Rumours

Debunking Your Canucks Arguments Because You’re Wrong

Since moving away from the lower mainland a few years ago, my intake of radio armchair GM’s has dropped dramatically. Thankfully I have been able to take a more thought out approach to my opinions without being influenced by the wacky ideas and comments that flood Vancouver sports radio on a day to day basis. Don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for the “intelligent” minds there really is only talking heads, that participation is crucial.

That being said, there are a few arguments out there that seem to gain steam, some that are downright ridiculous and believe it or not, a few good ones. WIth all the opinions out there, there’s bound to be a few that actually make sense. However, the wrong ones are the ones we debate the most and I am going to rip through all of those zany ideas and show you why you’re wrong. 

(Now go to your kitchen cupboards and grab a grain of salt.)

THE ARGUMENT: The Sedins are second liners now; they don’t have what it takes to be a top line anymore.

WHY YOU’RE WRONG: This one got me thinking after listening to the latest Pass it to Bulis podcast. You’d be hardpressed to find more than maybe eight teams that they wouldn’t be top line players. As far as the Canucks are concerned, they are still the number one line. They still  get the top matchups every night and lead the team by 11 points at 60 with Radim Vrbata next at 49. The drop off is huge after that. Nick Bonino, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen all have 30 and down it goes after that.

Second line players don’t lead your team in points, well this team anyways. Until the Sedins show a dramatic drop off or they retire, odds are they are going to be the top line in Vancouver. They aren’t 100 point players anymore and maybe the 80’s are as high as they get now but by the looks of this season, 60 points this late is really good. John Tavares of the Islanders has 72 points for the league lead. Enough said. 

So if you have some crazy notion that Nick Bonino, Radim Vrbata and Shawn Matthias are your top line, or that Sidney Crosby is done too, you are very wrong.



 

THE ARGUMENT: The Canucks aren’t a very good team.

WHY YOU’RE WRONG…..TO A DEGREE: The Canucks are definitely not the king of the castle anymore, but they are way better than a season ago and really, better than they were in 2012. As soon as they lost the Cup in 2011 everything changed. Countless identity changes later, Vancouver finally is following a path that seems to be paying off. Credit WIllie Desjardins, Trevor Linden and Jim Benning for changing it to its current state.

The power play this season is atrocious I’ll give you that and sure, they don’t score a ton of goals and yes I’ll agree they seem to enjoy being down two and three goals before they get their game going; but if you take away the fancy stats and some of the basic ones, they’re second in the Pacific. Albeit, a weak division that had their way with the Canucks last year, aside from a large collapse the Canucks are playing for the Stanley Cup this year.

Losing to the awful teams sure doesn’t help my case here but the overall game they have played this season has been fairly entertaining and has every line involved…every…single…game. The injuries definitely took their toll on the lineup but it forced half of the Utica Comets to show what they could do. It wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was great. You now love Ronalds Kenins.

If the Canucks weren’t a very good team we wouldn’t be talking about the potential for upsets in the playoffs or how well our three second/third lines are. A bit more grey area here but they dont’ suck. Agree to disagre on this?

THE ARGUMENT: Ryan Miller is washed up, he looks like he voluntarily gives up soft goals and he is passed his prime.

WHY YOU’RE WRONG: Actually, I agree with most of that. Even though Miller did post 28 wins, 6 shutouts a perfect shootout record going 2 for 2; game in and game out he struggled to make the easy saves and as a fan, didn’t look like he gave his team a chance to win EVERY game. Every goalie goes through struggles and the ones learning a new team, a new system and a goalie coach, they have it worse. With Eddie Lack gaining confidence and believing this is HIS team, Miller at the end of the day ends up being an expensive bridge to the future.

Ryan Miller may not play another game this season for multiple reasons, the main one being that even if he’s healthy; it will be the heart of the playoffs and there is no team that starts a cold goalie when you only get 4 losses in a series. Even the expensive mistakes have silver linings. 

So on this one YOU’RE RIGHT!

WILLIE’S ARGUMENT: Ronalds Kenins is the odd man out until someone plays bad enough or Kenins pots a goal every game.

