The Unreal Canucks Gif Tournament is on its way; prepare for greatness

At one point in history, the animated gif was the bane of the internet, infesting innumerable GeoCities websites with spinning clipart, random lines of flames, and annoying cartoon characters that danced for no reason. Times have changed, however, and the humble gif has become a cultural touchstone, as evidenced by the Oxford American Dictionary naming “gif” the word of the year a couple weeks ago.

Of all the uses for the animated gif, the sports gif reigns supreme. There’s something about sports that makes them eminently giffable. Perhaps it’s because the best gifs are all about the small moments that might otherwise be missed, and sports is full of those moments. The highlight reels capture the biggest moments in sports — the incredible goals, massive saves, and championship victories — but fans love sports for more than just the big moments. They love the little things.

Animated gifs capture those little things, then repeat them endlessly for our dumb amusement.

We have collected 32 of our favourite Canucks gifs, separated them into four divisions, and ranked them according to our whims. Over the next month, we’ll be running a March Madness-style tournament, allowing the greatest Canucks gif of all time will be decided by your votes. This is a sacred duty. If we don’t find out which Canucks gif is the greatest now, it may never happen.

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Hear Cory Schneider’s first news conference in Switzerland get interrupted by a mine explosion

On Wednesday, Cory Schneider became the third member of the Vancouver Canucks to say “nuts to this noise” and head to Europe, joining Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland’s National League A. No doubt he’s excited to actually be playing hockey again, especially considering the last six months of his life have been nothing but NHLPA negotiation committees and redundant questions about the goaltending situation in Vancouver.

But some things never change. Schneider was gleefully introduced by his new club Wednesday in the Swiss town of Biasca, where they practice, and if he thought that the trip East would mean a brief respite from questions about sharing the crease with Roberto Luongo, he thought wrong — Switzerland is no escape from such inquiries.

But here’s the difference: in Vancouver, the questions are just questions. In Switzerland, they’re apparently punctuated by ACTUAL, LITERAL EXPLOSIONS. Sadly, there’s no video of Schneider’s reaction but there is audio, courtesy Swiss website He Shoots, He Scoores (sic), and it’s pretty great. Listen for yourself:

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Hungry like the Wolves: Prospects scoring, team losing

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

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Cory Schneider signs with Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland’s National League A

Cory Schneider has played a large role in the ongoing CBA negotiations as a member of the NHLPA’s bargaining committee, putting his three years of studying finance at Boston College to good use. Last Monday, however, he began voicing his frustration with the process and discussed heading overseas to play in Europe if negotiations didn’t progress.

Apparently Schneider doesn’t see bringing in mediators as progression, as he signed today with Ambrì-Piotta of the National League A, the top tier of hockey in Switzerland.

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5 more things we would probably know by now if it weren’t for this flipping lockout

On Monday, we mourned the absence of 10 answers that we’d already have.

See, if Stupidface McGee and that other jerk weren’t so hell-bent on getting their way, we’d be two months into the 2012-13 season by now. We wouldn’t be sitting around wondering whether and where Roberto Luongo was going to get traded. We’d likely be sitting around wondering if he should have, as well as embroiled in other silly new controversies. Alas, we’re still where we were.

However, the can of what-ifs is a bottomless pit of despair, and once I started rattling off a few, I couldn’t stop. Thus, here are 5 more things we would probably know by now if it weren’t for this flipping lockout.

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10 things we would probably know by now if it weren’t for this flipping lockout

PITB is a family blog (the “P” stands for “PG”), which is why the title of this post features the adjective “flipping” instead of something saltier. But rest assured this lockout has us on the verge of some high-level swears. It’s an infuriating slog during this gosh darn labour stoppage, both because we are full-blown Canucks addicts in dire need of a fix and because we’re left tending the grounds around here without any grass seed.

(If only we could just sit smugly back like a certain appropriately named Canucks blog and wait for this whole thing to blow over!)

But that’s not to say we’re out of ideas. (We would never admit to that, even if it were true!) It’s just that the lockout has left us in hockey blog purgatory, a place utterly devoid of motivation and stakes, where the topics of debate and the areas of concern for the team we write about never seem to change. Had the season started on time, we’d be nearly two months into it by now, and we’d be able to start forming new answers to some of the questions surrounding Vancouver’s 2012-13 group.

Instead, we’re left answering questions to which we would already know the answer, if we lived in the parallel universe where the league and the union aren’t strangling the life out of the game in an attempt to get more out of it. Questions like:

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The 10 best pictures of Canucks as kids

There is no better hockey-related Tumblr account in the entire world than NHL Players as Kids. Seeing pictures of big and tough hockey players as adorable, cherub-faced children is inherently hilarious. Making it even better is how many of them haven’t changed in the slightest and look almost exactly the same as they did when they were kids.

