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.
Get pumped-up on Cody Hodgson
Followers of this blog will know that we are big fans of Bhavin Solanki, the Youtuber behind these fabulous Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo videos. He’s a great editor, he chooses good songs, and his clips are nice and short. A minute with Bhavin is a minute well-spent. Ladies.
His latest is a tribute to Cody Hodgson, who is the man of the hour these days.
Kevin Connauton seems pretty good
While we were distracted with the NHL All-Star Game last weekend, the AHL held their own All-Star Game, with one of the Canucks’ prospects taking centre stage for the West. Kevin Connauton won the hardest shot competition with a blast of 99.4 mph. In the All-Star Game itself, he put his shot to good use, with a game-high 6 shots, scoring the game-tying goal to send the game to overtime and the shootout, where the West won.
If you want to see the goal, you’ll have to suffer through some terrible YouTubing. Don’t blame me.
Connauton is having a solid season for the Wolves, with 22 points in 44 games while playing in all situations. He currently leads the AHL in goalscoring among defencemen, so the offensive side of his game has translated to the professional game from junior. The question is, will the defensive side of his game develop enough that he can make an impact in the NHL?
Mike Babcock is enamoured with the Canucks
There are very few people working in the NHL today that garner as much respect as Mike Babcock. So when he lavishes praise on the Canucks, it’s worth paying attention to. Here are some of the highlights:
I really like their top four D. Most people see Hamhuis and Bieksa as their No. 1 pair, but Edler and Salo, for me, are outstanding players.
I think anyone who’s won an Olympic gold medal, won a world championship … did he win a world junior [Silver in 1999]? Been to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. How old’s Roberto?  I’d say he’s doing all right.
The thing I like about ‘em [the Sedins], and I was talking to one of our players about this today, is they have decided to be elite. They’ve gotten better each and every year.
To me, they’re real special players. They don’t have a ‘good-enough’ metre. They haven’t said, ‘OK, we’ve been good enough,’ and reflected on their past.
They want to win. I’m impressed by them. I like their attitude, I like how hard they play.
Aw shucks, Babcock, you’re making the Canucks blush.
Who might the Canucks want in a trade?
The trade deadline is just 25 days away, which means it’s time for juicy trade rumours to come spewing from every metaphorical orifice on the internet. If you need help creating one, we have a handy-dandy how-to guide available.
Even though trade rumours are less edifying than a cardboard box, this time of year is always exciting. Last season, Mike Gillis added Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre at the deadline and both ended up playing key roles in the playoffs for the Canucks. Both of them also re-signed with the team, which is important as Gillis is not a fan of rentals.
For once, it doesn’t seem like the Canucks are necessarily in the market for a top-six forward. The early season trade for David Booth seemed to fill that need. Instead, it seems more likely that Gillis will be looking for a defenceman capable of playing on the right side in the top-four and/or a checking-line forward.
When Sami Salo was injured by Brad Marchand’s cheap hit, the Canucks’ defence ended up more scrambled than the Team 1040 in Chilliwack. A right-side defender who can fill that role when Salo is out of the lineup is likely on Gillis’s shopping list. And while Dale Weise has played well on the fourth line, they may want someone a little more defensively responsible to play alongside Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre.
Travis Moen, who was a member of the Ducks’ stellar checking line when they won the Stanley Cup, is a name that has floated out there and he’s pretty much exactly the type of player that would fill that role. But that’s a trade that’s unlikely to happen: Moen doesn’t play for the Florida Panthers.
With that said, the Canucks seem even more stable this year than they were last year at this time. It’s entirely possible that the Canucks will stand pat at the deadline, while everyone wonders if they’re a boy or a girl.Tags: bhavin solanki, Kevin Connauton, Mike Babcock, spitballin, The YouTubes, trade deadline