clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Carolina- Dec 13/16

New, comments

The problems facing the Canucks are a million-fold. Let's focus on one that seems to be one of the most divisive: At what point do we stop giving Willie Desjardins a free pass because of the hand he's been dealt and accept he is not the right coach for this team?

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Carolina Hurricanes

4:00 PM PT - PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

TV: SNP  - Radio: TSN 1040

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.

Canucks
CATEGORY
Hurricanes
12-15-2 SEASON RECORD 11-11-6
26 Points 28
6th Division Position 7th
Lost 2
Streak Lost 1
2.21 (28)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.43 (20)
2.93 (24)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.61 (13)
13.8 (26) Power Play % 20.7 (9)
84.8 (6) Penalty Kill % 92.1 (1)
51.0 (10) Faceoff Win % 51.3 (8)
7.6 (27)
Shooting % 8.2 (22)
49.6 (18)
Corsi For % 52.1 (9)
98.0 (28)
PDO 98.7 (26)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

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.

THE CANUCKS

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:


GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Cephalic Carnage, one of my latest ear worms for ya....