Is Cory Schneider for sale? No, you have to pay retail

It seems a reasonable assumption that 2011 — which has, at the time of this writing, about twelve hours left to live — was the last full year in Schneider’s tour of the Vancouver Canucks organization. Most agree that he is ready to be a full-time NHL starter and, since the Canucks already have one of those signed well into the age of the flying car, Schneider’s increase in marginal utility will have to come elsewhere.

There’s very little if regarding a Cory Schneider trade — the suspense surrounds the when. Schneider is in the final year of a two-year, $900,000 deal with the Canucks, after which time he’s sure to see a raise to something a little more commensurate with his abilities.

While Mike Gillis and co. have never seen a cap challenge they didn’t love, I suspect they aren’t eager to pay their backup multiple millions. I also suspect that negotiations on Schneider’s current deal ended with an unwritten agreement that the next round of negotiations would be with a different management group.

It feels like we’ve been saying this for something like five straight years now, but Schneider will likely be moved by the summer draft. (Like Frank Sinatra.)

Still, by the draft is very different than at the draft. Will he be moved before it — like, say, at the trade deadline? That is a far more contentious issue, and with the deadline now less than two months away, the issue has begun to come up.

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Drance Numbers: Andrew Ebbett’s better than you think

Andrew Ebbett is kind of a badass.

Every summer, Mike Gillis manages to find value in the unlikeliest of places on the free agent market. Whether he’s signing a diminutive offensive defenseman who provides the team with a game-winning goal (then promptly retires), a lanky, undrafted goalie who now looks poised to develop into an NHL regular, or a power-play ace like Aaron Rome, Gillis tends to the scrap heap efficiently and with care.

He’s become the NHL’s Wall-E.

Chris Tanev, Aaron Rome, Lee Sweatt, Eddie Lack, Jeff Tambellini, Alexander Sulzer and Aaron Volpatti are all names on the list of unheralded, seemingly undesirable Gillis recruits who have morphed into productive members of the team or into tantalizing prospects. This week, another castoff had his coming-out party, as the team was propelled to two big wins over the Sharks and the Oilers thanks in part to the contributions of Andrew Ebbett.

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I Find This Video Odd: Kevin Bieksa says ‘Milk hot dogs’ during interview, wins a bet

Anyone following the Canucks should know by now that even the most commonplace Kevin Bieksa interview can yield unexpected laughs, so it should come as no surprise that the Canucks D-man was able to light up the Twitterverse during a brief pregame chat with Dan Murphy Thursday.

When asked about the burgeoning rivalry with the San Jose Sharks, whom the Canucks defeated the night before, he said:

“We definitely have a rivalry with them that’s kinda escalated a bit, and they’ve got a couple milk hot dogs on their team, and … *laughter* … it makes for some fun games though, that’s for sure.”

Yes. He said “Milk hot dogs”.

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The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (10-1)

If you have been following this series all week, you may be wondering how there could possibly be 10 Canucks goals from 2011 that are better than the 40 we have seen already. We’ve seen Henrik Sedin pass the puck through a goaltender, Lee Sweatt score his first (and only) NHL goal in his first NHL game, and Ryan Kesler use a new stick from the bench both to score and to assist.

But just when you think you’ve seen everything, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You’re about to see goals scored in ways that don’t seem possible, goals scored by the unlikeliest of heroes to win big games, and goals that don’t make a dang bit of sense. It was an incredible year for incredible goals.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, December 29, 2011

Just like last season, the Canucks opened their California road trip a perfect 2-0 and, just like last season, the second win came over the Anaheim Ducks on the second night of a back-to-back. But the similarities don’t end there.

In both Anaheim games, Cory Schneider got the start and the win, the Canucks scored the first goal a minute in, and Daniel Sedin scored the final Vancouver goal, beating Dan Ellis and stretching the lead to three. Of course, there were some differences. For instance: I attended last year’s game. I watched this game.

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Quotes Taken Out of Context: Andrew Ebbett edition

Today in quotes taken out of context: Andrew Ebbett describes an encounter.

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The Dreaded Two Goal Lead: Infected Higgins, Mancari call-up, European Parent

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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The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (20-11)

We have reached Day 4 of PITB’s countdown of the top 50 Canuck goals of 2011, and things are starting to get good. Today’s entries are downright crowded with Sedinery, as the twins combine to score beautiful goals, often incorporating some unexpected guests (such as Victor Oreskovich — for real).

The 2011 playoffs are well-represented as well, with some big goals from the Western Conference final. And if it’s controversy you crave, there may be a goal from 2010. Depends on who you ask. If this inclusion offends your delicate sensibilities, by all means, express your outrage in the comments.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at San Jose Sharks, December 28, 2011

When the NHL announced their plans for realignment, some people (namely us) bemoaned the loss of games against the Chicago Blackhawks, which are always full of emotion and skill. The upshot is that the we’ll get more games between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, which are always a highlight of the schedule.

Quite frankly, it would have been disappointing if the Sharks didn’t tie up this game and force it into overtime. Otherwise it would have been just another ho-hum Canucks victory and I would have fallen asleep trying to write about it afterwards. Instead, I’m wide awake because I watched this game.

