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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Divisional Re-Alignment, Tortoise Tales, Gradient Schmadient And More...

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This week we discuss what the next season might be like, the Canucks new goalie being delightfully weird and other stuff.

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two
Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals speaks to the media after his team’s 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Two of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It’s time once again for the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. The concept is simple: 5 questions about current issues involving the Canucks laid out for our writers to give their rude ass opinions on.

1. It’s starting to look like this whole ‘Canadian Division’ thing is actually gonna be a thing. Your thoughts on this and what the hell, have at the other divisions as well.

Westy - This does not bode well for the Canucks. Noah Strang wrote an earlier article (here) outlining the possibility of a Canadian division. The Canucks record against these teams over the past four years is....well.....shit. They might have to rely on a play-in system again to make the playoffs.

The Central is a mish-mash of really good and crap. The west isn’t that different and the east might be the most entertaining of the divisions.

jimmi - This does not bode well for Canada. And possibly worse for the Canucks. However, the pathogenic silver lining is that we may not see NHL hockey until late 2021 2022. In which case, we wouldn’t be exposed to getting beat by a bunch of lesser teams.

As the Canucks proved this bubbly season, they’re the best Canadian team. Why oh why do they have to prove it again? Why?

Rob - It’s time to repatriate one of the U.S.A.’s pathetic southern MAGA NHL franchises to Quebec City, reclaim the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup in the name of Lord Stanley’s heirs and then close our southern border permanently. The 8-team Canada Hockey League will flourish in arenas filled with properly masked fans and the silver chalice drought of over a quarter of a century for the Great White North will finally end and then never begin again.

But I will settle for a PERMANENT Canadian division. Canada’s first civil war will be done where it should be done. On ice...with cold beer. At the end of the day, Thatch and the boys will be on top of Grouse Mountain looking down on the prairie dogs and their eastern counterparts with the title flag raised to the rafters or Rogers Arena.

Strang - The Canucks have struggled against Canadian teams in recent years and if this division becomes a reality it doesn’t bode well for Vancouver. Still, I look forwards to the bloodbath that an all-Canadian division is sure to be and it will be entertaining if nothing else.

Beggsy - I talked one of my buddies who cheers for the Leafs the other day...he’s scared of Toronto getting whipped in the Canadian Division.

With the division being fairly even, there’s a chance that the Canucks get embarrassed. There’s also a chance that the Oilers, Flames or Leafs get embarrassed as well. I’m a fan of those odds.

In reality, this doesn’t benefit the teams in the Pacific or the Metropolitan. The Canucks, Oilers and Flames won’t play the sad-sack California teams, and Toronto/Montreal won’t play Buffalo and Detroit for 1/8th of their schedule. It will make for great drama though, so count me in among the majority of Canadians clamoring for this format.

Kent- On the one hand, it is going to allow for some of those traditional, old school rivalries to mean something again. On the other hand, Hockey Twitter is going to just be unbearably toxic. Like, if you thought you hated other fans before, just wait til ALL the games are against the same other 6 teams. Also, putting Tampa and Florida in the Central? And not having Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the same division? That’s just stupid.

Markus - For a one-season thing, yeah, it’s kinda fun! I look forward to seeing the McDavids and Matthews of the world go up against EP all the time. I don’t have a hot take on the other divisions. In terms of affecting the Canucks’ playoff chances, it’s tougher than the Pacific would be, but I don’t think it makes thing substantially harder in that regard.

2. Did you hear the one about the goalie who got stopped at the border with a couple tortoises?

Westy - What the actual fuck is that? Holtby had the right papers to get into Canada, it’s just he didn’t have the right papers to get them out of the U.S.. What’s the lesson....I don’t know.

jimmi - There’s a good Torts vs the Hare joke somewhere. Not here - that punchline was removed when they turtled their way across the border. If they were forced to take up residence in Pt. Roberts, Nucks might have had shell-ebrity mascots. In exile.

Also... nice shell-fies, Honey and Maple!

Rob - This will all end badly when local Vancouver animal activists discover the Holtby family dining on turtle soup.

Strang - Another example that you need to be a little crazy to be a goalie.

Beggsy - Sorry guys, I’m way too slow to come up with a joke here.

Kent- Ah, goalies. The drummers of hockey. Is this guy not born to be a Canuck, or what?

Markus - This is funny as hell. Definitely a metaphor for this franchise in there somewhere.

3. Well... that’s a jersey, I guess. Your thoughts?

Westy - This is where my age shows. The Orca for me is not retro. The Stick....the V....the Skate are all older than this. I am not a fan of the Orca. It was a symbol of the company that ran the Canucks.....not the team itself. I wouldn’t pay for this.

jimmi - Again I agree with Westy. Does that make me old and bitter? Someday I need to tell my John McCaw birthday party story. But that sort of decadent excess isn’t appropriate during the Covidan days of rising r-naughtiness.

Also... that’s a terrible jersey. Pick a colour. Half measures during a pandemic sends the wrong message.

Rob - At some juncture a franchise reaches the point where it has too many variant jerseys. For the Canucks that feat happened in 1997. Enough already!

Strang - Not my favourite but could have been a lot worse I guess. I would have liked the team go with the stick-in-the-rink design instead of the orca but once again it could have been plenty worse.

Beggsy - I’m in the minority when it comes to jersey opinions. I like this one, mainly because of the greater emphasis on green.

I’ve also been told I have no fashion sense because I don’t like flying plates of spaghetti so consider my opinion here rather meaningless.

Kent- I am irrationally angry about this. It was an opportunity to make something glorious, and instead they took a jersey that made the Flying V look stylish and just slapped a different color scheme on. The orca is cursed, and this team will not win a Stanley Cup until they permanently retire it.

