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  • on March 31, 2011 -
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With the Canucks having clinched the Western Conference title (!) ridiculously early this season and being on the verge of our first President’s Trophy, talk naturally turns to playoff opponents.  And, thanks to our last two unceremonious exists from the post-season, talk of playoff opponents seems to always veer, unprovoked, to the Chicago Blackhawks. I [...]

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I understand some Canucks fans are wary of the playoffs: with only two Stanley Cup Final appearances in the team’s 40 year existence and no victories, most Canucks fans have a pessimistic outlook, just waiting for something to go wrong. And certainly things have gone wrong in the past. We’ve seen a dream playoff run ended by a goal post. We’ve seen an Art Ross trophy and a division championship choked away. We’ve seen Nicklas Lidstrom score from center. We’ve see Luongo lose focus. We’ve seen them lose in the second round to the Blackhawks. Twice. In a row. And that’s just recent history.

So I get it, I really do. For many years the pessimism has been a realistic and fair reaction to the performance and history of the team. So I want to let you know, because it’s completel atypical and likely goes against everything you’ve ever believed about the Canucks: it’s okay to be optimistic.

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  • on March 30, 2011 -
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Outscored 16-6 in the series, and 8-0 after second periods, the Giants simply couldn’t stay with a superior Tri-City team. Whenever any game was on the line, it was the Americans who produced in the pressure moments. They were down 1-0 in Game 1 and won it 2-1 in overtime. They led 5-4 going into [...]

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After a thrilling international hiatus the European leagues now enter the home stretch of their domestic seasons, and from now on every game is a big game (except the ones that aren’t). The marquee fixture on Saturday is undoubtedly Milan against Inter in Serie A. Not so long ago it looked as though Milan were [...]

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  • on March 30, 2011 -
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The Giants’ predicament, being down 3-0 in their opening-round playoff series, isn’t a pretty one but at least give the players credit for not spouting the usual assortment of ‘backs to the wall, there is no tomorrow’ cliches heading into Game 4 tonight at the Coliseum (7 p.m. AM650). “You could say all the cliches you [...]

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PITB is all about classic, old-school, screwball comedy, so you know any time someone takes a gob to the gob, we’re gonna be all over it. Here’s an Aaron Rome postgame interview that comes to an abrupt halt when Kevin Bieksa, Tanner Glass, and Raffi Torres, doing their best Ryan Kesler impressions as they peer from behind the curtain, successfully conspire to smear shaving cream all over Rome’s cheeks. It’s a well-executed prank, probably because Keith Ballard isn’t involved.

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  • on March 29, 2011 -
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On the late December day they traded team captain Craig Cunningham, the Giants pretty much conceded their team was not of championship calibre, or even a real contender. Now that the playoffs have arrived, that appears to be the case. The G-Men are down 3-0 in their best-of-seven series to the Tri-City Americans and looked [...]

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  • on March 29, 2011 -
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In a season of unprecedented achievements, the Canucks added a couple more notches to their collective bedpost tonight.  With their franchise record 9th consecutive road victory, they also clinched their first ever Western Conference regular season championship. So with five games remaining in the season, we are left to contemplate just who the Canucks might [...]

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Canucks 3 – 1 Predators The two of us have differing views on goaltender’s duels. Keep in mind: Harrison enjoys basketball; Skeeter enjoys soccer. Our opinions regarding tight-checking, low-scoring affairs echo these tastes. This is also why, during games, Skeeter often screams more slide tackles! and Harrison often screams more black people! But we digress. [...]

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Most Canuck fans are good people. They just want to see their team win, and they’re pretty used to that not happening. As a result, they’re resigned, they’re relaxed, and they have a tendency to keep their heads. Unfortunately, they are only the majority of Canucks fans, which means that, somewhere, there is a minority [...]

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  • on March 29, 2011 -
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After successfully completing a full practice Monday, Giants captain James Henry and his wonky knee have a doctor’s appointment today at which time it will be determined whether he can play tonight against the Tri-City Americans (7 p.m., AM 650). The Giant, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven opening-round series, need someone to be a difference [...]

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Barring some unforeseen bad luck in the lottery the Toronto Raptors will have one of the top five choices in the upcoming NBA draft.  As such the NCAA tournament is a tremendous opportunity for the organization to check out how the top prospects fare playing the other top prospects.  And occasionally a good player elevates [...]

