Skip to content

Why has the Canucks’ power play ‘sucked’?

Nov 11, 2013, 1:26 PM EDT

Alex Edler #23 of the Vancouver Canucks fires a slapshot and scores their second goal against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on October 1, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Vancouver won 4-2.
(September 30, 2010 - Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

It wasn’t that long ago that Vancouver Canucks’ power play was one to be feared. These days, it emits comments like this one from head coach John Tortorella: “Our power play sucked.”

Tortorella’s remark came after last night’s 3-1 loss in Anaheim that saw the Canucks go 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Vancouver’s power play currently ranks 27th in the NHL, clicking at just 9.7 percent.

Compare that to 2010-11, when it finished first overall at 24.3 percent, and you’re talking about a significant drop.

The fall from best to almost worst has been a precipitous one for the Canucks’ power play. In 2011-12, the unit ranked fourth (19.8%); in 2012-13, it dropped to 22nd (15.8%).

What happened? Well, there’s no shortage of theories. Vancouver became too predictable, say some observers. And there’s probably something to that.

But looking back to the Canucks’ salad days in 2010-11 and something else stands out — two of their top point producers with the extra attacker aren’t with the club anymore. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is in Buffalo; forward Mikael Samuelsson is in Detroit.

Ehrhoff’s absence has been felt the most of the two. In 2010-11, he finished tied for fourth in the NHL with 28 power-play points — 22 of them being assists — and spent by far the most of any Vancouver d-men on the ice with the man advantage (281:28).

Today, the Canucks don’t have a go-to power-play quarterback on the back end. Alex Edler and Jason Garrison were supposed to be the guys, but the results haven’t been there. Yes, they’ve both got big shots. But can they create opportunities and dictate the play like Ehrhoff did in concert with the Sedins?

That’s a question general manager Mike Gillis may need to ask prior to the March 5 trade deadline. Granted, there won’t be an easy fix easy given the Canucks’ lack of cap space, so maybe his only real option is to hope for improvement.

Latest Posts
  1. Jets re-sign Ellerby despite not qualifying him

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Keaton Ellerby Getty Images

    He’s coming back after testing the free agent waters.

  2. Flames sign Ortio for two more years

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:53 PM EDT

    Joni Ortio Getty Images

    He started in nine games for the Flames last season.

  3. Vancouver signs ’14 first-rounder Jared McCann

    Jul 24, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT

    Jared McCann Getty Images

    The Canucks selected him with one of the picks they got from the Ryan Kesler trade.

  4. Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    Lars Eller Getty Images

    The two sides managed to avoid arbitration despite a $1.45 million gap on a one-year deal.

  5. B’s re-sign Warsofsky: one year, $600,000

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    DavidWarsofsky Getty Images

    Alternately known as “the guy Boston got for Vladimir Sobotka.”

  6. Veteran NHLer Pyatt signs in Swiss league

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

    Taylor Pyatt

    Journeyman split last season between the Rangers and Penguins.

  7. Avs ‘confident’ they’ll reach deal with Barrie, says Sakic

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

    Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche and head coach Patrick Roy appear on the bench during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 28, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 3-2.
(September 27, 2013 - Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Offensive d-man led all Colorado blueliners in goals last year, with 13.

  8. Isles, Poulin avoid arbitration with one-year, two-way deal

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    Kevin Poulin

    He’s likely to be the No. 3 goalie in New York this year.

  9. Bruins name Sacco assistant coach

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

    Joe Sacco AP

    Former Colorado bench boss and Massachusetts native returns home.

  10. Avs hope to learn from ‘nightmare’ playoff finish

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Seven Getty Images

    “Maybe it just wasn’t our time yet,” Patrick Roy said.

  11. PHT Morning Skate: What to do with Niemi?

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Antti Niemi AP

    Thursday’s assortment of links.

  12. Babcock on analytics: ‘I love the information’

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    mikebabcockgetty Getty Images

    Makes sense for a franchise that frequently favors puck possession.

  13. Florida phases out ‘Lady Panthers’

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    They’ll feature a “skating-only” ice crew next season.

  14. Video: EA teases what’s new in NHL 15

    Jul 23, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    eanhl15screen

    Will their latest physics improvements make a big difference?

  15. Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    James Reimer, Mark Fraser, Steven Stamkos AP

    “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away.”

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1961)
  2. L. Stempniak (1652)
  3. D. Roy (1572)
  4. A. Rome (1341)
  5. R. Nash (1340)
  1. R. O'Reilly (1243)
  2. M. Ribeiro (1235)
  3. C. Franson (1223)
  4. P. Subban (1150)
  5. D. Cleary (1140)