People tend to tell you to let the NHL season hit 20 games before you start trying to define trends. Nobody wants to make a fool of themselves off of a small sample size and have the shame of jumping to conclusions follow them around the rest of their lives.
“Remember when you said Brian Savage was a generational talent?” is something you can’t run from easily.
Luckily the 20-game mark has just passed for the Vancouver Canucks, so we can now lock in our hot takes and rest easy knowing we have the numbers to back it up. It’s called math, nerds. And science. Science math if you will.
- Gretzky compares Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson’s game to his own
- Some dumbass vandalized the Pat Quinn statue outside Rogers Arena
- SixPack: Checking in with former Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa
That being said, here are five biggest (and totally serious) surprises of the Canucks’ season so far:
1. Pettersson doesn’t have 50 goals yet
In what has to be seen as a crushing disappointment, Elias Pettersson has failed to hit 50 goals in his NHL career yet again.
Elias’ hot start to the season had many people scrambling to revise their hockey history, deleting tweets about wanting Gabriel Vilardi or Cody Glass over Pettersson. Concerns about his size, and warnings of reading too much into Swedish League success were thrown to the wayside as people celebrated the next coming of a combination of Pavel Bure, Wayne Gretzky, and Clubber Lang.
Canucks have brought 80's hockey back with all these goals and Swedish Gretzky.
— Taj (@taj1944) November 9, 2018
Unfortunately, 20 games in, and Pettersson is still well short of 50 goals.
Some may claim that nobody has scored 50 in 20, but others will correctly point out that clearly size and weight are what is holding him back. You have to think that with five years of proper conditioning in the AHL, along with 30 more pounds of muscle, he’d have hit 50 easy.
2. Eriksson’s refusal to show off his wealth
The six-million dollar man has had his share of critics in Vancouver. Brought in to provide top line scoring, Loui Eriksson has struggled to simply stay healthy, let alone score some goals. With the Canucks starved for offence at times, all eyes will naturally fall on the man brought in to be your hired gun.
It’s like adding Thor to the Avengers. You expect the Nordic superhero to come in and kick some ass pretty quickly. Except when he shows up for work, he’s in a Puma track suit, and sheepishly admitting to you he forgot his hammer and costume back at Asgard. Next thing you know Thor is out there tossing a baseball bat at people, then jogging to pick it up so he can throw it again.
Not exactly the sexy visual you had in mind when you brought him on board.
That being said, this is the perfect time to lean into that contract, Ted Dibiase style. If you get no goals in 10 games, don’t worry. Just start cackling anytime someone asks you a question and claim “everybody’s got a price.”
Make yourself a Million Dollar Belt and award it to the player of the game after each game. The catch? You only award it to yourself. Each game. No matter what. “Looks like I won it again, Murph! Ha ha ha ha!”
Create a stable (Goldobin and Hutton seem like a natural fit) of people who live the rich lifestyle like you. Wear a suit made of money. Roll up to Rogers Arena in a Lamborghini driven by a horse. Pull out a wad of 20s and make it rain on the goalie when you score.
Sure, you might not get a ton of points, but people will never forget you.
3. Horvat hasn’t been sent on a mystical quest to become captain
Look, Bo Horvat will be the next Canucks captain. I know it. You know it. Bo knows it. Hell, on the Canucks’ dads road trip, Bo’s father, Tim, was basically the captain of the dads. You know if someone needed to organize the bus to the arena or do room checks, Tim was on top of it. Leadership runs in their blood so deep they probably pray in the godswood before defending the North every day.
And I get that the team wants to be coy with it. Maybe take a year to let the shadow of Henrik’s reign recede into the distance like Zack Kassian’s hairline did back in the day. But what better time than now to show that Horvat is ready to become captain then by sending him on some heroic quest on an off-day to claim the “C”?
Make him complete a Herculean task that only a real captain could do. Make him ride the 99 B-Line all day making sure every single person taps in when they get on the bus, front loading doors open only. He must remain calm and answer every question asked of him, and never once will he be allowed to show any anger or frustration. Show that he can survive the worst humanity has to offer in the form of angry people going to work and drunk people heading home.
Media wants to know what he could have done better in a 7-0 loss? Pfft, that’s easy to answer compared to someone screaming obscenities, demanding to know why they have to pay to take the bus a couple of stops.
If he can survive a day of that, surely he deserves to be named captain this season.
4. Motte’s lack of movement
While Shotgun Jake has taken the NHL by storm, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the failure of Tyler Motte’s lack of viral content. Although it clearly started before Jake Virtanen’s fanatics finally found something to do with the beer their friends left in their fridge last Christmas, “Clamato Motte” never really found any steam.
If Tyler Motte’s nickname isn’t Clamato, it should be #Canucks
— Likes Dogs, Hates Nazis (@KentGBasky) March 13, 2018
It’s hard to pin down why this movement never hit its stride.
Some will say chugging down reconstituted tomato and clam juice is “insanity bordering on criminal” but that clearly comes from someone who’s never had boiled Clamato on their way to work on a cold winter’s day. Nothing warms your soul quite like red hot ketchup oozing down your mouth hole. If there is a better way to go out in life then by drowning in Clamato, I’ve yet to hear it.
Still, all it takes is one crazy over the top goal celebration from Tyler, and this movement will reignite. Score a goal, pull a celery stick out of your glove, take a bite. That’s all it takes to make Clappin’ a Clam’ the next big thing.
5. Richmond hasn’t given the key to the city to Stecher yet
Troy From Richmond is the best thing to come out of Lulu Island since Charlotte Diamond explored the inner workings of pizza and brought a divided country together again. Je suis une pizza! I am a pizza!
And while you would think Troy being unable to surpass Derrick Pouliot on the power play depth chart would be the most shocking part of the season so far, the real crime here is how Richmond hasn’t done the right thing and given Troy a key to the city yet.
Every night, Troy is out on the ice, consistently being one of the Canucks’ best defenders. On top of that, he is not fooling around out there. I dare you to try and find me someone who takes the game more seriously than Stecher. He can’t even joke around about Pettersson’s pronunciation of his name, due to the fact he’s so focused on being the best Troy he can be.
Because of this, you can happily hand the key to the city to Troy knowing he will secure that key, and only use it in cases of emergency (I assume keys to a city lock a giant gate for when the White Walkers invade, but I will admit my Google research was hazy on this point).
No one is suggesting we rename Richmond to Troymond (not yet, let’s wait for the first Stanley Cup win first), but the least we can do is honour a man who helped return prestige to a city that has barely recovered from the awful decision of putting the bathrooms at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport tucked away in a remote corner, on the second floor, down some long ass hallways.