March 28, 2023
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Canucks by the Numbers: We can start to draw some conclusions

There’s still time for the Vancouver Canucks to make a little change.

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Once you’ve played 10 games in an NHL season, you can start believing the numbers.

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After 20 games they are pretty solid. Then you really know what the future most likely holds for a team.

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The Vancouver Canucks season is now 11 games old.



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So we can start to draw some conclusions about what has happened so far and what these trends could mean for the future. It is a sufficiently large sample size.

But there is still time to change things up a bit.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the Canucks’ numbers so far:


In early February, a notoriously negative anti-Bo Horvat Twitter account directed a series of tweets at the Vancouver Canucks captain.

As many Canucks fans then took note, rather than pushing back the hate or simply ignoring it, Horvat decided to like the tweets instead.

Since then, the captain has played 40 games. He’s scored 28 goals in that time, as a more positive fan, @nuckflops, pointed out in a tweet following Thursday’s 8-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

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(Or more intensely, 24 goals in his last 29 games.)

Horvat laughed about it on Friday.

“You know what, this guy tweets me all the time and he just says he’s making fun of me, everything. I’m just like that, I’ll just like it. reverse psychology. He thinks he’s hilarious. So I just kept liking (the tweets). I think it made him really angry,” Horvat said. “I haven’t deleted Twitter, but I never go further. And it’s only for this reason. It’s just so much white noise. I just don’t have to look at it.

“I’m a professional athlete, it depends on the territory, not everyone will like you. I understand that. But for me to keep going, for someone to tell me what a bad player I am, the person I am. I do not need it. I don’t need to see this.

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“Maybe you could tell whoever guy is tweeting me, that guy, just maybe it put more fuel on my fire and he got me going,” he added, laughing.

And he thanked nuckflops for keeping track.


Andrei Kuzmenko proves to be the perfect winger for Elias Pettersson. With Kuzmenko on the ice at five-for-five, the Canucks make 57.8 percent of shot attempts.

Even more impressive, when Kuzmenko is on the ice, the opponent only manages 47.5 shot attempts per 60 minutes of five-a-side time. That’s the lowest rate on the team.

The Russian turns out to be a possessive monster.

“I feel like they almost played shinny hockey,” Pettersson said of what struck him about the playing style of Kuzmenko and her other Russian linesmate, Ilya Mikheyev.

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“It’s like keeping your distance. He’s really good down there. He protects the puck. He’s quick on his cuts.”

Bruce Boudreau has coached a number of Russian stars in his time and has seen many others up close. Your puck kills are excellent, he remarked.

“I don’t know how they teach their kids, but you look at all the really good Russian players, you know, (Artemi) Panarin, the one guy I had in Washington (Alex Ovechkin), you know, and Kuzmenko , you are as skilled with the puck as you are with the ice. I don’t know if in North America we’re focusing too early on winning and not enough on ability.”


The Canucks currently kill just 57.6 percent of their penalty kicks.

They had a difficult start to the season last year, then had a slight uptick five games into the 2022-23 season before bottoming out in late November. But even then, almost a year ago, when the season was fading into oblivion and everyone was waiting for a change of coach, their penalty rate was 60.3 percent.

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That was also miserable and has been cited more than once as a big reason why Travis Green and Nolan Baumgartner were fired in early December and why, even with the overall boost in performance under Boudreau and the penalty shootout specifically under assist Brad Shaw, they ended up missing the playoffs.

A big factor in the Canucks’ poor start this season was their abysmal penalty kill.

On Friday, Boudreau and his new penalty-focused assistant Mike Yeo made some drastic changes in training, removing Horvat and JT Miller from PK entirely.

“It’s still a work in progress. I mean, we’re going to try new people, you know, and see if they get the concept of what we’re trying to do,” Boudreau explained. “We’re not trying to do anything differently. We look at the best penalty shootout teams over the last five years and see how they are performing. And what we did last year. It’s basically the same teaching and it’s just not going the way we want it to.”

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