VANCOUVER CANUCKS (0-3-1) vs MINNESOTA WILD (0-3-0)
XCEL ENERGY CENTER, ST. PAUL, MN
TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: HOCKEY WILDERNESS
I cannot imagine a worse start to a season than the one the Vancouver Canucks are subjecting us to right now. Actually, that’s not true. I can imagine it, but I dare not breathe a word of this scenario, for fear of it coming true. There are so many things going wrong with this team right now, it’s difficult to pinpoint any one thing that could possibly reverse their fortunes. And we have to brace ourselves for the very real possibility that they may leave the month of October winless.
From reports about a splintered dressing room to the healthy scratch of Conor Garland, this team, save for Elias Pettersson and Kyle Burroughs (who has been their best defenceman by a long shot in the first four games this season), it’s a clusterfuck of epic proportions, and the fear is that they’re going to have to resort to something drastic to try and stop the bleeding. That could be anything from firing Bruce Boudreau, to making a major trade in order to shake things up. The dressing room cliques story is worrisome, because it’s hard to see how they can resolve this without the time to get things right. Chemistry is such a huge part of the equation, and while it’s not the be all, end all, it’s big. Sure, the 94 Canucks had the Kirk McLean/Jeff Brown saga, and managed to overcome that to come within a goal of winning it all, but this appears to be more than an issue between two players. This is where the leadership in that room needs to heal whatever wounds are keeping this team from bonding. It’s not something they can work around.
So, much like Tuesday’s game, the Canucks find themselves facing an opponent as desperate for their first win of the season. Not gonna lie, it is shocking to see the Minnesota Wild sitting second to last in the NHL, even at this early stage. This should be a team that is continuing to battle for the Central Division, and they don’t even have a road trip to blame their start on, as this will be their fourth consecutive home game tonight.
Defensively, apart from Burroughs, the Canucks have been an absolute mess. The back end is doing nothing to help generate offence, and getting buried in their own zone. Add in that the Canucks are trying to dump far too much of the workload on Quinn Hughes, and this is an unsustainable issue that will continue to lead to lost games. And the ripple effect of leaving their goaltenders at the mercy of opposing shooters isn’t helping matters by any stretch.
Canucks projected lineup
Conor Garland — J.T. Miller — Ilya Mikheyev
Vasily Podkolzin — Elias Pettersson — Andrei Kuzmenko
Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua — Nils Aman — Curtis Lazar
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myers
Riley Stillman — Kyle Burroughs
Scratched: Jack Rathbone, Nils Hoglander
Injured: Travis Dermott (concussion), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)
Wild projected lineup
Kirill Kaprizov — Ryan Hartman — Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Frederick Gaudreau — Marco Rossi — Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime — Sam Steel — Tyson Jost
Jacob Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski — Calen Addison
Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Connor Dewar
Injured: Jon Merrill (upper body)
While it’s not likely to invoke as much discussion, Nils Hoglander being the healthy scratch this time is still a little frustrating given the obvious chemistry he showed with Elias Pettersson and Vasily Podkolzin in the last game. Still, what are they gonna do, bench J. T. Miller?
The other thing of note is that no matter how bad the defence plays, and how little they contribute, it’s still not enough to get Riley Stillman out and Jack Rathbone in. That sucks for Rathbone, who’s still looking to show he can compete at this level. I understand the decision though. Why would you want Abbotsford’s best offensive defenceman bringing his tool kit to a team struggling for a win, right?
Further to what I was getting at on my @Sportsnet650— Cam Charron (@camcharronyvr) October 19, 2022
Quinn Hughes: 16 entries/60, 57% of entries with control
Rest of Canucks D: 12 entries/60, 14% with control
Hughes has accounted for two thirds of the controlled entries by their D group through four games.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"I know what he brings to the table. Lot of speed. Good finish. It'll be a fun line to play on."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 20, 2022
Conor Garland on lining up with Ilya Mikheyev at morning skate in Minnesota@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/VLZAcHIuW9
"I'm going to have a lot of people here supporting me. It's always nice. But I don't think it changes anything. I'm really focused on helping our team get a win."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 20, 2022
Brock Boeser on playing in his home state@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/nlm209HovX
in his career, #Canucks Boeser has 1+4=5 in 10 games vs MIN. Scored in his #NHL debut at Xcel. Team's only visit of season to Minny tonight. Would be an incredible story to see BB get one tonight #doitforDuke— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) October 20, 2022
"I expect a real battle. If we bring our A-game, it will be a real good game."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 20, 2022
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau on facing the Minnesota Wild@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/MI3HGwzeuL
GM Patrik Allvin announced today that F Phillip Di Giuseppe has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to Abbotsford (AHL).— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 19, 2022
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Sometimes you just gotta blast something. Try this. ENTOMBED rippin’ up a VENOM classic.
Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go.