Spitballin’ (or Super Pass ITBulis: 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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This looks like it’s gonna hurt

Here’s a photo from Sunday night’s tilt with the New York Islanders in which Roberto Luongo appears to be moments away from taking a puck to the groin, despite repeated pleas for mercy. It makes me laugh.

Nick Mangold loses, Ryan Kesler wins, Canucks For Kids Fund wins as well, presumably 

Some of you may remember the minor Twitter feud that sprung up between Ryan Kesler and Nick Mangold back in August, when the New York Jets’ centre expressed an interest in photo bombing and the Canucks’ centre jokingly told him to get his own material. You may also recall that, after a quick round of “Who the Hell are you”, the two men realized they were both rich, powerful athletes and OSU alums, became fast friends, then declared a race to 100,000 followers, with Kesler saying the following:

I jog your memory because Kesler passed 100k on Monday night. As of this writing, he has 100,179 followers. I do believe Kes owes the CFKF some coin.

Meanwhile, Nick Mangold boasts a pathetic 93,416. What a nobody.

Kesler needs to adjust

Speaking of Kesler’s passing, he makes a sick feed here. It’s a shame that Henrik Sedin was unable to bury this shot, because it would have been a highlight reel goal.

I think the problem here is that Henrik thinks shot, which is unnatural for him as a passer. If he’s thinking pass when he shoots this, it goes right in.

Kesler isn’t a natural passer, but I’d like to see more passing out of him going forward, especially since it’s clear that opponents aren’t letting him streak into the zone and get that big wrist shot off this season. Teams have adjusted to him the way they adjusted to the similarly trigger-happy Alex Ovechkin a few years ago, stepping up at the blue line to take away the shooting option. Now Kesler needs to adjust back. If he wants teams to back off of him, he’ll need to start using his linemates a little more.

No suspension for Lucic is right call for wrong reasons

I don’t mind the NHL’s decision not to suspend Milan Lucic for his hit on Ryan Miller. Granted, I didn’t like the hit, and I would have preferred it were a major, especially since it was patently obvious that he knew exactly what he was doing and the rule book specifically states you can’t do that, but while it was a punishable offense, it wasn’t a suspendable one.

That said, I groaned aloud upon hearing Brendan Shanahan cite a lack of intent in explaining why no supplemental discipline was coming. According to Shanahan, Lucic claimed the contact was incidental; more laughable than this was the fact that Shanahan believed him.

Seriously? This despite Lucic standing over Miller like Ali on Liston afterwards?

Now, I’m not espousing a conspiracy, but after Zdeno Chara on Max PaciorettyAndrew Ference on Jeff Halpern, and Johnny Boychuk on Mason Raymond, this is the fourth nasty and injurious collision involving Boston that’s been presumed incidental simply because the Bruin said so.

Considering the way Aaron Rome was vilified in the playoffs and saw a punishment suited to that characterization, the way that Boston consistently sees the benefit of the doubt is very frustrating.

The Canucks love each other

Brad Zeimer’s latest investigates the remarkable team chemistry this year’s group has, because in case you weren’t aware, the 2011-12 edition of the Vancouver Canucks are really into one another. Unsurprisingly, Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins was more than willing to talk team togetherness.

“It is night and day compared to some other teams I have been on,” Higgins said Monday. “I have been on a couple of teams where it was just very cliquey. Outside the rink certain guys just don’t hang out with other guys.”

The Canucks, Higgins says, are different.

“On this team it seems like you are never in the same group of guys if you are hanging out away from the rink,” he says. “And I think that is pretty refreshing to see.”

Dawwwwww.

David Booth’s hockey hair

And finally, here’s a gif, courtesy ballards.tumblr.com, of David Booth pulling his sweater over the head, causing his golden curls of envied hair to spring forth like Jeff Hardin’s Black Sheep Boy. The man is an Adonis, I say.

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15 comments

  1. Kate
    November 15, 2011

    The mancrush on Booth took full flight with that gif didn’t it? I admit…I watched a few times.

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  2. Jimmy
    November 15, 2011

    From the subtitle I thought you were describing your perfect man…

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 15, 2011

      That’s funny. Of course, I am my own perfect man, so there’s no need to Frankenstein a dude from Canuck body parts. Also because I like women.

