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

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass ITBulis: 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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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

(Jeff Vinnick, fortnucks.com)

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.

 


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16 comments

  1. sarah
    May 10, 2012

    I love reading Burr’s blog. Even though he’s not playing right now, I hope that he’s having a good time being part of the team and is getting the opportunity to be a big brother figure for the other guys [or in the case of RNH and the other teens on the team, a cool uncle]. Still have my fingers crossed that he’ll get in a game before it’s all said and done.

    -not the sarah from that picture.

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  2. Rob
    May 10, 2012

    Chloe’s art never ceases to be adorable.

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  3. cathylu
    May 10, 2012

    Since this was only my second full season of being a Canucks fan I guess I have yet to experience a year with a healthy Kesler. I hope he does take it easy because I want to see him kick ass next season. Also thanks for the Chloe comic – adorable as always! And finally….AAAWWWOOOOOOOOO!! GO COYOTES! (I know the Kings are playing well but I NEED them to at least lose a couple of games!)

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  4. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    May 10, 2012

    Duncan Keith: “I thought yellow jersey meant ‘hit them really hard so that they can test out their fitness to return to the lineup.’ I mean, why else make them so visible?”

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  5. Brent
    May 10, 2012

    Really hope Burr plays AND kicks ass against the Fins. Would help to shut up the haters who don’t think he should be on the team. Jerks!

    Any word on which game Kesler got injured in? Be good to have a Drance tracking of stats after that point.

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  6. akidd
    May 10, 2012

    thanks for the reply, daniel. after writing my comment yesterday i found this quote in a May 8, Brad Zeimer article:

    “Ryan experienced shoulder pain throughout the year and it got to a point where he needed to get it checked out,” assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said in a phone interview. “He saw two specialists (in February) and the diagnosis at that time was that his labrum was torn and the decision had to be rendered with respect to playing through it to the end of the season or getting his shoulder repaired.

    “Ryan wanted to keep playing and once we were satisfied that his health wasn’t going to be placed in jeopardy, we agreed to let him continue to play.”

    gillman said the labrium tear was diagnosed in february. while continuing to play wasn’t going to jeopardize kesler’s health the canucks must’ve known that kesler wasn’t going to be very effective.

    i’m not so naive as to think young coho could have just stepped into the second-line centre position and taken the canucks to the promised land. in fact there was probably a fairly large risk that coho might have been ‘embarassed’ playing against other top lines and top dmen and his trade value would have slipped.

    but why not insist that kesler have the surgery in february so he could recover in time to be fully effective for “Plan 2012/13?” would the optics of the canucks not having any real chance for the ’12 playoffs(as would be the case with kesler offically out) been too damaging to the business side of the canucks?

    it seems to me that half-measures might mean that the canucks as well as having no real chance in ’12 also damaged their chances in’13 (as the general rule of thumb is, i’ve heard, that it takes a full year for most elite athletes to feel comfortable again after major surgery.)

    i understand that the canucks are not just about hockey and their decisions in feb probably the best balanced the hockey and the business. still it feels a little funny thinking back to the consternation and speculation that we all went through for last months of season when all along the canucks had no real chance of playoff success but were just pretending to.

    not easy decisions for gillis and crew. of course when ‘the plan’ starts coming together this summer and shea pulls on that blue and green jersey february ’12 will become a distant memory:)

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      May 10, 2012

      I know this is just kidding, but why do so many people pretend that Weber (as in, the Shea Weber that everyone already knows will eventually sign with the Red Wings) would sign anywhere this summer, when he is a restricted free agent? Are you anticipating an offer sheet? I sure amn’t.

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      • akidd
        May 10, 2012

        a trade with nashville. a big trade. edler, ballard, booth, first-rounders(booty from the leafs for lou,) whatever it takes to get shea on the ice for 30 mins a game. a rental year of shea smack in the middle of the canuck window wouldn’t be the worst thing. and if you treat him right maybe you re-sign him. it’s much better option than waiting for the open-market UFA frenzy.

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        • Rituro
          May 10, 2012

          Only problem I have with that proposal is the Booth part. Remember the minor kerfluffle about flipping Sturm so soon after bringing him on board? I wouldn’t want to see us gain a reputation as soulless asset-flippers if we shipped Booth off after two-thirds of a season.

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          • akidd
            May 10, 2012

            booth is just one of the possible pieces i mentioned. not sure if the budget preds would want his contract anyway. i’m not saying who exactly, just that the canucks should go hard, hard, hard after shea weber this off-season. they have assets and weber would be the best possible place to spend some of them imho. even if it’s just a year.

            not to distract away with how canuck nation got snowed by canuck management this year of course. the really hot topic that has these message boards just humming;)

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  7. Zach Morris
    May 10, 2012

    Apropos of nothing, sour skittles are the best

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 10, 2012

      Oh hecks yes. Here’s a fun thing to do: pick up a bag of sour skittles when you go to get a slurpee and layer the sour skittles in with the layers of slurpee. It’s awesome.

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      • Zach Morris
        May 10, 2012

        ~pukes rainbows

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  8. Colby
    May 10, 2012

    So I guess there goes any chance of Kesler and Booth having some epic bonding/training/montage session this summer to develop some chemistry?

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    • Brent
      May 10, 2012

      Well Kesler can still train his lower body!

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  9. NPC
    May 10, 2012

    Burr’s blog is really funny, cute, and AWESOME! Pass it to Bulis…it seems there’s a stiff competition between you two!

    Ps. Loved his “Never Hungry League” comment! GOLD!

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