The Provies: Planet earth calls, the Goldy situation and the Revenge of the Anti-Negs


New York Islanders' Andrew Ladd scores as the puck gets past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Andres Nilsson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) ORG XMIT: NYCR103
Craig Ruttle, AP

New York Islanders' Andrew Ladd scores as the puck gets past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Andres Nilsson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) ORG XMIT: NYCR103 Craig Ruttle, AP

Photograph by: Craig Ruttle, The Province


In the height of the Boeser euphoria, everything seemed possible.

Dreams were big.

Playoffs were mentioned. People didn’t laugh.

Well, not everyone.

Quietly, however, in a corner of this universe of ours, there were whispers.

Maybe all of the good times weren’t sustainable.

Maybe the Canucks were riding percentages. At the time, they had the second best even strength save percentage in the NHL and were loaded at the top with goal scorers whose shooting percentages were into the 20s.

These were among the things which were going to regress. And this is what that regression looks like.

You can point to Guddy and Sutter being out all you want, and people have.

But the Canucks have lost three in a row with them in the lineup before and will again when they’re back.

This is not a team that’s going to clear out rinks like a collection of 6-foot-6 bouncers vacuuming people out of the bar when the lights go on following last call.

Even when things are going well, it doesn’t look that easy. The Canucks need a lot to go right to consistently compete, get points and win games.

And a lot has gone right to start this season, though they’re not currently sitting in a playoff spot.

That’s a cold, hard truth.

But that cold, hard truth aside, there was something really odd about this game.

The Sedins went from their best of the season to their worst.

Horvat’s line couldn’t sustain any pressure at all.

The Tan man was out of it, enough so you wondered if he was still hurt.

Defensively, the team was a wreck. The goalie wasn’t good enough to bail them out.

There was just, well, there was nothing.

A lot of this is the way the Islanders played them. Their speed and attack had the Canucks on their heels from jump.

But it’s also almost like an NHL team staying in the same city on the road for six straight nights is not the good idea it appears to be on paper.

Trouble can be had, and today sure looked like trouble.


This actually could be how the Canucks look in March, after they’ve traded away some pieces and the weight of the season collapses down on them.

This was not, however, representative of who the Canucks are right now, and have been so far this season.

I’d say it was their worst game.


It was a thing until it wasn’t.

The Canucks rotating goalies made sense for a while. What a great idea it would be to use their different goalies against different teams based on their skill sets.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Here we are two months of the season done, and Nilsson has played in eight games, or one a week.

Let’s remind ourselves what happened to Nilsson tonight.

Shorthanded breakaway, on a play Horvat actually won the face-off in the O-zone, no less.

The second was a rough one. Yikes. But it happens.

The third, the Canucks rolled out the red carpet and said hey, god bless take a snipe, leave a tip:

The fourth was a gong show. But it only goes in because Tanev’s clearing attempt to The Flow hits Baertschi’s skate.

The fifth, oh man, the fifth. The Canucks were spent, tired, or had just checked out on this game. Actually that appeared to happen before the game started.

Whatever it was, they were not skating here.

Watch the backcheck glide into view as Tavares makes it look easy. Honestly think Tavares was in the O-Zone for a four count before a Van fwd made it.



Yeah, well, try watching this and not yawning.



When the Canucks drafted JV18, they were sure to note the patience that would be required. He was a long way from a finished product.

He was worth it, they reasoned, because he’s 220 lbs, can shoot and is one of the fastest skaters on just about every sheet he steps on.

This collection of attributes is rare in the NHL. Real power forward are rare.

That’s why you don’t throw your hands up and say:

“Ah well, Jake’s not on the PP, doesn’t kill penalties

“He’s gonna be a banger anyway, so 10 mins a night is cool.”

It’s not cool. It can’t be. He’s too raw. The potential payoff too drool worthy.

Ten minutes TOI/GM is a risky development strategy, especially for a 21-year-old player still so obviously reaching for a feel of the pro game.

Sometimes, it seems like he’s reaching blindfolded. Other times, it comes together.

Against the Rangers, it came together. Tonight, it did not.

There were capitvating flashes, like using his speed to cut through the the Islanders, creating separation.

But  tonight was a great example of how refining his hockey sense is the last frontier.

It is what is going to take his game to the next level or limit him from ever getting there.

This, in fact, is the biggest obstacle and not how many hitz he gets.

There were times when his speed mattered … until it didn’t.

First on puck. Great. And then in a beat, it’s turned around for an Islander rush.



This next one was actually setting up to be a 4-on-3. JV18 smokes the defender has the puck deep in the OZone because of his speed.

But again this is wheeled by him into an Islander odd man rush going the other way.

