The Switch and the plan

Welcome to the main forum of our site. Anything and everything to do with the Vancouver Canucks is dicussed and debated here.

Moderator: Referees

The Switch and the plan

Postby donlever » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:40 am

Is there a switch?

Does it work?

Is it a farce?

Is there a master plan, a method to the madness?

Are the Canucks playing possum?

If so will it bite them in the ass or serve them well?

http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2012/03/20/if-the-canucks-look-unmotivated-thats-probably-by-design/


Vancouver hockey fans rarely reach a consensus on anything, but I think we all agree that the Canucks looked unmotivated and disinterested on Monday night in Minnesota.

It was the Canucks’ 7th loss in 10 games, leading the cynics — who see everything as a conspiracy (including the rhetoric of any suspected non-cynics) — to freak. Some called for Alain Vigneault’s head once again, claiming the team had tuned him out, that his time here was done, and that the team should fire their coach 10 games from the postseason.
Level-headed thinking is not the strong suit of this pocket of Canuck nation.

But these folks have a point: if we’re assuming that Alain Vigneault is trying to wring the best and most hard-working performances out of his team — a reasonable assumption — he’s failing miserably these days. After the loss to the Wild, Canucks Army observed that, while the Canucks had 33 shots on goal, they only had 9 scoring chances. Against one of the NHL’s thinnest defense corps, it’s difficult to be that offensively inept. It’s as though the Canucks were actively trying to remain on the perimeter.


But maybe they were. Do you know what players are less likely to sustain on the perimeter? Season-ending injuries. (Unless Johnny Boychuk’s around, amirite?)

Let’s be clear about something: the Canucks are going to finish second in the West. According to Sportsclubstats.com, the team has a 91% chance of wind up there, and an 8% chance of finishing first. (That should mean a 1% chance of finishing anywhere else, but considering these numbers have been rounded down, that chance is actually closer to zero.) In short, were Vancouver to put everything they had into the final 10 games, they would likely accomplish nothing, apart from thinning the reserves of healthy bodies available for a first-round matchup against the 7th seed.

The team is fully aware of how meaningless these games are. As Mike Gillis suggested two weeks ago, the Canucks are considering resting their players down the stretch. Purposefully icing an inferior lineup is, of course, one of those things you do when you don’t give a crap about winning.

Some have argued that the Canucks should be working to chase down the Blues, who have a fabulous record at home, but Vancouver will only see St. Louis if both teams make it through two gruelling rounds of the Western Conference playoffs. That’s hardly a guarantee. The top two seeds have met in a Conference Final just 5 out of 20 times in the last 10 years. Plus, even if it happens, among the many lessons the Canucks learned in last year’s playoffs, especially the Stanley Cup Final, having healthy bodies beats having home ice advantage.

But that’s not to say the Canucks are throwing games, because they’re not. The team is still going out in pursuit of a win, they’re just not willing to sacrifice their bodies to do it.

Canuck forwards had a grand total of zero blocked shots against the Wild. Considering Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis appear to have been accidentally hit by three pucks apiece, a game in which no forwards get in the way of a shot from the opposition should raise an eyebrow. Considering it’s the second time in three games that this has occurred — it happened versus Phoenix as well — it’s worth looking at.

Frankly, after David Backes nearly broke his foot blocking a shot against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and after Chris Higgins did break his foot blocking a shot last postseason versus the Nashville Predators, and after Ryan Johnson broke his feet about fifty times during his tenure in Vancouver, you can see why the team might be unwilling to block shots right now. All season long, the Canucks have gone out of their way to stockpile depth players for the playoffs. It seems pretty stupid to start dipping into the reserves before the games even matter, doesn’t it? That’s like eating the canned goods in the fallout shelter.

It’s not just blocked shots, though. The Canucks are shying away from contact wherever possible. We saw Ryan Kesler dodge a shoulder-to-shoulder hit with Cal Clutterbuck on Monday, for instance. But it was an odd sight. Kesler was the one coming in with speed; that was his hit. Have you ever — seriously, ever in your life — seen Kesler bail on a check? Apart from his ongoing ab-off with Chris Higgins, this guy has zero regard for his body.

