The 3rd annual Canucks headshot awards, starring Peter Andersson and his creepy blue eyes

A lot of people grumble about the preseason, but here at Pass it to Bulis, it excites us, for several reasons. It’s hockey, for one thing. It may not be the best hockey, but I’d still rather watch preseason hockey than no hockey at all. Furthermore, while the games may not mean anything, points-wise, they sure mean something for the prospects, who are trying to play their way onto the team. Those battles are fun, especially this year, since the Canucks actually have a few guys knocking on the door.

But the best thing about the preseason isn’t the games, nor is it the battles: it’s the headshots. With all an organization’s players and prospects gathered in one place at the start of training camp, the team sends each one of them down to the photographer for his official NHL portrait.

As we said two years ago, picture day always leads to unintentional comedy. Most of the guys would rather be anywhere else. Very few actually prepare for it. And, best of all, they’re given no direction as to what they’re supposed to be doing. Some smile. Some glower. Some just stare vacantly ahead. It’s a good time.

And so, without any further ado, we present PITB’s third annual Canucks headshot awards.

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Camp Cuts: Canucks re-assign Joacim Eriksson to Utica

Joacim Eriksson will not be the third head in the Canucks’ goaltending Ghidorah, as he has been re-assigned to the Utica Comets. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise: he was arguably the fourth best Canucks goaltender in the pre-season, assuming reports that Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves on 23 shots against the San Jose Sharks in Stockton can be believed.

Now Eriksson will be competing with Markstrom for starts in Utica, assuming he doesn’t cut and run to Sweden.

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Stick in Link: The Miller’s tale; here come the season previews

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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I Watched This Pre-Season Game: Canucks vs Arizona Coyotes, September 29, 2014

The Arizona Coyotes of Phoenix in Glendale may have a new team name, but they look an awful lot like the Phoenix Coyotes of old: defensively sound, difficult to break down in the neutral zone, and not particularly exciting to watch. As pre-season games go, this was one of them.

That’s not to say there weren’t moments of excitement. For instance, apparently a couple got engaged during a break in the action. That’s exciting, right? I mean, a meaningless pre-season game against the Coyotes isn’t really the most romantic of occasions to pop the question, even for the most die-hard Canucks fan, but love is worth celebrating.

Not worth celebrating: this game. I did not pop open any bottles of champagne when I watched this game.

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The PITB Podcast, Episode 4: Final Cuts and the second Babe movie

With 28 players still on the roster, there are just five players left for the Canucks to cut before the start of the season. We discuss which players are the most likely to get cut and what that means for the roster.

Joacim Eriksson is an obvious cut, as is Cal O’Reilly — or is he? Is Bo Horvat going to spend the entire season in the OHL or will he work his way up from the fourth line? Will Nicklas Jensen start the season on the second line ahead of Zack Kassian? Has Hunter Shinkaruk’s exciting pre-season snared him a spot or is it more prudent to send him down to the AHL because he doesn’t have to go through waivers?

But before all that, we talk about Saturday Night Live and Babe: Pig in the City, which is one of the most underrated sequels of all time.

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Spitballin’ on sneakiness in Stockton, prospect battles, and Shinkaruk’s goofiness

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Camp Cuts: Canucks waive six more, preseason roster down to 28

As we reported when it happened, the Canucks made another round of cuts after their win over the Flames on Friday night, announcing that they had reduced their preseason roster by 11 players. But the truth is that they actually reduced the roster by 17 players — it’s just that six of them required waivers.

And, in an effort to prevent other teams from stealing their players (much like they did last year in snatching up Ryan Stanton from the Chicago Blackhawks), the Canucks opted not to mention the half dozen players momentarily unattended. (It’s amusing to think that other teams would simply fail to notice that a player they wanted was on waivers, but I’m sure it’s happened many times in the past, and the Canucks would prefer that it happens again here.)

Unfortunately, the eagle-eyed Renaud Lavoie spotted the moves, and tweeted them out like a total snitch. Johnny Tightlips he ain’t. According to Lavoie, Bobby Sanguinetti, Alex Biega, Peter Andersson, Dustin Jeffrey, Brandon Defazio, and Darren Archibald are all presently on waivers, as the Canucks attempt to shuttle them down to Utica.

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Jacob Markstrom clears waivers; what will happen now in Utica?

There was a lot of hand-wringing in Canucks nation yesterday when Jacob Markstrom was put on waivers. After all, he was part of the return for Roberto Luongo, a return that was already panned by many fans as being insufficient value for the best goaltender in franchise history. Take away Markstrom and the return becomes just Shawn Matthias.

We’ll ignore for the moment that Luongo had been labeled untradeable because of his contract; there’s plenty of cognitive dissonance among hockey fans. Let’s just admit that losing Markstrom to a waiver claim would not have been ideal, which is why the Canucks were entertaining the thought of keeping him on the Canucks roster.

Let’s all take a deep breath and relax: the Canucks’ third-string goaltender cleared waivers. Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

Except now the Canucks have three goaltenders on their farm team, one of whom could bolt to Sweden if he’s unhappy. Nothing’s ever easy for the Canucks, is it?

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I Watched This Pre-Season Game: Canucks vs Calgary Flames, September 26, 2014

One night after playing the Calgary Flames, the Canucks played the Calgary Flames. We may be trapped in some sort of Groundhog Day scenario. And considering they won both times, my main concern is that they’ll be playing the Calgary Flames again tomorrow night. If so, pray they lose, otherwise we’ll be back here again on Sunday.

Although there are worse things than watching the Canucks beat the Flames night after night, especially when they’re doing it with — get this — a lethal powerplay. Since when do they have that? Seriously, I know they call it the man advantage, but this was the first night in ages that being allowed to have one more guy on the ice actually seemed like an advantage. I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this game.

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Camp Cuts: Canucks send Brendan Gaunce and a bunch of other guys to Utica

Soon, very soon, the Canucks will begin playing games for points. Games that mean something. Games where you’re not allowed to have 30 to 40 guys on your roster. Which means that soon, they’ll have to make some very difficult decisions as they try to pare that group down to the league maximum of 23.

But first, some easy decisions. Immediately following their 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames, the Canucks announced the trimming of their preseason roster by 11 more players.

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