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The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (30-21)

Here we are at Day 3 of PITB’s list of our 50 favourite Canuck goals of 2011. Today features a heaping helping of beast mode Ryan Kesler, as well as a selection of the most curious pieces of Sedinery 2011 had to offer.

Have you ever seen a guy pass the puck through the legs of a goaltender, or away from the goalmouth with the goalie down and out? Have you ever seen a guy come to a complete stop directly in front of his defender? If so, you watched the Sedins in 2011. My friend, they don’t think like you and I. It’s pretty great. I suspect you’ll enjoy these 10 goals.

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Roberto Luongo gets new mask, talks old mask with The Score

Roberto Luongo debuted a new mask in Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Since the mask is meant to be paired with the Canucks’ third jersey that features their original stick-in-rink logo, it echoes the mask of former Canuck goaltender Curt Ridley.

Ridley’s mask combined four stick-in-rink logos for an eye-catching cross design. It’s a gorgeous design and with the Canucks bringing back the stick-in-rink logo it was just a matter of time before it was revisited. Thing is, Luongo’s not even the first Canuck this season to wear a Ridley-inspired mask. Cory Schneider’s been wearing one all season.

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The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (40-31)

Welcome to Day 2 of PITB’s countdown of the top 50 goals the Vancouver Canucks scored in 2011. This afternoon you’ll be treated to a Daniel Sedin hat trick, a brilliant Ryan Kesler power move, and the bowling ball that is Raffi Torres.

There’s also a hat tip to what was a very common theme in the year that was: the victimization of the Pacific Division, as both San Jose and Dallas get burned multiple times. Provided you’re neither a Sharks fan nor a Stars fan, you’ll probably enjoy today’s goals.

Like life (according to John Lennon), we begin at 40.

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Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo boldly tossed freezing cold water on any expectations before the shortened pre-season began fervently stating that this year was about “building” and not about contention. For a Raptor franchise that has exactly one post-season series victory in its seventeen year history, and have been to the playoffs a mere three times, [...]

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers, December 26, 2011

After a pre-Christmas performance so stingy and humbugged it would make Ebenezer Scrooge proud (insomuch as that old coot can be proud of anything), the Canucks returned from the break as though they had been visited Christmas night by a trio of ghosts portending doom if they continued to be a team that loses to the Flames.

Here’s how it probably went down: the Ghost of Christmas Past took them to Christmas, 1987, when they were in the midst of a horrible stretch in which they won only once in 10 games. The Ghost of Christmas Present made them watch game tape from Friday night versus Calgary. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed them a horrifying future in which there is actual debate over whether or not the Sedins’ numbers should be retired.

Needless to say, the Canucks were forever changed by this harrowing experience, and they were thus far more generous versus the Edmonton Oilers, giving fans five goals to cheer about, and even anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home. I watched this game.

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Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen leads Denmark at WJC

The Vancouver Canucks have only one prospect playing in the World Junior Championship this year, but they will still be well-represented. Their one prospect in the tournament is 18-year-old Nicklas Jensen, their 2011 first round draft pick, and he is easily Denmark’s most important player.

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Weird Crafts: Chloe Ezra’s absolutely amazing ‘Hanging Canuck’ tree ornaments

We get a lot of mileage out of Chloe Ezra here at Pass it to Bulis (such as the Pass it to Comics series, which will return in the new year, we promise). But our defense is a simple one: Chloe rules. She has a great style and great ideas, and when the two come together, well, the results tend to be pretty great.

As yet another example, we present Chloe’s completely original and completely adorable “Hanging Canuck tree things,” original creations that feature members of the Vancouver Canucks drawn hanging by their sweaters, to be strung up anywhere your heart should so choose.

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The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (50-41)

2011 was a fabulous year for Canucks hockey. Sure, the Stanley Cup Final may not have ended quite the way Vancouver fans wanted it to, but the Canucks were still in it, and that’s a rarity deserving of some serious appreciation.

If you ask me, so was the 2011 team in its entirety. Between the wizardry of the Sedins, the raw power of Ryan Kesler, the stable of offensive-minded defensemen, the occasional flashes of brilliance from the skilled corps of middle wingers, and the gaggle of set plays the team employs, the fans in this city are spoiled right now. We may never see another team like this one again.

With that in mind, it would be crazy to let this year in Canucks hockey lapse without looking back at some of its incredible goals. What follows is a countdown of our favourite 50, which will run Monday through Friday at 9am sharp. Please feel free to disagree with this highly subjective list in the comments.

So it begins.

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Merry Christmas from Pass it to Bulis

2011 was a pretty good year for us. Last December, we were running this blog at work when nobody was looking. Now we run it for work. It’s pretty grand.

This year has been a dream come true for both Daniel and myself, but it doesn’t happen unless people decide, for whatever reason, that our blog is worth frequenting. Thank you for that. You have no idea what it means to us.

We’ll be taking the weekend off to spend time with our wives and families, but we just wanted to wish everyone who visits PITB on a regular basis a merry Christmas.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Calgary Flames, December 23, 2011

I didn’t just watch this game, I was at this game, as my older brother took me to a game as a sort of early Christmas present. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a gift receipt.