The Canucks are merely running out the string, making sure that everyone’s healthy and getting the players comfortable with the different player combinations they’ll have to resort to once everyone’s not.

(Obviously, without a quote here, all of this is pure speculation, but that is, of course, how the Canucks would prefer to keep it. No one within the organization is going to go on the record as saying the team has placed avoidance of injury ahead of winning hockey games on the priority scale. But I can tell you that someone told me off the record. So there’s that.)


That’s the other thing. Rest easy, torch-wielding mob on your way to Mason Raymond’s house: the line juggling that Alain Vigneault is doing is indicative of nothing. He’s not an idiot. He knows full well that Ryan Kesler’s best linemates are Chris Higgins and David Booth. But he needs to get Raymond going now while it doesn’t matter all that much that he’s not. And can he count on having all three members of the American Express line making it through the playoffs intact? Of course not, which is why now is a good time to try out the alternate line combinations he’ll no doubt have to resort to in April and, hopefully, May and June.

The same can be said for the blueline. We all remember the Stanley Cup Final and the complete disarray the pairings found themselves in after Dan Hamhuis got hurt. Kevin Bieksa hardly played with anyone else in 2011, and it showed. He looked out of sorts with Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts, he looked lost with Alex Edler, and he looked hopelessly lost with Keith Ballard. If Hamhuis gets injured again, even for a game, the Canucks can’t risk one of their top defenders playing the whole game from the woods.

Now, I’ve disagreed with some of the Canucks’ outside-the-box thinking in the past. I maintain, for instance, that making roster decisions based on contract flexibility rather than merit is unfair, and I didn’t like the way the Canucks took advantage of player try-out contracts to beat the veteran minimum in the preseason. I’m even on the fence about this move — effectively encouraging the players to play lazy hockey for an entire month seems like a good way to instil negative habits.

But, while these schemes are sketchy, there’s no arguing that they’re wise strategies if the primary goal is to ensure that the team has fresher players and more of them come April.

I wouldn’t get too concerned about the way the Canucks are playing. You may think they don’t look ready for the playoffs, but the fact that they’re still healthy says otherwise.
A different goddamn hockey talk messageboard!
User avatar
donlever
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 1633
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Cornuck » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:51 am

I'm not worried at all about the rest of the regular season. Nor was I worried about the first 70 games, either.

We don't want to see any injuries, and I'm sure that team doesn't either - so why fight through the last 10 games. The only thing that gets damaged is the home town fans who bought tickets on the assumption that they would see entertainment.

This team understands how the playoffs work. I'm sure they've the strong possibility that the reffing will not favour their usual style. Hopefully AV gives some guys the night off and we are well rested and prepared for a long run.
Over 40 years of pain - I just want one day of glory.
User avatar
Cornuck
Moderator & MVP
Moderator & MVP
 
Posts: 4756
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 11:39 am
Location: Chester, NE

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby wafflecombine » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:05 am

At this time of the year and given our playoff positioning I am ok with being cautious......

Sloppy is a whole different story.
wafflecombine
CC 2nd Team All-Star
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:20 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby mathonwy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:08 am

Yuuuup. I agree.

Watching playoff hockey last night between the Sharks and the Kings has convinced me of this. The hockey played last night is absolutely nothing like what the Nucks are currently playing. Day and night.

I also think AV may be playing us a little bit.

Sort of like, ok guys, you know and I know the teams that we're now playing don't matter. Just stay healthy, put in a little bit of effort, and let me be the exasperated coach that doesn't know what's going on.

Also, bear with me as I juggle lines in an attempt to "get you guys going".

And then let's get it done in the post season.

Who's with me? Hoorah!
User avatar
mathonwy
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:53 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Larry Goodenough » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:17 am

Gillis was on 1040 yesterday. He pretty much admitted to playing possum and said he expects the team to "start ramping up for the playoffs starting tomorrow".
Larry Goodenough
CC 1st Team All-Star
 
Posts: 726
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:43 am

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Aaronp18 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:15 am

See like I said - calculated risk.

