alex edler

Canucks Currently The “Centre” of Attention

Sure, the Canucks aren’t winning games in any regular fashion and there is a realistic chance they not only miss the playoffs but get a top-3 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. What they ARE doing is keeping us entertained just enough to keep watching their second consecutive trainwreck season. Case in point, the Alex Edler knuckler from centre ice on Saturday. I didn’t even know it happened when it did and I was watching this game.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

This wasn’t the first time the Canucks were involved in such a goal; we all remember the infamous Dan Cloutier gaffe against the Red Wings in 2002:

Whoops, wrong clip.

Here it is:

Obviously, these aren’t the only terrible centre-ice goals to ever go in but they’re definitely memorable. What is even more memorable is how each of the goaltenders has faired after they have let in one of these goals or something similar.

Let’s start with Dan the Man:

He was never able to truly shake this one off as it went with him everywhere he went. The 2003 playoffs could have changed all of that a year later but the team collapse against the Minnesota Wild was the last great chance Cloutier had to do serious damage. He played two more full seasons after the 2002 playoffs and then it all went down from there.

In his last five seasons, Cloutier averaged a 3.05 GAA and a 0.892 SA%. Easily rattled, Cloutier would suffer setbacks in multiple playoff and regular season games that would ultimately bury the Canucks in each occasion. Ankle, groin and knee injuries would plague Clouts before ultimately losing his job in Vancouver and sliding slowly into the abyss of retirement.

Oddly enough, Cloutier’s last two seasons in Vancouver were quite impressive as he notched seven shutouts to equal the 2002 season where he had seven that year. Afterward, goose eggs would elude Clouts forever. He was a regular season machine but he never really won the big game.

In all fairness, Dan Cloutier didn’t deserve the extent of criticism he received; it’s a shame his career slid the way it did.

Another prime example of watching your career die is Vesa Toskala. At the time, the Leafs were in the midst of their crisis years (have they even ended yet?) and this just cemented how bad things were going. Take a look:

After that goal in 2008, Toskala would only play in 32 games after that season. He is in Finland now and no one cares anymore. Sub .900 SA% seasons followed as did a catastrophic 3.66 GAA that next year. Once Toskala went to Calgary it was basically over.

Remember Tommy Salo?

A reliable netminder who will only be remembered for two things: the fight with Dan Cloutier which he lost HEAVILY and the goal he let in off his noggin in the 2002 Olympics against Belarus. To be fair, Salo was getting close to the end of his career so to say his numbers declined because of that goal would be wrong; he had 13 shutouts to finish out his career including six that same season. 

I guess looking back, these goals didn’t necessarily define their careers completely but if anything went wrong we all had something to fall back to blame them for.

If you check out the remaining gaffes you’ll see that many of the goalies involved (Patrick Roy, Chris Osgood, Martin Brodeur, etc.) all have Stanley Cups despite their brain fart moment on the ice.

As far as the Canucks are concerned, I don’t have enough time to go through the goofs Roberto Luongo has made in net. Off his shoulder, off the glass, behind the net, you name it… Luongo did it.

It would be great if he somehow had a swan song with the Florida Panthers and got one more kick at the can.

I can’t think of a specific cringe-worthy goal with the current Canucks goalie tandem but really, the entire season has basically amounted to that.

At least they were the “centre” of attention for one night.

Follow me on Twitter: @always90four

photo – Calgary Herald

Advertisements

Winning Isn’t Everything; Canucks Sorta Concur

They started 4-0 but it didn’t take long to bring it all back to reality. Your Vancouver Canucks are 4-4-1 now and the dreamers and unicorn chasers have all gone into hiding. It’s not pretty anymore, no one is scoring goals and even Luca Sbisa is back to guaranteeing your pie in 30 minutes or it’s free. 2017 is going to finish very similarly to 2016 and at the very least, there’s a chance the Canucks get a star this time.

It took almost a week to score their next goal after the Canucks lost to the Ducks last Sunday. Part of that was too much passing, part of it was opponents having good goaltending and part of it, well most it was the fact the Canucks just plain ol’ stunk. You’ve heard me say there are bright spots on this team and I’m not lying, there are.

Bo Horvat is doing his best to shake the funk that seems to surround him and at some point, he will and normalcy will reside on his stick. For now, it really doesn’t matter what he does because the guys around him aren’t following suit. Sven Baertschi looks snake bitten, so does Jannik Hansen (big surprise); goals have dried right up for this team.

