Pass it to Bulis

Pass it to Bulis is Harrison Mooney and Daniel Wagner. The official Canucks blog of the Vancouver Courier, PITB is also the only blog that knows who needs the puck.
  • Pass It To Bulis: The NHL’s commercials for Black History Month don’t feature any black players

    Last season, the NHL celebrated Black History Month for the first time as part of their “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative. Perhaps it was a little late in its history for the NHL to officially . . .

    Daniel Wagner/ Vancouver Is AwesomeFebruary 4, 2020

  • Pass it to Bulis has a new home at Vancouver is Awesome

    I'm excited to announce that, as of today, Vancouver Is Awesome will be a go-to outlet for Vancouver Canucks coverage! Hopefully your go-to. We've hired Daniel Wagner as a full-time staffer to head up our new Pass it to Bulis section, which is actually old enough to be in grade five; Wagner launched PITB as a blog ten years ago in a basement with his friend Harrison Mooney (who is now at The Province).

    Bob KronbauerJanuary 22, 2020

  • Zack Kassian opens up about his journey to sobriety on Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa’s podcast

    "One thing I’ve learned through this whole process of getting clean is the only way you’re going to do it is if you want to do it yourself."

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 20, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks claim first place in Pacific Division by throttling the Sharks

    Heading into the All-Star break, the Vancouver Canucks are first in the Pacific Division Sure, if they had lost this game, they would be fifth in the Pacific Division and 19th in the NHL, because the Pacific is a hot mess and the NHL has taken parity to a dangerous extreme that threatens us all, but let’s focus on the positive.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 19, 2020

  • Pettersson, Markstrom, and Hughes won’t be only Vancouver representatives at NHL All-Star Weekend

    Three-time Olympic gold medallist (and Vancouver police officer) Meghan Agosta is joining the three Canucks in St. Louis.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 17, 2020

  • Matthieu Perreault walked back his harsh words for NHL Player Safety, but he's not entirely wrong

    Winnipeg Jets forward ripped the NHL's Department of Player Safety after Jake Virtanen escaped punishment for his elbow to Perreault's head.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 17, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks clamp down on the Coyotes, first-line Jake Virtanen scores game-winner

    When the 2019-20 Canucks schedule came out, it’s unlikely anyone was circling January 16th on their calendar. Let’s face it, a mid-season matchup against the Arizona Coyotes on a Thursday in the middle of what is typically the coldest month of the year in Vancouver? No thank you. Except that innocuous Thursday night matchup turned into a clash of titans, as the two top teams in the Pacific Division — at least by points percentage — faced off. Sure, being the two top teams in the Pacific might not be saying much (and the Flames technically passed both the Coyotes and the Canucks in points percentage before the game started), but this was still, in a way, a marquee matchup.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 17, 2020

  • Tyler Motte's bravery in talking about his anxiety and depression is an inspiration; here's my story

    “In sports, in hockey there’s this mindset that we’ve come to, adapt to where it’s all about being mentally strong and not showing weakness.” That is a quote from Tyler Motte, a forward for the Vancouver Canucks who recently sat down and discussed his struggles with mental health. I was inspired by Motte’s courage to open up and share his story with the world. I wanted to share some thoughts on how I myself struggle with anxiety and depression and how relatable Motte’s story is.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 16, 2020

  • The Pacific Division is a hot mess right now, which suits the Canucks just fine

    There are no good teams in the Pacific Division this season.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 16, 2020

  • Quinn Hughes a big boon to Canucks defence, but bottom pairing holding them back

    The Canucks have significantly revamped their defence corps over the last year. General manager Jim Benning evidently made a New Year’s resolution for 2019: let go of past mistakes and move forward. That meant moving on from several defencemen he acquired, like Michael Del Zotto, Erik Gudbranson, and Derrick Pouliot. Gudbranson, in particular, was a big move. The Gudbranson trade with the Florida Panthers was a signature move for Benning, but he stopped throwing good money after bad and instead finagled Tanner Pearson from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the hulking defenceman.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 16, 2020

  • Canucks prospect Brogan Rafferty just scored a ridiculous shorthanded goal for the Utica Comets

    I'm trying to remain calm, but YOU NEED TO SEE THIS GOAL NOW. Okay, I'm fine, I'm calm. WATCH THIS GOAL!!!

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 15, 2020

  • With the firing of Gerard Gallant comes a reminder for NHL coaches: never win the Jack Adams

    The Vegas Golden Knights made a surprise move on Wednesday, firing the only coach in their franchise’s history, Gerard Gallant, in favour of former San Jose Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer. Sure, their franchise has only been in existence for two-and-a-half seasons, but that’s part of what makes it so shocking. The Golden Knights went straight to the Stanley Cup Final as an expansion team in their first season and went to Game 7 with the 101-point San Jose Sharks in their second season, all under Gallant’s leadership.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 15, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks rack up frequent shooter miles on the Jets, but can’t beat Hellebuyck

    “The Guess Who sucked, the Jets were lousy anyway...I hate Winnipeg.” The Weakerthans’ affectionately hateful classic “One Great City!” may as well be the theme song of the Vancouver Canucks when they visit the titular town. Of course, Winnipeggers would probably protest: only people from Winnipeg are allowed to say they hate Winnipeg.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 14, 2020

  • NHL Player Safety could not have handled the Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk feud worse

    The animosity between Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames and Zack Kassian of the Edmonton Oilers is great theatre. The bad blood between the two players adds an extra edge to the Battle of Alberta, a rivalry that has lost something with the Oilers long absence from the playoffs. There’s a problem, however, when great theatre becomes a dangerous reality and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has put the two players on a collision course that has the potential for disaster.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 14, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks come through in Minnesota with a burst of second-period scoring

    “Duke will see Brock play again.” That was Laurie Boeser during the summer to The Athletic, proclaiming her belief that Duke Boeser would see his son, Brock, play hockey again this season. On Sunday afternoon in Saint Paul, Minnesota, just a short drive up I-35E from Burnsville where Brock grew up, Duke got to see Brock play again. It was far from certain that would be the case during the summer, when Duke wound up in critical care after a massive heart attack at the end of July. He was in the ICU for four weeks. When Boeser finally joined the Canucks in mid-September, Duke had just started eating again on his own the previous week.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 12, 2020

  • Quinn Hughes earns bragging rights as first Hughes brother to go to the All-Star Game