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  • on March 28, 2011 -
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Giants captain James Henry, who has been dogged with knee problems since late December, practised hard on Monday (in gold jersey) and could be a go for Tuesday’s Game 3 against the Tri-City Americans. The Giants could use him. Three of their older forwards — Spencer Bennett, Brendan Rowinski and Andrej Stastny — need to [...]

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With Daniel Sedin’s failed penalty shot attempt Friday, the NHL scoring leader is now 0-for-4 in his career on penalty shots, and it’s never really been close. He’s bad at it. He’s so bad at it that Alain Vigneault used this most recent non-goal as an example of why Daniel never gets a chance in the shootout.

It’s a strange anomaly, really, especially considering that Daniel Sedin is a pretty fabulous scorer. Furthermore, he’s in possession of one of the NHL’s most accurate shots. You’d think he’d be money in these situations, but it would seem penalty shots and shootouts just aren’t particularly suited for his game.

Here are 20 possible explanations:

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Canucks 4 – 1 Blue Jackets What’s the remedy for a team that has very little left to play for? Pit them against a team that never has anything to play for. The Canucks coasted through yesterday’s Sunday matinee game, and probably deserved a loss for such lackadaisical play, but it’s pretty tough to outcoast [...]

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  • on March 27, 2011 -
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The Giants were close in both games in Tri-City. losing 2-1 in OT and 5-4, but not good enough. Nobody expects them to win the series so no one should be surprised at the results but…when you score first in both games, when you lead after two periods, when you have four straight power plays [...]

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  • on March 27, 2011 -
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The Whitecaps may have suffered their first defeat on Saturday but the season continues to be a learning curve for fans, players and coaching staff alike. So what can we all take away from the game against Philadelphia? 1) The Whitecaps are well organised- with their two first choice central defenders away on international action there was [...]

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Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler are such good buds–true besties–that they regularly engage in intense tickle fights, even at extremely inopportune times. Case in point: this photo was taken while the Canucks were trying to kill a penalty. If Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis wasn’t such a good guy, he might have given them a piece [...]

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Canuck fans, upon hearing negative opinions regarding their team. In the past few weeks, Kyle Wellwood, Mike Babcock, and Theo Fleury have all come under fire for some pretty offensive comments. Yes, unforgivable utterances, these. The things they said were so vile that it apparently became acceptable to forgo proper human decency and, instead, return [...]

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Canucks 3 -1 Thrashers Seemingly lacking in motivation, the Canucks were not what you would call “good” against the Thrashers. They were, however, good enough, which is all that was necessary. With the victory, the Canucks set a franchise record for points in a season, with 7 games still left to play. Unfortunately, Daniel Sedin [...]

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  • on March 25, 2011 -
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The Giants can’t expect to win a playoff game 1-0 against an explosive team like the Tri-City Americans and they didn’t Friday night, falling 2-1 in OT. The G-Men managed a power-play goal by Brendan Rowinski (in photo) in the first period and that was it for the offence. Nothing at even strength. Only two [...]

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You might recall from an earlier PITB piece that Ballard is a noted prankster; he just happens to be terrible at it. It’s true. He’s worse than Jeff Bridges. You also might recall that Atlanta, where the Canucks play tonight, is the site of his worst prank ever: a two-handed baseball swing to the mask of Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

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  • on March 25, 2011 -
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With the European leagues taking a break due to international action Major League Soccer has the opportunity to take centre stage this weekend. Sadly many clubs will lose their best players to national team call-ups, but there are still a few games that should be worth watching: Philadelphia v Vancouver- How will the home town team [...]

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The great irony of the Jack Adams award is that being the coach of the league’s best team often precludes one from talk of being the league’s best coach. Truth is, when there’s no other possible explanation for a team’s success, then the coach gets the credit. If, however, it’s possible to attribute that success [...]

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What is Marc-Andre Fleury doing in this picture? Unless one of the Philadelphia Flyers made good on a threat and literally rearranged his face, he’s shooting himself in the eye. Was it a snowshower he’s washing off? Or maybe he got something in his eye? Actually, no. I’ve done some investigation on this* and it [...]

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