The Provies: Goldy time, why Green and The Flow work, Burmistrov debate and the Wrath of Sportsnet Eric

 

 
 
 
 
Winnipeg Jets' forward Joel Armia jumps in front of Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Winnipeg on Monday. The Jets won the all-Canadian NHL battle 5-1.
 
 

Winnipeg Jets' forward Joel Armia jumps in front of Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Winnipeg on Monday. The Jets won the all-Canadian NHL battle 5-1.

Photograph by: Kevin King, The Province

BEST IT’S TIME

Nikolay Goldobin can score.

He’s played 21 games with Utica. He’s put 11 in the net.

Whether this particular skill can translate regularly in the NHL suddenly feels like it’s of huge import.

Heck, it’s only the entire season on the line.

The Canucks’ offence has been carved hollow. Still, the team has gone out of its way to avoid giving consistent ice time to two of its more promising offensive players.

One is Reid Boucher. He of the five goals in 27 Canucks games last season. Sam Gagner, by way of comparison, is on a three-in-31 run.

The other player is Goldy, who obviously remains boxed among the team’s misfit toys.

He’s shiny, fun and his talent alluring. But apparently he’s not yet factory tested enough to trust.

How did Green put it?

“Part of Goldy not playing is maturing,” he said.

“We want him to be … ”

Green trailed off. You want him to be what?

Please don’t say a 200-foot player. The Canucks are scoreboard deep in 200-foot players. It’s got them four goals in three games.

It’s got them ridiculously reliant on a rookie. That rookie could use some help. Who has scored the past five goals?

Boeser, Virtanen and … Goldy.

Let the kids play.

Let Goldy play.

“There’s little things in his game and his practice habits and stuff that we’re trying to teach him,” Green explained.

“It’s creating the culture we want around here.

“He’s come a long way in that department and we’ve had some good talks with him the past few days.

“He’s an option who we will think about for next game, for sure.”

On some level, this is entirely understandable. Green is trying to build a player, and a program. He’s just getting started and deserves patience and time to see what he can do.

But his team right now needs help. Boeser needs help. It’s been three games without Horvat and none of the pricey veterans have stepped up.

Not even Eriksson, who people in Van really want to get behind.

What does it mean?

It means it’s Goldy Time.

BEST APPROACH

It’s entirely unfair what’s being asked of Boeser.

He is a rookie. He is also The Offence.

That said, he’s been amazing.

As you know, he scored. Again.

This time, on an absolute ripper.

That is so clean, so ferocious and executed with such authority.

Someone told me he could take that same shot in that same spot and situation 100 straight times.

He’d score on all 100 of them.

I believe it.

Sick. Fl0w.

Obviously, I’ve been impressed with him from the second he landed on the ice with the Canucks. But these three games have been his Mona Lisa.

Not because he’s played perfectly. But because his world is crumbling around him. And he has stood in the centre of it all, unflinching, with that slight grin of his that sometimes betrays his ultra-chill demeanour.

No Horvat? No Baertschi?

“I got this.”

That’s what his play has said. There is no one else on the team who can claim the same.

It hasn’t been enough to lead the Canucks to wins. It has been enough for him to score in all three games Horvat has missed.

There’s pressure on him when everyone is healthy. Just imagine the responsibility the rookie is feeling to keep it going when he’s got a pretty good idea he’s not getting much veteran help.

Actually, no veteran help at all when it comes to actual goals.

“I try not to think about it all, honestly,” The Flow said, breaking into a slight laugh because I was asking him to, you know, think about it.

“I try not to think about scoring and I try to generate scoring chances in any way I can.”

Maybe some others could try the same?

BEST PERSPECTIVE

This doesn’t seem good:

BEST RESPONSES

  

Good times.

Thing is, Green is getting the most out of Boeser. More than anyone imagined. Part of his job is to keep his blossoming star mentally grounded.

Keep him from losing perspective. And when you’re scoring more than any rookie in Canucks history, it’s at least plausible you could lose your footing.

“He’s pretty grounded,” Green said. “He knows what is going to make him have success.

