VANCOUVER CANUCKSTen weekly random thoughts: Week 5 – October 29-November 4
Wow, what a week for the Canucks! Thee big wins against central division teams. The week started off with a costly victory over the Minnesota Wild as Brandon Sutter became the latest Canuck to suffer a major injury, separating his shoulder in a puck battle. Jacob Markstrom had a huge 37-save effort to help lead the Canucks to victory. On Wednesday, The Canucks overcame two one-goal deficits to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks. The team used a strong third period effort to seal the victory. Troy Stetcher left the game early after concussion spotters pulled him. The Canucks capped off the week with a wild 7-6 overtime victory over the Avalanche in a game that was wide open with goals being scored every couple of minutes. Fans got their money’s worth Friday with both teams and their star’s showing up to give the viewers a fantastic and entertaining game. This week, the Canucks head out on another eastern road trip with stops in Detroit, Boston and Buffalo this week. The Canucks split the season series with Detroit last year with the road team winning both games. The Red Wings come into Tuesday’s tilt coming off a loss to the Oilers. The Canucks then head to Boston, where they will be looking for the season series sweep, after a 2-1 OT victory two weeks ago in Vancouver. The Canucks cap off the week with a tilt against the young and up and coming Buffalo Sabres. This will be the first match up of two potential Calder candidates in Elias Pettersson and the first overall pick from last June’s draft, Rasmus Dahlin. Here are ten random thoughts from week 5 of the NHL.
1. Pavel Bure-Alex Mogilny, the Sedin twins, Markus Naslund-Todd Bertuzzi, these are just a few examples of the great duos who donned a Canucks uniform. Now, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser have emerged as the next great duo. The Swede-Anerican combo have taken the NHL by storm this past week. The pair combined to score 9 points (four goals and five assists between them on Friday). Both players have hockey smarts beyond their years and think the game like a seasoned veteran. Pettersson has shown early on that he is a terrific all-around player, with an elite ability to pass, shoot and control the puck. Boeser has an elite shot as well, although he has struggled to find his scoring touch to start the season. I can’t wait to see the great things Boeser and Pettersson will do playing on the same line and power play unit.
2. Speaking of power plays, the Canucks power play is currently ranked 17th in the NHL, with a 20.4% success rate, or scoring a goal once every 5 power play opportunities. One big factor that the Canucks are missing is a point man who can move the puck around efficiently. Alex Edler was that guy, but he went down with a knee sprain a week and a half ago. In his absence, the Canucks have been using Derrick Puliot and Ben Hutton. Both have struggled to keep the puck in the offensive zone and neither are as quick with deciding where to move the puck or to shoot. Another factor has been Boeser needing time to find his form. With time and the return of Edler in a month, the power play has the potential to be a force.
3. Another troubling trend has been giving up the first goal of the game in 10 of the first 15 games. Not to nitpick when the team is doing well, but the quarter mark of the season is two weeks away. As the season wears on, it’s going to get more difficult to score and if the Canucks are spotting teams a goal or two, they will lose more often than not. Coach Green needs to remind his players about being mindful of the opponents to start the game. Yes, you want to be aggressive and score first, but you also have to be aware of your defensive game, too.
4. Next, I would like to discuss the enigma that is Jacob Markstrom. The Canucks goalie is frustratingly inconsistent. He can play like an elite netminder, and he can also play like he needs to be the backup goalie, or in the minors. I’ve noticed that Markstrom tends to be at his best the first game or two after sitting out a game. After that, he starts letting in bad goals and bad habits start creeping in. Take the last week, for example. He was very solid against Minnesota and Chicago, but against Colorado, he kept coughing up the lead mere minutes after the Canucks had scored. You could say that he was lucky the Avalanche goalie was also off his game. If Markstrom wants the #1 job after Anders Nilsson returns from the fractured finger, he needs to find that consistency in his game that Nilsson appears to have discovered. Perhaps the two goalies can compare notes on how they each prepare for a game.
5. In a bit of a rarity in today’s sporting world, Canucks owner, Francisco Aquilini took to social media and live-tweeted during Friday’s game. Many of the players have social media accounts that fans follow and to varying degrees, the players use those accounts to engage with the fans. However, for an owner to engage in social media is rare and quite refreshing. Aquilini’s tweets were very positive and ranged from his thoughts on the team to his interactions with local songwriter Jazzy B, to what was happening in the current game. I hope he does this again.
6. A few milestones were achieved this week in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 50th career shutout. The shutout moved him into a tie for 28th all-time with Chris Osgood. LA King Jonathan Quick is currently at 49 shutouts. Martin Brodeur has the most career shutouts (125). That record seems pretty safe with Roberto Luongo the top active goalie with 76 shutouts. Another milestone that was achieved this week was Eric Staal scoring his 400th career goal. Staal currently sits 96th all-time for goals in his career. When he reaches 402, he’ll move into a 4-way tie for 94th with John Ogrodnick, Paul Kariya and Shane Doan. Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews scored his 300th career goal. He is currently 201st on the all-time list. His next goal will move him into a tie for 201st with Ulf Dahlen.
7. A seemingly unbreakable NHL record fell. The Montreal Canadiens set a new record for fastest 2 goals in NHL history. The Habs managed to score twice in just two seconds (the previous record was three seconds. Maxi Domi and Joel Armia were the two goal-scorers. Of course, the net was empty for one of the goals. I remember the stat about it taking three seconds to score being infamously referenced in one of the Mighty Duck movies. They’ll have to go back in time and record that scene again with the correct info! This record really might be physically impossible to break, because it actually took 2.8 seconds to score, and don’t forget the timer guy has to be able to react fast enough to stop the clock. No, the Habs will own this record forever.
8. The NHL continued its venture into playing regular season games in international venues, following in the footsteps of the NFL, which has been playing games in London for a few seasons now. I have mixed feelings about the NHL doing this. First, I think it’s great for the game to have the games being played in Europe where fans are normally forced to get up really early or stay up really late to watch their favorite teams and players. However, on the other side of the coin, it really affects players travel schedules and this can have a negative affect on performance. Is it fair to put teams at a disadvantage during the regular season? Why not schedule exhibition games in the off-season or during the preseason? Another thing, teams are supposed to have 41 home dates. The Panthers, Jets and Devils all lost one home date. Fans pay good money for season tickets. They should not be denied a home game.
9. Finally, we end this week with news that the first head coach has been fired. On Sunday, the LA Kings fired coach John Stevens, who was replaced by former Canucks coach Willie Desjardins on an interim basis. Desjardins had a 246-109-110 record as the Canucks head coach and led the team to the playoffs in 2015, where the Canucks lost in the first round. John Stevens had a 99-51-39 record as the Kings bench boss in parts of three seasons. Desjardins will be inheriting a team that has given up a ton of goals and a roster that is old, and slow. The Kings meet the Canucks in LA November 24 and again three days later in Vancouver. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Willie D receives in Vancouver.
10. Canucks of the week: This week, there are 2 candidates for Canuck of the week. Both Brock Boeser and Elias Petterson had monster games against Colorado, combining to score 9 points. I can’t wait to see what these two accomplish next week on the road.
Source for this good read : http://totalcanucks.com/