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Last Week on The Quickie: Yamamighty & Sorry, Sam Bennett

Friendly reminder that the debate isn’t Virtanen vs. Nylander/Ehlers, but Virtanen vs. Bennett. NUCKS WIN! Right Jimmi?

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames
Jake Virtanen was enjoying a career-best season in 2019-20. Sam Bennett, on the other hand...
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I truly believe it’s healthy for hockey fans to broaden their horizon.

I would suspect many of you were forced to do so anyways between 2016-18 if you were a fan of these Vancouver Canucks. It only took one full sitting of hockey night in Canada during 2016 to see how entertaining the Toronto Maple Leafs were, and how boring the Canucks could be.

With that in mind, I’ve been touring around the Pacific Division early on in my plans to look at all 31 NHL teams on The Quickie during this NHL hiatus.

The plan? Highlight the most surprising player and biggest disappointment on each team, while giving each NHL city one compliment and one chirp.

Apologies to Edmonton but damn, some people have a lot of negative things to say about the city...

Sorry, Sam Bennett

He might be able to grow a better moustache than Jake Virtanen, but that might be the only area where the 18-year, errr, 23-year-old has a leg up on his fellow 2014 draftee.

After registering 36 points as a 19-year-old rookie, Bennett failed to his the 30-point mark in each of his next four seasons. He wasn’t even on pace to his 20 points this season, with 12 points in 52 games.

I chose Cam Talbot as my most surprising player on the Flames. Even during his 3-7 run at the beginning of the season, he still had a .915 save percentage. He now sits at .919 on the season, putting him firmly above the league average for the first time since his 2016-17 campaign with the Oilers.

Speaking of those Oilers...

Sorry, City of Edmonton

Believe it or not, I actually gave the city a compliment on this episode. I’ve had many trips out there to visit family and although it’s not my favourite place, I feel bad for all the vitriol it gets.

We’re spoiled out here in the Greater Vancouver area, what can I say?

Speaking of being spoiled, the Oilers have been treated to some watchable hockey this season, and it’s not all the McDavid/Draisaitl show (well, 80% of it is that).

Their biggest surprise has been Kailer Yamamoto, who has immediately helped solidify the second (first?) line in Edmonton alongside Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

One reason why Yamamoto has found success this season isn’t just his linemates, but his willingness to get to the greasy areas to score and make players. I’ve noticed this a number of times while watching him this season, and the clip below is just one example.

Kudos to the Players

Count me among the mildly surprised that the Players Association, not the money-hungry owners, were the first ones to come up with a legitimate-sounding proposal (at least in context).

I do think this proposal has legs. It gives ample time for people to stop the spread of the virus (and let’s be real this is all in our hands), with the August-September end to the season.

We all want to see the Stanley Cup awarded, as long as it’s safe to do so. It would be easy enough to cancel the season if there’s no hockey by mid-July, but this proposal kibosh’s that notion.

Boughner’s Mojo

Did you realize that before the hiatus, the Los Angeles Kings surpassed the San Jose Sharks in the standings?

There hasn’t been many, if any, positives in San Jose this season. However, that hasn’t stopped head coach Bob Boughner from staying positive.

Kudos to you, Bob.

Not many positive surprises, but I focused on the Sharks’ goalies in this episode...even for their most pleasant surprise.

Monday Morning Quickie: This one time in Vegas...

The Canucks would have played the Golden Knights today in an alternate universe. I dubbed it on a previous episode of The Quickie as one of the biggest Canucks games remaining on the schedule.

Alas, I’m left to break the code and tell you a little Vegas story. I also tell you why I have Max Pacioretty as the most pleasant surprise, and Cody Glass as the biggest disappointment for Vegas so far this season.