As we watched Elias Pettersson roll in the Swedish Elite League last year, it gave Canucks fans something that’s been in short supply recently: Hope. And as he’s begun his NHL career, it appeared that we were indeed getting what we thought, hoped and prayed for. Pettersson is an elite talent, and alongside Brock Boeser poised to be the leaders of a new core, and filling the void left by the Sedins.
What we also knew was that at some point we’d have to deal with someone taking a run at him. To be honest, I thought it was going to happen in that rematch against the Flames, that they would try and get some tit for tat retribution for Eric Gudbranson’s hit on Calgary rookie Dillon Dube on opening night (and making Travis Hamonic regret his slavish devotion to a stupid ‘code’). And if someone gets a clean lick in on him? Great. It’s a part of the game and something Elias will have to learn to deal with. He’d already done a great job at avoiding hits, and taken a few, coming out no worse for wear.
What Mike Matheson did was not a hockey play. It was not a clean hit. And while I won’t go so far as to say it was premeditated, given how Matheson had been burned by Pettersson earlier in the game, I see how you could make that case. A couple things about the play are pretty upsetting, though. First, it’s the little things about the hit that you don’t notice right away (and stick taps to Botch for noticing this)
i missed it last night, maybe this is well known. but i've seen lots say initial hit was fine. check how matheson uses his stick to can open pettersson. im sick about all of it pic.twitter.com/QqQwvXUUZl— Jason Botchford (@botchford) October 14, 2018
Add in that he went in hard facing the player’s numbers, and the case for intent to injure becomes stronger. Secondly, the fact that the referee watched that entire play and didn’t so much as call an interference penalty on Matheson is disturbing. As Cole mentioned on the NM Podcast (haven’t heard it yet? what are you waiting for? Check it out here) there’s a tendency for officials to not give rookies the benefit of the doubt on calls. Sure, I get the concept, but something that maybe makes sense on a holding or hooking infraction shouldn’t also apply to an incident that not only looks more like something from the WWE, but would be a GUARANTEED suspension in the NFL. Part of the job of an official is rules enforcement not just to provide fairness but also to protect the players. Also, if you want to see some truly mind-blowing hot takes, check out the responses to the DoPS tweet about the phone hearing. Sadly predictable, but still shocking to see.
So now we wait for DoPS to have their phone call with Matheson. I have been critical of their handling of incidents during my time here as you all know, but I have to hand it to George Parros, he really seems to be striving to get the calls right, especially the no-brainer ones. And this one definitely falls into that category.
In the meantime the Canucks have announced that Pettersson will not play for the rest of the road trip, which is a shame, because I was looking forward to seeing him go up against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
The last thing the Canucks need to do is rush Elias back in any way. All you have to do is look at Thatcher Demko’s battle with post-concussion symptoms since taking a puck off the noggin before the preseason game against LA to realize it’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s game 6, and they’re not going to make the playoffs anyway.
CANUCKS NEWS: Yeah, like anything else matters right now... Heh. Actually it’s been a fairly eventful time. Last week we had former GM Mike Gillis on TSN1040 talking about his time running the show for the first time since his firing, followed by SN650’s interview with Francesco Aqualini. And then this morning, they had Trevor Linden in studio... Looking for a money quote from that interview? How about this one?
Trevor Linden on his relationship with owner Francesco Aquilini : "I am not going to get into the nuts and bolts of my relationship with the Aquilini family. I loved being part of the team, lots of things I miss being part of it and some things I don't miss." #Canucks— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) October 15, 2018
While this kind of start from the Canucks was not one that we expected, you might wanna keep your excitement in check, and not just because of a potential extended loss of Pettersson
#NHL CF/60-CA/60 differential.— Goals Against (@GA_per60) October 15, 2018
Best Differential:#TakeWarning #OurPack #SJSharks #VegasBorn
Worst differentials#LetsGoDucks #Canucks #GoSensGo #mnwild
Stats courtesy of @CorsicaHockey, happy birthday @manny_hockey pic.twitter.com/aNiebdD9hq
It’s gonna get worse before it gets better... While this just confirms what we can see, Pettersson’s right there with the league’s best so far
Top 30 NHL Game Score Leaders as of 10/15 -— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) October 15, 2018
- Morgan Reilly and Auston Matthews (#LeafsForever) are your leaders in the clubhouse
- The Hurricanes (#TakeWarning) are mad good
- Hello Elias Pettersson (#Canucks)
Full viz here: https://t.co/olF3pmxtqr pic.twitter.com/usITC040wM
Kind of lost in the chaos and confusion of Saturday was Jay Beagle going down with a broken hand suffered on a shot block. While there’s no official word on who will get the call up from Utica, there’s some idea who it might be
Source : I’m hearing #Canucks have called up Gaudette.— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) October 14, 2018
While the Beagle signing didn’t look like a good move heading into the season, he’s been a key factor in the Canucks outstanding PK work so far, so his loss is definitely going to be felt.
If there is some good news, it’s that Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi are doing their part, and will need to keep it going if Pettersson is out long term...
AROUND THE LEAGUE: Laurent Brossoit made 42 stops, and Bryan Little snagged the GWG as the Winnipeg Jets took down the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 last night. Josh Morrissey had 2 assists for the Jets, while Sebastian Aho continued his red-hot play notching his 7th assist of the season... Andrew Cogliano’s PPG in the 3rd was the difference as the Anaheim Ducks beat St Louis 3-2. Ryan Miller got the win, giving him 371 for his career. Miller is now one behind Andy Moog for 17th all time, and with 4 wins can pass the winningest American-born goalie and holder of 16th place, noted racist John Vanbiesbrouck... John-Sebastien Dea had the GWG in a 3-2 New Jersey win over San Jose. Kyle Palmieri scored the other 2 Devils goals. Brent Burns had his 4th assist of the season in the loss... Some hockey stories are truly heartbreaking. This isn’t one of them...