Your Canucks bandwagon fan cheat sheet, 2011-12: Forwards and management

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.

FORWARDS

BYRON BITZ
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.

DAVID BOOTH
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.”

ALEX BURROWS
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.”

MIKE DUCO
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.”

ANDREW EBBETT
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!”

JANNIK HANSEN
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.”

CHRIS HIGGINS
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.”

CODY HODGSON
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.”

RYAN KESLER
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?”

MAXIM LAPIERRE
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.”

MANNY MALHOTRA
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.”

MASON RAYMOND
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.”

DANIEL SEDIN
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.’”

HENRIK SEDIN
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.”

DALE WEISE
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.”

MANAGEMENT

MIKE GILLIS
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.”

ALAIN VIGNEAULT
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.”

DEFENCEMEN & GOALIES

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42 comments

  1. sarah
    February 10, 2012

    Minor correction, Harrison. Your wife, along with most of Vancouver’s female fanbase, thinks that Chris Higgins looks like ABS!

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    • obituary mambo
      February 10, 2012

      Or, at the very least, far better than a 13-year-old Corey Feldman. Although, I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky she didn’t choose Feldman’s unfortunate Michael Jackson wanna-be phase…

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      • sarah
        February 10, 2012

        Harrison: “Do you think Chris Higgins is good looking?”

        Harrision’s wife: “Oh…er….ah….no….not at all…if anything he looks like…that dweeby kid from Stand By Me. Yah…that’s it.”

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        • MelT
          February 10, 2012

          Agree completely with you Sarah, judging from the unfortunate comparisons she has made for every good-looking guy on the Canucks, Harrison’s wife is a genius. She “puts up” with the big screen HDTV and constant game watching, and quietly enjoys herself.

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          • Harrison Mooney
            February 10, 2012

            HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST MY WIFE FINDS ATTRACTIVE MEN ATTRACTIVE.

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            • MelT
              February 11, 2012

              We could always test this theory. Who does she think you look like?

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              • J21
                February 11, 2012

                Anything other than Tay Zonday is a lie here.

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              • Harrison Mooney
                February 11, 2012

                Mos Def crossed with someone twice as hot.

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              • MelT
                February 12, 2012

                I rest my case, she is a genius. You’re the only hot comparison she’s made, apparently in all of Vancouver! And J21, thanks, now I have a smile on my face and Chocolate Rain in my head for the day.

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  2. Chicky
    February 10, 2012

    Ahem, I’ve heard that Hansen has been referred to as Honey Badger. He don’t care.

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  3. Arial
    February 10, 2012

    How can Lappy not be included as one of the nicknames :O! hahah

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  4. invisibleairwaves
    February 10, 2012

    “I don’t understand why Vigneault won’t Malhotra with the Sedins.”

    Vigneault accidentally Malhotra’s scoring touch?

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  5. John
    February 10, 2012

    That sounds dirty: “I don’t understand why Vigneault won’t Malhotra with the Sedins.”

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 10, 2012

      I agree. Malhotra takes on oddly dirty status when it’s the verb and not the direct object. Anyway, obviously that was a typo and it’s been fixed.

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  6. JS Topher
    February 10, 2012

    Malhotra: The new dance craze. Everybody wants to malhotra with the twins!

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  7. Tonbridge
    February 10, 2012

    The line about bitz looking for a sedin to pass to then realize he is not on their line is just gold

    Gold

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  8. pc
    February 10, 2012

    I think Burrows look like Tom Cruise. Haha Chase Crawford!

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  9. Brosef Stalin
    February 10, 2012

    Now I have something to hand out to all my bandwagoning acquaintances! Hooray!

    Couple of my personal favourites for nicknames:

    Bitznasty
    Count Duco
    GMMG (God I love palindromes)
    Cody Godson

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    • Shand
      February 10, 2012

      KesLORD too ;]

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  10. KC
    February 10, 2012

    “If Mike Gillis touches the puck, the Canucks injury troubles have gotten way, way out of hand.”

    Almost had a stroke trying to stifle laughter reading that during class. The whole piece was gold, but that line just put me over the edge.

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  11. jimbob
    February 10, 2012

    A beaker reference. excellent! i had a biology teacher in high school that looked identical to beaker. needless to say many students resorted to saying ‘mi mi mi mi’ everytime he was around. ahh clasic!

