Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance discusses PDO. This ain’t your daddy’s statistic!

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If you picked up yesterday’s edition of The Province, I’m obligated to advise that you bought the wrong paper. Also, you might have seen an editorial about a proposed solution to the well-publicized relationship problems between Roberto Luongo and a certain segment of the Canucks fanbase. If not, you can still read the editorial on The Province’s website. I encourage you to do so, if only to marvel at the absurdity.

This is a news editorial by “The Province”, not a columnist’s take. It represents the paper, not one particular thinker, which basically means I’m going to hold all of them responsible, particularly since it uses plural personal pronouns throughout: “Here’s our solution” and “we need a power forward.” So what’s their solution? What power forward are they targeting? Their proposal:

Trade Luongo straight up for Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Let’s ignore for the moment that it seems incredibly inappropriate for a mainstream media source to call for a trade, let alone a very specific trade. In fact, let’s not even address this as a newspaper article, especially since it barely manages to rise above the level of a hastily thrown together and ill-considered blog post. So let’s judge it at that level: as a blog post.

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Vancouver scored five goals in four regular-season games versus the Nashville Predators last season, so it’s safe to say that nobody was expecting a blowout tonight. But that’s what we got. Rather than allow the visitors to showcase their superstar netminder for the second game in a row, the Canucks chased him in twenty minutes this time around, scoring four goals on sixteen shots and rendering the second and third period of the game a relative formality. And, like Pekka Rinne in the final forty minutes, I watched this game.

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Pass it to Comics: Right back atcha, Vancouver

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, Roberto Luongo feels the same way as many of you.

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Last June, filmmaker Adam MacKay-Smith gave us My Name is Johnny Canuck, one of the best Canuck fan videos ever made. In it, MacKay-Smith retold the 40-year history of the team and the 2010-11 run to the Stanley Cup Final through the eyes of the legendary lumberjack for whom the Canucks are named. MacKay-Smith’s Johnny Canuck was a fully realized, weary, warring woodsman with a long history of turmoil and a hunger for triumph. “Some years, you feel like you’ve got nothing to live for,” he sighs, midway through the film, before immediately declaring, “But not this year.”

As you may recall, however, the year didn’t end exactly as planned, and Johnny Canuck suffered yet another heartbreaking defeat. Knowing the character as well as the original video allowed us to, we could have presumed that the woodsman would have handled it the same way as all the other losses: by dusting himself off with a grimace, numbing himself to the ever-present sting of loss, and carrying on. But thankfully, we don’t have to guess, because Mackay-Smith has created a sequel. This is The Heartbreak of Johnny Canuck.

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Former Sportsnet anchor Jody Vance has spent the last 3 years in the centre of the universe as the lead anchor of Leafs TV. On Monday, she returned to British Columbia as the co-host of CityTV’s Breakfast Television. She made her debut alongside Riaz Meghji, who organized a special welcome from three Vancouver Canucks.

I’m not sure if I can adequately describe what ensues, so it’s probably best that you just watch it.

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It’s very easy to look at the Canucks’ 2-3-1 start and place a large portion of blame on their goaltender, Roberto Luongo. After all, his 3.70 GAA and .856 SV% places him near the bottom of the league. This is one of those cases, however, where the stats don’t tell the whole story. The defensive breakdowns in front of the Canucks’ goaltenders have been a major contributor to the Canucks’ struggles so far and it’s clear that the coaching staff is thinking the same thing.

The juggling of defence pairings has begun in earnest, as even last season’s stalwart duo of Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, or HamJuice as they’re affectionately known, have been split up. The reasoning is simple: the Canucks just don’t have enough right side defencemen.

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The last time the Canucks lost 4-0 and were shut out by a seemingly unbeatable Eastern Conference goaltender wearing number thirty, the city skyline was on fire within minutes. That in mind, Tuesday night could have gone a whole lot worse.
Of course, it also could have gone a whole lot better, say, if the Canucks hadn’t completely fallen apart in the third period. Or, say, if the Canucks could have capitalized on one of the seven consecutive powerplays they were gifted by an undisciplined Rangers team. Ideally, Vancouver could have headed into the third with a lead rather than being locked in a scoreless draw, especially since they outshot New York 28-9 through two. Heck, had they managed to put any one of their forty shots on goal past Henrik Lundqvist, this would be a much more joyous recap.

Unfortunately, the Canucks did none of these things, and as a result, they lost this game. Also unfortunately, I watched this game.

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As you may know, we at PITB are fans of a well-made pump-up video, and “Cinderella Man” a recently uploaded tribute to Ryan Kesler by one MrNHLFanatic, is exactly that. If you weren’t already pumped for Kesler to rejoin the team tonight after allowing his tragically torn hip to Fully Completely heal (in which case, what’s wrong with you?), watch this video. It will get you hyped.

