The first quarter of the Vancouver Canucks 2022-23 NHL season is painfully over.
20 of their 82 games have been completed and the 7-10-3 Canucks are sixth out of eight in the Pacific Division and 12th out of 16 in the Western Conference.
This is a similar start to the 21-22 season where Vancouver was 6-12-2 after 20 games and seventh out of eight in its division.
To refresh your memory, on this date (November 25th) last year Travis Green was the head coach and Jim Benning was the general manager, and both were fired on December 5th.
Vancouver went on to miss the playoffs and is underachieving again.
In the pandemic 20-21 season, where they missed the post-season, the Canucks were 8-11-1 after 20 games.
In other words, slow starts have become the norm no matter who is behind the bench or who the general manager is.
If you are not following the team closely you might have forgotten that Patrik Allvin is the GM under Vancouver President, Hockey Operations, Jim Rutherford.
The Canucks are suffering in the mental part of the game.
No one could have predicted this team could have blown multiple-goal leads seven times in just 20 games.
That is an NHL record, one not to be proud of.
Obviously, the heat is on head coach Bruce Boudreau who has to take some of the blame for the Canucks playing with little confidence and having a lack of killer instinct.
The latest debacle came Monday when the Canucks, on home ice, led the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 with 13 1/2 minutes left in the third period, yet could not even manage to earn a point as they fell 5-4 in regulation time.
While the coaching staff has not been able to solve the fragile state of the team, the players do not have answers either.
“We all want to win and we’re all trying, but I don’t know what the answer is,” said Elias Pettersson to the Vancouver Province after the Vegas game. “We just can’t let that happen and it’s been happening too much this season. It’s just frustrating. We have to love being in those moments, and I think we do, but it’s just not good enough.”
Bo Horvat has been averaging nearly a goal per game (16 in 20), Quinn Hughes is averaging more than an assist per game (18 in 16) and Luke Schenn is tied with Ilya Mikheyev and Pettersson for the team lead in plus-minus at plus-eight.
To the Canucks credit, they actually showed some grit on Wednesday, erasing a 3-2 third-period deficit in Denver and knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche 4-3.
Ethan Bear broke a tie with eight minutes remaining in the third period and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3.
Bear and Sheldon Dries each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who have won three of their past four.https://t.co/VU0xqrPfr5
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) November 24, 2022
Vancouver has put up enough offense to win most nights with 70 goals.
To put that in perspective, that is third most in the Western Conference and seventh most in the league.
Goals against have been a different matter.
Vancouver has allowed a whopping 79 (nearly four a game) which is third most in the Western Conference and fourth most in the entire league.
When a goalie struggles so will the team as starter Thatcher Demko has been second-rate with a whopping 3.87 GAA and a save percentage of .883.
His GAA has him ranked 56th in the league.
The Canucks have actually been better when backup Spencer Martin has been in the net.
Martin got the win against Colorado stopping 33 of 36 shots.
The good news for the Canucks is many teams in the Western Conference are off to a mediocre start as Vancouver is just three points out of a playoff spot.
62 of the 82 games remain and it is not panic time with November not even completed yet.
Having said that, should they continue on this path of blowing leads and losing regularly, at some point this season Boudreau along with some of his staff will likely be the fall guys.
This isn’t a model relationship between the two and one that appears destined to end quickly.
Cat Scan podcast:
Top-ranked prospect Connor Bedard, who could be selected 1st in the 2023 #NHL #Draft is on a BC trip with the @WHLPats that will stop in @CityofPG to play @pgcougars on Dec 2. Find out insight on Bedard with the voice of the Pats Dante De Caria in this week’s Cat Scan #podcast. https://t.co/C96anb918x
— Hartley Miller (@Hartley_Miller) November 24, 2022
Michigan-based OHL team wants to host Memorial Cup . . . Winterhawks equal franchise record . . . Bedard, Pats selling out B.C. tour https://t.co/nxuJ7gCOO8
— Gregg Drinnan (@gdrinnan) November 24, 2022
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
A baseball glove that Babe Ruth once gave to St. Louis Browns third baseman Jimmy Austin sold for $1.53 million — nearly four times the previous record for a mitt — at the 19th annual Louisville Slugger auction. A gold glove, indeed.
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
The Cardinals-49ers game in Mexico City Monday night was cause for celebration for the whole country south of the border. Even the cartels gave their judges, prosecutors, and DEA agents the day off to enjoy the festivities.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
After an incredibly well-played game against the Buffalo Bills, some late play-calling decisions and letting Stefon Diggs get open means the Detroit Lions deliver another Thanksgiving turkey to their fans.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
In Case You Missed It:
Five things you might see during NFL Thanksgiving Day games:
5. Wishbone formations;
4. Feathered passes;
3. Gobblehead dolls;
2, Major fowls;
1. A gizzard of odds.
*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).