Remember when we were hopelessly and optimistically dreaming about the playoffs?
After beating the division-leading Maple Leafs twice following their COVID-19 outbreak, reality has come back to kick the Canucks in the teeth. Losing three of four games to the Ottawa Senators has all but ended those playoff dreams.
Fatigue was an issue, as the Canucks let the game slip before the midway mark in a crushing 6-3 loss to the lowly Senators.
Victor Mete scored 2:04 into the hockey game, but it was back-to-back goals by Chris Tierney and Josh Norris 32 seconds apart in the opening minutes of second period which sank the Canucks.
Tyler Myers, Jake Virtanen and Brandon Sutter scored goals for the Canucks in the loss.
There weren’t many positive takeaways from this game, which is why Jimmi’s cunning wit is missed in this recap. However a little bird told me that he’s unearthed Westy’s hidden rum stash, and he won’t be re-emerging until the rum is truly gone.
But hey, if you want positive, you can hear Kyle and I “attempt” to sing some Nelly Furtado as part of the postgame episode of Sippin’ on a 40.
With that being said, here are some takeaways after the Senators sink the Canucks playoff hopes.
“Just because you’re tired, doesn’t mean you can’t win”
This was a quote that Travis Green repeated multiple times in the post-game presser.
While it’s partially true, it does makes it a lot tougher, doesn’t it?
This is especially true with the Canucks top players. Neither J.T. Miller nor Quinn Hughes had a good game. Both players made bad turnovers, and both were losing guys and being outskated by a lunchbucket Senators team.
When you’re Travis Green and you’re “trying to win” by playing your top dogs until the bitter end, you can’t expect them to continue playing at their best.
And this is the crux of the problem for the Canucks. Most of their players just finished enduring a respiratory illness. Hell, according to Demko, they’re still enduring it.
Now, they’re playing a crazy condensed schedule. This is a team with no depth, relying on their top players to drag them into the fight.
When they can no longer do that, it’s going to be pretty damn hard to win.
Stop sheltering Olli
Despite recording his first NHL assist on the Myers goal, this was another game where Olli Juolevi was heavily sheltered.
While four of the six Canucks d-men played over 20 minutes, Juolevi played 11:33 overall.
With playoff hopes all but dashed, this team needs to see what Juolevi can do in an increased role. Can he play against top offensive players? Can he kill penalties?
The Canucks are in a position where they probably shouldn’t pay Alex Edler much more than $1 to $2 million to return to this team. Juolevi would be a logical replacement. However, how can we expect Juolevi to take on Edler’s role if he isn’t going to kill penalties?
He’s been fine in sheltered minutes, but it’s time for a bigger opportunity.
Speaking of Juolevi...
Here’s one weird stat for you.
Juolevi and Jayce Hawryluk were the only two players in this game to have 100% of their ice time occur at even strength.
Every other skater in this game registered at least some ice time on special teams.
Hawryluk has probably been my favourite among the barrage of replaceable depth players, but this was not a good night for him. He was on the ice for three goals against while mostly playing on an uninspiring line with Brandon Sutter and Zack MacEwen.
Speaking of tired players...
Aside from the Canucks travel, schedule and COVID-induced fatigue, want to know the other reason why they look so tired against the Sens?
Ottawa’s head coach DJ Smith actually spread his ice time out evenly among his forwards.
What a concept.
Look, I know Green is playing with a rag-tag roster, but the Canucks top players are already showing signs of fatigue.
MacEwen and Virtanen played under 10 minutes in this game, with Hawryluk barely crossing the 10-minute mark. Ottawa, on the other hand, had Shane Pinto register the lowest ice time among forwards at 11:53. The Sens also had 10 of their 12 forwards play above 13 minutes.
What’s your feel-good jam?
It wasn’t all happy days during our post-game recording of Sippin’ on a 40.
We slipped in a “Thank You Jim” for the growing Sea of Granlunds, and reminisced on how Year Eight of the Benning tenure could be yet another rocky, depressing and frustrating year.
I also had to call Kyle out for this tweet...
The Burrows goal means very little to me— Kyle (@kylebhawan) April 26, 2021
In times like these though, you have to have a little levity.
What brings you levity more than a favourite song?
Here’s a couple that came up on Sippin’, both with some strong BC connections.
So, what’s your go-to song after the Canucks playoff hopes for 2021 were disintegrated? Let us know....or just drop everything, throw on that song, and have yourself a damn good moment.