anton rodin

Win or Lose: Willie Desjardins Needs A New Plan

The carousel of ideas is endless: there are so many ways to potentially fix the Canucks. Not ALL the problems can be fixed with these ideas but just a bit of common sense could ultimately turn the Canucks around and get them in a position to succeed sooner. Willie Desjardins could be given all the statistical evidence he would need to put the Canucks in a more productive state and it seems his stubbornness to adapt has hindered the Canucks’ progress.

He needs a new plan.

Hard facts will show you that goals aren’t being scored in Vancouver, for the Canucks anyways, in almost any fashion. The Canucks are currently 25th in the league in GF/GP, 27th in PP% and back to 20th in PK%. Actual goals for and against are right in there as well. Even on paper, the Canucks probably should be better than they are.

How they’ve configured their lines and failed to implement the right players into a given game shows that Willie and his coaches are not adapting to a changing NHL landscape, well that and they’re just not coaching well.

Aside from Jannik Hansen, the only day-to-day option to be playing with the Sedins should be Loui Eriksson. Jim Benning is paying him $6M a season to score goals and help ultimately, the Sedins score more as well. Until recently, that option wasn’t even given a fighting chance, let alone a chance at all.

I believe the Sedins aren’t as worn out as they have looked, they just need a player that fits them and we all believed the World Cup line with Sweden was a precursor to what we could expect on the Canucks. The unfortunate part of that is that Willie D isn’t the Swedish coach so he may not have seen those games.

Proper coaching would also have revealed that the Sedins probably shouldn’t be on the top powerplay unit anymore, either. If they were going to hang around on that top unit until season’s end, put a better model forward. Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat clearly are the changing of the guard and as their points increase, Willie will have to adjust to where the goals are coming from.

You will never see me bad mouth Henrik and Daniel Sedin, they’ve earned their spot in Canucks history as essentially, the best ever; what they aren’t doing anymore is making quick, effective plays that result in goals, leads, and wins. Yes, they’re still scoring but its how much more they could be scoring that is more alarming.

The powerplay is awful and when the puck continues to be funneled to Troy Stecher, goals aren’t going to be falling from the sky. Stecher has had a great start to his season but no one has plunked themselves in front of the net and in the dirty areas to fight for goals. Brandon Sutter is the only one and he shouldn’t be the only one.

It’s not that crazy to think that Nikita Tryamkin would be a good option to stand in front and direct traffic until a rebound comes, it really couldn’t hurt. His height and build are reason alone to put him there. Large man in front of the net; seems easy. If it’s not him, Loui Eriksson is a big guy and his stick works just fine. Somehow, Jayson Megna is on one of the powerplay units and he, of all people, does not score goals.

Megna has 3 goals.

Michael Chaput is 2 goals away from that. I’M 3 goals away… me. I don’t play hockey for anyone. I’ll say one thing, though: if Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat or Loui Eriksson are creating chances, they need more opportunity. The Sedins are becoming more predictable than normal and the rest of the league is finally able to catch them (it took 10 years).

Heck, overload the top group until the goals start coming. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened and if you put all of your eggs in one basket, something has to give, right?

What about the whole Anton Rodin/5D issue? Is this something that could have been avoided? ABSOLUTELY!

We all know the details of this now, it’s been repeated ad nauseum. Recent waiver addition Reid Boucher, who has a defensive awareness who at the very least could have fielded a few shifts on the blue line or Jack Skille another defensive forward or knowing you had a banged up Rodin the night before which could have resulted in Andrey Pedan being called up; THAT would be a proper fix.

It’s putting Derek Dorsett out in the final minutes of a close game when everyone and their dog knows Bo Horvat or Brandon Sutter would be a way better option. These are simple coaching decisions that are being pushed aside. Don’t get me wrong, Willie is a pretty good coach but he will “coach” himself out of a job if he doesn’t see the obvious changes that should be made.

The wrong players on the wrong lines, the wrong lines at the wrong time, and a coach who doesn’t know what he has; it’s funny how we’ve moved away from Jim Benning because if this was about him (which it kinda is) we’d want him gone. I suppose we did want him gone already. Nevermind.

The Canucks have the capacity to score goals and as the next few years come there could be a lot more of them. Don’t put a cap on talent, Willie. You gave Ben Hutton, Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, and even Jared McCann all a chance and if you’re willing to risk that much, that early, you should be able to make the right moves half way through a season when it’s gone wrong.

Making the proper rational adjustments would also give Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom a better chance to win games. Vancouver has been in 20 1-goal games this season, which is just under half of what they’ve played. If even 5 of those games went the other way including OT/shootouts, the Canucks would be 5th in the Conference and snuggly above the playoff bar.

A million people can’t be wrong, although many of us wish we were wrong more.

The Canucks are a good team but bad decisions have forced them to become a pretty bad team. This isn’t right. There needs to be change or this team will rot out.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

 

photo- usatoday.com

Canucks Trying To Get A Better ‘Reid’ On Offense

I slay puns, there’s no argument there. For anyone living under a rock, NO I’m not talking about former Canuck Brandon Reid in relation to the header; Reid Boucher is the newest talk of the town after being claimed off of waivers last week. Boucher pulled the ol Esa Tikkanen last week when he was a member of the New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and now, the Vancouver Canucks.

