Jason Brough

Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller

The Canucks picked the wrong day to wish their fans happy holidays


The Vancouver Canucks picked an interesting day to send out season’s greetings — along with some rosy spin — to their fans.

“We are all learning together as we push for a playoff spot and build for the future,” wrote president of hockey operations Trevor Linden in a letter to the fans. “Our coaches and leadership group have been strong as always and I look forward to an exciting winter and spring at Rogers Arena.”

A few reasons why that was interesting, if not downright tone deaf:

— Last night, the Canucks put forth arguably their worst effort of the season. They lost, 6-2, in Minnesota, and probably deserved to lose by more.

Daniel Sedin called the performance “unacceptable,” his remark coming just 10 days after his brother, Henrik, had said, “I would love to play against us right now.”

— This morning, the local sports radio station held a poll — should coach Willie Desjardins be fired? Almost half the respondents said yes.

— There are rumblings that youngster Jake Virtanen will be headed back to the WHL after representing Canada at the World Juniors.

— Meanwhile, 20-year-old center Bo Horvat continues to look totally in over his head defensively:

— As for 19-year-old center Jared McCann, well, he’s been losing sleep over his lack of production.

— And just to top it off, 22-year-old defenseman Frank Corrado received good reviews in his Toronto debut last night. You’ll recall the Canucks lost Corrado to waivers in October. They’ve since been decimated by injuries to their blue line. There was an easy way for Vancouver to keep Corrado, but for whatever reason, management decided to expose him to waivers.

So yeah, not the best timing on those season’s greetings. Could’ve maybe held off until tomorrow.

The Canucks’ next game is tomorrow in Philadelphia.

Here are the combined OT/shootout records of all 30 teams

Anze Kopitar, Linus Ullmark

The NHL gives the same value to a 3-on-3 overtime victory as it does to one that came in regulation. Some people think that’s fine, some don’t. We’re not here to argue that in this post. (Though we have in a previous video!)

Regardless of where you stand on that issue, we thought you may be curious to see all 30 teams’ combined overtime and shootout records. The standings at NHL.com don’t show that. They only separate shootout records.

So, sorted by most combined OT/shootout wins to fewest…

Calgary Flames: 9-2
Los Angeles Kings: 7-2
New Jersey Devils: 7-4
Edmonton Oilers: 7-2
Detroit Red Wings: 7-6
Philadelphia Flyers: 7-6
Ottawa Senators: 6-5
New York Islanders: 5-5
Chicago Blackhawks: 5-4
Florida Panthers: 4-4
Washington Capitals: 4-2
Dallas Stars: 4-2
Tampa Bay Lightning: 4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins: 4-3
Carolina Hurricanes: 4-5
Toronto Maple Leafs: 3-6
St. Louis Blues: 3-4
San Jose Sharks: 3-1
Buffalo Sabres: 3-3
Arizona Coyotes: 3-2
Nashville Predators: 2-6
Montreal Canadiens: 2-3
New York Rangers: 2-4
Boston Bruins: 2-4
Anaheim Ducks: 1-5
Vancouver Canucks: 1-8
Minnesota Wild: 1-6
Colorado Avalanche: 1-1
Winnipeg Jets: 1-2
Columbus Blue Jackets: 1-3


— We wrote earlier today about the Calgary Flames. They won again in overtime last night. The Flames (14-14-2) have the most overtime/shootout victories in the NHL, and the fewest regulation victories (five). It’s pretty crazy.

— Crazier still? The two Alberta teams have won 16 combined games in overtime or the shootout. They’ve won 12 combined in regulation.

— The Kings (7-2) missed the playoffs last year, in large part due to a combined OT/shootout record of 3-15.

— The Canucks (1-8) made the playoffs last year, in large part due to a combined OT/shootout record of 12-5.

— Only four teams have more regulation wins than Minnesota (15). The Wild are 1-6 in overtime. They’ve yet to reach a shootout.