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  12. Stinkpickle
    February 10, 2012

    I think Dale Weise looks like Count Chocula

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 10, 2012

      Hahahaha!

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  13. PeeSeeGee
    February 10, 2012

    I havent looked at that picture of Weise before. I always thought he had a massive head but it’s all chin. That boys chin has its own interplanetary system.

    Also Alain Vigneault “chews Trident gun”. I always thought he was tough but chewing a gun?

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  14. Kyle
    February 10, 2012

    Mike Gillis = Jack Donaghy, minus the charisma

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  15. Dano
    February 10, 2012

    Sorry Harrison, but you’re wife is absolutely incorrect… AV isn’t a Jack Black-alike… he’s Spanky from the Little Rascals.

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  16. Don
    February 10, 2012

    For what it’s worth, my wife thinks Vigneault looks like a cop. Specifically, a world-weary, hard-bitten veteran detective on the (probably) Montreal Metropolitan Police Force.

    Watch him work that gum behind the bench after someone takes a stupid penalty or the refs blow a call and you’ll see exactly what she means.

    Really. He’s straight out of central casting.

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  17. obituary mambo
    February 10, 2012

    My favorite line is one about Lappy:

    “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.” Ha! Excellent observation.

    Also, poor little MayRay. I haven’t seen many of his interviews; is he really that boring? And do I really live in a world in which Naomi Watts is more famous than Liev Schriber is? Points to your wife for noticing the similarity between he and CoHo. However, I regret to inform you that her description of AV is dead wrong. It should have read more along the lines of:

    My wife thinks he looks: Sexy.

    I may be in the minority on that front (in fact, I’m almost positive I am), but he’s got an undeniably wonderful presence. I know I’m a nutball and it probably seems inconceivable at best, but my two biggest Canuck crushes are Higgins and Vingeault.

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  18. superreggie
    February 10, 2012

    “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.” – brilliant… but someone probably already gave kudos to that…

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  19. CanuckFaninSF
    February 10, 2012

    Chris Higgins
    Expect to hear: “Chris Higgins scores goals, has abs”

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  20. Cody
    February 10, 2012

    “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.”

    *CLAP* CLAP*CLAP* Congratulation I just giggled.
    Oh and what is a mind room? I knew of the sleep doctor and some of the training/hygiene stuff, but I am oblivious when it comes to a mind room.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 10, 2012

      No one really knows. Canucks are really quiet about it. Some sort of room that helps you get Zen, I guess.

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      • Cody
        February 10, 2012

        I hope it is a soundproofed room. Those are incredibly relaxing.

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      • birthoftragedy
        February 12, 2012

        It’s actually a room underneath Science World. They have converted the globe into a radar dome they use to access the minds of gifted hockey players around the globe. Lorne Henning wears a special helmet to connect to the network of players with a genetic mutation for hockey sense. It’s how they found Silent G.

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  21. MelT
    February 10, 2012

    I think Cody looks exactly like Otto the autopilot in Airplane.

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  22. CthulhuBob
    February 10, 2012

    My wife and I always thought of AV as mafia. He rocks those pin-stripes like no other coach I know. Add in his perma-tan, slicked back hair, and gum chewing and he should be called Don Vigneault.

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  23. DanD
    February 10, 2012

    Ever since your Animal Nicknames post I’ve only been able to think of Alain Vigneauly as “Business Cat.” I recommend it as an official nickname.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 10, 2012

      Oh yeah! It’s going in.

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      • DanD
        February 11, 2012

        Nice!

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  24. Tom Taylor
    February 11, 2012

    What about Aaron Volpatti?

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  25. birthoftragedy
    February 12, 2012

    Lapierre’s nickname isn’t The Pierre, it’s The Peter. And it’s like sticking your FIST into a catfish hole, not your fish.

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  26. Warpstone
    February 13, 2012

    I’ve always felt it was Higgins that looked like Liev Schreiber in Wolverine… That may be the only good upshot to come out of that movie.

    Clearly, Mason Raymond looks EXACTLY like Anakin Skywalker in episode 3. Even down to the brooding angst whenever he gets spun around.

    Is your wife a referee? 8D LOL, I kid, I kid, I liked the Jack Black comparison.

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