The numbers aren't pretty. Since the beginning of last season, the Vancouver Canucks record under Willie Desjardins is 43-53-15. If this were a team legitimately rebuilding, one could look at that and say "Well, they're not too bad, and perhaps you will see them turn this around?". I don't need to remind you of all the things that this team's management has said about this team and where they think they are right now. So given this, and if the management and ownership truly believe that this team can sneak into a playoff spot, surely they have to be looking at this road trip as a sign that Willie D is not going to be able to change things.
||Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
||Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
|13.8 (26)||Power Play %||20.7 (9)|
|84.8 (6)||Penalty Kill %||92.1 (1)|
|51.0 (10)||Faceoff Win %||51.3 (8)|
||Shooting %||8.2 (22)|
||Corsi For %||52.1 (9)
Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com
There was a time when the Canucks would look at a game against Carolina and you could write in 2 points. In ink. And yet here we are with the Hurricanes forcing the Canucks to have to play an absolutely desperate game in December. And with the Hurricanes getting the majority of their wins at home so far this season, you have to like the odds of the team in red.
They aren't a threat for a playoff spot, but are the winners of 6 straight on home ice. They're 9 points back of Washington for the last wild card spot in the East, but a solid home record is something they can build on in the post- Eric Staal era. The Canes have the best PK in the league right now, killing off penalties at a whopping 92.1% rate, and have been getting decent goaltending from Cam Ward. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask have been putting up points, but need to get some more contributions from the rest of the lineup.
Yes they`ve been injured. Yes, they`ve made some questionable trades/signings/roster decisions. But the implementation of the roster, the usage of the players that he's been given, that's all on Willie. From the insistence of putting Brandon Sutter with Henrik and Daniel Sedin in the absence of Jannik Hansen, to the detriment of the twins and the team, to the serious limiting of ice time for the Bo Horvat, Alexandre Burrows and Sven Baertschi line when it was rolling, to the little things like sending out Alex Biega with the goalie pulled late in the game against Washington, Willie's ideas are stale at best, and disastrous at worst. Do I think that this team is somehow a legit contender if he's removed and someone else takes the reins? Hell, no. I'm not delusional. But even if you buy into the Canucks staying within sniffing distance of a wild card spot (which is 100% because of the Pacific being filled with less than good teams than anything else), how could anyone have confidence in Willie being the one who can get them to win enough games to do this?
Ryan Miller will be starting tonight, making a return after a couple games off due to some sort of lower body injury. That should see Thatcher Demko getting sent back to Utica, though he was at practice this morning, likely to be around in case Miller felt he wasn't good to go. Brendan Gaunce is a healthy scratch, as well.
Interesting poll in the Province this morning. It's early, but it sure looks like they're not getting the mood of Canucks fans on this one correctly:
Here's the lines for tonight:
D.Sedin-H.Sedin-Hansen— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 13, 2016
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Cephalic Carnage, one of my latest ear worms for ya....