Every Goal 2011-12: Playoffs

You didn’t think we could end the Every Goal series on such a positive note with Chris Higgins, right? You should know by now that things can never end well for Canucks fans. That is why the last post in our annual off-season Every Goal series will end with all 8 goals the Canucks managed to score during the 2012 playoffs versus the Los Angeles Kings.

On the plus side, we’re only looking back at the good parts, when the puck was going into the Kings’ net. If you squint and ignore the scoreboard, you can imagine that the Canucks won the series. While you’re at it, imagine that the NHL and NHLPA have concluded their CBA negotiations and that there won’t be a lockout to start next season.

In any case, the Canucks scored some pretty goals during the playoffs and they deserve to be remembered and highlighted. Seeing them outside of their disappointing context makes them a lot more enjoyable.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Chris Higgins, part two

And so we come to the end of the Every Goal series with the back half of Chris Higgins’s entry, a post that bears a striking similarity to the first half.

If you read yesterday’s post, you got used to nice passes from Jannik Hansen, tips from Dan Hamhuis, and Higgins’s standout tendency to get in behind defences and be the first one on rebounds. Nothing has changed in part two. Higgins was a tried and true opportunist in 2011-12, pouncing on loose pucks, finishing off pretty passes, and cashing in on breakaways galore. It remains to be seen if he’ll get as many fortunate opportunities next season as he did last year, but once you’ve watched all 18 Higgins goals from last year, one thing’s for sure: more often than not, if he gets an opportunity, he’s going to convert.

Here are eight more times he converted.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Chris Higgins, part one

From a production standpoint, Chris Higgins’s second season in Canucks’ colours was a pleasant surprise. When he wasn’t sitting out with an unpleasant surprise — a staph infection that was obviously a secret zombie bite — he scored 18 goals, won the hearts of many, and was awarded the Fred J. Hume Unsung Hero award for his efforts.

It’s maybe not the most aptly named trophy. Higgins was plenty sung. As perhaps the only Canuck forward to exceed expectations for the year, he won the hearts of nearly everyone. And for those of you whose hearts are not so easily won by goals, his abs were pretty popular too.

But this post isn’t about his abs. It’s about his goals. (Sorry. I recognize that some of you are disheartened, but take solace in the fact that his abs are resting comfortably under his clothes.) Enjoy the first half of Chris Higgins’s 2011-12 goal haul.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Alex Edler

With last week’s three-part series on Daniel Sedin, we mistakenly believed we were done recapping every goal the Canucks scored during the 2011-12 regular season. Somehow, to our eternal regret, we missed two players: Alex “Napster” Edler and Chris “Abbey Road” Higgins. While this was an inexecrable error, it does mean we have another Monday-to-Thursday full of goodness for you.

Alex Edler had the best season of his career and it was a tremendous disappointment. At least, that was the general sentiment among Canucks fans after the Canucks were unceremoniously bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Despite setting career highs in goals, assists, and points and being named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, Edler’s season suffered in comparison to the season he played in the imaginations of Canucks fans.

Instead of being Superman, Edler was more often Ultra Boy, the hero with all of Superman’s powers who can only use them one at a time. Edler just wasn’t able to put all of his laudable skills into practice at the same time, leading to an uneven season that saw him triumph one moment and trip himself up the next.

With all that said, Edler still scored 11 goals to lead all Canucks’ defencemen and established himself as one of the best defencemen in the NHL. As Tom Benjamin put it, “being Ultra Boy is worthy of some admiration. Being able to use only one super power at a time seems to me to be a lot better than being without any super power at all.”

In any case, enjoy these 11 goals. Expect to see far fewer slapshots than you’re expecting, which is a loop that will lead to you to expect none at all. Expect more than that.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Daniel Sedin, part three

Every time we do the Every Goal series, I am always surprised by one thing: the player who we’re spotlighting isn’t necessarily the most impressive player involved in each goal. This is especially true for Daniel Sedin, who often ends up with an empty net to shoot at or a tap-in at the side of the net thanks to the work of his brother. In fact, Daniel’s best plays from last season are mostly found on other players’ goals.

