Every week we gather the Nucks Misconduct scribes around a metaphorical table and have them weigh in on some pressing, Canucks related issues. Some are thoughtful, some are snarky, some are whatever it is that Jimmy’s doing. Here’s this weeks edition, where we try to make sense of the world suddenly collapsing in on the Canucks...
1. It was literally the worst case scenario for this season when the new of Jacob Markstrom’s injury broke. This means that a) Thatcher Demko gets the ball the rest of the way and b) the Canucks went out and got Louis Domingue to be the backup. Is this the end of their playoff hopes, or can the team, already missing Brock Boeser, Josh Leivo and Michael Ferland somehow make it to the playoffs?
Rob - It is never easy being a Canucks’ fan. I’ve always been a big supporter of Thatcher Demko. This is his opportunity to shine. I think he is going to be just fine. I’ve never liked Louis Domingue but there are only four back-to-back games left on the schedule. Prior to Marky’s injury the playoffs were a lock. Now there is some reason for a bit of concern. But at the end of the day this team has character and swagger and a bit of a cushion on a playoff spot. You can confidently put your playoffs flag on your car now. The post season will still return to the Lower Mainland in April.
westy99 - It’s never been about if injuries happen, it’s been about when and who. The Canucks have the offensive weapons to survive no Boeser, but now no Marky? The Injury Fairies are the only consistent thing in life.
I’ll stay consistent as well...my October prediction stands.
jimmi - Just when we thought it was over, it isn’t over until the Faeries of February say it is. Good thing Nucks fan psyches are tougher than the bodies of Nucks players. We can take it. We can, right?
Beggsy - I’m ready to lead the charge for the Demko fan club. He’s no Markstrom but he’s certainly talented enough to keep the team afloat down the stretch.
Also, Canucks nation should have faith that Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes can at least carry this team to the playoffs. They’re that good.
Kent- It’s so difficult being a fan of this team, that making fun of someone’s love of the Canucks should be considered kink shaming, because you have to be a masochist to keep coming back for more. I said from the start that if this team was going to make the playoffs they’d need a lot of help. With each injury to a key player, the odds are increasing that they’re going to fall short. On the bright side, we get a chance to see if Thatcher Demko is ready for prime time, and whether what we saw on Saturday is something that could be replicated. Still, I have a hard time believing they can pull this off, because it seems very much like it’s not meant to be.
Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - The Canucks should be able to maintain a sufficient level of success as long as they begin to receive offensive support from their bottom-nine forwards. Their game against Montreal was a decent start, as players from three separate tiers of their depth chart contributed to their total production. Jacob Markstrom was critical to the team’s success during their scoring drought; if this group can once again distribute its offense among its four lines, then they stand a chance of remaining afloat amidst a highly-competitive playoff race. The acquisition of Tyler Toffoli has played a significant role thus far in ensuring that the team can compete — his defensive contributions are a timely addition.
2. Why can’t we play a game against Boston and not leave with all our players whole and intact? This seems like some cruel bloody joke that never ends.
Rob - The Boston injury curse will not end until the Canucks defeat the Bruins in a Stanley Cup Finals series. So mid-June 2020 it will finally be over. This time the Canucks will win in it seven games. End of curse.
westy99 - Was this a question or a scene from Shakespeare?
jimmi - To explain or not to explain. Perhaps the winning strategy, more noble in mind than body, is not to engage in answering the unanswerable. It is what it is. And what is, isn’t wanted.
Beggsy - I mean, they won by six goals? Can’t have it all I suppose.
Kent- The correct answer is: This will never end.
Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - Alas, ‘tis the Curse of Cam Neely.
3. There are rumblings that Nikita Tryamkin wants to return to Vancouver as soon as his KHL season is done. Should the Canucks welcome the BFG back with open arms? Is the NHL ready for a defence pairing of Tyler Myers and Tryamkin?
Rob - The best and most recent information I’ve been able to glean is that BFG is not even eligible to return to play for the Canucks this season. Apparently, because he was and still is an RFA in the eyes of the NHL, he is in the same position as Jesse Puljujarvi is with the Oilers and is ineligible to sign a NHL contract with the Canucks until July 1st, 2020.
Even if he was eligible to sign with the Canucks, his contract would still be binding until April 30th, 2020 and his KHL club is unlikely to give him an early release since there is a new KHL rule this season which stipulates that they would lose his future exclusive KHL rights if they do so. I doubt we see Tryamkin in a Vancouver uniform again until training camp in September 2020.
Yes we want him back. I’ve watched him play closely in the KHL and in my opinion he is a clear upgrade on Stecher, Fantenberg and Benn. I think he would be a perfect right side partner for Quinn Hughes and would also make an imposing left side partner for Tyler Myers. There are very few hockey players in the world like him and I think Canucks’ fans will re-warm to him once he is back on the team.
westy99 - I’m not sure I want him back. The first time he gets benched he might cry and go back to Russia.
jimmi - If he’s in the lineup today, great. If not, screw it. There’s no tomorrow. It is what it is. Whatever that is.
Beggsy - Contract ramifications aside, I think the Canucks should welcome back BFG with
open arms a tepid handshake. He’s probably nothing more than a third-pairing defenceman, but he’s entertaining to watch nonetheless. It’s not like Jordie Benn or Oscar Fantenberg have a stranglehold on that third-pair, left defence spot either.
Kent- More BFG, less whatever the hell it is they’ve been trying to pass off as defence the last couple years.
Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - If Nikita Tryamkin wishes to return, the Canucks must consider him as an option. Defensive depth is often instrumental to a team’s playoff success, and Vancouver’s depth on defence is thin. He provides strength on the blue line and is worth evaluating in the event that he can be of use to the Canucks. Any experiment that might potentially improve the team should be explored. His previous stint with the Canucks was relatively sucessful, and he intimidated opponents, albeit unwittingly.
Large, nimble players of his description are rare, even in the National Hockey League. If he can be, at the very least, a stable presence on the back end, he would be a worthwhile addition — the team lacks stability in its own zone. He seems to be a high-maintenance player based on his track record of ice-time complaints, but if he can improve the team’s defensive offering, then he should be allowed to earn a position in Vancouver regardless of his past comments.
A potential conflict between Tryamkin and the team can very easily be managed. Past Stanley Cup contenders have harbored unhappy players. An example I will offer is Vladimir Ruzicka, a Czech Elite League legend who joined the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 amidst great expectations. His Czech team retired his number just prior to his debut in the NHL. The Oilers won the Stanley Cup that year. He played zero playoff games during their run and was traded to Boston the following season. The team gave this player a chance to contribute, and when he failed to adjust, they continued without his services.
4. I know it all looks pretty dark, but can we just go back to our happy place for a moment? How good was that win Saturday night? What was the best part of that 9-3 asskicking for you?
Rob - For me it was the overall statement that the players made as a whole that they are a team to be reckoned with and won’t concede anything to any team. But really the best part for me has been re-watching the nine goals over and over again on the NHL app. I think I may have developed a replay addiction to go with my coffee addiction.
westy99 - The 7th goal was the one that let me breathe again. After losing a 5 goal lead to the Penguins this year, I thought the Canucks might collapse again. Toffoli’s go made everything all right.
jimmi - It was the greatest game of the year. All gravy from here. Possibly even better than the Game 8 win of the 2011 finals played in January 2012 (weird gap).
Ok, it was way better. Total humiliation for that team and HNIC. Not that either will give our young (and old) Nucks the respect they deserve. So... suggest the Nucks give them that sort of beatdown in every future contest until their morale and attitude improves.
Beggsy - The nine-goal outburst against the Bruins was a pleasure to watch, but Stecher’s opening goal was my favourite moment. After everything he went through leading up to the Bruins game with trade rumours, it was nice to see some vindication for Troy from Richmond.
Kent- There was a lot to like about that game, for sure. Tyler Toffoli making a case for the Canucks to re-sign him, another huge J.T. Miller performance, a Gordie Howe hat trick from the Captain, the Stecher goal, and a Shotgun Jake goal, too. The best part? They took a one goal lead into the dressing room and came out and stepped on the Bruins throats in the 2nd, something we’ve been DYING to see this team do. And of all the teams to do it to, the impact of this win, though tempered by the loss of Markstrom, should be looked back on as the game that changed everything should this team manage to get to the playoffs.
Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - Saturday night’s match will be remembered as one of the brightest regular season moments of a very special 50th anniversary campaign. In recent seasons, Vancouver has lacked a fun, vibrant atmosphere of this magnitude. The crowd was as lively as it has been in years; Rogers Arena was abuzz. The Canucks decimated their arch nemesis with each team member elevating their performance to match the occasion. This was an important moment.
Doubt had begun to creep into the minds of Canucks nation over the past few weeks. This game against the Bruins was a massive jolt of electricity to remind us of this team’s capabilities. It was a palette refresher after one of the season’s most lethargic performances in Boston nearly three weeks prior.
5. 4 games in just under a week. Let’s get some predictions on how the Canucks will do against Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Columbus.
Rob - The Canucks and Demko will roll through Quebec and Ontario undefeated but then Louis Domingue will stub his toe in Ohio in his debut. 3-1-0 for 6 points.
westy99 - 2-2 would be a great result...especially if one of the wins was in Toronto.
jimmi - All aboard the Gravy Train! Hopefully not watered down with a 1-2-1 mixture. Be great to win in the CoTU. But, they might deploy their zamboni goalie again and steal the clickbait headlines even if we win 8-2. Besides, I’ve made a vow to not speculate beyond the sanctity of the SPW. And since I take my vows as seriously as the Nucks take team D, predict a 500 trip - faeries permitting.
Beggsy - The Columbus one will be tough as the fourth game in six nights, but I think the Canucks get a win against Ottawa, and one win against either Montreal or Toronto. Don’t listen to my magic 8-ball advice though, go bombard the de-facto, unofficial Nucks Misconduct betting expert Nick Bondi for real advice.
Kent- I think I hate the schedule maker more than I do Bettman. This has been a brutal schedule for this team, and that’s saying something. But, the games still have to be played, so here goes. I think they bump the slump against the Habs. I think they lose in OT to Ottawa, and then go in and pull another HNIC stomping (and if you think the Leafs fans were angry last Satuday, just wait...), followed up by a good old-fashioned 4th game in 6 nights ass kicking in Columbus.
Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - If nothing else, a victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs would be ideal. Matches against the Leafs are often a showcase for Western Conference players, and the Canucks’ current roster features multiple players worthy of publicity. The Leafs remain under intense scrutiny after the historic events of last Saturday. The hockey world will undoubtedly be watching the team’s Saturday night follow-up; this would be a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to draw league-wide attention to their skill and speed.
Four games in six nights on the other side of the continent is not an easy challenge to overcome. A 3-1-0 record under such disadvantageous scheduling circumstances would be an outstanding result.