“He’s not a guy who can take chances and beat guys one-on-one. He’s not that kind of player.

“I think he understands how he’s going to have success and how he’s going to score goals.”

In many ways, Boeser is the perfect young, offensive player for Green to coach up.

He’s going to win because of positioning. He’s going to win because of structure. He’s going to win finding spots where he can exploit his shot.

He’s not fast enough or slick enough to go rogue.

“There’s times when he comes off the ice and we talk because maybe he’s forcing something,” Green said.

“We talk about little things in his game. There was a play tonight, a 3-on-3 and he did a rink-wide pass. It wasn’t a play that was going to amount to much offensively.

“If anything it was going to be a turnover going the other way.

“We talk when he comes off the ice. ‘Hey, pick your spot. That’s not the spot to do it.

“‘If you’re going to take a chance make it down low in the offensive zone when we’ve got numbers.'”

Did I find the play?

You’re goddamn right I did.

Details matter.

I’m not sure how it’s going to work between Green and players who need to be selfish and win one-on-ones like Goldy will need to.

But Boeser?

That’s a great fit with this coach.

BEST STAT

BEST QUESTION

At first glance, I would answer: Of course.

But, and I’ve made this point before, old schoolers around the NHL who have been watching 44 play have had real concerns this season about performance.

The irony some continue to prop him up as a centre of the so-called eye-test debate has not been lost on these people.

Now, let’s say word is getting around to 44 and his agent. The year hasn’t been great. Like on any level. Is it so hard to think there may be some concern in his camp that he risks getting frozen out July 1?

And if there is concern, could he come to Jim/Trevor talking about a willingness to take a discount?

Let’s say four or five or even six years in the $4-million range?

I didn’t think all of this possible at the start of the year.

I do now.

BEST RATINGS

Look at those views.

Were they men aged 25-54 though?

BIGGEST SHARK JUMP

Look at these savages trying to question The Pat-cast.

We’re literally arguing whether this guy is hobbled or skating gingerly.

BEST CASE

Tonight’s debate topic: Burmistrov.

Deaner has been invited in to make the case against:

Tommy Gun was invited to present the case for Burm.

He accepted:

“He’s definitely an NHL player,” The Gun said.

“It’s been tough for him. But I give him credit. He works hard every day and is one of the last guys off the ice.

“He’s positive and he’s a great teammate.

“I thought he played well.

“For sure, he can help. He skates well. He’s a good playmaker. He works hard. He gets in the gritty areas. He’s not afraid of anything.

“But it doesn’t matter how good you are sometimes. It doesn’t matter who you are. This is a game of confidence.

“Tonight was a good step for him. I just wish I could have buried one of those to help him out.

“But if he keeps playing like that, he’ll be fine.”

BIGGEST MISS

Does Tommy Gun worry about all the injuries?

Nah.

“Ahhh, every team has them.

“When I have the scoring chances I had tonight I have to put them away. Doesn’t matter who is out.”

Right in the crest though.

Say it ain’t so, Tommy Gun.

“Right away I was thinking blocker again. He did a good job of cutting that angle down.

“So I tried to change it mid-shot to high glove. I was a little too late.”

OK, at least he wasn’t trying to hit the crest.

BEST ANGER

Marky: “Five-on-five it was a pretty good road game, but we just got killed on the two quick power play goals and we couldn’t get a power play if our life depended on it.”

Wait, what?

Were there penalties missed?

“You have to work hard to get penalties. Obviously there weren’t any. If there were they would have been penalties.”

Is this sarcasm?

Seems odd. Is this all about that Tanev play?

He smirks.

“I don’t know.”

Murph: You didn’t seem happy it wasn’t called.

“No, I wasn’t happy because they scored.”

Hmm, not believing you.

That’s a pretty loose hand on his stick.

Not sure you’re going to get that call too often.

BEST GOALIE

Will need Woodley to break this down:

Edler appears to go into a butterfly and then tries to make a glove stop.

Actually, not just a glove stop, a windmill save.

God bless his desire to play net.

BEST WTF

Why is everyone so into Dowd puns?