Ben Hutton is stringing along but even he looks a bit worn already. Let’s not even get into the Erik Gudbranson stuff, he’s not even defensive-defensiving.

Not helping anything either are the injuries. They have already claimed uber defenseman Chris Tanev and Alex Burrows, not to mention Derek Dorsett and call-up Jayson Megna. How this has been addressed is it’s own story in itself. Watching Troy Stecher in the preseason was all any of us needed to see for him to be a lock on this Canucks team and to be honest a lot of other teams too!

Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins had Philip Larsen as their back end guy to QB the powerplay and… honestly, I don’t know what else. Stecher proved he could do it all and was still sent down. It was easy to do because he could gain some experience in the AHL and get ready for his first promotion.

Well, that happened pretty darn quick.

Alarm bells should already have been going off when Nikita Tryamkin wasn’t even a choice to go in or even Alex Biega. It took ONE game for Stecher to show he shouldn’t be anywhere else but in a jersey that says ‘VANCOUVER’. They put him with Alex Edler to start his career, that’s the top pairing! There’s no way you can send this guy down now.

Philip Larsen has existed and the brutally obvious funneling of the puck to his stick on the powerplay is nauseating. Not that he’s a bad player, he just isn’t the be all end all answer to their scoring problems. And that’s before they were problems. 3 assists to start the year aren’t enough to keep that mantle of top PP guy, even on this team.

Saturday night against the Capitals proved Stecher not only needs to be plunked into Larsen’s role but he needs to be plunked in the lineup every night. Whatever kind of rebuild/rebrand/teardown this is, somebody has to be extracted out of this lineup. Looking at the options, only a few names should even be considered: Edler-safe, Tanev-safe, Hutton-safe, Stecher-safe, Gudbranson-safe. Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin and Alex Biega are your choices… THAT’S IT!!!

The big Russian can’t be moved to the farm, Biega is waiver bait and then there’s Sbisa. He’s not the world’s worst defenseman but he’s not in the same hemisphere as the best. Philip Larsen does have a pretty good shot but that’s about it. Something has to give here.

Read these tweets and tell me Stecher isn’t the answer, you can’t:

This isn’t a love-in with Troy Stecher, it’s the point that needs to sink into the Canucks decision making. They have a guy that does things better than 3 other guys, so change the guy who’s there. I mean jeez, they put Frank Corrado on waivers, traded Gustav Forsling and Adam Clendening; where does the bleeding stop?

Willie finally put together a lineup against the Caps that resembled normalcy. Hansen with the Sedins and Horvat with Baertschi and Virtanen. Run with this for a bit, see what happens. His job has to be looked at if he keeps toying with the idea Jannik Hansen isn’t the best option for Henrik and Daniel.

Screw the 6-year contract of Loui Eriksson (seriously, that long?) and do what’s right. The Canucks rarely do what’s right and THAT’S why they’re in this mess, to begin with. Eriksson will be just fine with Brandon Sutter and I guess Jack Skille or Alex Burrows upon his return. Losing is going to become, yet again, a regular occurrence so it might as well be done building chemistry.

Nobody is content with circling back the wagon to “moral victories” or “Edler broke his stick again”; we need change. The Edmonton Oilers are freakishly close to righting their wrongs and that took, what, almost two decades!

If Canucks management is willing to wait that long, the city will most definitely turn on them.

We can only imagine Doug Jarvis will only stand for so much before he speaks out. That earpiece must have a lot of information that he doesn’t want coming out.

But hey, tomorrow’s a new day.

 

photo – theprovince.com

Canucks Are Gluttonous For Hutton

It didn’t take long for Ben Hutton to become a star in the Canucks fans eyes AND the Canucks themselves. Once it was official in training camp, but did it even really need to be, Ben Hutton took the wet coast by storm and climbed his way up the rankings in less than a season. On Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings, Hutton was on the Canucks top d-pairing with Luca Sbisa.

That was his 58th career game. The Canucks love them some Ben Hutton.

 

He has such smooth moves, determination and a lovable face but his ability to be a little bit of everything on the ice has caught Willie D and Canucks management’s eye and its safe to say they want him to eventually drive this thing. I mean, if you didn’t absolutely believe in this kid, would you be giving him top minutes every night?

