INTRO....ZAN SHOOTS THE SHIT
You don't win a playoff series with crappy defence. The only way you can do that is by scoring a lot of goals to make up for your goals against. Some of the crappy defence was from individual defenceman player turnovers, fails and what-not. Some of it, and nobody wants to talk about this: is from Willie Desjardins' balls-out attacking system. Defencemen join the rush, defencemen get caught up ice, odd man rushes against ensue. It's all part of the new and exciting Canucks. We've seen it all season long. A lot of times, the deployment of 4 lines for scoring worked....during the regular season. It did not work in the playoffs. I will show that with the individual stats below.
16 teams started the playoffs. Here is how the Canucks fared as a team with team statistics in Round 1.
Goals Per Game: The Canucks' had 2.33, ranking them 7th. Calgary had 3.
5 on 5: Canucks were 0.91% on goals for /against at even strength. The Flames were 1.10.
Powerplay: 18.2% for Van, ranking them 7th. Flames batted a 27.8% efficiency on the PP, ranking them 2nd behind Minnesota.
Penalty Kill: Well the above pretty much explains how this is gonna go. The Canucks kicked ass on the PK in the regular season, but that's why the regular season gets thrown out the window. Vancouver killed penalties at a shitty 72.2% rate vs the Flames. 2nd-worst team in the playoffs at that.
Shots: The Canucks averaged 30.2 shots per game and allowed an average of 26.2 shots against. Like that shit matters. It doesn't!
Faceoffs: The Canucks and Flames finished 50/50.
Minor Penalties Taken: The Canucks held the edge barely, 21-19.
Hitz: The Flames out-hit the Canucks 163 - 118. The 118 hits by the Canucks is A: pathetic because it ranks them 16th and B: not surprising at all given the size of the team.
Blocked Shots: Again, a no-brainer. Calgary won that 133-81. Vancouver's 81 blocked shots ranked them 10th.
Giveaways: Canucks with 59 and Flames with 42. I don't trust that stat at all. I think Luca Sbisa had 60 all by himself.
Takeaways: Flames 73 Canucks 59. That ranks each team 1st and 4th respectively. Huh.
Goals: 1. Dank, Hansen and Vrbata (2) 2. Eight different players with 1 goal.
Assists: 1. Hank, Horvat, Edler, Tanev (3) 2. Dank, Hansen, Vrbata, Bonino and Burrows (2), 3. 5 players with 1 assist.
Points: Dank, Hank, Hansen, Horvat, Vrbata (4), 2. Bonino, Edler, Tanev (3), 3. Sbisa, Higgins, Matthias, Kenins, Burrows (2)
Best Plus/Minus: 1. Chris Tanev (+4), 2. Edler (+3), 3. Kenins (+2)
Worst Plus/Minus: 1. Weber (-5!), 2. Matthias, Dorsett, Richardson (-3), 3. Vrbata, Bonino, Sbisa, Hamhuis (-2). Weber was a -1 at home and -4 on the road.
Power Play Goals: 1. Henrik, Vrbata, Higgins (1)
Game Winning Goals: Dank and Higgins (1)
Shots! Shots! Shots!: 1. Daniel (22), 2. Vrbata (21), 3. Hank and Higgins (15), 4. Bonino and Weber (13), 5. Burrows (11....in 3 games.)
Defencemen Time On Ice Per Game: 1. Edler (23:40), 2. Tanev (22:00), 3. Hamhuis (19:39), 4. Weber (19:10)
Forwards Time On Ice Per Game: 1. Henrik (18:49), 2. Daniel (18:21), 3. Higgins and Bonino (16:35), 4. Hansen (16:25) 5. Vrbata (16:09). Yea, Vrbata that far down. I'm sure him not being on the PK has something to do with that.
PP TOI Per Game: Edler, Weber, Tanev and Hamhuis in that order for the D. Henrik, Vrbata, Daniel and Burrows in that order for the forwards.
Faceoffs: 1. Horvat (60.9%), 2. Henrik (50.4%), 3. Bonino (47.7%). Just counting the guys that took the brunt of the faceoffs.
Hits: 1. Dorsett (17...didn't really cream guys though), 2. Sbisa (13...DID smoke Flames noticeably), 3. Kenins and Matthias (10)
Blocked Shots: 1. Tanev (17), 2. Edler (16), 3. Bonino (8), 4. Bieksa and Sbisa (6). The Flames blocked a hell of a lot more shots than Vancouver did.
