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 quick topics.
Canucks react to Malhotra with hair
A little over a week ago, Daniel turned up some photos of Manny Malhotra from his days with the Dallas Stars, back when he had awesome hair. On Wednesday, Canucks social media superstar Derek Jory was kind enough to bring those photos into the locker room for reaction from the players. From Fort Nucks:
Malhotra: “Oh wow, where did you find those? Pretty nice, hey…those were the days.”
Luongo: “Is that Manny, holy cow. Is that photoshopped? Wow, has he seen those? Those are out there, I approve of that hair but only if it’s to make fun of him.”
Booth: “Oh my gosh. That’s crazy. I don’t know what do say.”
Immediately after Jory left the room, the team began mixing up a batch of peanut butter solution in hopes of restoring Manny to his full glory.
Aaron Rome uses Stephane Veilleux to punch Kevin Bieksa in the face
We’ve been slagging Aaron Rome since last season for his tendency to mistime hits, a flaw that wound up costing the Canucks’ blueliner four playoff games after the Nathan Horton debacle. Granted, that was supremely mishandled by interim disciplinarian Mike Murphy (according to Brendan Shanahan’s 1 playoff game equals 12 regular-season games philosophy, Rome was suspended for 48 games, dammit), but if Rome were better at stepping into guys, it wouldn’t have been an issue.
Fact is, Rome is a big guy and physicality is a big part of his game, but far too often, his hits come a split-second too soon or too late. Here’s yet another example, from Monday’s tilt with the Minnesota Wild:
See, that was the wrong time to punch Stephane Veilleux in the head. Oh Rome, when will you ever learn.
The Chicago Wolves take a long, boring bus trip
One thing we need to do more often is keep up with the Twitter accounts of the the Canucks’ AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves. Much of the roster is on Twitter, and since far fewer people are paying attention to their tweets, they’re often a great deal more entertaining. And there’s another reason their tweets occasionally get good: they take more bus rides, and nothing spikes social media usage like a long, boring bus ride (unless old man Salo’s “no tweeting on the bus” rule is in effect).
Last weekend, during a bus ride to Toronto for a game with the Marlies, the Wolves players engaged in all sorts of shenanigans. Billy Sweatt broke out the ol’ iPad and waxed nostaligic with a screening and livetweeting of children’s classic and early Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle Angels in the Outfield, much to the chagrin of his teammates:
#angelsintheoutfield on the bus. Love it
— Bill Sweatt (@billysweatt) March 18, 2012
Newcomer on the Smylosphere scene Smug Nation has a rundown of the exchange that followed. Sweatt’s response to a ribbing from old man Baumgartner is solid.
Meanwhile, Kevin Connauton passed the time, as I often do, dreaming of McDonald’s:
Hilariously, this drew the ire of some nutjob who started ripping Connauton for his nutrition habits (you see, because even thinking about McDonald’s makes you fat), and this string of self-righteous psychobabble persisted long enough that Connauton eventually told the guy off:
— Kevin Connauton (@K_Nauts) March 18, 2012
When should the Canucks stand up for the Sedins?
Monday’s game in Minnesota saw the Canucks fall 2-0, with the game-winning goal scored while Alex Burrows was in the penalty box. Burrows has a tendency to be the guy picked out of scrums, and after Dany Heatley took some liberties with Daniel Sedin and Burrows rose to his defence, you knew the Canucks’ agitator would be the only guy to go. In the I Watched This Game, I pointed out that this was a textbook example of why standing up for the Sedins wasn’t the recipe for runaway success people claim.
Point three is where I think we begin to differ. Here it is in its fullness:
Third, it was one power play and it was the only goal of the game. If the Canucks can’t rally around the Sedins and kill off the occasional penalty for them or score one goal to compensate, this team is in a lot of trouble come playoff time.
This is a familiar trope in hockey punditry — the notion that some penalties are honourable and justified, and the sense of valour they instil should inspire the team to new heights of efficiency. Because the Canucks were doing the right thing by standing up for the Sedins, they should have been able to kill the penalty or outscore it. But this doesn’t make sense. Every penalty puts the team at the same amount of risk, and since the goal is to be not at risk, you should avoid taking penalties — especially ones that don’t prevent a goal.
This penalty was taken in an effort to show Dany Heatley, of all people, that the Canucks were tough. I think both Shacks and I agree that Heatley is hardly an intimidating presence — heck, John Edwards would have a had time sensing the guy most nights. So who the Hell cares what he thinks?
If it were possible for the Canucks to deter teams from messing with the Sedins, they’d have done it already. All these little freakouts do is prove to teams that going after the twins is the best and easiest way to get the Canucks off their game and goad them into drawing potentially costly penalties. That’s what happened here, and the Canucks lost the game as a result.
(For the record, there are indeed times you definitely have to stand up for your teammates. I liked the Canucks’ pushback in the Chicago game, for instance, because a dirty play like Keith’s isn’t something you shrug off. But you have to pick your spots, and a ticky-tack crosscheck from Dany Heatley shouldn’t be one of them.)
Yes, it was meaningless game, but the Canucks validated the blueprint for success against them in this meaningless game. If it bites them later on in a game that matters, this one won’t seem so meaningless.Tags: AFRO-MANNY, derek jory has more power than we do, dudes that disagree with me, spitballin