Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.
Jason Garrison is still on an 82-point pace
With his assist on Brad Richardson’s shorthanded goal, Jason Garrison continued his amazing start to the season and now has 8 points in 8 games. He has only failed to record a point in one game and is on a three-game point streak. He’s currently second among NHL defencemen in scoring, with only P.K. Subban ahead of him with 10 points, and he leads all defencemen in shots, with 27, and all players in short-handed points, with 3.
It’s an incredible start for Garrison, but how likely is it to continue?
Not all that likely, given the aforementioned 3 shorthanded points. Shorthanded goals are rare beasts: the Canucks are very lucky to have three of them this season, outscoring the opponents’ powerplay, and Garrison is extremely lucky to have points on all three. His empty net shorthanded goal against the Oilers is about as lucky as lucky can be.
That said, there are some positive signs. Garrison’s even-strength production hasn’t been driven by percentages, as the Canucks’ shooting percentage when he is on the ice is just 6.12, a perfectly sustainable number and well below the 10.54 percent from last season. He also has just one point on the powerplay, a goal, and he should be tallying far more powerplay points on the first unit as the season progresses.
So, while 82 points is an unlikely total for Garrison, a career-high 50-point season is a distinct possibility — without the shorthanded points, Garrison is on pace for 51 points this season, which would still be a fantastic season, but seems far more within the realms of possibility.
Ryan Stanton is tied for 20th in scoring among NHL defencemen
When Mike Gillis plucked Ryan Stanton off waivers prior to the start of the season, we were confused. The Canucks already had 7 NHL defencemen and Stanton had just one NHL game on his resumé. It also meant that the Canucks couldn’t keep one of Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk with the club to start the season, which was a sticking point. We didn’t understand why Gillis claimed Stanton and we thought it was an ill-conceived move.
We were quite wrong. Stanton has bypassed both Yannick Weber and Andrew Alberts on the Canucks’ depth chart and established himself as a reliable defenceman on the third pairing and so calm and collected that finding out he is to be paired with Kevin Bieksa next game makes perfect sense. The biggest surprise, however, has been his offensive production.
While Stanton put up a reasonable amount of points in the AHL with the Rockford Ice Hogs, it wasn’t the kind of production that suggested that he’d be a point-producer in the NHL. But Stanton has gotten off to a good start with the Canucks, scoring his first career goal on Thursday night for a total of 4 points in 8 games. That makes him the second highest scorer among Canucks defencemen and ties him for 20th in the NHL among defencemen.
Stanton is tied with the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Andrei Markov, Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, and Mike Green. Really, Stanton is the only defencemen with 4 points that just doesn’t seem to fit. Even young defencemen like Morgan Rielly and Ryan Murphy, whose names sound like they should be anagrams of each other, have highly-touted offensive skill.
Stanton’s offensive run probably won’t last, given his usage: he has the tenth lowest percentage of offensive zone starts among NHL defencemen and averages the fewest minutes of any defenceman other than Yannick Weber, whose numbers are skewed from playing as a forward on the fourth line. Still, it’s a nice story for Stanton, who couldn’t break into the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, but has thrived with the Canucks.
This Canucks fan has a reasonable request for Ryan Kesler
You can click the photo for a closer look, but her sign says “Kesler, if your wife says it’s OK…will you take me to prom?” Yes, it includes the comma after “Kesler”, which is a nice touch. It’s also very thoughtful of the young lady to value Kesler’s wife, Andrea, enough to make sure that she’s okay with her husband taking a high schooler to prom.
At the very least, it’s more thoughtful than this other fan, whose sign I immediately though of when I saw the sign from Thursday night:
Yikes. Way to think of his wife after you finished making your sign and immediately make your sign even worse.
Asking Kesler to take her to prom isn’t an entirely crazy request: a Miami Heat fan managed to get Dwyane Wade to attend her prom earlier this year just by asking. There is the added difficulty of this prom likely being in Buffalo, unless this fan travelled from Vancouver to attend Thursday’s game.
More problematic is that senior proms tend to be held in late April or early May. Unless things really go off the rails for the Canucks this season, they’ll be knee-deep in the first round of the playoffs at that point. Sorry, young lady, Kesler probably won’t be available, even if Andrea says it’s okay.
Ryan Kesler named to Vanity Fair’s top-10 best-dressed NHLers
With his Astro Boy hairstyle and haphazard shaving schedule, Ryan Kesler doesn’t exactly seem like the fashionista type. The man can rock a suit, though, according to the “Best-Dressed List experts” over at Vanity Fair, who named him to the top-10 best dressed NHLers. That means if he does go to prom with the above fan, he’ll likely be wearing an impeccably tailored tuxedo.
Kesler joins the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Vincent Lecavalier, and Jason Spezza on the list. He also joins Erik Karlsson and Gabriel Landeskog, despite the existence of this picture:
Oh Erik: Stacy and Clinton called and they are not impressed.
Evidence of David Booth being a weird dude
Oh Booth. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Tags: Jason Garrison, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Stanton, spitballin