And if they shit the bed and can't get going for the post season I'll riot with the lot of ya! :sly:
User avatar
Aaronp18
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 1736
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Arachnid » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:44 am

Aaronp18 wrote:See like I said - calculated risk.

And if they shit the bed and can't get going for the post season I'll riot with the lot of ya! :sly:


Yeah well, did the 'calculated risk' of playing their hearts and bodies out all season long and for meaningless trophies last year work when it came to game 7?! ( or game 3, 4 & 6?!)

How 'bout no.

I like this risk a hell of a lot more. They need health and depth and toughness (I'll take Gassian over that cry baby Hodgson for toughness any day 8-) ). What did they learn from last year?

I've been playing hockey all my life. Now in my 40's I do not have the stamina to keep up with the 20 year olds, I have to rely on my tricks and experience, my hockey brains, the young ones run circles around me and never seem to tire. I play 12 minutes a game and I am just as productive if not more so given my positioning and defensive play...my point being, as fans, think with your Canuckleheads instead of your Vancouver Dicks, it's a hell of a lot smarter...and the results can be more rewarding...
Socks are dead puppets :(
Arachnid
CC Legend
 
Posts: 4900
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:56 pm
Location: Old Berlin

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Aaronp18 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:56 am

Arachnid wrote:Yeah well, did the 'calculated risk' of playing their hearts and bodies out all season long and for meaningless trophies last year work when it came to game 7?! ( or game 3, 4 & 6?!)


:eh:

I think we're on the same page here Spidey.

My post from the Sedin's Decline Thread:
Aaronp18 wrote:
Why do we continually have to defend these guys, they are two of the top players in this league that any other team would kill to have.

Bashing the Sedin's at this point in their career is simply laughable.

Do people realize you do not get a plus for being on the ice for a PP goal? Maybe, just maybe this had something to do with their +/- last year in the playoffs??

Maybe, just maybe when injuries caught up to us and we just could not score on the PP in the finals it helped lead to the eventual demise of our run! If the Sedin's (and others) stay healthy and our PP continues at the rate it did for the first 3 rounds of the playoffs we are hoisting the cup.

Right now it's pretty clear this team is taking a calculated risk, they are wagering that with the experience of last years run and numerous veteran players this team can amp up their game come playoff time as they now know what it takes to win. They would much rather enter the post season with a completely healthy roster than play balls to the wall right now to fight for first place in the West.

Why would we beat ourselves up vs. bottom feeders right now and teams fighting tooth and nail to squeak into the playoffs?

I truly believe that the Canucks know exactly what they are doing and have complete faith that we will see their best hockey when April 11th rolls around. And the Sedin's will be just fine.


:thumbs:
User avatar
Aaronp18
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 1736
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby old calamari » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:11 am

I agree with the artical havent seen the team hit anything since the wings game..at least it seems like that. It almost seems like they are playing a rope a dope style and not trying to exped a lot of energy. They also look like they are bored and cant wait for the playoffs.
old calamari
CC Veteran
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:11 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Fred » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:18 am

Tonight will be an interesting game, if the suggestion is the Canucks are mailing games in then it will be a blow out.
cheers
Fred
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3433
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:00 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Arachnid » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:21 am

Aaronp18 wrote:
Arachnid wrote:Yeah well, did the 'calculated risk' of playing their hearts and bodies out all season long and for meaningless trophies last year work when it came to game 7?! ( or game 3, 4 & 6?!)


:eh:

I think we're on the same page here Spidey.

My post from the Sedin's Decline Thread:
Aaronp18 wrote:
Why do we continually have to defend these guys, they are two of the top players in this league that any other team would kill to have.

Bashing the Sedin's at this point in their career is simply laughable.

Do people realize you do not get a plus for being on the ice for a PP goal? Maybe, just maybe this had something to do with their +/- last year in the playoffs??

