Stalk the Canucks on Google Earth, which, as it happens, just got Keslurked

Here’s a screenshot of Google Earth’s street view, just outside of the Hotel Valencia on Santana Row in San Jose. It’s where the Canucks stay when they travel down the coast to play the San Jose Sharks. Say, who’s that on the corner? Is that Aaron Rome? Come to think of it, the gaggle of besuited men standing around that bench looks oddly familiar too.

Let’s zoom in.

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Check out the Vancouver Wellwoods’ new jerseys; Don’t forget to ask them about Ken Johnson

Back in late January, we took up the cause of finding a sponsor for the Vancouver Wellwoods, PITB’s official women’s road hockey team. For years, the Wellwoods had been playing in baby blue t-shirts with iron-on decals, but they had decided it was time for them to graduate to snazzier duds. They needed jerseys, and since jerseys cost money, they needed a sponsor willing to pony up the scratch.

Thanks entirely to our ability to crowdsource, the Wellwoods were able to find not one, but two sponsors: BC Diabetes, “dedicated to providing excellence in diabetes care, research and education to all British Columbians,” and Ken Johnson, a kind young man that just wanted somebody to love.

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3 thoughts brought to mind by Alain Vigneault’s contract extension

On Wednesday, Alain Vigneault signed a two-year contract extension with the Canucks, which means that he is slated to be with the team for the next three years. Or, as some fans might put it, the Canucks are stuck with him for three years. Harrison basically summed up my opinion on the contract yesterday, but here it is again: Vigneault good. Winning good. Fire bad.

But the contract extension brought up a few other thoughts on the most successful coach in Canucks history.

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Alain Vigneault signs contract extension, will continue infuriating Canucks fans with his damn winning

It’s official: Alain Vigneault will will be back behind the Canucks bench for a seventh season. As was expected from the moment Mike Gillis inked a deal to continue on as the Canucks’ General Manager, the team announced an extension with head coach Vigneault Wednesday afternoon.

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Kirk McLean’s entire career appears to be up for auction

Kirk McLean had a long NHL career, debuting with the New Jersey Devils in 1985, and retiring as a member of the New York Rangers in 2001. For 11 years in between, he was a goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks. During that time, he established himself as a franchise cornerstone, earning two Vezina nominations, being named to two All-Star Games, and leading the team to one of their three Stanley Cup Final appearances. He made a lot of memories during his time in Vancouver.

Pretty much all of those memories are up for auction.

Are you a diehard Kirk McLean fan? If so, and if you have a lot of money, 20 days from now, you could own more Kirk McLean memorabilia than Kirk McLean himself. Let’s take a look at what the former Canuck goalie is hocking.

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Three former Canucks still in the playoffs

It can be tough watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Canucks having already been eliminated. While the games are still entertaining, it’s just not the same without a proverbial horse in the race. Cheering against the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings only gets you so far.

Fortunately for the dedicated Canucks fan, there are three significant former Canucks still in the playoff picture. At the very least, Canucks fans can cheer for the individual success of Willie Mitchell, Taylor Pyatt, and Steve Bernier. I thought it would be worthwhile to look at these three players and see how they got to where they are and how they have found a place with their respective teams where, perhaps, they were not able to on the Canucks.

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Spitballin’ on Luongo staying put, Post-op Kesler, and Ted Nugent’s support for Booth

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.

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Burrows scores for Canada in disappointing quarter-final loss to Slovakia

For a moment, it looked like Alexandre Burrows’ incredible story was going to have another amazing chapter. In Canada’s must-win quarter-final against Slovakia, Burrows scored his third goal of the tournament, putting Canada up 3-2. It looked like it might stand up as the game winner and carry Canada to the semi-final.

Instead, a series of poor decisions cost Canada the lead, then cost Canada the game.

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How do you solve a problem like Edler?

It’s going to be a big offseason for Mike Gillis, who will likely be moving either Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider some time before September in what could be the biggest deal since he arrived in Vancouver. But, as important as that deal is likely to be, the goaltending situation is hardly the most pressing issue on his plate. Regardless of which backstop the team keeps, the Canucks will be just fine in goal next season.

Priority number one for the Canucks this summer has to be solving the curious case of Alex Edler. Either the Canucks need to go out and get him someone to play with, or they need to move him as part of a package for someone that can anchor a top pairing in a way that Edler can’t.

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CTV quotes forum in “news” story about Booth hunting bear

David Booth created a lot of controversy when he first tweeted a picture of a bear he killed on a hunting excursion then shared the video of the event as well. Many people have strong opinions on the subject and it seems like no one can agree on any aspect of the story.

Well, thanks to CTV, we can all agree on one thing: CTV doesn’t know what a blog is.

