It’s time for another edition of the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. Each week we get our writers together and ask them a number of questions about the state of this team we’ve been cursed to follow. Sometimes they play it straight, sometimes it’s Westy and Jimmi, but you’ll always get the unvarnished opinions on the Canucks here. This week we’re going to discuss the Canucks performance at home over the past seven games, as well as some other issues around the NHL.
1- This has to be the week the Canucks fire Jim Benning and/or Travis Green, right? Right???
Westy - Yes....if Francesco was to use logic. But we may also have to resign ourselves to the fact that GMJB and Green may be allowed to fuck away this whole season before they get fired. Francesco hates paying severance. I can actually see both sides of the argument of “Fire now/fire later”. I just hate to see this season wasted.
Strang - I’d love to see the Canucks get rid of Benning and/or Green this week but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. I think that by pinning the struggles on Pettersson and the newcomers needing time to gel may get Benning and Green a little bit of extra time. While I would really like to see changes made, I’m just not sure that they’re going to make the move this early into the season.
jimmi - Right? Wrong! No one is getting fired over a mere losing pattern of historic proportions. Firing the coach/GM before TG day... which weirdly enough has the same initials as Travis, sets a bad precedent for Franny - for the NHL. And their penny-pinching accountants.
If on Wednesday the ROG is half-filled with half-hordes shouting off with their head coach, or head scout (part-time GM) then maybe Franny will be forced to do something drastic - like make the old skate jersey the new skate jersey - didn’t happen - doesn’t matter.
Rob - The team needed to make a coaching change before Canadian Thanksgiving. American Thanksgiving is way too late for it to have any chance of saving this season. And yes, I do know that CTG happened two days before the start of the Canucks’ regular season schedule.
I like Travis Green, the public persona, a lot. But, while I am in no way a hockey systems expert, I have yet to figure out after five years of watching his club play, what mode of plan he schools his flock to follow. All I know is that it leads to too many outmanned scoring chances for opposition players and leaves the bad guys free and uncovered far too many times a game. As Green has said, the NHL is a ‘performance’ league not a ‘try’ league. It’s time that Travis tries his hand again in a lesser league. If Travis is still the head coach on Wednesday, it is only because Frank is distracted by his NFL pool obligations.
Beggsy - Lol...I remember when we wrote about Jim Benning replacements back in February. Seems like a yearly routine where we expect change to happen before that inevitable wave of disappointment washes over us once again.
Kent- There're rumblings that the Aqualini family will give this a few games to see if Jim, who’s had over seven seasons to fix a team that was about to start a decline, can turn this around. And why not? I mean, it’s not like he’s responsible for this mess. I honestly will not believe it’s going to happen until it actually does.
2- Since it’s obvious they need to blow it up and start over, put your GM cap on and give me three moves they should make to get that ball rolling.
Westy - Do you mean....another rebuild?...or are we still rebuilding? The main issue with this team is defense. Changing the coach and bringing in fresh eyes could only improve the defense here. Two, one of the big names would have to be traded for a defensive talent. My money would be on Boeser, due to his upcoming contract. Three, I give serious consideration to trading Pettersson. His wrist is not right and his skating has been atrocious. The chance to bring in another 1st liner or multiple draft picks might be the way to go.
Strang - The tough part about this question is that Benning has handicapped the team so badly in terms of salary cap space and trade pieces that whoever takes over is going to need to be very creative. I think that switching the coach is the easiest change that can be made that would have a chance at having a serious impact on the on-ice results. Next, I would start looking for ways to pickup any type of draft picks. Would look to deal Pearson as well as Hamonic if anyone would take their contracts. Finally, I would give Pettersson an “A” and make it clear to him that he’s the future of this team in an attempt to reassure him that I’m going to move this ship in the right direction.
jimmi - Are we getting all the perks that come with job? Before I blab the secret to turn this team around (which I already did), need to be assured the NM Golden Parachute can hold up to the scrutiny of a single game thread.
Fine. With those legal maneuvers in the dark out of the way- here’s the secret to turning this team around: Make it a team! With all the new hires that team spirit thing has died. Not that the team had much spirit last season - but this season it’s a random collection of millionaires and soon-to-be millionaire pro hockey players trying to fit in with other random millionaires.
Just give me a couple seasons with the current roster and blam! Your Vancouver Canucks are a mid-pack team.
Or... if you’re in a hurry... then some personal changes are in order. Trade Pearson and throw in Pete to sweeten the deal. Trade Bo and throw in the towel to sweeten the deal.
Nucks have already made too many roster changes and the only solution we have is make more roster changes?
Gotta run with what ya brung. There’s talent in this roster. Just need to make it a team with talent that’s hungry, that trust each other, that play for each other - no matter what - which includes not taking stupid penalties when the game is on the line.