There are several Canucks represented on NHL Players as Kids and many of their pictures are awesome and need to be shared. So here I am, sharing them with you. That’s just how we roll here at PITB.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best pictures of current and former Canucks as kids:

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Remember what a Canuck goal looks like with the top ten Canuck goals of the last ten years [VIDEO]

If you’re like us — and we assume, since you read the blog we write, that you are, at least a little — this lockout is beginning to tear at your insides like you’ve swallowed a jagged metal Krusty-O.

We’ve reached the dead zone, where there’s nothing to talk about and there appears to be no hope of something to talk about in the near future. Heck, not only is the future looking bleak, but even the past is beginning to fade, like that picture of the McFly children standing in front of that well. Stop for a moment: can you remember who scored the last Canucks goal or what it even looked like?

It was actually a pretty little goal from Henrik Sedin in the Canucks’ overtime elimination loss to the LA Kings on April 22nd, seven months ago to the day. 214 sleeps in the past. See, that’s just too long ago, so we thought you might enjoy a refresher course in Canuck goal-scoring.

For that, we turn to Youtube user Nevlach, who has put together a countdown of the 10 best Canuck goals of the last 10 years. It is, like any list, highly subjective and wholly divisive, so feel free to have strong opinions in the comments. But before you do, why not just take the next 11 minutes to enjoy a trip down memory lane with some of the greatest Canuck goals of the recent past?

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Hungry like the Wolves: Up the river with the Rivermen and Admirals

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

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Can you name all 39 players to have scored a goal assisted by both Sedins? [QUIZ]

Playing on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin means scoring opportunities. “If you don’t score lots of points in that situation, you don’t belong there,” Mikael Samuelsson once said. “You can’t fail no matter how little talent you might have.”

He’s got a point. In Daniel and Henrik’s 11 seasons with the Canucks, “assisted by Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin” (or vice versa) has appeared on the scoresheet a staggering 223 times. And, considering the role of the third Sedin has been played by more people than Hamlet, 39 different Canucks have played the finisher in these instances.

Which brings us to today’s quiz: how many of the 39 can you name? I submit that there is no way you can name all 39. My guess is that even the diehards won’t be able to get beyond 35. Consider yourself challenged.

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Love doesn’t hurt, but Ryan Kesler’s facial hair is pretty painful (VIDEO)

Back in April, Ryan Kesler and Popchips announced the Game Changers initiative, which would give fans the opportunity to suggest charitable causes for the Canuck centre to support. After a month, Kesler was presented with a shortlist of five charities. From those five, he went with the request to tape a public service announcement for the BC Society of Transition Houses, “a non-profit association of Transition, Second and Third Stage Houses, Safe Homes, Children Who Witness Abuse Programs and other groups which serve the needs of women and their children fleeing violence”, according to their website.

“I’ve never known anyone personally who was affected, but I picked this charity because I feel strongly about it,” said Kesler when asked about the selection. “Too many kids are going through this. Violence against women is not right and when you involve kids… I have kids myself and I couldn’t imagine my kids going through something like that.”

Kesler filmed the public service announcement in support of the “Love Doesn’t Hurt” campaign back on June 22nd. It was released Tuesday. Here it is:

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Jan Bulis knows who to pass it to: himself [VIDEO]

It’s been a long time since the patron saint of PITB played with the Vancouver Canucks, but he still holds a special place in our hearts and our header images. So when Jan Bulis does something cool, we’re all over it. When Jan Bulis passes it to Bulis, you better bet we are aaaalllllll over it.

Bulis is currently playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL and in their game against Avangard Omsk on Friday, he scored one of the most unreal goals I have ever seen.

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‘Waterfun with Wolfy and Orca’ is the actual name of Eddie Lack’s new mask (PHOTOS)

Canucks fans have been given ample proof that Eddie Läck is a lovable goofball. The long-legged Swede even has his own signature dance move. He’s basically just one dimension removed from being a cartoon character. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this is exactly what’s on his new mask.

When it came time to design his new head protection, rather than asking Swedish artist Dave Gunnarson, one of hockey’s elite mask-painters, to cover it in lightning and skulls and flames and stuff, he requested cartoon characters. Original cartoon characters.

Meet Wolfy, the water-skiiing wolf.

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The Canucks’ plan for Alex Edler’s right side appears to be Alex Edler, and it’s a bad plan

It would appear that the T.C. Williams High football program isn’t the only team obsessed with bolstering their left side. The Vancouver Canucks, too, have had an overflow of left-handed defencemen the past three seasons, and yet they went out and paid nearly $30 million for another this summer.

