I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Nashville Predators, March 14, 2013

You could be forgiven if you expected a meeting between the struggling Canucks and the goal-starved Predators to be a boring, defensive affair. After all, the Canucks hadn’t scored more than 2 goals since March 2nd against the Kings and the Predators were missing Colin Wilson, their leading scorer. The last meeting between these two teams ended 1-0 thanks to a lucky bounce that gave Dale “The Flying Dutchman” Weise a wide open net. The two teams are 12th and 29th in goals-per-game. Clearly, this wasn’t going to be a high-scoring game.

Oh how wrong you were, hypothetical cynic. The Canucks and Predators combined for 11 goals in an offensive slug-fest, which is fortunately not a festival for slugs as that would have left the ice a gross, slimy mess. Other than slugs, this game had it all. I watched this game.

Canucks 7 – 4 Predators

  • It took a minute-and-a-half for the Canucks to open the scoring, as Jannik Hansen took advantage of a hesitant Pekka Rinne to poke the puck away on the forecheck and centre for Andrew Ebbett, who scored his first goal of the season. Also scoring his first goal of the season was David Booth, hitting the empty net at the end of the game. I only bring it up now because I really want Ebbett and Booth to be on the same line so I can call them Ebb and Flow.
  • Steve Pinizzotto finally made his NHL debut and made a serious impact on his very first shift. That impact happened to be on Nashville defenceman Kevin Kline, as he walloped him with a massive hit on the forecheck. Kline, who had just 4 fights in his career, challenged Pinizzotto, who happily accepted and fairly clearly won a short, mismatched bout. Pinizzotto finished with 1 shot and 4 hits in 11 minutes of ice time.
  • While Pinizzotto’s debut and Ebbett’s return to the Canucks’ lineup went swimmingly, scoring a goal and adding 2 assists, Kevin Bieksa’s return from injury was a bit of disaster. He was on the ice for 3 of the Predators’ 4 goals, earning himself a fair share of the blame each time. On the Predators’ first goal, he was too slow to move the puck, turning it over to Matt Halischuk, who got a shot away, then picked up his own rebound and stuffed it past Roberto Luongo on the wraparound. It’s not really Bieksa’s fault, though: he saw the “H” and the “chuk” on the back of his jersey and assumed it was Darcy Hordichuk, in which case giving the puck to him would have been a smart tactical move.
  • A minute-and-a-half later, the Canucks went back up by one. Henrik Sedin won a faceoff in the offensive zone to Chris Tanev, who quickly settled the puck before setting up Alex Edler for a one-timer. There was no traffic in front of Pekka Rinne, but Edler’s shot sizzled past his glove all the same. Considering there is an actual, literal black hole within Rinne’s glove, Edler’s shot must have been faster than the speed of light to avoid slipping past the event horizon and never escaping.
  • The Canucks’ third goal was a thing of beauty. Andrew Alberts made a great pass to Kevin Bieksa, who fed Hansen for a 3-on-2 the other way. Hansen dropped the puck for Ebbett, who then fed it across to Mason Raymond, who had slowed up to create the passing lane. His one-timer went back against the grain on the sliding Rinne, who, like a game of Monopoly at a garage sale, had no chance.
  • In case the excitement of a high-scoring game wasn’t enough, the first intermission gave us the high comedy of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider riffing on their supposedly contentious relationship, courtesy of James Duthie, with the outtakes at the end providing some golden moments. The media blows, that’s it, that’s all.
  • Remarkably, all 11 goals in this game came at even-strength, as the Canucks, of course, didn’t score on their 2 powerplays and they killed off all 4 of the Predators’. At the end of one of those kills, Raymond deflected a pass from David Legwand right onto the stick of Weise, who sprung Maxim Lapierre, who had been in the box, on a breakaway. He made no mistake, finishing both the scoring chance and Rinne’s night. It was the third straight game in Vancouver that Pekka Rinne has been pulled.
  • The Predators answered right back, scoring their second goal while Lapierre’s goal was still being announced. Nick Spaling’s centring pass banked off Kevin Bieksa’s skate and in. Bieksa’s bad luck didn’t end there: towards the end of the second, he got called for slashing when he hit Craig Smith in the face with his stick. Thing is, Smith’s face was about a foot off the ice at the time as he toe-picked and fell forward. It’s arguable whether Bieksa slashed Smith’s face or Smith head-butted Bieksa’s stick.
  • Hansen scored an odd one to put the Canucks back up by three. After chipping the puck past Ryan Ellis at his own blue line, he took advantage of Scott Hannan stumbling to the ice and drove to the net. Ellis managed to get back in time to cut him off, but lost an edge and collided with Chris Mason, while simultaneously deflecting Hansen’s centring pass into the net. But if you were just listening to Chris Cuthbert, it was one of the most beautiful goals ever scored. What a goal! Jannik Hansen! The only time a lucky bounce deserves that much excitement is when you’re playing Plinko on The Price is Right.
  • Luongo didn’t have his best game of the season, but he came up big several times in the second and third as the Predators out-shot the Canucks 26 to 12 to try and mount a comeback. His most remarkable save came on Shea Weber. Expecting the slapshot, Luongo came way out to cut off the angle. Instead, Weber faked the slapshot and went around Luongo, who stuck out his stick in desperation and deflected Weber’s shot over the glass.
  • Zack “Two-Face” Kassian had an odd game. At times he looked like the effective power forward he has the potential to be, while at other times he made poor decisions with the puck. In the first period, he delivered a fantastic hit on Roman Josi leading to a scoring chance in front that Kassian just couldn’t connect on. On his next shift, he drove wide on Victor Bartley, then went hard to the net, drawing a penalty. It looked like he was all set for a great game, but on a later shift with the Sedins, he gave the puck away with an ill-advised drop pass. He did the same in the third period, then got back hard on defence, only to have his attempted clear deflect out front to Mike Fisher, who scored the Predators’ third goal. He was benched for the rest of the game, only getting back on the ice when the game was out of reach after Booth’s empty netter. Kassian has all sorts of potential, but has been about as consistent as the tone of Dark Shadows.
  • In a seven-goal game, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows managed to finish without a point. Daniel came close to scoring in the third, missing an open net from a bad angle. Immediately after, the Predators got the puck in deep, won a puck battle with Alex Edler, and got the puck to Gabriel Bourque in front, who tucked it past Luongo. Bieksa was far too complacent behind the net, waiting for Edler to get the puck to him instead of taking his man, Legwand, but neither the Sedins nor Burrows covered Bourque in front either. Really, you’d expect one of the Swedes to head straight for a guy named Bourque.
  • Henrik made up for his missed defensive assignment on his next shift, busting up the middle with authority and heading in for a breakaway, forcing Sergei Kostitsyn to hook him, earning a penalty shot. Henrik’s move was magnificent and truly wizardous, as he waved his stick over the puck like a magic wand, creating the illusion of a deke, before unleashing the magic of his actual deke, sending Chris Mason sliding right out of the net. It was the perfect move for Henrik, as it allowed him to pass the puck into the empty net instead of shooting it.
  • I already mentioned Booth’s empty net goal, but I need to point out how unselfish Lapierre was on the play. Having already scored in the game and knowing how snakebitten Booth has been (he may have been testing Mark 16:18, which isn’t advisable), Lapierre passed the puck across to Booth instead of trying to score himself. Booth’s teammates on the ice all smiled and laughed and hugged him. It was almost like they actually liked the guy, which can’t be true, since I’ve been convinced that he must be a terrible teammate and a cancer in the room, since he hunts in his spare time.
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46 comments