— Similar story for Nashville. Last night’s loss to Calgary dropped the Preds’ overtime record to 0-5.

— The Avs went to overtime 24 times last year, tied for fourth most in the league. They’ve only been twice this year.

— The Jets also went 24 times last year. They’ve only been three times this year.

Video: Flames win their eighth overtime game of the season

The Calgary Flames did it again last night. They won a game in overtime.

This time, their 3-on-3 victims were the Nashville Predators. The winning goal was scored by Kris Russell, on a pass by — who else? — Johnny Gaudreau.

According to the Calgary Herald, Gaudreau now has three goals and four assists in overtime this season.

Another amazing statistic? The Flames (14-14-2) have the most overtime/shootout victories in the NHL (nine), and the fewest regulation victories (five).

“These games, we don’t want them to go into overtime as much,” Gaudreau told the Herald. “If we start scoring on the power play, we might start winning in regulation.”

Calgary has the worst power play in the league.

Also, the worst penalty killing.

And so, just like last year, there are those who maintain the Flames’ winning ways can’t possibly continue.

But just like last year, it’ll be fun to see if the Flames can prove those people wrong.

Calgary’s next game is Thursday in Dallas.

Related: Flames not counting on last year’s magic to continue

‘Sign Stamkos’ signs are being handed out tonight in Toronto

Stamkos sign
@erlendssonTBO on Twitter

Update: It turns out people with said signs might not be allowed into the building, according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta.

(Picture courtesy Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.)

So apparently those signs are being handed out ahead of tonight’s game at Air Canada Centre between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

TSN 1050 is a sports radio station in Toronto. It is owned by Bell Media, which is a subsidiary of Bell Canada, which has a stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Leafs.

So fire up those conspiracy theories!

Some related reading:

— Could the Lightning lose Stamkos for nothing?

— Get ready for the Stamkos ‘circus’ in Toronto on Tuesday

— Steven Stamkos ‘liked’ a tweet about joining the Leafs, and now it’s a thing

McCann’s frustrations illustrate ‘fine line’ Canucks are trying to walk

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Back in October, before the Vancouver Canucks had officially decided to hold on to Jared McCann, head coach Willie Desjardins was asked to identify his “biggest worry” in keeping the 19-year-old center versus sending him back to junior.

“The biggest worry is that down the road he gets worn down and the league gets hard for him and he loses his confidence,” said Desjardins.

At the time, confidence was no issue. McCann had four goals in seven games. He was riding high.

Since then, he has two in 22.

In his last 12, he has none.

Which is to say, the league has become rather hard for him.

“There have definitely been some tough nights with sleeping and it’s never easy,” McCann told The Province Monday. “I know I can play better. I’m over-thinking things and always trying to be perfect. I’ve got to get back to the way I’ve always played. Not taking anything for granted — and when I get chances, bury them.”

Now, this isn’t to suggest the Canucks made the wrong call here. It’s not like McCann has been totally lost out there; he may not be scoring, but he’s held his own defensively. In fact, Desjardins believes that McCann is “better now than he was early.”

Nor is it like the Canucks have any better options at center, which is why McCann isn’t expected to be released to play for Canada at the World Juniors, unlike his teammate, Jake Virtanen.

But this is the “fine line” Vancouver is walking, as it tries to stay competitive and develop youngsters at the same time.

“We want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play,” GM Jim Benning said in April. 

The only problem there is that the Canucks haven’t been winning, and McCann is feeling the pressure as his production wanes and the team’s losses pile up.

All part of the process for a young player? Yeah, probably. McCann is finding out how good the NHL really is. Nobody said it was supposed to be easy.

At the same time, this is clearly a kid who puts a ton of pressure on himself, possibly to his own detriment.

“I’m really grateful being part of this organization and being here, because they put a lot of faith in me and others didn’t in the past,” McCann said. “I feel like I owe them, and I don’t want to let anybody down.”

The Canucks have a lot of problems, but somebody may want to tell McCann that he isn’t one of them.