My apologies for the delay in updating the Official PITB Anti-Fantasy League. My intention was to have it updated every Saturday morning, but my source for statistics didn’t update until well after midnight on Friday and everything happened on Saturday, with the early afternoon game and the Booth larceny trade. So these statistics and standings are up to date as of Saturday at midnight.
The Sedin twins have been producing at a terribly fantastic rate, as have Anze Kopitar, Thomas Vanek, John Tavares, and Jeff Skinner. This is awful news for their anti-fantasy owners. For instance, Daniel Sedin has scored 4 times as many points as the lowest producer in his category, Corey Perry, while Anze Kopitar has 5 times as many points as Henrik Zetterberg.
Some owners are still benefiting from injuries: Tim Connolly and Nino Niederreiter have yet to play a game this season. Of course, neither has Aaron Rome, but since only one player in his category has a point so far, that’s not doing much for his owners.Continue Reading —›
One day removed from Mark Spector (not to be confused with Marc Spector, Moon Knight) implying that “Danes and Swedes” are the source of Vancouver’s issues, the Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild, getting goals from a Dane, a Swede, and a Finn. Minnesota’s two goals from good ol’ Canadian boys weren’t enough to defeat the European onslaught.
Of course, then Mike Gillis traded a Swede and a German for an American and a Canadian, so maybe Spector was right. Or maybe we should judge players on how they actually play instead of their nationality. Crazy idea, I know, but it just might work. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Only one day after The Province spun a globe and landed on the state of Florida as a potential trade partner, Mike Gillis has partially taken their advice, trading Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm to the Florida Panthers in exchange for winger David Booth, centre Steven Reinprecht, and the third round pick the Canucks gave to Florida in exchange for Chris Higgins.
You heard that right. The Canucks have moved their two least impressive players so far this season for a power forward for Ryan Kesler’s wing. You wonder what else Mike Gillis could accomplish if an afternoon game forced him to get up early every Saturday.Continue Reading —›
Yesterday, we broke down a Province news editorial that espoused a trade sending Roberto Luongo to the Tampa Bay Lighting for Vincent Lecavalier.
It was an odd thing, this unexpected newspaper-endorsed trade proposal, and not just because a paper’s editorial board doesn’t usually weigh in on rosters like they were playing “Fantasy GM mode” in NHL 12: it was also just a bad trade. Either the editorial board’s hockey knowledge is scant, Mike Milbury is on said board, or both. One assumes that, if the Province were an Ottawa-based newspaper, they would have espoused keeping Redden over Chara, too.
Needless to say, we didn’t like it.
It turns out we weren’t alone, however, as Mike Gillis unexpectedly called in to the Team 1040 Friday afternoon like he was freaking Troy from White Rock in order to express his dislike for the piece.Continue Reading —›
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!Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
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.
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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Pass it to Comics is a twice weekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, we look at Dan Hamhuis and Manny Malhotra’s other building projects.Continue Reading —›
That is not the Vancouver Canucks hockey that fans are used to from last season and I sincerely doubt that it is the Vancouver Canucks hockey that we see throughout the rest of the season. While certainly a fun game to watch with plenty of excitement, it was not good hockey. It wasn’t just the Canucks either, as both teams played irresponsible hockey full of consistently bad reads leading to defensive breakdowns, leaving both goaltenders helpless to stop the wide-open scoring chances that developed. Nine goals were scored on 67 shots in this game and I saw every single one, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With Maxim Lapierre retained and Manny Malhotra back to full health this season, the Canucks will now be four-deep at centre for the next two years. But they may actually be five-deep, because Cody Hodgson is beginning to prove that he’s not too bad in the circle either.Continue Reading —›
The biggest story of the Canucks win over the Blue Jackets last night wasn’t Cody Hodgson’s first goal of the season, the come from behind victory in the third period, or Cory Schneider’s crucial save on a penalty shot. Instead, most fans and the media focused in on a two-minute minor for boarding in the second period and the subsequent response from the Canucks.Continue Reading —›
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 the bright side of Roberto Luongo’s bad habits.Continue Reading —›
In case you don’t understand why Alain Vigneault puts so much stock into winning faceoffs, consider what happened after Manny Malhotra lost the opening draw of tonight’s game: the Canucks didn’t touch the puck for the next thirty-two seconds, during which time the Blue Jackets applied early pressure and drew a high sticking penalty. Then, before that penalty expired, Marco Sturm took a tripping penalty, and the Canucks wound up spending the first quarter of the period on the penalty kill. As a result, the Sedins didn’t see their first shift until four minutes in, the Blue Jackets held all the momentum for the first half of the period, and the Canucks didn’t register their first shot on goal until twelve minutes into the contest. If Malhotra wins that faceoff, Vancouver gets off to a better start. Thankfully, the Canucks finished better than they began, winning da turd and thereby collecting their first win of the season. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
One of the biggest events of the Canucks’ off-season had nothing to do with a trade or a signing. Instead, it was Kevin Bieksa joining twitter after a long, PITB-led campaign. Bieksa’s addition to Twitter immediately bore comedy fruit thanks to an over-sized boot in a Colorado airport.
After that, it was a bit of a slow start: while he took a shot at Luongo that was mildly amusing and let his feelings be known about all the boarding penalties being seen in the pre-season, there just wasn’t the wit we were hoping for. Then this weekend, things turned around in a big way.Continue Reading —›