    Jack Hughes may be the highest-drafted Hughes brother, but Quinn Hughes will beat him to the All-Star Game. Sure, it helps that Quinn is a year-and-a-half older than Jack, but that’s just details. What matters is that, at this moment, Quinn is definitively the best Hughes brother. That has been decided in the most objective way possible: a fan vote from a pre-selected list of players. Quinn Hughes was picked as the Pacific Division’s “Last Man In,” meaning he will join his teammates Elias Pettersson and Jacob Markstrom at the All-Star Game. Heck, Jack wasn’t even one of the options for the “Last Men In” vote.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 11, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks bounce back from Florida fiasco with convincing win over expansion cousin Sabres

    50 years ago, give or take a few months, the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres entered the NHL together. Now the two expansion cousins are both celebrating their 50th anniversary in fine fashion. In some cases, that means literal fashion: the Canucks have their classic black skate jersey; the Sabres have their gorgeous golden anniversary jersey. Both teams are celebrating their 50th with theme nights celebrating each decade, though I have to admit I’m jealous of their poster series. The Canucks have also added more reasons to celebrate, like Alex Burrows being added to the Ring of Honour and the Sedins’ numbers being retired.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 11, 2020

  • The gap between the Canucks' home and road records is wide and alarming

    On home ice, the Canucks have given their fans many reasons to cheer. Their 14-5-3 record on home ice is one of the ten best in the NHL. They’ve scored the fifth-most goals on home ice, with 81 goals in 22 home games. Their goaltenders have been fantastic on home ice, with a .917 save percentage that is good for 8th in the NHL. Just using the Canucks’ home record alone, the Canucks would be on-pace for 116 points over the course of an 82-game season, which would come just one point short of matching the 2010-11 Canucks, the best team in franchise history. Their 302 goal pace would be the fourth-most in franchise history.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 10, 2020

  • Memo to Jim Benning: this is about as healthy as you can expect the Canucks to get

    Over the last four seasons, as the Canucks have found themselves outside the playoff picture, Canucks GM Jim Benning has returned to a familiar refrain: too many injuries, not enough depth. It’s a deep well to draw from, simply because the Canucks have indeed had an abundance of injuries. Whether it’s the freak accident with an open bench door that ended Brock Boeser’s season or the cornucopia of injuries suffered by Chris Tanev every year, injuries have been a big problem for the Canucks. That also means the Canucks injury issues should be predictable, to a certain extent. Expecting a full season from Brandon Sutter or Alex Edler seems foolish at this point; the Canucks need to plan for injuries and have the right depth in place to deal with them.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 10, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks get pantsed by the Panthers, leave Florida suitably chastened

    Coming off one of the Canucks’ worst losses in the last 20 years, you might hope for a stronger response. The 9-2 loss to the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Tuesday was about as ugly as it gets, but one of the few positives was that it would surely be a wakeup call. Perhaps the Canucks had gotten complacent during their seven-game winning streak, becoming over-reliant on their goaltending or their power play to bail them out, but hopefully a seven-goal loss would be just the kind of slap in the face the team needed. Instead, they gave up two goals on the first two shots of their game against the Florida Panthers and never really recovered.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 9, 2020

  • Absolute mad lad on Canucks subreddit statistically analyses the team’s “skin in the game”

    The Canucks subreddit is a perfectly cromulent community of Canucks fans. It’s a great place to discuss Canucks news, celebrate after a win, commiserate after a loss, and post the dankest of memes about Loui Eriksson’s facial expressions. And sometimes it’s a place where you can find the most unhinged works of disturbed genius.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 9, 2020

  • Loui Eriksson could be the winger Bo Horvat has been waiting for all this time

    Bo Horvat was supposed to have better and more consistent wingers this season. The Canucks added J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland in the summer with the intention of providing their top-two centres, Horvat and Elias Pettersson, with some solid wingers. That’s worked out well for Pettersson, who has found chemistry with Miller and Brock Boeser to form what fans call The Lotto Line. Pettersson leads the Canucks in scoring with 44 points through 42 games, while Miller is right behind him with 40 points, on-pace to obliterate his career high of 56 points. Horvat hasn’t quite seen the same benefit.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 9, 2020

  • Bumping Brock Boeser off the first power play unit for Adam Gaudette might be the right move

    Brock Boeser is having a great season. With 40 points in 43 games, he’s on-pace for a career-high 76 points. While there are questions worth raising regarding his relative lack of goalscoring compared to his past two seasons, his steadily progressing two-way game and underrated playmaking ability continue to make him an essential component of the Canucks’ young core. Eyebrows were raised, then, when Wednesday’s practice in Florida saw Boeser bumped from both the top line and the first power play unit. According to reporters on the scene, like Sportsnet 650’s Brendan Batchelor, Jake Virtanen replaced Boeser on the first line with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson, moving Boeser down to the third line with Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette. Meanwhile, Gaudette stepped in for Boeser on the top power play unit, which would have absolutely stunned any time-travelling Canucks fans from 2018. In the 2017-18 season, Boeser saved the power play seemingly single-handedly; two years later, he’s been demoted to the second unit.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 8, 2020

  • The 2020 NHL All-Star jersey is very bland, but you should still vote for Quinn Hughes to wear it

    As much as a certain subset of hockey fans complain about the NHL All-Star Game, bemoaning the slow-pace, low-stakes tone of the game, it’s still a fun event. Getting to see the biggest stars in the NHL in a more lighthearted atmosphere is a treat, as the players tend to let their guard down, show a little bit more of their personality, and get creative on the ice. The All-Star Game also presents an opportunity for creativity off the ice. As a one-off event, each year presents a chance to do something unique with the All-Star jersey. Since it’s not going to be worn for years to come, there’s little harm in trying something bold or outside-the-box. The 2020 All-Star jersey, however, is about as stale and inside-the-box as it gets.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 8, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks can’t catch Lightning in a bottle; winning streak severed at seven

    It was a meeting between the two hottest teams in the NHL. Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks were on seven-game winning streaks, just the second time in NHL history that two teams with active winning streaks of at least seven games have met, according to the inimitable Jeff Paterson. One of these two teams was going to see their streak cut short, while the other would leave with an even more impressive eight-game winning streak. Anyone hoping for an evenly-matched clash between two titans was in for a rude awakening, not to be confused for la rue d’awakening, which is when you’re driving down the road and you nearly fall asleep and suddenly startle awake when you almost get in an accident. Also, it’s a great episode of the cult classic cartoon Clone High.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 8, 2020

  • Former Canuck Igor Larionov describes Vasili Podkolzin as “a young Mark Messier”

