Some time ago, Kevin Bieksa let it slip that every member of the Canucks had an animal nickname. He even gave us a line on a few: David Booth was Grizzly, Ryan Kesler was Bull, Keith Ballard was Wolf, Alex Edler was Eagle, and Jannik Hansen was the Honey Badger.
As for the rest, we were left to speculate wildly. Were the Sedins red pandas? Who is Fox? Was Sami Salo the poisonous Finnish snake that once bit him? Short of additional clues, there was simply no way of knowing.
Lucky for us, David Booth provided one such clue following Thursday night’s 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, praising the play of one “Whitetail”.
Canuck nation very nearly exploded with the reveal of a new animal nickname. It was like Battlestar Galactica revealing the next Cylon, except it took place on Twitter, not during an intergalactic space war.
But, unfortunately, the nickname was all Booth gave us. Who the heck is Whitetail?
Well, the list of suspects is a short one. Because Booth praises a “sick goal”, we can instantly trim the candidates down to the goal scorers in Montreal: Mason Raymond, Cody Hodgson, and Sami Salo. Of course, knowing what we know about the trio, it could be any one of them.
Salo, for instance, is among the palest men to walk the earth. He’s as white as a sheet, so the nickname would suit him. Meanwhile, Hodgson is a young buck, so the comparison to a white-tailed deer wouldn’t be far off. And fans have been calling Raymond “Bambi” for a few years now, what for his boyishness and oft-flailing limbs. I can assure you the Canucks have noticed. Trust me: they see your Tumblr account.
I think we can rule out Salo simply because his goal, a shot from the point, wasn’t exactly a highlight-reel tally. Furthermore, Salo only had an okay night, and I can’t imagine Booth singling him out for looking “sick”, unless he meant in terms of his pallid skin tone.
So that leaves Hodgson and Raymond, and my money’s on Raymond. Why? Nice as Hodgson’s shot was, it didn’t come on the heels of a toe drag that was the textbook definition of “sick.” Raymond’s was the highlight-reel goal. And furthermore, Raymond had the truly sick game, with 11 shots attempted, a goal, and a phantom assist while skating in Booth’s place on the second line. His was likely the game that stood out to Booth, especially since Raymond was skating in Booth’s place on the second line.
Ryan Kesler praised Raymond’s play as well.
To summarize: Raymond had the the pre-existing Bambi nickname, the standout game, and the standout goal. Mason Raymond is Whitetail.
Edit: Kevin Bieksa appeared on the Team 1040 Friday morning and cleared this mystery up for us, explaining that no, Sami Salo can’t be Whitetail, because his animal nickname is already Owl. (And then he hooted.)
And, while Juice wouldn’t budge on what Cody Hodgson’s animal nickname was, he made sure to point out that A) it isn’t Whitetail, and B) it’s great.
So “Whitetail” has to be Mason Raymond, right? Maybe not.
Apparently, Booth went rogue on this one, and he’s not allowed to make up nicknames because he’s not on the “council”. (Seriously, what the heck.) Anyway, the council — which includes Ballard, Hamhuis, and Bieksa — has not approved this as Raymond’s official nickname.Tags: canuck animals, investigative journalism