Nov 232013
 

Well, that was a big monkey of their backs.

After 5 consecutive losses, a stretch in which they scored a grand total of 6 goals, the Vancouver Canucks busted out of their slump in a big way, and beat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 6-2 score.

Here’s hoping this is the start of some good puck luck for the good guys.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Nov 142013
 

David Booth and Zack Kassian, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: CTV.ca

John Tortorella has lived and died by his top two lines this season with the Sedins and Ryan Kesler easily on pace to destroy their career averages in ice-time.  While this is perfectly fine for now, I can’t see the Canucks’ top six forwards being able to stay at the top of their game at the tail end of the season if Tortorella is going to continue to ride them so hard, especially when you factor in that Daniel, Henrik and Kesler are certain to be traveling to Russia to compete in the Olympics.

I decided to take a look at just how reliable the third line has been this season and see if Tortorella is riding his top guys too hard, or if he really doesn’t have a competent third line to work with to take some pressure off the top-six.

Part of the problem with this is that the Canucks have had so many injuries that the third line hasn’t been very constant with players moving around and players like Dale Weise and Tom Sestito playing up when they obviously aren’t top-nine forwards.  For the sake of this argument I made the assumption that the Sedins, Kesler, Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins are all entrenched on the top two lines and that David Booth, Brad Richardson, Mike Santorelli, Jannik Hansen, Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian are all guys who are likely to see time on the third line either now or in the future

One final prelude is what I actually think the Canucks’ third line should be capable of.  It is not realistic to expect these guys to be scoring a goal a night, but what they should be able to do is eat up some minutes while keeping the puck out of their own net and hopefully driving play with a Corsi percentage of 50%. I’m sure Tortorella would appreciate a low event third line as long as more time is spent in the opponent’s end than their own, you know if he paid attention to advanced stats.

Of the guys I mentioned above, Booth, Santorelli, and Hansen are players who are great at driving possession.  At 5-on-5, the Canucks have controlled 57.4% of shot attempts with Hansen on the ice, 53.3% with Booth on the ice, and 53.5% with Santorelli on the ice. Santorelli has benefitted the most from injuries and playing with Higgins but still, he appears to be a reliable player at this point.  As we head further down the depth chart the results are less encouraging with Kassian at 48.1%, and Richardson at 42.2%, even with his 5 goals. To put that in perspective, Richardson’s Corsi is in Weise and Sestito territory.

To take it a bit further, I took a look at how each player has played when teamed up with Kassian over the last 3 seasons (since he was traded to Vancouver) to see how they performed as a unit to try to minimize the effect of playing with other players.  Why Kassian as the constant? I figured he isn’t likely to move up or down the lineup much this season as Tortorella has used him almost exclusively on the third line. There isn’t much “with you” data for some players but I included them anyway.

Zack Kassian’s With You Stats (2011-2014)
Player Time Goals CF% GF/20 GA/20

David Booth

144:13 3 55.0 0.416 0.416

Brad Richardson

88:32 4 44.9 1.129 0.678

Mike Santorelli

48:45 0 53.0 0 0

Jannik Hansen

2:46 0 40.0 0 0

Jordan Schroeder

56:27 0 44.3 0 0.711

 

When teamed up with Kassian guys are more than less playing at the same level as they are with other players based on their Corsi percentage.  As a unit they’ve given up too many goals but in such a small sample size it’s probably not a huge concern. In an unrelated note, one thing that did surprise me was how little Hansen and Kassian have played together at 5-on-5 since “the trade”.  You’d think those two would have played more than three minutes together.

So, what does all this really mean? I think that the Canucks have a third line that is capable of eating up minutes without being a liability when you have Booth and Kassian on the ice. One of the reasons I didn’t agree with the “conditioning” assignment or scratching of Booth was that the team desperately needs him to play to take pressure off the top-six.  Yes, the Canucks would prefer he score goals at the price they’re paying him, but the team hasn’t been scored on with him on the ice this year which is pretty valuable too.  As more players return from injury, I’d feel pretty comfortable with a Booth-Santrorelli-Kassian line, and Richardson moving back down to the fourth line while being a valuable penalty killer. My hope is that Tortorella will too and allow the Sedins and Kesler to go back to around 18-21 minutes a game.

Nov 032013
 
TGATT - The Game According to Twitter

Fittingly, on the night the Vancouver Canucks retired Pavel Bure’s number up to the rafters, they played perhaps their most exciting, most entertaining game of the season.