Markus - I kinda like it! I actually disagree with Beggs — I wish there was less green — but I think the gradient looks pretty cool. Definitely a grower. Not my favorite of the series but it’s definitely not bad.

4. With the border being closed for what could be at least another year the way the US is handling COVID-19, is this a good decision by the Canucks?

Westy - The Canucks’ business don’t want the extra expense and I can understand that. I think the league will allow extended rosters for this situation. If the league doesn’t, well....the Canucks are fucked.

jimmi - Again I disagree with Westy. Does that make me young and smart? What this no-AHL team for quick call-up means is... The Nucks braintrust aren’t willing to bet there will be enough NHL games in 2021 where injuries might be an issue. Or... Nucks know they can call-up their reserve players. From Calgary.

Rob - The 14-day quarantine will be problematic for our Comets’ call-ups. Most of our injured players will likely recover before their replacements are released from their hotel jails. But on the bright side we may get to see Petey and Huggy Bear play sixty minutes each a night when the Canucks’ healthy roster dwindles to six bodies. It make sense to me now why Petey was learning how to play goalie this off season.

Strang - I think that the COVID situation is changing and evolving so rapidly that it’s not a terrible decision to keep Utica where they are and just find a different solution. We aren’t sure what it’s going to look like when the season finally gets started so I understand not wanting to spend the money.

Beggsy - Makes sense from the Canucks point of view that they don’t want the financial burden of housing an AHL team here temporarily. They should attempt to house one here permanently, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

As of last month, the Canadian government was already experimenting with ways to “safely test an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine requirement for international travelers while continuing to protect Canadians from COVID-19.” I would bet that there’s a good chance that, by January, these AHL call-ups will be able to skirt the 14-day quarantine rules.

Kent- While it would have been great, and convenient for the Canucks at the end of the day it boils down to one undeniable fact: No one should be forced to move to Abbotsford.

Markus - Yeah I’ll echo Kent. It would have been nice, but this is an understandable decision and I’m sure they’ll find some sort of solution before the season starts.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Five
(EDITORS NOTE: This image was produced using in-camera multiple exposure). Christopher Tanev #8 of the Vancouver Canucks takes a shot in warm-ups prior to the game against the Vegas Golden Knights Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 01, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

5. And this week’s random curveball question: With all of the players who have left the Canucks over the last few weeks, which departure actually makes the Canucks a better team?

Westy - I protest these types of questions as we won’t know the answer until the season is over. And the term better is usually the one that isn’t defined the same by all. Is success just goals and assists....team points or something that leads to a better long term?

If I have to answer and Kent says I do...or else, I would choose the departure of Tanev. I know it sounds weird but hopefully with him leaving GMJB and scouts can re-think their long term plan for this below average defense. Hopefully a better is made because of it. I want to point out that with Tanev, the defense sucked.

jimmi - Again. Trick questions deserve trick answers.

The team is better because we don’t have to cringe when a McSoftie slips over Markie’s shoulder. That’s Calgary’s problem now.

Demko hasn’t lost us a single game in October or November. Predict he’ll keep it that way through December. That’s a very good non-losing streak.

Also... corollary to Westy’s point: With or without Tanev, the defence sucked.

Doesn’t matter. Demko is keeping us loss-free. And if he needs a rest, we have a fresh goalie who will rule the net with turtletarian powers during a cruel pundemic.

Rob - This question is premature since Loui Eriksson hasn’t been dispatched to the Mohawk Valley yet. But I will bite.

The reality at the end of the day is that Nate Schmidt is replacing Chris Tanev in the Canucks’ top four D-group. At this point in his career, Tanev is a top end third pairing defenceman at best, while Schmidt is arguably a solid top pairing rearguard. I look for this exchange of playing minutes to be similar to the effect of J. T. Miller taking over Nikolay Goldobin’s top six forward group minutes last season. The improvement in the top four will be significant.

Tanev moving on (along with replacement level D Troy Stecher) also provides an opportunity for some potentially exciting young defender talent to make the squad. One or maybe two of Olli Juolevi, Brogan Rafferty or Jack Rathbone might very well turn out to be a significant upgrade in the overall defencemen ranks not too unlike what Quinn Hughes effect was last season. There is also a reasonable chance that Jalen Chatfield ends up providing what Tanev brings at this point of his career at less than a quarter of the money with better youthful quickness and foot speed.

Chris Tanev was a warrior who gave everything he had to the Canucks while he played for them. But like Mattias Ohlund, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and others before him, it was time for him to move on so that the team could get better.

Strang -

Beggsy - Easily Tyler Toffoli because SHOTGUN JAKE WILL SCORE MOAR GOALZ NEXT SZN. WHO NEEDS TOFFOLI!

Okay, I tried to be different from the crowd, but I have to go with the departure of Tanev. As mentioned above, he was a warrior for this team, but I think there’s a good argument to be made that he was propped up by Quinn Hughes last season. The Canucks dodged a bullet by not signing him long-term.

Kent- Pffft. Cowards. The obvious answer was staring you all in the face. With the departure of Oscar Fantenberg, who was a mayonnaise on white bread sandwich of a defenceman, there now exists an opportunity for a youngster to get their shot. Whether it’s Olli Juolevi, Jack Rathbone, Brogan Rafferty or someone else, the defence can only get better from here.

Markus - Tanev and by a lot. He just wasn’t very good last year when you look atthe underlying numbers, especially away from Hughes. He’s not the skater he once was, which was such a huge part of his game. I think as he gets older it was addition by subtraction. He was a warrior in his time her,e but he simply is not very good anymore.