Jim Benning, Vancouver’s new GM who has promised “change is coming,” was on TSN 1040 radio Tuesday. On his goals for the season that’s now one game old, he said, “It’s going to be about winning but also about developing our young players.”
If they can play the Flames 82 games straight (you can mix in a few games with the Oilers too if you want), they might achieve both goals every night.
If not, Vancouver’s fun offense might not be able to mask all those defensive breakdowns.
The Canucks won the season opener 4-2.
1. Verbie and the Sedins…
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the Sedins and new linemate Radim Vrbata looked dangerous all night. Sportsnet interviewed Ryan Miller after the game and asked him about the Sedins’ play. His answer:
“They’ve got a ton of skill. I feel like I should be buying seasons tickets for the premium seats… it’s nice to have them on your side instead of facing them.”
2. The young players are developing
Benning, asked about where he thinks Zack Kassian’s game is in the above mentioned interview, replied:
“Last year he took a step. We’re hoping this year he’ll take the next step.”
After game one, he’s on the right track. Kassian scored a goal, he threw a couple of hits and he had some great shots and passes. The advanced stats reflected it too – his Corsi and Fenwick numbers ranked him third out of all players on either team. (He was on the ice for many more chances for the Canucks than against).
3. Edler’s luck stinks
If I say Alex Edler had a good game, most Canucks fans will think I’m not fit to write these recaps.
That’s pretty much because he had the game’s most glaring giveaway, leading directly to Jiri Hudler’s goal. He was also minus-2, and after last year’s minus-39 season, his plus/minus will be a talking point all year.
But wait… Edler’s #fancystats show he was fourth best on the team in terms of chances created while he was on the ice.
Now, I can hear you yelling, “This proves advanced stats don’t always work!” but you’re wrong. Truth is, Edler played well for 95% of the game but he had some really bad luck. That puck that landed on Hudler’s stick for the goal – it literally just bounced off Edler’s when Jannik Hansen threw the puck back to him.
But I suppose bad luck is what Edler’s been doing for a while now. Still, he led the team in time-on-ice with 22 minutes, showing confidence from the coach. If he eliminates those errors, he may bounce back yet.
4. Sorry to say this… they’re missing Kesler
Relax, I’m only talking about faceoffs. The Canucks were 27-43 in the circle. In case you’re slow at math – that’s really bad.
The three main guys:
Hank – 8-14
Bonino – 9-11
Vey – 2-7
What makes it worse is they were losing them to second year players Sean Monahan (11-8) and Joe Colborne (11-5).
So you see why I’m saying they miss Kes.
5. New power-play formation
We’ve heard players and coaches talking about the importance of a functional power play since the start of training camp.
This is the look from behind the Flames net right before Alex Burrows scored his goal.
What’s cool is how both Burr and Chris Higgins are planted in front of Hiller – both are screening him and both are ready to tip the puck.
Considering the second unit power play has a lot less skill on it than the first (with the Sedins and Vrbata), this is a cool way to make them just as potent.
6. Tweet of the game
New to our #Sixpack posts this year, we’ll be featuring a Tweet of the Game. The winning tweet’s writer will receive a gift certificate for use at the Charles Bar, or any other Blueprint location.
Runners up for today’s game:
— Mike S.™ (@Mike_Stefanuk) October 9, 2014
— Kiran Mehat (@Me_Hat4482) October 9, 2014
And the winner:
Clearly Contacts. RT @omarcanuck: Two reversed calls? Does Linden have the refs hypnotized or what?
— gladys (@gloomybb) October 9, 2014
Tweet me for details on how to collect your prize.
Looks like the league has a new supplier for corrective vision. And now we know why Linden was such a great hire as Pres.
Note: thanks to @myregularface for providing .gifs of the goals.