The Canuck Mid-Season Report

The season to date has been one of little surprise.

Where is the goal scoring going to come from?
Can they score more than two goals in a game?
What will be their team identity?
How will Luongo perform with a reduced workload?  Or less shots on net?
Will their work ethic improve?
Will they become a boring hockey team?

So many questions, and much left to still be answered.

Here’s what we know. 

They have trouble scoring goals.  They are almost unstoppable with a current 14-2 record when they can score 3 or more goals.

However, they currently rank 29th in the league with a 2.39 average goals per game.  Their power play has operated in line with this, scoring on only 15.6% of their chances, good for 22nd in the league.

But it’s not a story of them playing a defensive only inspired game.  They rank 10th in shots on goal per game with and average of 30.1.

So what’s the deal?

The reality is that the loss of Todd Bertuzzi had a bigger affect on the team, and more particularly Naslund, than anyone had anticipated.  He opened up space, and created a distraction for the rest of the team to take advantage of.

Then there’s Naslund himself trying to prove himself a leader by adopting everything Vigneault is throwing at him as it relates to defense.  He’s taken it to such an extreme, he’s almost forgotten how to cut in on the half boards and get that wrist shot off.

And then the distraction of Kesler’s unwarranted 1.9m contract.  I’ve never blamed Kesler for the money he earns.  But it certainly has become an albatross on his back.

Don’t forget that Matt Cooke & Jan Bulis have both had times where they’ve been disappointed and sulked a bit about the role they were playing on the team, or the linemates they have.  Count those two as not only distractions but under performers as a result of that as well.

The only players that haven’t disappointed this season from a production standpoint are Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, & Mattias Ohlund.  All three are only pace for career years in points:

Daniel Sedin – 77 points (previous high 71)
Henrik Sedin – 80 points (previous high 75)
Mattias Ohlund – 44 points (previous high 36)

That’s pretty impressive.

As is the Canucks penalty killing this season.  One of the truly impressive stats they’ve put together this year is their 2nd overall ranking in the NHL with a 87.6% rate on the penalty.

It’s in line with their average goals against which sits at 6th in the league with 2.56 per game.

That’s what a money goaltender can get you. 

And that’s what the Canucks got. 

For those fans that feel disappointed in Luongo’s performance at times.  Ask yourself this question.  What would really make you happy.  You’re 6th in the league in goals against.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

There is a lot of hockey left, and many more questions to be answered down the stretch.

The Chief Canuck

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