WHY HE’S WRONG: Now that the Canucks are basically healthy (just Miller really), every game Willie D has quite a task of deciding who should sit. I called out Chris Higgins because I felt he hadn’t held his own as much as he should have this year, I did that twice. Both times, he scored and we won. So anyone can be wrong. What WD is doing is so wrong though. He has put Kenins in the linup and he has outperformed what most of us, if not all of us thought he would do originally. Once the injured players started coming back, Kenins looked to be the odd man out.

Thankfully, through some divine intervention a new injury reared its head and WHAMMY! Ronny gets put back in. His line with Bo Horvat and Jannik Hansen has been electric for some time now and their chemistry shows. Kenins has 11 pts in 19 GP and if Bo Horvat is considered the teams fourth line pivot, thats pretty good output for a fourth line player that was riding the bus to start the year.

There are a few options of who should be coming out now: Linden Vey and ocassionally Nick Bonino. Yes, both are centres but its not a stretch to move Shawn Matthias up to the middle. At some point its the guys that are getting it done that you want in.

So Willie, put Ronny in FULL TIME, because YOU’RE WRONG!

This doesn’t cover all those wacky theories that are out there but debunking a few of them will help you get through your day. I know i’ll sleep better tonight. Just remember, when you go to bash your Canucks think about how much worse you could have it. Check the standings, see where the Twins are in the scoring race and maybe chill out a bit.

The Canucks are winning the Cup this year because they are a elite team. They have everyt….I can’t go on anymore. Just settle down and realise you have it pretty good here. Really good.

I take back the Cup comment until further notice.

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Fifty Trades and Vey: Canucks VD TD Primer (Valentines Trade Deadline)

At the very least you have to admit its clever. Almost went with Jannik at the Disco or Now you Sedin me, Now you don’t. Linden Vey isn’t going anywhere but being that it’s valentines day tomorrow and there is a catchy movie coming out, it seemed fitting.

I recently had another deep discussion with my buddy Ted Wong, twitter’s @tee3ree, about the Canucks, their goalie situation, their future and what they should do this season. We covered a lot of ground and I totally thought I had a leg to stand on with a Sedin trade; problem is: they make too much money for any team worth going to.

Pittsburgh was the team we decided on for Henrik and Daniel but their cap hit is just too much without really dismembering the Penguins both present and future. So we left that alone. It’s a shame, they could do some real damage there for a few years.

The Canucks goalie situation is a hot topic yet again. The vibe right now is most would like to trade the “shady” season of Ryan Miller, even though he just signed a 3 year deal. It looks like Jacob Markstrom is a real keeper here and that leaves one chip that ultimately is the only thing they can move: Eddie Lack.

Lack would definitely fetch a decent piece in return for a playoff contender. He’s likable, talented and able to handle a heavy workload if given the opportunity. He also loves tacos if you didn’t already know.

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credit – Eddies Twitter account

If the Canucks decided enough is enough of their current #1 Ryan Miller, his price tag is pretty steep and there really is only one team, maybe two that he COULD go to if a trade availed itself: Washington and New York.

Washington is on the bubble right now and as we have seen before, you never really know their goalie situation. Ryan Miller knows the east quite well, not a shocker, and he would be tested right away. Thankfully, the Caps have goal support so if he lets in his usual stinkers like he has, they can bail him out with an extra goal or two.

Immediately that shores up the net for at least a year or two. Brayden Holtby is doing quite well but with a veteran and former all star running with him, he can have some added confidence if things get dicey.

Packaging Kevin Bieksa and possibly Chris Higgins or Jannik Hansen on the Canucks would give Washington added depth on the back end and on the bottom six. What I would like to see come back is Karl Alzner and 2013 second round pick Madison Bowey.

I don’t anticipate Bowey is available but if Lack is the piece instead of Miller going the other way, that would make them think a bit more. Washington intrigues me and after this season, they have a decent chunk off the books and adding the likes of Kevin Bieksa gives Juice a new start in a conference where he can shine.

Higgins and/or Hansen are pieces that will never have more value than they do right now and whatever team the Canucks are dancing with, these guys should fetch a fair return.

Whatever way Vancouver chooses, they aren’t winning the Cup this year. Jim Benning has proven he’ll make a trade and the Canucks should be ready for Jensen, Shinkaruk and Grenier to name a few, to head up the change. Bo Horvat was given his opportunity and he is just starting to show why he is ready and will thrive in the NHL.