    Vasili Podkolzin didn’t take home the medal he wanted from the 2020 World Junior Championships, as Canada came out ahead of Russia in the gold medal game. Canada won in controversial fashion, involving a camera, a puck over the glass, and a liberal interpretation of the IIHF rules. What could have been a 5-on-3 power play for Russia in a one-goal game — which would have been a 6-on-3 with the goaltender pulled — instead stayed a 5-on-4 power play. Two undisciplined penalties for Russia later and Canada instead had a 5-on-3 to close out the win.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 6, 2020

  • Brock Boeser is taking far fewer wrist shots in 2019-20 than in past seasons

    When Brock Boeser stepped into the Canucks lineup as a rookie, he was a breath of fresh air. The Canucks were having tremendous trouble scoring goals prior to his arrival: in the two previous seasons, they set new franchise lows for fewest goals. Boeser single-handedly changed that, reinvigorating the power play and seemingly scoring at will with his wicked wrist shot. He scored 29 goals in just 62 games in his rookie year, a 38-goal pace over 82 games. Perhaps it was because the Canucks hadn’t had a rookie as exciting as Boeser since the Sedins, but the hype became unbearably high. Boeser’s stellar rookie season had fans dreaming of a future with one of the NHL’s elite snipers on the top line, regularly scoring 40 goals — or more! — every season.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 6, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks extend winning streak to seven games thanks to Markstrom's 36 saves versus the Rangers

    Have you ever been driving on a familiar route — perhaps home after work — and zoned out for what seems like just a moment, only to find out you’re already halfway home and you remember none of the intervening drive? It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, but it is a bit terrifying. It’s discomfiting to know that your brain can go into full-on autopilot mode like that. I admit, my brain went into autopilot mode during this game. I watched this game, I swear. I watched the whole thing. But I’ll readily admit that there was a moment during the second period where I looked at my TV and suddenly realized that I remembered nothing from the past 10-15 minutes.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 5, 2020

  • Nils Höglander tossed from WJC semifinal, Vasili Podkolzin and Russia move on to gold medal game

    Canucks prospect Nils Höglander has arguably been the best player of the tournament at the 2020 World Junior Championships. Höglander came into the semifinals as the tournament’s leading scorer with 10 points in 5 games, including the goal of the tournament, a magnificent lacrosse-style Zorro Goal against Finland. One key aspect of Höglander’s superb tournament is his consistency. Rather than racking up points against a lesser opponent, Höglander put up points in every single game. Understandably, Sweden was depending on Höglander in their semifinal matchup against Russia. It was less than ideal, then, that Höglander got a game misconduct less than five minutes into the game.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 4, 2020

  • Jacob Markstrom to replace Marc-Andre Fleury at 2020 NHL All-Star Game

    Five years ago, it was unclear if Jacob Markstrom would ever have the NHL career he dreamed of having. In September of 2014, Markstrom cleared waivers prior to the start of the 2014-15 season and played pretty much the entire season in the AHL. Now he’s an NHL All-Star.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 3, 2020

  • IWTG: Canucks come out ahead of Blackhawks in wild cavalcade of goalscoring

    Heading into Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Jacob Markstrom was on fire. He had a superb .954 save percentage in his last three starts, including a brilliant 49-save effort against the Los Angeles Kings. One of the few goaltenders who could rival his hot streak was the Blackhawks’ Robin Lehner, who was coming off a 41-save win over the Calgary Flames. In his last three starts, Lehner had a .940 save percentage, leading the Blackhawks to a three-game winning streak. This game was setting up to be a fantastic goaltending duel between two players at the top of their game, a peerless demonstration of puck-stopping excellence. So, of course, the two teams combined for 12 goals.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 3, 2020

  • Nils Höglander takes sole possession of scoring lead at 2020 World Juniors

    “I’ll play for both of us.” According to Nils Höglander’s parents in an interview with Hockey Sverige, those were Höglander’s final words to his older sister, Tilda, at the hospital before she passed away. She was only 13, and an excellent hockey player in her own right. He was 11. Eight years later, Höglander is still playing hockey for both himself and his sister. Perhaps that inspiration is why he plays with such passion and joie de vivre on the ice and has taken his game to the highest level.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 2, 2020

  • What Canucks fans can look forward to seeing in 2020

    2019 was pretty rough on Canucks fans. It saw the Canucks slide down the standings and finish well outside the playoffs. All that fans could look forward to was the draft lottery, where once again three other teams were announced as winners, dropping the Canucks down a spot in the draft order. There were also plenty of positives. Elias Pettersson won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2019. The draft, held in Vancouver, saw the Canucks select another exciting prospect in Vasili Podkolzin in the first round, then find some intriguing prospects like Nils Höglander on day two. Fans saw the debut of Quinn Hughes last season, then thrilled to see him kick off his rookie season in earnest in October.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 2, 2020

  • If Quinn Hughes goes to the All-Star Game, it won’t affect the Canucks’ salary cap situation

    Voting has opened for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game’s “Last Men In,” representing Quinn Hughes’ last chance to get the All-Star nod that he so richly deserves. And yet, some Canucks fans are hesitant to vote for Hughes, because they’re worried that the contract bonus that Hughes would receive for going to the All-Star Game would have a detrimental effect on the Canucks’ salary cap next year. If that is your concern, I’m here to assuage it. Quinn Hughes going to the All-Star Game won’t have any impact on the Canucks’ salary cap, either this year or next year.

    Daniel WagnerJanuary 1, 2020

  • All four Canucks prospects move on to World Junior quarterfinals: where to watch them play

    The preliminary round of the 2020 World Junior Championships wrapped up on New Year’s Eve in the Czech Republic, with eight teams heading to the quarterfinals and two teams going to the relegation game. All four Canucks prospects at the tournament will be heading to the quarterfinals with their respective countries.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 31, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes needs your votes to go to the 2020 All-Star Game

    The Canucks have sent a rookie to the All-Star Game in each of the last two seasons. Brock Boeser went to the 2018 All-Star Game and dominated, winning the accuracy competition and the All-Star Game MVP. In 2019, it was Elias Pettersson’s turn, surprising everyone with his blazing speed in the fastest skater competition. This season, the Canucks once again have an elite rookie, who absolutely deserves to go to the All-Star Game. But when the NHL revealed the All-Star rosters on Monday, Quinn Hughes was nowhere to be found.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 30, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks dismiss the Flames to end 2019 on 5-game winning streak

    It’s been three years since the Canucks last had a five-game winning streak. It came right around the same time in the season, too. It was the 2016-17 season and the Canucks were struggling at the Christmas break. They were 14-18-3 and third-last in the Western Conference. For a team that was still refusing to admit they were rebuilding — they had just sent multiple young assets to the Florida Panthers for Erik Gudbranson in the off-season — it wasn’t ideal.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 30, 2019

