Jan 172014
 

After going 0-fer on this Pacific Division road trip, scoring a grand total of 1 goal in 3 games, and then potentially losing Henrik Sedin, David Booth and Mike Santorelli to injuries, I bet the Canucks can’t wait to get back home.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 162014
 

As far as spectacular losses go – and as we all know, the Canucks have had more than their fair share of spectacular losses – surely last night’s 9-1 ass-kicking by the Anaheim Ducks must rank among their most spectacular.


Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 142014
 
TGATT - The Game According to Twitter

To call last night’s 1-0 loss by the Canucks to the Los Angeles Kings a wild affair may be an understatement.

With Dustin Brown’s ninja kick to Roberto Luongo’s head still fresh in their minds, the Canucks went after him. First, Zack Kassian did just 9 seconds into the game. Then, Ryan Kesler dropped the gloves against 6 seconds into the second period.

As usual, Jordan Nolan was being a rat, charging at a Sedin again, like he did the last time these two teams met. On the very next shift, Tom Sestito had enough and took matters into his own hands. Nolan turtled, and the refs threw Testito out of the game.

Dale Weise slewfooted Drew Doughty. Kevin Bieksa tried to make life miserable for Jonathan Quick. Matt Greene tried to make him pay for it. There were scrums at practically every whistle, and by the end of it, the the two teams combined for 109 minutes.

And one goal. By Dustin Brown, of course, who scored 24 seconds into the third period. The only goal the Kings would need to beat the Canucks for the fourth time in four games this season.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 112014
 

The Canucks got their offense from some unlikely combinations last night. Zac Dalpe, playing with the Sedins, opened the scoring early in the second period, and playing on a line with Darren Archibald and Dale Weise, Mike Santorelli scored the game-winning goal in the third period.

The Blues pressed in the final minute of the game though. And oh man, did they press hard. But at the end of it, the Canucks held on and won 2-1, breaking a 5-game losing streak.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 092014
 

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings

With the Canucks just past the halfway point of the season it seems as good a time as any to try and predict where the team may finish at the end of the season in April. Despite a number of gut-wrenching losses in the last few weeks you should still feel pretty good about the Canucks chances to make the playoffs and I’ll breakdown where I think the team will realistically finish in the standings and whether they have much of a chance to pass teams in their division.

Introduction

The chart below shows team’s Fenwick percentages for all 5-on-5 situations as well as in close score situations which is used to help account for score effects. For the uninitiated, Fenwick is a tally of all shot attempts a team takes at 5-on-5 except for those that are blocked. Stated another way, it is shots that are either on-net or missed. Close score situations are games that are tied at any time or within a goal in the first and second period.

So, why should you care about Fenwick? It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between Fenwick and puck possession. It has also been shown that teams that possess the puck the most will win more often. The biggest thing to take away from this is that teams with the best Fenwick percentage over the entire season will finish near the top of the standings over 82 games.

Finally, I’ve also listed PDO. PDO is a measure of how lucky a team is and is simply a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage at 5-on-5. For example, the Canucks are shooting at 7.5% and stopping 92.8% of their opponent’s shots for a PDO of 100.3. All you really need to know is that teams that are above 100 are considered to be lucky, either shooting or stopping pucks, at a rate that is probably unstainable. Teams that are under 100 are considered unlucky.

The Stats

*All stats taken from extraskater.com

Fenwick For % All 5v5 Fenwick Close PDO
Canucks 50.9 (13th) 52.4 (9) 100.7 (10)
Ducks 51.3 (10) 51.2 (13) 102.3 (2)
Sharks 53.8 (4) 54.1 (3) 99.7 (19)
Kings 55.7 (1) 56.9 (1) 100.9 (9)
Coyotes 50.1 (17) 49.5 (18) 101.2 (7)
Wild 49.8 (18) 49.6 (16) 99.8 (17)
Stars 51.1 (12) 52.5 (8) 100.4 (12)

 

Analysis

At first glance you’ll probably notice that the Pacific is good. Really good. Despite recently losing 5 games in a row, the Kings are legitimately the best team in the division and probably the best team in the conference even though the standings don’t show it. The Canucks are only two points behind them but you can probably go ahead and forget about passing them.