Yes, I that’s a whole lot of intangibles - which I charge more for. So get out your big fat cheque book, Franny.
Rob - I think firing one ‘Jimmy’ only to replace him with another ‘Jimmi’ is a really bad idea. You’d be better off giving Mike Milbury one last NHL shot at GM’ing.
I think...and perhaps I am delusional...that the on-ice performance is still well below the paper talent on this roster. So that tells me that coaching is the main issue right now.
TG (not the holiday) needs to walk the plank first. Then, if my name is still ‘Jimmy B’, I appoint Brad Shaw as the interim Head Coach for the rest of the season. Then I resign or ask Frank to fire me...please...and appoint Chris Gear as interim GM. There should be no significant roster moves made until a new (President and/or) GM is identified, hired and in place. Frank then needs to get on his horse and find his Pat Quinn and give him full control to evaluate the players and put together a viable plan going forward to eventually bring a Stanley Cup to Vancouver...which unfortunately for me will be well after I am six feet under.
Beggsy - It’s a multi-year job to undo the blunders of Jimbo. This defence is an absolute disaster...and finding someone to take on the contracts of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers and Tucker Poolman is not an easy task.
Here are three vague moves to consider if the Canucks do decide to blow it up.
- Tyler Myers for a mid-round pick
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson for a mid-round pick
- JT Miller or Brock Boeser for a 1st/2nd round pick and a young top-four d-man.
I hate all of these moves, but I also hate where the Canucks are right now as an organization.
Kent- Here’s a hard truth that Canucks fans had better get into their heads pretty quickly: the core that this team is supposed to be built around is over. Time to start wrapping your heads around this team having to trade JT Miller AND Brock Boeser in order to try to salvage some kind of future, but let’s be real here: this defence is unfixable. The only movable asset out of there, that’s not a prospect, is Quinn Hughes. You cannot move Myers or OEL. They’re boned and it will take at least five years to repair the damage at the very least. And by that time, Elias Pettersson will already have signed somewhere else. And for a third move, as crazy as it seems, the Canucks will need to move out a prospect. Why not dangle someone like Danila Klimovich, who is turning heads as an 18-year-old rookie in Abbotsford? If you want to try and save this, you’ve got to make some painful moves. There is no happy ending here.
3- Not that they were going to win these games, but are you getting a sense of Auger-Vous with the way Canucks games are being officiated of late?
Westy - Let’s be honest, for every bad call the Canucks get, there are two stupid penalties and a terrible PK to go with it. Poor positioning and carelessness with their sticks have been the main issue.
Strang - While I haven’t been thrilled with some of the calls against the Canucks, bad calls happen and the Canucks will get their own share of phantom calls. It wouldn’t be as big of a deal if the Canucks could kill a penalty.
jimmi - Couple points here. Nucks getting jobbed by the refs is a league tradition. Also... the worst teams in our division are also the most penalized - in the league!
As I revealed last recap in an accidental swipe at Nucking HQ, the problem with the Nucks PK is that they practice against the Nucks PP. And are 87.5% effective against that 12.5% group of puck-luggers.
Since we can’t afford to rent the Oil 1st unit PP for Nucking PK practices, seems the best thing to do is make the Nucking PP great again. Like top 5 great. It’s possible.
With the Nucks PP running in the mid-twenties on the PP, you’ll soon see the Nucks PK running close to 90%.
Make the Nucks PP deadly and the Nucks PK will become death-resistant.
Again... it’s too obvious and too simple, but hockey is a team game... and to be a team, the team must BE a team. Zen hockey koans are so fun.
Rob - There is no doubt NHL officiating is the worst I’ve ever seen it right now and I have been watching it for well over half a century. Even with two refs per game today instead of one like it used to be, the modern game is just too fast for humans to be the judge and jury with any level of acceptable accuracy. We need robots and electronics to police the game now. In fact, why not replace the players with robots too. Human officials will forever be imperfect...just not for the Canucks...but for all thirty-two NHL clubs.
Beggsy - The Canucks have received the third-most power play opportunities per game. They’ve been penalized 10th-most per game. Officiating can suck but it’s no excuse right now.
Kent- Gary Bettman not allowing for any kind of transparency when it comes to accountability of its on ice officials is a problem that continues to tarnish the sport. It’s not just the Canucks, but a consistently terrible standard of officiating exists, where the referees simply have too much influence on the outcome of games. The worst part is the Canucks make it hard on themselves by taking too many penalties as it is, and inconsistent calls make it worse.
4- We’re one month into the season now, so let’s think back to our predictions about the season. Who’s been the biggest surprise? Any of the teams at the top due for a fall? And who’s your MVP so far?