  1. BBoone
    March 15, 2013

    AV underestimates how important it is for an athlete to be confident. We all learn from our mistakes and, in general , talented young players need to be supported not punished as they learn what plays will succeed and what will not. If his drop passes were ” ill advised” then simply advise him why the play is not good at the NHL level, show faith in his ability to learn and adapt and send him back out. Benching him undermines his confidence and sends him the message that the Canucks do not trust him to realize his potential and that he is not good enough to learn to play in the NHL. Fear of failure is a poor motivator. You encourage the player during the game and then go over the tape after the game. If the Indianapolis Racers benched Gretzky every time he made a mistake I wonder if the Great Gretzky would have been the result.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -3 (from 27 votes)
    • Mitch
      March 15, 2013

      Course, the difference is the one time they did bench Gretzky he came out in the third and scored three goals. Kassian scores a hattrick and he maybe earns a little icetime back, right?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
    • Brent
      March 15, 2013

      I think Kassian has been given lots of chances. Lots. His play is truly bi-polar, a combination of Wow! moments and Ugh moments. It could be he needs to go down for a few games and get some more time on the ice on top lines and power plays, and then come back up. Not sure, but I would love to see him play better and especially better defensively.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
      • Nick
        March 15, 2013

        Kassian is nice to have around though, against teams like Boston that hit to injure … looks like Pinnizotto will be too.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • Warpstone
      March 15, 2013

      Fear of failure is a poor motivator?

