So here we are, three games into year number 46 and the Canucks are 3-0 to start.
Only 79 more games to go before we find out whether this team will make the playoffs, or be in a position for the number one draft.
I kind of like the dark horse path, especially since most so-called media-in-the-know have picked the Canucks for a last place finish. Maybe a small wager on the over/under would be something to look into.
Obviously this falling behind in every game will catch up but you must admit – it is exciting. Which is more than I can say for most of last season.
I haven’t written for a while as I have kicked back to figure out what version of the Canucks is in store for us this season. So here’s my take on what I’ve seen to date.
I’ve always felt that the goaltending was not an issue and the defense looks a lot better. It is stronger, and able to defend in front which was a major problem last season.
They also look like they will be interchangeable as far as moving up or down and – they do have some depth in Utica with Pedan, Stecher, and Subban.
Ben Hutton has already shown he will be jumping up into the attack,
what with Gudbranson having his back. Hutton also has put on about 15 or more pounds, so he will be stronger in his defensive position.
Alex Edler had his best camp in eons and has carried that into the season, with his steady and improving partner – Chris Tanev. Luca Sbisa looks like a whole different player and plays like he has that Kevin Bieksa nastiness.
Nikita Tryamkin, who I was really hoping would make the starting six, came into camp packing too many calories. This from an off-season that must have included, eating as much as possible as a training method. If he didn’t have that exclusion of the AHL clause, he would be down there playing now.
So for now they have worked Nikita hard to get him into shape and probably down to the 240 lb. range instead of 265. I see in the Canucks home page roster lineups, they don’t have a picture of Philip Larsen yet. Is that a sign of a short stay?
I haven’t seen enough of Larsen yet, except to say he’s a work-in-progress on the defensive side of play.
Not quite sure what they have in plan for Jake Virtanen except to instill more consistency in his game. Jack Skille who replaced Virtanen last night had a solid game with 1’s across the board. That’s in +1, 1 SOG, 1 Hit, 1 BLKS, in 10:38 of TOI.
I also noticed a play where he hustled back to takeaway a scoring opportunity which is always noticeable to coaches and management. I’m sure that got Willie’s attention.
The so-called fourth line of Alex Burrow, Brendan Gaunce, and Derek Dorsett combined for 7 of the 13 Canucks hits. Not getting scored on was the plus but only contributing one SOG will have to improve.
Bo Horvat continues his strong play with Sven Baertschi who continue to push the attack when they are on the ice. Brandon Sutter was someone I liked – a lot, from last year, and his strong play has just reaffirmed my opinion.
He reminds me of Ryan Kesler in that he’s more of a shoot first type of centre
and not a setup guy like Henrik. Sutter had 5 SOG last night and his type of play will really help the Canucks this season – if he stays healthy.
Willie is licking his chops with the talent he has this season. Jannik Hansen can play on lines one through three as needed. Loui Eriksson, rotated on lines one or two. Sutter, Horvat, Granlund, and Baertschi, will also be able to plug-and-play on lines two and three.
This also allows Willie to mix and match on nights when the lines are not clicking. That’s a luxury he didn’t have last season.
Now, back to the start.
Even with a small sample size the Canucks +3 in goal-differential, is not going to hold up over the season, or will the 2.67 GF per game. Now if their 1.67 GA held up, that would be a different story.
Take a look at the Oilers 17GF, Sharks 12GF, and Flames 12GF, all having played four games, and you can see that the Canucks are still having trouble producing goals. Just like the forecasters predicted, that was the Canucks biggest problem.
But for now, hey, undefeated heading into Thursday nights game with Buffalo, I’ll take that. As they say, points now are just as important as they are at the end of the season.
Can I hear an Amen for 4-0.
Is it just me or does Jason Botchford of The Province speak in code? What does BEST MAKES YOU THINK (followed by) This coud be the year.
What’s this I see. Kings and Ducks 0-3 and the Oilers 3-1. I keep saying this every year, for the past six, this looks like the year the Oilers will make the playoffs. Then again, with Conner McDavid, that’s more than likely.
Down in Utica after two games, Jordan Subban leads the team with 2G, 2A, -1. While Troy Stecher has 1A, and is -1. These minus numbers have to do with the Comets starting off 0-2.
The Comets tandem of Richard Bachman and Thatcher Demko each has a GAA of 5.00. That’s usually a sign of poor team defense.
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
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