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Can Cody Hodgson adjust to playing on the wing?

In case you were on a media fast yesterday, you are aware that Ryan Kesler will be making his season debut tonight against the New York Rangers. It’s hoped that his return will aid the ailing penalty kill, boost their middle-of-the-road record at even-strength, and send them to the top of the NHL in faceoff percentage.

To make way for his return, Chris Tanev was sent down to the Chicago Wolves, meaning fellow waiver-exempt Canuck Cody Hodgson was not. Here’s the thing: Cody Hodgson is a natural centre and the Canucks now have five natural centres on their active roster. While this may do wonders for the team’s faceoff numbers, it means one of those centres will have to play on the wing. With Kesler and Henrik Sedin sewing up the top-six roles and Malhotra and Lapierre doing the yeoman’s work in the defensive zone, Hodgson will line-up alongside Kesler on the second line.

While this is a tremendous opportunity for the rookie, as Kesler has a tendency to be awesome, it also presents a challenge. Will he be able to adapt? If you ask Hodgson, it’s not going to change anything at all.

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Pass it to Comics: By all means, hit the Sedins

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, we look at Daniel Sedin’s unique thought pattern.

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While the return of Ryan Kesler to active duty may have slightly overshadowed all other Canucks news, the focus tonight pre-puck-drop will be on remembering a fan favourite who passed before his time. Rick Rypien will be honoured this evening in a pre-game ceremony, including a 7-minute video tribute. The tribute will evidently not be televised, but will be viewable live on Canucks.com.

There’s little need to retell Rypien’s story in this space. Iain Macintyre’s article on Kevin Bieksa’s relationship with Rypien is as revealing and heartbreaking as it needs to be and the stories from around the Canucks’ organization are a fitting tribute. The website started in his honour funded by a donation from the Canucks to help youth deal with mental-health issues is a marvelous gesture, as Rypien wanted his story to help others battling with depression.

I don’t even want to talk strictly about his ability to fight, though he was one of the most exciting pugilists to play for the Canucks and even turned my wife, a late convert to hockey, into a fan of fighting.

Instead, I’ll always remember Rypien for the moments of promise that seemed to materialise out of nowhere.

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What is clipping and why does Keith Ballard keep getting called for it?

With Monday morning’s report that Keith Ballard will be a member of the Canucks’ defensive top four for the second game in a row Tuesday (as well that suspicious @Keith_Ballard4 Twitter account that has yet to tweet but is being followed by both Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa), it seems reasonable to assume that we’re going to see a lot more of the hipcheck-happy left side defenseman this season.

And, if that’s the case, knowing Ballard as we do, we should probably get ready to see a few more plays blown down for that rarest of rare penalties the league calls “clipping,” a banned action that, up until last May, many Canuck fans didn’t even know existed.

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The Vancouver Canucks announced today that Chris Tanev has been assigned to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. This may initially come as a bit of a surprise: while Tanev hasn’t been outstanding, finding himself a healthy scratch twice, he also hasn’t been terrible. It appeared that Vigneault was rotating Tanev and Alberts in and out of the lineup depending on the opponent, with Tanev in against speedier, more skilled teams and Alberts in against larger, more physical teams.

This move wasn’t about how well Tanev was playing, however. Instead, it’s about his contract status. Since Tanev is on his entry-level contract and hasn’t played in enough NHL games, he’s exempt from going through waivers to get down to the AHL. The only other player on the Canucks’ active roster who is exempt from waivers is Cody Hodgson.

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Here’s a pair of video interviews from last week at the Fan Zoo’s Fan Appreciation Day, in which Fiona Forbes and Michael Eckford of Urban Rush chat with Alex Burrows, Cory Schneider and Maxim Lapierre. Both clips are humorous, relaxed, and definitely worth a watch.

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Alex Burrows just got Keslurked

We’ve been a little spoiled by the level to which Ryan Kesler has taken the Keslurking meme of late, what with the Canucks’ centre going meta and victimizing his own interviews and family photos. With the level to which our expectations have risen, it stands to reason that an old-school, subtle Keslurk — the sort in which the man is hardly noticeable — might go unnoticed.

That’s what happened last night, during Alex Burrows’s Hockey Night in Canada postgame interview. Rather than dominating the frame, Kesler’s interview bomb involves little else but a barely perceptible peer from behind a curtain.

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In last night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks were down by one goal nearing the end of the second period, when Marco Sturm earned a small portion of his $2.25 million contract by forcing an offensive zone faceoff with 24 seconds left. Unsurprisingly, Alain Vigneault sent out his top line of Burrows and the Sedins in hopes of getting a late goal.

