vancity buzz

Breaking Down The Canucks Season With Bullet Points

Seems like everyone is ready to fire Willie Desjardins. They’re already sick of the “rebuild” and I don’t think anyone has any idea of what happens next. The Canucks are a mess to say it nicely; a train wreck if we’re being more specific and a raging tire fire if you want to be close. The papers…err, their blogs and such have the coach being fired , well maybe not (Vancity Buzz), Canucks TV ratings down (Canucks Army) and Jake Virtanen. I have no link here. I just feel bad for the guy.

So let’s take a look at how this season has gone down in BULLET POINTS; because that’s what has been shot into this season: BULLETS! But in no particular order OK, I really don’t want to put in too much work. You’re already reading this so just sit back and enjoy!

    • Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen make the Canucks. We’re all SUPER happy for them and think “Hey, maybe the Canucks have turned a new leaf and are doing this rebuilding thing we all talked about”. I…..don’t think we knew what was going to happen. But we were happy for a bit.
    • Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom were gonna be better this year. No Eddie Lack? No problem. Except that there IS a problem: our goal tending.
    • Goal scoring slumps. If you aren’t a Sedin or a Hansen or Hunter Shinkaruk in the AHL you probably haven’t done much this season. Figure that one out. Is it even possible to not have anyone score but the first line? I think even Edmonton has more than 3 guys that score goals. EDMONTON!!!!!
    • Dan Hamhuis took a freaking slap shot to the face. He broke his jaw and it pretty much capped his first half of the season in style; his on ice play has suffered dramatically and the giveaways, oh jeeeeez the giveaways. Dan Hamhuis is a great man, a great Canuck but seriously, his time is running out/has run out. He’s in Willie Mitchell territory; but minus the Cups.
    • Alex Edler gave up a pretty bad turnover against the Kings in overtime and the Canucks lost. I think we knew at that point, we knew where things were headed. Funny story, that was about a week or so ago.
    • Ben Hutton made the team and we all thought CHRIS TANEV WITH OFFENSE!!! He liked the rest of the team has lost his mojo. Oh and when Ben got injured the hashtag #HUTTONmania broke up. It wasn’t good.
    • Vancouver has already seen what seems like half the Comets called up with a combined, what, 4 games played for the Canucks? The problems aren’t just on the ice, its between the coaches ears too!
    • Frankie Corrado got waived because obviously? There were ways to get around it with Higgins starting the season on the IR:
  • Losing streaks; we’ve had a few
  • Hunter Shinkaruk did so well that the Canucks finally called him up….then sent him down. That was depressing.
  • But then they brought him back. But then they sent him down after one game. Sensing a pattern here.
  • Canucks snapped the Canadiens winning streak at 9 games. It felt pretty good. Since then the Canucks have won 7 times and lost 16 times (OT/SO) Ugh.
  • Jake Virtanen gets sent to the Canadian World Junior team, probably to the Hitmen after that.
  • Jared McCann isn’t far behind
  • Things are so bad you’ve now read 14 bullet points about how this season has gone in the tank. I haven’t mentioned Auston Matthews yet. Let’s not go there yet.

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.

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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:

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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

When You Let Always90four Pick Your Goal Song (Canucks Edition)

Music. It drives sports, it sets the tone of what’s about to happen, what just happened or some cheesy synthesizer at a basketball game when the guys trot up the court. In hockey, the warmups welcome you to the arena with a mix of everything the team is listening to in the dressing room. It sets the tone. The intro song when the team officially skates on the ice is as important as how the team performs, or so it seems in Vancouver.

Now the goal song, that gets criticized as much as the intro. Apparently if its not the most fitting song ever, its wrong and why bother even showing up? The Canucks ran with U2’s “Where the streets have no name” for many years as the intro song but that got them nowhere. No Cups…not even one.

As for the goal tune? Holiday by Green Day, Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys and Clutch by Electric Worry. That last one was actually not too shabby.

In a recent article over on Vancity Buzz, they shed light on what the Canucks are doing this season: Having individual goal songs for each player. Im half skeptical about this and half excited. Maybe I’ll finally here Alex Burrows raise his hands to the latest Dem Levato or some throwback Hansen. Your guess is as good as mine.

So I thought, because I’m so amazingly good at unearthing a great song and spreading it to the masses, why not pick each goal song for every Canuck? What could possibly go wrong? Well for starters, this article is going to have a sick ton of music videos.

After you’re done laughing, ridiculing, applauding in amazement over my choices, go on over to Canucks Army and check out Sillig Ekim’s take on this hot subject. Most certainly it will be better than what I have picked but I’ll let you cast judgement when I’m done.

