daniel-sedin-and-habs620664966_231201828So here we are after 10 games into Canucks season 2016-17. They sit in seventh place spot tied with the Flames in the Wild Card entry with a record of 4W, 5L, 1OT. They also have lost six in-a-row which could be the longest this season – maybe.

In the Western Conference the Canucks are tied with the L.A. Kings with a -10 goal-differential. It’s no secret that the Canucks are offensively challenged. This reminds me of the 2006-07 season when they traded for Roberto Luongo, who kept them in low scroing games.

That was also the year that Alaine Vigneault had them playing a system called “The Trap”. That was the only reason they could stay in games. Only seven NHL teams scored less goals than the Canucks that season.

They also won the Northwest Division that season, but I don’t see them winning the Pacific this time. Yes, 10 games is a small sample size. But, it you fall too far behind after 15 to 20 games, it’s hard to make up the points what with the three-point system.

So in saying all that I present to you my Surprises and Disappointments at the 10 game point of this season.

SURPRISES

The most obvious would be Troy Stecher who looks like the Ben Hutton story from last season. As one can see, Stecher is not big in stature but makes up for it in so many other aspects of the game.

To me he’s a Chris Tanev smaller clone in the way he processes the game and is able to move the puck out of the D zone calmly. But thats where that comparison stops.

He’s more mobile, good set of hands, will put up the points when allowed to play more games and will surprise people with his defensive positioning. Built much like Duncan Keith and Scott Niedermayer, they depended on positioning to defend against the bigger, faster, players.

That recent game against the Oilers and Connor McDavid was a good example. He stayed with McDavid and steered him to the outside of the net on a scoring opportunity. Text book checking. He’s also has that competitor’s toughness, which if he holds up physcially, will take him far in his NHL career.

IMO, Stecher should be in the starting six D-men.

This is not so much of a surprise because the goal-tending has been good for many seasons or this team would have no chance of advancing.

Bo Horvat leading the team in goals with four, does surprise me, only in the fact that he’s playing in a third line role which means fewer TOI minutes.

I’ve now seen enough of Philip Larsen

to understand why the Oilers didn’t resign him. Leads the team with a -9 and his defensive play stands out – as in poor.

How Stecher is not playing is only due to the small sample size. But look for a change around the 20 game point if Larsen is still playing like this.

Another player that is still consistent in his play – Jake Virtanen. He leads the team in +/- with a +1 among players that have played 8 or more games. There is no reason he should not play every game as long as he is healthy.

Besides Larsen with his -9, that the Sedins would be next with Henrik’s -6 and Daniel’s -5 is a surprise. Although it tells me that they are spending a lot of time in their offensive zone.

Also some nights, they look like they’re skating in sand. Has the game’s quickness passed them by?

After 10 games if you would have told me that Sven Baertschi and Louii Eriksson would have no goals, I would have questioned that. The positive is they are fifth and sixth on the team in shots-on-goal.

Eriksson is at least getting assists with four, which places him tied with Hansen in team scoring in points at third.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Where do I start? The six game losing streak, scoring (30th), power-play (29th), shots-per-game (29th), shots-against (7th), thats good, FO% (22nd), the sitting out of Virtanen, the non-playing of Troy Stecher.

Most of these stats point to a team that is going nowhere, except in time – to the bottom of the league.

I really thought that this team with Brandon Sutter (49.7%) and Bo Horvat (45.9%) would be in the middle of the pack in FO%. My thought on that is if you are constantly facing-off in your zone, then you will be always be at a disadvantage. Having to place you stick down first in the circle is a killer for percentages.

I always thought that Henrik Sedin was the weak link in the teams FO% but here he leads at 50.3% (surprise).

Larsen is not a disappointment, because I knew the Canucks were rolling the dice on him, but that he’s not being rotated in and out of the lineup – is.

Ice Bits

I wrote back in the summer that Willie Dejardins would have about 20-25 games before the owners moved him. When you pay the bills and have missed the playoffs two out of the last three years, it is what it is. And no I don’t believe the Canucks propaganda that ownership doesn’t interfere. 

Would Dallas Green, without any NHL coaching experience, be able to squeeze anymore out of this lineup? I highly doubt it.

This selling of trying to make the playoffs is now been lost on the public. Quit trying to feed them the BS, they’re more knowledgable then you think. 

Right now the kids need to play to develop, that, or send them to Utica, but quit jerking Virtanen’s chain.

The first year Bo Horvat played on the fourth line it was one of the best they had assembled in recent years. It actually was scoring. I don’t see anyone this season that can score. 

As far as trading for a 20 goal scorer, which Benning said in the summer he was still looking to do – yeah sure. Jim, you had to get that in the off-season.

Sounds like Chris Tanev will not play tonight against Ottawa and Tryamkin will finally draw into the lineup.

PS. BTW on mobile devices if you land on the blog, at the top of that page choose Select Page/Home,

for more viewing and listening. Crank the volume up on the tune (which will change periodically), for the introduction to the starting lineup.

After eight years of submitting material for the Vancouver Sun’s Opinion/Community/Blog section, they have reformatted their entire content and discontinued with the Blogs.

So, I will stay here, on the work-in-progress updated website, and of course on my nucksiceman twitter account. 

Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports

Video Credits – YouTube

Stats Credits – http://www.hockeydb.com, http://www.nhl.com, http://canucks.nhl.com, http://capfriendly.com, http://www.hockeybuzz.com, http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com, http://war-on-ice.com, http://sportingcharts.com

Quote Credits – The Vancouver Sun and Province

To catch-all the news as it breaks, in ALL the sports, updates, line-odds and new articles as they occur, you can follow me at https://twitter.com/nucksiceman and here on this site. 

 

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