On a typical Saturday Fall afternoon in Vancouver, the Canucks took on the Leafs and slugged it out with them. All four lines scored and Roberto Luongo recorded his 64th shutout – yes, his 64th shutout, just 2 shutouts behind Patrick Roy, who had 66 shutouts in 269 more games, in the NHL’s all-time shutout leaders list – en route to a 4-0 dismantling of the Eastern Conference-leading Leafs.

It sure looked like it, eh?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 262013
 

Hands up, anyone who foresaw the Vancouver Canucks going 5-1-1 on this 7-game, 11-night road trip.

Written off by everyone – and seriously, if you had gone on Twitter and the message boards, or listened to the talking heads on TEAM 1040 yesterday, you would’ve thought the Canucks already had their bags packed for YVR even before last night’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

The Canucks weren’t great, but they were good enough. Eddie Lack, in only his 3rd NHL start, made some terrific saves, especially in the third period when the Blues tried to get their game to another gear. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler were in #beastmodo, and Kesler eventually potted the game-winning goal in overtime, his 2nd goal of the night and his 6th on this road trip.

Add to that the great fun and company enjoyed at the official Canucks Tweetup, and all-in-all, it was a good night.

And a beautiful end to a successful road trip.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 202013
 

The Vancouver Canucks played the Pittsburgh Penguins in an early morning match-up so we get a dose of Sidney Crosby with our eggs and coffee.

And that’s not even the best part.

See, after globetrotting over the last few months, Lizz Moffat is back. And so is The Game According to Twitter.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 122013
 

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens

Photo credit: canucks.com

The good news for the Vancouver Canucks is, tonight’s opponents aren’t the San Jose Sharks.

The bad news is, the Canucks haven’t beaten tonight’s opponents, the Montreal Canadiens, at Rogers Arena since October 7, 2009.

To complicate things for the Canucks, they’ll have to go against the storied Habs without top defensemen, Alex Edler, who was suspended for 3 games because Tomas Hertl lowered his head and skated it into Edler’s shoulder for his head shot on Tomas Hertl. Former Habs defenseman, Yannick Weber, who has been playing as a winger, is expected to move back and replace Edler’s spot on d.

Who to watch

Second-year players, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, are 1st and 4th in Habs’ team scoring, respectively, picking up nicely where they left off last season. Gallagher, especially, has been a revelation. Not much was expected of the diminutive, former Vancouver Giant who was selected in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft – only two picks earlier, the Canucks selected Adam Polasek – but all Gallagher has done at the NHL level is produce; in 48 career games, he has 33 points, including 18 goals.

Who’s back

6’3″ Canucks power forward (in the making, we hope), Zack Kassian, is expected to make his season debut tonight after serving an 8-game suspension for breaking Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick. Kassian was on a line with David Booth and Brad Richardson during the morning skate.

Who’s out

Besides Edler, Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder remain out of the Canucks lineup due to injuries.

Habs captain, Brian Gionta, will miss tonight’s game due to a family emergency.

What to watch

For all the ups and downs of the Canucks’ early season, one thing that has been consistent is their penalty-kill. After 5 games, their PK has been perfect, killing all 18 powerplays against them.

Apr 262013
 

Not exactly sure what happened between Monday and last night, but maybe the switch was flipped – just off? Or was it connected to the SkyTrain, because boy were there issues. Regardless, this tweet sums up the game nicely:

At least we have TGATT to make things better!

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 262013
 

In our last episode of CHB TV (which went live yesterday), we found ourselves at an impasse when we asked the question “Who does Zack Kassian look like?” And while our debate was lively, we thought we would leave it up to you our readers to settle the score. So what say you friends of CHB?

Who Does Zack Kassian Look Like

Apr 252013
 

As we reach the end of the regular season, Clay, Chris, Ed, and our special guest, Jordan Bowman from the Legion of Blog, talk Keith Ballard, pirates, astronauts, old media, new media, and oh, Zack Kassian, in this, the 6th episode of CHB TV.

Apr 232013
 

It’s like the Canucks flipped the proverbial switch last night. I mean, after all their 40-minute efforts and 10-minute wins, they played perhaps their most complete game of the season and beat the rival Chicago Blackhawks by a 3-1 score.

It was an eventful night, with the Sedins producing their usual share of Sedinery, the newly-formed Higgins-Roy-Kesler line showing some chemistry, and even Max Lapierre played his most annoying game of the season (in a good way).

20-year old Frankie Corrado also made his NHL debut. After spending most of the year in the OHL and suiting up for not even a handful of games with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL, Corrado logged 17:20 of unsheltered minutes last night and looked anything but a raw rookie playing in his first-ever NHL game.

Not bad, kid. Not bad.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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