Back in January, we posted our second annual Canucks Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet, a guide to all of the players on the Vancouver Canucks for the recently baptized Canucks fan. It was an excellent introduction to the team for wives of diehard fans, Vancouverites who just noticed that the Canucks are at the top of the NHL standings, and Canadian hockey fans whose teams haven’t won a game in the last 5 weeks.
The cheat sheet, unfortunately, is a little out of date. With the plethora of injuries to the Canucks’ defensive corps, a number of prospects unexpectedly made their NHL debut. Additionally, the trade deadline brought two new players into the fold. With that in mind, we are introducing the first ever Appendix to the Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet.
Name: Mario Bliznak
About: Bliznak wears #62 and has been a checking-line center at pretty much every level of hockey. He has the potential to step in as the fourth-line center for the Canucks, though his awareness on the ice will need to drastically increase at the NHL-level. He is currently playing for the Moose
Nickname(s): Bliznasty, Bliz, Blizzy, B to the Lizzy
My wife thinks he looks like: I Am Weasel.
If he touches the puck, the puck is in the defensive zone. He doesn’t touch the puck in the offensive zone.
Expect to hear: “Smart defensive play by Bliznak.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Why won’t anybody pass to Bliznak?”
Name: Guillaume Desbiens
About: Desbiens wears #34 and plays right wing. He outperformed numerous competitors for the fourth line out of training camp and played reasonably well for 13 games before injuring himself due to an inability to form a proper fist. He’s currently with the Moose and is unlikely to make it back into the lineup this season. He has yet to record his first point in the NHL.
Nickname(s): Property, Props, Gilly
My wife thinks he looks like: Zach Galifianakis with a shorter beard.
If he touches the puck, it will touch at least three other people before going in the net.
Expect to hear: “The Canucks need more of his physical brand of play.
Don’t expect to hear: “Maybe if we put him with the Sedins…”
Name: Chris Higgins
About: Higgins wears #20 and plays left wing. He was acquired from the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline in another example of Mike Gillis and Dale Tallon being best bros. Higgins is a hard-working, versatile utility forward that can fill any hole in the bottom three lines. He’s also expected to fill the SOB-sized hole at the Roxy. In short: he likes to party.
Nickname(s): Higgs-Boson, Kiss Huggins, Gettin’ Higgy with It
My wife thinks he looks like: Dale from Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
If he touches the puck, he will possess it like the puck is Regan MacNeil.
Expect to hear: “Wow, Higgins spends a lot of time in the offensive zone.”
Don’t expect to hear: “I’m not sure that Higgins is working hard enough.”
Name: Cody Hodgson
About: Hodgson wears #39 and plays center. He is the greatest prospect of all time. Everything about him is perfect. Nothing he does is wrong. Everything bad that happens to him is someone else’s fault. He’s great. Everyone likes him.
Nickname(s): Silent G, CoHo
My wife thinks he looks like: Corey Hart without sunglasses.
If he touches the puck, he will show incredible patience and strength on the puck, drawing comparisons to a young Sedin. Whichever one. Doesn’t matter.
Expect to hear: “Oh my goodness, you guys, he is so good. Seriously.”
Don’t expect to hear: “We should have drafted Kyle Beach.”
Name: Maxim Lapierre
About: Lapierre wears #40 and plays center. He was acquired at the trade deadline from the Anaheim Ducks. Although the Canucks were expected to seek out a fourth-line center at the deadline, no one expected it to be Lapierre. He can hit, play on the penalty kill, and make a general nuisance of himself, but he’s also been known to take a few penalties. Making a marvelous first impression, he took a penalty on his first ever shift with the Canucks. That said, with the emergence of Burrows and Kesler as top-six forwards, it’s nice to have someone else to fill the super-pest role.
Nickname(s): Max, Mad Max, Madder Max, Maddest Max, The Pierre, Lappy
My wife thinks he looks like: Roberto Luongo’s guido cousin.
If he touches the puck, the ref will blow the whistle for the delayed penalty.
Expect to hear: “I can’t believe I used to hate this guy. What a great teammate!”
Don’t expect to hear: “We traded Joel Perrault for this guy? We got fleeced!”
Name: Joel Perrault
About: Perrault wore #32 and doesn’t play for the Canucks anymore. He was shipped out of town in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for Maxim Lapierre. It was hoped that he would be the solution for the fourth-line center; it was not to be.
Nickname(s): That guy we traded to get that other guy, Gone Daddy Gone
My wife thinks he looks like: a genial porcupine.
If he touches the puck, he’s in the middle of trying to win a faceoff.
Expect to hear: “Wait, he was on the Canucks? When?”
Don’t expect to hear: “I can’t believe we traded someone so essential to our playoff hopes.”