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  3. Renard
    November 15, 2011

    Might want to fix the ‘sptiballin’ in the title :(

    Regardless, I love you.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      November 15, 2011

      Fixed! Thanks.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 15, 2011

      Whoa, a headline error? Man. That’s the worst. Thanks indeed.

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  4. chicken hawk
    November 15, 2011

    There’s no doubt that you have wondered
    If the Nucks will be five hundred,
    When it’s post game this wednesday night.
    You do know whom they play alright!
    Will it be Luongo blundered?

    Hawks are eleven four and three.
    And that’s damn good it seems to me!
    They are atop the NHL,
    And with a bone to pick as well!
    They’ll trounce the Nucks as you shall see!

    But do not take my word for it.
    My thoughts are not the holy writ,
    And you have beat the Hawks before,
    But something else you can’t ignore
    Is that my team has much more grit!

    So pay your bucks to see the game.
    That you shall lose will be a shame.
    But you will see Chicago play:
    Well worth admission any day,
    Or so I humbly do proclaim!

    Chicken Hawk

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    • chicken hawk
      November 16, 2011

      C’mon! I only need three “like”s to get pale pink coverage. Maybe after tonight’s game when I am proven to be right.

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  5. Geoff
    November 15, 2011

    I agree that Lucic should not have been suspended.

    At first I was a little insulted when Shanahan said Lucic had no intent to hit Miller, but the longer I think about it I guess making the right call for the wrong reasons is better then the last few years where the league routinely made the wrong call and gave no reasons.

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  6. Chinstrap Joe
    November 15, 2011

    That picture of Lou brings back memories of my street hockey days where I was Vachon and my older brothers were Lafleur and Sittler. The problem was that even though we were flesh-and-blood, they would take great joy in finishing off that shot into my 9 year old groin. Growing up in Canada is not for the weak of heart…

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    • JS Topher
      November 15, 2011

      How does one possibly finish a sentence with ‘my 9 year old groin’ and not break out in giggles?

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  7. Tristan
    November 15, 2011

    Golden curls of envied hair! Oh please oh please let us see a bit more shine from David “Black Sheep Boy” Booth.

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  8. The Bookie
    November 15, 2011

    Here’s my biggest issue with the Lucic/Miller incident – when Rome was suspended, I was in the minority of Canuck fans. I didn’t object. I realized that even if it wasn’t worthy of that large a penalty, I recognized that the NHL needed to take that opportunity to make a statement. Concussions were the biggest story of last season, and since the SCF are the biggest stage for the league, when the most casual fans are watching, it was the perfect opportunity to say ‘This has to stop.’ I was willing to defer my personal interests in view of the greater good.

    So now they have another chance to make a big statement saying whether or not it was a borderline play, keeping star goalies healthy is in everyone’s best interest. They have failed to do that. It is now essentially open season on goalies. Lame.

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  9. SteveB
    November 15, 2011

    “passittobulis Any time someone in sports journalism says “tweaked groin” I giggle. #BecauseImAChild”

    Any time I read something like Spitballin’ on Kesler’s hands, Booth’s hair, and Luongo’s groin, I giggle.
    #BecauseInevergotpast5thgradehumour

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  10. J21
    November 15, 2011

    For those of us who do call into question the NHL’s impartiality (and it’s not a Boston thing per se; it’s an Original Six, big market thing), I hate how it immediately gets labelled a “conspiracy theory”.

    A conspiracy is when multiple people agree to commit a crime. There are very few people making discipline decisions in the NHL. It doesn’t take a conspiracy for improper motives to come into the picture, and fans have every right to be suspicious when they do — when Mike Murphy consulted Brian Burke on the Rome call, it was improper conduct and would be struck down on judicial review if it were a “real life” thing rather than sports, for instance. Just because you think that people may be influenced, consciously or subconsciously, by things like Colin Campbell is their boss, or an intimidating home crowd, etc. doesn’t mean you believe in a conspiracy. It means you believe in human error.

    I don’t even follow basketball but I would be way more shocked if the Lakers/Knicks/Bulls didn’t get the calls over the Clippers/Kings/Bucks than vice versa. Some of us simply observe the same phenomenon in the NHL.

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    Unrelatedly, I’m glad the Canucks are close and all — but literally EVERY season since 2006-07 we have heard how “this is the closest group of guy’s we’ve every played with.” Are they really raising the bar that much every season? Were they lying before?

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