      C’mon this is professional sport, not learn to play time.

      Kassian will make mistakes, AV understands this. If he wanted no mistakes he wouldn’t allow him on the ice at all.

      To get to the top 1% of your profession you will have had to compete with your peers and outperform them. Kassian, and every other NHL players with a shot at a long pro career, has to deal with poor execution and correct it or lose his job. It’s an ultra-competitive environment and if fear of failure is a problem, then you’re probably not going to last long as there is always someone happy to take your roster spot–just ask Keith Ballard about it.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
    • Doop
      March 15, 2013

      Wait, so you’re saying that Vigneault is the reason Zack Kassian isn’t scoring 200 points per season?

      In that case definitely fire Vigneault he’s clearly a sociopath or a witch doctor or something

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  2. Ginger
    March 15, 2013

    Right before the game I said to my roommate (who works out of province and never sees the games): “We’re playing the Preds and can’t seem to score these days, don’t expect more than 1 or 2 goals.” Well didn’t I look like an idiot.
    It was amazing to see though, I missed goals!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
    • The Bookie
      March 15, 2013

      That’s funny, I did the exact opposite. As we were waiting for puck drop I said to the roomies “I feel like this is going to be a replay of that Nashville game from last season”, which came out of nowhere to be one of the most exciting, highscoring (6-5 Nash win) of the year.

      Of course, when they came back to make it 5-4 last night I started regretting the statement, but it ended well!

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  3. Josh D.
    March 15, 2013

    I was glad to say I was at this game! My fears of a boring 1-0 affair were laid to rest fairly quickly, and a good time was had! Lui was absolutely better than four garbage goals allowed, and he held the fort pretty handily when the defense found itself scrambling around the net.

    I’m also liking Kassian’s play with a few reservations. He seems less inclined to shoot the puck in favour of trying to make a nifty pass that leads to a turnover, but he’s also making strong power moves and making space for himself in the slot. The growing pains will continue, but that kid is gonna be a monster for us.

    Hank’s move on the penalty shot? Dirty, dirty, dirty! I was so afraid that he was going to stroll in and then shoot at the crest, but god did he prove me wrong!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
    • Nick
      March 15, 2013

      Agree about Kassian … and he might develop faster playing on a fast-break, speed line.

      My take is that he’s less effective when things slow down with puck cycling … and that he’s more likely to stop skating and start watching.

      But he sure looked comfortable last night when his linemates were flying.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 15, 2013

      The guy makes a couple of nice passes and we “like his play” now? He’s clearly incapable of thinking the game at the NHL level, which is not something I think you can learn by playing 10 minutes a night on the 4th line, and it’s not something you can tolerate if giving a player more icetime either. The kid has earned a trip to the pressbox or the AHL several times over.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -4 (from 10 votes)
      • Daniel Wagner
        March 15, 2013

        The guy makes a couple bad passes and reads and he’s “clearly incapable of thinking the game at the NHL level” now?

        VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +12 (from 14 votes)
        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          March 15, 2013

          We have a pretty decent sample size to suggest he’s not a very good player. After a few goals with the Sedins early in the season Kassian has done essentially nothing to earn his continued presence in the lineup (and conversely, has done a lot more than Schroeder, Ballard or Ebbett to earn a scratching or demotion). But all of the sudden he generates a couple of scoring chances for the first time in recent memory (in a game where he was mostly terrible) and he’s completely absolved? Have you seen any indication, I mean at all, that the “potential”, the “flashes of good play”, the “enigmatic moments” etc from Kassian are about to transform into consistent, game-long, NHL calibre efforts? I certainly haven’t.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: -8 (from 12 votes)
          • Steve_May
            March 15, 2013

            I hope to heck you’re Jay Feaster or Steve Tambellini.