  • The top 7 hockey websites of the decade (that no longer exist)

    We’re just days from the end of the decade, which means it’s time to look back at the past ten years to reminisce a little. One of the developments in the hockey world was the development of some fantastic websites that provided something that mainstream media and the NHL themselves didn’t provide. This was the decade where hockey analytics went mainstream, largely due to the efforts of public analysts and the websites they created. Intriguingly, doing public analytics work and creating analytics sites became a path to working in the NHL this decade, as teams hired a number of bloggers and website creators.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 29, 2019

  • IWTG: Markstrom makes a career-high 49 saves to stymie the Kings, continue Canucks winning streak

    When Drew Doughty declared that the Los Angeles Kings shouldn’t lose 8-2 to a “team like that,” it came after the Canucks’ very first win of the season. The Canucks immediately went on a run, winning four-straight and going 8-1-1 through the rest of October, capping off the month with another win over the Kings. The Canucks’ fanbase took “team like that” as a rallying cry, embracing the underdog aspect of being a team with low expectations that is on the rise. Then the Canucks made t-shirts.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 29, 2019

  • Nils Höglander scores lacrosse goal at World Juniors, TSN goes hog-wild with copyright claims

    Nils Höglander did it again. Two months after he scored an incredibly impressive lacrosse-style goal in the SHL, Höglander brought the same move to the World Junior Championship, scoring a gorgeous goal for Sweden against their longtime Nordic rivals, Finland. It was a goal destined to go viral. It’s understandable that the rights holders for the World juniors, TSN, would want it to go viral for them and not someone else. As dozens of Twitter accounts shared clips of Hoglander’s goal, TSN quickly issued copyright claims, causing several videos to get taken down.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 27, 2019

  • Where to watch and what to expect from the four Canucks prospects at the 2020 World Juniors

    It’s Christmas. You probably shouldn’t be reading a hockey article right now, but let’s face it: sometimes you need a break at Christmastime, where you can hide out in the bathroom with your phone and take some time to yourself. I appreciate you spending that precious me-time reading Pass it to Bulis. It’s a good thing you did, too, because there’s an important event for hockey fans kicking off tomorrow: the 2020 World Junior Championship.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 25, 2019

  • Reid Boucher’s dominant season raises a question: when does a player become a career AHLer?

    When is a prospect not a prospect? This isn’t a riddle, like “when is a door not a door,” but a legitimate question. At what point is a player in a team’s organization no longer considered a prospect? In other words, when do you decide that a player no longer has an NHL future? To wit, Reid Boucher currently leads the AHL in both goals and points. He has a whopping 20 goals and 37 points in just 26 games with the Utica Comets, on-pace to be the first AHL player to reach 50 goals in a decade.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 24, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks douse the Oilers, head into Christmas with first 3-game win streak since October

    Connor McDavid is the best hockey player on earth. He’s having a monstrous season, putting the Oilers on his back and willing them into a playoff position. He leads the league in points, is sixth in goals and is the biggest reason the Oilers have the best power play in the NHL right now. The Canucks hard-matched 20-year-old Quinn Hughes against him on Monday night. It wasn’t even the first time.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 24, 2019

  • Who on the Canucks is driving shot quality?

    Last week, the Vancouver Canucks did something against the Vegas Golden Knights that they’ve struggled to do in recent games: they got scoring chances from in and around the crease. Three of the Canucks’ four goals were scored from within ten feet of the net, with the only exception being an Elias Pettersson laser beam from the left faceoff circle off the rush. These were high-percentage chances for the Canucks and, while not all of those types of chances end up in the back of the net, they were more likely than other types of shots. This is intuitive: a shot off a rebound from right on top of the crease is a lot more likely to result in a goal than a wrist shot from the left point.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 23, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks take early two-goal lead, survive second period onslaught to dispatch the Penguins

    It was the best of periods, it was the worst of periods. It was a tale of two cities — Vancouver and Pittsburgh — but it was also a tale of two periods: the first period, when the Canucks held the Penguins to zero shots on goal, then the second period, when the Canucks gave up a whopping 20 shots on goal.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 22, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks need overtime to vanquish the Knights before Christmas

    ‘Twas the Knights before Christmas at Rogers Arena Many seats appeared empty (Or were filled by John Cena) The fanbase was hanging by the slimmest of threads With visions of tanking another year in their heads

    Daniel WagnerDecember 20, 2019

  • The heat is on Jim Benning and Travis Green in the wake of Canucks' post-October flatline

    “The heat is on, on the street...the pressure’s high...tell me, can you feel it?” Was Glenn Frey singing about the Canucks’ Travis Green and Jim Benning in his saxophone-heavy 1984 hit from the Beverly Hills soundtrack? Without evidence to the contrary, we must assume that he was. After the Canucks’ uninspiring loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, the knives came out among their fanbase. Sports talk radio was abuzz with fans calling for the firing of Jim Benning and/or Travis Green, while the hashtags #FireBenning and #FireGreen both trended across Canada on Twitter.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 19, 2019

  • The Canucks’ quest to make the playoffs isn’t getting any easier

    Taylor Hall desperately wants to make the playoffs, which makes him a great fit for the Arizona Coyotes, a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in the last seven seasons, but is trending in the right direction this season. That means the Pacific Division just got a whole lot tougher for the Vancouver Canucks.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 19, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks power play scores one, but penalty kill gives up two to the Canadiens

    I have a friend who is a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. He grew up in BC, but somehow ended up a Canadiens fan, perhaps because he was an impressionable 7 years old when the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1993. He claims, however, that he’s a fan of the Canadiens because they are winners. After all, they’ve won 23 Stanley Cups, the most in history. Nevermind that the vast majority of those were from before he was born; to him, being a Canadiens fan was associated himself with decades of winners. It’s the same reason he loves the New York Yankees, in case you were wondering if he was that guy. He definitely is.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 18, 2019

  • The Canucks power play is feast or famine and that could prove problematic

    Elias Pettersson is fourth in the NHL in power play points. Quinn Hughes is tied for third among defencemen in power play points and leads all rookies, as his wizardry along the blue line has kept plays alive and set up dozens of scoring chances. Three Canucks — Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and J.T. Miller — are tied for ninth in power play goals with six. Right behind them is Brock Boeser, with five. Those four forwards, along with Hughes, have formed one of the best power play units in the NHL. If the Canucks power play is so effective, however, that raises a question: why does it sometimes look so discombobulated?