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Alex Burrows scores goals, hugs goalies, is the best

Alex Burrows has scored his second goal in as many games since returning to the Team Canada lineup after his injury in the first game of the tournament. While it was a nice goal, it was just one of eight that Canada scored on Kazakhstan, who couldn’t repeat their gutsy effort from their overtime game against the US. It was probably too much to ask of the Kazakhstan to handle the US and Canada on back-to-back nights, and the game got silly in the third period as Kazakhstan simply looked worn out against Canada’s superior depth.

Fortunately, Burrows didn’t just score a goal. He also played a solid two-way game, seeing ice time in all situations, and was named the Best Player of the game for Canada. Even better, his wife, Nancy, and one-year old daughter, Victoria, were in attendance and got to see the whole thing.

Oh, and Burrows hugged Kazakhstan goaltender Vitali Kolesnik in the middle of the game.

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Finally, the footage of David Booth killing that black bear that you’ve all been waiting for

Hey, remember that black bear that David Booth horrified everyone by killing two weeks ago? I have some good news and some bad news about that. The good news is that we now have footage of the bear walking around, doing just fine, tipping over a steel drum — you know, typical happy, unshot bear stuff. The bad news is that the bear is only like that for the first half of the video. Then David Booth shoots him in the gut with an arrow. Yikes.

The latest episode in the ongoing saga of David Booth vs. nature comes to us the same way as all the other episodes, via David Booth’s Twitter account. On Saturday afternoon, he tweeted a video of the kill with the following disclaimer: You have every right not to watch just like i have the right to choose to hunt.

Please keep that in mind before you click play. This ain’t no Charmin Ultra Soft commercial.

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Drance Numbers: Investigating the Canucks’ prospects

Today is May 11th, the day on which the Canucks were eliminated from the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. It was seen as a date of bad omen during last year’s playoff run as well, although they managed to survive it. This season, however, the team is long since eliminated and we’re already looking to the future.

Heading into this June’s NHL draft and the offseason, the Canucks are poised to make major changes to their roster. One of their goaltenders will likely be moved, and that trade should net the club significant assets. The team is likely to pursue much-hyped NCAA prospect (and West Kelowna native) Justin Schultz in the offseason, and certainly adding a player of that caliber would give the prospect pool a massive boost. Meanwhile Gillis has the 26th, 57th, 147th, 177th and 207th picks in the 2012 NHL draft to work with.

With all of the uncertainty, I figured we’d take stock of where the prospect pool is at for the moment. What are the clubs areas of strength, what are its needs and what players in the system are likely to play a major role with the team going forward?

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Burrows scores his first ever goal for Team Canada (in ice hockey)

The last time Alex Burrows scored a goal for Team Canada, he wasn’t wearing skates. Burrows was one of the best ball hockey players of all time, renowned for his offensive skill and on-ice vision, to the point that he was apparently called “The Goalmaker” by his ball hockey brethren.

On Friday morning, he made another goal happen, the first ever in his international career in ice hockey. In his first game since suffering a head injury against Slovakia, Burrows scored Canada’s first goal of the game, turning the tide against a Finnish team that was dominant early on home ice.

Burrows was the last forward added to the Canadian roster, likely for his ability to play a strong defensive role while still having solid offensive instincts and skill. He played both roles perfectly against Finland.

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Meet Loango, the most appropriately-named Mangabey monkey in all of Paris

You’re looking at an infant, crown male Mangabey monkey that was born at the Jardin des Plantes’s zoo in Paris on March 5, 2012. The little guy is being bottle-fed because he was rejected by his mother at birth. Why is this on a Vancouver Canucks hockey blog?

The monkey’s name is Loango.

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Spitballin’ on sweeping Kings, Kesler’s shoulder, and Skittle Burrows

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.

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Denmark needs Jannik Hansen

Jannik Hansen is one of only two Vancouver Canucks at the 2012 World Championship, but he’s not the only player from the NHL on Team Denmark. He is, however, one of Denmark’s top players and one of the most important. That has already proven to be true just three games into the tournament.

Hansen was named Denmark’s best player of the game in a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic, finishing the game with 4 shots on goal from the second line. He also received a 2-minute minor for boarding that turned into a one-game suspension, causing him to miss Denmark’s game against Italy on Sunday.

While 2-0 was a solid result against a team like Czech Republic, the most important games for Denmark at this tournament are against teams like Italy, who they will be battling to avoid relegation. Unfortunately for Denmark, they seemed to sorely miss Hansen against Italy, losing 4-3 in overtime.

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Canucks extend Mike Gillis; Alain Vigneault to follow?

The long awaited, much-ballyhooed meeting between Mike Gillis and the Aquilini Ownership group has taken place, and we have news to report: the Canucks’ General Manager has emerged from this meeting … still the Canucks General Manager.

