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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: The Ba-Humbug Edition

We discuss everything from whips to Irish Coffees.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks
Dec 10, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Ilya Mikheyev (65) collides with Minnesota Wild defenseman Calen Addison (2) in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for another edition of the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. 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.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks
Nov 27, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) and right wing Timo Meier (28) and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) react after a goal by San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture (not shown) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Canucks currently have a .482 winning percentage (12-13-3), good for 22nd overall in the NHL. Have they been better or worse than you predicted? (No Switzerland-style answers, please).

Beggsy - They’ve been worse than I expected. Coming into the season, I was honestly more worried about the offence than the defence. They actually allowed just the eight-fewest goals last season but they finished 18th in goals scored.

Well, this team can score, but the safety blanket of Thatcher Demko is lost somewhere in the Spring of 2022.

Mark my words, I really thought this team would be 18th overall at this juncture...

Westy - In my preview of the year, I thought this team would be on the outside looking in, so I guess I am right so far. They feel worse than I thought they would be just because of that monstrous losing streak to begin and some bad losses along the way. Some people want to look at point production and say players are having a good year, but all those goals against while they are on the ice would say otherwise.

jimmi - It’s that time of the year when I agree with Westy. Not saying it’s the most melancholy time of the year - that’s for February. Not only do the “Unfinished Business” Nucks have so much more finishing to do - I’m still waiting for them to get started playing. Playing the team game - not gaming the individual stat column.

Markus - Worse I would say. I expected a flawed but reasonably effective bubble team; what we’ve got is a flawed and overall ineffective team that. While they may fluke their way into the playoffs, they’re not a playoff team on merit. Perhaps the results aren’t that far off, but their play has been way less cohesive than I anticipated.

Kent- This is actually a tougher one to answer, because the Canucks are hands down the most complicated team in the NHL. Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Flames, they sit one game below .500 and they’ve done that in spite of a near historic season opening losing streak. They also have gotten there on the back of Spencer Martin, who has the lion’s share of those wins, thanks to a brutal start from Thatcher Demko, followed by an injury, forcing the backup into the number one role til the Canucks star goaltender can return. They’ve won games they had no business winning, and lost games in ways that, to their credit, found a whole new level of soul-crushing disappointment. And yet in all this, Bo Horvat is scoring by the bucketful, Elias Pettersson is establishing himself as a legit superstar, and the gamble to sign Andrei Kuzmenko has paid off in ways even the Canucks have to be surprised at. Naturally, it’s balanced out by Quinn Hughes not being able to score a goal, like ever, as well as the frustrating enigma that is J.T. Miller. The short answer is they’re what I thought it would be, but it’s so bloody complicated.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks
Dec 10, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) looks on during a stop in play against the Minnesota Wild in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

2. Rick Dhaliwal recently reported that the Canucks have gone “as far as they can go” in negotiations with Bo Horvat. Do you think they will find a way to re-sign him, or is he as good as gone?

Beggsy - Well, we all predicted the conclusion to the Miller saga correctly...what could go wrong this time?

My gut tells me that the Canucks end up clearing cap space to sign Horvat. However, my confidence in that prediction is dwindling.

Frank Seravalli recently reported that the Canucks offered Horvat the Ryan Nugen-Hopkins deal during the offseason (8 years, $5.125 million/season). If that’s true, you could see why Bo’s camp hasn’t been thrilled in their negotiations with the Canucks. With the season he’s had now, he’s priced himself out of Vancouver if his number one priority is getting paid.

But man, with JT Miller no longer trusted to play centre, this team is in a hell of a hole if they trade Horvat without replacing him.

BUT, by trading him now, they’d be aiding their quest for Connor Bedard....

Westy - Re-signing Bo Horvat at $8 million a year is..........wrong. 20 goals in 28 games and a 21.5% shooting percentage screams “Trade him now!!” Bo Horvat is not Cam Neely....get one first rounder....or a top 4 defenseman and call it a day. People are asking for 1st born children and the golden goose on Twitter. Stupid. If Horvat won’t take $8 million/yr....which is too much 2 years from now....ship him out..clear the cap space and really rebuild this team.

jimmi - Really rebuild this team? LOL! Westy is yanking our corks again. Hillarious! To really rebuild this team, it must start at the top. And no one is trading Franny.

Instead, we have another decade of re-tooling to enjoy. Bo is going to be traded, unless JT is traded first (please! please!). Since that isn’t happening, we can only hope the poor returns offer the next Nucking management group a better opportunity to put their stamp on the organization. In 2026.

Markus - Man, I want them to trade him so bad. And ultimately, I just think it’s so far past reasonable that they don’t. But knowing this organization, I honest to God expect them to sign him to a massive deal. Maybe Rutherford and Co. know better, but what they’ve done so far is adopt the Benning Sledgehammer approach, and that’s what I’ll continue to expect until proven wrong.

Kent- The more things change, right? Bo is as good as gone, and the return is going to be underwhelming, no matter how good it is. It would be easy to lay this all at Benning’s feet, and his regime will be partially responsible for issues, especially when it comes to the cap for a few years yet, but the missteps that Rutherford and Allvin have made since taking the reins are extremely frustrating.

3. Who is your candidate for the most deserving whipping boy on the Canucks this season?

Beggsy - So many candidates, so little time.

I’ll go with Tyler Myers. The dude has been a turnover machine this season, and he still plays that high-event style of chaotic defending, except he doesn’t have the offensive chops to back it up.

He’s still a liability, even as a third-pair defender. Just check out his player card from The Athletic. Based on their model, he’s providing -$100,000 of value while making $6 million this season...yikes.

