brad richardson

Maybe Someone Else Could Be Brendan Gaunce

I struggled mightily on how to start this post almost as much as the Canucks have struggled with Brendan Gaunce in their lineup. When most people think of a 4th line center, they want a guy that digs in the dirty areas, eats up minutes and brings tangible value to the team.

Basically, he needs to be effective enough to give the other three lines a break and occasionally contribute on the scoreboard. Many of us pined for Brendan Gaunce to get his opportunity on the Canucks 4th line and now that he has it, he’s been pretty dull.

Right now, BG is like that memorable song on the radio from the mid-2000’s that you were pretty impressed with but thinking back, it really wasn’t all that good and you immediately can think of at least 5 songs you’d rather listen to.

Sorta like that.

Gaunce has 5 assists this year and considering that the Canucks don’t score many goals, that should seem like a decent amount. When Brad Richardson/Manny Malhotra were on the Canucks, they produced like a proper 4th liner.

Richardson amassed 8 goals and 13 assists in 45 games in his last season in Vancouver back in 2014/15. In the season prior, he had 2G and 3 points shorthanded for the Canucks that were included in his 11G, 12A campaign.

That’s a lot of points for a guy seeing minimal ice time. Richardson could be used in a variety of situations and was valuable in all of them, he was a true contributor to the cause.

Looking at Brendan Gaunce, he fills minutes, sure, but is he really effective? Not really. I’m about to compare Gaunce to Jayson Megna. I know that’s not fair but they shouldn’t have either of these guys in the lineup and even Megna has a case to stay in the lineup.

Megna, although useless, has a shooting percentage of 7.7% while Gaunce sports a zero. Yikes! Jake Virtanen (who isn’t even ON THE CANUCKS right now) has the same zero but his points per game is only 1/100th less than Gaunce at 0.10/game.

Different positions, I’m aware, but Jake didn’t even have his stuff here and he was contributing about the same. Brendan’s TOI/GM is 28th of all players that have suited up this year for the Canucks, only ahead of Mike Zalewski, Reid Boucher, and Joseph Labate.

It’s pretty obvious Willie D doesn’t trust him a ton and we can go right back to the point of why is he playing regularly for the Canucks? Looking to the farm and calling up Curtis Valk who’s having a great season in Utica or even popcorn aficionado, Reid Boucher with the regular spot in the press box are better options than Gaunce right now.

Looking at Gaunce’s advanced stats may suggest I’m a nut job as his CF% at 5v5 is 1st on the team with 52.01% and his PDO is actually not that bad at 99.05. What I see on the ice is that he doesn’t seem to be making a difference.

Tolerating stale players has become a regularity on the Canucks and Gaunce seems to be the latest one. I’m happy he’s on the team but I think it’s time for a stint with the Comets to get his game back to where it should be at that spot.

 You’re only as good as your weakest link and right now, Brendan Gaunce needs to be a stronger link.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

photo – ottawa citizen

Canucks Make Mission Statement

A night after I said the Canucks hadn’t won anything, they won something big. From what I can remember, this was not only the first time they shut out the Penguins in Pittsburgh but it was the first time the Canucks beat the Pens in regulation with a healthy Penguins lineup that included Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Correct me if I’m wrong….seriously do that if I’m wrong, im tired.

There was definitely a mission statement in Pittsburgh; as I stated they needed some “test” wins and tonight was a test…..and they passed (something foreign to Ryan Kesler). It wasn’t the Sedins who had the “A” game, it wasn’t even the 2nd line, cue Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson. Ya, thats right, those guys. It is absolutely amazing how these depth guys are contributing in such a big way.

It won’t always be that way this year but when the stars aren’t clicking every night, the supporting cast needs to step up. This was also a night for backup Eddie Lack to prove his worth with Jacob Markstrom pushing from the Utica Comets for his next shot. Lack not only got the win, but he played spec-LACK-ular. He shutout the Pens, Crosby and even that fuzzy penguin on twitter:

And of course Twitter doesn’t disappoint:

The Canucks are playing the rest of the league right now like it doesn’t matter who’s on their teams and to quote Kanye West it looks like “they got too many Urkels on their team, that’s why they winslow”. With an important statement game under their belts and really a road trip that has served them well thus far, Vancity gets the Leafs on Saturday and it might be the best present any Canucks fan could get….well a win against the Kings would be nice.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
Like A94 on Facebook: Always90four
Pics and that on Instagram: @always90four

Cover photo courtesy of