Westy - Biggest surprise for me is the Islanders. I just thought they would be a better team, but they can’t score. And yet, I wish the Canucks had their record. Unfortunately, McDavid is the best player in the league and the Canucks have to face him too many times.
Strang - The Red Wings have been one of the most surprising teams to me as Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond seem to be much further along in their development than anyone predicted. We’ll see how sustainable it is but they have a bright future with those two players. My MVP so far would be McDavid, he’s just on an entire different level than anyone else in the league right now.
jimmi - Biggest surprise for me? Your Vancouver Canucks. Improved roster? Check. No Loui? Check. No Fedler? Check. And yet, this
roster PK is fighting to fight at the bottom of the top bottom.
Ok, fine. Biggest surprise is the F************ Ducks. We were promised at the outset that SoCal threats would only be from tech companies, not hockey teams. Their 7 game win streak is hurting NucksNation in ways that we may never heal from.
Best player? Have to disqualify McD on genetic mutation grounds - decades in the future it will be revealed he was a CIA gene-implant experiment gone terribly wrong. Especially for us.
Ovi is my pick. He’s old and gnarly. And yet he’s on target to exceed the Great One’s great goal output.
Rob - For me it’s the Arizona Coyotes. I didn’t think they’d get a win this season. But only fifteen games in and they have one. They’ve well exceeded my expectations. If they unexpectedly get a second win, we all know which team they will get it against, don’t we?
The New York Rangers are riding high right now but they are doing it with smoke-and-mirrors. They will tumble down out of the playoffs before the season is done.
Sergei Bobrovsky is carrying the mail in Florida. Spencer Knight has been a fizzle so far. Bob has recovered from oblivion and is posting the best numbers of his career...and he has two Vezinas in his pocket. If he keeps it up, he may join the small historical group of goalies to win an MVP award.
Beggsy - I thought it was just a foregone conclusion that everyone was in an utter “state of shock” over the Canucks?
Sticking with the division, both Anaheim and Seattle have surprised me. I also think both teams could be heading in opposite directions. With the game tied, Anaheim’s expected goals for percentage is 29th overall at 43.6%. The Kraken — believe it or not — are first at 60.2%.
At some point, I expect those lucky, plucky, fucky Ducks to fall down the standings, and the Kraken to climb. Of course, the Kraken need to get a save from either one of their goalies before they can even think about winning hockey games, but they’ve deserved better in the early going.
Since McDavid and Draisaitl are boring MVP picks, I gotta side with Jimmi and go with the ageless wonder, Alex Ovechkin.
Kent- I would say that Detroit and Anaheim are both big surprises. The Islanders are not a shock, thanks to that ridiculous road trip to start the season while they await the opening of their new arena. Seattle is only surprising to people who think that expansion teams are supposed to be like Vegas was and not like the Kraken are. Twenty years from now, we’ll probably find out Vegas and Bettman colluded to rig up a scenario to give them a shot at the Cup out of the gate to keep the gambling companies happy.
5- Now that the most recent crop of members was added to the Hockey Hall of Fame, we await the announcement in the upcoming months of the class of 2022. Alexander Mogilny, Rod Brind’Amour and Curtis Joseph are locks to get in, but among the first-time eligible players for next year: Roberto Luongo, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Is it possible that four former Canucks end up going to the hall in one shot?
Westy - The 18 member selection committee needs to be asked this question. If I was on the committee, I would keep Lu out of the Hall for each year he stuck the Canucks with a recapture penalty. But then the argument of, “If Joseph gets in, then Lu should.” will be used...and correct. The Sedins deserve to be in...together.
Strang - Despite their lack of a Stanley Cup, the Sedins both deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame and anyone who lived in the Vancouver market during their prime will agree. Luongo also deserves to make it, especially when you consider his play for Canada during international competitions.
jimmi - The Twins shall be in the hockey hall of fame. End of. Lu can go suck south beach oranges on his sucky contract.
Rob - The Twins should be first time locks to get in. But this is the NHL. So Mogilny and Luongo will get in as a Sabre and a Panther right away. But the NHL will torture Canucks’ fans until the Sedins get to their final chance to be considered for the honour...and then Gary MIGHT instruct the Selection Committee to let them in.
Beggsy - The twins are first ballot Hall of Famers, and Lu deserves to be in over Curtis Joseph. Alex Moginly has been snubbed for far too long (since 2009). But, the thought of the four nominees being Vancouver Canucks just seems far too good to be true.
Kent- All three, and Mogilny to boot for a most Vancouver Canucks flavoured HOF ceremony. Also, Mr. Strang is correct: Luongo’s numbers and his international play are more than enough to get him in, Cup or no Cup.