    Daniel WagnerDecember 17, 2019

  • Everyone is frustrated with the Sven Baertschi situation

    Sven Baertschi believes he belongs in the NHL. The question is, does anyone else agree? The 27-year-old winger cleared waivers Monday morning for the second time this season. Baertschi was placed on waivers after his agent made it known that he was looking to be moved to a team that would play him in the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 16, 2019

  • IWTG: Golden Knights steamroll the Canucks, comedically flattening them like a cartoon

    Well, that went poorly. The Vegas Golden Knights took the Canucks to task in this game, particularly in the second period, which might have been the worst period the Canucks have played all season. It was painful to watch, so I can’t imagine how painful it was to play.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 15, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks offence continues to sputter, Sharks eke out first win for new head coach Bob Boughner

    The San Jose Sharks are a mess. The Sharks came into this game on a six-game losing streak, which prompted the firing of head coach Peter DeBoer. They have the second-worst goals against per game in the NHL, combined with a bottom-10 goals for, resulting in the Western Conference’s worst goal differential. Their goaltenders, Martin Jones and Aaron Dell, have the second and fifth-worst save percentages among goaltenders with at least 10 games played. They leak goals against like water through a colander.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 15, 2019

  • With Thatcher Demko on the shelf, will Michael DiPietro get his second career start?

    Michael DiPietro’s first career NHL start was a disaster, but it wasn’t really his fault. He was unexpectedly thrown into action because the Canucks ran out of goaltenders. DiPietro’s second start should be under more controlled circumstances. There’s no reason for him to be forced into a game before he’s ready. Even if Markstrom were to get injured, the Canucks have more goaltenders under contract. They called up DiPietro because he’s been the Utica Comets’ best goaltender this season, not because they had no other option.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 13, 2019

  • IWTG: Magnificent Markstrom battens down the hatches against the Hurricanes with 43-save shutout

    That was legitimately one of the greatest goaltending performances in Canucks history. Jacob Markstrom was a rock in net, but was unfortunately also an island, as the rest of the team couldn’t muster much against the relentless Carolina Hurricanes attack. As a result, Markstrom had to win this game almost single-handedly.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 13, 2019

  • Canucks are playing injuries extremely close to the vest this season

    Micheal Ferland doesn’t have a concussion. That’s about all the Canucks would reveal about Ferland over the last couple days after he left Tuesday’s game with a vague “upper body injury” in his first game back after suffering a concussion earlier in the season. Travis Green was a little more forthcoming about Ferland’s status at Thursday’s game day skate, saying that Ferland was seeing specialists as he’s experiencing “symptoms,” but is not in the concussion protocol.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 12, 2019

  • The Canucks are mediocre, but mediocre teams make the playoffs

    This looks like the best Canucks team in five years. The only problem is that doesn’t mean much. Over the past four seasons, the Canucks were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL and had the second-worst record in the league, just one point ahead of their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. This year, the Canucks look significantly better: they’re averaging nearly a goal more per game than over the past four seasons, have a power play that’s scoring on 27.2% of their opportunities as opposed to 17.2%, and boast one of the best lines in the NHL in J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 12, 2019

  • When Elias Pettersson misses the net, he hits more posts than anyone else

    Elias Pettersson hits a lot of posts and crossbars. Just look at the Canucks’ last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs: looking for a comeback in the third period, Pettersson nailed the crossbar with two hard wrist shots. Pettersson looked skyward after his shots beat Frederik Andersen, but not the bar, lamenting the missed opportunity.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 11, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks fall afoul of Frederik Andersen and can't stop John Tavares, lose to Leafs 4-1

    The Toronto Maple Leafs were in Vancouver, so you know what that means: pointless arguments between Leafs and Canucks fans. These arguments always seem odd, as they always come down to which fanbase is sadder. Is it the Canucks for never winning a Cup since they came into the league in 1970? Is it the Leafs for not winning a Cup since three years prior to that? Do Leafs fans get to be more sad because they were robbed of going to the Stanley Cup Final by an uncalled high stick or Canucks fans for losing a Stanley Cup because everyone got injured and a journeyman goaltender turned into Dominik Hasek for a season? This season, the argument has turned to who’s doing a better job rebuilding and I have to admit I’m confused. When did Canucks fans decide it was time to start dunking on the Leafs when it comes to rebuilding the right way?

    Daniel WagnerDecember 11, 2019

  • Vasili Podkolzin and Nils Höglander among four Canucks prospects named to World Junior rosters

    Toni Utunen and Karel Plášek report to their respective camps, while Jett Woo is snubbed again by Team Canada.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 10, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers have more similarities than differences

    The differences between Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers are immediately apparent. There’s the obvious: Myers is the tallest player in Canucks history at a towering 6’8”. Myers' stick, at 66 inches long, is actually taller than the shortest player in Canucks history, the 5’5” Bobby Lalonde. Meanwhile, Hughes is generously listed at 5’10”, meaning the two defencemen are nearly a foot apart in height, something quite clear when you see them standing together on the ice.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 9, 2019

  • IWTG: Two goals from Roussel, Leivo lead to magnificent Miller OT winner as Canucks cap the Sabres

    I may not be old enough to have watched the Canucks play in the Flying V jerseys, but I still have a nostalgic connection the most maligned sweater in franchise history, which is saying a lot when it comes to the Canucks. The first Canucks jersey I ever owned was a black Flying V jersey, a hand-me-down from my older brother. I wore it to school proudly during the 1994 playoff run when I was nine years old and I was definitely the only kid at school wearing the V.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 7, 2019

  • As injured players return, Canucks send down Nikolay Goldobin

    Antoine Roussel’s return to the Canucks lineup from ACL surgery couldn’t have gone better. His return coincided with his idol, Alex Burrows, going up into the Ring of Honour. On top of that, he scored the game’s opening goal on his very first shift: it almost seemed scripted. Roussel isn’t the only injured Canuck making his way back into the lineup, however. Jay Beagle, Micheal Ferland, and Brandon Sutter were all back at practice on Friday, taking part in line rushes with the other forwards.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 6, 2019

  • You should watch this breakdown of Quinn Hughes’ defensive play [VIDEO]

    Quinn Hughes has been a beast on the power play for the Vancouver Canucks. Despite being a rookie, Hughes leads all NHL defencemen in power play points and has been a big part of why the Canucks’ power play is fourth in the NHL, converting on 26.8% of their chances. Hughes has also been effective in transition, moving the puck up ice with his skating and passing to create offensive opportunities at even strength. There is one question that dogs offensive defencemen, particularly rookie offensive defencemen, and particularly particularly undersized rookie offensive defencemen: how do they play defensively?

