Like that one movie about racing, the cuts are coming fast and furious. What was that movie again? Oh yeah, Cars.

It was just announced that forward Mark Mancari and defenceman Ryan Parent were waived today. Both will need to clear waivers in order to report to the Chicago Wolves. While neither cut was unexpected given their performance during the preseason, both players have the potential to play in the NHL and they have to be disappointed.

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The Canucks made another round of cuts this afternoon, sending Mike Duco, Eddie Lack, Yann Sauve, and Jordan Schroeder to Chicago, Nicklas Jensen to his junior club in Oshawa, and releasing Todd Fedoruk and Anders Eriksson outright. While there is still one final round of trimming to go, as a number of players that will need to clear waivers remain with the team (Mancari, Parent and/or Sulzer), today’s cuts were, in effect, the final round, giving us a fairly clear indication as to who will be in the lineup on opening night.

As we have been throughout this process, PITB is here to break down the moves.

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Part of me wonders if the Canucks decided to only dress the Sedins for one game out of the seven preseason contests they’ve played so far in an attempt to make us miss them. At the end of last season, all Canuck fans could do was grumble about the twins, but after being reminded Wednesday night of how much better they are than anyone else on the team, another game without them was an exercise in dull pain. The Sedinless Canuck team dressed for the penultimate preseason game was about as threatening as a kitten in a felt hat, and nowhere near as adorable.

I ask you, is there anything worse than the realization that you just sat through a three-hour preseason shutout? No. There is only shame, and I feel this shame, because I watched this game.

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Global BC’s Chris Gailus just got Keslurked

Yesterday was Raise-a-Reader day in Vancouver, as 450 volunteers — including politicians, media, and athletes — spent the afternoon downtown selling newspapers and collecting donations in support of the Postmedia literacy campaign. Many members of the Vancouver Canucks were there, including Mason Raymond, Steven Pinizzotto, and Ryan Kesler.

This gave Global BC’s Chris Gailus the opportunity to stage a short interview with Kesler, and the two briefly discussed the importance of literacy in Kesler’s home, Kesler’s hip, and the Canucks’ hope of making it back to the Stanley Cup. But the real fun started when the interview concluded. Not ten seconds after Gailus thanked him for his time, Kesler returned to the shot to stage a yet another opportunistic Keslurk.

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Last month, Reebok added a number of “Black Ice” variants on classic NHL jerseys to the NHL store. Somehow, when this was announced, I completely missed that there is a Ryan Kesler Canucks jersey on offer among these variants. And it is horri-awful.

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A number of Canucks veterans played their first game of the preseason tonight: Luongo, Burrows, the Sedins, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Samuelsson, Edler, and Salo. That’s 9 out of 19 players playing their first game of the season. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t quite as crisp as they could have been. Also, they were not so fresh and so clean (clean).

That said, the top-six forwards looked remarkably like the top-six we can expect to see on opening night, and it was a sudden and shocking reminder of how the Canucks play: “Oh yeah, that’s what good hockey looks like.” How do I know what it looked like? I watched this game.

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Ryan Kesler to pose nude, because Ryan Kesler hates clothes

Early Wednesday morning, it was reported that Ryan Kesler will be posing nude for ESPN Magazine’s 2011 “Body Issue.” The Canucks centre will be the first NHL star to pose nude for the magazine since 2009, when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and three members of the Edmonton Oilers appeared in the inaugural edition of the “Body Issue.”

The choice of Kesler makes sense: he was a star for the USA Olympic team, which makes him far more recognizable to ESPN’s audience than, say, any other hockey player in the world.

Oh…and he already has a tendency to remove his clothing at every opportunity.

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The defensive pairings for Wednesday night’s preseason tilt with the Anaheim Ducks have been released, and they are as follows: Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler and Sami Salo, and Chris Tanev with Andrew Alberts. Needless to say, this group bears a strong resemblance to what we can expect to see on opening night. Hamhuis and Bieksa, last season’s standout pair, are back together, and Alex Edler and Sami Salo, the presumed second unit, are paired as well.