In Daniel’s first 20 goals of the season, we’ve seen superb passing from Henrik, and Alexes Edler and Burrows, as well as some yeoman’s work by Ryan Kesler. These last 10 are no different. That isn’t to say that Daniel doesn’t make some beautiful plays of his own, nor is this meant to undermine his sublime skill in corralling passes and shooting where the goalie isn’t.

All I’m saying is that if you want to find Byron Bitz’s best play of last season, you’re going to want to watch these last 10 goals from Daniel Sedin.

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Oregon beer-league team “The Shining” has an awesome Canucks-inspired logo

You are looking at the logo for The Shining, a division 2 beer-league team that plays out of the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton, Oregon. You may notice that this logo bears a striking resemblance to the Vancouver Canucks’ third/original stick-in-rink logo.

You may also notice that it’s awesome. Granted, I have a pretty huge bias here, as “The Shining” is my favourite movie ever, but still. That looks downright fantastic.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Daniel Sedin, part two

Welcome to part 2 of Daniel Sedin’s Every Goal series, at we take a look at the middle 10 of his 30 goals in the 2011-12 season. Today, you’re going to see a whole lot of powerplay goals, a whole lot of Wizardous Sedinerie, and a whole lot of quietly, uncalled, Sedin interference. Pretty much what you’d expect from a Sedin goal compilation!

Today’s post also opens with the final two-thirds of Daniel Sedin’s most recent hat trick, a performance versus the Colorado Avalanche thaty may have been one of the best of his career. It’s all good stuff, is what I’m saying. Enjoy.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Daniel Sedin, part one

We tend to save the best for last here at Pass it to Bulis (probably because, like all Canuck fans, we are inherently masochistic). With that in mind, the Every Goal series now draws to a close the same way it did last year: with a week dedicated to the goal-scoring prowess of Daniel Sedin.

Daniel saw a step back in terms of production this year, a sad fact I would attribute to three factors: first, he had a career year in 2010-11, so some dropoff was probably inevitable. Second, a run to the Stanley Cup Final may have proved to everyone what the Sedins were capable of, but it had the negative side effect of making opposing coaches fear the twins more and giving those coaches ample time to observe how best to defend them. Third — and this is a pretty big one — suffering a season-ending concussion tends to slow one’s production right the heck down.

But Daniel was still pretty good. He may not have led the team with 41 goals, but he still led the team with 30. Today we take a look at the first 10.

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Spitballin’ on nothing, nada, and zilch

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.

Normally, Spitballin’ is used for the above purpose: to quickly run down the many things that have happened in a short space of time. Right now, however, nothing is happening. At all. In fact, there’s so much nothing happening that it boggles the mind, necessitating a Spitballin’ feature to cover it all. Here is all the nothing that is happening right now that you need to know about:

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Manny Malhotra

Odd as it may seem, Malhotra was an even more proficient, or at least efficient, goalscorer in 2011-12 than he was in 2010-11. Though he may have dropped from 11 goals down to 7, he did it with less ice time at even-strength while starting even fewer shifts in the offensive zone. He scored at a rate of 0.55 goals per 60 minutes of even-strength ice-time this season, up from 0.47 in 2010-11. Considering his role was almost purely defensive, starting only 88 of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone all season, the fact he increased his goal rate is impressive.

It all sounds pretty good when you put it that way, but Malhotra didn’t have a particularly good season. He received less ice time because he was bumped down to the fourth line. He didn’t receive many offensive zone starts because he wasn’t particularly useful offensively. And while it’s nice to get 7 goals from a fourth liner, when that fourth liner is getting paid $2.5 million per season, you hope for more.

