derek dorsett

Canucks Supporting Actors Foolishly Get Starring Roles

Part of the reason the Canucks may be working the #tank option this year is how they deploy their players in key situations. Willie Desjardins hasn’t exactly hidden his choices in close games with minutes to go; he openly doubles down on some horrendous decisions. WD has been putting players like Derek Dorsett, Matt Bartkowski, Linden Vey and Alex Biega in starring roles when the game is on the line. 

He’s doing the equivalent of putting Zach Galifianakis or Melissa McCarthy as the headliner in a major movie. The reason those actors are good is because they aren’t relied upon to carry the whole movie – support actors shouldn’t get lead billing. Neither should Dorsett or Bartkowski.

The Canucks aren’t losing every game, they’re actually winning the odd one and lately, they’ve won the last two! However, when you make decisions like putting out less than capable players to close out a lead at the end of a game, you tend to be on the losing side more often than not.

That or start the game with those same players in a role they have no business assuming. I thought DD was a joke on the Sedin line, but it actually happened in real life. Real life….a game was played where Dorsett was a winger with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Simply stunning.

So why would you put those players in such prominent positions? You shouldn’t. You know why Zach Galifianakis was hilarious in all 3 Hangover movies? He wasn’t the star; he had a supporting role. Melissa McCarthy was a riot in Bridesmaids but if you google her like I did, you’ll find that the movies she headlined…not so good.

We tend to see many actors hit it big on one role and it leads to a year of leading roles they have ZERO business acting in. Money is a big reason and Hollywood is hungry for anything they can get their hands on; Bradley Cooper is a good example.

As we watch this season continue and debate the merit of the #tank or the rebuild or WHATEVER, letting Willie D have full control over lines like the following will lead to disaster:

I could think of literally so many other options that would make more sense than that configuration. Put out five d-men, or how about Horvat/McCann/Burrows??? I don’t even coach and that sounds better. You don’t even need Corsi or Fenwick or PDO or any of that…well actually if the stats showed that was the best option then I’d be ok with that but I’m not going to bother because I know it doesn’t.

Already, we’re seeing some lines develop like the Horvat/Bae line and McCann with pretty much anyone seems like a good idea, sadly the fourthies (Prust/Dorsett) usually accompany him. In 2011, you could have the bottom six out there with minutes or even seconds to go in the defensive zone because they were proven to be reliable.

There is no reliability right now and throwing darts at a board isn’t a great strategy.

So Willie, the next time you see John C. Reilly, Vin Diesel, Seth Rogen or even Steve Carrell in a movie…just because they followed that supporting role with a lead one, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Canucks Getting MUST From Dorsett And Prust

I’m not saying that’s a great line, I’m just saying. It took a lot for the Canucks to get to a point where Willie Desjardins stated the game against the Bruins was a “Must”. That was never really clarified exactly what that meant but you don’t have to be a hockey analytic expert to know that he needed his team do whatever it takes to win. Boston still won 4-0 (remember that score Canucks fans?) but its the push back at the end that brought the MUST to a head.

Who would have thought spearing Brad Marchand in the junk would have given the Canucks the #mustfactor ? That Bruins game was beyond brutal and it’s a shame the Canucks wasted an opportunity to stick it to them. As fans, we get ONE home game to stew in our hate towards the 2011 Cup Champs and one more game away from the Rog; we were robbed of our right.

Loss after loss, wasted effort after wasted effort and for what? The Canucks started the season and surprisingly they were mimicking their 2014/15 start and almost overnight the bottom seemed to have fallen out from under them. The desire to win looked gone and the competitive level of the team was downright dead.

So what brought the “must” to a head? No goals from basically anyone not named Sedin or Hansen, shameless giveaways in the defensive zone and zero confidence against, really any team they played. The Canucks were becoming predictable and teams were reading them like a book. No fight back, no aggression, minimal hitting and forechecking were all starting to show up on milk cartons all around the lower mainland.