But, bearing the implications in mind, there is one suspicious absence from the six-man unit: Keith Ballard, for whom a fresh start was promised. Is this evidence that the promise was somewhat exaggerated?

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Henrik Sedin was in Rogers Arena Monday night, but he wasn’t playing hockey. The Canucks captain celebrated his 31st birthday on Monday by going to see Keith Urban in concert.

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Ryan Kesler just got Keslurked

At first glance, this is an adorable snapshot of the family Kesler, as Ryker, Ryan, Mikayla and Andrea gather around the sofa to read a copy of Spot’s Storytime Collection. A second examination of the picture, however yields a terrifying sight in the periphery. What is that over Ryan Kesler’s right shoulder, lurking in the background of the shot, peering ominously at the Keslers on the couch? Why, it’s Ryan Kesler.

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Considering that the last 18-year-old to make the Canucks was Petr Nedved in 1990, it’s probably safe to say that 29th overall pick Nicklas Jensen is a longshot to win a spot on the roster come opening night. But if you’ve seen Jensen play, and, moreover, if you’ve been keeping up with Alain Vigneault’s praise for the kid, it might not be as far-fetched as you think.

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The Canucks closed out a cut-heavy Sunday night by losing four more members of the training camp roster, assigning Matt Climie and Antoine Roussel to the Wolves, and reassigning both Owen Nolan and Niko Dimitrakos from their tryout contracts. Once again, PITB is here to break down the moves, although if these four need any explanation, it’s possible you won’t even comprehend the one I provide.

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After being frustrated about playing in a game with such an obvious talent disparity, Cory Schneider commented that, despite suffering a minor hip strain during the game, he “didn’t want to put Eddie in that situation”. Unfortunately, Despite Schneider’s best efforts, Eddie Lack ended up in exactly that situation. The Canucks once again iced a lineup devoid of NHL talent, this time against a Sharks lineup that included Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, and Douglas Murray, along with an assortment of other NHL talent.

Surprisingly, then, Eddie Lack managed to keep things close despite some early struggles and this version of the Canucks competed hard and came just short against the star-studded Sharks. I watched this game.

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In what’s turning out to be a very busy day, the Canucks have pared another five guys from the training camp roster. Along with the already-discussed cuts of Kevin Connauton and Steve Begin, Steven Anthony, Darren Archibald, Sebastian Erixon, Yann Sauve and Bill Sweatt have all been assigned to Chicago. What did these guys do wrong?

Not much, really. All have plenty of raw talent and — with the exception of Steven Anthony — could potentially be callups for the Canucks this year. But on a team this deep, it was going to take truly terrific performances to give the Canucks’ coaching staff pause, and at this point, none of these guys had it in them.

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The Canucks have trimmed the training cam roster yet again this morning, reassigning defenceman Kevin Connauton to the Chicago Wolves and releasing forward Steve Begin outright. As usual, PITB is here to break down the cuts, and as usual, these ones are pretty easy to explain.

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Four games into the preseason, the Canucks continue to hide their veterans in a cave in the mountains. As a result, tonight’s lineup was again a combination of AHLers, fourth liners, invitees, and animals dressed as people. Meanwhile, for the second game in a row, their opponents — tonight, the Anaheim Ducks — dressed something akin to their opening night roster. Needless to say, Vancouver did not win. The Canucks came out strong in the first, but by the second period, they’d run out of moxie (and some of the animals’ moustaches had fallen off). From that moment on, the discrepancy in talent was impossible for those that watched this game to miss. Hence, I saw it, because I watched this game.

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The Canucks trimmed their training camp roster by 11 players today, and as usual, PITB is here to break down every cut. Here’s a detailed look at the factors that led to Frank Corrado, Adam Polasek, Stefan Schneider, Matt Clackson, Nathan Longpre, and Manny Legace getting bounced from the training camp roster.

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The Canucks trimmed their training camp roster by 11 players today, and as usual, PITB is here to break down every cut. Here’s a detailed look at the factors that led to Kellan Tochkin, Anton Rodin, Alex Friesen, Prab Rai, and Taylor Ellington getting cut from the training camp roster.

