Breaking news! Cory Schneider is pretty good. The redheaded wunderkind affectionately known as Gingerbricks won his fifth straight and has given up only 4 goals in that span. He has stopped 164 of 168 shots in those five games, for an unreal save percentage of .976. The Canucks haven’t seen this kind of goaltending since, well, last season when Luongo won 6 straight starts, stopping 151 of 160 shots. Huh, I guess he’s pretty good too. In this particular game, Cory Schneider set a career-high with 47 saves. I watched every save because I watched this game.

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Cory Schneider will make his sixth straight start Tuesday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, a fact that he sent many into a tizzy. (Isn’t Roberto Luongo usually the one that starts games? He come he’s not doing that lately?) You probably already know our thoughts on the matter. Yesterday, Daniel looked at the faux goaltending controversy in which the Canucks are currently mired, and I am in full agreement with him. This situation isn’t what it’s being made out to be. No, Roberto Luongo has not lost his starting job. No, the Canucks aren’t suddenly in possession of a backup signed through 2022. No, this isn’t the end of the Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver and Vincent Lecavalier has not been asked to waive his no-movement clause.

Still, while I’m loath to admit it, this is a pretty big story. Prior to this stretch, a healthy Luongo had never played backup for three consecutive games. Now he’s about to spot Schneider his fourth. This is unprecedented, and the unprecedented needs to be examined.

As Daniel said, this has nothing to do with Luongo. But I would add that it’s not even solely about Schneider — it’s about the entire Canucks lineup, all nineteen guys that have played their roles to perfection over this winning streak, none of whom deserve to be plucked from the lineup. This is about Alain Vigneault sending a message to the whole room. That message is: continue playing well enough to win, and you will continue playing.

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It was nearly five months ago that the NBA owners chose to lock out its players until a new collective bargaining agreement could be reached.  Basketball fans are fully aware of the many starts and stops that took place in the interim and are likely very familiar, after all this time, with the particulars involved.  [...]

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Roberto Luongo met with the media after Monday’s practice and everyone was eager to hear what he would have to say about Cory Schneider starting his sixth straight game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Luongo was unexpectedly poised and prepared, as he has frequently misspoken or said things in interviews that can be misinterpreted in the past. This time, Luongo wisely steered clear of any attempts at jokes and stuck with sincerity.

“The guy’s been working hard for two years and never said a word,” said Luongo, “so he deserves every minute that he’s getting right now and I’m one hundred percent behind him. He’s been behind me since the start and there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be behind him one hundred percent.”

If Schneider continues to play the way he has over his last four starts, Luongo might end up behind him for a while. Oddly enough, that doesn’t mean that he’s no longer the Canucks’ number one goaltender.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Ryan Kesler, slappin’ de bass

Some of you may remember the photo of Cory Schneider that we turned into three galleries worth of the backup netminder playing every stringed instrument under the sun with the gusto of Andrew Bird. Not simply content to splice guitars into his hands, we shopped in lutes, dulcimers, keytars, and a giant submarine sandwich. It was really stupid.

That said, it’s also the bread and butter of PITB. If we see a photo in which a guy looks like he’s playing an invisible guitar or relaxing on an invisible couch, well, we’re gonna chop the missing item in. It’s with that ethos in mind that we present this Ryan Kesler photo.

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Tonight, Daniel was busy writing “I Watched This Birth”, a hilarious, point-form recap of his first child’s arrival on this planet. (Welcome to Earth, Ozymandias Lovecraft Wagner!) Meanwhile in the dark recesses of his criminally insane mind, Harrison was diligently preoccupied with his other chosen profession: burglary. With real-life preventing your two usual bloggers from taking in tonight’s grudge match between the Sharks and Canucks, I, Thomas Drance, was asked to make like Gasper Noé and enter the void.

Whenever you’re the backup, there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders. But I fought through it and paid such close attention to tonight’s affair that some are saying I stole the game for Vancouver (at least, I think I’m the backup they’re talking about). Regardless, whether you run a hockey blog or a hockey team, having a worthy backup is a useful luxury.