Right now, Hutton is 4th in TOI at 19:20/gm only behind the obvious Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Dan Hamhuis workhorses; the thing is he belongs there and those numbers will only increase. A rookie season we have waited for since well, Chris Tanev showed up, but with the offensive potential of early Alex Edler and the defensive prowess of the former, Tanev; Hutton is the new hybrid that will eventually QB the power play and will get the top line assignments most nights.

In the 2010/11 season when Chris Tanev arrived, he wasn’t logging top minutes quite yet but to be fair, there were a few stars ahead of him; that and he only played 29 games that year plus the post season. It didn’t take long to realize he was the next “one” as far as defensemen go and he has climbed his way up ever since.

A night without Tanev is the equivalent of watching an episode of Fuller House on Netflix…not good. We’ve already seen that when Hutton is out of the lineup, pretty much just due to injury, that his presence is missed.

The Canucks really brought Tanev along and groomed him until the time was right to have him full time. Ben Hutton was given an opportunity and with a valuable spot open, he owned it.

The only other recent comparable we really have is Edler. In his first full season, Eddie was already getting top 5 minutes behind Ohlund, Salo, Bieksa and Mitchell. He was a point shy of top 10 on the team that year and when you compare Hutton, Ben’s further ahead. However, different situation creates different results.

With just under a third of the season left, Ben Hutton will most likely sit 6th or 7th by seasons end for highest points on the team. He’s already 7th and his 20 assists have been pretty. The goals..er, goal was memorable too!

Hut Bomb (trying something, seeing if it sticks) is just as effective when you break every aspect of his game down. With a minimum of 500 minutes played this season, adjusted, Hutton  ranks 5th with a CF% of 50.5, a pretty nice position for a guy who is still figuring out the pro game.

No doubt, the Canucks are anticipating the arrival and eventual development of Nikita Tryamkin from the KHL and his large frame but that will come; Ben Hutton is everything the team thought he’d be and more.

There will be a time we’ll probably ask him to waive his NTC but until then, Ben Hutton is the hero we asked for so lets just enjoy it.

Check The Canucks IR, You Like It So Far?

Props to every single one of you that get that reference.

This season, like so many others has been tested by injuries; but it’s how the Canucks have managed to adapt this year that brings hope for the future. Losing Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter to longer term injuries seems to be par for the course lately as the team has JUST been able to ice a healthy roster. However, the questions of how Willie Desjardins manages his young players are answering themselves through the infirmary.

The Vancouver Canucks aren’t even in the top 10 in man games lost but anyone watching on a regular basis knows its not just how many games are lost but the players that are injured. Dan Hamhuis just returned from a broken jaw after missing 21 games and Brandon Sutter’s sports hernia surgery kept him out for 33.

Not to mention Henrik Sedin’s back and Luca Sbisa’s hand, OH! and Ryan Miller; the Canucks have once again been dealt a pretty terrible hand. It might seem like all is going against the Canucks but when you look at who has been injured and I guess really, when, the guys looking to play full time have been given their chances.

When Jake Virtanen, Ben Hutton and Jared McCann made the team back in October, injuries to Chris Higgins and the timely poor play of Linden Vey and Frankie Corrado all made it possible for the guys everyone wanted to see crack the lineup. Same happened with Bo Horvat last year and now you couldn’t imagine this team without him.

Alex Biega was rewarded with a  shiny new contract after proving he is able to provide valuable services when the team is depleted. Circumstance can breed success and in the Canucks case, oddly enough its paying off. Biega has been a pretty nice depth addition to the Canucks and at some point he’ll be an every day top 6 for them. Ben Hutton pretty much took his own roster spot when September came, didn’t even ask. That’s so Hutton!

It hasn’t all been skittles and unicorns though; the injuries have really stretched this team thin and there have been moments this year where ice time has been amped up for guys that just shouldn’t be playing that much and mistakes mount. I seem to remember when Hamhuis was injured and Bieksa had to shoulder the load, that didn’t always end well.

It didn’t end well, you can cut out the maybe.

Matt Bartkowski is always in the mix for things to go wrong it seems (aside from when his mom is watching him live), and asking him to play more minutes on a defense that is adjusting on the fly can result in mistakes.

