Performance of the Week: The No One Deserves This Edition
It’s been a pretty abysmal week for the Canucks since my last installment of the Performance of the Week. There haven’t many games, mind you, but the Canucks have dropped four straight games, the latest at the hands of the New York Rangers and, of course, former Canucks coach, Alain Vigneault.
This photo, though, never forget, am I right?
This photo is especially fitting because this was, as you all recall, when Vern Fiddler from the Dallas Stars impersonated Kevin Bieksa’s angry face way back in February of 2012. Here’s a handy dandy link to watch the video and explanation from Coach V himself. It’s fitting because Bieksa played pretty terribly.
Basically, I miss Coach V for these moments. (Coach Willie D is pretty great though, so I’m not complaining too much over here.)
Anyway, Performance of the Week has to be awarded to somebody because although the Canucks are mired in their worst losing streak dating back to last season (this is bringing back bad memories), let’s not go backwards, please, only forward.
Selecting someone worthy of this honor is tricky though because in the only two games they played, they lost 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and were embarrassed 5-1 to the Rangers on Saturday night on national TV. With 8 goals against and only 2 goals for in the 2 games, the Canucks’ defense was pretty much non-existent, and really, so was the offense.
I know I’m not a coach or a GM, but honest to god, who decided that Bieksa and Sbisa should be a defense pairing, ever? We know that when Bieksa’s having an off night he’s REALLY HAVING AN OFF NIGHT, and while I respect the dude for the things he does off the ice, he’s been pretty cringe-worthy most of the time lately. You know it, I know it. There’s no denying this. He scored a goal against the Ottawa Senators about a week ago now and for a minute I took everything bad I said about him back, but he was a -2 against the Habs (though he did have an assist on the Canucks’ only goal), and a -3 against the Rangers. +/- doesn’t say much in these days of #fancystats, but in these cases, it’s very much indicative of #casualkev’s play.
It’s not just Bieksa that’s been bad though. I mean, everyone kinda has been.
Not that Bonino’s been completely terrible, but he’s been more or less broken since the inauguration of #BoninoPhone. (I think he ran out of his monthly data.) Against the Rangers, he did score his first goal since November 6, so hopefully his data’s been restored and he can get back to scoring goals again.
It’s hard to win games when you’re not putting goals in the back of the net — which is something the Canucks have struggled with as of late — and it certainly doesn’t help that Yannick Weber has done a good job of putting the puck in the back of his own team’s net on more than one occasion.
Ryan Miller’s gotta be there to make the big saves, though, too, which is why he’s getting paid $6 million a year for the next two and a half years. While he started off with decent numbers and was at one point leading all goaltenders in wins, he’s dropped to 7th in wins (which isn’t bad), but it’s the rest of the numbers that could theoretically be better: his GAA is 2.69 with a sv% of .900 and 58 GA. There’s been sparks of GOALIE CONTROVERSY!!11! because it wouldn’t be a Vancouver hockey market without it. Seriously, just one season without the drama, you guys — that’s all I ask of you.
Quite frankly, the Canucks just haven’t looked great at all this last week. Maybe it’s the effect of the good juju of Eddie Lack’s mom tweeting at him before the Penguins game wearing off, I don’t know, but it’s not been a good week for the Vancouver Canucks. With the four-game losing streak, they’ve now fallen to 9 points back of the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks and are only 2 points from being out of the playoff picture. Not that I’m panicking because it’s still only December and there’s still a bit to go before the half-season mark hits, but hopefully they get losing this badly on a regular basis out of the way.
So, about that Performance of the Week: I’m looking at you, Dan Hamhuis.
Okay, okay, okay, I know he’s been out since November 20 with a lower body injury, but it probably says something that the guy who hasn’t played has been the best of the bunch — because he’s the one guy who didn’t f* things up in the last week.
There are rumours he could be back in roughly a month or so. I don’t know if this is true or not, but the absence of Hamhuis since November has shown exactly how vital he is to our blue line, especially when Willie D is forced to play the defense pairing of Bieksa and Sbisa extensively. Edler and Tanev I can handle, but man alive, do we ever miss Hamhuis. He’s arguably the Canucks’ best defenceman — which hasn’t exactly been a secret over the years (I still stand by to this day that if he hadn’t been taken out in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, we could have very well won. I don’t know, I’m not an expert, this is just how I feel).
In short, we miss you, Dan Hamhuis. I hope whatever rumours that he’ll be back within a month or so are true. In the meantime, hopefully the Canucks can score some goals and bail out Miller more often, and maybe Miller can return the favour here and there, too.