That said, Malhotra was still effective in his role as an enabler. No one else in the NHL came even close to his 13.2% offensive zone starts, the two closest being his linemates Dale Weise and Max Lapierre. Thanks to them, the Sedins and Burrows led the league in offensive zone starts, so at least a few of that trio’s 72 goals can be attributed to Malhotra and co.

But this isn’t about their goals. This is about Manny’s goals. Here are all 7 goals Manny Malhotra scored this season.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Mason Raymond

When Mason Raymond started his (injury-delayed) season with 6 points in 7 games, Canucks fans were understandably excited. It seemed that after his back was broken during the Stanley Cup Final, Raymond spent months getting punched in the back by prisoners with dubious doctorates and doing copious amounts of push-ups in the Pit, before climbing out stronger than ever and making his way back to Gotham City to take down Bane.

Turns out, that only works in the movies. The lack of offseason training seemed to take its toll on Raymond’s core strength and conditioning, causing his play to slip and fall like a Mason Raymond. After 6 points in 7 games, he scored just 14 points in his remaining 48 games, finishing with a grand total of just 10 goals.

In 2010-11, Raymond struggled offensively, but had superb underlying numbers, showing how he pushed possession into the offensive zone whenever he was on the ice. Last season, that wasn’t the case. His underlying numbers were just as terrible as his offensive production. It’s important to note that his offensive production was quantitatively terrible, but not necessarily qualitatively terrible.

So let’s focus on the positive by watching all 10 of Mason Raymond’s goals from last season.

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Every goal, 2011-12: Alex Burrows, part three

Good news and bad news, friends: if you’re expecting a whole lot of Henrik-to-Daniel magic, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Half of the goals in the final instalment of Alex Burrows’s “Every Goal” entry are scored after Duncan Keith concussed Daniel Sedin with an elbow to the face.

On the bright side, Henrik remains in fine form on many of these goals, especially Burrows’s 26th, which I’m convinced would have gotten a ton more play if it had happened on the other side of the ice where the boards didn’t hide all the spiffy stickhandling.

Plus Burrows does pretty well for himself too. A number of these goals are as self-made as Don Draper. Enjoy.

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Chartball’s visual franchise history for the Canucks will blow your mind

Charts and graphs are great. I love charts and graphs. But they do have a tendency to be a trifle boring. Fortunately, Chartball is here to make sports charts and graphs beautiful. Chartball has been around for a few years but has only recently begun making charts for hockey.

This particular chart covers the Vancouver Canucks’ franchise history up until the 2010-11 season, which makes me think it’s been around for a while, but this is the first I’m seeing it.

And yes, it’s beautiful.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Alex Burrows, part two

I’m sure you’re expecting a lot of Sedinery in part two Alex Burrows’s “Every Goal” entry, but it’s not their party. Today’s clips really underscore what a star Burrows has become, from his goal versus the Maple Leafs, who paid dearly for underestimating him all year, to a goal versus the Avalanche that really shows his place in the Canucks’ locker room.

But also there’s a lot of Sedinery. Enjoy.

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Every goal, 2011-12: Alex Burrows, part one

Alex Burrows had a quiet year, but I don’t mean that quite the way it sounds. It’s not that he wasn’t good, or that he was ineffective — it’s that he was exactly as effective as he usually is.

Burrows’s role on the Canucks is so cemented now that he’s finally beginning to be listed as a right winger in some places. He’s a natural left winger and he’s even admitted to preferring to play that side, but for four years, he’s been the right winger for the Sedins. This year, people began to realize that three seasons as a right winger kind of sort of makes you a right winger.

It’s a small, but symbolic shift. This was Burrows’s fourth straight season above the 25-goal mark. He really is the guy he’s been for the last four years. But this means expectations change. A 28-goal campaign isn’t met with the surprise it was when he first did it in 2008-09. It’s about par. As a result, it seemed like a quiet year because we’re used to him surprising us.

It was still fun, though. Here are the first 10 goals of Alex Burrows’s 28 in 2011-12.