There’s a chance a trade or two happens by the deadline and injuries would continue to offer up opportunities for call ups to the likes of Andrey Pedan, Brendan Gaunce, Taylor Fedun and obviously Hunter Shinkaruk.

The Canucks are transitioning to a younger, faster, potentially Matthewsier type team and as the injuries pile up, we get more and more chances to see the eventual next wave of stars; and that’s just the guys up front.

On the back end, Jacob Markstrom is quickly becoming the next goalie the Canucks trade away for a 1st round pick. His 5-0-1 run in his last 6 games is turning heads and making Ryan Miller expendable. Ryan Miller hasn’t slouched this year but his age and cap hit aren’t very fan friendly. He can help any team making a run this year going into the deadline and would most likely bring back value.

For the second year in a row, Miller went down and this time Markstrom was the recipient of more starts. He didn’t disappoint. Eddie Lack didn’t either but that didn’t stop the Canucks from shipping him off. With Markstrom making a case to be the eventual #1, its just one more example of how injuries are secretly helping the Canucks.

It would be nice if we didn’t have to constantly see this team get decimated with hammys, hernias and hips but that’s hockey. Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins are very close to making some tough decisions based on their misfortune in the health department but every guy that has been given a chance has stepped up.

#TeamTank may still happen but the rebuild, if that’s what you want to call this, seems more like a reno. It may turn around quicker than we think.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Canucks Are Statistically Awkward

Statistics don’t tell the whole story in sports; they tell most of it but there is always that unpredictability that makes them great. The Canucks statistically aren’t very good and yet something is keeping them from the basement.

Vancouve is 4 points out of a playoff spot after the All Star break and that’s only possible because as we’ve all stated before, the Pacific division is an atrocity. The personal statistics of many Canucks players aren’t mind blowing either and for some of their top players, their advanced stats were just posted on milk boxes across B.C.

Yet, despite their best efforts…or our perceived view of their efforts, this Canucks team hasn’t thrown in the towel from management all the way down to Brandon Prust. The sell job has been tactical and their Kool-Aid isn’t half bad!

 

I mention Prust because he made one last stand to hang around on this team knowing full well his time may have been up. He was a consistent liability on the ice despite only being -3 on the season. We can look at Derek Dorsett, Matt Bartkowski and I really don’t want to find out if Alex Edler’s season has been a toilet.

For the record, Edler is performing pretty much exactly how he should be with a PDO of 100. #keepit100

But we look at our future captain Bo Horvat and I just want to————

Seriously, for all this guy does, the cut throat breakaways, the drive every game, his faceoffs and general likeability, the stats…they do not like him.

Bo’s 5v5 CF% is 44.2, his PDO has settled down to 96.4 (but I don’t see that staying for too long), trailing by 1 is basically the same stat line and for kicks you could look at his GF% which is a low, low 36.2.

Yet, Horvat has managed to be an integral cog in the Canucks machine for the last month or so and has helped keep them in the mix. His 6G and 5A in his last 10 games has been more than welcome and his 455 face off wins have him sitting 15th in the league. It’s his second season.

Goaltending is a sore spot in Canucksland; watching BOTH Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider excel in a jersey that isn’t the Canucks still stings and watching them have so much fun at the All Star game just plain hurts.

That mess is still being mopped up 2 years later and yet Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom have played so well that this low scoring Canucks roster is still eligible for a W every night. It just doesn’t make sense.

And finally the Sedins. Henrik and Daniel are straight up gangsters this year. They aren’t caving in to the mentality that 35 years old means you can’t do what you did at 34 or even 33. Daniel is 3 points out of the top 10 in scoring while Henrik’s injury keeps him a few points back of Daniel. They’re 35 people!!

Statistically, bizarre would be the word we’d start with here but having seen the Sedins play the way they do for as long as they have, it’s not overly surprising. Keeping the Canucks in every game has made these future Hall of Famers MVP worthy this season. Again, it feels dirty that the Canucks are even relevant this far into the season.

Thankfully, the rest of Canada is going through the same issues unless Connor McDavid puts up numbers that EA Sports would blush about.

The #tank is long gone and there will be no magical Cup run this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make the playoffs. The Canucks are defying their own path and creating a slightly more awkward new one which may just have them playing past game 82. Statistics be damned, hockey is keeping the Canucks around for some reason and it’s brutally frustrating.