Since the Oilers were at home, they had the last change and Tom Renney could send out whoever he wanted. He smartly chose his veteran second line of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, and Ryan Jones. Horcoff was the Oilers’ best man in the faceoff circle and took the majority of the defensive zone draws: so far, so good. He then made a baffling decision. For his defensive pair, he sent out his bottom pair of Andy Sutton and Corey Potter. This was not a good idea. Let’s explore why in pictures.

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This was an odd game. At times it was thrilling, at other times, excruciatingly slow. It was the I Am Legend of hockey games.
While Edmonton relied on their high-flying Kid Line to create offense, the Sedins and Burrows provided the bulk of the offensive push for the Canucks. In the end, however, the hero came from neither trio: it was the secondary scoring from senior citizen Sami Salo that pushed the Canucks’ veterans over the Oilers’ youth. I watched this game.

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With over 100 entries in the first ever Official PITB Anti-Fantasy Hockey Pool, I had to teach myself some spreadsheet tricks to get everything calculating smoothly. Fortunately, I am both a great teacher and a fantastic student, so everything came together nicely.

Anyone who picked players from the Anaheim Ducks got off to a strong start, as Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne, and Lubomir Visnovsky all failed to find the scoresheet. The one exception was George Parros, of all people, who tallied an assist on the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Sharks. He was the only player in the “Gritty Goons” category to score a point.

Unsurprisingly, two of the players in the “Injury Prone Players” category are already injured: Tim Connolly has yet to play a game for the Leafs with an injury “more significant” than was originally thought, while Ales Hemsky left his second game of the season early with an injury and will undergo an MRI.

Other good picks so far include Joe Thornton, Dustin Byfuglien, and *ahem* Roberto Luongo.

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While the Canucks.com message boards can be hive of scum and villainy so scummy and so villainous they make the Mos Eisley space bar look like the Mos Eisley space church, the forum can also provide some quality chuckles on occasion. Such is the case with “Marko Sturm = the next Uwe Krupp?”, a thread started by forummer “ThaManBeast” over at the aforementioned scum-hive. Let’s take a look.

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We poked a little fun yesterday at Dan Hamhuis and Manny Malhotra, who recently showed off their building skills by spearheading the installation of a brand new, state-of-the-art playground for the children of Edmonds Community School. But, when it comes right down to it, the real story is pretty excellent, and admirable too.

Edmonds Community School is located in the poorest postal code in Canada with a school, and has become the home school for the majority of refugee families that come into Vancouver. As a result, over 50 countries are represented within the school population. Needless to say, with so many languages and cultures at play, an excellent playground where the children can learn to work and socialize together is a must, and that’s where Community Man and Community Manny come in.

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One of the major issues with analyzing Roberto Luongo statistically is that what his critics point to as his “flaws” or “issues” are difficult to measure with numbers. A player’s “issues with the mental aspects of the game” don’t show up on a boxscore, and can’t be quantified easily (though I’m about to make an cursory effort).

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After three straight outings in which the Canucks failed to put in a complete performance, tonight’s game versus the Detroit Red Wings had all the makings of an antidote. Vancouver always seems to get up for Detroit, and tonight was no exception, at least at first. The Canucks finally broke the trend of coming out half-asleep, outshooting the Red Wings 12-9 in the opening frame and even drawing the first powerplay. Unfortunately, their second period — in which the Wings outshot the Canucks 24-8 and scored the only two goals on the night — indicated that the team hadn’t relegated the poor starts to the past, but rather, the future. I’ll tell you what has been relegated to the past, though: this game, which happened hours ago. Back then, I watched this game.

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: it’s a one-of-a-kind, seven-foot-tall, hand-sculpted Vancouver Canucks whiskey cupboard in the shape of a bear. It’s holding a beer and it’s wearing blue jeans. It’s the everyman’s everybear.

Hmm? What’s that, you say? You want to see this bizarre piece of folk art every day? Oh, well, great news, then: it’s for sale. For only $11,000, it can be a conversation piece in your living room.

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In their first game of the season, the Canucks battled hard but were unable to win the game in regulation in their home opener. In the shootout, the opposition’s star forward and best offensive defenceman scored on Luongo, while neither Canuck shooter could score.

In their second game, the Canucks squeezed out a one-goal victory against one of the worst teams in the league, with the top-line scoring the gamewinner in the third period.

In the third game, the Canucks fell one goal short in a high-scoring game that featured 2 powerplay goals for both teams, resulting in a 1-1-1 record to start the season.

Thing is, I’m not talking about this season. I’m talking about last season, where the Canucks lost to the Kings in the shootout, then just barely beat the Panthers before losing to the Ducks 4-3 in their third game.

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