New York has an issue right now with their star goalie Henrik Lundqvist out with an injury. Depending on how long he is out, they need a solid replacement rental. Again, Lack is the only real option that makes sense as I believe as you all do, Markstrom is the future. I’ve heard this before.

What the Canucks would ask for in return would be a prospect or a pick. Anthony Duclair would be fun! He had quite the World Juniors but I’m guessing Sather noticed too.

This year’s draft is pretty stocked so a pick wouldn’t hurt. Lack could definitely help NYR if that move was made.

There are so many possibilities right now as the Canucks can really set themselves up for future success if they sacrifice the present. We are getting closer to that big deadline day frenzy and this year I believe it’s going to be hectic.

Sorry for the “Lack” of 50 shades references, Im going to watch star NHL prospect Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets this evening. But you don’t really care…do you?

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

Canucks Answers Aren’t On Current Roster

The Vancouver Canucks latest stinker came in the form of a 4-0 drubbing by the Anaheim Ducks. It wasn’t Ryan Kesler’s return that overshadowed it, it wasn’t even the Ducks outplaying them; the Canucks have ZERO answers to what their problems are. They are back to having the same formula they’ve fought to get away from for years: scoring, defense and goaltending; pick two and suffer in the other area. I don’t even think they have two of those covered.

March 2nd is the trade deadline and it comes quicker than you think and Vancouver will have to make a decision of what to do with what they have. The problem lies within, no matter what way they go there won’t be a fix when the deadline comes and goes. The Sedins are aging and are a shadow of what they were a few years ago, it’s time to drop them down the lineup and groom the next “ones”.

Trading them can still net some valuable returns but what the Sedins may lack in their overall game, they make up in teaching. Call it the Linden method. Henrik and Daniel have groomed many a winger and they have a chance to shape the future of the Vancouver Canucks.

The talent that is about to crack this roster is promising and pulling an Edmonton and getting the newbies playing is one way to get big returns back. Kesler was moved, Luongo was moved and that shouldn’t be the end. All the chatter about Jacob Markstrom and how the Canucks are so high on him most definitely means Eddie Lack is the odd man out. So trade him while you can, package him with Zack Kassian, Alex Burrows or Kevin Bieksa and make a move for a 2nd or 1st rounder. This year’s draft class is meaty and the more the Canucks tread water or even improve, the lower they go in the draft. Thatcher Demko has also been impressive for ‘Murica so it only furthers the reason to make a move at goalie.

Bo Horvat was the first to get his chance and he has made the most of it thus far. He’s not going to win the Calder but his development is blossoming at the NHL level. Looks like Hunter Shinkaruk may not yet be the star I said he would be but if Vancouver feels they can get something decent for him then maybe that’s a chip they play. Jake Virtanen looks like he will be a stud and has many tools that had us salivating during the World Junior Championships.

On D, Gustav Forsling(neat article here) and Jordan Subban are turning heads and again, if the juniors are any indication, Forsling is our future QB on the PP. Frankie Corrado made enough of an impression on Benning that when he was called up again, they won’t send him back. The loss of Kevin Bieksa only helps his cause and I would expect Bieksa to be part of a package out of the Lower Mainland. His time in Vancouver, like Kesler’s, has passed and it looks like his game is starting to suffer as well. A new team could rejuvenate “Juice” and the Canucks can get return on him.

There has to be a guy on the other line of the phone to make deals happen and I think Jim Benning has proven he’ll make a deal that makes sense. My guess is that the other GM’s like him. So Mr. Benning, please put this current Canucks team to pasture and begin the somewhat painful process of the rebuild. Don’t tease us with a pathetic showing in the first round of the playoffs, I’ll be watching the Kelowna Rockets make their inevitable run to the Memorial Cup this year.

There is a lot of respect to be given when the future is given their rightful chance. Utica Comets are tearing up the AHL and with a few additions to the grit department, Chiarelli on line 2, things can progress. Pittsburgh made their moves when they had a hole with guys like David Perron, Chris Kunitz and most recently Max Lapierre. When you know your team’s needs, you address them. If you have too many needs, it’s time to rebuild. Vancouver has too many needs.

It’s going to be a boringly painful next few months if we keep seeing the efforts we have seen lately. 140 characters just doesn’t allow the frustration to vent properly over 2.5 hours. I like the fact Ryan Miller is where he basically needs to be but every player in front of him gives him no chance to win, so when the gaffes happen, that’s it, its over.