    Daniel WagnerDecember 5, 2019

  • Jake Virtanen has all the tools, but his frustrating defensive play is holding him back

    Jake Virtanen has every tool a hockey player could want. Virtanen has elite speed on his skates, great hands developed with skills coach Pavel Barber, a strong and solid frame for delivering body checks, a heavy wrist shot that is particularly deadly on the rush, and has even shown in recent games that he can deliver a nice pass. His backhand saucer pass to set up Elias Pettersson for a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week was as neat and tidy as you could ask for. When Virtanen is on his game, he’s a boon to the Canucks, creating opportunities out of seemingly innocuous rushes with his speed alone. The trouble is that Virtanen isn’t always on his game.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 5, 2019

  • Canucks will wear their skate jersey for one extra game this season: Saturday against the Sabres

    A few weeks back, the Canucks lost a Saturday game to the Colorado Avalanche, but they looked good doing it. It wasn’t just the thrilling last-minute comeback to force overtime; the Canucks looked sharp because of their jerseys. That game was the debut of the Canucks’ retro 50th anniversary jersey, a throwback to the flying skate jersey they wore for much of the 90’s. The jersey won a fan vote over a year ago to be the team’s special retro jersey this season and fans were delighted to see it back on the ice. The Canucks had to get special permission from the NHL to have a fourth jersey in their 50th anniversary season and only got approval to wear the black skate jersey on three nights: November 16th versus the Colorado Avalanche, January 4th versus the New York Rangers, and February 10th versus the Nashville Predators.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • Canucks prospect Tyler Madden keeps racking up goals in his sophomore season with Northeastern

    When it comes to drafting out of the USHL, Canucks fans have learned to have faith in Judd Brackett. Brock Boeser was a steal at 23rd overall; the only player with more goals per game than Boeser from the 2015 draft is Connor McDavid. Likewise, Adam Gaudette wouldn’t make it to the fifth round, where the Canucks picked him, in a 2015 redraft. Then there are the prospects that have yet to reach the NHL, but have potential, with Tyler Madden a prime example. Madden has had an unreal start to his sophomore season with Northeastern University, scoring 12 goals and 22 points in 16 games.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks take inspiration from Alex Burrows to send the Senators packing

    It’s only fitting that on the night the Canucks honoured the most famous Frenchman in franchise history that another Frenchman returned to the lineup. It was even more fitting that said Frenchman also opened the scoring. The team’s most famous Frenchman, no offence to “King” Richard Brodeur and Andre Boudrias, is Alex Burrows, whose smiling visage, name, and number were added to the Canucks’ Ring of Honour on Tuesday night. It was a truly touching ceremony, as Burrows spoke extemporaneously at length, thanking all the people that contributed to his fantastic career.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • If you're not a Canucks fan, you'll never understand Alex Burrows

    “Burrows? Do We Really Need Him?” Thus began the most legendary thread in the history of the forums. Fans that were on those forums when it was posted back in 2008 will be well familiar with the thread, but even if you weren’t, you might have seen references to it in the decade since it was posted.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 3, 2019

  • IWTG: Oilers spoil Canucks homecoming, tallying two key goals on Eriksson penalties

    With the advent of December, the Canucks’ November nightmare is finally over. It remains to be seen whether the Canucks can pick up the pieces and put them back together in the months to come. Before the month from hell began, I suggested that surviving November would convince me the Canucks were a playoff team. Did they survive? Well, sort of.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 2, 2019

  • IWTG: Eriksson scores, Horvat line powers Canucks past Oilers

    Sometimes with hockey you get a weird one. Sometimes you get a hard work one, or a high scoring one. And sometimes you get a little bit of everything and some extra stuff you didn’t expect, like a . . .

    Will GrahamDecember 1, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson has the most effective slap shot in the NHL: shooting percentages by shot type

    Certain NHL players are described as having an elite shot, but one of the issues with that statement is that it’s a little too vague. There are multiple techniques to shooting the puck in hockey, and even some of the best snipers in the game are far better at certain types of shots than they are at others. Take Brock Boeser for example. Boeser has a wicked wrist shot, arguably one of the best in the NHL. It’s how he destroyed all comers in the accuracy competition at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game and a big reason why he has 69 goals through his first 166 games in the NHL. If he had been able to stay healthy, he would surely have two 30-goal seasons already under his belt at the age of 22.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 29, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes already looks like an elite power play quarterback

    The Paper Feature is a weekly column and sidebars that appears in the print edition of the Vancouver Courier newspaper. Track it down! The Canucks’ power play has a tendency towards . . .

    Daniel WagnerNovember 28, 2019

  • IWTG: Penguins score five-straight third period goals in Canucks' colossal collapse

    If you try to look up “coach’s nightmare” in the dictionary, you won’t see a picture of this game for several reasons. One is that most people no longer own a dictionary and rely on their phones and the internet to provide definitions of words. So, for many of you, your search for a dictionary in which to look up the phrase “coach’s nightmare” will prove fruitless, and your sleep will be fitful and restless for the next week.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 28, 2019

  • Canucks call up Nikolay Goldobin, send down Sven Baertschi, because you apparently can’t have both

    Travis Green had a simple message for Nikolay Goldobin when he got waived prior to the start of the season: “Keep going.” He kept going. Goldobin could have taken his demotion to the AHL with bitterness. Instead, he’s become a leader for the Utica Comets, committed himself to developing his two-way game, and outright dominated offensively.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 26, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks waste a fantastic performance from Thatcher Demko, fall to the Flyers

    It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that the Canucks don’t have just one hotshot rookie, but two. Quinn Hughes is averaging over 20 minutes per game, is second among rookies in scoring, and is in the top-5 in power play points in the entire NHL, but he’s not the only rookie that has played a key role for the Canucks this season. Thatcher Demko currently leads all rookie goaltenders in save percentage and goals against average. Among the 51 goaltenders with at least five starts this season, Demko is 15th in save percentage, ahead of the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy, John Gibson, Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, and Carey Price.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 25, 2019

  • The Canucks shouldn’t have any retired numbers and other unpopular Canucks opinions

    Twitter was abuzz last week with controversial food opinions. A trending topic kicked off rather innocently by a baseball blogger and analyst, thousands of people jumped into the conversation to declare their hate or love for certain foods. In my opinion, controversial hockey opinions are far more fun than controversial food opinions, so I went on Twitter to ask for unpopular Canucks opinions. Here are the best and most controversial.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 25, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks lower the Capitals’ case in the shootout

