Rumours were plentiful that the Canucks were rapidly approaching the decision to make a coaching change, a management change, a trade, anything to try and spark some life in their struggling organization.
Elliotte: I heard they're doing a big audit on everyone available.
Doesn't believe there's any favourite right now.
(Didn't sound like anything is going to happen soon)
– Marek Show
— Taj (@taj1944) December 3, 2021
Two-game win streaks from both their AHL and NHL franchises later, and suddenly the patient approach is back on the menu for ownership!
The existing organizational problems are still lingering in the background. But the team’s performances across two leagues have been good enough to warrant a pause on the nuclear annihilation of the Canucks organizational chart.
Plus! It’s TEDDY BEAR TOSS NIGHT!
For this ‘Gameday Harvest LIVE!’ I did not bring a stuffed animal to throw.
- I didn’t think it would be professional to do so.
- I also didn’t want to rip my shirt attempting to throw a stuffed animal over the netting.
The Abbotsford Canucks mandated that fans throw their stuffed animals during the intermission, not after the game’s first goal, due to COVID protocol.
Thanks a lot, COVID.
Tonight, the Barracuda will be without Noah Gregor, a key driver of San Jose’s offence, who recorded one goal and thirteen shot attempts against the Canucks the last time these two teams went head-to-head!
Though they came away with three out of four possible points against the Barracuda, the underlying numbers weren’t great the last time they met.
- In their 7-1 victory, the Canucks managed to be out-attempted at 5v5 ninety-five to sixty-eight.
- In their 3-2 shootout loss, the Canucks got out to an early one-goal lead only to get pumped in the third period, twenty-nine to seven shot attempts. The Canucks controlled overtime quite well, but the third period was quite ugly.
It sounds like Evander Kane will not be in the lineup for the San Jose Barracuda tonight in Abbotsford against the Abbotsford Canucks.
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) December 4, 2021
Fortunately, in addition to Evander Kane, the Barracuda will be without one of their leading point producers, Noah Gregor.
During the Canucks and Barracuda’s last match, Gregor recorded one goal and thirteen individual shot attempts over sixty minutes.
The Barracuda will be hard-pressed to replace that kind of offensive contribution.
The Barracuda are riding a four-game losing streak. Most recently, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Gulls.
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) December 3, 2021
- After missing the last two games as a ‘healthy scratch,’ Carson Focht departs for Kalamazoo on a conditioning stint.
- Focht has struggled mightily in adjusting to “normalized” AHL competition. After twelve games played, Focht carries the team-worst on-ice shot attempt differential at 5v5, the worst relative CORSI (Team 5v5 CF with Focht vs. without), the worst relative on-ice save percentage (Team SV% with Focht vs. without), and the worst on-ice goal differential at 5v5 at negative-nine.
- Positives: Five points in twelve games played, three of which came on the powerplay.
Transaction: #Canucks recall Travis Hamonic from Abbotsford.
— Canucks PR (@CanucksPR) December 3, 2021
Transaction: #Canucks loan Travis Hamonic to Abbotsford.
— Canucks PR (@CanucksPR) December 4, 2021
As reported by DailyFaceoff and CanucksArmy.com’s managing editor, David Quadrelli, Hamonic was recalled to the Canucks for practice then immediately returned to the AHL to get some games under his feet.
Hamonic’s last game was the Canucks 1-0 shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks thirteen days ago.
The NHL Canucks are also riding the first two-game win streak since October 21st; Quadrelli opined that Travis Green might be hesitant to mess with a “winning” lineup.
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) December 5, 2021
While joining Faber and Quads on Sportsnet650 for the Canucks warm-up, I joked that Klimovich’s healthy scratch on Wednesday made sense for a reset but sucked for guys’ like Faber and myself who love to go to Abbotsford to watch him play and develop.
Danila Klimovich is not on-ice for warm-ups.
Second straight healthy scratch for the 18-year-old#AbbotsfordCanucks
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) December 5, 2021
How we look on 🧸 toss night!
