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The differences between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers are actually quite small. Add those differences together though and, as the Timbers 2-1 win on Saturday demonstrated, you get one expansion team that has been successful and one that has failed miserably. Take set pieces for example; when Portland have an attacking free-kick every player knows his role in the [...]

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Third Man In is the ingenious name for Qris Johnson’s weekly column. See, because Pass it to Bulis is officially two guys, but sometimes there’s third guy, just like in a hockey fight. Get it? It’s mad clever.

Today, Qris examines the Canucks’ commitment to their Zen philosophy and offers to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Like “Henry the 8th”, it’s second verse, same as the first. Once again we find ourselves nearing the end of the NHL offseason with no contract for Kyle Wellwood in sight. This season it is even more inexplicable than last season. Long time Bulies will remember my impassioned defense of Kyle Wellwood’s defensive abilities after the 2009-10 season, pointing out that he led the entire NHL in the admittedly oddball statistic of Ratio of Goals Against to Total Time on Ice. To put it simply: when Kyle Wellwood was on the ice in that season, the opposition didn’t score. At least, not very often.

Instead of other NHL teams noticing his surprising defensive responsibility, the epic saga of Wellwood’s World happened, as Welly signed in the KHL, saw the coach who had him signed fired and replaced, rode the bench, was released from his KHL contract, had a baby, signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues, was picked up off re-entry waivers by the San Jose Sharks, and made it to the Western Conference Final, where he was eliminated by his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. It was a crazy, crazy year for the easy-going Wellwood, and likely one he doesn’t want to repeat.

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Congratulations are due to Roberto Luongo, who has been named among the 2011 class of inductees to the Italian Walk of Fame alongside singer Bobby Curtola, contractor Alfredo Degasperis, character actor Franco Nero, actress Connie Stevens, and businessman (and Canucks’ co-owner) Luigi Aquilini. Congratulations are also due to Luongo for being the greatest goalie who ever lived, according to his induction write-up.

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Hardcore Fans: The Beard Bet

Hardcore Fans is an ongoing series where we spotlight the interesting and often crazy actions taken by otherwise normal and sane people in support of the Vancouver Canucks. We firmly believe that the Canucks have some of the best fans in the NHL and we want to point the metaphorical laser pointer at a few of them rather than in Miikka Kiprusoff’s eyes.

In this edition: Blake Rupert and his fabulous playoff beard.

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The English Premier League narrative may still be unfolding but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t clues to be gained this early in the season. Here are five things that could tell us a little bit more about the campaign ahead; 1) Can Manchester City win on the road?- A 4-0 home win with Aguero [...]

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By Russell Berrisford The English Premier League narrative may still be unfolding but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t clues to be gained this early in the season. Here are five things that could tell us a little bit more about the campaign ahead; 1) Can Manchester City win on the road?- A 4-0 home [...]

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Today: part four in Ryan Kesler’s Every Goal series, the lengthy rundown of each and every time he bulged the twine in 2010-11. In the thrilling finale, you’ll see multiple assaults on the Minnesota Wild, sexy empty-netters, some nifty enabling courtesy of Manny Malhotra, Alex Burrows being sent away from a hug, the discovery of a new Sedin set play, and traditional season-ending Wizardous Sedinery versus the Calgary Flames. I hope you’ve enjoyed Ryan Kesler’s entry in the Every Goal series as much as I enjoyed writing it (at least, and hopefully, more, because this took forever).

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Like a disputed goal, hockey movies need to be reviewed. More accurate than the War Room in Toronto, more exciting than a referee’s microphone malfunction, it’s PITB’s Under Review. Next up is 2010′s “Score: A Hockey Musical” starring Noah Reid and Allie MacDonald. Fair warning: spoilers will occur.

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Here’s an unfortunate incident that will likely cause you to shake your head: the Toronto Star has come under fire for an unfortunate error in their August 16 report on the passing of Rick Rypien in which they misquoted Gillis referring to Rypien — whose struggles with mental illness are now coming to light — as “crazy”.

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Today: part three of Ryan Kesler’s entry in the Every Goal series, in which you’ll see such things as Kesler’s second career hat trick, Kesler’s first shorthanded goal of the year, Henrik Sedin being all shifty like a dog that’s up to no good, Adrian Aucoin made to look rather foolish, Alex Burrows being a sneaky jerk, and a buttload of tips. Seriously, there are more redirects here than a gubernatorial debate. It’s like a tipping convention. Anyway. Enjoy.

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At age 41 and in his 22nd ML season Jim Thome joined baseball’s immortals when he slugged his 600th home run on a curveball thrown by a left-handed reliever.  Automatically the conversation turned to Thome’s place in the history of the game and whether that lofty number (Thome is the eighth player to hit 600 [...]

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It’s time for another round of Ask it to Bulis, wherein two guys who are incredibly smart, handsome, and humble answer your questions about life, the universe, and everything. Unfortunately, no one asked us about those things, so we’re mostly just talking about hockey.

