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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Still Hangin’ Around Edition

This week we look at the Canucks and their rude insistence on not letting their playoff aspirations die.

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

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: FEB 24 Flames at Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

1- Cheeky bastards take down two of the NHL’s best in the past month. How does the win Thursday night over the Flames rank in terms of the games they’ve won this season?

Westy - Beating the Flames is always nice. The Flames were the perfect guests, giving the Canucks plenty of power plays to score on. It’s even better to see the Nucks execute and keep pushing after getting a big lead. Great win.

Kent- I think that might have been their most complete game of the season. Still not perfect, and I don’t think this team in its current iteration is capable of such things, but they dominated the Flames in a way I don’t think anyone saw coming. The part I enjoyed the most was that while Thatcher Demko had an incredible game, it was in addition to how well the Canucks played, and his night was made easier by the team’s defensive play.

jimmi - Definite Top 5 3 1 game. A game I will be re-watching each time the Nucks play against the eastern cabal league. Why settle for less?

The highlight of the 5 goal 2nd period outburst was the Nucking PP. It was peak Nucking power - unlikely to witness 3 power play goals in a single game again this season, never mind in just one period.

Beggsy - Thursday night was just a fun time to be a Canucks fan...something that we don’t get to say too often. I liked the Canucks chances of winning on Sunday a bit better — since they were basically facing their doppelganger in the Rangers minus Igor Shesterkin — but at least they came through with the victory.

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

2- The Canucks sit three points back of the final wild card slot in the West, currently held by the Dallas Stars, who have two games in hand. Can they catch them before the deadline?

Westy - Realistically....Kent....the Nucks are 7+ points out. The assumption that teams ahead of us will wrong. Don’t ban me. The Canucks don’t play a division team until Mar 19th. They will have 11 games and need to win 7 of those games to be around that last playoff spot. Sounds like a tough job.

Kent- Anytime you have to rely on others to help you in this situation, it’s already a lost cause. They may be able to catch the Stars or Oilers, but holding it for the remaining two months of the season? I just can’t see it happening, there’s just too much that has to go right for them, and too many good teams between them and a playoff spot.

jimmi - Again, instead of speculating about catching other teams, I will re-watch Thursday’s game. When Bruce announces the Nucks have won 21 of the remaining 30 games, only then will I look at the math. And stare in wonder.

Beggsy - If you believe the Canucks can still make the playoffs, I’ll go as far as saying that they have to be in a playoff spot by the trade deadline. The schedule up until then isn’t incredibly daunting, but here are their next 7 games after the deadline:

  • March 23rd @ Colorado
  • March 24th @ Minnesota
  • March 26th @ Dallas
  • March 28th @ St. Louis
  • March 30th vs. St. Louis
  • April 3rd vs. Vegas
  • April 6th @ Vegas
New York Rangers v Vancouver Canucks

3- The next month is an insanely tough one, with two 4 game road trips against tough opponents, and some home games against some of the NHL’s best. Adding in the first two games of the road trip that starts Sunday against the Rangers, how do the Canucks fare in this set of sixteen games?

Westy - I think 8 wins is hopeful. The Canucks haven’t faired that great against Eastern teams this year. (9-11-1) They need to be above .500 in those meetings.

Kent- It’s a brutal schedule, and I think they could do eight, but that’s not nearly enough unless all the losses are in OT. That four game Central division swing at the end of the month is particularly daunting. Colorado and Minnesota on a back to back? I suppose the only good thing about that is the first game is in Denver, where fatigue won’t be added on top of the altitude issues. If they can get three of the four on the Eastern swing, there’s a shot, but damn, they have some heavy hitters to take down in March.

jimmi - Good to hear Westy being so hopeful. 8 wins will be a great way to win the 21 games required by Bruce to win the week, the month, the year. Otherwise, it’s just another eastern province slog to nowhere.

Beggsy - I don’t think the next 10 games (starting on Monday against the Devils) are too bad. Only four of those games are against playoff teams, with three of those contest coming on home ice.

