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Torts staying positive despite another tough Canucks loss

Nov 26, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

We wrote yesterday that the Vancouver Canucks could use a win against the Los Angeles Kings. Well, in case you missed it, they didn’t get it. They lost in overtime, 3-2, after holding a 2-1 lead late in the third period.

Two defensive breakdowns…

…meant the Canucks finished their six-game home stand with just one victory. Now they face a four-game road trip to visit the Senators, Rangers, Hurricanes, and Predators. And they head off on that trip in ninth place in the Western Conference, three points back of a playoff spot.

Yet despite another negative result, Canucks coach John Tortorella said he liked what he saw from his club.

“I’m very excited about some of things that happened,” he said, per the Vancouver Sun. “You may call me crazy, but I am. We just have to keep banging away … and keep working at this.”

One of those “things that happened” was this:

That melee was largely in response to an earlier hit by the Kings’ Jordan Nolan on Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.

You may recall earlier this month when Tortorella said this: “If someone goes after the Sedins, other people have to step in. That’s part of the game.”

Looks like that message got through.

A couple of other things Torts could’ve been “very excited about” last night:

— The Canucks outshot the Kings, 39-22, and drew eight penalties.

— Recent healthy scratch David Booth finished with five shots and a couple of great scoring chances. (No, he didn’t finish any of them, but hey, it’s progress.)

The challenge for Tortorella will be keeping the Canucks positive and helping them maintain their belief in his system. Last night might’ve been the toughest loss of the season for Vancouver, and that’s saying something.

“I’m going to support them and we’ll get through this,” said Tortorella.

“We just need to take it one game at a time and, come March, we’ll see where we’re at.”

  1. ron05342 - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    “Come March, we’ll see where we’re at.”

    I’m thinking the second division. An astonishing stat last night was the Canucks power play is ranked 28th out of 30 teams. That power play, with the Sedins manning it?

    Something definitely is not right in Vancity.

    • 19to77 - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      That’s Torts and Sullivan for you. NYR’s power play was always worse than the names on it implied it should be (except last year, where they were oddly good on the PP until it tanked in the playoffs), and now the Canucks have mysteriously plummeted from 9th in power play conversion last year to 28th.

    • davebabychreturns - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      The powerplay was sinking like a stone last year as well, this issue predates John Tortorella’s presence on the team.

      And at any way Glen Gulutzan is supposed to be the guy running the powerplay.

      Honestly it’s tough to explain. We lots Ehrhoff and kept going with the league’s 4th-best PP the next year. Then last year with largely the same personnel (but Kesler injured) we were atrocious, now with Kesler healthy and scoring goals we’re still among the worst in the league.

      But hey, at 1 for 8 last night team team actually improved their percentage from their average on the season.

      • davebabychreturns - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Okay, I lied.

        I think the team badly misses Sami Salo, right now the guys who man the point on the top powerplay unit most often are Alex Edler and Jason Garrison who are both left shooters and while they’ve got big shots it’s harder to tee up when you have the Sedins (also lefties) controlling possession and looking to set up a shooter across the ice.

        Right now we have Kesler who obviously works out great down low but he’s the only option across the ice from where the Sedins do most of their work (other than a lefty defenseman shooting across his body) and it really limits the amount of space the offense has to try to spread the opposing penalty killers out.

  2. peterjohnjoseph - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Well, what’s the one thing that New Yorks 28th ranked powerplay last year, and the Canucks this year have in common?
    (Hint: Its not that both feature a player with “Brad” and “Richards” as part of his last name.)

    I honestly picture the coaches powerplay meeting at the beginning of the year sounding something like this-

    Coach #1- So John, there guys are going to be here, here, here and here.
    Coach #2- Right, so when our guy goes this way, the other one will be wide open to…
    Torts- Be ready to get back to block a shot?
    Coach #1- No, John, see, he’ll be wide open. No one will be near him. So he’s going to drive to the net hard and..
    Torts- Block our defenseman’s shot.
    Coach #2- What? Wait, no. That doesn’t even make sense.
    Coach#1- Ok John. Look. We have more guys on the ice than them. This is a major offensive advantage. That means one guy will always be open to..
    Torts- Hang back in case those Olsen Twins Swedish crap doesn’t work so he can block a shot?
    Coach #2- F*uck it. Fine.

    • davebabychreturns - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Rangers fans can believe what they like I guess. Look at the Canucks power play rank over the last four seasons (including the current season)


      There is a precipitous drop in there but it has nothing to do with Tortorella.

      • peterjohnjoseph - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        I’m no Rangers fan. Not a large one anyway, or from New York.

        Believe me, I saw what Vancouver’s power play looked like over the last few seasons. However, I also saw what New Yorks looked like as well, through several permutations, and its the same pitfalls.

        Last years might of been bad, but its not like he’s making it any better. I just don’t think its his best area of expertise.

      • davebabychreturns - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        Fair enough. Ultimately, for this year anyway it’s not in Tortorella’s hands but I’d agree that he is probably not going to solve the team’s powerplay woes on his own – they already generate lots of shot with the man advantage so standng behind the bench yelling SHOOOOOOT along with the 19 000 people in the crowd won’t do much.

        Unless one of the righties on the team (Hansen, Kassian) get a shot on the top unit and start to excel I don’t think we’re going to see a substantial improvement, but that being said even if they keep doing exactly what they’re doing right now I don’t think they could manage to keep shooting at about 5% all year long.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      *their guys.

      P.S. In all respect to John Tortorella, I do believe his system has some major advantages. I mean, the guy did win a Cup. I just don’t think the offensive portion is the part that really shines. I think he’s had players that have made it work 5 on 5 and overshadowed some of its pitfalls, but its obvious on the man advantage what he’s drawing up with his offensive coordinator just isn’t gelling correctly. I don’t have as much insight into the Canucks as I do other teams, so I can’t exactly pinpoint players that have departed that have forced the powerplay to submerge even when Vigneault was coaching, but I’ve seen what Torts has done on another team that didn’t feature Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis on its powerplay, and it looked quite similar. Slow movement, one and dones, and trouble re-entering and setting up.

  3. muckleflugga - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    i see canucks winning all four on the road…

    if they start lack or anyone other than roberto ‘i left my heart in south beach’ luongo

    canucks could improve the team by breaking up the sedins’ predictable and self-serving game…what a bore they’ve become

    bring in an offensive minded video analyst with the authority to slap some bags

    shop kesler to a team like boston where his limited skill set would blend right in with a has-been like iginla [ do two overrated mutts equal one journeyman but useful utility plug ]

    ask for prospects who fit the profile of higgins and hansen and burrows, the only canucks possessed of the former arrogance and belief in themselves

    find more chris tanevs

    if not, vancouver will have the pleasure of seeing calgary and edmonton coming into town looking at easy points

  4. slysipops - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:31 PM


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