            You certainly would have been one of those running the twins out of town when they were 22 – because they weren’t “strong on the puck” and “didn’t play tough”.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
            • Chris the Curmudgeon
              March 15, 2013

              Couldn’t be farther from the truth. I never once, ever in my life, advocated trading the twins, and have been a fan since the day they were drafted. The reason I like the twins and always have is that I respect smart, high IQ, “intangibles” players. My favorite current player is Sidney Crosby, for the same reason I always liked Gretzky. You clearly have completely misinterpreted the sentiment of my post. I am also an unabashed Hodgson fan, for the same reason as the twins: smart, skill hockey. I also never said a bad word about him and was always pulling for him.

              Kassian on the other hand is a goon that’s being given ample opportunity because people like how big he is. Those types of guys I have far less patience for.

              VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
              Rating: -3 (from 7 votes)
              • tom selleck's moustache
                March 15, 2013

                Yes, you wish that Hodgson was still here, we get it. But, seriously, he’s no longer here; it’s time to move on. You’re taking longer to get over this than my last break-up.

                VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
                Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
              • Amor de Cosmos
                March 15, 2013

                He’s got a bit more about him than goonishness surely? He can skate, he’s got “good hands,” and a decent shot, as well as the ability to do the physical necessaries.Whether he can put it all together and become a decent player remains to be seen, but it’s way too early to give up on him. The goals will come, of greater concern is his defensive play. Most of the time he looks totally lost in his own zone. This has to be a priority for him and the coaching staff in the off-season. AV has always shown patience with forwards who don’t put up big numbers right away, but less so for those who don’t show gumption behind their own blueline.

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                Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 15, 2013

        At this point, I was only addressing the accusation that I am an impatient fan that will condemn a player prematurely. I raised Hodgson simply as a parallel with the Sedins as an example of the type of player that I think deserves patience because of their skillset.

        But seriously, get over it? Canucks fans still aren’t over Neely for Pederson for Christ’s sake.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
        • tom selleck's moustache
          March 15, 2013

          You’ve been pretty one noted on Kassian/Hodgson to the point where you’re bringing them up when they’re not even really relevant to the discussion. And you’re use of hyperbole doesn’t help either; it makes you look like someone who one can’t really enter a reasonable discussion with.

          And by the logic of you’re last paragraph, if Canucks’ fans decided to jump off a cliff, then it would be ok for you to do so as well. I can’t agree with that one either.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  4. Zach Morris
    March 15, 2013

    I Watched This Game (In Person!)
    -Great atmosphere at Rogers last night, crowd was really into it, which tends to happen where there’s four goals and two fights in the first fifteen minutes. WE DID THE WAVE, WOOO
    -I was really surprised to hear that Andrew Ebbett was the first star. He wasn’t eminently noticeable (I had no idea he had three points) but good game from him, apparently.
    -Important to note that David Booth HIT THE POST on the empty net. This guy could not BUY a break! It was sadder than Patrick Stefan’s empty net attempt. And then, of course, Lapierre waited an eternity to pass it to Booth, appropriately building up suspense before Booth put it home. And we went nuts because we go nuts for everything.
    “Henrik Sedin, his seventh of the season, scored at 17:26 on a Penalty Shot. Sedin, his seventh of the season, scored on a penalty shot. WOOOO!” “WOOOOOOOOO”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      March 15, 2013

      Also, really glad the Nucks changed their goal song to Gold On The Ceiling :D

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
      • Nee
        March 15, 2013

        Me too. I tried to like that Electric Worry song but it doesn’t quite work.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
      • The Bookie
        March 15, 2013

        Ah! That’s what it was! Watching at home I could kinda tell it was something different and familiar, but couldn’t figure it out. Nice though, I like that song a hell of a lot more than the Bang Bang! crap.

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  5. the olde coot
    March 15, 2013

    I didn’t get to watch this game;
    It’s Hold’Em poker was to blame.
    With Jenny Wren and Whisky Jack,
    And some few friends from Chilliwack,
    We played for dimes and talked of “pi” :
    It’s three.fourteen the reason why.

    I ended up a dollar ten,
    It’s then I learned we’d won again:
    When after one ahead by two,
    There’s no “bad beat” with Bobby Lu.
    Five-two five-three and then five-four,
    It’s “WOO!” we get a couple more!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  6. cathylu
    March 15, 2013

    I laughed when I watched the interviews after the game when the guys all said they thought that Henrik would not score on his penalty shot. He better be in the line-up for the next shootout! Also love the Swedish chef reference!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
    • Nick
      March 15, 2013

      One of the great mysteries is why the Sedins, on shoot-out attempts, almost always get stopped.