The team announced Monday that Gillis’s contract as president and GM of Canucks Sports and Entertainment has been extended, although the duration of the new contract was not announced.

(This leaves the door wide open for endless speculation over the term. Is it a two-year extension? If it a 50-year extension!? There’s simply no way of knowing.)

I don’t have much to say about Gillis’s extension by itself. I’ve gone on record many times as saying I like the guy, so I’m happy to see him remain in charge. He’s made some mistakes in his time — with two years to evaluate it, we can safely say the Keith Ballard trade has been a bust, and the David Backes/Steve Bernier offer sheet scenario was a bit of a fiasco, in retrospect — but I like the way he runs the team overall, from the emphasis on advanced stats and other metrics, to the way the team manages the cap, to the way he and his assistants are always scheming bend the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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The further adventures of Luongo’s super-secret suspected twitter account: Escape Goat

When Don Cherry joined Twitter at the beginning of March, I must confess I was hoping for more unintentional hilarity. After all, Cherry is 78 years old, which isn’t normally a great age to try and learn how to use a new technology. Combine that with Cherry’s propensity for political incorrectness and his twitter account had the potential for awesomeness.

Unfortunately, Don Cherry’s Twitter account ended up being pretty dull, consisting largely of him pointing out when a player is doing well and linking to Coach’s Corner segments on CBC. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how quickly he adapted to using Twitter; he adapted to the advent of techno, after all.

The one instance where Cherry managed to provide the Twitter world with a little unintentional humour came a couple weeks ago, when he weighed in on the rumour that Luongo had asked for a trade.

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Alex Burrows suffers head injury against Slovakia

It looks like Alex Burrows’ tournament might already be over in his first stint with Team Canada. Six minutes into the second period against Slovakia, Burrows left the game after an unlucky collision in the offensive zone. While it has not been confirmed, Burrows bore all the hallmarks of a concussion and may be done for the tournament.

If he is indeed diagnosed with a concussion, the focus changes from representing his country to the potentially long and difficult recovery during the off-season. At bare minimum, he is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Team USA.

I didn’t end up watching Canada’s first game of the tournament until the afternoon. I was anticipating a “Burrows Watch” throughout the World Championship, chronicling his performance at the tournament game-by-game, but it doesn’t look like that will be happening. If his tournament is indeed over, it will be heartbreaking for Burrows, who was so proud to represent his country after his unlikely journey to the NHL.

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Pass it to Comics: Roberto Luongo at the drive-thru

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, Roberto Luongo is the victim of a misunderstanding.

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Where the Canucks really missed Christian Ehrhoff

One of the questions we’ve been trying to answer all season is whether the Canucks miss Christian Ehrhoff. This question usually focusses in on the gap in the Canucks’ top four defence corps on Alex Edler’s right side. The Canucks struggled to find a consistent partner for Edler and it showed in the playoffs. What should have been a breakout season for Edler, as he set a career-high in points and went to his first All-Star Game, fizzled.

But when it came to points from the blue line, the Canucks did just fine in Ehrhoff’s absence. In fact, the Canucks improved. In 2010-11, the Canucks got 157 points from their defence. This season, thanks to career years from Edler, Bieksa, and Hamhuis, as well as a mostly healthy season from Salo, the Canucks got 180 points from their defence. Just looking at points, the Canucks didn’t miss Ehrhoff at all.

There was one area, however, where the Canucks dearly missed Ehrhoff, and it happened to revolve around his deepest flaw: unpredictability.

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CBC report on Luongo’s secret Twitter fails to convince, succeeds in getting Luongo to tweet something funny

We’ve been talking about Roberto Luongo’s suspected secret Twitter account since late February, but with the Canucks’ elimination from the playoffs and Luongo’s reported trade request, the antics of @strombone1 have spiked in a major way of late. The man has basically been writing this blog for us for a week now.

On Tuesday, the continuing adventures @strombone1 went national when CBC picked up the story in a piece by Karin Larson. Here’s “Luongo on Twitter?”, a CBC investigative report.

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David Booth tweets a photo of a bear he killed, to the horror of everybody

David Booth has been completely open about his affinity for hunting since he came to Vancouver. At that time, we were all a little bummed to have lost bear fighter extraordinaire Tanner Glass to the Winnipeg Jets, so the fact that Mike Gillis went out and got another bear fighter to take his place was amusing.

Booth discussed his bear hunting on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours, talking about how the black bears he hunts “eat up all the blueberries, and we don’t want that.” We chuckled. How quaint. And heck, even when Booth tweeted on Monday that he was “In Alberta trying to kill a few Bruins,” we laughed and made jokes about how we hoped he wasn’t sitting outside Alberta-born Johnny Boychuk’s house.

But then on Tuesday Booth actually tweeted a photo of a dead black bear and suddenly everything got real and everyone was horrified.

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