Maybe, just maybe when injuries caught up to us and we just could not score on the PP in the finals it helped lead to the eventual demise of our run! If the Sedin's (and others) stay healthy and our PP continues at the rate it did for the first 3 rounds of the playoffs we are hoisting the cup.

Right now it's pretty clear this team is taking a calculated risk, they are wagering that with the experience of last years run and numerous veteran players this team can amp up their game come playoff time as they now know what it takes to win. They would much rather enter the post season with a completely healthy roster than play balls to the wall right now to fight for first place in the West.

Why would we beat ourselves up vs. bottom feeders right now and teams fighting tooth and nail to squeak into the playoffs?

I truly believe that the Canucks know exactly what they are doing and have complete faith that we will see their best hockey when April 11th rolls around. And the Sedin's will be just fine.


:thumbs:


No one stands on my page!!!!!!!!

No one :evil:

:D

The thing is, I don't think it is a 'calculated risk'. Really, what choice do they have? There is only one way forward here. Last year was more of a risk because obliviously the coach and GM thought the HNL would actually call the cheap shots and clutch & grab that they said they would.... :bang:

They actually thought that a highly skilled, fast entertaining team is who the NHL wanted to win the Stanley Cup. :eh:

There is no risk here, only do *said in his best Yoda voice*

Rest up and then prove to yourself and the fans that there is nothing more important than being a winner at the end of June.

Is it really hard for fans to just stfu and go with 'the plan?' Even season ticket holders? Really? Isn't that short sighted? Selfish? Shelfish?!

I guess we will believe or not believe after the first round, I'm almost looking forward to it more than I did last year because we have something to prove this year. That last year was not a fluke and theses players are not quitters and that management knows what they are doing and that the fans are not the shitiest in the league....

Works for me, why does everyone else have a problem with it? Fuck the regular season... 8-)
Socks are dead puppets :(
Arachnid
CC Legend
 
Posts: 4900
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:56 pm
Location: Old Berlin

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby dbr » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:34 am

Fred wrote:Tonight will be an interesting game, if the suggestion is the Canucks are mailing games in then it will be a blow out.


Well, no. The Blackhawks are red hot and while the Canucks should be able to beat them I would say the suggestion that this team can "flip a switch" is correct then we will see the Canucks going to the dirty areas, finishing checks and executing their system - regardless of the end result.
dbr
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 2478
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:37 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby rats19 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:53 am

It's pretty simple. You get hurt playing hard. Playing hard for nothing..gets you hurt for nothing. I do not "lay out" for grounders in practice, there is no point.

Tonight should be Interesting.....can they keep the switch turned OFF? Or will the natural competative juices ..slide the dimmer towards on....
You are who you hang with.....
User avatar
rats19
Moderator & MVP
Moderator & MVP
 
Posts: 4554
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:21 am
Location: over there.....

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Tiger » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:55 pm

Arachnid said:

I
s it really hard for fans to just stfu and go with 'the plan?' Even season ticket holders? Really? Isn't that short sighted? Selfish? Shelfish?!


LOL.. its ok by me as I am now just changing channels .. but remember shelling out big bucks ..travelling from the Island, renting hotel rooms , buying blue line tics..to take my oldest to a "mailed in game"...And YEAH I WAS PISSED OFF !..

Maybe the fans should not be too worried as the Nucks will win the division anyway.. but maybe they should emulate the players and not show up at the game..
" If you cant beat them in the alley - you can't beat them on the ice
User avatar
Tiger
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:09 pm

Re: The Switch and the plan

Postby Zedlee » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:13 pm

I don't believe the Canucks are deliberately taking it easy and "saving" themselves for the playoffs. To me the Canucks are simply a tired team with nothing to play for at this point, so that extra 10% effort is not there. And that is the difference between winning and losing in the NHL. Almost all our opponents seem hungrier and already in playoff mode.

But...I hope this changes tonight.

I hope to see a strong two way effort tonight from the Canucks. Will be tough to beat Chicago in their barn, but the effort, hitting and commitment to defense must be there. They have 10 games to get it together...come on boys!
Zedlee
CC Veteran
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:52 pm

Next

Return to Canucks Corner Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest

cron