Based on the conversations members of the Vancouver Canucks organization had with the media Monday, and based on Vancouverhockeynow.com ‘s visit and conversation with Rob Fai on the Sportsbar Radio podcast, here are some of the quotes of the day.
Goalie, What Goalie?
When I asked Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Travis Green if back-up goalie Jaroslav Halak would start Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, he said:
“You’ll just have to show up for tomorrow night’s game to find out,” with a wry smile.
Based on Vancouver Hockey Now’s goaltending “formula”, a fancy term for a likely plan VHN came up with two weeks ago, Anaheim should be Halak’s game. We had projected him starting two of the seven matches during the homestand with one of them being the finale against the Ducks.
Holding Back the Hammer
When I asked whether defenceman Travis Hamonic would be making the road trip that starts Wednesday and begins with a game in Denver Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche, “Greener” said:
“We’ll see, I made a comment on that last week, we’ll make a comment on that before the trip.”
Which could and should be interpreted as a “no”. Based on the math, between waiting the necessary time period between Covid vaccine shots for health reasons, and potentially waiting through a period of time after the second shot, there’s a strong likelihood Hamonic skips this three-game foray.
I say “potentially” on the second waiting period, as the loose guidelines of 14 days after a second shot before someone was considered “vaccinated”, can be “fudged” so to speak. It also appears to be a moving target. I base part of that on personal experience and the experience of others I know who have travelled to the US soon after their second shot. Once verification of the second shot is produced, whether it’s via paperwork or involves formal testing after the fact, the latter waiting period can be played with and isn’t etched in stone.
Again, logically and for obvious health ramifications, it would be irresponsible to not wait the necessary time between shots. As we brought up in a recent article, Hamonic should be available for the subsequent trip that begins on November 23rd, completely dependent on if and how that second “potentIal” waiting period is enforced, if it’s a factor at all.
This is all assuming, always somewhat dangerous, that Hamonic has received a second Covid shot. He’s played three home games since formally returning to the Vancouver Canucks at the beginning of last week.
His absence would have ramifications obviously, given the team’s need for a top-4 presence on the right side, and depth wise as well now that Luke Schenn is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
“Oh Woe is Me” Moves from the PP to the PK
The Canucks blew the doors off their power play slump with a 3-for-6 performance against the Dallas Stars Sunday, boosting their overall season success rate to 18.4%. Vancouver had been stuck in an 0-for-18 stretch on the man advantage entering the game.
The top unit of, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Quinn Hughes tallied all three power play goals. Movement, “fluidity” of puck and players, turned out to be a key, as did a meeting the first unit held Sunday after the morning skate.
“It was a long time coming for that meeting, and I think we just needed to be honest with our (power play) group and honest with ourselves that it wasn’t good enough and our team is going to need us to win,” Horvat said. “Simple as that, I don’t know if it sparked us, it’s been one game, we have to do it consistently now, but I think that meeting definitely opened up eyes that we were willing to play wherever, do whatever. Those are the five guys on the ice that are going to do it, and we went out there and did it last game, now we just have to keep doing it.”
Meanwhile, the penalty killing becomes the focus, trudging along at at 63.9% kill rate. Eighty-percent is the neighbourhood one wants to be in as a starting point. Dallas tallied twice with the man advantage in their losing effort, two nights after the Nashville also scored twice on the power play in their 3-2 win.
“Honestly, I didn’t sleep very well after the game on Friday,” Canucks forward Jason Dickinson said Monday. “It killed me because that right there is the difference. If were able to get those kills, we’re looking at a different hockey game.”
“At the beginning it wasn’t necessarily good power play goals where like, teams exposed us,” Dickinson said. “You start thinking, you start overthinking things at that point, it’s gotten so deep that guys are now … your instincts feel like they shut off almost and you’re chasing it at that point. (Then) guys try to do too much, guys think ‘I’ve got to do more to shut them down’, but it actually just exposes ourselves more, it gives up more easy ice, it gives up lanes we would never want to expose before.”
It will improve. At some point it will get a boost from the return of ace penalty killer Tyler Motte, still making his way back slowly from off-season neck surgery.
“We want him back as quick as we can, but we’re not going to rush him back,” coach Green said. “We need him, we want him back, but again, his health is first and foremost.”