    On Saturday, the Washington Capitals held Hockey Fights Cancer Night and declared an “honourary starting lineup,” bringing out six young kids, who have battled or are currently battling cancer, with the Capitals’ actual starting lineup. It was an emotional sight and even re-watching the video brought tears to my eyes.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 23, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks win 6-3 as Dan Murphy celebrates 20 years on TV and Preds celebrate 20 years on PK

    Sometimes, either by choice or extenuating circumstances, you may not be able to show up for something you otherwise would. Former Canuck Artem Chubarov never showed up to collect his car from the underground parking at GM place because he was in such a hurry to return to his home country of Russia. Marlon Brando did not show up to accept his Oscar for The Godfather at the 1973 Academy Awards because he wanted to protest the treatment of Native Americans in Hollywood. And for whatever reason, the Nashville Predators failed to show up whenever they were forced to kill off a penalty tonight.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 22, 2019

  • Canucks shake up their defence pairings for the first time this season

    Through all of the Canucks’ roster changes and line juggling this season, there’s been one constant: the defence. Apart from one game where Quinn Hughes was injured, the Canucks have used the same defence pairings all season: a top pairing of Alex Edler and Tyler Myers, a second pairing of Hughes and Chris Tanev, and a third pairing of Jordie Benn and Troy Stecher. At Thursday’s game day skate in Nashville, however, the Canucks made a change on their defence. They’ll go into their game against the Predators with two completely different defence pairings.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 21, 2019

  • The Canucks may be struggling, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic

    When you’re following a sports team, it’s easy to get caught up in the game-to-game results, riding a rollercoaster of emotion through an entire season. A win fills you with elation and optimism; a loss, crushing disappointment. This doesn’t just apply to fans. When Canucks head coach Travis Green was asked to assess the Canucks’ season after a loss to the Dallas Stars last week, he had to catch himself before he spoke. “I think you’re catching me on a night when we lose a hockey game,” he said. “If you asked me after the Nashville game, I’d probably be a little more optimistic.”

    Daniel WagnerNovember 21, 2019

  • Canucks haven’t scored a one-timer goal on the power play this season (and other PP investigations)

    The power play has been one of the most frustrating and baffling elements of the Canucks season so far. At times, the power play has looked unstoppable, seemingly scoring at will, and their overall power play percentage is in the top 10 in the NHL at 23.3%. Other times, the power play has looked disastrous, unable to either gain the offensive zone or too slow to move the puck and create scoring chances when they do.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 20, 2019

  • IWTG: Stars go supernova on the Canucks in Dallas

    That was rough. Rougher than a 40-grit sandpaper massage. Rougher than taking a commuter bike down a double black diamond mountain bike trail. Rougher than riding Bushwacker the bull in your birthday suit. The Canucks have struggled in November and won just one of their last seven games heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Dallas Stars, but they haven’t actually been playing that poorly. You could argue that they deserved better in several of those losses. Against the Stars, however, they deserved exactly what they got.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 20, 2019

  • The Prospector: Jack Rathbone is racking up points for Harvard without Adam Fox

    Harvard University is wrecking the ECAC conference to start the 2019-20 season and at the heart of their dominance sits Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone. Through five games, the Crimson are undefeated, outscoring their opponents 27-7. That includes big wins over tough competition like Dartmouth and Quinnipiac. While they have yet to face their century-long rivals, the also undefeated Cornell, Harvard has quickly established themselves as one of the top teams in the conference.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 19, 2019

  • Antoine Roussel returns to full contact practice, which is good news for Bo Horvat

    The Canucks could use some reinforcements. Brandon Sutter has a groin strain and it’s unclear when he might return. Micheal Ferland has been out since the end of October with a concussion and there’s still no timetable for his return to the lineup. Then there’s Tyler Motte, who has been out since October 25th with a broken foot. Injuries haven’t entirely been the cause of the Canucks’ slide in November, but they haven’t helped. The Canucks could really use some good news on the injury front, and they got some on Monday. Not only did Jay Beagle return to practice after missing three games with an undisclosed injury, but also Antoine Roussel skated with the team in a regular jersey for the first time this season.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 18, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks can't stop Nathan MacKinnon after forcing overtime in thrilling comeback

    I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but the Canucks have lost more games than they’ve won this season. With Saturday’s overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Canucks are now 10-7-4, which means they’ve won 10 games and lost 11. It’s certainly some consolation that they’ve been able to squeeze a point out of four of those losses, but it’s certainly disconcerting. The Canucks have now lost six of their last seven games and, while it’s not time to hit the panic button, it might be worth moving towards it while trying to act casual, then lightly rest your hand on the molly-guard encasing the panic button, ready to lift the guard and press the button at a moment's notice, just in case.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 17, 2019

  • IWTG: Stars frustrate the Canucks to continue November's woes

    “October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron.” That was J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but she may as well have been writing about the 2019-20 Canucks season. October was going so well, then November showed up and extinguished the good times like a candle in a Jack O’Lantern at the end of Halloween. The Canucks have won just two of eight games in November, with a 2-4-2 record. November has taken its toll in injuries, taking two centres out of the lineup in Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle, and taken its toll in fatigue, as players have had to play big minutes against tough opponents.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 15, 2019

  • Brock Boeser is still sniping goals, but his well-rounded game is leading the way

    Brock Boeser took the pass from Elias Pettersson down the left wing. The Winnipeg Jets defenceman, Neal Pionk, closed quickly, knowing that if Boeser got room to shoot, he could pick a corner and give the Vancouver Canucks the lead. Then Boeser did something unexpected: he lowered his shoulder into Pionk, knocking the defenceman off stride. Boeser spun off the contact with the puck, then cut back, sending Pionk flailing wildly past him. That opened up a passing lane to Troy Stecher, who was trailing the play. A moment later, Stecher sent a back door pass to J.T. Miller for a tap-in goal. Brock Boeser is known primarily for his deadly wrist shot, but as the 2019-20 season has progressed, he’s proven that he’s more than just a one-trick pony.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 14, 2019

  • Canucks call up Zack MacEwen and Tyler Graovac in wake of injuries to bottom-six

    Injuries are unavoidable in an NHL season, even if it seems the Canucks have had more than their fair share over the years. November is around when those injuries start to crop up, as the wear and tear of the season begins to set in. That’s likely part of the reason the Canucks have had such a lousy record in the month of November in recent years, as injuries have exposed their lack of depth. The Canucks have to hope that their improved depth this season will be enough, as the injuries are beginning. The first significant injury of the season appears to be to Brandon Sutter.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 13, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks get back to winning ways with powerplay-fueled win over Predators