Now, I’m not sworn for life to Pass it to Bulis or the Nights Watch. I’m not celibate, I don’t only wear black and I may not guard Westeros from the wildlings that live north of the Wall. But, “as night gathered”, I watched this game.

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After rediscovering even-strength scoring like Josiah, the boy king, stumbling across the Talmud in the treasure room of the temple, the Canucks stormed into Phoenix intent on proving that they had truly dispensed with their wicked powerplay-idolizing ways, and returned to the righteous 5-on-5 domination for which they once lived. Five even-strength goals later, it was clear they had indeed repented, and thank God. Suffice it to say, the Canuck team that dominates at even-strength is a much more entertaining watch, and I should know, because I watched this game.

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Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance looks at Mason Raymond’s reputation as a “perimeter player”.

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Hardcore fans: Canuck-coloured Lebron kicks are going on the Christmas list

Truth is, with the bad press the Canucks already tend to get, they could probably do without a tangible connection to much-maligned Miami Heat star Lebron James. As it stands, there are already several similarities.

But this one is pretty awesome: both share inspiration for a killer pair of basketball shoes, the Nike iD Lebron 9.

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One of the biggest questions heading into this season for the Canucks was how they were going to replace the scoring of Christian Ehrhoff. The German blueliner had a career-high 50 points in 2010-11, leading all Canucks defencemen in scoring by a margin of 17 points.

Many worried that Ehrhoff’s absence would be gravely missed, particularly since the Canucks didn’t acquire anyone to replace him. Back in September, we noted that while the Canucks would miss his potent offensive talents, they would be able to replace his production from within, and they wouldn’t miss his defensive lapses. Henrik suggested they wouldn’t miss Ehrhoff at all, saying “I don’t think we lost anything,” which seemed a bit strong at the time.

Turns out, he might have been right.

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Pass it to Comics: Mason Raymond looks for inspiration

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, Mason Raymond learns from the best.

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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 topics that deserve mention.

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The Canucks had 29 shots tonight, but I’m far more interested in the fact that they only had 3 blocked. The team has struggled so far this season getting shots through, often finishing the night with as many as 20 attempts that fail to reach the opposing goaltender. Tonight, rather than trying to force things, they made smarter decisions with the puck. The results were longer offensive zone shifts and sustained offensive zone pressure at even-strength for the first time all season. It was weird. The 2011-12 Canucks looked like a dangerous team even when both teams had the same number of guys on the ice. Unheard of. But not unseen — I watched this game.

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Sunday’s contest between the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks featured an interesting goaltender’s duel: in net for the Canucks was Cory Schneider, arguably the best backup of Vancouver’s post-lockout era. In net for the Senators was Alex Auld, arguably the second-best.

It was neat seeing a blast from the past in Auld, and it instantly caused me to think back over all of the other backup netminders the Canucks have employed since the 2004-05 work stoppage. There have been 12 in total, although many did little more than warm the bench. Matt Climie, Eddie Lack, Drew MacIntyre, and Rob McVicar, for instance, were merely there to fill the seat while the backup got the start and the starter nursed an injury, and only McVicar got into the game, his NHL career beginning and ending in three short minutes of shotless action.

A handful of the others had more memorable stints on the west coast, however, and with that in mind, PITB counts down the five best backups of the post-lockout Vancouver Canucks.

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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 topics that deserve mention.

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Pass it to Comics: the Sedins ride the twin bike

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, the Sedins’ other matching dry land equipment.

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Chris Higgins scores goals, has abs

If I told you before the season started that, 20 games into the season, Chris Higgins would be tied with a Sedin for the team-lead in goals, you would assume I was joking. If I told you the Sedin was Henrik, you would know I was joking.

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I had hoped that Gate-gate (so dubbed by Thom Drance), the controversy that sprung up Sunday night when Maxim Lapierre put Ottawa Senators’ forward Jesse Winchester through the Canucks’ unlatched bench door, would fizzle out before it really got started. However, it hasn’t. On Monday, Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch made it an issue, putting voice to the idea that Alex Burrows had unlatched the door intentionally, what for shenanigans, and deserved suspension.

