Vancouver Canucks, Rick Tocchet

Canucks, This Spring Sounds A Lot Like Last Spring

The improved play of the Canucks is important, but it’s also important to keep that improvement in context. There is absolutely no pressure on this team and in certain cases the 60-minute commitment level of opponents could best be described as “meh”.

That’s not necessarily being cynical, because here’s the thing: Wasn’t everyone saying the exact same thing, literally, at the end of last season following the incredible run under head coach Bruce Boudreau?

Yep. The enthusiasm for the start of the following season, this one, was palpable.

Are we sure this isn’t the same thing only different?

The answer is no. It is different, and besides another new coaching style and presence under Rick Tocchet, we’ll toss out just two names. Andrei Kuzmenko and Filip Hronek. We already know about the star factors, a.k.a. Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes, and a healthy Thatcher Demko.

They could actually be on their way to something. Fans should at least feel pretty damn confident that the 2023-’24 season won’t start 0-5-and-2.

Canucks Lottery Look

Entering NHL action on Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks are tied with the St. Louis Blues, the team that beat them last night in overtime, with 74 points in the league standings, the 10th worst total.

Here is a look at the current positions and odds:

San Jose20-39-1555.37211.5%
St. Louis34-34-674.5003.5%
  • marks a team outside of the bottom 11 that can’t get the first overall pick in the lottery. One can only move up a maximum of ten slots.

The Blues have more wins in regulation and more wins in regulation and overtime than the Canucks so they’re presently ranked higher and have slightly worse lottery odds.

What’s startling is the percentage drop between the worst team in the NHL and the next worst. One can be absolutely brutal, in this case the Chicago Blackhawks at second worst, and lose a whopping five percentage points to the worst team, at this point the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Canucks have eight games remaining. Should they win them all they’d finish the season with 92 points, just enough to not make the playoffs and not be part of the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

Bottom line, if they finish where they’re at, there’s still a chance they win the lottery. (Our gut has Vancouver or St. Louis winning the first overall pick).

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.