1. The Canucks went 5-7-3 in November and are now 4-3-0 for December with a very real chance they finish the month at 5-8-0. What’s the correct response should they miss the post season again: Fire Travis Green, Fire Jim Benning, or clean house?
Beggsy - People might call me too patient but I’m not hopping on the #FireGreen bandwagon. I don’t mind the way he has this team playing, but it’s the personnel that’s problematic, especially on defence and in the top-six. That falls on the general manager, and Jim Benning has already been given way too much leeway as is.
It depends on how they finish though. If they miss the playoffs by a point but improve by 10 points, perhaps there’s another kick at the can. If they miss by 5-10 points, something’s gotta give, and that something is Jim Benning’s departure and possible Travis Green’s as well.
jimmi - ‘Tis the week before Xmas, so we can’t talk about firing anyone. But... when the Nucks begin their 6th decade in the NHL and miss the playoffs again... spring cleaning needs to be deep and thorough. We’re not there yet. Let’s just take this thing one decade at a time.
Westy99 (Vacay Edition) - Fire them all! Trade them all! Send in the Giants!
Tengeresz - This is a tough one for me. I like the Canucks, and I like what Green has been getting out of a pretty pedestrian line-up. I also like the drafting Benning has done, and he’s made some astute signings (Ryan Miller right off the hop). I’m a conservative thinker: I’d rather stay the course and keep building with more good drafting and development. On the other hand, this is a results based business, and despite real growth this year the over all results of the Benning era are still underwhelming. If GMJB feels ownership breathing down his neck, he might save himself for one more year with a coaching change. Just please: Not Babcock!
Kent- The marginal improvements are outweighed by the same dead weight that continues to hang around the collective necks of this squad, dragging them under the waves. I think a coaching change is starting to feel inevitable, but it’s a copout to find a way for Benning to not be blamed for being bad at his job.
2. The Canucks are frantically looking to find someone to take Sven Baertschi, but his contract and injury history is likely making that impossible. Should they be looking at moving someone else to get him back into the NHL, or keep him in Utica?
Beggsy - The Sven Baertschi redemption story would have been a good one, but the bottom line is they gave him a fair shot and he didn’t make the most of it. Is he better than Loui Eriksson or Tim Schaller? Absolutely, but he’s also not moving the needle on offence or solving the top-six dilemma either.
jimmi - Terrible situation. One cheap (uncalled) headshot and Sven’s NHL career seems to be over. And JB has ensured it is. Because JB needs to worry about his own. For good reasons.
Westy99 (Vacay Edition) - Game threads ruined. They were once so Svenderful.
Tengeresz - Sadly, this is a sunk cost. He's a legit NHL player when healthy, but he’s not good enough at this point to push anyone out of the line up. Leave him in Utica until injuries make him the best option. Maybe another team picks him up and clears the cap space.
Kent- I’m at the point now where I wish someone would take him. I believe he still has value, and the Canucks, shockingly, haven’t handled his situation well.
3. First line Jake Virtanen is a thing, and he’s responded with goals in back to back games including one on the PP. Is he being showcased for a possible trade?
Beggsy - That’s what a smart general manager would do. Is this what Benning is doing? I have my doubts.
jimmi - Makes sense. It would be the Canuckle thing to do - Virt’s career can blossom playing on another team.
Westy99 (Vacay Edition) - Trade the productive forward, not Loui or Sven or Sutter. Smart move.
Tengeresz - The ghost of the Cam Neely trade still haunts the minds of Canucks fans, and hopefully management. I sincerely HOPE he is being given more of an offensive role so that he can develop into a better part of THIS team, but as a Canucks fan I’m always afraid it will turn into a disaster....
Kent- I am inclined to agree with Beggsy, believe it or not. This feels more like a Travis Green instinct move than Jimbo trying to do something that might help the team.
4. Let’s play devil’s advocate and believe the Canucks can still stay in the playoff hunt: with the cap space created by Michael Ferland being moved to LTIR, do they try and make a play for a top 6 player (if they could somehow make it fit)?
