By Andrew Chernoff
November 12, 2016
The Canucks are most happy to be back in Vancouver, but not all is without controversy with the team.
Speculation is rampant of the impending firing of coach Willie Desjardins, if Vancouver can not shake their goal scoring woes, that has them on the outside of a playoff spot at this time of the season.
LINDEN NOT HAPPY WITH RESULTS
Canucks President Trevor Linden is not happy, believing the Canucks have under performed so far this season and the group of players presently on the roster of the team, have more to give.
And the help people are looking for, will have to come from the present group as they are now structured.
Linden, on TSN 1040 on Thursday, stopped short of giving Canuck coach Willie Desjardins a vote of confidence,, and feels the Canucks are a better offensive team than they have shown.
Linden admitted that the Canucks are limited about what they can do, with respect to depth and bringing in help, believing that getting better, “has to come from within and from the people in our group as we’re currently structured. So we’re looking at that, as to how we’re going to improve.”
“Collectively we need to be better. And we need to find offense.And we need to find it quickly and consistently.”
Trevor Linden, president of hockey operations and alternate governor of the Vancouver Canucks, on TSN 1040 on Thursday.
The Canucks last homestand, before their 6 game road trip, Vancouver lost all three games, two of them by 3-0 shutouts (to Ottawa and Edmonton), before losing to the Washington Capitals 5-2; being outscored 11-2 over the three games.
THE ROAD TRIP
As for the road trip, they were 1-5-0, being outscored 20-11, and were shutout twice (Montreal and Ottawa).
Canucks only win came against the New York Rangers, who they play Tuesday night at Rogers Place, for their second and last meeting of the season.
The power play, an embarrassment before the road trip, continued to be an embarrassment, and was of no help to getting the Canucks some goals; but their penalty killing was very good and among the NHL best.
From November 2-10, the Canucks:
- Power play was 1 for 18: 5.5 percent (28th in NHL)
- Penalty kill was 21 for 23: 91.3 percent (11th in NHL)
- Face-off winning percentage: 54.0 percent (4th in NHL)
- Shots For: 196 (32.7 shots/GP) (1st in NHL)
- Shots Against: 172 (28.7 shots/GP) (28th in NHL)
- Goals For: 11 (1.83 GF/GP) (tied for 16th in NHL)
- Goals Against: 20 (3.33 GA/GP) (30th in NHL)
There were some positive things from their road trip, statistically speaking, as shown above.
But, just saying, if you don’t score, and score more than your opponent, you don’t win games. Period.
FIRST GOAL OF THE GAME
The Canucks have given up the first goal of a game in 13 of their first 15 games of the season.
They are 1-1-0 when they score the first goal of a game; and 4-8-1, when they don’t score the first goal of a game.
Bob Stauffer, Edmonton Oilers Radio Analyst and host of Oilers Now on 630 CHED, tweeted on November 11, that in the last three NHL seasons, teams scoring first won over 70% of games.
In Vancouver’s case, the season so far has shown, it is 50-50, that if the Canucks score the first goal of a game, they will win.
And, 38.5 percent, that if the Canucks do not score the first goal of a game, they will at least get a point; and 31 percent, that they will get a full two points, if they don’t score first.
Not good odds to say the least.
What this demonstrates, is the obvious: Vancouver needs to get the first goal of a game, to play with the advantage of a lead, and use that first goal, to propel them to more goals, and get wins.
POWER PLAY ANYTHING BUT POWERFUL
And shaking up the power play units is a must because the power play has to be an advantage for Vancouver, not their opposition to catch their breath in the penalty box, and take a water break:
- The power play on the road trip was 1 for 18: 5.5 percent (28th in NHL), as mentioned earlier
- The power play at home, so far this season, is 1 for 20: 5 percent (29th in NHL)
- Power play on the road, 3 for 26: 11.5 percent (24th in NHL)
DALLAS STARS NOT TO BE UNDERESTIMATED
Dallas went into Edmonton last night, with an offensive attack crippled by hurt and injuries.
The Stars faced the Oilers being only .500 over their past five games, beating the Calgary Flames Thursday, 4-2, after losing the first two games of their current road swing.
Well, they took on an Edmonton team, that played their first home game last night, after returning from an eastern road trip, which garnered 5 of a possible 10 points, and had them playing at a .500 clip.
Oilers management was expecting Dallas to be ripe for the taking; instead they got a possum in waiting.
Surprise. Home sweet home was not so sweet for the Oilers, as Edmonton came up flat, losing 3-2.
The Stars may be riddled with hurt and have an offensive attack impaired by injuries, but they have found a way to win on their Western Canada road swing, and the Canucks are next on their dance card.
The Stars have won two games in a row for the first time this season, primarily by defensively shutting down the Oilers, according to their coach.
“I thought we played our best defensive game,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “We knew how dangerous [Connor] McDavid was going to be and we tried to pay special attention to him and make sure we limited his inside opportunities.
We gave him some outside time, but we didn’t give him much inside time. We just knew if we gave him some space he could create some havoc, and I thought our guys probably played the best defensive game of the year for us.”
The Oilers group hit the ice worse than four flat tires on a frozen lake, and disappointed their coach.
“Give Dallas credit, but the other way, a sleepy team and we weren’t ready to go right off the bat,” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. “We did a lot of watching and then reacting instead of participating.”
The Canucks have to find a way to win, too.
Advice to the Vancouver Canucks, and ignore at your own peril: come ready to dosy-doe, and take part, or you’ll have more to contend with than snow in your face from the Dallas Stars skates at the end of the game.
Like a fired coach.