Here’s JV18 churning through the middle of ice. Take a moment and drool at the jets.

But he’s really not able to do much in the end.



I dropped this term in a previous edition of The Provies and people were asking me to explain.

I will here.

Anti-Negs are a thriving community in this Canucks culture. They label anything which runs counter to team narrative as a negative.

Generally, to give you an idea, they’ll cape for Sutter, Guddy and nearly everything Benning.

Those are essentially the core beliefs. Until Guddy is trades, I assume.

But it goes well beyond this.

They have this ability to flip the negatives on you like Larry David got tip flipped on Curb.

Are you thinking Goldy has been great and deserves a chance?

Sorry, that’s a negative. Until the team thinks this way, he’s fine in the minors learning the 200 foot game.

Thinking Nilsson has been really good and should get games? Negative.

The time share is fine, why are you trying to stir ish up? Plus did you see Nilsson tonight?

(uh ya, but I also saw this before the team laid that egg and I unfortunately I  can’t unsee it:

Think Granlund is good enough to score more? Negative. They didn’t lose anything to get him so it doesn’t matter.

Think Virtanen is better than he’s shown and should play more? Don’t be so negative. He’s fine where he is. He’s only going to be a checker anyway.

Wait, what?

That’s the sandbox you’re playing in.

So obviously this is a big week for the Anti-Negs. They are Team Playoff usually.

But when the team loses without Guddy and Sutter playing, they roll around and bathe in it.


You know where MDZ is going.

He’s chasing hitz.”>via GIPHY



Sam Gagner is spinning nicely.


What shade of brilliance is Tommy Gun oozing?

I can’t remember the last time I nodded my head as many times as Gagner does in their bench side chat.

I was probably a teenager, my mom was detailing all the things I needed to be aware of to take the car out for the night.

Tommy Gun does care about power plays.

And at some point I do believe we’ll find out he was a mastermind behind the night that turned everything around.

The Canucks didn’t do much tonight. They did score on the power play.

It was a play created by two drop passes, which seemed to confused the islanders and set up what was really a rush chance and subsequent goal.

The best part of it, of course, was Vanek.

The play was just screaming for Eriksson to shoot.

Look at Vanek’s stick, lol.

But what he’s doing is prepping to call for the ball.

He beaver tails Eriksson into making the right choice. A pass through the middle of the ice.




Damn this was pretty.



Whatever he lacks in size, Stech makes up ten fold in positioning and effort.

There’s not a player on the Canucks who gets more out of his DNA than Stecher does.

He helped set up his best scoring chance of the game when he picked off this breakout attempt.

Moments later, he was set up  at the net with all the time in the world.

Unfortunately, he missed …




If they’re in it, they’re keeping him, imo.


650 hates Lebron eh

godspeed on that one.





Tallon doesn’t even like data.


Let’s face it, there’s no bigger Burmistrov guy in Van than JD.

In fact, I tend to believe 8 of 10 times Burmistrov is even mentioned it’s JD related.

Think I saw a graf on this once.

I have no clue how it happened.

My running theory is that this is a rebound relationship for him after Larsen crashed and burned so spectacularly last season.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought a couple of years ago Burmistrov was actually bad in Winnipeg, and the Jets are one of the teams JD is most turned in to.

Am I wrong?

It seems I’m not alone in my confusion over how this all developed.

Now, Dean is not wrong. Burmistrov did The Flow no favours.

But I do not want to see this guy on waivers.

I’m no Burmistrov truther, and I’d really enjoy listening to “Nation Radio” as JD re-tells the ups and downs of being a Burmistrov guy if he is moved on.

But the Canucks need Burmistrov.

They need him because he’s their best chance in that locker room to help transition Goldy from AHL guy to thriving NHL regular.


Miracles happen.

For the Surrey Knights, the miracle was Zakery Babin.

He is the goalie whose team was outshout 49-12. But Zak made all 49 saves (which I was told was a light night for him and not by a little).

And for the first time in forever, the Knights won, ending an 87-game losing streak.

I can’t begin to imagine how losing like that plays with the mind. The other day, my two girls raced up a flight of stairs.

The one who lost was heartbroken, left curled in a heap and crying. She’s five. She doesn’t even watch or play sports.

Trying to win is a massive, not entirely understood part of the human psyche. Being unable to do it, especially for the handful of players who have been on this team for more than a season, extracts a heavy toll, and one that probably changes you. Forever.

Honestly, I’d guess for the better.

Because life, all of it, is F’n hard.

Turns out, so is winning for the Surrey Knights.

Jayden Gill was the captain the last time they won. He was sure to share his love and pride for his old team.

Jayden’s dad is co-owner Amar Gill.

“I look at him now, I have been a coach and been a part of it from that side for 17 years, but I’m also a parent,” Amar said.

