The Vancouver Canucks haven’t fooled anyone.
When they’ve won, it has been heartthrob goaltending and special teams goals.
That’s kind of what they were trying to do last year. But, really, that’s where the similarities end.
Head coach Travis Green has delivered on a promised platform of change. He’s been on the job for 10 regular-season days and five games. He’s started those five games with 10 different lines.
Oh, we’ve learned Green gets restless. And this is what else we’ve learned:
The Sedins have been deployed like third liners and it looks good
What if I told you the Sedins could have a resurgent season which went unnoticed?
Mostly because they’re not playing enough.
For much of the past decade, they’ve been the energy the Canucks world has orbited. On Tuesday, Henrik quietly played 12:48 minutes. They were good, encouraging and efficient minutes. But still, it was 12:48. It’s usually the playground for third liners and developing youth. And now, we guess, 37-year-old legends.
It was the fourth time in five games, the Sedins didn’t play 17 minutes. It only happened in 10 games last season for Henrik.
Green has used them as though less is more, and so far he has been absolutely right. Consider, Henrik has been on the ice for 17 more shots-on-net for than against. No Canuck on another line is above a plus-2.
It’s only five games, but it’s promising. The Sedins have been controlling possession this week as effectively as any five-game stretch in years. The Canucks have had 58 per cent of the unblocked shot attempts with Henrik on the ice.
Many moons ago, some in the local analytics community prophesied the Sedins would become wonderful third liners in their sunset years, dominating possession in easier matchups. There is a chance the prophecy is being realized right now.
Green loves his matchups and in-game strategizing
Remember year one of Willie Desjardins? How can you forget?
The Canucks improbably rode their way to the playoffs by “rolling four.” It mostly meant Desjardins would unfurl his lines one after another without being concerned about matching them.
Things couldn’t be more different this week. In Ottawa Tuesday, Green flipped his lines upside down in the third period even though the Canucks were up 2-0. He peeled Markus Granlund from the Sedin line, pairing him with Brandon Sutter instead so they could resume their shutdown life together.