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Fans help David Booth name his new pet pig

It’s the offseason, which means the Canucks are off doing all sorts of things that have nothing to do with hockey, such as run secret Twitter accounts, promote Panini America, recover from shoulder surgery or, in the case of David Booth, get a new pet.

A new pet pig.

Before you get any funny ideas: no, he doesn’t plan to shoot it, and he’s not using it to lure a larger animal. Booth plans to love it. But first he has to name it, a task with which Canuck fans attempted to help Saturday night.

Naming animals is fun. The Bloggess has a kitten named Hunter S. Tomcat. My wife and I plan to eventually get a puppy and name him Werner Herzdog. In the case of David Booth, it looks like the pig will be dubbed Sir Francis Bacon. But there were some other very excellent ideas that missed the cut.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Maxim Lapierre

Maxim Lapierre was a different player for the Canucks last season than the one they acquired at the trade deadline the year prior. It was partially his doing, as he committed to fighting his own battles more often and bringing more energy. But it was also partially due to his usage, as the Canucks deployed him primarily as a winger.

It was a bit of a head-scratcher, as Lapierre acquitted himself quite well as the third line centre during the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. You’d have thought he proved himself as a centre in Vigneault’s system. But with a handful of other centres to accomodate, it wasn’t hard to see why Vigneault moved him to wing.

It wasn’t hard to see why Vigneault liked him at wing either. He was effective, causing turnovers, creating scoring chances, and succeeding regardless of what line he landed on. At one point, Lapierre was on pace for 10 fights and 10 goals. He didn’t quite get there, but 8 fights and 9 goals is nothing to sneeze at.

Come to think of it, it’s rude to sneeze at pretty much anything. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Anyway, here’s every goal Maxim Lapierre scored last season.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Kevin Bieksa

The 2011-12 season was a good one for Bieksa. While still playing a shutdown role alongside Dan Hamhuis, he set a career-high in points with the third 40+ point season of his career. In addition, he finally succumbed to PITB’s omnipresent pressure and joined Twitter, giving Canucks fans what would end up being the second best Canuck player Twitter account.

His interviews this season were legendary, such as the Milk Hot Dog Interview and the one in which the interviewer mistook him for Ryan Kesler and Bieksa ran with it. Then there was the time he threw a glove at Cal Clutterbuck. Basically, Bieksa had a hilarious season off the ice that also happened to be highly successful on the ice.

Along the way, he scored 8 goals. When we take a look at all 8, I think you’ll agree: Bieksa Real Good!

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Ryan Kesler, part two

Ryan Kesler seems like he should be a high-end goalscorer, given the multiple ways he’s capable of scoring goals. He’s dangerous off the rush with his speed, he has a heavy, accurate wristshot, he can one-time the puck effectively, and he’s strong in front of the net for tips and rebounds. With that kind of versatility, it seems like he should be a consistent 30-goal scorer.

Unfortunately, Kesler has the tendency to rely too heavily on one trick – a wristshot from the right faceoff circle off the rush – and, as a result, is a tad too predictable. It seems that he doesn’t always recognize when the situation does not favour that type of play, leading to the infamous comment from Alain Vigneault that he needs to “use his teammates more.” Kesler has always been a shoot-first kind of guy, but sometimes he needs to use that reputation to his advantage by passing when the opposition least expects it.

It will be interesting to see how Kesler’s latest surgery and postponed offseason training will affect him, but it seems likely that he will once again score around 20 goals, even if he misses the first two months of the season. It’s also likely that they will look something like these 11 goals.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Ryan Kesler, part one

2011-12 was a disappointing season for Kesler offensively. After a career-high 41 goals in the previous season, 22 goals was a massive step down, even considering that he missed training camp and much of his offseason training recovering from surgery.

Really, we shouldn’t be surprised. Kesler’s shooting percentage during his 41-goal season was 15.8%, the highest of his career and well above his career shooting percentage up to that point. Combine that with the highest offensive zone start percentage and lowest quality of competition in years (enabled by Manny Malhotra) and a bump up to the first unit powerplay with the Sedins and you have a perfect recipe for a career year.