Going forward it won’t get any prettier but for the masochist Canucks fan (whoa, it got weird) we love seeing this team suffer for some reason. It’s strangely gratifying but it wouldn’t hurt to see them turn it around and give us back the winning team we have become accustomed to for so many years.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Being Willie Desjardins Must Be Hard

I really don’t know how Willie Desjardins has a job some days and others, I applaud him for taking the crap that he does. Visually, he gives off a pretty inconsistent vibe when he’s on the bench; he’s angry at times, twitchy and that patented Willie smile just makes it all go away. Oh, I forgot about the confused face. Most of these don’t even register on the “Real Good Scale” but man, it must be hard to be Willie. Two seasons in and people are already calling for his head.

Just another Thursday I guess.

The line deployments have been beaten to death online and on TSN 1040 but it’s beyond me why guys like Derek Dorsett, Brandon Prust, Matt Bartkowski and even Luca Sbisa are out there to play down important shifts after a TV time out, the final minute or less of a game or a defensive zone face off that easily could have Jared McCann or Bo Horvat up there…or heck, why not the top center on our team, the Captain Henrik Sedin?

Is it a case of #pretank or #tankcurrentday, possibly. You would think having the best possible line out during important moments would be smart but if its a case of resting the top players, that’s just not right.

There are many things that anger us about our coach but he has seen past our comments and criticisms and has quietly developed some great players, he actually has. Sven Baertschi was on his last straw but Willie gave him another shot, but with Bo and now they are quickly becoming a line that can’t be contained.

Anyone see that coming? Were you willing to wait? I wasn’t.

It is still pretty confusing to see how he uses Vancouver’s goalies. It’s pretty clear Miller and Markstrom are dueling bandoliers lately and with the amount of shots they seem to face, it MIGHT be a smart idea to spread those starts out, just sayin.

All these decisions have brought the angry mobs out of the word work yet again and two seasons in and Willie is on the block already? What’s warranted that? He has Henrik and Daniel Sedin, some developing talent and a GM who isn’t exactly taking the world by storm.

Jim Benning is the guy that deserves a bit more of the criticism not Willie. Go up and down the roster and there isn’t anything that screams playoff contender.

When Henrik and Daniel celebrate their 37th birthday, there might not be much left that they can do and if Benning doesn’t set the Canucks up with a coachable, winnable roster, then Willie Desjardins is by far not the biggest concern.

Many of us thought goaltending was still a problem, its the D in front of them that seems to be the red light issue. If Alex Edler was still in 2010 or his sticks didn’t break for starters, that would be one less guy that we have to worry about; or how bout Matt Bartkowski, seriously why is he here? I could even make a case for why Luca Sbisa shouldn’t be here but I’m willing to wait him out a bit more.

Risky, I know.

The future does look bright though and hooray for Willie’s steady use of Ben Hutton and Chris Tanev. It would help if Benning added some more talent back there or even players that would keep the puck from going into the Canucks zone if Vancouver had possession more.

Tough to say how the season shakes out and if Willie gets kicked to the curb and maybe Travis Green gets the nod, who knows?

What we do know is that there’s no way his job can be easy and I’m willing to see how he makes this work with what he has. There was a time when all we had was Luongo….seriously.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Ben Hutton Is My Nike AIR MAG (You know the one)

Its never too early to start criticizing coaching decisions, GM decisions or anything resembling doom and gloom for the Vancouver Canucks. It’s also never too early to award praise to a player that is better than he should be, bang on what we want him to be or just the next player we all can’t wait to draw hearts around in third period history. Ben Hutton is not a bad coaching decision, Ben Hutton is not a bad GM decision; Ben Hutton is my cover of Canucks Teen Beat magazine, he is my Nike AIR MAG with self tying laces.

Ben Hutton is the coolest kind of awesome!

Is this too much praise? Is it a verbal love affair for a defenseman yet again? I mean there was Willie Mitchell (dreamy), Alex Edler (currently dreamy as well), Chris Tanev (cooler than craft beer, ya that’s right) and now Hutton too? This is all too sudden. Frankie Corrado was supposed to be that next guy and then Ben Hutton just shows up and says its his job?

That’s what has basically happened.

Drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Ben Hutton did the college thing and honed his craft. Through 6 games this year he has racked up 3 helpers and 6 shots. Hutton’s ice time is in the 18:00 min/gm mark and he’s averaging close to 25 shifts a game. He’s trusted to make important decisions and I think like Alex Edler, he eventually is one of the go to guys on the power play; a power play that right now has a problem.