Courtesy: The Athletic

Westy - I like Beggsy’s fancy picture...but he spelt J.T. Miller wrong. Miller’s play sums up the Canucks year. Lots of attempts in the offensive end and then no effort to get back to help your goalie. Myers is left hanging out to dry since the forwards only like the other 80% of the rink.

jimmi - Again Westy nails the Miller right on the suds. And to be fair to Chaos Giraffe - he’s only one of two Nucking D with a still positive plus/minus at +4.

Also... we want last year’s OEL - this year’s OEL is only going to win the buyout sweepstakes. Also, Schenn is the other Nucks defender that defends.

Markus - On raw product, Riley Stillman has just been a dumpster fire. Like not even close to NHL quality. As a holistic package — including cap hit and expectations — OEL has to be up there. That contract, as anyone with half a brain cell would have predicted two years ago, is going to be anchor for years to come.

Kent- While Beggsy, Westy and jimmi are distracted by the shiny tinsel of the Chaos Giraffe and the NHL’s leader in potty mouth/60, Markus knows where it’s at. Riley Stillman’s continued presence in the lineup is as baffling as it is maddening. Every game I see him playing over Kyle Burroughs makes me want to punch a kitten.

4. Nine players who were acquired by Patrik Allvin have played games for the Canucks this season. Who has impressed you the most?

Beggsy - Hard not to go with Collin Delia, who’s unbeaten in his Canucks career! Big shout out to Rancho Cucamonga, California for having the second-best town name, ever (second only to Climax, Saskatchewan).

Westy - Kuz. That was an easy one. I doubted his skill set because he played in Russia. Does he need work on his 200-foot game...damn right. But he does have the nose to get to the net and is pretty strong on the puck.

jimmi - Kuz I agree with Westy. Again. He was brilliant on the top line with Petey. Because he was so effective, he’s been demoted and Brock promoted to Pete’s line. Brock - the poster boy for strong 2-way play. Ummm... .5 play. Bess is the worst defensive forward on the team (-14). Makes Kuz (+2) look like Mark Stone in comparison.

Markus - Yeah I mean, Kuzmenko is an easy pick here. He’s easily hit the high end of expectations. But hey, I’ll give a shoutout to Nils Aman who’s been solid out of nowhere. Good find.

Kent- While the fourth liners deserve a stick-tap (Aman, Dakota Joshua and Curtis Lazar have done a fantastic job this year so far), and Ilya Mikhayev deserves some recognition, it’s gotta be Kuzmenko. An absolute threat on an already effective power play, he makes everyone he plays with better, and if the Canucks are going to lose Bo Horvat, locking Kuzmenko down will soften that blow.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs
Nov 11, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Luongo drops the ceremonial puck during the pregame Hall of Fame Game ceremonies between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

5. Your stance on jersey retirements. Are the Canucks too generous in terms of retiring jerseys? Are they not generous enough...which is basically code for “Luongo’s jersey should be retired.”

Beggsy - The Canucks are too generous in terms of retiring jerseys...but so are most teams around the NHL. I don’t love the idea of having 6 retired jerseys when your franchise has never won a championship, but these decisions are more about appeasing fans rather than strict rules about who’s deserving and who’s not.

Both the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken retired a jersey number in honour of their fans, which tells you enough about how seriously teams take this.

Westy - No Stanley Cups. No period where a player led this team multiple long term runs in the playoffs. If you made the NHL Hall of Fame and played your whole career in Van, I can see it. That means for me...only the Sedins.

jimmi - The only jersey the Nucks need to retire is the Armani one Franny wears. While he’s wearing it, of course.

Markus - These guys are stingy. I think the only one I have beef with is Smyl, and even then I get it relative to era. I wrote about this a couple weeks ago — I’ll always go to bat for Markus Naslund. Maybe it’s the name, but come on, he was the leading scorer and a league-wide superstar for a time. It was totally reasonable to retire his jersey, and to say otherwise is pure, unadulterated revisionist history. #16, 10, 22, 33 — all no question, slam dunk picks. I think they’re doing just fine.

Kent- You damn kids and not recognizing the past. I have no issue with any of the numbers currently hanging from the rafters, Cup or no Cup. Not retiring Luongo’s number? Embarrassing, and for this franchise that’s a high bar to clear. Not just this franchise’s greatest goaltender, but 1A to Pavel Bure’s greatest Canuck of all time.

6. Finally...thoughts on eggnog?

Beggsy - Eggnog gets way too much hate and I am NOT here for it. Now, time to pour a rum and with Kraken rum. Maybe I should just cheer for the Kraken as well.

Westy - The right type of rum has to be added to the eggnog. All rums are not created equal. Spiced rum or a decent dark rum is a way to cut some of the egginess out. I recommend El Dorado 12 from Guyana or Zacapa from Guatemala. If you can find it...Ron Centenario 20 from Costa Rica is pretty good as well. Of course, you could skip the eggnog.

jimmi - Again it’s Mr. Right. Thanks, Westy, for all you drink. And the little bottles you don’t.

All the RUM! None of the Nog!
jimmi cynic

Markus - Listen, this is a painful question for me to answer. I adore all things Christmas. I look forward to it all year. I love a good Eggnog latte. Eggnog as a standalone beverage? Don’t care for it. I am deeply sorry.

Kent- While I wouldn’t turn down an egg nog n rum, I definitely don’t actively pursue it. It may be over a decade since I’ve had one, honestly. I’m definitely more of an Irish Coffee person in terms of a holiday-themed drink.