Ten active former Canucks that could still help the team

A couple weeks ago, Richard Hodges, a blogger for Northwest Sportsbeat, wrote an interesting post titled, 5 Ex-Canucks that could help the team right now:

In Hodges’ scenario, Mike Gillis finds a time machine and discovers he can retrieve any former Canuck from the bowels of history and plug him into the current roster. Unfortunately, he can only do this once. So who does he get? Trevor Linden? Cam Neely? Matthias Ohlund? It’s a fun question, although Hodges’ Kirk McLean suggestion reeks of judgment-clouding nostalgia. I mean, sure, he’s good for a pad stack or two, but he’d be number three on the depth chart, Richard.

Anyway. Thing is, you don’t need a time machine to find one-time Vancouverites that can contribute; there are a handful of active ex-Canucks that could help the team right now. Granted, in some cases, the cap implications and cost to acquire would be too much to make any move feasible, but I’m not making trade proposals here, nor am I advocating them — I’m just playing around with the concept. With a nod to Richard for the idea, here are 10 active former Canucks that could help the team this postseason in no particular order.

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Pass it to Comics: Kevin Bieksa, stanchion killer

Pass it to Comics is a regular collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra, whose Tumblr page, Blue Soup, is a must-follow for any Canuck fan with an appreciation for quirk. Today, we recognize the source of Kevin Bieksa’s uncanny luck with the partition.

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Video: Relive Kevin Bieksa’s game-tying goal from the perspective of an Avalanche fan

I can’t be the only one that still remembers the Canucks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on January 20, 2009. You might recall: this was the game that drove Canuck fan Richard Beach to flip out, swear off the team in an angry letter, and cancel his cable. Granted, it was an overreaction, but the frustration he felt was understandable: in dire need of a rallying win after eight straight losses, the Canucks had been trapping their tails off, desperately hanging onto a lead against the superior Sharks for nearly the entire game.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t hang on, and not long after Devin Setoguchi sent the game into overtime with a goal in the final minute, Patrick Marleau scored the game-winner.

If you remember that game, think back to the disappointment you felt and consider that Coloradans likely felt a similar disappointment after Kevin Bieksa’s game-tying goal Saturday. The only thing more frustrating than being a Canuck fan for most of Saturday afternoon’s win in Colorado? Being an Avalanche fan at the end of it.

You can really hear that frustration in the goal call by Colorado play-by-play announcer Mike Haynes.

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Maxim Lapierre totally lied to Vigneault to get in the shootout

While Maxim Lapierre picks up a few goals every season, he isn’t exactly known for his scoring. So it may have seemed odd to see him come out as the first shooter in Saturday’s shootout against the Colorado Avalanche. After all, scoring in the shootout had already been a struggle for the Canucks; how was sending out a fourth-line energy forward going to make things better?

So why did Alain Vigneault choose Lapierre? Simple. Lapierre lied to him.

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Anti-Fantasy League: Week 17

I planned on weekly updates for the Anti-Fantasy League, but life has a funny way of taking your plans and using them as an improvised weapon against you. Even with the minus-4 attack penalty, it can still knock you for a loop.

Suffice it to say, I missed a couple weeks of updates and I apologize. You didn’t miss too much: holidayblues remained in first place the entire time and Emerys is still in last. In between, however, there was plenty of movement. For instance, I am no longer in 91st place; I have made a massive leap up the standings to 81st.

Is it a bad sign when you’re terrible at your own game?

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No thanks to Ryan Kesler, Canucks caught in Tebow loop

The Canucks’ win in Colorado Saturday was nothing short of ridiculous. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Avalanche for the entire game and outshot 46 to 29. The Avs even missed two shots at the empty net in the game’s final minute. Then, fortunes changed in an instant when the puck took a weird bounce off a stanchion in the Colorado end and landed right on Kevin Bieksa’s stick. He buried it, tying the game, and the Canucks would go on to steal the two points in a shootout.

It was a shameless miracle.

Frankly, the Canucks have been getting by on shameless miracles for awhile now. They’re 4-0-1 in their last five games, all of which have required last-minute heroics, the most recent four of which have gone to overtime — three of which have gone to a shootout. The Canucks of the last 5 games look nothing like the team Vancouver fans are used to, a team that defeats opponents with strong puck possession, hard forechecking, and a lethal powerplay. Rather, this recent team is getting by on nothing but “clutch” performances, where “clutch” means “heroic albeit unnecessary if they had played better.”

So what happened prior to this five-game stretch to turn the Canucks from the team Vancouverites know into a hapless group relying on cheap miracles to eke out wins?

Ryan Kesler Tebowed.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Colorado Avalanche, February 4, 2012

The Canucks have been absolutely dreadful since the All-Star Break. Sure, they’re riding a 3-game regulation unbeaten streak since reassembling, but they’ve hardly reassembled. This team has been a disorganized mess for all three games, playing ugly hockey at both ends of the ice and allowing their opponents to dominate them consistently. They’ve been outshot 128 to 87 — yes, they’re allowing more than 40 shots per game — over these contests.

So how are they winning? Because life isn’t fair. When Kevin Bieksa scored the game-tying goal with the net empty and only thirty-five seconds remaining in regulation Saturday, all I could think was, if the Canucks manage to win and come away from this 3-game stretch with 5 of 6 points, there is absolutely no justice in the world.

As it would happen, there is no justice in the world. I know this for a fact because I watched this game.