The Canucks succeeded with a surfeit of lefties in 2010-11 because Christian Ehrhoff was capable of playing his off-side. But when he left for Buffalo, the team discovered how rare Ehrhoff’s painless transition was. Keith Ballard couldn’t do it at all, and his inability to play with his stick (and left hip) away from the boards left him behind Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler on the depth chart. Edler couldn’t do it either, and when Sami Salo regressed right out of the top four in January, the Canucks found themselves one right-sider short. We pegged addressing this deficit as Vancouver’s major offseason need.

Instead, the Canucks paid $27.6 million for six years of left-handed Jason Garrison. Now, Garrison spent much of last season in Florida paired with another lefty in Brian Campbell, occasionally playing Campbell’s right side, so we were confident that the Canuck scouts saw enough to be at least semi-confident in his ability to go “the full Ehrhoff”.

Apparently not.

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Canucks’ 2011 draft pick Frank Corrado, OHL superstar, is not terrible

Coming out of the 2011 NHL entry draft, much of the attention of Canucks fans was directed at the team’s first round pick, Danish winger Nicklas Jensen, and for good reason. Jensen has given every indication that he has all the tools necessary to play in the NHL.

Other picks from that draft caught people’s attention for one reason or another: Alexandre Grenier was a surprise pick in the third round, who didn’t break out until his overage season in Junior. David Honzik was the only goalie drafted by the Canucks in 2011 and seemed to only have one great playoff run to his credit. Joseph Labate was a finalist for the Mr. Hockey Award in Minnesota and his size at 6’4″ certainly caught people’s attention. Even the Canucks’ sixth round selection, Pathrik Westerholm, drew fan’s focus, as one of a pair of Swedish twins.

Flying under the radar a bit, then, was Frank “Frankie” Corrado, a 5’11″ defenceman with a modicum of offensive upside who the Canucks picked in the fifth round. Since the draft, however, Corrado has gone from a late-round project to one of the best defenceman in the OHL, starring for the league in the Subway Super Series against Russia.

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Apparently, Eddie Lack has a signature dance move (VIDEO)

The NHL lockout has forced many Canucks fans to turn to the AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves for their hockey fix, and for many, this has yielded a valuable discovery. If you thought Cory Schneider was a likeable cat — and he is, to be certain — he’s got nothing on the next guy on the Canucks’ depth chart. Eddie Lack may be the Canucks’ third-stringer in goal, but when it comes to the Canucks’ all-Twitter team, he’s… well, actually, he’s still not the starter.

But he’s in the top two. Eddie Lack is a full-blown character.

And, like all great characters — Bart Simpson, Steve Urkel, Elaine Benes, the Bluth family, Carlton Banks, and me — Lack apparently has a signature dance. I give you: the Lack dance.

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Spitballin’ on Bure’s induction, Sundin’s regret, and naked Kesler on a sweater

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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Strombone1 presents… his ten favourite Bruins fan hate-tweets

Friday on the blog, we featured a particularly amusing tweet from @strombone1, suspected (rightly) by many to be the Twitter account of one Roberto Luongo. The tweet, made shortly after the U.S. Presidential election, celebrated four more years of Barack Obama because it also meant four more years of politically charged Facebook rants from a certain goaltender whose initials happened to be TT.

With Tim Thomas’s star having fallen somewhat over the past year, the kneejerk response from many Bostonians — who, in a rare moment of lucidity, got the joke — was little more than a hearty chuckle. But there were still plenty of Bruins fans just touchy enough to flip out over the tweet. Luongo estimates that he was bombarded with hate-tweets in the triple digits.

Now, as someone who has gotten his fair share of hate-tweets (mainly from the good people of Great Britain), I can tell you that there’s really nothing to do but laugh when they come your way. That or, if you run a blog, make a list of your favourites, because blogs are for lists.

Well, Roberto Luongo doesn’t run a blog, but he is a friend of this one, so he was kind enough to put together just such a list for us. What follows is a countdown of @strombone1′s 10 favourite Bruins fan hate-tweets, lovingly selected by the man himself. Fair warning that a few are a little NSFW for strong language, as one might expect.

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The award for best post-election tweet of all-time goes to Roberto Luongo

Immediately after Tuesday night’s election was called in Barack Obama’s favour (actually, four minutes before, but who’s arguing), his Twitter account sent out a victory tweet. “Four more years”, it said, along with a photo of the President hugging his wife, Michelle. In just 22 minutes, it had been shared over 200,000 times, making it the most retweeted tweet in history. Three days later, it’s been retweeted an astounding 800,000 times. People seemed pretty into it.