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We know NBA owners are split into two camps—the hard liners and the moderates—and we know that it is the commissioner’s job to find enough common ground between the two factions of ownership to create and then propose an offer reasonable enough for the players to accept.  Of course we know how that plan went.  [...]

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If you’ve never heard of Heavy Eric before, well, that’s probably okay. But here’s what you need to know: the man’s been making Canucks-related roots music for quite some time now, having enjoyed a heyday, of sorts, for songs written during the West Coast Express era — most notably, “It’s Called the Todd Bertuzzi.”

This era is well past, but Heavy Eric soldiers on, and he recently uploaded a handful of songs to Youtube, all of which are dedicated to present members of the Vancouver Canucks.

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Two weeks ago, PITB unveiled its largest contest to date, the Salo is Your Palo-T shirt design contest. The rules were simple: design a shirt featuring the contest slogan, and send it to us by Sunday, November 20. From there, we would put the entries before our star-studded panel of judges (myself, Daniel Wagner, Jeff Marek, Greg Wyshynski, Katie Baker, Cam Cole, Jason Botchford, Mark Spector, and Derek Jory), and choose five winners to receive fabulous prizes.

The judges are currently deliberating, and we’ll let you know who the winners are later this week. But, in the meantime, it would be unfair to withhold from the masses what it is we’re deliberating on.

With that in mind, we present to you the Salo is your Pal-o gallery.

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Like my current moustache and mohawk combo, this game was ugly, but ultimately a win. The critics will say that the Canucks didn’t deserve to win this game, but last I checked, Cory Schneider was a Canuck and he definitely deserved to win this game. According to the Canucks’ advertising campaign of the last 5 years, we are all Canucks, and I think we all deserved to win this game. Well, maybe not me, now that I’m an unbiased member of the media. I got all that I deserved: I watched this game.

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After over two decades of hockey, it stands to reason that a person’s observations about the game are a little more informed than the average joe. That in mind, Mark Recchi is going to get a special kind of respect when he speaks.

Maybe he shouldn’t?

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Paul Bissonnette scored a goal! This was fantastic news for Bissonnette’s mother, who was in the crowd watching her son play in the NHL in person for the very first time, but it was terrible news for his anti-fantasy owners, who were hoping he’d last an entire season without a single point.

The only players remaining without a single point are rookies Brayden Schenn and Nino Niederreiter, who have played in 4 and 3 games respectively, enforcers Jared Boll and Cam Janssen, backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft, and stay-at-home defencemen John Scott, Jason Strudwick, and Brian Lee. What’s that? Jason Strudwick retired? Well…that’s good news for a bunch of Bulies.

We have a new person in last place this week: madwag. He has the deadly trio of Anze Kopitar, Claude Giroux, and Thomas Vanek. Those three alone have given him a total of 19 points more than the second best players in their categories. Raj, who spent the first three weeks at the bottom of the standings, is now tied for 95th place with none other than myself.

For the fourth consecutive week, holidayblues holds top spot in the standings. He now has a 7-point lead on second-place Elexis. With this kind of run in first place, it’s worth looking at her team and what players are not getting things done for her.

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We will defend the Sedins against the common accusation that they’re girlymen any day of the week. They’re not soft. That said, this doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally take a hilariously unmasculine photo. Case in point: this pic of Daniel Sedin, bristling at some unwanted attention by the Chicago Blackhawks. One assumes that, if this picture also captured sound, you’d be able to hear Daniel intoning “Doooooooon’t” or “Quiiiiit iiiiiiiit”.

But, while this photo doesn’t exactly make Daniel look tough, anyone that’s observed the way the Chicago Blackhawks play against him knows for a fact that he can take a beating like no other. While Patrick Kane can’t handle a few slashes without complaining about it, Daniel Sedin regularly takes a high-sticking and keeps on ticking, especially when it comes to tilts with the Hawks. They’ve been beating up on him for years. Consider the following five photos.

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