OK, lets do this……..

Henrik Sedin – He’s the older of the two Sedin twins. So his song should be better than Daniels. I have chosen Drowning Pool’s Tear Away. Kinda dark and twisted for Henrik but the chorus is key here: “I don’t care about anyone else but me” Maybe an ode to his 2010 season when he decided to keep the puck to himself and win the Art Ross?

Daniel Sedin – The obvious choice here is the Olsen Twins – Brother for Sale. There was never another option.

Alex Burrows – Does anyone know what he’s saying half the time? I don’t. I love Alex but this song is pretty fitting IMO. Weird Al – Word Crimes

Brandon Sutter – He’s relatively new to the Canucks still and his song choice is kinda weird but when he was moved from the 2nd line to the top group with the twins, this one just seemed fitting. Spice Girls – 2 Become 1

Sven Baertschi – I know, he’s not swedish but this just seems to work. Never put me in charge of this task again. Swedish Chef from the Muppets

Bo Horvat – Young Bo is a teen phenom and you tell me, is this not fitting for our young superstar? Nirvana – Smells like Teen Spirit

Radim Vrbata – His goal stares are legendary, his shot is quick and lethal. He wants line chemistry and he wants it now. But not too much chemistry that would cause one to be…Radioactive. Imagine Dragons

Derek Dorsett – I had a few options for this one but I’ll save the bad choice for Brandon Prust. Dorsy gets the ever fitting Fight music by D12. Its the clean version so its ok for work.

Brandon Prust – This guy has heart, I’ll give him that but his predictable boring fights are waning. Pruster gets the P Diddy – Bad Boys For Life track. He isn’t changing.

You know what, Prusty gets two!

Predictable? Obviously. Great song? Oh ya it is!

Jake Virtanen – Anyone that’s anyone knows big Jake aka Big Country loves him some big hits. What is the best song for hitting people…well Bodies by Drowning Pool is what you might say off the hop but BOOM by P.O.D is what I’m giving Jake. Classic song and it really brings me back to my late teens when I wanted to make big hits on the ice.

Adam Cracknell – Release the Kraken….I’m gonna be real with you right now. I couldn’t find a song and I got lazy for about 10 minutes so I found this hilarious compilation video of Liam Neeson saying Release the Kraken over and over with funny stuff in the middle. Its not even that good but honestly who cares?

Jannik Hansen – Who is by far the leader in failed breakaway attempts on the Canucks? Look no further than Jannik Hansen. If we ran a poll right now, Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson would dominate. So ya, thats what I picked.

Jared McCann – We really don’t know a whole lot about Jared yet but don’t you worry, we will. What we DO know about Jared is his undying love to celebrate goals. He loves em! So why not pick a song that “celebrates” his celebrating? Kool & The Gang – Celebrate Good Times.

Alex Edler – WARNING!!! This song should really be for a former Canuck but considering how many of these boomers he takes, Edler gets the hit track SHOTS by LMFAO and Lil Jon

Chris Tanev – He’s so cool, so smooth. The guy rarely makes a mistake and he bails you out when you’re the goof. The Tan Man gets the soft spoken tune Easy Silence by The Dixie Chicks.

Dan Hamhuis – Theres only one. Its MC Hammer, its U Can’t Touch This and you just need to appreciate it.

Matt Bartowski – Should we care about his song yet? Is he even going to score? What would make sense so far down the roster?

Ryan Miller – Hes the last line of defense. He has to save everything or the Canucks will be in trouble. I was wondering if I would find a way for this song to be chosen. I mean, he’s a goalie, he’s never gonna score. So I figure after every big save that goes to commericial, Big and Rich can play him out.

Ben Hutton – This guy is so popular right now. Everyone on press row craves his stats, he’s a monster on the ice and he forced Frankie Corrado all the way to Leaf land. This guy IS the definition of popular.

Now, who’s left? Oh, the main man himself. Luca Sbisa. For all the hate he gets, all the arm chair GM’s that wish he was gone, he’s a decent guy and this season he could really improve. You’ll like this one.

Luca Sbisa – If there was ever a better song written for Sbizza himself I couldn’t find it. Hanson – Where’s the love?

There it is! The Canucks goal song manifesto. OK, truth be told almost none of these would actually be a song they would play but spending 2 hours on youtube finding a song for each player was a lot of fun.

My personal choice for their goal song would be Whisper and a Clamour by Anberlin. Chorus rocks!

Hopefully my bud Sillig Ekim over at Canucks Army has a better list than this sad sack. Could he actually though?

No.

This is gold.

