Welcome all to the first part of my year in review for 2015.
I won’t spend too much time analyzing last year’s disappointing ending as we did that ad nauseam during the summer. I will talk about the surprises and disappointments from my perspective high above you mere mortals. (Unless you’re 6’1 and over…then your perch is higher)
Disappointments: (I will limit to five or else this post would be 100,000 words long)
1. The playoffs 2014-15.
I’m still not sure if the team over-achieved in the regular season or under-achieved in the playoffs. They were definitely out-played by a hungrier Calgary team that didn’t even have their best defenseman. If you have asked me, and I was asked, would you be happy with a playoff appearance last year, I would have said (and did say)..yes. And yet, losing to Calgary sucked.
2. Dan Hamhuis
The man who hails from Zandberg’s garage had a tough season last year, except for the World Championships, where he showed Canuck fans how good he can be. So we wrote off last year as a bad debt due to an injury that took longer to come back from than we all expected. And then we all said Dan would play up to the level we saw in the WC. Unfortunately, up until the moment he took a puck to the face, Hamhuis only had 4 points in 27 games this year. That’s not a typo. His Corsi is 47.1% while sporting a mind-boggling 103 PDO. So he had puck luck this year and is still putting up shitty offensive numbers. I think his last defensive play really summed up 2015 for him. He tried to control the puck, stumbled around his net, turned over the puck and took one in the face. Someone get that guy a witch doctor to get rid of the bad ju-ju.
3. The Defense
I know, I know. I shouldn’t be disappointed in something that wasn’t very good to begin with. And when talking about the defense, I don’t just mean the 7-8 guys called defensemen, I mean team defense. The system employed by Willie sometimes eludes me….oh and the players for that matter. Whether it be defensemen pinching too often or at the wrong time, or overstacking one side and leaving the middle open, there is usually a point in the game where I just shake my head. The veterans are sometimes the most frustrating aspect of this area as the resort to chasing the puck and trying to make the steal instead of taking the guy with the puck and stopping the cycle.
4. The Power Play
From Nov 12th to the 27th, the Canucks PP was on fire, going 11 for 37 (30%) in 8 games. But for the rest of the year the PP has been atrocious going 10 for 91 (11%). We haven’t had a consistent PP in Van since 2011-12 and this year continues the trend. And what will probably happen is the team will have a hot streak near the end of the year to inflate the numbers and the problem will be pushed to the side like it was after the end of last year.
5. Radim Vrbata
Maybe I shouldn’t have him on the list as before last year I didn’t really know much about him except he killed the Canucks when he was with the Coyotes. His goal production last year was well worth the $6 million, this year I think we may have to ask for some of the money back. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Radim has had trouble scoring away from the Sedins, but it is a surprise that for someone so creative shooting the puck, can’t find someone to pass to. I know that he is here to shoot the puck but he takes shots from all over. He would probably shoot sitting down from the bench if the puck came there. I think we will only have a few more weeks of Radim before a draft pick or two comes our way.
As always I fully expect you to all tell me that I am wrong. Why should this year be any different than last year? Bastards!!
I want to wish all of NM a Happy New Year......well, I mean as happy as you can be cheering for a team that probably won't make the playoffs. For some that will be great and for others like me, it will be sad. I love playoff hockey.