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Drance Numbers: Investigating Cody Hodgson’s monster January

I don’t need to tell you that Cody Hodgson’s performance in the month of January was incredible. Cody Franchise picked up 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points and an “NHL Rookie of the Month” Award, catapulting himself into the Calder trophy discussion, something I considered a longshot as recently as 10 days ago.

It was also revealed yesterday on Twitter, that Chicago Wolves captain Nolan Baumgartner has a nickname for Hodgson. That nickname is Dr. Headson. Apparently “the Franchise” always knows what’s up with his teammate’s injuries.

It makes sense that a nerd like Hodgson would fancy himself a doctor: it fits in well with his poorly dressed, chess-master persona. Also, considering many Canuck fan’s summer obsession with finding “Vancouver’s answer to Mark Recchi,” it’s nice to finally have a doctor on the team.

The last four weeks of Hodgson’s rookie season have been an unmitigated, high-profile success. But looking at the underlying numbers, there is some pretty interesting stuff going on with Hodgson’s deployment, possession and on-ice percentages. I figured we’d delve into them, and look at what exactly happened with Hodgson in the first month of 2012.

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If Cory Schneider isn’t getting traded, the Canucks had better be planning to use him

On Thursday, I discussed what Cory Schneider’s recent usage in big games didn’t mean. Now I want to investigate what it does mean. Here’s the thing: while Schneider’s starts in Boston and versus Chicago weren’t indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games more than Roberto Luongo, they were indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games, and that’s still a big deal.

In fact, if these so-called “important starts” mean anything, it’s that the team is preparing Cory to receive more of them. Don’t believe Jack “Don’t stat me your stats” Edwards — Cory’s not the official playoff starter. But he may be more than the official playoff backup.

At the beginning of the Edwards interview, Greg Wyshynski (who is a quality boss, by the by) posits the theory that the Canucks are planning to go to a two-goalie system in the playoffs.

This is worth a beard stroke. Many teams have used two or three different guys on the way to a Stanley Cup, but in most cases, their hands were forced by inconsistent play from their number one. Very few enter the postseason intending to share the workload between two netminders — the Canucks certainly didn’t last year. However, I’m beginning to wonder if this is what coaching and management are planning.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Detroit Red Wings, February 2, 2012

Most people in the hockey world thought a match-up between the Red Wings and Canucks, the two best teams in the Western Conference, would be the game to watch tonight. Instead, Sam “Him?” Gagner stepped into the spotlight, scoring 8 points against the Chicago Blackhawks and tying Paul Coffey and Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for most points in a game.

Yeah. Sam Gagner did that.

But I didn’t watch that game. The game I watched was merely okay. What game did I watch? I watched this game.

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Is Cory Schneider the new number one? Jack Edwards sure seems to think so

I worked in retail for five years, so I speak from experience (and deep emotional scarring) when I say that Boxing Day is the worst. It’s not just the long and frenzied day, either — it’s the day before, when the dread begins to settle in. Basically, if you have to work Boxing Day, Christmas is ruined because everything after lunch is mental preparation for tomorrow’s rumble.

I thought of this when Alain Vigneault announced that Cory Schneider was getting the start versus the Chicago Blackhawks, explaining that the decision was made before the All-Star break because Roberto Luongo, unlike Schneider, has a family. Some people scoffed, but it made sense to me. In effect, Luongo was able to enjoy his full vacation because he didn’t have to begin the mental prepwork before he left. As a Boxing Day survivor, this made sense to me, and as a Canuck fan that has witnessed Luongo burn out emotionally, it made even more sense to ensure his restful family time was as restful as possible.

Still, many read Vigneault’s decision very differently.

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Spitballin’ on Kevin Connauton, Babcock’s Canuck crush, and Gillis’s trade deadline wishlist

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.

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Every breath you take, Ryan Kesler will be watching you

Way back in October, we highlighted a fantastic pump-up video of Ryan Kesler by Bhavin Solanki. It was our first encounter with Solanki’s work and we were suitably impressed. So impressed, in fact, that we jokingly requested he create a pump-up video of Keslurks set to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Somehow, we completely [...]

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Update: the Vancouver Wellwoods have found a sponsor

Over the weekend, we shared with you the plight of the Vancouver Wellwoods, our official women’s road hockey team. After a year of wearing the baby blue t-shirts with iron-on decals you see above, the Redwood Cup runners-up felt it was time to graduate to official sweaters. Unfortunately, they had no money. The Wellwoods needed $300, and we asked if anyone would be kind enough to sponsor them.

We are happy to report that the Wellwoods have indeed found a sponsor. In fact, they’ve found two.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks, January 31, 2012

For only the third time this season, the Canucks played an entire sixty-minute game without being given a powerplay but, incredibly, it was the second consecutive time this phenomenon has occurred versus the Chicago Blackhawks. What’s more, this game was called by Ian Walsh, who called the last powerplay-free affair. Is this evidence of some kind of conspiracy?

No. Uncanny though the circumstances may be, there’s no agenda here. The Blackhawks simply played a fabulously disciplined game. Furthermore, while the Canucks may have played an entire sixty-minute game without being given a powerplay, they hardly played a sixty-minute game. You draw penalties by outworking the other team, and frankly, only Cory Schneider seemed interested in doing that for much of this game. So why didn’t he draw any penalties? Well, he was a little busy. So was I. I watched this game.

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