Follow me on twitter and all my antics too! @always90four

Maybe We Were Wrong About Luca Sbisa

Before things got, how do I say this properly, dicey; the only things we really had to overly criticize were not only the gameplay of Luca Sbisa but the shiny new contract he got for said awful gameplay. Was it really that bad? Sbisa likes to get in the dirty areas and he was on one of the Canucks top D pairings. Maybe we need to look past the results right in front of our face and ask ourselves:

Were we wrong about Luca Sbisa?

There hasn’t been much to get excited about this past season and even less in the offseason as Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have put their management skills on autopilot. They passed on my pick in the first round, Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets, they let BC boy Cody Franson dangle his free agentness to no avail thus far and they traded Zack Kassian for Brandon Prust.

And that was just one week.

We keep referencing the apparent awful multi year deal of Luca Sbisa and how it was the beginning of doom and gloom in Canucksland. It was so polarizing that you had to ask yourself “is there something we DON’T know about him or is management really that clueless on how to judge talent garbage?”

In the Ryan Kesler trade that sent Nick Bonino and Sbisa back the Vancouver way, there was a chance the Canucks could start building up their stable again and that a guy like Sbisa might be able to help solidify an aging and sagging back end.

What we know SO FAR is that Luca Sbisa has not made the Canucks defense better, in fact, he’s made it worse.

Statistically speaking, Luca scored better than 8 players on the Canucks last season, there’s a catch though; his 11 points beat out such players as Tom Sestito who was pretty much an after thought of the Canucks, Sven Baertschi who came at the deadline and didn’t get a chance to play enough games to beat Sbisa’s numbers, Brandon McMillan who was a Canuck technically, injury callup Alex Biega and Brandon Defazio who we can only assume stole Zack Kassian’s jersey when he was injured so he could play.

Points don’t tell the whole story as there are some defensemen that are more of a pure defensive asset also called a stay at home defenseman. Most of us wish he actually would stay at home. As I said, points don’t tell the whole story, let’s take a look at the descriptive statistics:

  • His +/- was an unimpressive -8, tied for team worst with rookie centre Bo Horvat. Knowing what we know about Bo and his defensive zone faceoffs, Sbisa pretty much was the reason Horvat even had a minus. If this was golf, Sbisa would be one of Vancouver’s top guys…it is not golf.
  • Plus minus can be the result of bad luck sometimes, coming off the bench as the play turns the other way, being put against the opponent’s top lines or in this case being a horri-awful defenseman. But maybe we were wrong about Sbisa; lets look at his giveaways as he might just be a chronic case of wrong place wrong time:
  • According to foxsports.com, Luca had 46 giveaways in 2014/15 which works out to just over one every two games. We used to be able to count on the bad Roberto goal to start a game, Mason Raymond tripping over the blue line or the ever famous Sedin hooking penalty. Luca Sbisa hands out more giveaways than your local radio station.
  • The Pizza man did have 14 takeaways last season which in itself is impressive because that meant he created a positive situation on the ice for the Canucks. It doesn’t say in the stats how many of those takeaways were then turned back into giveaways but I don’t want to dump on the guy too much.
  • How bout hits? Sbisa finished 2nd on the team with 151 hits behind fellow signee Derek Dorsett who had 166. Benning said Sbisa likes to get in the scrums and brings grit to the team. Technically, he’s right there. Im pretty sure Luca hit Hamhuis at one point this year, so hits don’t mean a lot in this case.

So overall his stats say he hits, he gives it away as much as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and we all want him to be a permanent stay at home defenseman, like…at his own home. But what about that contract?

Luca Sbisa was signing ridiculous contracts before someone paid him to do it, he just liked them. Ok, he’s not Matthew McConaughey but if someone throws 3.6M per at you, you take it. Even him. He surely doesn’t deserve it and you can go on the Internet and find plenty of reasons why, as well as players that are better and make far less.

What it all sums up to is that we are stuck for the time being with this:

I think consistency. Don’t have a great game and then a bad game. Be solid every night… I don’t think I’m great at anything, I don’t think I’m terrible at anything. Obviously there’s so many things I need to improve on. I just think mentally, especially playing in this market, it was tough at times. – Sbisa after year end media interview courtesy of vancitybuzz.com


So he’s not great at anything except knowing how much money he needs to IMMEDIATELY sign for and he’s not terrible at anything except for the 50 minutes after the game starts. As for the other 29 teams, they don’t mind:

The question then must be answered – Were we wrong about Luca Sbisa?

No, no we were not. But you just laughed through enough tears that at the very least you’ll get through tomorrow and then remember he’ll be in the Canucks starting lineup come October.

Its a shame that Sbisa isn’t the OFFICIAL “Swiss Miss” but he is fitting of the title.