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:
Whatever happened with Roberto Luongo?
Remember him? Spent the final game of last season on the bench? Asked for a trade? Kind of wants to go back to Florida, is there now, trying to make the deal himself with his mind? Speaking of purgatory, that’s effectively where Luongo is right now, not really a Canuck, but not really not one either. There’s a pretty good chance that he’ll be traded before the Canucks play next, and if their season had started in October that means he would have been traded a month ago. Not that I particularly want to see Funny Bob go, but I definitely want to know how this saga ends. Where does he end up? Who comes back? When will we see him again? I hate you, lockout.
How early did Ryan Kesler come back?
Because you know full well he would have. Kesler was originally slated for a November 8 return to the lineup before wisely opting to undergo another surgery that will sideline him until January, but something tells me that, if the Canucks were playing right now, he would be too. The man is the Amy Winehouse of hockey — he just hates rehab. Unfortunately, thanks to the lockout, he could very well heal completely. Well, that’s no fun.
Did Chris Tanev get a shot?
I don’t mean a chance. I mean a shot, like, say, of the “slap” variety. Last season, Tanev’s shot was such a muffin it came with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. But he’s been working on it in the offseason, and it appears to have paid some dividends in the AHL, where he recently scored a goal like a big boy! With a shot, Tanev would have a shot at the top-four this season, and this time I mean a chance. We’d probably know by now if that were the case.
Did Steven Pinizzotto play an NHL game?
Pinizzotto is hockey’s Bad Luck Brian, getting great opportunities only to see them go sideways in the most ridiculous of ways. There was his first call-up to the bigs as a Washington Capital, which led to him taking the ice in warmup only to hit the press box for the game when Mike Knuble decided to play. His second shot was with the Canucks, and he effectively made the team in training camp before injuring his shoulder in the final preseason game and missing the whole year. Then, the team signed him again, this time with an even thinner fourth line that he likely would have made — and lockout. It could be worse, I guess. He could have gone to prison for downloading one song.
Were the Canucks really planning to play a more uptempo style?
Nolan Baumgartner said they would be. Not only would we have observed it by now if they had, but Thomas Drance would have proved it with charts. Charts! Instead, because the NHL is heartless and artless, we’re chartless.
When did Tony Gallagher debut his first column of the season calling for Alain Vigneault’s firing?
It’s like the groundhog seeing his shadow, except Gallagher is casting one instead. The columnist was bound to disagree with several of Alain Vigneault’s moves early in the year. Someone would have been treated like dirt. Someone else wouldn’t have gotten enough playing time. In the end, it would have been incontrovertible evidence that Vigneault should never have been extended, unless it was into a house fire. Some would have agreed with him, some would have disagreed, and the whole thing would have ended in a pie fight. Alas, no pie fight.
Did the Canucks write off Keith Ballard?
Keith Ballard is a defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks. You might have forgotten. Would it surprise you if it turned out Luongo wasn’t the only Canuck whose trade was embargoed by the expired CBA? It might explain why we’ve hardly heard a word from Ballard since last season ended. Granted, the team may be comfortable with him anchoring the third pairing with Chris Tanev, but it’s also possible that he’s not back with the team when things start up again. Either way, we’ll know not long after this blasted lockout ends.
Was Aaron Rome’s absence noticeable?
Speaking of depth defenceman, Aaron Rome is a member of the Dallas Stars now. Not much was made of it when he signed in Dallas last summer, but two months of season would probably have been enough time to know whether we were fools to wave away his departure so quickly. As depth blueliners go, Rome was as valuable a six as the one on Blossom, and his versatility was the blueline’s saving grace on more than a few occasions. Would Rick Bowness have been able to patch over the patcher? And what’s more, why couldn’t I come up with the nickname “The Patcher” before now?
Did anyone show early signs of being able to compete with the Canucks for the Northwest Division title?
Granted, late November is still early enough that even a severely mediocre team might still be hovering around the top of the standings. It happened last year. But the other four teams in the Northwest all beefed up in some way or another, and by now we’d have a good handle on who was showing real early promise. A tight divisional race is a lot of fun. It’s way more fun than, say, a post about all the things the lockout is keeping from you.
Tags: Blogs are for lists, Lockout