“The one thing I see in him is this no-quit attitude. It takes character to go through that.

“And, as a dad, it’s cool to see.”

Yes, it sure is.

Now, I just have to find a way to instil that in my five-year-old without exposing her to 87 straight PJHL losses.


Any excuse I have to re-visit the greatest screengrab in Canucks history, I’m taking it.

I mean seriously, when you see this:

How do you not think of this:


BTW, how many mistakes were made by the Boston Model for that to go down?



I think it’s entirely possible Goldy goes back to Russia.

I would think it true for nearly any young player. How can it not be?

Opportunities to make more, play more and pay less taxes while doing it, home in the KHL, speak.

This point still doesn’t seem to resonate completely yet in Vancouver.

It should. It was pile-driven home months ago when Tryamkin darted because of issues he had with both deployment, and environment.

The Russia thing, it’s real.

The previous regime wouldn’t draft Russians because of it. That was entirely a Gilly thing.

Even when they had Nichushkin’s rated higher than Horvat’s, Gilly took the hard pass and told his staff it wasn’t happening.

He understood the complications, and there are many layers, probably better than most executives did, having been on the other side as an agent.

Don’t like the coach? You can leave.

Don’t like the minutes? You can leave.

Struggling in the environment, with few friends and fewer people you can really talk to? Of course, you can leave.

Don’t like the pay? Not only can you leave, you can turn the threat into a hammer in negotiations. And that opens the door to you being a total tool in your demands, if you so desire. See Nichushkin.

And, don’t like the AHL?

You know the answer.

This is what what got me. There are only 33 Russian players in the NHL. That’s a hockey super power with nearly 150 million people.

Finland has what? 5-6 million people and there are more Finns playing in the NHL. than Russians.

There are nearly three times as many Swedes as Russians in the NHL, and that’s with what, 10 mill or so in population.

Seven, or 21%, of the Russian NHLers are currently clustered on two teams, Tampa and Washington. Both have had tremendous success with Russians. and are thriving.

It can be done.

It has not been done often. And it is not easy.


The good news:

The Canucks seem to have a plan with Goldy. They brought in Burmistrov which promises to make things more comfortable, an easier transition.

From what I’ve heard, they’ve told Goldy’s camp he will play this season. He will get his chance.


That’s the tricky part. But this all could work out just fine.

But the risk it doesn’t is still significant. Unless you don’t care about Goldy, one way or the other.

The bad news:

Goldy isn’t a teen. I keep hearing people talk about him like he’s some lost cub in the woods.

He’s 22 years old. He’s the same age as Horvat. Professionally, hockey players peak around 23-25.

He needs NHL opportunity.

He suggested at the start of the year he he had done all he could do to show he was beyond the AHL.

But even a great start hasn’t led him to opportunity on a team that struggles to score. How badly?

Since the start of the ’15 season, the Canucks offence is the worst in the NHL.

They are scoring more this year, yes. But mostly every team is. The Canucks sat 24th in goals-per-game today.

They need scorers.

Goldy has played 136 AHL games. That’s a significant amount for a first round pick. He’s got just 23 NHL games to go with it.

He has shown patience but we are edging toward crunch time in terms of his development and his NHL chance.


The mysteries of why BFG left were laid to rest in an extensive interview he did in September, translated and laid out wonderfully here by Paddy J.

That intervu was some blow for the local media who bought, hook-line-sinker, the Canucks version of what went down.

Especially this line:

“I didn’t come home for the money. It was because I want to play. Play a lot. I get ice time here, and they trust me. That wasn’t the case in Vancouver. ”


Hey, maybe there was two sides to this one.

And that brings us to Goldy. Rather BFG’s take on what happened to Goldy, which you can bet is an informed take on that particular situation:

You are free to just dismiss those comments as meaningless.

I, however, do not.


Tanman 2.0 set off some waves today when he uncorked this little nugget:


Some preached patience:

Some dismissed it

Others made some sense:

Others made jokes:

How did I react?

I started making calls.

This little revelation counts as good reporting.

On this topic every little thing does.


This is a months old point made by the Boat Capn, but it has stuck with me:

Russia or Utica, what would you pick?





New York Islanders' Andrew Ladd scores as the puck gets past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Andres Nilsson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) ORG XMIT: NYCR103
Craig Ruttle, AP

New York Islanders' Andrew Ladd scores as the puck gets past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Andres Nilsson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) ORG XMIT: NYCR103 Craig Ruttle, AP

Photograph by: Craig Ruttle, The Province

New York Islanders' Andrew Ladd scores as the puck gets past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Andres Nilsson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) ORG XMIT: NYCR103
Craig Ruttle, AP
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