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.
1- The Canucks still have a chance, though it’s ridiculously slim. Two games on the slate this week: Vegas and Arizona. Predictions?
Westy - I predict a couple rounds of golf on my vacation and some pizza. Wasn’t last week Vegas and Arizona as well? I predict a loss in one of those.
jimmi - Predictions? No, thanks. That’s so last month. These games are MUST WINS. This is no time for idle speculation - that’s so last month. Now is the time for certainty.
Kent - Well, as the senior member of this brigade (literally and figuratively), I should really know better. Fuck it. Run the table.
Beggsy - The Canucks have taught me to keep the bar low. I’m expecting the slim playoff chances to officially die on Tuesday night, but I’m always happy to be wrong.
I did wake up feeling good this morning...so yes, I’m telling you there’s a chance...
2- The Canucks are getting some contributions from unlikely players down the stretch, who’s your unsung hero of the last half of this season?
Westy - Schenn.....Luke. Not the best defenseman out there, but he doesn’t make colossal blunders either.
jimmi - Chiasson has delivered the lowest cost GWG in a generation. From PTO to entry level contract to season saving timely goals. Sure, it’s barely been over a week, but it was the most important tenth of the last half.
Special rhythmic speaking mention to Lammy and Podz who have been much better in the last half than the Green half.
Kent- It took a little while to warm to him, but Alex Chiasson has been like a Swiss Army Knife for the Canucks this year. He’s played on every line, PP and PK, and provided a quality bottom six player season at an amazing price. I would also agree with Schenn, as he’s been astonishingly good at this stage in his career.
Beggsy - He hasn’t really been contributing on the scoresheet, but I absolutely love how Vasily Podkolzin has been playing of late. His defensive zone awareness is incredible for a rookie, and he’s a great forechecker in the offensive zone.
Like Bruce said after the game on Saturday, he’s been unlucky not to get on the scoresheet a bit more.
3- Who’s more likely to drop the ball here: Dallas, Nashville or Los Angeles?
Westy - There’s dropping the ball and then there is straight out choking. LA could drop the ball, but I don’t see any of them choking.
jimmi - Ball dropping is like waiting for the other shoe to fall - but more tense. If the ROG Nucks of last month had taken care of ROG business at home, we wouldn’t be so fixated on scoreboard scouring. But here we are and I want all the above to drop games like cheap metaphors in a game thread.
Kent- Dallas doesn’t seem to be able to lose lately. Nashville either. (Glances over at LA) Well, well, well... With Drew Doughty gone thanks to his wrist surgery, this here’s your victim should the Canucks do the thing. And what a shame that would be.
Beggsy - Honestly, I haven’t been overly impressed by Dallas, Los Angeles or Vegas of late. I think Nashville will make it for sure, and LA is the team I think is most likely to choke.
In terms of the Kings, Vegas is certainly the bigger threat to overtake them.
4- Onto non-Canucks things, what’s a bigger problem for the NHL this season, superstars not getting penalty calls, or superstars getting away with bloody murder?
Westy - Don’t both questions point to the fact that the refs are not getting better guidance from the league. The league could fix all of the issues or at least let the fans know that they approve of double-standards for stars.
jimmi - The problem is the NHL can’t ever decide on the rules of the game. And when to enforce them. And with who. So many layers in the
art craft drudgery of game management.
When the NHL season is fresh, the league pretends it’s a sport to get us hooked on the sporting and fair play angle. Then in the middle when TV ratings sag, they decide it’s entertainment and push the grudge match agenda.
Down the stretch and into the playoffs the NHL is all in for TV blood sport ratings where the rulebook is more of a guideline than betting lines.
It’s a complex dynamic for a league that must balance the needs for TV revenue and arena revenue where superstars are required to play through adversity while delivering their own to the lesser stars.
Kent- I’ve never been shocked by this league’s ability to a) consistently do the wrong thing and b) shoot itself in the foot. We already had an incident this season where a pissed off Nathan MacKinnon (and when is he not?) slashed an official, and now we have Sidney Crosby sucker punching a guy. And not just any guy, the guy he injured with a Brad Marchand-like slew foot just last season. It’s embarrassing that justice in this league is so random and inconsistent.
Beggsy - Is there an Option C for inconsistent refereeing? I’ve been blown away with how inconsistent penalty calls have been across the league this season.
I know that’s a common complaint nearly every season, but refereeing and judgment calls from the DOPS seem more random than ever before.
5- We’re all enjoying this attempt by the Canucks to salvage what had looked like a lost season by making the playoffs. Is it time for the NHL to change the playoff format and bring in a play-in round like we saw two years ago?
Westy - No. The only way I could get behind that idea is if the league reduced the regular season to 69 games. (3 games against div opps, 2 games against everyone else)
jimmi - Don’t want to blow my NHL innovations that shook the nation byline just yet, but it’s an artificial arrangement - burdened by unquestioning dogma. 32 teams enter, 16 teams leave - 16 teams enter, billionaires receive is all about... the money. And gratuitous violence.
Would make billionaires happier and fans (except in Arizona) more engaged if all 32 (and counting) teams played in the playoffs. Shorten the season to 48-55 games. And then start the unpaid player playoffs with grand play-in rounds. With all the pizazz the media monopolies can muster.
Not suggesting participation medals for all teams - but the regular season to playoffs funnel is a tradition better suited to a time when only 6 teams had a shot at the (un)Holy Grail.
In the social media era, engagement is the grail. Keeping more fans engaged for longer is how you grow engagement. Although... in my new format it wouldn’t actually be longer - just seem like it - and that’s the point. Stop playing winter sports in early summer FFS!
Kent- As I often do with my musical taste, I am going to guide you back to the 80’s and the days of the 21 team NHL. Back then, along with dinosaurs roaming the earth, 16 teams made the NHL. They’ve added 11 teams, and not made a single adjustment apart from the whole wild card concept. This has to change, because the playoffs are now as mythical to a lot of teams as they are in baseball (which has the dumbest playoff format). I know I have been vocal about the Canucks making the playoffs in the COVID Bubble play-in as doing more harm than good, but that was team specific, and GM specific to be more precise. Reward the Division winners with a bye, have a Best of 5 play in round and knock a couple games off the regular season. Imagine a stretch drive with an extra four spots in play? You get less tanking, more teams giving a shit and not going into shut down mode, and more fan bases invested in the thing the NHL does better than everyone else even with their flawed system: the playoffs.
Beggsy - I don’t really have a strong take on this.
I think the NHL would be wise to do a play-in round because it would generate more revenue, but there’s a traditionalist buried deep down inside of me that knows a play-in series goes further to reward mediocrity.
Obviously if there was a play-in this year, it would benefit the Canucks. That being said, if they truly deserved to be a playoff team, they’d finish in the top-eight.
What should the NHL do with its playoff system?
This poll is closed
Keep the status quo. If it ain’t broken...
Best of 5 Play in round, baby!
First round bye for Division winners and full first round to get more teams involved.
Eliminate the Wild Card and go by the old standard: 1v8, 2v7 etc.