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.
Dale Weise isn’t used to this much attention
I’m really enjoying watching Dale Weise, and not just on Twitter, where he continues to banter (and occasionally bicker) with every puckbunny in Vancouver. The guy hasn’t just fit in on the Canucks’ fourth line. He’s become an integral part of it. Only two short months ago, he was on the waiver wire. Now he’s a guy that simply can’t be taken out of the lineup.
Maxim Lapierre has received most of the praise for giving the Canucks a real fourth line, but I love what I see from Weise as well. He’s got great speed, and he uses it to chase opposing defenseman into corners and punish them for attempting to play the puck. He’s got great strength along the boards, which is helping the fourth line to keep the puck in the opposing zone and play surprisingly few shifts in their own end. And he’s got a great work ethic.
In fact, he was annoyed that Darren Pang hadn’t noticed it yet, so he tweeted him. In response to this tweet from Pang:
We got this tweet from Weise:
I’ve never in my life seen a Canuck player advocate for more media coverage. But then again, Dale Weise is clearly enjoying the limelight.
The Green Men weaponize Naked Kesler
Even after the NHL told them they weren’t allowed to impress their testicles against the penalty box glass, the green men continue to impress. They’ve done some brilliant things with giant cutouts before (my favourite being the meta-cutout of Sully doing the handstand the NHL told him to “cut out”), but Thursday’s life-size naked Kesler was a nice touch.
There are a lot of other fans who go to games in full-body Spandex suits. (Winnipeg, for instance, has the white men, which is ridiculous, since the audience at any Jets game is about 97% white men.) But the Green Men remain the cream of the grape-smuggling crop because they come up with great stuff like this on a regular basis.
Aaron Rome’s success: no longer begrudged
It’s interesting the way the accusations of Aaron Rome receiving preferential treatment have died down this year. With Sami Salo out Wednesday night versus the Predators, Rome saw a promotion to the top four and there were very few that made a fuss about the fact that Keith Ballard was passed over. Clearly, Canuck fans are beginning to see what Alain Vigneault saw last year: awesome hipchecks aside, Ballard really isn’t working here, and Rome really is.
Canucks still need a defenseman
While we’re on the subject, Aaron Rome is a capable defenseman and he did a fine job Thursday night in a pinch (fabulous, according to the nerds), but I can’t imagine that the Canucks want him in their top four long-term. With Sami Salo a lock to get injured again, you have to think the Canucks are after a more permanent partner for Alex Edler. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if, before this season was over, Keith Ballard was elsewhere and another top-four defenseman called Vancouver home.
Crazy idea: Schneider’s recent string of starts is about Roberto Luongo
Here’s a wild theory with absolutely no basis: the Canucks are comfortable with giving Schneider a lot of starts right now because he’s not going to be here after the trade deadline. As I said above, the team is in need of a top-four defenseman, and Schneider remains a very sexy piece to dangle. We seem to say it often here in Vancouver, but his value’s never been higher.
If he’s traded, Vancouver’s goaltending depth is greatly diminished. They don’t have anyone else in their system presently capable of the workload that he can handle, and while I’d assume a backup will come back the other way, he’s still only be spotted the occasional start. (I have my theories on what this deal will be, but I don’t make trade proposals, so we’ll just have to wait and see.)
If Schneider goes, that means Roberto Luongo is going to be playing a lot down the stretch (unless the Canucks are way ahead of the pack, which doesn’t seem likely). Considering the way he tends to burn out in the playoffs, sparing him a heavy workload for as long as they possibly can seems ideal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Luongo and Schneider sharing the netminding workload equally over the next three months.
Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins just wants to hold the world
A week ago, Chris Higgins’ abs looked rock hard, but this hilarious gif, courtesy bieksler.tumblr.com, would seem to indicate that they’re actually made out of rubber. Also, his bottom is made out of springs. But the most wonderful thing about Higgins is he’s the only one.Tags: dale weise, spitballin, The Green Men