The Canucks crossed the threshold of the halfway point of this shortened season this past week, and they remain an incredibly tough team to read. Earlier in the week I wrote about how the Canucks aren't getting the results you'd expect from very strong puck possession numbers, and Saturday's contest against Detroit was a perfect example of why it's not working for them right now. Vancouver dominated the puck through two periods, but eventually fell apart due to average goaltending and an anemic power play.
If we were 27 games into a full 82-game schedule right now, I'd be pretty confident the team's puck possession would eventually catch up with their systems and the goaltending would become more consistent, but it's very hard to predict with this short schedule. This up-and-down, frustrating brand of hockey may just be what we're going to get the rest of the way. If that's the case, whether or not the Canucks will make any noise in the playoffs will come down to a trade or a well-timed hot streak.
• On the topic of trades, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie report that Mike Gillis "has been phoning almost every team", and is specifically in discussions about Derek Roy and Steve Ott. Roy is a perfect fit in my opinion — a centre strong on both sides of the puck who's capable of creating a lot of offense. He would not come cheap, though.
• Elliotte Friedman reported on HNIC that the asking prices among GMs right now are through the roof due to nearly every team still being in the playoff hunt. Friedman said every GM is after the same small group of players. This is not good news for Vancouver, since they desperately need a centre and are still shopping a goaltender.
• Cam Charron believes it's time Mike Gillis made a bold move. I completely agree; another middling trade for a Sami Pahlsson-type at the deadline isn't going to do this team any good. An impact player is needed. Unfortunately, from what Friedman reported that's going to be extremely difficult to pull off this season (though I can think of a good young goalie on the team who would fetch that blockbuster return Cam is pining for).
• David Booth's injury is terrible news for the Canucks. Whatever your opinion on Booth, he kept the puck in the right end of the rink. Could Nicklas Jensen be the next call-up?
• The power play — or as I now call them, "bathroom breaks" — is showing no signs of improvement. But no worries, coaching staff, be a little more patient with it, it's not like you have a guy who had 9 PP goals last year on your roster...
• There was a rumour earlier in the year that Mike Gillis was asking for 6'5" centreman Nicklas Bjugstad from Florida in exchange for Roberto Luongo. Well, Gillis has found another tree-like centre in Kellan Lain from the NCAA.
• The Canucks may have lost on Saturday, but they looked good doing it. I loved the Millionaires look, including their custom game day program. As a designer, I get excited about this stuff. From what I've seen, the Canucks do slick branding better than any team in the league.
• Strombone tweet of the week:
The French connection....... twitter.com/strombone1/sta…—Strombone (@strombone1) March 13, 2013
• During the game against the Predators, there was a very stupid tweet sent out by Preds part-owner and Dragons Den part-douche Brett Wilson. Kudos to Kent for writing a great piece about it here. Now, lets enjoy Henrik Sedin's absolutely nasty penalty shot goal in beautiful slow motion:
This is undoubtably the toughest week of the regular season: 5 games in 7 nights, two sets of back-to-backs. The Kings, Blues, and Northwest Division-leading Wild sprinkled throughout. We're getting close to crunch time, and we're debating whether or not to call up a rookie for a spot in the top six. I'm scared, you guys.