Monday , January 25 2021

Canucks at Night: The Pettersson Appreciation Society

Unbelievable is not the right word to describe Elias Pettersson's Wednesday in Ottawa.

Tonight, we are just heading with Travis Green's assessment of Elias Pettersson's one-hour from the afternoon's post-availability, which is quote of the night:

"I think he didn't get it as clean earlier this year. He has an elite hour, surely," he told Jeff Paterson.

I asked Pettersson what he was thinking when he rounded back to the neutral zone before scoring the winner when he hit the post.



"This has always been my dream, what I've always worked for. Now I live here my dream, playing in Vancouver," he said later.

Canucks is where he would be.

"I was 5 years old and had a Vancouver t-shirt … Google it."



It's time to start one, it's not.

The Pettersson Appreciation Society would be PAS. It's a meh initialism. Feel free to suggest a better name.

It just goes on

He scores at a rate that is better than Malkins or McDavids. Crosby and Ovechkin are a little ahead. (Canucks Army's Jeremy Davis pointed out to me that the two latter's rookie seasons were in 05-06, the first post-lockout season when the referees cracked hard to hold and hold and the scoring rate jumped to levels we didn't have seen since.)

This is called elite talent.

Thank goodness, he had no sustained effects from the concussion.

And on…

Oh wait, there's more.

We have not seen anything quite like this before.

Sedins were good but not world-beaters like rookies. (Maybe they could have had Canucks not already had a top six without them.)

Pavel Bure was excellent as a rookie, scoring 36 times in 65 games (and 24 assists). But Pettersson, who plays in a lower-scoring era, scores at a better pace than Bure.

And Bure's point total is all because he finally found his groove in February 1992. He scored 22 goals in the last 22 games of the season.

Think about it: Pettersson has already found his track, and it is only January. The season is only halfway through and he plays at a better pace than the biggest goal scorer in Canuck history.

This is something we are on.

Baertschi slips a home

When Sven Baertschi revealed a Swiss newspaper in November that he was dealing with very serious symptoms after concussion, I really asked if his career was in danger.

He talked about things as quality of life. When you're worried about basic things like that, there's something going on about it.

So to see him return to health and get back in the lineup was a good thing. When you cover athletes, you want to see them at their best. You feel for them when they are prevented from doing so.

His goal on Wednesday was from a place he is usually not in, dead on top of the crease.

I asked him to score goals from above on the curl.

"Depends," he said.

"With them I thought I had a lot of space in front of the net. I wasn't pushed around.

"I was able to position myself to tip the puck and even after I had some time.

"Eddie looked at me and I think he himself was surprised that I was alone there."

Canucks had talked a lot about how important it was for them to do a better job of getting the puck to the net from outside.

Baertschi noted that the Senators, unlike Devilsne on Monday, seemed to play a system that greeted long shots. The devils he pointed out, defending himself in layers, meaning they end up blocking many shots.

"It's super hard to get through. Sometimes it's a better opportunity to shoot them out of the boards," he said.

Edler's great game

Alex Edler may have missed 14 games due to injury this season, but he does play some of the best hockey in his career.

He has 19 points in 28 matches.

He picked up three assists, including the shoot that led to Baertschi's goal. He also ran Boeser at the rush that became Pettersson's first goal, and he set up Pettersson's power play goal a timer.

"He's a horse, he's playing good hockey right now," Green said of the guy, who is clearly his No. 1 defense force right now.

It's hard to believe he would give up his non-trade clause, but if Canucks somehow guaranteed to offer him a contract to return next season, he might.

He would be a helluva trade chip.

Leivo's status

Leivo, who had been on Pettersson's wing, left the game halfway through the first.

I saw him go out after the game, look very stiff.

Green said he was dealing with an "upper body" injury and said he was in doubt about Thursday's game in Montreal.

Of course, Leivo would return home on Saturday night when Canucks meet Leafs.

His status could also throw a wrinkle into the team's decision-making on how to handle the activation of Brandon Sutter on Thursday.

As mentioned elsewhere, there are rumors of swirls around Nikolay Goldobin and Green spoke heavily about what he would like to see more of the young wings before the fight, when it was confirmed that he should be a scratch.

Green, by the way, was fond of Tim Schaller's work on the fourth line against the senators.

Playoffs? Really? This? Still?

This idea was rolled out again on Tuesday after the exercise. Erik Gudbranson emphasized how this is a "make or break week".

It is in connection with their playoff hope.

Green was asked about the idea after the game.

There are many things on the table this season, but he admits his team wants to play "meaningful" games down the line while keeping an eye on the main goal that builds a team that will be a competitor rather than later.

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