This season, everything regressed. Kesler’s shooting percentage went down to 9.9%, the lowest it’s been in five seasons. Malhotra wasn’t the same player he was before his gruesome eye injury and Hodgson wasn’t trusted in the defensive zone, forcing Kesler to retake some of his old defensive responsibility. And the Canucks powerplay, while still one of the best in the league, went from 24.3% to 19.8%.

Still, Kesler had his fifth straight 20+ goal season, so all is not lost. Here are Kesler’s first 11 goals of the season:

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Manny Malhotra, Jason Garrison join You Can Play at Vancouver Pride parade

The Canucks have had a very conservative 2012, and I don’t mean in terms of their transaction history. Between Passion Vancouver praying over Daniel Sedin’s helmet, David Booth bringing that blueberry-hogging bear to justice, and Mark Donnelly singing at the launch of the New Abortion Caravan, the team has been aligned with some very right-wing ideals over the last few months.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with any of these ideals (and frankly, praying shouldn’t be considered right-wing, although it is, thanks to bad politics). But they’re often associated, fairly or unfairly, with some uninclusive ways of thinking, and the Canucks organization has always strived to be as inclusive and embracing of the community as possible.

The presence of Manny Malhotra, Jason Garrison, and mascot Fin alongside the Vancouver Cutting Edge and You Can Play at Vancouver’s 34th annual Pride Parade was a great way to remind people of this.

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Mark Messier gets punched in the back of the head a bunch of times (VIDEOS)

Mark Messier is to Vancouver as Stefano DiMera is to the small town of Salem on Days of Our Lives. He’s a full-blown villain, not above kidnapping, brainwashing, and seducing our favourite characters to further his evil, evil schemes.

Or at least this is how Vancouverites picture him. Nevermind that Messier was actually named the Canucks’ MVP in 1999-2000 — the more time passes, the more we rue his playoff-free days in Vancouver. He’s become the worst thing imaginable, his heinousness matched only by his damnability. After all, we may have given him a trophy, but let’s talk about the stuff he took: Trevor Linden’s captaincy, Wayne Maki’s unretired 11, a buyout (putting him on par with Marc freaking Chouinard) and, this week, another cool $6 million from the Canucks.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Andrew Ebbett

When the Canucks announced the re-signing of Andrew Ebbett this offseason, I was thrilled. Ebbett is, in many ways, an ideal thirteenth forward, the kind of player who can step into almost any problematic situation and provide an effective, albeit temporary solution.

In his injury-shortened 18-game stint with the Canucks last season, Ebbett played minimal minutes, but played those minutes in every situation. He had a bit of time on the penalty kill, a bit of time on the second unit powerplay, and was a very strong possession forward at even strength, despite starting the vast majority of his shifts in the defensive zone against fairly tough competition.

Ebbett is a utility player, the type of player who has every tool in his tool box, but isn’t good enough with any one of them to overcome his lack of size and earn a full-time role in the NHL. He is good enough with those tools, however, to be a useful part-time player. One of those tools is goalscoring; he managed 5 goals last season, putting him on an 82-game pace of 23 goals. While I doubt he’ll be a 20-goalscorer next season, he may get a chance to to make the opening day roster with Kesler on the IR and no third-line centre in sight.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: David Booth, part two

David Booth achieved a remarkable feat in his first season in Vancouver: he made fans wish that he would go to the net less often. That’s astounding. For years, fans have griped that so-and-so doesn’t go to the net, and at some point, every single Canuck is that so-and-so.

But Booth? He does it too much. That is a stunning reputation to have.

It’s also pretty silly. It’s not difficult to understand why Booth goes to the net so hard: that’s where he does his best work. The man scored 16 goals last season, and nearly every last one of them came within two feet of the crease. If you knew that’s where all your best things happened, why would you go anywhere else with it?

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