The penalty for not knowing which Sedin is captain? Fin kills you.
Welcome to the back half of the annual bandwagon cheat sheet, PITB’s introductory guide to the Vancouver Canucks. This helpful guide is designed to allow new Canuck fans to hide their rawness and talk about the team as though they know it. It’s full of valuable information, things to say and not say, things to expect and not expect, and, of course, helpful nicknames to indicate familiarity with the hometown boys.
We’ve gone through the defenders and the goaltenders, but now it’s time to lock in on the guys you really notice: the forwards. Take notes.
About: Bitz wears no. 34. He was signed in the offseason but had his Canucks’ debut delayed by a sports hernia. When he finally got the call up from the Chicago Wolves, he made an immediate impact, resulting in several shifts on the top line with the Sedins. Bitz is 6’5″ and seems equally capable of fighting, setting up a goal, or scoring a goal.
Nickname(s): Itzy Bitzy, Wulf Bitzer, Lord Byron, Byronic Hero
My wife thinks he looks like: Ryan Gosling’s brother.
If he touches the puck, he’ll look for a Sedin to pass it to until he remembers he’s not on their line anymore.
Expect to hear: Endless “Ballroom Blitz” references.
Don’t expect to hear: Funny “Ballroom Blitz” references.
About: Booth wears no. 7. He plays the wing. He was acquired in late October in a trade with the Panthers that sent Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm to Florida. He enjoys hunting and is a dedicated carnivore. His hair is legendary.
Nickname(s): John Wilkes, Grizz, Adonis
My wife thinks he looks like: Sean Penn from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
If he touches the puck, expect him to go hard to the net with it.
Expect to hear: “Booth is good, but that $4 million cap hit makes me nervous.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Booth is good, but that Marco Sturm could really fly.”
About: Burrows wears no. 14. He plays the wing, mostly on a line with the Sedins. His primary job is to get the puck to someone who looks like a Sedin, then camp out in front of the crease and scurry back and forth like a drug-addled rodent. He’s a former ball hockey champion. He is strongly disliked in Boston because he once bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger, but in Burr’s defense, putting a finger in his mouth is like shoving your fist in a catfish hole. He is strongly disliked in Chicago because he once pulled Duncan Keith’s hair, but in Burr’s defense, he had his finger in Burrows’s mouth so he’s lucky he didn’t get bit.
Nickname(s): Burro, Burr, Bitey, Frack, Dragonslayer,
My wife thinks he looks like: Chace Crawford. She’s crazy.
If he touches the puck, somewhere, Chris Campoli just started rocking back and forth and muttering to himself.
Expect to hear: “There is no evidence that he actually bit that guy.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Burrows never seems to score big goals.”
About: Duco wears no. 79 and plays wing, usually on the fourth line. He was acquired in July in a trade that sent Sergei Shirokov’s rights to the Florida Panthers. (The Canucks trade with the Panthers a lot, have you noticed?) Despite his stature 5’10″ frame, Duco is known for his physical, aggravating style. He combats his size issues with a big beard that makes him look bigger. He has a Twitter account, but for awhile he didn’t. This was not our fault.
Nickname(s): The Duke, Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, The Tick
My wife thinks he looks like: Scott Grimes of ER.
If he touches the puck, he will get tackled by Jean-Francois Jacques in about 5 seconds.
Expect to hear: “Duco is so good at getting under people’s skin.”
Don’t expect to hear: “I feel like Duco isn’t physical enough.”
About: Ebbett wears no. 25 and technically plays centre. Since the Canucks have an over-abundance of centres, he has mainly played on the wing on the 4th line. He has been a solid depth option for the Canucks, but has been derailed by injuries: first he broke his foot blocking a shot against the Kings in November, then he broke his collarbone in a collision with Dennis Seidenberg of the Bruins in January. He underwent surgery and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.
Nickname(s): Ebbs, Ebbs and Flows, The Tide
My wife thinks he looks like: Chris Martin from Coldplay.
If he touches the puck, something is broken.
Expect to hear: “It was kind of nice having Andrew Ebbett as a depth forward.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Ebbett’s done for the season?! The Canucks are doomed! DOOOOOOOOOOMED!”
