Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Canucks' month-in-review and top five goals of December (video)

With 10 points in 11 games, Daniel led all Canucks in scoring this December.

Bless those Canucks for keeping it interesting. Never mind Thursday night's all-too-familiar victimization at the hands of Los Angles. December's back-and-forth 5-4-2 record is a microcosm for everything Canucks fans are wondering about their team right now. The Canucks have dropped in the standings and now that expectations have levelled out in kind, it's been hard to get a proper read on the team mid-season.

On one hand, you have a team that can appropriately dismantle bottom-rung teams like the Arizona Coyotes -- complete with a rousing swan song from Tom "skill-is-overrated" Sestito. The same team that can register a gutsy 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on the back of Ryan Miller.

On the other hand, there's the Canucks we've seen this past month that can't time a pinch from any defenceman to save their lives. The same Canucks that gave up a 3-0 lead to the 23rd-place Ottawa Senators. And yes, the most-recent iteration of the Canucks that have been outshot a well-documented 103-51 in their last three games.

But hey. It's the holidays. So while the Canucks' YouTube channel gave you three minutes of feel-good Christmas banter and Luca Sbisa adorably cuddling a BC SPCA kitten, Bure's Triple Deke is here to give you the team's top five goals from the past month.

Some observations:

5. The days of Daniel-the-goal-scorer are long, long gone. So just in case Santa didn't put enough rum in your egg nog this Christmas, seeing Daniel Sedin emphatically snipe a shot from the wing this past December should have been enough to spread appropriate holiday cheer. In the ever-increasing absence of an effective snap or wrist shot, Daniel seems to now rely on a well-placed slapper on the rare occasion he doesn't pass. Prior to this goal against Washington in early-December, he's tried a slapper off the rush on a couple of occasions and has at least hand-cuffed the goalie each time. It's extremely encouraging to see that Daniel can still place a shot virtually no goalie can reach.

4 and 3. Remember last season, when Jannik Hansen was very-nearly playing his way out of a roster spot? After a career-high 0.57 points-per-game rate in 2012-13, the Danish winger all but disappeared with 20 points in 71 games in 2013-14. Well apparently that's just another thing you can file under Tortorella. Hansen is amazingly on pace for his 20-goal campaign while being deployed a paltry 12 minutes per game -- his lowest average ice time since 2008-09 and a far cry from the 17 minutes he was earning in 2012-13. Hansen is relevant again and in a big way. Now let's just hope that Dustin Brown's ongoing idiocy Thursday night didn't do any insidious damage.

2. Does anyone do mid-season choices for the Canucks' team awards? Consider this my Chris Tanev for top defenceman ballot. Not only has he resurrected Alex Edler's career, he simply doesn't know how to score an ordinary goal.

1. What. Just. Happened.

*See also: Watch Radim Vrbata pull off the same ridiculous deke three years apart


P.S. Brad Richardson absolutely deserves to be -- but isn't -- highlighted for carrying the Sedin-support this past month. With 8 points in 11 games, he tied for second-most by a Canuck in December with Henrik and Vrbata.


The Canucks' Top 5 Goals of November 2014
The Canucks' Top 5 Goals of October 2014
Watch Radim Vrbata pull off the same ridiculous deke three years apart

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