➡️Dries enters the game tied for third in AHL goals (10 goals in 14 GP)
➡️Di Giuseppe enters tonight with a three-game point streak (1-3–4)
➡️Hamonic returns to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 30#AbbyCanucks pic.twitter.com/WeUmYRXp0S
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) December 5, 2021
- Klimovich sits for the second straight game, my bad.
- Ashton Sautner sits out while Travis Hamonic slides to his off-side to play with Noah Juulsen.
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Massive pop from the crowd during the pre-game ceremonies; members of the Canadian Armed Forces that helped with the sandbagging efforts in BC are given a rousing standing ovation by the Abbotsford faithful.
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 1-0 Barracuda: The Canucks give up the opening goal in the first two minutes of play for the third straight game. It only took the Barracuda thirty seconds to give themselves a two-on-one. Jayden Halbgewachs
- Chase Wouters draws an elbowing minor against San Jose’s Dillon Hamaliuk.
PP1: Schilling, Arseneau, Lockwood, Di Giuseppe, Dries
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-1 Tie: Will Lockwood gets the Canucks on the board with a powerplay tally! A shot from Cam Schilling (#5) finds its way onto Melnichuk, and Lockwood (#10) pounces on the loose rebound for the equalizer!
- Off a d-zone faceoff, Petan (#7) sends Justin Bailey (#95) into the offensive zone for a breakaway; Bailey hits the breaks to evade his check and throws a shot off Melnichuk’s blocker.
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) throws down with Montana Onyebuchi in a Fight of the Year candidate.
- Not even sure there’s a point in recapping hockey anymore. That fight was ridiculous.
- Arseneau gestures towards the Canadian Armed Forces in the crowd after the fight, haha.
- Travis Hamonic takes a minor penalty for holding.
PK1: Bowey, Juulsen, Wouters, Stevens
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 2-1 Barracuda: The Barracuda capitalize early on the man-advantage despite DiPietro making an incredible glove stop on Blichfield. While sprawled out, San Jose’s Scott Reedy pokes the uncontrolled puck under a parked DiPietro. A tough one for DiPietro.
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 3-1 Barracuda: San Jose’s Jake McGrew puts the Barracuda up by two off a gorgeous play from Ryan Merkley at the Canucks blue line. Merkley dekes Di Giuseppe (#34) on the blue line before slipping a pass around Rempal (#56) to McGrew. The Barracuda score off a shot on DiPietro’s blocker side for the second time tonight.
- After a d-zone faceoff, San Jose’s Adam Raska heads to the box for interference.
PP1: Lockwood, Di Giuseppe, Schilling, Arseneau, Dries, Lockwood
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-2 Barracuda: Less than seven minutes left in the game, and the Canucks powerplay scores their second of the night. Phil Di Giuseppe (#34) riding the CanucksConvo bump tees up a massive one-timer on the powerplay to put the Canucks back within one!
- Canucks are finally showing some life after a lacklustre start to the period.
- San Jose’s Adam Raska takes his second minor penalty of the period to give the Canucsk their third powerplay of the game.
- Nic Petan (#7) dishes a ridiculous saucer pass to Sheldon Rempal (#56) for a one-timer shot on Melnichuk!
- Will Lockwood (#10) races back into the d-zone to push Adam Raska off his angle towards DiPietro’s net.
- In the final minute of play, Lockwood (#10) draws a tripping penalty against San Jose’s Cole Moberg.
- Canucks will start the second period with two minutes of powerplay time!
PP1: Lockwood, Arseneau, Dries, Di Giuseppe, Schilling
- Good control for the first unit, but they lose the zone, and PP2 hops on
PP2: Petan, Stevens, Rathbone, Rempal, Bailey
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-3 TIE: With three seconds remaining on the powerplay, Nic Petan (#7) scores his fourth of the year to even things at three! Justin Bailey (#95) dishes a slick backhand pass to Petan, who shows a little bit of patience before wiring a shot high over Melnichuk’s glove side!
- Ethan Keppen (#92) tips a shot from Jack Rathbone (#3) to flutter it dangerously on Melnichuk.