About: Hansen wears no. 36 and plays on the wing. He is the master of appearing out of nowhere to lift a stick, throw a hit, or score a goal. He’s mainly known for his defensive acumen, but he has shown sparks of offensive flare. Unfortunately, since he’s surrounded by ice, none of those sparks have started a fire. He has a very high-pitched voice and loves celebrities.
Nickname(s): The Danish Ninja, The Great Dane,
Dane Cook, Honey Badger
My wife thinks he looks (and sounds) like: Beaker.
If he touches the puck, almost anything could happen. He might score an incredible goal or make a safe defensive play. It depends on whether he is a Hollywood ninja (showy and flashy) or a real ninja (calm and stealthy) at the time. It is unknown what he’ll do when he’s a surf ninja.
Expect to hear: “Hansen is so hot right now. Hansen.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Hansen’s rich, deep bass would be perfect for my vocal group.”
About: Higgins wears no. 20 and plays on the wing. He joined the Canucks at the trade deadline last season and played an instrumental role in their playoff run. While not blessed with soft hands, he makes up for it with pure effort and crazy abs. He has missed several games this season due to a
zombie bite staph infection and various complications stemming from it.
Nickname(s): Higgy, Higgs-Boson, Chuggins, Kiss Huggins
My wife thinks he looks like: Corey Feldman in Stand By Me.
If he touches the puck, he worked damn hard to touch it.
Expect to hear: “How the heck was Higgins the first man back? He was on a breakaway.”
Don’t expect to hear: ”Big deal. I have abs like that.”
About: Hodgson wears no. 9 and plays centre. Formerly the Canucks top prospect, Hodgson is now the Canucks’ top rookie. His slap shot makes goal posts sing. Controversy tend to follow him around like MO follows Wall-E.
Nickname(s): Silent G, CoHo, Cody Franchise, The Cactus, Dr. Headson
My wife thinks he looks like: Naomi Watts’ husband, Liev Schreiber.
If he touches the puck, he will make an astoundingly intelligent and creative play, unless he’s in the defensive zone, in which case he’ll make the exact same play but it will be called boneheaded and risky.
Expect to hear: “Hodgson should be getting more ice time.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Hodgson is a fourth-line checking centre at best.”
About: Kesler wears no. 17 and plays centre. After a career year in which he scored 41 goals and won the Selke trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward, Kesler got a late start this season after off-season surgery. He is capable at times of going into beast mode and dominating a game, but spends more time looking over people’s shoulders during interviews. One time he let ESPN take naked pictures of him.
Nickname(s): Kes, Frick, That Naked Guy, Keslurker, Bull,
My wife thinks he looks like: The late Jeff Buckley.
If he touches the puck, he’s probably not going to use his linemates.
Expect to hear: ”Did you see that great shot by Kesler?”
Don’t expect to hear: ”Did you see that great pass by Kesler?”
About: Lapierre wears no. 40 and plays centre and wing. He almost always has a grin on his face that makes him look like he just put itching powder in the other team’s gloves and can’t wait for them to notice. He mainly plays on the fourth line as an agitator, forechecker, and defensive specialist, but also chips in the odd goal. He don’t give a damn about his bad reputation.
Nickname(s): Maximillian, Mad Max, Lappy, The Pierre
My wife thinks he looks like: Oded Fehr with short hair.
If he touches the puck, he’ll make the simplest play possible and then push an opponent and swear at them incomprehensibly.
Expect to hear: “I would hate that guy if he wasn’t on my team.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Lapierre was the clear winner in that fight.”
About: Malhotra wears no. 27 and plays centre. He is used by Alain Vigneault as a defensive specialist and spends the vast majority of his time on the ice in the defensive zone. Because of this, he doesn’t score a lot of points and gets unfairly criticized by some fans. Don’t be one of those fans.
Nickname(s): Alternate Captain Mal, Community Manny,
My wife thinks he looks like: Common.
If he touches the puck, he just won a defensive zone faceoff.
Expect to hear: “What a great defensive play by Manny. The work he does is subtle, but important.”
