The Noon Number: 10

Volpatti, doing the only thing he thinks he's good at.


The number of consecutive scoring chances that the Minnesota Wild earned against the Vancouver Canucks last night at the start of the second period. I'll turn your attention to the full big board curated by Canucks Army, but the Canucks didn't register a chance until 9:43 into the period.

The bleeding could have been stopped at four, but at 16:05, for whatever reason, Aaron Volpatti decided to engage Brad Staubitz rather than draw a penalty. Let's look at Jason Botchford's recap from the last time these two teams played...

A dominating shift by Lapierre, Dale Weise and Aaron Volpatti forced Brad Staubitz into a penalty. On the power play, Daniel Sedin's attempted pass to Kesler hit Nick Shultz and deflected into the net.

The Volpatti-Weise-Maxim Lapierre shift in question in the second was by no means dominant, but they had the puck in the offensive zone when Volpatti dropped the gloves. Not sure why he did it. Perhaps the Canucks, on a mini-two game win streak and up by a goal in the game made the guy think that "everybody else is doing this job but me" and he realized that, being, at best, a marginal fourth liner in the NHL, that he had no other way to get noticed but to fight Staubitz.

The Canucks could have used the powerplay there, but Volpatti fought, instead. And rather than spark his team and turn the tide as per conventional wisdom, he sat in the penalty box whilst two Wild players scored goals and the scoring chance drought for the Canucks continued.

At best he's a marginal fourth liner propped up by his linemates, who register an even number of scoring chances despite being forced to play 4.5-on-5. At worst, he makes poor on-ice decisions that shots off the board for Weise and Volpatti, and, when he decides he isn't useful, go sits in the penalty box.

I've already mentioned that fighting has a slight, but inverse, correlation to winning hockey games, so I don't feel the need to go through that again, and I suspect that it has little to do with momentum shifts, but moreso that the teams that feel the need to fight the most have little else going for them. The Canucks need to stop doing this. They're 3rd in fights this year after being 23rd last season. They're "up there" this year with Boston, Columbus, Anaheim and the New York Rangers, and only one of those teams is in a playoff position so far.

Stop playing tough. Start playing hockey.

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