Two players specifically, Derek Dorsett and Brandon Prust, were nowhere to be found. Before and including the Boston game, Dorsett and Prust were on the ice for a combined 8 goals  for and 11 against, courtesy of puckalytics.com; which is actually surprising for a 4th line but they weren’t brought in to necessarily put the puck in the net. They possess a certain set of skills that are supposed to keep teams honest and aware of what they will have to deal with if they cross the line.

We’ve all seen the same games and I don’t think anyone feels threatened by these two; at least not until the late stages of Saturday’s game vs. the Bruins.

 

Was that all it took? It was a cheap shot on a cheap player but Brandon Prust did what many players probably wished they could have done to Marchand and I’d say it helped ease a bit of Vancouver’s pain from the endless garbage Marchand has produced. Apparently $5000 isn’t a terrible amount of money to spend for something like that. Good to know.

And really, he wears a cup.

Even with the same 4-0 result as the 2011 Cup Final, the Canucks couldn’t put together 60 minutes. For a “Must” game, they sure didn’t show it. But that seemed to change when the Sabres rolled into town. Maybe the team got the game wrong, maybe they thought that “Must” game was on Monday.

Easy mistake.

Dorsett and Prust were alive against the Sabres, throwing hits, forechecking and wouldn’t you know it, a goal and an assist for Brandon Prust. The confidence the Canucks showed against the Sabres showed they could actually still play and that this season might not be a complete loss just yet. It sure helped spark Radim Vrbata with a hat trick and the Canucks power play looked like it did many moons ago.

Vancouver’s effort was just as impressive against the Rangers, well, for the last half game or so. That being said, the 4th line of Prust/Cracknell/Dorsett was buzzing. They didn’t score but they had some grade A scoring chances and they kept the intensity alive and moreso in the Canucks favor.

If you mosey on over to War on ice, you’ll see that Prust and Dorsett combined for 3 high danger scoring chances against Henrik Lundqvist and maybe they were due to show their old team mate that they weren’t just filler. There was push back and there was confidence, right through the lineup actually and it wasn’t just a #moralvictory , it was a real victory.

The energy guys are the ones that will keep the top lines productive. Henrik and Daniel won’t be here forever and the new guys need to know that they’ll be taken care of if anyone tries to mess with them. The Canucks used to be one of the most feared teams in the league; not because of size or strength, but because if you decided to take a penalty, they burned you over and over.

They may get out muscled more nights than not until they can get some size in the lineup but I don’t want to see them get outworked. Must is a lifestyle, its a thing to behold. Must wins games and HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW POINT BREAK MOVIE COMING OUT???

Sorry.

Willie wanted to see “must” out of his guys and even though it came a game late, its still early enough to “Must” to save the season. People talk about battle level, compete and truculence, but in Vancouver the new hardworking term is “Must” and we have a whole lot of that are just realizing this is quite important.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Maybe I’m Crazy But Let’s Trade For Dustin Byfuglien!

Let that sink in for a second. Think rationally about it and then think about what he would bring to the Canucks. Although Canucks fans have come to dislike the water buffalo, we’ve done the same to the likes of Raffi Torres, Shane O’Brien and um a way back throwback Esa Tikkanen. Other teams have welcomed players they have despised many a time as the Ducks recently have done with Kesler and Bieksa. So is it really that crazy to consider Buff as a Canuck? I do not think so sir.

 

This whole idea kind of spawned from a recent Pucks on Net podcast where they discussed the Jets building around/trading Byfuglien and it got me thinking that Buff is a pretty big dude, he’s generally well liked and he is good at hockey at an NHL level. I do remember that we weren’t a fan of his ways back in his Chi-town days but that was so long ago. Do we still hate Brad Marchand. OK bad question.

Seriously though, apparently Buff is on the trade block or so they say and a play for Travis Hamonic of the Islanders is out there. Not sure that deal gets made and to be frank, or Ryan (because that’s me) there’s a good chance the Canucks and/or the Jets do not make a trade involving Dustin Byfuglien.