I stated before either on twitter or on here as well that BH reminds me of the blue line version of my favourite future NHLer Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets. They have eerily similar styles of play albeit one is a winger/centre and ones a defenseman but the way they both move the puck and hold on to the puck is a thing of beauty.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Not to make this too much about Merkley but he has the talent to carry the puck a little bit longer than most without being a puck hog. He can make a timely pivot or pass he has no business making and it instantly changes the course of the shift. His hockey IQ is beautiful. Ben Hutton has those same characteristics.

Being a star on defense for the Canucks is no easy task, in fact playing for the Canucks is no easy task. As the famous line from The Dark Knight goes “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. Right now, BH is the hero and he is far from dying off this roster, that takes at least 10 years on the blue line; less in net.

When the Nike AIR MAG shoe released on Wednesday to the world with self tying laces, the world stood still. This shoe is the holy grail of shoes. Ben Hutton is my Nike AIR MAG. Slight exaggeration maybe. He is developing a shot that will put his name on the marquee, he has confidence with the puck that rivals the Sedins and his decision making skills are already NHL veteran status.

Chris Tanev once received this treatment and really, he hasn’t let up. He isn’t our #1 dman but take him out of the lineup and we have serious problems. Hutton hasn’t even been here a month and you could poll Canucks nation and I’d bet he’s on the list of guys you cannot be without. Tanbir from Surrey knows what’s up:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In a recent article on Vancity Buzz by Ryan Biech regarding Hutton, you’ll see a clip of Ben going away from his defender on a zone exit and its subtle but its such a pro move that any coach would love to teach that all day long. Im not a coach, I can barely skate but I know an amazing move when I see one.

Marty McFly had the Nike’s and the hoverboard and he traveled through time, we don’t need to travel through time though; The Canucks have Ben Hutton right now and he just might be that find other teams wish they had. Thats been our position on every eligible player we could have taken and now its Vancouver’s turn to enjoy some talent.

It could be argued this is a fluff piece on BH (it basically is) but even Chris Tanev would admit that Hutton brings the Canucks game to another level, you know if Willie would allow better players to be on the ice with him instead of Prust and Dorsett for entire periods at a time.

#Huttonmania is runnin wild in Vancouver and its gonna run wild all over you.

Follow my twitter: @always90four

JARKKO POLO: Canucks Week of Jan 12/15

Amazing the difference a week makes. Going in, it was a nice roadie to start out in Smashville with the Preds on top of the pops. Two weak teams later on should have topped up the points category and hopefully all would be right again. Well, Nashville didn’t treat the Canucks very nicely but Ryan Miller’s “sickness” motivated the team after that. Here is, the week that was Jan 12.

Coming off losses to Roberto Luongo’s Panthers as well as the Calgary Flames; the Canucks seemed a bit deflated in the obvious area of, wait for it: SCORING! Yes, it’s been an up and down battle this year putting pucks in the net. Lately, it’s been feast or famine so no one really knows how to gauge what’s happening. One minute its Linden Vey with the breaking and the awaying, Radim Vrbata with the goal/stare tactics, the next moment Vancouver is being outshot one Vegas bachelor party to DD’ing on the long weekend.

Would a road trip fix the Canucks woes? The red hot Predators hosted Vancouver and early on, it wasn’t close. Pucks just went in. Going down 2-0 early hurts. Things haven’t gone well lately and digging a hole like that is counter productive. Alex Edler is looking great this year and put his name on the score sheet, but that is as much as they’d get. The Canucks lost 5-1 but they left Nashville doing some damage to the Preds; Pekke Rinne was injured by Chris Higgins in the crease in the 3rd and will be out for a bit. If you don’t let us score, we’re gonna make you pay.


credit – nhl.com

Ok so things are bad mmmmkay? On to Philly! Well, the sick Ryan Miller was ready to test his health and baaaaasically put on a clinic. Before we get started, just wanna say God bless Shawn Matthias. This guy is doing everything right this year and is giving the Canucks life when they may not have it. The Luongo deal is slowly panning out, same can’t be said for the Kassian/Hodgson cluster. Ok, so Vancouver pressed early and it all got started with, how shall I put this, the dirty Bonino spinoramawesome goal. I don’t know if that was supposed to happen or whatever but I can watch it over and over again.