Name: Rick Rypien
About: Rypien wears #37 and plays center. He is the closest thing the Canucks have to a dedicated enforcer. Unfortunately, he’s severely undersized for the role. For comparison, George Parros is 6 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than the pint-sized punchmaster. He does have the benefit, however, of having a Canadian Gold Gloves champion boxer for a father and it shows in his fighting style, as Rypien is equally adept at punching with both fists and is one of the few fighters who will actively block incoming punches like a boxer. Rypien is currently away from the team for personal reasons.
Nickname(s): Rypper, Ryp, Punchy McPuncherson
My wife thinks he looks like: Boone Carlyle.
If he touches the puck, he’ll either dump it into the corner or pull off a surprisingly sweet spin-o-rama. There is no in-between.
Expect to hear: “What’s he doing?! That guy’s a foot taller than he is!”
Don’t expect to hear: “That was a clear-cut loss in that fight.”
Name: Sergei Shirokov
About: Shirokov wears #25 and plays right wing. He is the only Russian in the Canucks system with any real chance of actually playing in the NHL. This led to a series of silly comparisons to Pavel Bure when Shirokov first showed up at training camp last season. Since Shirokov can actually be seen when he is skating at top speed, the comparisons are completely baseless. Shirokov currently leads the Manitoba Moose in scoring, causing many people who have never heard of Jason Krog to freak out that he’s not already playing for the Canucks.
Nickname(s): Shirok, The Shark
My wife thinks he looks like: a male Patsy Cline.
If he touches the puck, he will be shocked at how quickly a defender closed in on him.
Expect to hear: “Shirokov is a shifty little guy; look at how good he is at finding the open ice.”
Don’t expect to hear: “I Fall To Pieces”
:::::::::::::::::::: DEFENSEMEN ::::::::::::::::::::
Name: Evan Oberg
About: Oberg wore #64 and plays for a different team. He was traded to the Florida Panthers to acquire Chris Higgins after Oberg took a nosedive down the depth chart from last season. He was 13th on the defensive depth chart and was swapped for a legitimate NHL player. Given the decimation of the Panthers at the deadline, he might be able to find a place in the lineup sooner rather than later. He’s a fantastic puck carrier, but has significant issues with his defensive positioning.
Nickname(s): Mr. Samir Naga…Naga…Naga…Not gonna work here anymore, anyway.
My wife thinks he looks like: Cory Monteith.
If he touches the puck, it’ll be the only time he doesn’t look out of place in the NHL.
Expect to hear: crickets.
Don’t expect to hear: “Chris Tanev is just another Evan Oberg.”
Name: Ryan Parent
About: Parent wears #20 and plays defense. He joined the team at the beginning of the season and has played a grand total of 4 games for the Canucks. Once a highly touted prospect, Parent has not panned out at the NHL level. He is now with the Moose and is unlikely to join the Canucks this season as he will need to clear waivers to do so.
Nickname(s): That One Guy
My wife thinks he looks like: “Who the hell is that?” (direct quote)
If he touches the puck, the puck is in the AHL.
Expect to hear: Go Moose go! Go Moose go!
Don’t expect to hear: “You know who I just thought of? Ryan Parent.”
Name: Yann Sauvé
About: Sauvé wears #47 and plays defense. He evolves so much that he ought to be a Pokémon. Right now he’s a land mammal with the Manitoba Moose.
Nickname(s): Ianto Jones, Yanni, Rico
My wife thinks he looks like: James Franco while hosting the Academy Awards.
If he touches the puck, he’ll make the safe play. Moms are completely comfortable with their daughters going out on dates with him, he’s so safe.
Expect to hear: “Wait, you mean I can’t make this suave joke I’ve been saving up?”
Don’t expect to hear: “Yo Yann, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Jan Bulis was the greatest Yan of all time. Of all time!”
Name: Lee Sweatt
About: Sweatt wears #57 and plays defense. He has been favorably compared to Brian Rafalski. Like Rafalski, Sweatt is undersized for a defenceman and was forced to start his professional career in Europe. Also like Rafalski, he won the Pekka Rautakallio trophy for best defenceman in the Finnish SM-Liiga. Sweatt scored the game winning goal on his first shot in his first NHL game against the Nashville Predators. He was sidelined with a broken foot just before he got sent down to the Manitoba Moose. His brother, Bill Sweatt is also a prospect for the Canucks.
Nickname(s): The Little Fire Hydrant, Rudy, Ryan Brafalski
My wife thinks he looks like: Sean Astin in Rudy
If he touches the puck, then the Canucks’ injury troubles have once again gotten out of hand.
Expect to hear: “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy…”
Don’t expect to hear: “It’s nice to finally have a defenseman with some size.”