bo-horvat-in-action-468415744It’s come already, that Canucks 20 game mark

where we assimilate what this team is all about. Much of this you already know if you follow this team.

Now I could throw a whole bunch of Corsi stats to impress you but I’m still “old school” in that I also use my eyes and knowledge of the game to speak to me. So with that, I present to you what I’ve seen.

Scoring, the pundits said that the Canucks would have trouble scoring and 20 games into the season, discounting this recent upswing – they were bang on. Goals-For (44) the Canucks are 27th. Putting that into perspective the Rangers, who are first, have 82.

Goal-Differential is a -17 which is second to the Flames -18, who are in the league’s basement. Those two stats alone speak volumes about this team.

The one gleam of positive out of this

is that the Canucks with 18 points (8-10-2), are only three out of a Wild Card spot. Then again, does this organization want to really end up in the middle of the pack entry draft?

This team needs to develop a first line for the succession of the Sedins departure. Now if they had been fortunate enough to draft a Patrik Laine, then I would say, absolutely go for the playoffs.

As it is, they would be better off shooting for a first to third draft pick that could impact this team.

Speaking of a first line.

The way Bo Horvat, who by the way leads the team with seven goals, six assists, and tied with team leader Daniel Sedin’s 13 points, is playing – deserves first line minutes. Horvat did only get those minutes in the recent Coyotes game on November 17th and the Chicago game.

It is time that management gave the reins to the Horvat line of, Sven Baertschi, and Alex Burrows, as the first line. Let them see how they match up against the opposition.

If you were to base it on plus/minus alone the accumulated total of the Horvat line is -5. The Sedin line, which includes Brandon Sutter, is a -18.

Although a small sample size with Sutter has been playing with the Sedins, my eyes tell me the Horvat line plays better defensively. That is what the first line should project.

On many nights the Sedins are just too slow,

and their gaps to wide – to defend. I believe that the Sedins would match up better against the oppositions second line.

The person that has turned the Horvat line around is Alex Burrows. It’s not a coincident that Burrows is a +2, with 3G, 4A, after 16 GP.

Burrows looks like he’s found the fountain of youth, indicated in his skating quickness. He’s creating loose pucks for the talent of Horvat and Baertschi to produce.

Last night against the Coyotes the first goal was the result of Burrows fore-check on Ekman-Larsson turnover. That directly resulted in the goal by Sven Baertschi from Bo Horvat.

Last night that line had eight points. Burrows didn’t enter into the Bertschi goal, but he deserved an assist for the turnover.

If Desjardins doesn’t recognize that the Horvat line is deserving of first line minutes, then they have the wrong coach.

Is Troy Stecher deserving of a first pairing with Alex Edler? Truthfully, I would say no – not a this time. That’s not usually a spot for a D-man to learn. Second pairing maybe.

When Chris Tanev returns

it will be interesting what the pairings are. Stecher deserves to stay, but who does he replace without upsetting team chemistry?

Do you return Tanev with Edler as the shut-down pair? Do you split them up? Would Ben Hutton be better with Tanev as the second pairing?

It’s no secret that whoever Tanev plays with, he makes them better. Eric Gudbranson to me, would be better as a third pairing.

The surprise after 20 games for me is Michael Chaput! The stats (1A) don’t jump out at you for a third line centre, but his positional play sure does.

He’s a very creative play maker and when Jannik Hansen returns, Chaput will have more talent to create with.

The fourth line needs a re-build. There’s no potential offense that I see being created.

That’s because there’s no scoring talent except for the ocassional goal from Derek Dorsett. Jack Skille and Brendan Gaunce – no goals.

In wrapping up this critique of the Canucks after 20 games, decisions will be needed for the growth of this team. Who gets first line minutes?

Who’s the first D pairing? Will the “trap system” create enough scoring? Does the team place itself outside of a top three entry draft pick?

Because I don’t feel this team is good enough to make the playoffs!

Ice Bits

Canucks have announced that they have signed Ben Hutton to a two-year contract extension worth $2.8 million per season. “Ben is developing into one of our young, emerging core players and is an important part of our future,” said GM Jim Benning. 

Now, lets not have anymore of this nonsense about trading him for Evander Kane. 

I like Brandon Sutter with the Sedins because Sutter is intelligent enough to understand their idiosyncracies. BTW Sutter is fourth in scoring with 5G, 6A, but his -9, well, part of that has developed with the Sedins. 

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that Loui Eriksson has scored three goals in his last five games. Okay, so why’s he not on the first team power-play?

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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