Murphy's Mailbag: are the Canucks better defensive with Sutter, Ferland?

When the Canucks gave up nine goals to the Lightning last week, I was reminded of the last time the Canucks gave up nine goals in a match. The date was January 15, 2014 and the competition was in Anaheim. That was a crazy time for the Canucks and to relive it, we reached a man in the middle of it, Tom Sestito, who told me: “what a great week that was!”

Kings beat Canucks 1-0. Sestito played a second and delivered 27 PIM.

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Sestito: (Jordan) Nolan started one of the twins. I hadn’t even been on the ice before, but then there was an ice cream. I was sent out, so I’m fine. I told Nolan we are fighting. And he said, “No, I don’t fight.” So I said to him: “You better get ready because I jump.” I don’t think he thought I was serious, but that was clear to me.

Ducks beat Canucks 9-1

At 12:49 PM of the third period, Sestito and Jannik Hansen each received two, five, and 10 for incitement and fighting, while Tim Jackman and Sami Vatanen (the two involved Ducks players) did not receive penalties. The end result was a 5-in-3 of seven minutes!

The fracas starts at the 4:35 mark.

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Sestito: I jumped on Jackman and got kicked out. So Hansen and I are in the dressing room and just a few minutes later Kevin Bieksa came to us after a personal misconduct. I am sure I remember Juice (Bieksa) who went back to the couch from the dressing room and said, “It is better that no one stays behind on this (expletive) couch at the end of the game.”

Canucks beat Flames 3-2 (SO)

But let’s be honest, the score doesn’t really matter. This was the game that started with a line fight and saw John Tortorella go down the hall of the Flames to the dressing room trying to reach Bob Hartley.

“Torts told us they started their idiots there, so we had to match that,” Sestito said.

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Sestito: First, I called myself an idiot. Excellent. Anyway, we were warming up and I don’t know what I ever did with McGrattan, but he wanted to fight me in every game. So I stretch to the red line and he says, “Are you starting tonight?” And I think of “starting?” No. When will I ever start? “I had to think about it and then Torts came up with the line-up and then I got it. So the Flames clearly knew before the game what was going to happen. And then it turned out that Kellan Lain was testing one of their prospects in the minors in Abbotsford. So I think we all had to pay for that.

Murphy: So that’s what it was all about?

Sestito: I suspect. They wanted retribution for Kellan Lain who brought one of their children. It was Lain’s first NHL competition and his parents flew into it. And of course the only people who were not kicked out after the line fight were me and McGrattan because the referees said our fight had first started. They should have said it was Lain because the poor child only played two seconds in his first NHL game. When we came in after the first period, Lain had the biggest smile on his face. I mean what a story to tell his children, or anyone else, that he was kicked out of his first NHL game right after the draw for fighting Kevin Westgarth. I mean, that’s something I’d love, maybe he doesn’t like it.

(Murphy: Because I had never heard that Lain was the reason for the fight, I dug a little. Lain was not a wilting flower. He had 129 PIMs in 63 AHL games that season. The Utica Comets played the Abbotsford Heat four times early in the 2013-2014 season, prior to Lain’s call with Vancouver.

October 30, 2013 in Utica: Lain got 2-5-10 for inciting a fight with Blair Jones, who happened to be one of the guys involved in the line brawl at Rogers Arena. Two nights later, Lain was judged as a rough fine against the heat. And then on November 30 in Abbotsford, Lain is listed as taking a slash penalty. It is clear that whatever he did did not pull a penalty, but those are the calls against him in the season series with the Heat.

I asked Kevin Bieksa if he had heard the Lain corner and Bieksa said no. He just remembers Tortorella coming into the room and saying that the flames started their fourth line, so the Canucks couldn’t match the Sedin line. I reached out to Shane O’Brien, who was a member of the Flames that night, and he does not remember that Hartley mentioned Lain. But he added that no one ever spoke to him in Calgary that entire year. However, Sestito is adamant and says that he is almost 100 percent sure of his memory of Lain’s delicacy.

If so, it makes sense that Hartley started his fourth line in the hope that the Canucks would do the same. Coaches are almost always aware of the lines of the opposition. So chances are that Hartley knew that Lain centered the fourth line of Vancouver that night.

I could never reach Lain. It would be nice to see if he could shine some light on the subject. That is what concerns my investigative journalism.)

Murphy: When did you hear what Torts did in the hallway?

Sestito: It was obvious that there was a lot of commotion and we peeked out through a training room door and the first person I see is McGrattan at the door and I am like: “Oh my god, this guy is going to fight me again.” But someone got Torts and we went back. It was a wild event. And I really respect what Torts did, because he is a man who stands behind you and what they did was (expletive). There is no reason to fully fight for something that happened in the AHL.

“It probably killed my career when he was fired. We were fine with each other. I knew what I could expect from him and he knew exactly what I was going to give and I think that if he had stayed another year, it would have extended my career a little. He even put me on the powerful game with the Sedins. He told me: “Tommy, if you think they need your help in the corner, they don’t have it. Stand in front of it and don’t move.”

“It must be McGrattan after he hit Alberts there (the hit actually ended Alberts’ career and he’s still dealing with concussions). No suspension for him either. If I did that I would have been arrested.

