Motte) start the game -- getting the shutdown job to start. I have commented that since late November, the Horvat line has had the lion's share of shutdown duty. Some people has said that the Beagle line "shared" the shutdown role. That is not true. At least the "sharing" is far from equal. I have checked the numbers on Natural Stat Trick after almost every game. In some games the Horvat line would get maybe 6 or 7 minutes of shutdown time and EP and Beagle would each get maybe 3 to 4. But sometimes, Horvat would get 9 or 10 minutes and Beagle would get 1 or 2. That was the range. Tonight Horvat had 7 minutes, EP had 4 minutes, and Beagle had 3 minutes against Staal. But, the point I want to make is that Motte was good. The line did better with Motte than it has recently without him. Also, Motte played with Beagle on the 1st PK unit. Tonight Motte made an excellent play on the PK to get the puck to Hughes coming out of the box. Hughes made a great play to get the puck to Beagle for a tap-in for the first Canuck goal. Motte also had 5 hits to lead the team. Glad to have him back. 4. I did not particularly intend to watch Hughes but I could not help it as he was the best player on the ice tonight in my view (although Miller was also very good).Every time he is on the ice I end up saying to myself "that was a good play", "that was a great play", etc. And that includes defensive plays as well as offensive plays. Whether it is skating the puck out of trouble in the D-zone, making a good pass to exit the D-zone with control, outskating an opponent to get to the puck first AND taking the right angle to avoid an effective forecheck, he makes a lot of great D-zone plays. And his O-zone play is obvious. He led all skaters with over 27 minutes tonight, and he and Tanev had the primary shutdown role, logging about 9 minutes at 5-on-5 against the Staal ine. RIght now Hughes is doing a great job at both ends of the ice. He is amazingly good for a rookie and has to be a contender for 1st overall in the redraft from his year and possibly the favorite (as he is for the Calder race). And he might make a run at EP's Canuck rookie scoring record. 5. The above comments are all positive. So how did the Canucks lose? Well, the Canucks were the better team overall, with more shots, more shot attempts, and, more importantly, more high danger chances. The margin was not huge and it was disappointing that the Canucks let the Wild mount a late charge to come back and tie the game in the third, But the Canucks played a solid game. 6. Markstrom was not up to his recent standard however. He made some good saves but all three goals were saves he could have made. The first shot of the game for the Wild scored, and it was a good shot, but Markstrom was not perfectly positioned. Normally in that situation the D (Tanev) takes away the pass and the goalie focuses on the shooter, but Marky was back in the net and cheating toward the middle. The other two goals were kind of unlucky and maybe there was not much Marky could do but they looked like the kind of play Marky might make when he is on top of his game, even the puck that bounced off Stecher's face. 7. People are kind of tough of Stecher. He is going through a bit of a tough stretch but his play is not that bad. And the rumours about him being on the trade block probably do not help. Benn is the guy who been really struggling. He made a bad mistake on the first Minnesota goal -- going for a puck in the neutral zone, getting beat, being out of position, and opening up the 2-on-1 that scored. He gets protected minutes (he was on the ice for only 27 seconds against the Staal line) and still gives up way too much defensively and contributes very little offensively.. His slow skating speed looks like an issue to me. I hope Fantenberg is healthy soon. (And, yes, Eriksson had a poor game and I agree that I would rather see Big Mac in there instead.) 8. Like everyone else I am kind of nervous about where the Canucks are right now. They are clinging to a playoff spot but obviously they need some wins soon, and they have a tough game coming up against Boston.