Canucks fans have been clamoring for a waiver claim and they finally got one. Boucher will add some defensive depth to the bottom six forwards, a decent shot and he can score when given a chance. Becoming an RFA after this season will give him just enough time to either impress the Canucks into re-signing him or get him a contract elsewhere.

After the Anton Rodin debacle on Saturday night, a defensive forward could have fit the role as a sixth defenseman instead of the five they employed. The Rodin situation is a whole other debate and you really have to wonder what the heck the Canucks are doing with him. This isn’t the time, though. Reid will definitely be given a shot on the Skille line and just maybe a shot with either Bo Horvat or Brandon Sutter.

Admitting Jim Benning does smart things is tough sometimes (@ me all you want) but I think this may fall under that category. Trading for Markus Granlund when we all thought Hunter Shinkaruk was going to work here seemed idiotic and just plain wrong, look where they are now. Former first round pick, Jack Skille, was signed to a PTO and then a 1-year deal after impressing in the pre-season.

The handling of Frank Corrado, Anton Rodin, and a few others is confusing and conspiracy theory worthy but with the current players kind of set, it isn’t too distracting. Boucher will hopefully help the Canucks in the short term as it’s looking more and more like bodies will be needed.

On defense, there’s a good chance Jordan Subban may just get his first NHL game but some really bad things would have to happen and I don’t wish for that at all. Up front, though; the book on Boucher is his shot and contribution on the PP while being an average skater. Needing speed on this team doesn’t exactly scream REID BOUCHER but they obviously see something in him.

Dominating the OHL last season with Sarnia by scoring 62 goals does say he can find the net which could translate on the right team. Sometimes, the waiver process allows a player a chance to get where he should be instead of wasting away on a team that can’t utilize his strengths. The Canucks for the most part, seem to be out for lunch every time someone good comes up but again, that’s a whole other story.

I still think they should have claimed Ty Rattie from the Blues as I think he could have helped the Canucks more immediately but I’m not the GM as I’ve been told so I’ll have to wait to see how this pans out.

There IS one thing that makes me an instant Reid fan, however, his birthday. September 8th.

Lifelong Canuck as far as I’m concerned.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

 

photo – thehockeywriters.com

IWBITS: Canucks At Centre Of Attention

Staying healthy is a big key to any teams success and the Vancouver Canucks are no different. Last season, the Canucks lost Brandon Sutter for a large chunk of the 2015/16 campaign with a broken jaw (and not becauseit hit the floor from his team being astonishingly bad) as well as a sports hernia. Having your #2 pivot on the shelf definitely creates opportunity for a guy like Bo Horvat but it came at a cost.

Part two of the It’ll Be Interesting To See series focuses on the Canucks need for consistency at the centre position. Henrik Sedin will once again be the main man up front and will draw the lions share of matchups. A healthy Brandon Sutter will take pressure off of Henrik needing to be the answer every game.

When Sutter IS in the lineup he creates options for the Canucks as Bo Horvat can develop his game on the 3rd line. Having three solid options at centre makes life easier, any coach will tell you. Having them produce is an entirely different issue. Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat and former Canuck Jared McCann combined for 36 goals last year and that…that just isn’t very good at all. The Canucks have been able to see better results when guys like Horvat and Sven Baertschi get less attention and this year Baertschi will most likely get the 2nd line duties with Sutter.

Line chemistry is a lot easier when you have a guy night in and night out that you recognize instead of going through the blender and seeing new faces all the time. Jake Virtanen will benefit from an improved Horvat and can bring some meat and potatoes to the 3rd line where it really needs to get going.

You have to believe the Canucks can still make a move before the season gets going or maybe they wait out training camp and see who impresses. Does Anton Rodin thrill and get a job? Its possible. Having him play with Horvat and Virtanen would be fun if they get going. Tuomo Ruutu has earned a PTO with Vancouver and a veteran presence might work out on either of those secondary lines.

What will be interesting to see is if the Canucks centres DO stay healthy and create chances and goals that were very much lacking a season ago. There is not Cup run with this year’s edition of the Vancouver Canucks but being able to roll four lines does increase their chances of success. I can see a hybrid approach with Horvat and Sutter interchanging on the 2nd/3rd lines but that pretty much comes down to results I think.

Sutter will be given every chance to own that 2nd line but if Horvat does what he did in his rookie year, Willie Desjardins may have an interesting problem on his hands; does that actually happen? Well this probably isn’t a team that we should expect miracles from just yet.

The wrench in all of this is if Henrik goes down with a back injury for any length of time; the Canucks just aren’t built to survive without him yet. Everyone waited in horror as he didn’t sit down for a whole game, even though it was close to Christmas, he wasn’t standing to get first crack at the presents under the tree, we all watched knowing full well something was up.

A lengthy Hank injury will most likely keep the Canucks in a 1st to 5th overall drafting position in 2017 so his health will be monitored every time he looks like he is ailing. I mean, Henrik’s an old guy in hockey terms but he’s only 36 and has kept his body in pretty amazing shape. Fluke injuries happen but he also doesn’t put himself in position to get hurt either.

I don’t want to see this team plunge again this year but there isn’t much dictating a different result. Perhaps some key goaltending and solid defense will aid the team’s chances if they do in fact get things going.

Being a centre in a Canucks uniform draws a lot of criticism but the ones that have succeeded here have seen their fair share and rose above it. The phone lines open full time in a few weeks and it will be interesting to see who they put in the cross hairs.

 

cover photo: vancouversun.com