This will probably only get me more, but I honestly don’t get why his name is so fun to  … pun.

BEST PHOTO SHAP

Wow.

Man, he can score goals and ask the coach questions about it later.

My kind of player.

BEST TO BE FAIR

To be fair, Burmistrov is always frustrated.

Believe it or not, this is him from last year:

Does this seem familiar?

Canucks would be out to lunch if they didn’t see it coming.

BEST DEFENCE

That first goal tho.

Whoa.

Coach: “It was a tough shot, through a crowd. It got on top of him quick and it goes through him.

“What are you going to say?”

Let’s ask Marky.

Marky: “I picked it up late and it went through.

“I wasn’t good today. I take full responsibility. I have to be better. Especially on the first shot.

“And I needed to make a save on the power play. In the end too. I was trying to give the guys a chance to come back at least.

“I wasn’t good. You have to own it.”

Fear not.

You just did.

BEST PLANET EARTH CALLING

Chaput was on top of the world one day.

Coach was gushing about his shutdown skills.

The next, he lost a board battle and had a giveaway and the Jets had a power play goal.

We’re hearing the practice habits are good.

BEST RIDDLE

Gagner is going to need to do something, anything.

Right now, Torts getting 50 points out of him last year looks like one of the game’s truly great achievements of all time.

BEST CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL?

BEST FEUD I

My week has sucked. Lost my wallet. Carson Wentz tore an ACL. I got called out by DT. And Sportsnet Eric too.

I’ll get to all of it.

But, first, mood.

I want feuds. I got feuds.

In the last edition of The Provies, I lit up DT pretty good. Even went overboard when I mistakenly said he absolved Hutton for a giveaway when in fact he had verbally cuffed the play.

Apologies all around.

Nothing worse than getting the little things wrong when you’re knee-deep in feuding. Stops everything ice cold.

What really mattered, DT said the Canucks didn’t sit back in the third. I, among many others, suggested they, uh, sure did.

DT promised, god bless him, to re-watch the third. And after he did, he brought out the six-shooters this morning on Pratt’s show, leaving me riddled with wounds.

He said:

“They didn’t sit back. Watch the third period again. I went shift by shift. Minute by minute. They were forechecking. They were getting the pucks in deep.

“They didn’t do one single, sit-back trap, 1-2-2 except for the game-winning goal against.

“To watch that game and say they sat back is in-corr-ect.”

Each syllable on the last word, another gut punch landed.

Each one seemingly extenuating my painfully awful week.

I was ready to take the L for this.

I had zero intention of exposing myself to this third period again. My week was bad enough.

Plus, what’s a good years-long feud if you don’t take a couple Ls along the way?

But then, Green turned that third into a story.

When questioned on how his team may change because of a string of injuries, he revealed this nugget:

He showed his group a late pass from Edler for inspiration.

What a pass it was.

A breakout launched under pressure which essentially set up a 3-on-2 and the Canucks’ best scoring chance of the period.

“That was an example of ‘Hey, we’re under the gun here and we can make a great pass,”‘ Green said. “We have to have the confidence to do that all the time.”

The message, in tight with his group, and in that locker-room? Don’t change. Keep pressing. Protect your identity.

What did it mean for me?

I had to re-watch portions of the third to dig up that pass.

BEST EVIDENCE

En route to Edler’s magic, I did find more than one single play that looked like sitting back.

There were several unusually long dump-ins.

This was the Sedins, with the lead, dumping a puck in from their own blueline, and no it was not a line change.

I mean, looks like they’re killing a penalty here.

Did I just take a reverse W?

I do believe I did.

BEST INTRODUCTION

I was actually feeling pretty good with myself upon completion of the last edition of The Provies.

Attacked a complicated, sensitive issue in radio ratings.

Heard from important people from those heavily involved.

From one:

“Everyone in our building thought you were very fair.”

From another:

“I thought you did a nice job with it.”

Unfortunately, not everyone shared in the good vibes.

Out of nowhere, Sportsnet Eric awakened, tapping himself to represent 650 in a very public, and I’ll go with vicious, way.