Why friends would I bring up Byfuglien as a trade prospect of your Vancouver Canucks? For starters, as I already stated….he’s big. He’s 6’5″ and 260 lbs according to NHL.com and we probably have no single line that equals that. The Canucks don’t have really any physical presence and even though Brandon Prust and Derek Dorsett are employed by the team, they so aren’t doing what they’ve been asked to do.

The Canucks aren’t scary and no one is worried about going into puck battles with them. No one seems to be worried about getting hit by them and if teams are THAT confident they won’t be hurt, that’s when liberties begin to be taken and at some point the Canucks are just bystanders. Dustin Byfuglien brings a bit of a mean streak to him, which is sadly missed now that Bieksa is gone and his penalties can be obvious at times but would you not rather have a guy that’s capable of enforcing himself on opponents?

I know I would.

His offensive upside is there as well. Sure, Buff’s 30 now and his primo years might be behind him but in the mean time, he can still produce on a level that a good portion of the Canucks cannot. Byfuglien has 2G and 3A in his last 5GP, good ol’ NHL last 5 games stat; and he’s already put up 15 points and 2 game winners. Have we even WON 2 games?

Quick stat: there are only 2 Canucks (guess who?) that have more points than Buff. He….could….help.

He’s a fan fav in the ‘Peg, sells jerseys and he’s a Cup winner. The Canucks had no answer for him and that was no secret but what if he played here, would he bring anything new? Could he even whole heartedly produce for this team? Something that would need to be asked.

Byfuglien DOES have a LNTC (limited no trade clause) and I think we’d be kidding ourselves to think Vancouver isn’t on his 5 team list of where he wouldn’t play. The Canucks did that to themselves though. But this is hypothetical and you’re still reading so keep up!

Who do the Canucks give up then? In that same boat, Vancouver has guys that are still valuable and are also not young; Alex Edler, Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata are all guys that would be a decent trade offering going to Winnipeg and that would free up a spot up front for one of the super rookies like Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce or Alex Grenier. Not to mention keeping a current rookie in the everyday lineup like Jake Virtanen.

I did forget we still have Sven Baertschi and if Canucks management can get over the fact they botched a few trades for 2nd rounders and just eat their mistakes, we can all move on from the second best Sven to ever play on the Canucks. If they wanted some grit, Ronalds Kenins are both available and they aren’t the Leafs so it would be safe to assume they wouldn’t bring him on to just have him sit up in the press box.

Maybe our time to move some long time pieces is once again at a head; Alex Edler is not the 2009-2011 Edler he once was. Alex Burrows is still valuable and can be a healthy addition to many teams. He scores, he’s a valuable PK piece and he grinds out hard minutes. Radim Vrbata will not equate to anything in the playoffs and it took one round to find that out….against Calgary.

This isn’t a what can we get for these guys article but if you were to put something together to get Byfuglien, these are decent players. I don’t know if the Jets would require a hot, young player like Shinkaruk or Virtanen and if so, forget the trade altogether. What I’m suggesting is that Byfuglien can bring something to the Canucks we clearly don’t have.

Getting back to the bully factor and not being a bully, the Canucks just don’t hold their own in games anymore and they need a physical, dominant presence that won’t take crap from opposing teams. How Benning hasn’t figured out yet that his current roster is not the answer is beyond me. There are players out there that will grind, like Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre once did (remember 2011?) and now they just eat up minutes, the final buzzer goes and usually we lose by a goal.

At the very least, the Canucks should consider trading for Dustin Byfuglien. He actually could help the Canucks and he isn’t Marchand. Take out the personal feelings you have towards him and realistically see what he could bring.

So in short: Byfuglien to Canucks, 30 years old, big dude, won a Cup, intimidating, weighs many pounds, everyday we’re byfuglien.

Follow me on twitter and I will change your world: @always90four