That said, if you’re asking me, the tweet most deserving of an RT in the wake of Obama’s re-election win was this one, from our old pal @strombone1, a.k.a. totally Roberto Luongo:

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Pavel Bure nearly destroyed my ability to enjoy hockey

Pavel Bure ruined me as a hockey fan.

I was seven-years-old when Bure made his debut with the Vancouver Canucks. I was nine when he scored the game-winning overtime goal in game seven against the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 1994 playoffs and led the team in scoring en route to the Stanley Cup Final. And I was fourteen when he was traded to the Florida Panthers.

Those were the primer years of my development as a hockey fan, the time when passions, loyalties, and expectations are defined for the rest of a person’s life. In those prime years, I watched Bure skate faster than seemed humanly possible, while controlling the puck with perfect precision and shooting with pinpoint accuracy. How could anyone else compare?

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Zack Kassian suspended for one game for ‘his actions’ [VIDEO]

The American Hockey League has suspended Canucks prospect Zack Kassian for one game, but are being remarkably vague about the reason why. Their official press release only indicates that the suspension is “a consequence of his actions during a game at Charlotte on Nov. 6.”

The Wolves, when contacted, indicated that as far as they know, the suspension is for accidentally running into an official on his way off the ice after taking a second period penalty, which sounds relatively innocuous. While pushing or hitting an official would certainly earn a suspension, players accidentally bump into officials all the time while on the ice. It seems certain that there’s more to the story.

Paul LaTour of the Chicago Tribune floated his theory that the suspension is for throwing his stick in the penalty box, hitting the off-ice official and cutting him.

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Report: Pavel Bure’s jersey not going to be retired, but he was still insanely good at hockey

Earlier today, we weighed in on Jason Botchford’s article reporting that the Vancouver Canucks were planning to send Pavel Bure’s number 10 to the rafters. Our take: it’s about flippin’ time. Bure may not have been as well-liked in Vancouver as the other three gentlemen whose names hang in Rogers Arena, but he was better at hockey, and since hockey honours are about hockey ability — not about who you would rather share a airplane ride with — Bure should be up there. (In the rafters, not an airplane.)

Of course, this is a very divisive issue and, shortly after we published, Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre went live with a take of his own. In it, he argued Bure doesn’t deserve the honour, explaining that the criteria for jersey retirement in Vancouver differs from that of Hockey Hall of Fame induction.

But MacIntyre’s take had an added wrinkle: not only should Bure’s jersey not be retired — it isn’t about to be.

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Report: Pavel Bure’s jersey to be retired, because he was insanely good at hockey

Pavel Bure made his NHL debut as a member of the Vancouver Canucks on November 5, 1991. It was a month into the 1991-21 schedule, but Bure was unable to join the team from the outset because the Canucks still had to settle a transfer dispute with his Russian club, Central Red Army. Once the two sides settled on a one-time cash payment of $250,000 in a Detroit court in late October (one-fifth of which was paid by Bure himself), Bure could finally make his long-awaited and memorable debut.

And speaking of big Novembers brought about by long, cumbersome delays by franchises being haughty and stubborn: it would appear the Russian Rocket will be informed this weekend by Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini of the team’s plans to finally retire his jersey.

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Hungry like the Wolves: Ice the Hogs, then split with Checkers

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

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The continuing adventures of Dale Weise in the Netherlands, which still eludes him on maps (VIDEO)

Welcome back to Pass it to Weise, the hockey blog that, no thanks to this unbelievably stupid lockout, has descended almost exclusively into updates about Dale Weise’s tour of duty in the Netherlands. Brace yourself for another white-knuckle ride!

Obviously, we wish it hadn’t come to this, both because Dale Weise isn’t exactly the most compelling Canuck and also because making this much fun of the comparative mediocrity of Netherlands hockey isn’t making us any friends over at the IJS Hockey Forum, a Dutch message board. (We see you talking about us, Joep Meijsen, and thanks to Google Translate, we even have a vague, choppy understanding of what you’re saying.)

But it cannot be helped. Weise is basically the only Canuck doing anything besides working out, and Jason Botchford has already written the definitive “the Canucks are working out” article. Plus, we do find it more than a little amusing what a big deal Weise is over there, not to mention how thoroughly he’s dominating the Dutch League, which appears to be about a step up from the Vatican Hockey League (where the team that has the pope usually wins because you’re not allowed to hit him, and the pope has mad dangles).

I mean, heck, here’s yet another documentary crew following Weise around as he does mundane tasks like gather groceries and try on hats.

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