  12. Benning has been impatient all along and the team still managed to do badly enough to collect some high draft picks. And Benning (or Brackett) did a good job with those picks overall. Not having a first or second round pick this year is a big cost. Good call by R3aL Toffoli is a good player, but I am pretty sure this turns into a rental. For one thing, with EP and Hughes coming up for new contracts soon,, and Marky needing a new contract now, I don't see how the Canucks have cap room to re-sign Toffoli. If they do, I don't see a lot of cap room for Virtanen or Tanev to be re-signed. Schaller is not much more than a replacement-level player so he is no loss and this saves some cap space. Being willing to take Schaller was a concession by LA. So this trade is basically a short-term rental of Toffoli in return for Madden and a 2nd round pick. Madden is a very good prospect who would have been cost-controlled and in the system for years. The Canucks are trading that away to improve their playoff hopes this year. If the Canucks make the playoffs, okay. At least there is some return. But if they don't, I think Benning should be fired. As for Brackett, I don't expect him to be back unless he gets a promotion to AGM. I get the sense that there is some friction between him and Benning. And he won't like this deal. Madden was Brackett's guy. Drafting is the one thing this team has done well and this is Brackett's reward. Benning is selling the farm to try to make the playoffs this year -- the trade for Miller (which has worked out well), overpaying Myers as a UFA (which improved the D, but at high cost that will haunt the team later when they have to re-sign Hughes and EP ). With Ericksson, Beagle and Roussel all on the books for a while yet I see cap problems. If the Canucks have worked out a deal with Toffoli's agent to re-sign him for a reasonable cap hit, I will take all this back. He would be a great guy to have around for the next few years. But, if not, I don't like this deal.
  13. Some quick post-game comments: 1. Usually the team with the better goalie wins. That happened today. Demko has been good this year and he made some good saves today but, overall, he did not have a good game. We have been spoiled by Markey keeping the team in the game even when outplayed early. That did not happen today. 2. I am not sure about the defensive system. The Canucks play a system that, in theory, allows the opposing to take a lot of shots from the outside but keeps down the high danger chances. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Canucks had more high danger scoring chances today (14 to 11) and were ahead 13-7 at even strength. Still, I would prefer the Canucks to be more aggressive in taking away time and space in their own zone. 3. Based on the high danger chances, the Canucks deserved better today. Not saying it was a great game, but it was not as bad as the score suggests. And I think Nazzy is right in suggesting that the emotional strain of the week probably took a toll. 4. I agree with Spook (aka James Bond) that size and toughness is an issue. It has been discussed a lot lately, especially with Ferland probably out for the season. I certainly want to see Bailey back in for Schaller. Between Bailey and Big Mac we might be okay. 5. As for individuals, the Gaudette line (with Sutter and Roussel) gave up all three even strength goals against and were -3. Gaudette was playing hard, but that line has been giving up too much and Roussel has never regained the game he had last year. If Leivo gets healthy again I could see him with Gaudette and Sutter. Horvat had over 21 minutes today., mostly with Pearson, and with either Big Mac or Eriksson on the other wing. Both those combinations were pretty good. And Beagle had a good game. Virtanen had a poor game in my view. I would like to get Boeser back with EP. Hope he is ok soon. 6. On defence, obviously Stecher had a bad game. He was indirectly responsible for two goals against and had the worst Corsi numbers on the team. And he just did not look good. I like Stecher, but his position on the team might be vulnerable with Rafferty waiting for a chance. Hughes had an excellent game. He led the team in ice-time by a big margin and had the best Corsi numbers on the team (and made a nice pass on EP's goal, getting the puck in just the right spot for the one-timer). 7. Bottom line: It was a disappointing loss against a poor team, but the Canucks were not really as bad as the score. The key is to come back strong in the next game. If the Canucks lose against Minny on Wednesday, I really will begin to worry. But, with some downtime for a couple of days and Marky back in the net, I expect a better outcome.