Don’t expect to hear: “I don’t understand why Vigneault won’t play Malhotra with the Sedins.”
About: Raymond wears no. 21 and is very, very fast. During the Stanley Cup Final last year, he suffered a compression fracture in his back. He spent the summer recovering from the injury and may have turned evil during that time. He seems capable of scoring far more than he actually does, which earns him some undeserved ire and a permanent place in every Canucks trade rumour. Despite being super fast, he’s also super boring.
Nickname(s): MayRay, Hayseed, Jar, Bambi, Whitetail,
My wife thinks he looks like: James McAvoy.
If he touches the puck, he’ll skate very fast with it and then lose it along the boards.
Expect to hear: “Raymond doesn’t go to the dirty areas.”
Don’t expect to hear: “Did you hear Raymond’s response to that question? Riveting.”
About: Daniel wears no. 22. He’s the slightly younger twin brother of Henrik Sedin. He’s the more shooty brother and won the Art Ross Trophy last season as the NHL’s leading scorer. He is very good at hockey.
Nickname(s): Dank, Danrik, Assistant Captain Hook, Brother Daniel, The Mad Monk, Red Panda
My wife thinks he looks like: Henrik Sedin.
If he touches the puck, incredible wizardry may occur, so you’ll probably want to pay attention.
Expect to hear: “DID YOU SEE THAT?”
Don’t expect to hear: “As a woman, I find it uplifting when people call the Sedins ‘sisters.’”
About: Henrik wears no. 33 and is the slightly older twin brother of Daniel Sedin. He’s the Canucks’ captain. He’s the more passey brother and won the Art Ross Trophy two seasons ago. He is very good at hockey.
Nickname(s): Hank, Heniel, Captain Hook, Captain Marvel
My wife thinks he looks like: Alexander Sulzer.
If he touches the puck, he will pass it, but don’t bother anticipating the pass, because he’s not passing it there. Nope, not there either. See that guy way across the ice with 6 people in between him and Henrik? Yeah, that’s where he’s passing it.
Expect to hear: “NO, SERIOUSLY, DID YOU SEE THAT?”
Don’t expect to hear: “I think Henrik shoots the puck way too much.”
About: Weise wears no. 32 and plays on the wing on the fourth line. He’s a defensively responsible forward with limited scoring potential, but he does well in his role. He used to have a Twitter account, which was quite popular with young ladies, but he deleted it. We honestly had nothing to do with that. He sometimes has issues with water bottles.
Nickname(s): Wise Weise, Weasel, Rescue Ranger
My wife thinks he looks like: The long-lost son of Stephen Fry.
If he touches the puck, he won’t handle it like a grenade, unlike a lot of fourth liners around the league.
Expect to hear: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Weise. He’s solid.”
Don’t expect to hear: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Weise’s ability to be sublimated. He’s gaseous.”
About: Gillis is the General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks and has been since 2008. He has introduced some outside-the-box concepts, such as a mind room, sleep doctors, specialized fitness and hygiene regimens for the players, and signing Kyle Wellwood. He is the reigning GM of the year, an award he should win again because he turned Marco Sturm into David Booth.
Nickname(s): MG, Gilly, Gilly-willy, Gillis Diller
My wife thinks he looks like: he could use some sleep.
If he touches the puck, the Canucks injury troubles have gotten way, way out of hand.
Expect to hear: “We don’t discuss players under contract to other teams.”
Don’t expect to hear: “We don’t discuss players under contract to other teams, but I agree: we all miss Shane O’Brien.”
About: Vigneault is the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks and has been since 2006. He’s won the Jack Adams award for the NHL’s coach of the year once and been a finalist twice more. He chews Trident gun. He has a doghouse. Keith Ballard lives in it.
Nickname(s): AV, Viggy, Business Cat
My wife thinks he looks like: Jack Black.
If he touches the puck, You’re probably watching practice drills. The game is later.
Expect to hear: The microphone picking up the sound of him working over a throat lozenge.
Don’t expect to hear: “Alain Vigneault knows more about coaching than I do and his icetime management is unquestionable.”