Giveaways: 1. Edler and Hank (7), 2. Tanev (6), 3. Bieksa, Vrbata and Weber (4). Edler with his biggest giveaway/turnover on Calgary's winning goal in Game 6.
Takeaways: 1. Tanev (7), 2. Edler and Hamhuis (6), 3. Henrik (5)
Best SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR 5 on 5: (CORSI, kinda, the player that is on the ice when the team has the most shots for+missed shots+goals scored+shots blocked by opposition while he is on the ice): 1. Hamhuis (119), 2. Weber (113), 3. Henrik and Edler (112), 4. Daniel (107), 5. Tanev (101)
Worst SHOTS AGAINST 5 on 5: (opponent shots for+opponent missed shots+opponent goals scored+shots blocked by player's team while he is on the ice). Let's keep this to Canucks who played 3 or more games that series: 1. Edler (98), 2. Tanev (96), 3. Bieksa (94), 4. Sbisa (88), 5. Bonino (77), 6. Higgins (74), 7. Horvat and Hansen (71)
Combining those 2: SAT (Shot attempts, 5 on 5: (goals+shots+missed shots+team blocked shots) - (goals against+shots against+missed shots against+opponent shots blocked): 1. Henrik (69), 2. Daniel (61), 3. Hamhuis (53), 4. Weber (45), 5. Burrows (25)
Basically, those 3 advanced stat categories dictate how well players controlled play while on the ice while 5 on 5. It dictates how much they were on the attack in the opposing zone over how much the opponent did so against them. More of those advanced stats can be seen here.
The depth on offence that the Canucks had in the regular season disappeared mostly in the playoffs. The shitty D remained. The goaltending was pretty good overall. The Canucks really did lack physicality though. They got pummeled at every turn by guys like Ferland and Colbourne, with minimal response. The Canucks' top 6 lacked size and got manhandled in the physicality department and let's face it, they (besides the Sedins and Burrows, I'm talking about mostly Bonino and Vrbata) dried up. Credit to the Flames for not only crashing and banging, but also playing a more regimented system, especially defensively. How often did they box the Canucks out in front of Hiller? Ugh...sound familiar? Kinda hard to penetrate that box without size.
I'm still proud of the bastards in blue and green. They had a solid season...a better season than I thought they would. So I do tip my hat to them for that. Lord Linden and Sir Bennington expected the playoffs from this team at the beginning of the season and got what they wanted.
Where do they go from here? Ah! Jim Benning will take care of that, hopefully. But keep this in mind about Benning: his biggest moves up front last summer brought in scorers, but not big-sized scorers. Bonino and especially Vrbata are solid regular season performers, but failed in the playoffs. And then there is Sbisa...I like his physicality but hate his consistency. The Canucks really did miss Alex Burrows' sandpaper element in the top 6, make no mistake. The question of how much of a difference a big guy like Zack Kassian would have made in that series...you know he would have gone after Ferland for running our guys. But it's not that simple with Zack because of the other intangibles (bad and good ) that he brings. He still has more to prove in his overall game.
The biggest Benning acquisition was Ryan Miller. Miller was admittedly still not fully recovered from his leg injury sustained in February and even said so to the media. Miller looked slow and not-so sharp in game 6. He looked fine in the previous game and a half. I personally think the Canucks' had pretty solid goaltending all season long, and that the goaltenders saved their failing defensive carcasses repeatedly. Save percentages and goals against average be damned!!! I see that so many people keep throwing those goalie stats around to judge a goaltender. Cut it out! If a goalie faces 23 shots in a game and allows 4 goals against....and 3 of those 4 goals were scored on breakaways or 2 on 1's, etc...then it just becomes a mathematical and unrealistic farce. See: Martin Brodeur's career stats with the Devils.
So many questions remain heading into this offseason. Will Benning go with the Lack/Miller combo next season? How will he address the problem with size up front? How will he address the serious issues with this defence core? What is this roster going to look like in 2015-16? According to NHL Numbers, the Canucks currently have 10 forwards, 5 defencemen locked up as it stands with now. With the salary cap only expected to rise a couple million from its current state, the Canucks don't have much room to play around. It more than likely means a lot of changes to the vets on the current roster being let go and the chance for kids to crack the lineup next fall.