  14. Just weighing in on the Schaller vs. Bailey situation. 1. First, Bailey has not yet won the trust of Green. He only played 3 minutes in the last game. Personally, I like Bailey's game -- good size, physical play, high energy, good speed, and he was scoring in Utica. I would like to see more of him. But Green is not sold yet. And he obviously sees more than most of us do, especially with the benefit of video and input from the video coaches. 2. As for Schaller, he has not been as good with the Canucks as he was with Boston, which means that he has been a disappointment. His 6 pts in 50 games this year is poor, even for a guy playing only about 9 or 10 minutes a game. The only forward on the team with a lower even strength pts per 60 number is Beagle. Schaller's +/- of -13 is poor, as are his Corsi numbers. And that is not explainable on the basis of tough quality of opposition, as the Horvat line took over the primary shutdown duty in late November and the Beagle line has had a quality of opposition that is no better than average and probably weaker than average. However, Schaller is good on the PK. He has played more PK minutes this year than any forward except for Beagle, and his goals against per 60 minutes is better than Beagle or Sutter. He also has a good number for hits per 60 minutes. And he has shown flashes of good offensive performance this year. So, bottom line: just having Schaller around for the PK is a big plus, as Green would not trust Bailey on the PK. Also, if Schaller is rested and able to play a high energy game, he can be very valuable in terms of the physical game. And he has been a solid NHL player for quite a few years. Green probably thinks Schaller is a better bet than Bailey for the stretch run and would like to give him some confidence--or at least give him another shot to show that he should be in the line-up.
  15. Big Night in Canuck history -- the night the Canucks give their highest honour to the Sedin twins. Oh, and there was a hockey game too. Here are my takeaways. 1. The ceremony was very moving. Great job by Shorty, by the Canucks, and by the Sedins. I am sure there were quite a few tears shed in the arena and at home. It certainly brought back a lot of memories. It was good to see Kesler get a big ovation from the crowd. Yes, he was a jerk, but he was also a great player for the Canucks who put 100% on the ice every night and was a big part of the great team we had for a few years. I also really enjoyed the big ovation Trevor Linden received. 2. The Sedins recognized a lot of people. It was good to see them acknowledge Crow and it was typical of them to mention the trainers and equipment guys as well as the big names. It is obvious the Sedins have a very high regard for their teammates, but especially Naslund, Edler, and Linden. My sentiments exactly. 3. And it was good to see so many people show up -- real testimony to the Sedins as people. Good to see their former GMs there, among others. As Elliot Friedman said, a lot of the people there don't get a long too well with each other, but they put the Sedins ahead of their own egos. Great to see, 4. On to the game. The big story is pretty obvious--Marky, with not just a steal, but with grand larceny. And it was great to see him finally get another shutout. He has been excellent this year but this was just his second shutout of the season and he had only one all last year. He really deserved this one and set a Canuck record for the most saves by a goalie in a shutout win. 5. After the emotional ceremony with the Canucks there on the bench I was not surprised to see the team get a slow start, It must have been hard to get their minds (and their feet) into the game. And the Canucks did bounce back in the later part of the first period and got a nice goal from Horvat. But the Canucks never really got untracked. However, while Chicago dominated play, it was not quite as bad as the shot totals suggest as Chicago was taking a lot of low probability shots (along with quite a few high danger chances as well). The Canucks seemed to get a fair amount of o-zone time without actually getting a shot attempt. I admit that Chicago did dominate plays. It just was not quite a bad as it looked from Corsi numbers or shot totals. 6. Credit to Sutter. I have generally been critical of Sutter ever since the trade but I think tonight might have been his best game as a Canuck. Sutter is not regarded as a great passer, but he made a couple of very nice passes on the first two Canuck goals. And he deserved to get the empty netter at the end. He played an excellent game on the PK as well. So, credit to Sutter. I really hope he can keep it up. 7. Bailey got only 3 minutes of ice-time. Part of the issue was penalties as the Canucks had 5 penalties to kill off, along with some empty net minutes at the end. Bailey started the game playing with Beagle and Eriksson, but Beagle and Eriksson are key guys on the PK. After every PK, the Horvat line and EP line would get big minutes. The other part of it was that Green was just struggling to get good defensive combinations on the ice, especially in the third period, and apparently does not yet have a lot of confidence in Bailey. (Of course, for all I know maybe Bailey was hurt, but my guess is that the issue was tactical.) 8. Great to get the win on the night the Sedin numbers go the rafters. It caps off a great night. Now the Canucks can get some rest and they should come back strong on Sunday against Anaheim.
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