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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: November 13, 2019

A new week, a bunch of new arguments. The weekly round table tackles Don Cherry, Chris Tanev’s genetic makeup, Loui Eriksson’s existence and more.

Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Last week was not so great, and the Canucks have a pretty tough schedule ahead. We’ve summoned the NM scribes to discuss 5 burning questions facing the team and some general NHL stuff. Let the takes commence!

1.- Let’s start with the big news, shall we? After Don Cherry’s racist, xenophobic poppy rant Saturday night on HNIC, did Sportsnet make the right call, or was it an overreaction?

westy - I grew up with Don Cherry and yet I never really paid attention to much he said. I am going to continue living that life.

jimmi - Don is evolving. Slowly. He almost accepts that not all European players are soft. In his next lifetime(s), he might accept that not all real Canadians are from Europe. He might have to have to work that one out as a stray on the streets of Delhi tho.

Tengeresz- Grapes has done a lot for hockey, for serving CF members, for Veterans, and for local communities. He’s also well past his prime, and his relevance is declining rapidly. His employers and their sponsors have decided that he’s more of a liability than an asset. I’d agree, it’s time for him to go. It’s too bad that he had to do it this way, but I suspect he was never going to retire gracefully on his own terms anyway.
On a personal note: My Polish born maternal grandfather volunteered for the Grenadier Guards at the start of WWII, my Hungarian refugee father loved Canada so much that he taught Canadian History in high school for 17 years. I served in a front line combat unit in the middle east. Every immigrant I have ever met growing up in Toronto was MORE patriotic and likely to wear a poppy than the average Canadian born person. Screw you Don, and all your xenophobic asshole supporters. Also: I appreciate what Don Cherry has done for hockey, and he’s rightly a lock for the HHOF. This will just delay it a few years.

Markus - It would be one thing if this was a one-time comment, but Don has been spewing this stuff for years. That, and after given the chance to apologize the following day, he doubled down instead. Well past his expiration date and Sportsnet absolutely made the right call.

Beggsy - I grew up entertained by Cherry’s antics, but I don’t think he’s strung a complete sentence together on air for about nine years....

What he said was wrong, no doubt about it. Was it the most offensive thing ever said on TV? No, but it was divisive. To be honest, I think Sportsnet was looking for an opening to fire Cherry for years, and this was, in their eyes, their best opportunity.

Kent- Full disclosure: I once was a Don Cherry fan. I even bought my young son a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em video for christmas one year. In hindsight? Bad parenting. Don Cherry never should have been as big as he was, but we got all whipped into a frenzy during the event that started it all, and if it hadn’t happened Coach’s Corner never would have been a thing. What am I talking about? The Punchup in Piestany, of course. That’s when the Russians, already out of the running, instigated a bench-clearing brawl against Canada with the goal of getting them disqualified and not winning gold (back then, it was your record, not a medal round that determined the winner). Cherry was doing colour commentary for CBC for the tournament, and he was in his xenophobic glory. We didn’t care, because our patriotic pride had been stoked, but had that never happened, there wouldn’t have been a composite of everyone’s racist family member who ruins get-togethers yelling at us every Saturday night. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that he still doesn’t believe that he’s done anything wrong. Personally, I wouldn’t be happy to see him in HHOF. It’s not his coaching or playing record that would get him entry, it would be his broadcasting career, to have him be named in the builders category. And if we’re honouring him for his body of work, that’s a few decades of gross racism, sexism, homophobia and general garbage spewing from someone who used his position to bully those he despised. And for the record, while I thought Ron MacLean’s apology was genuine and heartfelt, it’s hard for me to feel too badly for him, having been Cherry’s enabler all these years (plus the dark shadow of his heinous hit piece on Alex Burrows that will forever linger in these parts). But for Don to throw MacLean under the bus, let alone doing it on Fox News? That speaks volumes, as does the chuds attacking the Canadian Legion for rightfully calling out Cherry. They always tell on themselves.

2.- What is Christopher Tanev made of?

westy - Part silly putty, part candy brittle. Sometime he rebounds, sometimes he breaks.

jimmi - 85% ice cold courage. 10% vulcanised high pressure rubber. 5% skin and bones.

Tengeresz - When he came into the league Bieksa said he was a cool as a cucumber, he could be smoking a cigarette out there. Then we saw him absorbing an astonishing number of hits to make a play and he was often called “Gumby.” Since then he’s become a puck-eating chicklet-spitting blocking machine. So: Cucumber, plasticine, pucks, dentures, and the heart of a lion.