      They’ve won 2 of the last 3 scoring titles, and work out like demons in the summer on any perceived weakness in their game.

      Maybe, because they never shoot from farther out, and always try a deak and backhand in close, they’re too predictable?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  7. BakerGeorgeT
    March 15, 2013

    David Booth is alive!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  8. ep
    March 15, 2013

    I bet Henrik read your post on how to improve the PP and for the penalty shot he imagined Daniel was in the net. You guys should totally claim some credit.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  9. chinook
    March 15, 2013

    Luongo’s save on Weber will be in his career highlights package. Absolutely amazing! As the TSN guys observed – while everyone else was on one side of the ice Weber and the puck were on the other side but stared down by Bobby Lu.

    And how appropriate was it that Henrik was awarded a penalty shot while TRYING TO PASS. And then he deposited the puck softly, like he was dropping off a dozen eggs, into the net careful not to “ripple the mesh” so no one could say he was shot it.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +19 (from 19 votes)
  10. Nick
    March 15, 2013

    This is the kind of game that gives me hope.

    Lots of good things happened … and could be a sign that the boys will gel for the stretch run.

    Kassian, for one, showed speed, nifty moves, pinpoint passing; and twice used his “Bertuzzi one-hand on the stick” spin move to create space near the slot.

    Unfortunately, he followed this both times with a blind back pass to the other team (also a Bertuzzi specialty).

    But, every few games or so, Kassian shows us tools and skills that are rare in such a big man … and the thought of him showing more and more, and putting it all together soon is really tantalizing.

    Hamhuis, I thought, was really effective at the blue line keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

    Hansen is transitioning from winning the annual “unsung hero” award to being indispensible.

    I liked the line combinations a lot.

    The only eye brow raiser for me was AV’s decision to pair Edler and Bieksa.

    Even when healthy, I’m never comfortable watching those two together when the other team putting on the pressure.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 15, 2013

      Every game, he shows his utter stupidity, but now and again he’ll do something that wasn’t an abomination. It’s hilarious how low the bar seems to be for this guy.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -12 (from 16 votes)
    • chinook
      March 15, 2013

      Nick, wrt Hansen – the Canuck mojo has somehow transferred from Burrows to Hansen this season.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  11. Amor de Cosmos
    March 15, 2013

    Time for a Big Up for Andrew Alberts. He gets precious little love from fans or media but the guy is Mr Zen — cool, always in the moment, rarely makes mistakes, totally aware of who he is and what he’s able to do on the ice. But, he’s so comfortable on his own bardo that I sometimes yearn for him to become mortal for a moment — push just a little bit, bust a few moves. And, lately he’s started to do just that. The pass that led to Raymond’s goal, which Daniel mentions, was pin-point. On his rush up the ice that ended with a clang, the Preds defence stood stock=still in amazement. “Who can this God-like figure be?” they must have wondered.

    Seriously though, Alberts always steady play, has moved up a notch lately. He, and Tanev, seem to be growing by playing with different partners. A bit more urgency, creativity and ambition is emerging. Let’s hope it continues, and he gets rewarded for it.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
    • chinook
      March 15, 2013

      Good stuff but (hahaha) “God-like” is way over the top (hahahaha).

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  12. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 15, 2013

    DAVID BOOTH SCORES!!!!!! What a goal, what a moment, seriously it’s all going to come together now guys. I’m calling it right now, Booth gets 2 goals next game and is #1 star.

    Also, I don’t think anyone celebrates a goal better than Maxim Lapierre. Perhaps the fact that he doesn’t get them that often, but he gets his money’s worth.

    I think Andrew Ebbett is like the opposite of Zack Kassian: small but very clever (as opposed to big and dumb), probably given less of a fair shake than he deserves in the lineup (compared to Kassian who gets far too much icetime), and steady and reliable in all zones (vs prone to stupid mistakes in all zones). Glad to see Andrew putting up points and showing some chemistry out there tonight.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -1 (from 15 votes)
  13. akidd
    March 15, 2013

    whoa now. kassian is a young guy with all the tools. he’s not playing with a ton of confidence right now, i agree, but he’s also been either on the 4th line or playing with a centre who is not a playmaker and a winger who kills all plays for everyone he skates with. sure it’s up to kassian to work with what he’s got and produce regardless but it sure would be nice if he got a chance to play with some guys who could pass.

    meanwhile ebbett, hansen, and raymond, not burdened by the same restrictions are doing just fine and then some.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    • Nick
      March 15, 2013

      Agree with all points.

