1. Is this team much different from last year’s?
Van after 24 games last year: 10-12-2 24 points 73 GF 88 GA
Van after 24 games this year: 12-8-4 28 points 78 GF 69 GA
I don’t have the special teams numbers for last year after 24 games, but take my word for it when I say that they are better overall. 4th ranked PP overall and 9th ranked PK is pretty good. The only team that has “specialer” teams so far is...um....Edmonton.
I was calling for Newell Brown’s head last year...and at the start of the year as well. It seems that between him and Quinn Hughes, that Newell might be around for a few more years. I give Brown credit for getting some production out of the second unit which runs completely different from the first unit. The first unit has benefited from Hughes and Miller and Horvat.
2. The question on this road trip should be, how do you beat the league leading Capitals and lose badly to Dallas. What was the biggest reason? Both of those teams like to hit and can skate with speed. In past years this same phenomenon occurred, beat the better teams and lose to mediocre teams . (Sorry Dallas...you’re not not mediocre, in fact you’re stacked)
3. When the Canucks made the trade for J.T. Miller, I wasn’t sure what to think as I never really paid attention to Miller in T.B.. A conditional first round pick was a lot to give up it seemed, but only in your mentality was this team was going to suck again. (at the time I might have been leaning that way) I have to say that Miller has brought a swagger to this team. He is a feisty guy that gets into the dirty places. He’s has skill to play with Petey and can grind it out with Bo. He is a great example for a guy like Brock and Jake. Some will say that if the Canucks miss the playoffs this year that it was a terrible trade. I won’t be one of them.
4. Remember when Jordie Benn played for Dallas? He was one tough son of a bitch to play against. When the Canucks signed him, I thought the amount was amazing and term was a very smart play by Benning. It’s too bad that Eriksson got stuck with the nickname “Little Things” and sarcastically I might add. Benn is actually good at doing the little things in his own end. He has been great positionally and plays cautious so Stetcher can jump up. If the Canucks are to move forward into the playoffs, the Canucks will need all three pairings to stay healthy and be effective.
5. Before the year began I said this team would not make the playoffs. We are not at the point of the year where I have to eat crow yet. But I will say this....I have enjoyed watching this team way more than last year’s. It was exciting to have Petey last year, but this year’s team has been able to dominate some games, come back in the third period of other games and put up a lot of goals in other games. Markstrom/Demko has brought stability and the ability to steal a game.
The Canucks need a couple more wins on this trip (one of them against the Oilers) to continue the momentum that had built up in October. Let’s hope Roussel, Ferland, Beagle and Motte all get healthy so Eriksson gets sent down.