Nobody likes a goodbye, but when you are constantly disappointed, you kick em to the curb.

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Are The Canucks Nosey For Brad Marchand?

I honestly don’t know how rumours take the shape they do and what takes it to the next level, but hearing through the grapevine that the Canucks are potentially interested in Bruins forward Brad Marchand is one that would get traction from any media member. The Bruins and the Canucks both have a need and may be in the market to deal. Sometimes being a little nosey is a good thing.

On the surface, Brad Marchand isn’t exactly the ideal candidate to be traded to the Canucks. Unless you were cryogenically frozen in 2011, you know that the Canucks and Marchand aren’t cozy buddies. What most people will remember is the 5 punch beatdown on Daniel Sedin during the Stanley Cup Final. That didn’t go over well and gave the Bruins some extra life when they eventually stole the Cup from the Canucks.

Or maybe it was the taunting a few seasons later when he reminded not only the Canucks but their fans what he accomplished after leaving Vancouver in June 2011.

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Courtesy of Bloguin.com

Mr. Marchand is NOT a household favourite in British Columbia with his dirty tactics and just his overall antics, I mean, he pissed pretty much every Canucks fan off and rubbed it in after he won the Cup. But….what if he was a Canuck? When Raffi Torres became a member of the blue and green, he went from hated to beloved. When Raffi was let go, the fans still wanted him back. You need guys like that on your roster.

Here is the article by Elliotte Friedman of Rogers Sportsnet that sparked the conversation.

It’s typical of Vancouver media and local sports fans alike to jump to the ultimate conclusion when a tidbit of info becomes unearthed. There is ZERO mention of Marchand at all here. On Friday evening this is the poll question on TSN 1040 in Vancouver:

See. No one has even said Marchand is available. Welcome to Vancouver.

A quick look at Marchand’s stats shows he’s someone the Canucks would want. What’s better than two trips to the Cup Final, one ring, a league of haters and the ability to put your team over the edge. Oh I forgot, he draws lots……and LOTS of penalties.

He averages 20 goals, 40+ points, a bucket load of PIMs and all the intangibles that make any self respecting Canucks fan hate him. It’s the things that make us hate him that are the reasons he would be a amazingly valuable piece to the Canucks puzzle.

Vancouver just doesn’t have that on the edge player let alone one that actually produces on the score sheet. He already has 8 goals this year and the Bruins aren’t exactly at the top of the standings. Currently in 9th place, a win from a few teams below puts them in 11th. Yep, the big, bad Bruins.

Here’s another interesting tidbit, courtesy of behindthenet.ca I’m not a huge advanced stats guy but this intrigued me: In 2013/2014, Marchand drew 1.1 penalties over the course of 60 minutes. You can play around with the filters to get other fun numbers but a guy that gives you at least one chance to score a power play goal a game is worth having. That’s over 90 power plays if he plays a full 82 games. Simple math folks.

I wonder sometimes if Brad Marchand paid for his actions in during 2011, or if he wasn’t on that Bruins team, if the Canucks would have walked away with the Cup instead. Makes you think. If I’m Jim Benning, Canucks GM, I pull the trigger and make a deal for the “Nose Faced Killer“. His team needs a punch, maybe not literally and it’s time to get serious.

The question does remain, who goes the other way? Boston is in the market for a top six/top nine forward so maybe utility man Jannik Hansen or struggling defenseman Alex Edler would move. With action comes reaction and moving either of those, mainly Edler, there creates a hole on the back end. The name actually mentioned is Zack Kassian. Is Kassian still a work in progress or is it time to jump ship on him? He’s injured right now but who knows, maybe Benning is cut throat.

Jim Benning is a smart man; he helped build the 2011 Bruins Cup team and he no doubt wants to reciprocate his efforts on their Stanley Cup opponents from that year. I would love to know what Brad Marchand thinks of all this and if I could be so lucky to get an honest, non-hockey answer, would he even care?

Reaching out to fans and media in Boston produced nothing, no one even cares about the Canucks anymore. The Bruins have been to the Final again since 2011, so the guess is Vancouver is not on the top of their worry list. On the other hand, will Canucks fans ever forget?

If Brad Marchand DOES make his way to the west coast, the drama alone will be worth it, in my humble opinion:

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“The nose never bothered me anyways”

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