First, who is Sportsnet Eric?

I had no clue.

I sure know now.

Turns out, he is the dude who first put 650 on the air:

He is a lover of really bad jokes:

They let you leave home with that material?

He also, unwittingly I’m sure, took something that was created and popularized right here in The Provies and wrote a song about it:

You do know, Sportsnet Eric,  you may as well call that a tribute to The Provies, right?

Sportsnet Eric celebrated, popping bottles, when his song, sorry —  make that our song — was played on hockey night:

Look at all that joy.

And to think, Sportsnet Eric, all of your joy was only made possible because you lifted material from The Provies.

Oh my, life moves fast doesn’t it?

You’d assume after we wrote a song together, Sportsnet Eric would feel a special bond with me.

I am here to tell you, he does not.

BEST FEUD II

That’s some loaded sub-tweeting, Sportsnet Eric.

This is a two-accusation sandwich.

One, I’m unreasonably hard on 650.

I guess he thinks this because I have had some back-and-forths with A&W.

I’ve prodded a long list of media in this city, many of whom have even worked in the same department over at the paper.

In fact, it got so heated years ago, I was muzzled, court ordered by higher ups not to mention these people who worked in the same building as I do.

Party lines have not impacted with whom I joust. There is a long track record.

Mostly, I joust with those who can handle it. And I got news for you, A&W is just fine. He can handle it. And dish it too.

The second accusation lobbed like a grenade by Sportsnet Eric is much bigger and potentially damaging. He is suggesting I have a conflict of interest and because of it I have been unethical in my conduct.

This one seems to be a recurring theme I’ve heard. Maybe Sportsnet Eric needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and take a look at his house from 30,000 feet for a moment.

He works in a place which exists because of a multi-year, multimillion contract with the Canucks.

A $100-a-week conflict seems pretty insignificant in comparison to this. No?

There are many media in the city I could call out for much more troubling conflicts, including people who Sportsnet Eric befriends.

I’ll choose to keep this to myself. For now.

No reason to burn the city to the ground because Eric went rogue.

BEST BLOG

So what triggered Sportsnet Eric?

Interestingly, the froth is not because I was wrong.

It seems Eric is worked into a lather because I included a show-by-show ratings breakdown in a category of men aged 25-54. The M25-54 demo. The key demo.

The one that has been, and will always be, the key demo for sports-talk radio.

Sportsnet Eric does not like the key demo.

Not. At. All.

Really?

The key demo in sports radio means nothing? Nothing to anyone?

No one at 650 cares about M25-54?

No one in sports radio cares about it anymore?

OK. Bold.

P1 is radio lingo for a station’s most loyal, regular listeners.

Tanbir? P1.

Sportsnet Eric is mocking anyone who pays attention to the most loyal listeners.

So what is important, Sportsnet Eric?

Oh my, that’s aggressive.

How many female listeners did you steal?

Sounds big.

Will there be ad campaigns?

I did point out sports talk was down across the entire country.

I wrote there are those who think this cross-country dip of — what did you say? 50 per cent? — year over year is, well, odd, including some people at … Sportsnet.

It sure shallowed the pond, so to say, and most likely all of this benefitted 650 because it was synchronized with the station’s arrival in Vancouver.

And if it did, great for 650.

Take a run around the bases.

Of course, Sportsnet Eric, you’ll only take yours after some bat flipping, I see.

BEST IRONING

Oh, dear Eric.

You just did write about such things.

Are you sure you know what you should and should not be writing about?

Are you sure you know what’s responsible?

 
 
 
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Winnipeg Jets' forward Joel Armia jumps in front of Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Winnipeg on Monday. The Jets won the all-Canadian NHL battle 5-1.
 

Winnipeg Jets' forward Joel Armia jumps in front of Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Winnipeg on Monday. The Jets won the all-Canadian NHL battle 5-1.

Photograph by: Kevin King, The Province

 
Winnipeg Jets' forward Joel Armia jumps in front of Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Winnipeg on Monday. The Jets won the all-Canadian NHL battle 5-1.
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