richard bachman

It Will Be Interesting To See: Canucks And Goalies

Canucks training camp started on Thursday and apparently it was already decided that Ryan Miller is the #1 goaltender this season for Vancouver because it says here, here and here. The last one was kind of overkill but you get the point. Jim Benning has declared the 36 year old veteran will lead the Canucks on the ice and defend the pipes as its top tender. In the next edition of IWBITS, I dive into the goalie issue and declare it will be interesting to see how this season pans out…heck how the first month goes.

When Ryan Miller signed with the Canucks back in 2014 it was tough to say if he was a consolation prize or if he really would help the Canucks while everything else was sorted out. There was the Eddie Lack saga, the Jacob Markstrom run and with Thatcher Demko signing his pro deal the clock will indeed be ticking until the heir apparent (Demko) takes the throne.

The funny thing is, Miller has actually been the least of the team’s worries since he signed. Sure, he’s had injury issues but what veteran goalie hasn’t? His actual stats aren’t very becoming but when you’re injured, splitting starts every second game and being relied on as the backbone of a team that scores less than the USA World Cup hockey team, you get a bit of a pass.

Millers GAA was a voluptuous 2.70 last year good for 34th overall, his SA% was 28th at .916 and because the offense and well the defense as well wasn’t all that effective, Miller finished 15th overall in saves with 1634. He was a workhorse and there were 31 games he didn’t even play.

It’s not a bad thing that Jacob Markstrom is the backup, in Vancouver you always seem to get your chance. We all LOVED Roberto Luongo and then Cory Schneider went and did his winning thing so then we were torn. We had Eddie Lack backing up Miller and we all thought THAT was the answer when he turned it on, but alas.

I say let’s enjoy Ryan Miller’s swan song, he’s pretty much done everything that has been asked of him and many of the games last season that were won with him between the pipes, were HIS wins. He definitely stole a few and our frustration was being pointed in many, many other directions.

How this all plays out this season will be interesting because Miller could easily get banged up and Markstrom would take the reigns. So being that Demko isn’t getting called up right away, Richard Bachman is basically the glorified door opener unless things get really dicey. The Nucks signed BTO this past offseason and he’ll be go figure, the door opener for Demko down in Utica.

All of this puts Jacob Markstrom in a position to prove his worth either as the tandem mate of Demko when Miller leaves after the season or trade bait if Thatcher is the Auston Matthews/Connor McDavid equivalent in net. We used to get bent out of shape when things got iffy in net, but now there’s a clear answer and losing our favourite son Roberto Luongo will hopefully be a fond memory and only that.

Don’t expect the Canucks to surprise anyone this year challenge for a top playoff spot, they aren’t built that way yet. What they do have is a team of veterans and guys willing to learn from them. This team is on the verge of very good things and goaltending is included, unless of course Jim Benning decides to trade away Demko (but I just don’t want to think he’s that bat ish crazy).

It will once again be a roller coaster season and if Willie/Jim/Trevor know what’s best for this team, we’ll see a healthy dose of Miller/Markstrom every 2nd or 3rd game. It keeps it “interesting”, it keeps each goalie fresh and maybe they can pinpoint matchups, hey strategy!

Watching the fall last year was tough and seeing the result of a 5th pick instead of the 3rd still stings but knowing there’s a elite prospect between the pipes getting ready for his takeover is exciting. With Twitter handing us info by the second, Demko’s progression will be all too documented and if things go as well as everyone thinks, it will be tough not hand him the keys to the car.

On the off chance something amazing DOES happen on the big club, the Canucks may push their relevance back into the NHL I don’t see that happening but there’s a lot I’m wrong on.

The Canucks are tied for 1st overall right now…it will be interesting to see for how long.

Check me out on twitter: @always90four

cover photo:


Willie Desjardins Losing The Room With New Look Canucks

We’ve seen it before, teams go from the top of the mountain to the deepest pit. The stars are scoring, goaltending is closing the door and everything is right in the world. But then something happens, something changes and the world turns on its side. In coach Willie Desjardins’ second season as Canucks head coach he is already beginning to lose the room. I’m as surprised as you; it was going so well so what happened? 


By now you’ve seen the video; Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen are NHLers and in typical Canucks fashion they gave them the shock of their lives. What is being overlooked however, is that Willie Desjardins didn’t even tell the guys himself. This early in the season, you want to know your coach believes in you and he didn’t even stick around to welcome his new players to the show. Take a look:

The other surprising part of the video is when the team calls for a PLAYERS ONLY meeting. Willie is asked to leave the room (which is somewhat inaudible) and the players air our their grievances. Bo Horvat seems to have a bit of beef with the new guys. It’s a bit early to have a players only meeting and it usually means there is some dissension in the room. Hopefully there are better times ahead for the Canucks as I’d hate to see this team blown up because of some petty crap.

Something else that should be taken of note is the sparsely used Richard Bachman. Willie has ridden Ryan Miller in every game but one this season and that only happened because of a back to back on the road. With Jacob Markstrom out still, he clearly has zero trust in his backup. Why bother playing him at all Willie, why bother dressing him? I’m sure there’s a defenseman who would love to crack the lineup.

When former coach John Tortorella took over we expected a few of these tendencies and a bit of his arrogance and bravado but not from calm, cool and collect Willie Desjardins. That didn’t seem like his style. Boy were we wrong. He may allow cell phones in the pressers but he doesn’t give you much to go on when speaking about his players, mainly falling back on his “real good” comment. Somethings up!

Willie’s lack of respect for his players, forcing them to be “employees first, players second” by making them man the door like a lowly bouncer at a Castlegar night club:


His trust issues with his players are another thing. Does WD even believe his team can play a full 60 minutes? Does he even respect them to be on the ice long enough to contribute?


Tough to say if Willie even lasts the year behind the Canucks bench the way he is running the ship. He apparently thought Dorsett, Prust and McCann was a good idea. No coach can make a line like that look good.

I believe in this team, I really do but are we headed for another first round exit to the Flames? I sure hope not.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four