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With nothing left to play for but the Cascadia Cup (and pride) let’s look at five ways that the Whitecaps can improve as the season winds to a merciful release. 1) Try to take the game to the opponents- Too often the Whitecaps seem happy to sit back and hand the the momentum to the [...]

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Today: part two of Ryan Kesler’s entry in the Every Goal series, where we’ll be looking at goals 11-20, all of which, save the last, took place in December. We’ll see such things as a game-tying buzzer beater versus the Anaheim Ducks, the targeted victimization of Rusty Klesla, Kesler’s first-career hat trick, and the classic Skee-ball goal. There are also some great supporting performances put in by Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, and the defence of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames. Enjoy.

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Absolutely awful news from Coleman, Alberta this evening, as Rick Rypien was found dead in his home by a family member. The RCMP has declared the death unsuspicious; News 1130 is reporting that Rypien took his own life. There are no words. What follows is a pathetic attempt to say something about a tragedy over which there is seemingly nothing profound to speak.

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As we examine Ryan Kesler’s entire scoring season, you will no doubt be reminded that, in 2010-11, the Vancouver centre transmogrified into two things he never was before: 1) an elite net presence, and 2) an elite sniper. In front, Kesler established himself as one of the league’s best shot-tippers and rebound-hunters. Meanwhile, on the rush, Kesler’s sudden, whippy wrist shot graduated to the Ovechkinian levels of effectiveness. In sum, Kesler became a bona fide threat to score every time he crossed the opposing blue line. And thanks to the addition of Manny “The Enabler” Malhotra, he crossed the blue line a lot. Here’s part 1 of Ryan Kesler’s lengthy entry in the Every Goal series.

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Writing about the Whitecaps 4-0 defeat to DC United feels a little bit like intruding on private grief for, in a season of poor performances, this was the worst by a considerable distance. This wasn’t a game of soccer; it was a cry for help. Conceding a late first half goal didn’t enhance the cause, but the real [...]

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In case you missed it yesterday, we dug up some interesting info regarding NHL veteran and Canucks’ training camp tryout Owen Nolan. First, he has a storied history with Gino Odjick. Second, he has a Twitter account. Now, it seems unlikely that the Twitter account will yield anything as interesting as Paul Bissonnette’s, but it stands to reason that, unless Mike Duco undeletes his account and keeps talking smack about his teammates, Mike Gillis starts breaking player acquisitions, Ryan Kesler really steps his game up while he’s rehabbing his hip surgery, Kevin Bieksa finally caves, or Fin goes batcrap insane, Nolan’s will be the most engaging twitter account among Canuck personalities (provided he makes the team, which we suspect he will). So we need to make the most of what he gives us.

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Qris Johnson is the third man in. Just when you thought there were only two writers on PITB, we blindside you with a third writer. It’s like Qris Johnson is Mark Messier and you guys are Mike Modano. Wait, don’t we hate Mark Messier?

In this edition, Qris tackles the Canucks’ rivalry with the Blackhawks and touches on Milan Lucic, prima donnas, and headshots. Yes, headshots. In the summer. It makes sense, I swear.

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On August 4th, an announcement of vital importance was made: Owen Nolan was signed to a Professional Tryout Offer (PTO) with the Vancouver Canucks. This isn’t vital because Nolan is especially likely to make the team, though Kesler and Raymond’s injuries increase his chances, but because Owen Nolan has a Twitter account.

Also, he once brutally bodychecked Gino Odjick from behind face first into the boards.

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Whether or not Mason Raymond can get back to his level of play from two years ago will be one of 2011-12′s largest storylines. Once his back is rehabilitated, Raymond will be dropped straight into a contract year and, considering the glut of middle six wingers, he’ll be in tough to earn the juicy second line minutes he was getting in 2010-11. If he hopes to keep that coveted spot alongside Ryan Kesler, he’s likely going to have to score with a little more regularity than he did last season. But let’s not look forward. Let’s go back in time, to the 15 goals Mason Raymond scored in 2010-11.

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Here’s a quick brief on what’s been making news in the racing world, here at Hastings and abroad: BC Cup day at Hastings was a success in terms of wagering handle and on track crowd.  It was by far the best day for the track financially, with bettors wagering over a million dollars (typical handle [...]

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Today in quotes taken out of context: Dallas Stars’ forward Steve Ott observes that his colleagues have been indulging in oversized desserts.

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Daniel Carcillo, Chicago’s newest tough guy, is a stereotypical goon, right down to the fact that he doesn’t quite exude knowledge and wisdom. When asked about the rivalry with the Canucks in his introductory press conference, for instance, he showed that he wasn’t fully caught up on the offseason roster moves of his new nemesis.

But this story has been severely underreported. It turns out that Carcillo made a bevy of other questionable, somewhat misinformed comments at his press conference. Great news, too: we at PITB got our hands on a complete transcript, and we’ve compiled his top 20 quotes right here:

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