I Watched This Game: Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, February 23, 2012

The Detroit Red Wings had won 23 consecutive games at Joe Louis Arena, their advantage at home reaching Kevin McAllister-levels of unbelievability. Visitors to the building were bombarded with a dizzying array of booby traps — flamethrowers inside doorways, tar on the steps, paint cans thrown over balconies, Micro Machines on the floor, and, of course, Pavel Datsyuk lying in front of the doggy door, firing his air soft rifle into the unsuspecting groins of those that dare oppose him. It was a nightmarish place for unwanted visitors.

However, despite the Red Wings’ best efforts to break the Canucks’ spirits like the Wet/Sticky Bandits, they forgot to account for the flooded basement next door (played in this metaphor by Alex Burrows). And sadly, like the pigeon lady in the sequel, Jimmy Howard was unable to be the creepy bearded neighbour with the snow shovel. Yes, I’ve watched Home Alone many times. But tonight, I watched this game.

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Who the heck is Herb Bagel? Is Roberto Luongo on Twitter? PITB investigates

When Kevin Bieksa joined Twitter back in September, signalling the successful end to our Twitter Needs Juice campaign, we rejoiced. The Canuck blueliner is a funny guy, and we were confident that his Twitter account would provide an additional resource for Canuck fan amusement. What we didn’t expect, however, was that Bieksa would also wind up making more work for us. Not cool, bro.

Wednesday, as the Canucks enjoyed a day off prior to Thursday’s big game in Detroit (where the home team has won a noteworthy 23 straight), a few of them took to Twitter to pass the time. Eventually, old man Sami Salo instituted a “no tweeting on the bus” rule, but this was after Ryan Kesler mocked the mysterious @strombone1 account that appears to belong to Roberto Luongo and Kevin Bieksa tweeted that the man behind the equally mysterious Herb Bagel (@slavy_72) account is part of the team.

Now, while Bieksa never said that this guy was a player on the Canucks, that’s what most took this to mean, and our readers demanded answers. Let’s investigate the clues, which will attempt to prove who Herb Bagel is and isn’t, and will most definitely prove that I have too much time on my hands.

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The Canucks are much fightier than last year: Top 5 fights of the season

A weird thing happened over the weekend: Don Cherry, that great defender of toughness in hockey, actually called the Canucks tough. I’m not joking. It actually happened.

The main (and only) reason that this is significant is that Cherry is the king of the surface-level observation. He seems to look at something once, get an impression, and immediately have a take. If Cherry’s first impression is that the Canucks are a tougher team and that “Boston’s not going to push them around any more” that is a positive for the Canucks, because that means that other teams are getting that same impression. If “toughness” and “Canucks” can be put together in people’s minds more often, that can only benefit the team.

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Breakdowning: Fire drill on the penalty kill in Nashville

The Nashville Predators don’t seem like an offensively-gifted hockey team. Built from the net out with an emphasis on defence and one of the lowest payrolls in the league, they simply haven’t sunk a lot of money into big offensive talent. You would think this lack of high-end scoring punch would be especially apparent on the powerplay.

Nope. The Predators have the second best powerplay in the NHL, behind only the Vancouver Canucks. And, given the way the Canuck powerplay has performed recently, the Predators might actually be the best team in the league with the man advantage these days. On Tuesday, they showed exactly why that might be the case, making one of the best penalty kill units on one the best penalty-killing teams look completely foolish.

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