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“I can’t remember the exact details right now, but they paid one of my fines. I mean, I didn’t make a lot of money, so it would have been a big piece for me to pay. So when they paid it , I was really grateful. “

I asked the twins if they remembered this and Henrik for sure. Kind of…

Henrik Sedin: “It was in San Jose. Break on the way over the ice. I started half off with one of their players. Tom stepped in and was fined by the competition. Probably because it happened after the period was over. I’m not sure.”

Okay, let’s move on to the mailbag!

Do you believe that Loui can hit 20 open netters this year?

But seriously, what do you think of Benning that the defensive team can be much better and more stable if Ferland and Sutter are healthy. Do you see a big difference on their return?

– Harpsama (@harpsama) January 13, 2020

Jim Benning spoke to reporters in Florida and was asked about the injuries to Sutter and Ferland. He had this to say:

“I would like to see what our entire team looks like, I really didn’t have a chance this year. Those are two top nine players in the competition and to add those guys to our group, it would be nice to have a healthy team and see what our group looks like. “

It seems that every season around this time Benning talks about injuries to his team. After all, no team lost more man games than Vancouver in the last decade. And while, yes, the Canucks struggle to stay healthy every year, Benning is at the helm, this season is not nearly as bad as the previous seasons.

Would Travis Green like to have Sutter and Ferland at his disposal? No doubt. Ferland was signed as a top-six attacker and Sutter is one of Green’s match-up centers and the highest penalty killers. But it must be said that injuries so far have really not been a big storyline at this club.

Now for the question. The great statistics from Vancouver were really good in October. Shot share, expected goals for and through and through. Sutter and Ferland were both healthy for that month. Since the beginning of November, the underlying statistics of the Canucks have become somewhat crater. Ferland has only played two games since the beginning of November and Sutter is not much better with 10 games played. Coincidence? Or would having those two healthy ones help the Canucks to stabilize the ship defensively?

To help this, I turned to Sean Tierney (@chartinghockey), someone who is much more intelligent in this matter than me.

This is every Vancouver player ranked based on their defensive impact (including their 5-in-5 defense impact and also abbreviated). It is ultimately based on the skater’s ability to influence goals independently of his line sizes. The impact is per 60 minutes due to the fact that players have played different amounts.

So, as you can see, Sutter has had a positive impact, albeit minimally. Ferland, on the other hand, had a very negative influence on the defense during the time he played.

Does John Garrert put ketchup on everything? Humor time. Who surprised you the most this year?

– West Coast Canuck (@ markglenndavie4) January 13, 2020

I have often said that I travel with five-year-olds when it comes to dieting. This was the conversation literally a day ago in a restaurant with Shorthouse and Garrett. And it wasn’t a fast food restaurant.

Shorty: “If I order chicken strips, will you laugh at me?”

Garrett: “No, because I get that too.”

There is very little that Cheech does not set up ketchup. He will dip nachos in it. And his biggest crime is pizza and ketchup.

How do you pack a road trip that goes from Florida to Minnesota / Winnipeg in January?

– someone (@Steve_May) January 13, 2020

I have changed from a serial packer to a packer that does not pack enough. So of course I wasn’t worried about the cold part of this trip. Of course I checked the weather in Buffalo, Minnesota and Winnipeg. But I finally decided not to pack a large winter jacket. And there was a method for this madness.

First, we were lucky in Buffalo. It was like 16 degrees Celsius. Then I knew that if I went out in Minnesota, it would take a maximum of one minute. There are two really good restaurants across the street from our hotel. Plus there is a great one at the hotel. It turned out that we did not leave the hotel after we had checked in. What about Winnipeg? Well, you can walk all the way from our hotel to the MTS Place underground. You literally don’t have to go outside. So I felt comfortable choosing not to pack a big jacket. And it worked out fine.

What was the best album, film and TV show of 2019?

– Mike Johnson (@MJVanCity) January 13, 2020

“I’m going to cheat on this question a bit, because I’m lagging a bit behind. So the album that I listened to the most in 2019 actually came out in 2015. Let The Ocean Take Me by The Amity Affliction. one has to choose from 2019, let’s go with Dayseeker’s Sleeptalk, not as heavy as I usually do, but very solidly, I only rotated the new Tool album late in the year.

The only films I saw in the theater in 2019 were children’s shows with my daughter. So my favorite was on Netflix: Hold the Dark (2018). I know a lot of people who don’t share my opinion about this film, but for some reason (a handful of shocking scenes) it caught my attention. I also led myself to Green Room from the same director that I loved.

For the TV program I go to Netflix again. I really enjoyed some subtitled dramas. Fauda definitely didn’t come out in 2019, but it was fantastic. I would also recommend Borderliner (Norwegian), Top Boy, The Last Kingdom, Deadwind (Finnish) and Warrior (Danish).

Are you giving @canucks locker room music this season? Who is in the DJ this year?

– dbrouw87 (@ dbrouw87) January 13, 2020

I will definitely experience GIF Canucks locker room music if I get the chance.

As for who controls the music in the room now that Michael Del Zotto is gone? Well, I heard it was Jake Virtanen and J.T. goods. Miller. So I texted Tunes (Jake) about the … tunes. And I heard it right.