Oh great, another FIRE WILLIE post, how original. No, you’re wrong, there’s no mention of firing Willie Desjardins so far. Everyone WANTS him to be fired but is this disaster really all his fault? The on-ice product currently has his stamp when it comes to line combinations, sit/start decisions and anything Medicine Hat Tigers related. What everyone is getting at right now is “What do we do with Willie?” And THAT my friends is the hottest taek in Canucks land right now.
The easy thing would be to fire him. The Canucks are 4-6-1 and somehow that’s a bad thing through 11 games, which is a bit messed up. The alarming stats are the reasons not only Willie might be worried for his job safety but ultimately Jim Benning for giving him the pieces he currently has. I know, I know, he inherited a good portion of this team but what Jimbo did with the new additions, draft picks, draft choices, and trades has set Willie up for failure to a certain degree.
If the Internet and Twitter wanted Willie fired you could make a case for the starting lineups. His hands I’m sure were tied for a time with regards to keeping Loui Eriksson with the Sedins as the top line. Eriksson hasn’t scored a goal FOR the Canucks yet and you can’t just keep doing the same thing there. The fancy stats prove that Jannik Hansen is without a doubt, the best choice on that line.
I can post articles if you don’t believe me. I even wrote a few of them. Look at me, the big writer guy. It’s been a tough go to start this season, I needed a pick me up. I’ll move on.
Starting a game with a line that employs Alex Burrows, Derek Dorsett and Brendan Gaunce might be a reason to point fingers but seriously guys (and gals) there’s no way you can define a game by one 0:30-second shift, give me a break. This team has way bigger issues than who takes the opening faceoff.
How about defense? Putting Philip Larsen on the top PP unit is a pretty big sell if you ask me. This guy has zero track record that suggests he should be given such a valuable position, let alone a roster spot when college free agent Troy Stecher signed and pulled the ol’ Ben Hutton and should have taken someone’s job (I could name a few guys if you like).
No point in putting Nikita Tryamkin in this mess, he came to camp out of shape and finally earned his first game against the Senators. As far as Benning goes, this is a tough situation because of the stipulations of bringing Tryamkin over and keeping him on the big club. It’s a shame that a player can bully his way into terms that favour only the player really.
Benning has harboured Alex Biega for some reason thinking he is such an amazing asset and he then factors into the sit/start equation. Willie has only so many guys that can play and keeping guys like Biega, Tryamkin, Stecher and at some point Larsen in a holding pattern hurts their development. Clearly, Jim Benning hasn’t figured out the GM role quite yet and the organisation is starting to suffer because of it.
But back to WD; his deployment of players like Luca Sbisa, Jack Skille and the lack of ice for Henrik and Daniel or even Bo raises flags. In crunch time situations, you would want your best players out on the ice, or at the very least the ones that can set you up to bring the best players on the ice; its so confusing.
Thankfully, Willie has adjusted his goalie starts to better reflect a fresh starter every night. The wins don’t reflect these starts but the losses shouldn’t be blamed on the masked men. This team doesn’t score goals and if the goalies are letting in 1-2 goals a night, that would WIN you games on almost any other team.
And there it is, the goal scoring. Eriksson hasn’t scored, Baertschi hasn’t scored, Virtanen hasn… you get the point. Here are all the goal scorers thus far for the Canucks this year:
Horvat – 4 goals, Henrik – 3, Hansen/Daniel/Granlund – 2, Sutter/Hutton/Edler -1
That is every goal scored through 11 games, realistically it’s 7 games with a goal. This isn’t over yet but over is on the next line. Somehow, Willie has to get a better game plan that puts goals in a realistic frame of mind. Funneling the puck to Larsen isn’t a recipe for success. Hansen on the top unit is. Horvat on the top unit is. If Troy Stecher was in a Canuck uniform, HE is.
The last two games have been dominated by Vancouver in the shot department, the CF% department and yes again, the goaltending department too! Against Montreal, Vancouver outshot 42-22 and somehow lost 3-0. In Ottawa, the Canucks won 61% of all faceoffs and had a 5v5 CF% of 57.14. They’re getting the in-game victories but the elusive “goal” seems to be the one thing they don’t have.
Firing Willie Desjardins isn’t going to solve the team’s problems. It might get the ball rolling but it’s not the answer. Jim Benning taking the fall is closer to the truth on this one. Moving away valuable pieces to a changing puzzle isn’t smart management. There’s no point in going over the ways Jim has failed us because we know the list.
As Petbugs of Canucks Army ranted on Twitter the other night, Benning and the Canucks are without a plan, a direction and are basically just “doing”.
so, i said some things last night. pretend you didn’t see them and read them again for the first time. https://t.co/XpVdP7s3fX
— nobody (@petbugs13) November 4, 2016
The problems with the future of this team aren’t their goalless streak, the mounting losses or even losing out on Auston Matthews and maybe even Nolan Patrick (let’s just say it so it’s out in the open), the problem is that management, whoever that truly represents, has very little idea of what can turn the team into a competitive product.
I believe Mike Gillis was let go too soon and we’ll never really know how he would have handled the rest of his time as GM. The reactive nature afterwards or constructive guessing, if you will, is the day to day task of shuffling the deck chairs. They get beat by a bigger team so they go bigger. They get beat by a faster team so they go faster. It keeps going on and on and on.
Utilizing the waiver wire properly, signing the “big name” when he’s still available and maybe even giving up and moving on from a player that is past his expiration date on the team… or worse, the league; these are all things the Canucks at some point could have done to keep this team as a potential contender.
Now, starting from the bottom is the team’s new reality. Player only meetings and healthy scratches will become a thing at some point this year and it has nothing to do with who’s on the team. This is such a bigger issue and firing Willie Desjardins as the “hot taek” or as I said, Jim Benning, is only the beginning.
The Vancouver Canucks are in disarray and they need to commit to the change they say they’re making and making the playoffs should not be part of their process.
Wow, that felt good.
Go Canucks Go… back to the drawing board.
Follow me on twitter: @always90four