      My take is that Kassian is still a bit like a boy playing with men … still shaky at times, still adjusting and figuring things out … but gradually getting better each month.

      It’s not really fair to compare a power forward man-child like Kassian to a small skilled centre like Hodgson who doesn’t have nearly so much of the growth curve ahead of him.

      I expect Kassian to continue struggling and making mistakes while he learns and grows.

      But I’m not even close to writing him off … I’ve got a lot patience in his case and I’m confident, that barring extended exile in AV’s doghouse, he will develop into a very nice player.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        March 15, 2013

        On the contrary, Hodgson’s game is based on intellect, chemistry, intangible things that often take a long time to develop at the top level. Plus he plays a more challenging position. Players like Kassian, whose game is supposedly based on raw physicality, should be further ahead developmentally compared to their more skilled brethren. Usually big bodied guys need that time to “fill out” which isn’t Kassian’s problem. So if anything, Cody is the one with more room to improve at this point. Cody is less than a year older than Kassian, and was certainly a much more useful player this time last year than Kassian is now.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
        • Nick
          March 15, 2013

          Interesting take. My sense is that big power forwards sometimes take longer to blossom at the NHL level than other players.

          And I disagree with you or anyone who believes that Kassian is anywhere close to becoming the player he will be if he develops to his potential.

          But I don’t mind if you think so.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  14. DanD
    March 15, 2013

    Agree with your last point about Booth and Mark 16:18. He should know that passage is riddled with text-critical issues :)

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  15. Justin W
    March 15, 2013

    I didn’t read the rest of the comments, so if this has already been mentioned, whatever.. But seriously, the reason I read this blog is for moments like this:
    “like a game of Monopoly at a garage sale, had no chance.”

    Absolutely brilliant. Keep it up sir.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  16. eric blacha
    March 15, 2013

    Let\s get Electric Worry back.

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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. akidd
    March 16, 2013

    i think you have to forget about hodgson, chris. he’s gone. there were were irreconcilable differences between him and canuck management. end of story. so it’s no use banging your head against the wall for for our dear coho who happens to have 10 goals and 22 points at this point, good for first in goals on the canucks and third in points, one behind daniel.

    sure it’s a difference conference, buffalo is losing, coho’s +/- is 0, lots of things. but ultimately there is no denying that the abillity to score goals in the nhl is a pretty desirable commodity.

    but it’s absolutely counter-productive to compare hodgson and kassian. that wasn’t just a straight-up hockey trade. there were some ‘firesalesque elelments to it and i’m pretty pleased that the canucks were able to get back a player of the calibre of kassian where once it looked pretty bleak for an injured hodgson, both as a player and an asset.

    kassian has got something special in him i think. whether AV can bring it out is another question. it’s a tired line to say that he doesn’t handle young players well but it’s probably a true one. sometimes it seems like there might be other ways to nurture young players rather than banishing them to grunt lines with just a few scarce seconds of ice time per period. i won’t dredge up hodgson’s experience with AV but just this year kassian, schroeder, and ballard, all haven’t been given the fullest opportunity to succeed. in fact when you look at the decision to throw a red-hot kassian, team-leading goal-scorer onto the 4th line and where things have gone from there and that he hasn’t scored a goal since. you wonder about the coaching finesse there.

    i really like a lot of what AV does as a coach, but i’m definitely not sold on some of his techniques. sometimes what he does looks a lot like sabotage.

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    • Nick
      March 16, 2013

      well said … completely agree with your take on the trade, and on AV

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 16, 2013

      I agree, in general, with your points about the trade. There were definitely some off-ice issues that necessitated the trade. However, I think the line about AV not handling young players well is just tired and not true.

      Young players who developed under Vigneault: Edler, Kesler, Burrows, Tanev, Bieksa, and Raymond. The thing all those have in common is that they developed defensive responsibility first. The reason AV gets accused of not handling young players well is because he expects all his players to earn their ice time. Once they’ve earned it, he’ll give them some leeway, but once they lose his trust, it’s hard to get it back. You can say that the players haven’t been given an opportunity to succeed, but I suspect AV looks at it the other way around: they have to succeed in order to earn the opportunity.