- Strange sequence for the Barracuda; a point-shot from Montana Onyebuchi rebounds off DiPietro’s goalpost and to the side of the net where Travis Hamonic (#42) attempts to clear. Hamonic hands the rebound to Joachim Blichfeld, who launches a sharp angle shot on DiPietro that may or may not have crossed the line.
- Refs deliberate for several minutes before making the call: NO GOAL!
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 4-3 Canucks: Twenty-nine seconds after the no-goal call on Blichfeld, and Jack Rathbone scores his first of the season! Canucks fourth-line works the puck around the offensive zone boards to Rathbone (#3), who wades towards the left circle for a wrister that trickles through Melnichuk’s five-hole and into the net.
- The Barracuda yank Melnichuk! Zach Sawchenko comes between the pipes in relief.
- DiPietro flashes the glove for a terrific save on a shot from San Jose’s Nick Cicek.
- Travis Hamonic (#42) heads to the box for roughing after attempting to end the life of Adam Raska.
- Raska is a 20-year-old kid from the Czech Republic who, according to EliteProspects, doesn’t shy away from laying big hits.
- Fairly surprised Raska didn’t take two for charging. Nonetheless, the Canucks head to the PK.
PK1: Lockwood, Rathbone, Bowey, Dries
- The Barracuda PK looks genuinely terrible; Canucks threaten more in the Barracuda zone than vice versa.
- Canucks kill Hamonic’s penalty, and we are back at evens with less than seven minutes remaining in the period.
- Rempal (#56) enters the offensive zone, trips to the ice, then avoids taking a blatant tripping penalty.
- San Jose’s John Leonard slips a check from Keppen (#92) and a hit from Arseneau (#18) to enter the Canucks d-zone for an attack.
- Ethan Keppen takes a delay of game penalty to put the Canucks on their third penalty kill of the game.
PK1: Rathbone, Lockwood, Hamonic, Dries
- Canucks immediately clear off a d-zone faceoff win.
- Canucks kill the PK
- While pressuring inside the offensive zone, Arseneau (#18) takes a hooking penalty to send the Canucks immediately back onto the penalty kill with two minutes left in the period.
PK1: Juulsen, Hamonic, Dries, Di Giuseppe
- Tense moments with less than thirty seconds left as DiPietro scrambles in the crease to sit on the loose puck.
- Canucks score two goals on five shots and kill three penalties; about as “Canucks hockey” as it gets!
- Canucks start the third with a seven-second penalty kill.
PK1: Petan, Lockwood, Bailey, Bowey
- Canucks efficiently kill the remaining seven seconds, possibly their best PK effort of the season.
- DiPietro hugs his right post for a save on a shot by Adam Raska.
- Santeri Hatakka slips around Cam Schilling (#5) for a dangerous shot on DiPietro.
- Canucks fourth-line sets up a dangerous scoring chance for John Stevens (#16) at the net front.
- Trent Cull switches up his lines, throwing out Tristen Nielsen with Bailey and Lockwood.
- Juulsen (#47) stands up his check with a huge hit on the Canucks blueline.
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 4-4 Tie: Joachim Blichfeld ties things up at four off a brilliant no-look pass from Sasha Chmelevski behind DiPietro’s net. Blichfeld rips a shot over DiPietro’s shoulder and pings the backbar.
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 5-4 Barracuda: Wellp, Hamonic (#42) takes a shot high in the arm, and Joachim Blichfeld capitalizes on the rebound to regain the lead for San Jose. Blichfeld scores his second straight goal of the period, and the Canucks have less than four minutes to preserve their win streak.
- With time winding down, the Barracuda spend a long shift inside their d-zone simply tying up the puck along the boards.
- Canucks pull DiPietro for the extra attacker
6v5: Rempal, Petan, Dries, Lockwood, Rathbone, Di Giuseppe
- GOAL – SAN JOSE – 6-4 Barracuda: An ill-advised drop pass from Will Lockwood (#10) results in Evan Weinger scoring the empty netter for San Jose.