The Sharks are not far behind the Kings and with a five point lead on Vancouver and a game in hand its hard to see the Canucks reigning in the Sharks too especially with the season series between the two teams already completed.

That brings us to Anaheim who are the best team in the NHL points wise. If you are not sold on the Ducks being the best team in the division then you’re not alone. The Ducks are not among the elite in the NHL in puck possession and barely attempt more shots than their opponents. You’ll notice that their PDO is 102.3 which, as I mentioned before, implies that they’ve been extremely lucky. In score close situations, the Ducks are shooting at a ridiculous 10.8% clip. In case you’re wondering, Perry and Getzlaf are not the guys driving up shooting percentage. In the score close situations with Kyle Palmieri, Dustin Penner, and Nick Bonino on the ice, the Ducks are shooting at 15.5%, 13.2% and 12.4% respectively.

The Canucks are 14 points behind the league leaders so there probably isn’t much hope that the Canucks can pass them, but the good news is, the Ducks are looking like a very possible matchup in the playoffs and once the slate is wiped clean I would feel pretty good about Vancouver’s chances in a seven game series. Much better than I would feel then against Los Angeles or San Jose.

As for the Canucks themselves, there was a time when they were not too far off the Kings and Sharks in terms of possession stats but they have slid down into the middle of the pack over the last month or so. You can probably chalk some of that up to injures to guys like Alex Burrows and Alex Edler but every team has issues so I’m not sure if that is much of an excuse. Even during their win steak, the Canucks were being carried due to their goaltending more than their strong play as a team. I’d argue that the team actually played better during their November losing streak then their December winning streak.

As for the rest of the West, I find it hard to see a scenario where two of Phoenix, Minnesota, and Dallas finish ahead of Vancouver for the two Wild Card spots. Of the three teams below the Canucks, Dallas is the most underachieving team mostly due to their goalies being well below average

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the Canucks appear to be a team in a solid playoff position but its hard to see them earning anything more than a Wild Card spot. Even with 37 games to go I think the Canucks are exactly where they’ll end up at the end of the season. The good news is there is plenty of time for Vancouver to get some of their best players back and find a way to hold on to two goal leads with 1:11 left in the game. Plus, they’re lined up to play either the Ducks, a team I think they can beat, or the Chicago Blackhawks, which is always fun.

Jan 082014
 

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s admirable that the Canucks fought back from a 2-goal deficit against the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s likewise impressive that they scored 4 consecutive goals, the last 2 within a 17-second span in the third period to take a 2-goal lead of their own. What sucks is that they blew a lead late – again. They allowed the Pens to tie the game late – 2 goals in 16 seconds with a minute left in the third period to be precise – and proceeded to lose 5-4 in the shootout.

The Canucks have now lost 5 consecutive games. In 4 of those games, they carried a lead into the third period. In 3 of those games, they had the lead with less than 2 minutes left.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 062014
 

Things were looking up for the Vancouver Canucks in SoCal. They scored 2 early goals, and on the powerplay, no less. They were up 3-2 late in the third period. Eddie Lack was solid too, thwarting the Anaheim Ducks as the Ducks dominated the Canucks in the last 45 minutes of the game.

But then Kevin Bieksa took over.

He did give the Canucks that 3-2 lead just a minute into the third period, but he was also on the ice for all 3 Ducks goals, and was directly at fault for the first one and maybe even the late, game-tying one. He was also in the penalty box in OT (though admittedly, probably more Daniel’s fault that Bieksa was in the box) when Corey Perry scored with 0.6 seconds left to steal the game from the Canucks.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 062014
 
Still looking for their first win of 2014

Still looking for their first win of 2014

The start of a new year is often time for reflection and resolution.  We make promises and renew commitments to our health, our finances, our hobbies, and our time and attention to loved ones.

