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.
Ryan Kesler Keslurks an invisible Canuck
Here’s a photo of Ryan Kesler in which I can only assume he’s Keslurking a teammate, but that teammate has just been outed as a vampire because he doesn’t show up in the photo.
Considering Mike Duco is also a vampire, you wonder how many more vampires the Canucks employ. Alex Burrows is suspiciously bitey, no?
Keith Ballard is still funny
As quotable as Kevin Bieksa is, there are times when I wonder if he’s even the most amusing Canuck defenseman. Keith Ballard can be just as funny.
Unfortunately for Ballard, he’s not quite as quotable. Where Juice drops quips and one-liners, Hips is more of a lovable rambler. For example, I had a chuckle about this quote, which comes after Ballard scored in the shootout during practice. From Canucks.com:
“So there’s three shooters in the shootouts in games, right? And three of us [Edler, Lapierre, Ballard] scored today. You guys can figure it out but I’d like to go second to make sure I go. If you’re the third guy then sometimes you don’t go and that’s a waste.”
I’m sure Alain Vigneault will take this under advisement. The last thing he’d want to do is waste Keith Ballard.
Daniel Alfredsson doesn’t hate the Canucks
How often do NHL players say they dislike the Canucks? Often enough that, when a player says he doesn’t, it’s newsworthy. In Vancouver for Sunday night’s contest at Rogers Arena, Daniel Alfredsson was fed Mark Recchi’s recent comments about the Canucks being the most arrogant, hateable team ever:
Asked why people hate the Canucks so much after Mark Recchi called them arrogant on Boston radio, captain Daniel Alfredsson said: “I don’t.”
Of course, as refreshing as it is to hear a player turn up his nose at the trend, let’s consider that the only Swede that could hate a team jam-packed with Swedes is Mikael Samuelsson.
Hey, remember Mikael Samuelsson?
Speaking of Samuelsson, today is the one-month anniversary of his trade to Florida, alongside Marco Sturm. How’s he doing?
The Swedish winger still hasn’t suited up for the Panthers, actually. He continues to feel pain in his midsection from the sports hernia surgery he underwent this summer and he appears to have suffered a handful of setbacks in this regard.
The Miami Herald reported last week that Samuelsson was about a week away, and yesterday, the Sun-Sentinal reported pretty much the same thing:
Samuelsson, who has yet to play since being acquired in the David Booth trade because he had a setback from offseason hernia/abdomen surgery, hopes to return next week when the Panthers travel to Carolina, Los Angeles and San Jose.
“We’re taking it really slow and obviously I’ve never done it before. I think I need that time,” he said. “I started to use my left side (upper thigh or groin). I haven’t done that in the past. We’re getting there, give me one more week or something like that.”
But don’t think the Panthers are ruing the damaged goods they’ve been sold. As I said last month, The Samuelsson acquisition wasn’t about getting a piece they could play now — it was about getting a piece they could polish and trade again later. However long it takes Samuelsson to get healthy is fine with them, so long as it happens before the trade deadline.
Mason Raymond could be back this week
You remember Mason Raymond, right? Winger? Speedster? Adorable man-boy?
While there was some doubt that Raymond would ever play again after that gruesome back injury in game six of the Stanley Cup Final, it would appear that doubt is on the way out, and Raymond is on the way in. He skated Monday on a line with Ryan Kesler and David Booth and, according to Mike Gillis, is less than a week away from doing so in a real game. While Wednesday is a longshot, it’s likely that he’ll be in the lineup for one or both of this weekend’s games versus Pacific Division opponents.
Raymond’s return should give the Canucks a boost emotionally, but he may also be of immediate help to their second line, where he appears slated to play.
He definitely can’t hurt it. Ryan Kesler continues to struggle at even-strength, and he’s seemed especially reluctant to use his linemates since returning from offseason hip surgery. While I’ve never been convinced that he and Raymond are perfect for each other, their familiarity could go a long way towards getting Kesler to play a little less selfishly.
And as for Booth, well, he’s been in his own little world lately, but so was Mikael Samuelsson for most of his shifts with Raymond and Kesler, and that worked out just fine.Tags: Kesler, Raymond, spitballin