Markus - Sami Salo

Beggsy - Let’s not jinx it now since he’s played every game so far this season. He was comparable to glass but it looks like he has an extra layer of silicone protecting him this season.

Kent- He is a cybernetic being composed of assorted Zamboni parts, the spit of a thousand Canucks players and mustache trimmings from Dave Babych and Harold Snepsts. He was created pouring all that into a mold and baking it by leaving it in a room with a recording of a John Tortorella press conference on a loop.

3.- Are we seeing a regression to the mean, or was this just a tough week with a pretty brutal schedule catching up with them?

westy - Regression is probably the best answer. Other teams have coaches that watch the Nucks PP and PK and set up adjustments. I can see the Canucks PP doesn’t function well against an aggressive PK, so if a guy like me can see why wouldn’t coaches of an NHL team.

jimmi - Regression or just plain old gression. Either way, it spells the Ides of November. Which means no puck luck for another 2 weeks. Then just bad puck luck for another 2. Until the puck luck returns, team needs to play tighter team defence. And win those 1 nothing games 1-0. Also... goalies need to be perfect. Play the simple team game. And simply win.

Tengeresz - I take full responsibility for this. I got away on a sailboat and the team goes on a losing streak. In the pre-game presser on Tuesday HCTG quoted all the good underlying numbers and basically said “Puck luck” so that sounds reasonable to me (especially since I didn’t see any of the games). I’m back now, let’s hope I brought some of the bounces back to the Rog.

Markus - Honestly, probably a bit of both. I don’t think they’re as good as their early record indicates, but the truth is this is a fundamentally better team then past years, and their play recently hasn’t been all that bad. I do think they’re a playoff-caliber team, just maybe not the powerhouse they looked like a couple weeks back.

Beggsy - By a number of metrics, the Canucks are still one of the best teams in the NHL at even-strength. Their puck possession is miles ahead of the previous incarnations of the this team. They also easily have a top-10 goaltending duo and they’re strong on special teams. Based on what I’ve seen, I think the Canucks are a top-five team in the Western Conference behind St. Louis, Colorado, Nashville and Vegas.

Kent- I think it’s a number of things. A bit of regression, a touch of injuries, a bit of bad luck, some hot goalies and a tougher schedule. That being said, even through that, the underlying numbers are still there. There’s some big tests coming up, but last night’s win over Nashville was a pretty big one in terms of how they match up against their peers.

4.- Once again we must ask, why is Loui Eriksson in the lineup, and Adam Gaudette in the press box?

westy - Green heard Kent’s complaint and made the switch. Didn’t really help. It really is too bad that Ferland is out, because the lines had some momentum with him.

jimmi - You keep asking this question. There is no good answer. When Motte, Ferlie and Roussel return then we can give you good answers. Or better excuses. Also... when Sutz and Beagle return. In other words... Loui’s roster spot is now assured. Again.

Tengeresz - Good question. I’m tempted to leave it there, but my mind refuses to just shrug and accept that life is not fair. I’m guessing that they are trying to showcase him so that the Senators take him the day after his next bonus gets paid to help them reach the cap floor. Sign.

Markus - One of life’s great mysteries. For the most part I’ve liked Gaudette, but either put him in the minors or in the lineup. Putting him in the pressbox, especially for Loui of all people, is absurd.

Beggsy - If I’m going to vouch for Green, I think he really wants Gaudette to have that fire and force his way onto the team, just like he did with Gaudette during the preseason. If that was the plan, it’s worked to perfection so far as Gaudette looks more comfortable with each passing game.

Kent- The moment Antoine Roussel is healthy, we will have seen the last of Loui Eriksson, and he can shuffle off to 4 hours east of Buffalo to help the Comets. Gaudette has made tremendous strides, and with the right usage has been an effective player in limited minutes for the Canucks. There’s not a single scenario where Eriksson is the better option.

5.- Are the Canucks still going to be in a playoff position December 1st?

westy - The mediocrity/parity of the Pacific might help that situation.

jimmi - Yes, if they can use the St. Louis model from last season. If they have to pay royalties, so be it.

Tengeresz - Yes. Hot starts are hot, and the points don’t cool off until the holiday break. Also see my comments above: I want to believe they will re-re-gress to average puck luck and get the biscuit in the basket on more than 3% of their shots.

Markus - Yes, helped in large part by the aforementioned mediocrity of their peers. Despite their struggles, I still think this is a good, though maybe not great team.

Beggsy - Yes but just barely. They have a tough schedule the rest of the month and I think it would be a win if they came out of the next eight games with four wins, they’ll be in good shape. Watch out for the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks who are surging after slow starts.

Kent- Ask me on Dec 2nd.