- Canucks fail to build on their win streak while San Jose ends theirs at four.
San Jose Barracuda def. Abbotsford Canucks 6-4
- Trent Cull was the most frustrated I’d ever seen him. Cull was not happy with his team’s effort post-game, “I didn’t like us from the start, at the end, I didn’t like the game at all. [We] had a little bit of different guys in the lineup, but we had no synchronicity. I felt that as a group, we looked a little bit disjointed from the start. At no point did I feel like it worked itself out.”
- Cull was happy with his special teams despite the poor play at 5v5, “our powerplay was really good tonight. So that’s, I guess, the one shining moment about the game.”
- When asked about the team’s 5v5 performance, Cull seemed genuinely perplexed by his group’s effort, “Yeah, I don’t know — that wasn’t the same team that I coached a couple of nights ago. We weren’t firm enough or hard enough, and I thought we let them dictate the pace of play.
- When discussing Michael DiPietro’s performance, Cull lamented the team’s discipline, “we took three dumb penalties in the last ten minutes of the second period. Sure, we’re happy with Mikey for keeping us in it. In between periods, I was talking to the coaches like nothing was secure in this game.”
- The Abby Canucks were outshot twenty-three to thirteen over the final forty minutes of play.
- I think this might be the first time I’ve ever watched a team pull their goalie six minutes into the second period and pull off the win. The Barracuda were practically begging the Canucks to put them away, but as Trent Cull said, it never really felt like the Canucks secured anything in this game. Each of the Sharks’ three goals in the final period felt like an inevitability; the Canucks just weren’t generating anything.
- Quietly, Justin Bailey has been downright awful since his stint with the Vancouver Canucks. He still opens up the ice with his patented speed, but he’s been quite invisible since returning to the AHL squad, just one point in his last five games in Abbotsford after six in his first five games of the season.
- Asked Rathbone about his time on the PK tonight, I noticed a significant uptick in his ice time while shorthanded. “More opportunity on [the PK] is never a bad thing,” Rathbone stated, “I’ve learned a lot from coach Agnew; It’s a work in progress, but it was good to get out there with [Madison Bowey] and get some kills.”
- Don’t read too heavily into Travis Hamonic playing on his left side. According to Trent Cull, when I asked if this was a mandate from Vancouver, Cull asserted that “it was nothing to do with that, that was just a spot that we had open.”
- Hamonic was fine tonight. I didn’t really notice him in the offensive zone. However, I did notice him on the two goals against in the third period. He’s not long for the AHL, so it’s whatever.
- As someone who was almost named ‘Dakota’ by his parents, I need to shout out Montana Onyebuchi’s elite hockey name. Well done Mr. and Mrs. Onyebuchi.
- Cam Schilling casually has nine points through thirteen games with the Abbotsford Canucks; between his utility as a powerplay QB, a penalty killer and a hard-nosed vet in the d-zone, safe to say the Canucks are getting their money’s worth out of Schilling’s AHL deal!
- Don’t look now, but Will Lockwood has six points in ten games, and Phil Di Giuseppe has fourteen in sixteen games played. These two should be seeing call-ups to the Canucks during their six-game homestand. They need some fresh looks now more than ever. Neither PDG nor Lockwood will push the needle enough to undo the NHL Canucks poor play. At the very least, PDG/Lockwood will offer a fresh face to a bottom-six group that has combined for five goals in twenty-five games.
- I mean, folks are tossing their jersey’s on the ice in Vancouver. A cup of coffee for PDG/Lockwood can’t hurt, right? RIGHT?!
Cody’s Three Stars
- Michael DiPietro
- Chris Faber – for doing the Canucks warm-up downtown at Sportsnet studios until 6 PM, then ripping out to Abbotsford for the game.
- Nic Petan
Next Up on the Docket
The Canucks and Barracuda are back for the rematch tomorrow at 4 PM PST.
I am pretty burnt out, so no recap from me!
Keep an eye out on my Twitter for the latest stats updates!
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