The Canucks played this game like anyone else with one last shift at work before Christmas: they showed up late and mailed it in. The Flames, on the other hand, showed up in Vancouver with the work ethic of Dwight Schrute and dominated. I had to suffer the ignominy of seeing the Canucks perform worse than the Flames in person. As tough as it was, I watched this game.

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From the Archives: Daniel’s Worst Christmas, an original holiday tale

Originally published on December 18,2010, “Daniel’s Worst Christmas” is a poetic retelling of the Canucks’ 2009-10 regular season in which an injury to Daniel Sedin led to a Hart trophy season for his twin brother, Henrik. But that wasn’t the whole story…

With Christmas only days away, we thought we’d bring this one back from the dead. Granted, some of its jokes are a year-old (but the Calgary Flames remain bad, so that one still works), and it remains a poem, unfortunately, but you might still find it worth your time.

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Drance Numbers: Has Mason Raymond’s game changed since his injury?

About this there is no doubt: Mason Raymond has guts, and twice the testicular fortitude of Johnny Knoxville.

Even if you hold the schmaltz, it’s fair and accurate to describe his recovery and his performance following his return as inspiring. He’s filling in on nearly every forward line, dominating possession and generating a boatload of chances and offense.

But that’s all stuff that Raymond was doing during the last campaign as well, yet he was disappointing to the majority of Canucks fans. What’s different so far this year is that he’s scoring goals at a much higher rate than he did the season previous. So is he scoring goals because his game has “changed” since his return from injury? Now that is a more contentious issue.

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Stop worrying: Cody Hodgson gets enough ice time

10 minutes into the first period of Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Canucks fans got a chance to see a delightfully old-school moment: a slap-shot off the rush that rang off the post and in. That type of goal used to be a lot more common: the highlight reels from the 70′s and 80′s are full of players flying down the wing and unleashing a slap-shot from the top of the faceoff circle past a helpless goaltender. That just doesn’t happen anymore.

What was even more electrifying was who scored the goal: it was Cody Hodgson, the rookie, giving the fans a flashback to the golden years of the slap-shot.

It was a surprise not just because of how rare the slap-shot goal off the rush has become, but also because we haven’t seen that side of Hodgson’s game yet. The majority of Hodgson’s shots this season seem to have been wristshots, with most of them being, to put it as nicely as possible, unimpressive. Hodgson’s goal on Jimmy Howard Wednesday night should serve to remind everyone that he was considered to have one of the hardest shots in the OHL: he was voted as having the second hardest shot in 2009 by OHL coaches and the third hardest in 2010, the year he only played 13 regular season games. Clearly, OHL coaches respected his shot.

Suffice it to say, a lot of people were talking about Hodgson on Twitter, the radio, and the forums. Oddly enough, though, most of them weren’t talking about his gorgeous goal and his hellacious slap-shot. Instead, they were talking about his icetime.

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The many faces of Funny Bob: Chloe Ezra’s ten favourite Roberto Luongo animated gifs of 2011

We’ve riffed on the wonders of the Roberto Luongo interview before, most notably his penchant for gallows humour when nobody’s quite in the mood (and this photo), but there’s more to it than just that. Luongo isn’t just a master of the self-deprecating quote — he’s also the most expressive player in the NHL: Funny Bob makes some incredible faces.

Often, these remarkable looks go unnoticed when you watch Luongo’s interviews in real time, but if watch for them closely, as frequent collaborator Chloe Ezra often does, you can find pure gold. Her Tumblr account is a treasure trove of strange Lu-faces, slowed down, isolated, and gif’d.

With the new year just around the corner, we asked Chloe to curate a list of her 10 favourites, what for to bring the many faces of Funny Bob to a wider audience, and also to fill your home with Christmas cheer — or wonder, or dread, or whatever emotion Roberto Luongo is randomly expressing today. Chloe’s choices are impeccable.

When you laugh, be sure to laugh aloud. It opens up the pores.

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I Find This Video Odd: Daniel Sedin heads the puck

The Sedins have some very creative ways to enter the offensive zone, which is one of the big reasons they’re so difficult to stop. Once the Sedins are in the offensive zone, wizardry occurs, so one of the few ways to prevent them from scoring is to prevent them from gaining the zone in the first place. This is why they continually invent new ways to keep their opponents guessing.

On Wednesday against the Red Wings, however, Daniel Sedin improvised a brand new way to get over the blueline. At least, I’m assuming he’s improvising: otherwise, this is the greatest set play in the history of the Sedins.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, December 22, 2011

Any time the Red Wings and the Canucks meet, you know you’re in for a good one. Detroit and Vancouver always seem to get up to play one another. It makes sense, really. Not only are both teams among the elite of the Western Conference, but they play similar systems. Furthermore, their cores are similar as well: Both boast a Selke-calibre center, a large Swedish contingent, a Swedish captain, and a dearth of useless enforcer types.

When you have that much in common, you’re bound to fight. It’s the law of romantic comedies. I should know. I watch a lot of romantic comedies. I also watch a lot of games, and I watched this game.

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