      Kassian has definitely had some defensive inconsistencies in his game and Schroeder was having trouble handling opposing forwards physically in his own end, so their ice time went down. Kassian, for his part, I think is slowly working his way back into AV’s good graces thanks to his play alongside David Booth. He still has a tendency to stop moving his feet in the defensive zone, though. Schroeder, I think, will be back up with the Canucks before too long.

      But both of them were given opportunities. Kassian played with the Sedins for some time and, while he scored goals, he wasn’t really complementing their game. And to say he’s been put on the 4th line is inaccurate. He’s played just 15 minutes with Dale Weise this season and has spent a lot more time on the third line with David Booth and either Maxim Lapierre or Chris Higgins at centre. He still even gets ice time with the Sedins now, whenever Burrows has been out on penalty killing duty.

      Even when Schroeder was on the 4th line at even-strength, he was on the first unit on the powerplay. That’s an opportunity.

      Ballard? Well, that’s a different story. I would argue that he had opportunities in his first season with the Canucks and struggled. I think what AV wants the most from his third pairing is reliability and safety, and that’s just not the type of player that Ballard is. Would he be better if he was given an opportunity in the top-four with prime offensive minutes? Maybe. Possibly even probably. But there are better players ahead of him on the depth chart. I don’t know, it’s tough. I really like Ballard and think he’s capable of more. He may need an opportunity on another team and it makes sense to me to buy him out at the end of the season.

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      • BBoone
        March 17, 2013

        I have to disagree with your main point about AV and his ability to develop players. It is not a valid argument to say that certain players developed under Vigneault because they are solid if not better than solid NHLers. There is no way to know if they would have been even better with a different coach. ( for instance the Sedins were allowed to play throughout there long development ) You could just as easily say that many of the Canuck draft picks have not developed as expected under AV. Either Gillis and the scouting staff are incompetent or the talent they are drafting is not being brought along properly. I must re iterate my point that fear is poor motivator and here is why. We are all aware of that ability of the great athletes to play in that magic place of the ” zone” . A place of instinctively and in seeming effortlessness. It is marked by complete confidence and fearlessness. The “zone” though is nothing more , or less , than simply being completely present and is available 24 / 7 . Anyone can prove that to themselves. Just take a look at how much time you spend lost in thoughts of the past and future.
        This distracting habit certainly undercuts ones ability to pay attention in the present. If you then look honestly at this process of distraction you will find that it is always associated with ” me “; likes , dislikes, judgements of all kinds , hopes and fears and all of them constantly being adjusted and manipulated in trying to align ” me “and” my world” . This is of course the antithesis of the zone and a further honest examination of this will show that the basic underlying feeling is fear. Quite simply a fear of letting go of “me” and just being awake and aware., just being present. Now of course this is much easier said than done but the ways to train the mind to be increasingly more present have been well known for the last 2500 years or so to various wisdom traditions. The translations of these traditions are now very available for anyone interested but that is for another time and place . What is relevant here is that that elusive zone the performer develops is basically a gateway to authentic presence. The joy of doing what one loves to do with great skill essentially dissolves temporarily the habitual distractions of me. However is it marked with all the attributes of those over the centuries who have mastered the ability to be fully present. . Those attributes are confidence and the joy in doing what you love to do. Those attributes come from being fearless in being present. That is why fear of failure is such a useless motivation tool.
        It undercuts the fearlessness required to be in the ” zone” . Certainly playing time is good motivator as the performer needs to perform . However that is useful only to encourage a good work ethic , effort discipline etc. The facilitation of confidence though , is a different story. That is where AV and his staff basically fail in their approach. Confidence is a result of learning from mistakes and realizing that top “zone” performance comes from simply letting go of “me” completely and trusting ones ability. You come to trust that without a shred of doubt. That is being fully present. The very best teachers know how to facilitate this in their students. Effort and discipline from a tough hand. Confidence , trust and fearlessness from their insight as teachers. If you look at the great coaches in all the sports you will find those common denominators i one way or another. Many of them not quite realizing they are following paths that go back thousands of years. Phil Jackson and John Wooden in basketball. The Seahawk coach Pete Carroll seems to get it. You can make your own list and see similarities. In my opinion the jury is in and AV is not at this level of coaching . As long as he is coach Canuck players both new and veterans will not reach their potential and the team will continue to underperform under pressure. It is time for him to go.

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