Beggsy - In the past 12 months, Benning has acquired Josh Leivo, Tanner Pearson, J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland to try and solve the top six dilemma. In my mind, he’s already made his play to bolster the top-six no matter what he says. I’m curious to see him try and get creative. However, if he really wanted to add a player in the top six, he shouldn’t have hamstrung himself with contracts like Brandon Sutter, Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller, Baertschi, Tyler Myers...need I say more?
jimmi - Sure. JB just needs to find a trade partner looking to scoop up a wily Swedish sharpshooter (into his own net) with a proven history (just not recent history). How hard can that be?
Creative? What about re-trading a retired player still on the books? That would be creative. I’m just happy none of our kids were swapped in the Hall.
Westy99 (Vacay Edition) - What the Hall are you talking about?!
Tengeresz - No. Just No.
Maybe a top 4 Defenceman, but only if it’s a long term fit. Next year the Canucks have to re-sign (or replace) Markstrom, Tanev, Stetcher, Gaudette, Virtanen, and some journeymen. Luongo, Baertschi, and Spooner will still be on the books. Save the space until a season that the Canucks are a lock for the playoffs, and a legit cup contender.
Kent- Moot point, because this team isn’t gonna be close enough to warrant such things come the deadline.
5. The defence is broken, the PP is broken and Markstrom’s outstanding performances are going to waste. Is there a fix for this, or is it simply a sign this team is still bad?
Beggsy - It’s a huge stretch to say the PP is broken, they’re still fourth overall in the league. The rough stretch over the past few will correct itself. What really worries me is this defence. It won’t matter how many goals they score if they keep allowing quality chances. This team has now allowed the 8th-most shots and the 4th-most scoring chances against at even-strength.
Who are you really trusting in their own zone other than Hughes? For all the talk about his this defence was better, guys like Myers, Jordie Benn and Troy Stecher have really struggled in their own zone of late.
jimmi - It’s easy to blame our D. In fact there’s now an official D-Day holiday at NM. And no one can defend against a fanbase equipped with pitchforks and a keyboard.
However, they were reinforced this season. Stop complaining. Or as Westy would say: “Stop complaining!”
Quinn has elevated our D-corp and his only issue is that he can’t play every shift. D-ceiling is much higher than the last few seasons. Faeries permitting. When Eddie returns, the D will be better. When special Ed returns... well...
Until then it seems the Green Go ‘n Gun directive is still in effect. The coaching staff/players, like me, are oblivious to those 8th-most, 4th-most stats that Beggsy quoted. Whatever they were.
From the recent fire drill demonstrations, other than Pete, forwards are not keen on playing the 200 foot team D game. In the Nucks franchise, back-checking is something an intern does after the game when steam-cleaning team jerseys.
Not sure what happened to the ‘Hard To Play Against’ mantra, but the moment the puck stays in the Nucks zone more than a moment, it’s puck-panic for everyone. Stay Calm! And clear the puck, FFS!
The PP has 1st unit problems. Like 1st world problems, can only be solved by throwing money at it.
I suggest stuffing big wads of fifties in the opposing goalie’s mask. Assuming they get set for a shot. In case (like recently) they can’t get set up, offer free composite timbit sticks to the opposing PK.
And... Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! With Feeling! And URGENCY! Also... stay calm and score.
Westy99 (Vacay Edition) - Stop complaining! I’m on vacay. At the beach. JB, you paying for my beach balls? No? Fix your own stuff, millionaires of Vancouver.
Tengeresz - If the team were simply bad, that would be easier to deal with. This team is NOT just bad, it’s just young. This is what you get with young players: they struggle to be consistent. For all the Tank-Nation “Trade the Vets play the Kids” whiners, this is what you get. You should be thrilled with all the high-scoring losses that you were screaming for in seasons past. Lose 6-5 to the Capitals? Perfect! Lose 5-4 to the Avalance? Excellent! Lose 8-6 to the Penguins? Fantastic! Patience young Padawans, patience.
Kent- While youth is being added to the squad, there’s vets on this team who continue to drag the Canucks down into hell (aka the NHL’s basement). They will get better, but it won’t happen until some of these guys are long gone. There’s a lot of things that were working early in the season that aren’t working now, and it’s not just because teams are figuring them out. It’s because after the top 6 there’s a steep talent drop off, and a general aversion to the concept of team defence. Until this is fixed, get used to missing the playoffs.