    Happy Birthday, Elias Pettersson. The Canucks superstar centre turned 21 on Tuesday, which boggles the mind. Prior to reaching his 21st birthday, Pettersson had already become one of the best players in the NHL, tied for 10th in NHL scoring with none other than Alex Ovechkin. It’s wild to think that Pettersson isn’t even in his prime yet. This is the pre-prime Pettersson. He’s the beta test that is already one of the best video games you’ve ever played. He’s the leaked demo that immediately goes on all your playlists. He’s the movie trailer that gets nominated for an Oscar.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 13, 2019

  • Canucks continue to rotate Bo Horvat’s linemates, hoping to find 5-on-5 scoring

    From one perspective, Bo Horvat is having an excellent season. He’s fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and 14 points in 18 games, putting him on-pace for 27 goals and 64 points, which would match or best his career highs from last season. Even if you look at his underlying numbers at 5-on-5, Horvat is excelling. His corsi percentage is the highest its ever been at 54.7%, which is right behind the top line of J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser among Canucks forwards. There’s just one problem: Horvat isn’t scoring at even-strength.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 12, 2019

  • Millennials killed Coach’s Corner

    When I was a kid, I thought Don Cherry knew everything about hockey. My family didn’t have cable, so my hockey fandom was reliant on three sources: hockey cards, Hockey Night in Canada, and Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em. Hockey Night in Canada was the only time I was able to watch NHL hockey and Don Cherry was a central figure. The refrains of the Coach’s Corner theme song during the intermissions let me know that the titular coach was about to dispense some wisdom. He would always take the time to talk to “you kids out there” and I felt like he was talking directly to me.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 11, 2019

  • IWTG: Brock Boeser snipes one, but Mackenzie Blackwood stops the rest as Devils quash the Canucks

    The first meeting between Quinn and Jack Hughes was a little underwhelming. While it did boast a big moment for the Hughes’ brothers — Jack’s first career NHL goal — it lacked a little in the entertainment department. Jack’s was the only goal of the game and the two teams combined for just 49 shots, the fewest shots in a Canucks game this season. Heck, the Canucks had 49 shots by themselves a few games later against the Los Angeles Kings. So, would the sequel offer a little more entertainment value? Would it land among the all-time great sequels — Hughes Trek II: The Wrath of Quinn — or would it be among the worst — Hughes Bigalow: European Gigolo.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 10, 2019

  • IWTG: Connor Hellebuyck steals goals and the show in Jets win over Canucks

    November was always going to be a tough month for the Canucks. It always is. Over the last four seasons, the Canucks’ record in November is 19-29-9, a pace of just 68 points over 82 games. In other words, they’ve performed like a last-place team in the month of November. This season’s edition of November is particularly tough, featuring 15 games in 30 days, giving the team little time to res, as well as tougher opponents compared to October’s easier schedule. But this season’s edition of the Canucks is also a lot tougher, with a high-powered offence, improved defence, and a one-two punch of solid goaltending. If any Canucks team could disrupt the November narrative, this one could.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 8, 2019

  • IWTG: Blackhawks cancel Canucks' point streak, Chris Tanev is hurt again

    I believe Han Solo said it best: “Don’t get cocky.” The Canucks’ point streak had to end sometime. They went into Chicago with points in eight-straight games and the best goal differential in the Western Conference. They left with their fourth loss in regulation of the season and, well, still the best goal differential in the Western Conference, because man, they really built up a lead in that department. Perhaps the Canucks were taking the challenge presented by the Chicago Blackhawks a little lightly. The Blackhawks came into the game with a 4-7-3 record, with two of their four wins coming in overtime. They’re one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 8, 2019

  • Canucks have been at their most dangerous off the rush

    Over the last four seasons, the Canucks have been the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, leading to the perennial question: “Who’s going to score goals?” The Canucks’ 2.44 goals per game over the last four seasons was dead last, just a bit below the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, and New Jersey Devils. Even in the best of those four seasons — the 2018-19 seasons — the Canucks only averaged 2.67 goals per game, which still ranked them 26th in the NHL. This season, however, the Canucks’ offence has been like Will Smith’s life: flipped, turned upside down.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 7, 2019

  • Alex Edler and Tyler Myers are one of the best defence pairings in the NHL

    Take one aging veteran defenceman, whose injuries have taken a toll on him in recent years. Even as he’s continued to put up points, his play has quietly been on the decline. Add a big-name free agent defenceman, whose signing was excoriated by the hockey analytics world, as he’s consistently given up far more defensively than he ever contributes offensively. Put them together and what do you get? One of the best defence pairings in the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 7, 2019

  • IWTG: Bizarro overtime 3-on-0 provides weird finish to hard-fought Canucks loss to the Blues

    There has just been one nagging question about the Canucks’ hot start: their schedule. Through their first 14 games of the season, the Canucks faced just four teams that made the playoffs last season. While they’ve dominated some of the lesser lights in the NHL this season, there has been that one issue just hanging around annoyingly like Navi in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. How will the Canucks handle the tougher parts of the schedule? Will the game that’s been so effective against the likes of the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings still work against the teams that are true Stanley Cup contenders? Despite the loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the answer appears to be unequivocally yes.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 6, 2019

  • Sutter and Leivo might be the winning combination for secondary scoring for the Canucks

    The Canucks’ first line of Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and J.T. Miller is one of the best lines in hockey. Together, they have utterly dominated their opponents. Pettersson is now sixth in the NHL in scoring and was named the NHL’s first star of the week after racking up 9 points in 4 games. Boeser and Miller are not far behind, at 15th and 19th in NHL scoring, respectively. A few other players, however, have been big contributors to the Canucks’ offensive surge to start the season. At 5-on-5, the three forwards right behind Pettersson, Boeser, and Miller in scoring are Brandon Sutter, Josh Leivo, and Jake Virtanen.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 5, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks beach the Sharks with two goals from Elias Pettersson

    The San Jose Sharks are falling apart. They lost four-straight games to start the season and had lost another four in a row heading into Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. That includes a 5-2 loss to the awful Ottawa Senators, who have won just three games all season. The Sharks are now dead last in the Western Conference, with the second-worst goal differential in the NHL at minus-20. Sharks blog Fear the Fin is full of articles with titles like Everything is bad, What’s wrong with the Sharks?, and Rock bottom. Morale is low.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 3, 2019