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With all the talk in the offseason about the search for wingers for Kesler on the second line and the concern over the injuries to Raymond and Kesler, it seems to be lost that there isn’t actually that much competition for those spots in the lineup. It’s fairly safe to assume at this point that Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm are pencilled in as the second line wingers, with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen ready and willing to jump into those spots if necessary. As for a replacement Kesler, that role is clearly Cody Hodgson’s to lose.

No, the spots that are up for grabs are on the wings of Maxim Lapierre on the fourth line, and this is where things get interesting. After Christian Ehrhoff, the loss of Raffi Torres to free agency is the most significant change to last season’s lineup. His combination of Bowlingballitude, Streakiscoringness, and Photogenicity makes him difficult to replace.

While his place on the third line will likely be filled by Higgins or Samuelsson to start the season, neither has the right combination of attributes to be a true Raffi Replacement. Ideally, one of the players battling for a spot on the fourth line would be that replacement, ready to step into a role on the third line in case of injuries.

So who best fits this description? PITB breaks down the options, focussing on players who can fill a role on the fourth line but would be able to step up to the third. They will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 Raffis.

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While the core of the Canucks remains relatively intact from last season, a handful of depth players have moved on to other homes. Christian Ehrhoff is in Buffalo. Tanner Glass is in Winnipeg. Raffi Torres is in Phoenix. Jeff Tambellini is in Switzerland. We recently stumbled across this video by the audiovisual crew over at Surrey’s Enver Creek Secondary School in which the kids from ECTV discuss which of the departed Canucks was dearest to them. As with most high school productions, it’s awkward, but not without its charms.

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In the third game of their preseason schedule, the Canucks iced a lineup with little to no resemblance to their actual NHL team. How bad was it? Consider that Victor Oreskovich registered more points in a Canucks’ uniform last season than anyone else Vancouver dressed; he had three assists in 2010-11.

And then consider that the Canucks were still the best team on the ice tonight, which says something about the entertainment value of this game, and should also say something about the Edmonton Oilers, who dressed something akin to their opening night lineup. Still, Edmonton shouldn’t be worried — they’ll never have to face this team again, unless they’re relegated to the AHL (which they might be, because they’re terrible). I watched this game:

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Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead–often called “the worst lead in hockey”–is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.

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Last night, in his first game as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Christian Ehrhoff impressed, registering a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It was a strong debut for the former Canuck, who was named the game’s first star for his efforts. Now, it would be foolish to read too much into one early preseason game (unless you’re Tony Gallagher), but now seems as good a time as any to examine just what, exactly, Vancouver lost when Christian Ehrhoff signed in Buffalo.

The lazy question is this: will the Canucks mis Ehrhoff’s scoring? The answer is two-fold: on one hand, of course they will, because Christian Ehrhoff puts up a lot of points; on the other hand, probably not, because the Canucks didn’t let Ehrhoff go due to insufficient point production.

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Despite Alain Vigneault’s claims that the next round of cuts wouldn’t come until Friday, the Canucks made two minor reductions today, sending 2011 third round draft pick Alexandre Grenier back to the QMJHL and releasing prospect camp invitee Karel St. Laurent to their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves. Followers of Grenier on Twitter saw this coming, as he tweeted this morning that he was on his way back to the Halifax Mooseheads.

As always, PITB is here for the explanation. Since we’re not too far into training camp and the preseason just yet, the explanations are not too difficult. Grenier is clearly not ready for the NHL yet and there’s just no room for Karel St. Laurent in Vancouver.

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One of the reasons NHL teams sign veteran players to Professional Tryout Offers (PTOs) is to give an unsigned free agent a chance to make the team, but this is not the only reason. For Mike Gillis, it’s likely not even the primary reason. Coming off the shortest off-season in team history, Gillis and Vigneault clearly had no interest in icing a lineup in either Calgary or Vancouver last night that bore any resemblance to the actual Canucks.

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