Hank the tank was feeling a little “tipsy” and potted goal numero deux of the night and it seemed like things were happening, they were. Radim “the dream” Vrbata scored from his office in the 2nd followed by Jannik Hansen’s breakaway goal. Its weird to keep saying that. Addition to Vrby, he scores from that spot, keep getting him the puck, its not a coincidence. Miller was amazing and really earned the shutout. People like him now.


credit – nhl.com

Finally, the boys in blue made their way to Carolina. Vancouver likes Carolina. This one had a rough start, but thanks to Ryan Miller, Riley Nash and a bit of luck, the Canucks took a poorly outplayed first and parlayed it into an onslaught on the second. Always the goal scorer, Derek Dorsett had a beautiful break and put home goal number one in the second period. These outlet feed passes are becoming a thing for some reason and all 3 Canucks goals actually came off them. Did I mention Shawn Matthias was amazing?

He had his standard drive the net, don’t let Zack Kassian see, move and put it behind Cam Ward. He is so much fun to watch and I think if the naysayers get their way and the Kass man is shipped out, Shawn Matthias might get a bump up in the lineup. Maybe we aren’t pumping his tires enough, Roberto?

Alex Burrows got the final tally on a slapperoo and that was it. Ryan Miller recorded back to back ROAD shutouts on back to back nights for the first time in Canucks history.


credit – canucks.com

A good week all in all and how better to start the following week but a date with our ex, Roberto Luongo with his new suitor. Canucks are coming on just in time for All Star weekend and the slump buster may have sparked the fire they needed. Now go beat the Panthers, the tears are over!

Jarkko………..POLO!!

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
Facebook? Always90four
Instagram with pics and the like: @always90four

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.

IMG_1053.PNG
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:

IMG_1055.JPG

“The nose never bothered me anyways”

Follow this blog on twitter: @always90four
Like and follow on Facebook: Always90four
Instagram us: @always90four

Bo And Ed’s Avalanche Adventure

Oh the storylines that run wild in the National Hockey League. Usually when someone writes about the Canucks and a player’s first ever NHL game, it involves the opposing team and the Canucks being scored on by said player. But this is a different tale. Not since the days of Cody Hodgson has a Canuck prospect been heralded like Bo Horvat. In his NHL debut he shared the feat with a fellow team mate, Alex Edler, having HIS first game as well against the Avs many moons ago.

Bo Horvat and Alex Edler couldn’t be two more different types of players if they tried: one is a forward the other is a defenseman, Bo is 18, while Edler is 28, Edler is swedish and well, you get the picture. Its a tale of two men brought together with the same defining statistic: they both played their first ever NHL game vs. the Colorado Avalanche. Does this really matter? Well no, no it doesn’t. Neither player scored in their debut, had a point or knew where their next step would be.

Fortunately, for the Canucks, they have 2 players that could fit the bill, actually the Ted, for the Excellent Adventure. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter had different results after that movie. One guy was in Speed and the other….well, he was told to stop acting. Basically, the Nucks have 2 Keanus.

Alex Edler has since gone on to play over 500 NHL games, won a silver medal for Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and was on the front sports page when he leveled Drew Doughty in the playoffs a few years ago.

IMG_0959.JPG
This is not that hit, stupid internet.
Photo courtesy of nwsportsbeat.com

For Mr. Horvat, it’s just the beginning. When you don’t have any overly memorable plays aside from an almost goal credited to you, you rely on the little things, things that Pass it to Bulis has covered shift by shift. We all have such lofty expectations for this young chap and as long as he progresses like he should, there will be reason to cheer for Bo.

Sure, there will be t-shirts with Bo Knows on them, or Horvat hears a Boo (unlikely, cuz he’s so good), maybe Bo’s before Horvats…c’mon im clean. This hype machine isn’t going to die and before you know it, he’ll score and we’ll anoint him the next one to lead us. That’s life as a Canucks fan, we’re easily fooled.

As the games go on and hopefully this season it’s more than nine, Bo can settle into life as a Canuck and find his way into the NHL. From there, his skill will take over.

So GO ON YOUNG HORVAT, score your goals, play your hockeys; but remember, its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the bite in the….I was never good at motivational speeches.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
Like me on FB: Always90four
Follow me on Instagram: @always90four