You can see above that the end of March is when the Canucks are really going to be facing a tough test.

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

4- The price for guys like JT Miller continues to go higher and higher, and the way things are going, the Canucks may not need to trade him. It is obvious deals will come, but given where the Canucks sit now, who do you think they should move, and for whom, if you wish?

Westy - Does Miller have to be But Boeser does if Miller doesn’t get traded. Of course you can wait until the offseason to trade Boeser’s rights if you want to see how this team does down the stretch.

Miller will never fetch more than he could right now and that’s really annoying.

Kent - Miller is obviously the prized possession here, but I feel we’re in the final days of Boeser’s run with the Canucks, whether he gets moved or not. I would imagine there will be calls about Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko, and Luke Schenn. The Canucks would be nuts to trade either of these three, honestly. I suppose we could hold out hope that Tyler Myers or OEL will get calls, but who’d take on those salaries even if they did waive their NTC’s? I think Tanner Pearson could be a good depth piece for a team looking to go on a run, and (God, people are gonna get mad about this one), I think Nils Hoglander could be a valuable piece to bring in high draft picks and/or prospects.

jimmi - Westy and Kent are tough negotiators. The only player the new Hockey Ops department have to make a decision on soon is Motte. Everyone else can wait until summer. Or beyond. Breaking up the Motto Line in mid-march, during a tough, meaningless/meaningful slog doesn’t make any sense to me.

While Hoagie hasn’t been great this season, he still has good potential. While it might relieve worries about bias, the league’s first Swedish GM trading a young Swedish prospect could have unintended consequences. Hoagie and Pete are besties. Does Allvin want to be known as the GM who put Pete into his 2nd slump of the season?

Beggsy - The more games the Canucks win, the more you feel like perhaps nothing will get done until the offseason.

I want to believe that this management group won’t be swayed by any sort of hot streak the Canucks might go on over the next few weeks. That being said, you can see why it would be hard to gut this team of a top-six piece (or in the case of Miller, the team’s most valuable forward) while the Canucks are in the middle of a playoff push.

What the Canucks really need to do is to carve out cap space for the offseason. While trading Miller or Boeser would help accomplish that, I have a hard time seeing them move if the team keeps winning.

What would be nice is to get out of a salary like Pearson’s or Myers. Both are clearly overpaid but there should be some value there since they’ve both had relatively good seasons to date.

Colorado Avalanche v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

5- Finally, who looked worse this week: The NHL for accepting Nathan MacKinnon’s ridiculous excuse for slashing an official, or David Booth and his plea to help the unfortunate plight of Tyler Bertuzzi?

Westy - Kid punches a ref in the USPHL and is expelled for life. I guess the NHL isn’t the USPHL. What a shock.

Kent- I realize the bar is set pretty low for this league, but holy shit, man! I tend to believe that the MacKinnon thing is worse, because it sets up a situation where it can be used as a future defence in a similar incident. It reeks of them being unwilling to suspend a guy because he’s one of ‘the faces’ of this league. As far as Booth goes, while this wasn’t a surprise apart from discovering he was still playing professional hockey, the whole thought process he apparently put into it was truly bizarre. From using an article put out by a low=rent version of The Onion, to the fact that what the article said had nothing to do with Bertuzzi at all apart from the fact he’s barred from entering Canada for being unvaccinated, and it mentions the Prime Minister, it shows the brain worms aren’t done feeding just yet.

jimmi - The Mackinnon incident has the worst look. The automatic 10 game suspension for attacking a ref was not automatically applied. A very bad precedent.

This could mean NM game threads can assault on-ice officials with burning quips and stinging words with total impunity.

Again, to settle this controversy, I will re-watch last Thursday’s game where several Flamucks were ejected from the game for merely yapping at the refs from the bench. That game really did have it all.

Beggsy - David Booth spewing off like an idiot is nothing new. I was shocked that Mackinnon didn’t face more punishment for slashing a ref.

Only if he was a Canuck would he have truly received justice for the incident.