The writers at CHB have come up with some resolutions of their own, and they are all of the Canucks-variety.  Some have to do with players, others with fans, and still others have to do with personal attitudes.  You’ll even see that some have similar themes.  Regardless, we agreed that it was certainly time for a change – not necessarily for the team – but for ourselves.

But there indeed needs to be accountability.  Otherwise these resolutions will become a world of broken promises.  Thus, I promise that I will check in with my friends here at CHB sometime in March to see how they are doing and to offer any encouragement that I can.

Thus, we proudly present to you – in no particular order – CHB’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014: 

  1. To play the organ/synthesizer for one Vancouver Canucks home game.  Or at least sit next to the guy who does.  (Clay – @CanuckClay)
  2. To finally start the band I’ve always wanted to start:  Henrik for Hooking.  (Jocelyn – @jocelynaspa)
  3. To not mock Henrik Sedin every time he falls after taking a slap shot.  (Dylan – @dilmarkley)
  4. To stop singing “Santeria” by Sublime substituting ‘Santorelli’ for ‘Santeria’ every time Santorelli scores a goal.  (Paul – @vansport)
  5. To remember that I was actually good at math in high school and stop zoning out when people do math.  (Lizz – @lizzmoffat)
  6. To finally pursue my dream of being a video editor solely for the purpose of editing a Torts rant and changing all the swear words to the word “Waffles”.  (Ashley – @ashleyspinellii)
  7.  To offer John Tortorella my services as a restorative yoga instructor.  (Delia – @DXenophontos)
  8. To not tweet I MISS SCHNEIDER every time someone scores on Luongo.  (Victoria – @concretefluff)
  9. To break my duck and see a game at Rogers Arena.  (Jared – @JThompsondesign)
  10. To connect more Canuck fans the world over.  We are all Canucks after all.  (Myles – @VanCanucksOz)
  11. To proudly wear my David Booth away jersey to a home game without fear of verbal abuse.  (Clay)
  12. To say nice(r) things about Tom Sestito.  (Jocelyn)
  13. To learn to love Tom Sestito… or at least refrain from calling him “Tostito”.  (Ashley)
  14. To stop my drunk, profanity-laced ref-bashing tweets at least until the playoffs.  (Paul)
  15. To be more forgiving of the referees…even when I’m sure they’re wrong.  (Delia)
  16. To try harder to express my true feelings about the Boston Bruins (everyone should have a resolution they know they can accomplish, right?).  (Victoria)
  17. To not be quick to judge any anthem singer not named Marie Hui or Mark Donnelly.  (Clay)
  18. To stop saying or tweeting “They should just decline it, they’re not going to score anyways” every time the Canucks go to the power play.  (Paul)
  19. To maintain a positive attitude even after the overtime buzzer goes sending the Canucks into a shootout.  (Dylan)
  20. To not immediately cover my eyes when the Canucks go to a shootout.  (Jocelyn)
  21. To offer to participate in any and all Canucks shootouts.  I’m better than the twins, I promise.  (Victoria)
  22. To get a pet duck and name it Eddie Quack.  (Ashley)
  23. To keep my Eddie Lack love to an acceptable and legal level.  (Lizz)
  24. To do no more than 6 tweets when I’m at a game with my lovely wife Gail.  (Clay)
  25. To continue to be a fun and fan-friendly place to talk all things Canucks via creative articles and features.  After all, we are Canucks fans just like you.

Thank you to all our loyal CHB readers!  We look forward to another exciting year!

Jan 052014
 

Roberto Luongo came back from injury last night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Unfortunately, he was the only one who showed up.

He made 46 saves – many of them from in-close and as a result of odd-man rushes – but without much support up front, the Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Kings, their third straight loss to their California rivals this season.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 022014
 

So much for starting off 2014 on the right foot.

D’oh!

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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