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.
Kings sweep of Blues makes me feel a bit better about the Canucks
The St. Louis Blues were a very good team this year, finishing second in the Western Conference behind the Canucks and tying for second overall in the NHL with the New York Rangers. They had two of the top goaltenders in the league in Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, aided by the stifling defensive system of Ken Hitchcock. They had two of the top-scoring defencemen in the league and a bevy of tough, skilled two-way forwards. They even had the point-per-game Andy McDonald healthy in time for the playoffs.
Even the stats nerds loved the Blues, as they finished first in the league in Fenwick Tied, a statistic adored for its predictive qualities. So the Blues were one of the best teams in the league at puck possession, were defensively sound, and handled the San Jose Sharks with ease in 5 games.
And the Kings walked all over them.
It was the first sweep of the 2012 playoffs and it says a lot about the Kings and their status as an 8th seed. They’re also the first 8th seed to beat both the 1st and 2nd seeds in NHL history. The Kings are far better than their regular season finish would indicated. Ken Hitchcock had nothing but praise for the Kings:
“They’re the best team that we’ve played,” said Hitchcock. “They play the way you have to play to win the Cup now. Over the course of the disappointment that’s gone on here for 3-4 years, they look to me like they figured it out.”
Not going to lie, seeing the Kings sweep Blues in the second round makes me feel better about that lone win the Canucks pulled out in the first round. From a fan’s perspective, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there are two teams on the ice, both trying to win the game. Sure, the Canucks lost. But really, the Kings won.
Burrows is a yellow skittle; hoping to return against Finland on Friday
Although Burrows hasn’t been playing for Team Canada in the World Championship thanks to his head injury in game one against Slovakia, he has been active. Namely, he’s been blogging for Fort Nucks. His latest update indicated that he has been skating with the team and hopes to return on Friday against Finland, though it’s up to the doctors and coaches. On the plus side, he has experienced no concussion symptoms.
Also on the plus side, Burrows is still a funny guy and a lot easier to understand when he’s writing things down as opposed to speaking. From Fort Nucks:
I’m still feeling fine after bike ride day and skating on my own day, so today I practiced with the team in a “gold jersey” that meant no contact for me. I even had gold socks on to complete the package. It was kind of funny actually, I was in yellow and there were guys in white, red, blue and green jerseys, I’m sure we looked like a bag of Skittles that had burst.
The only problem is that would make Burrows a yellow skittle, which is objectively the worst skittle. At least in the regular package. Don’t get me started on “Crazy Cores.” Those things are awful.
Kesler has shoulder surgery and might want to pace his return this time
We all know Ryan Kesler’s approach to injuries: if it would keep him from playing hockey, cut it off. Fortunately, the Canucks medical staff are not easily cowed by his intimidating glower and have managed to keep his body mostly intact. It’s a good thing, because if Kesler went with his gut feeling on his injuries, he’d be missing at least one finger, both his hips, and, now, his shoulder.
Kesler is expected to miss 4-6 months recovering from his shoulder labrum surgery and I, for one, hope that he takes the full 6 months. It was clear down the stretch that Kesler wasn’t 100% and second-line production disappeared with him.
The injury reportedly dates back to mid-February, which, as Bulie akidd pointed out, raises the question of how soon did the Canucks knew how serious the injury truly was, as that would place the injury prior to the trade deadline when Cody Hodgson was shipped to Buffalo. If the Canucks were aware that Kesler was not 100% that makes trading away the offensive insurance down the middle of the ice in Hodgson a little more dubious.
Labrum injuries, however, are not necessarily that easy to diagnose. Jo Innes, a paramedic/medical student/hockey blogger runs the Puck That Hurts blog and writes the weekly Quiet Room column for Backhand Shelf. Last year, she covered Ryan Kesler’s hip labrum injury. It’s an interesting read and a lot of the information seems applicable now as well.
The most common symptom of a torn labrum is hip pain – most often in the front of the hip. There can also be limitation of range of motion of the joint, as well as joint weakness, clicking, catching and locking. Frequently labral tears go undiagnosed for a while (typically as much as two years), as the symptoms can be very non-specific and there’s usually not one particular incident that the patient can identify as the cause of the injury.
While it is definitely worth asking the Canucks when they knew that Kesler had a labrum tear in his shoulder, it seems likely that while Kesler and the team could look back to mid-February as when the injury occured, they probably didn’t know the full extent of it until later. Hockey players experience pain all the time and play through it. It isn’t until the pain becomes chronic and recurring that the team would likely do an MRI on Kesler’s shoulder and identify the issue.
Sami Salo would make a terrible Hulk
This is old, but with the Avengers movie currently dominating theatres, it seems appropriate. Back in December, the Canucks visited a children’s hospital, as they tend to do. A Canucks fan named Sarah was working there and asked to take a picture with Sami Salo, suggesting that the two of them could post like the Hulk. This was the result:
Look, Sami, I know that they can do wonders with CGI these days, but you have to give them something to work with. Thank goodness Mark Ruffalo was cast instead.
Of course, this led Chloe Ezra to ponder what Sami Salo thought of the Hulk.
Tags: Burrows, Burrows is the worst Skittle, injuries, Kesler, Kesler takes drastic action when it comes to injuries, Kings, Salo, Salo is a superhero, spitballin