Vancouver Canucks, Collin Delia

Canucks At Break – A Mountain Climb Could Use A Burglar

As the season unfolds it’s always entertaining and intriguing to see what teams the Canucks would have to hop over to get to a wild card spot at any given moment. That’s kind of the fun and the frustration of the playoff race.

But let’s just cut to the chase. The last three non-Covid-interrupted NHL seasons saw the second wild card team in the Western Conference finish with a total of 97, 90, and 95 points. Let’s go with the average of 94 and call that the magic number.

Right now the Vancouver Canucks have 33 points in 33 games played. That rate would amount to 82 points over the course of the season and obviously not get it done.

Essentially, the Canucks can’t lose more than 18 hockey games over their final 49. They need 61 points to get to 94. That’s some combination of wins or non-regulation losses that meets the equivalent of 30-18-and-1. It could be 28-18-and-5. Whichever.

Can the Vancouver Canucks go the equivalent of 30-18-and-1 the rest of the season?

They give up 3.88 goals per game, third worst in the NHL, only better than the Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks.

Vancouver can try to outscore their mistakes, but right now their 8th in the NHL with 3.39 goals for per game.

Those numbers will have to change dramatically and it doesn’t appear any personnel changes will be made with that in mind. Unless the Canucks get on a torrid winning pace — not bloody likely — any personnel changes will be made with future campaigns in mind.

The (Canucks) Burglar Part 2?

Whether it’s the birth of a child after the death of a great grandparent, or something in nature or in the ‘spirit world’ where one thing passes on and another thing embodies it, there’s the simple concept of one door closing and another one opening up.

Without getting that deep, I couldn’t help but daydream a bit Friday night watching Canucks goalie Collin Delia stone the Edmonton Oilers just three days after the retirement of Surrey native Andrew Hammond, a.k.a. “The Hamburglar”. Wouldn’t it be something if this was the hockey gods’ version of reincarnation.

Again, not bloody likely, but one never knows in the wacky, unpredictable world of goaltending.

If you missed it, Hammond retired this past week due to a nagging ankle injury suffered with the Montreal Canadiens last year that he said would prevent him from continuing his career.

From our Canucks NHL Daily on Wednesday:

NHL history has no shortage of great and bizarre goaltending stories.

One from the not-so-distant past involves Andrew Hammond, known affectionately as the ‘Hamburglar’. He absolutely came out of nowhere and stole the NHL show during the second half of the 2014-’15 season for the Ottawa Senators.

The Sen’s were trailing in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt and were considered out of it when number-one goalie Craig Anderson suffered injury in February. Hammond took over and went on a run for the ages.

The Hamburglar, a nickname he picked up in college at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, ran up a record of 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in 24 games. Three of the victories were shut-outs.

Not long after that Hammond, Anderson and the Senators ran out of gas; beaten in the first round four games to two by the Montreal Canadiens.

Hammond played a grand total of 67 NHL games in his career. His amazing run started a week after his 27th birthday when he had only one previous NHL game under his belt.

Delia is 28-years-old, also from the west coast, California, and had 32 NHL games played before his two with the Canucks. Both Hammond’s and Delia’s first games in these respective seasons were in relief.

Just sayin’. Wouldn’t that be fun and quite the holiday gift for head coach Bruce Boudreau and the Canucks fans.

One can daydream, especially at Christmas.

Have a very merry!!

— ICYMI – NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly’s holiday visit and the NO to playoff format changes. (3 minutes)

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.