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.
Minus their leading scorer, the Utica Comets earn their first point in franchise history
With Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, Dale Weise, Nicklas Jensen, Jordan Schroeder, and David Booth all on the shelf with various injuries, the Canucks have called up some unfamiliar faces to fill out the roster. One of them definitely had Canucks fans scratching their heads and asking, “Who?” when he got the call from Utica: Pascal Pelletier.
Pelletier was signed in the off-season out of the Swiss league to provide some veteran leadership to the Comets, but he’s done more than that: he’s leading the Comets in scoring with 7 points in 4 games. That kind of production made it an easy decision, I’m sure, to call Pelletier up.
Without Pelletier, as well as Darren Archibald and Jeremy Welsh, the Comets still managed to take the Syracuse Crunch to overtime and the shootout on the strength of a 32-save performance from Joacim Eriksson and a goal from Colin Stuart, assisted by Yann Sauve and Zac Dalpe. While they eventually lost in the shootout, it was a gutsy performance from an undermanned squad, and earned the Comets their first point of the season.
Fortunately for the Comets, they’ll be getting their leading scorer back, as Pelletier has been sent back down. Incidentally, the Comets’ second leading scorer and only player with a positive plus/minus is 2011 third round pick Alexandre Grenier, which is a positive sign after he played all of last season in the ECHL.
Manny Malhotra remains a great guy, helps teammate find medal
We’re big fans of Manny Malhotra here at PITB, not only because of his superb defensive play on the ice that enabled Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler to focus on the offensive end, but also because he is a genuinely great guy. When we met his father-in-law (who is also Steve Nash’s dad) at a Phoenix Coyotes game back in 2011, the thing he most wanted to emphasize about Malhotra was that he was a good husband and a good man. He hardly cared about his on-ce performance, but clearly loved his son-in-law for being a quality human being.
Malhotra proved it with his work in the community while with the Canucks and proved it again last week when he went above and beyond the call of duty to help out a teammate with his new team, the Charlotte Checkers.
The Checkers had a team-building exercise a couple weeks ago, playing paintball. One of the players, Brendan Woods, lost a medal that was given to him by his grandfather that had been blessed by the Pope. Knowing how important it was to Woods, Malhotra stepped up to help:
Enter Malhotra, the longtime NHL veteran who’s playing with the Checkers on a pro tryout contract as he attempts to prove that he can still play at the highest level. Without telling Woods, Malhotra, who had known the rookie forward for a little over two weeks, bought a metal detector, drove to the paintball field and searched.
When unable to find the medal, Malhotra told Woods about it, and the two returned to the field to look again on Wednesday. Together, they found it.
Man, Malhotra is the best.
The claim that Kesler dove is a little bit contentious
My co-editor here at Pass it to Bulis stirred up some controversy on Thursday by writing his take on why Frans Nielsen didn’t receive a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his elbow to the head of Ryan Kesler. It didn’t go over too well with either our regular readership or the many readers directed to the article from Twitter, Facebook, or various hockey forums.
Dimitri Filipovic over at Canucks Army took particular issue with the hit in his post-game recap.
It wasn’t too long ago that Alex Edler was suspended 3 games for a very similar incident. Except that I actually think Nielsen’s hit was worse because he actually appeared to prop his elbow up in the last second before contact, whereas Edler clearly tucked his. Now, Nielsen isn’t considered a repeat offender, so it’s tough to say how he’ll be reprimanded, but I sincerely hope that he doesn’t get off the hook here without anything.
I think this is part of the reason there was such a strong backlash to Harrison’s post. Up until then, every take on the hit from Canucks-centric sources saw it as a clear elbow to the head, with a strong undercurrent of disdain for outside sources that saw it as a dive. By Thursday morning, the view of the hit as a suspension-worthy headshot was solidified in the minds of Canucks fans and it was jarring to see an opposing opinion.
Add that to the fact that Canucks fans are pretty sick and tired of their team’s largely unearned diving reputation and it’s understandable why it got the reaction it did, particularly with the rather frank headline declaring that “Kesler dove.”
With that said, I’d like to quickly respond to some of the most common comments from that post, as it’s a bit impractical to try to respond to everyone individually, particularly with some of the invective aimed at Harrison that made a calm and reasoned response difficult. With over 100 comments, some blanket responses seemed a more practical way to go.
Considering the most common complaint about our blog prior to that article was that we are homers, this one definitely isn’t true. Both Harrison and myself grew up as Canucks fans and we’ve always been pretty up front about how that influences what we write.
To a certain extent, this is semantics, but to some it’s an important distinction, as diving has far more negative connotations than embellishment. I’m more open to the idea it was embellishment rather than a dive than Harrison is, as Kesler was, at the very least, hit in the shoulder and could have gone down from that contact alone.
The problem is that it wasn’t clear at all. In fact, there were numerous commenters who disagreed that it was an elbow, but did think it was a shoulder to the head. Every replay that we saw is relatively unclear. I initially thought it was an elbow to the head, but the angle from in front of Kesler and Nielsen doesn’t seem to show any contact to the head with the elbow and the angle from the side doesn’t seem to show any contact to the head from the shoulder. Even if you think it was an elbow to the head, you can’t really say it was clear.
This might be partly true, mainly because it’s impossible to completely erase his reputation from our mind when seeing a play like this. But what this ignores is how much we would relish an opportunity to write about how Kesler didn’t dive on this play. We have frequently written articles about suspensions we think the Canucks’ opponents have earned, from Duncan Keith to Brad Marchand. If we felt this was a suspendable offence, we would have said so.
Since I initially thought it was just worth the minor penalty, I didn’t take a closer look at it. Harrison did take a closer look, came to the conclusion that Kesler dove, and so wrote that, not because of Kesler’s reputation, but because of what he saw. Harrison’s initial reaction when seeing the hit was that it was an elbow to the head and he even called out Mark Spector during the game for judging the hit based on Kesler’s reputation:
Spector also up to old tricks MT @SportsnetSpec: Kesler up to old tricks. Down, out & nearly dead … but hopping over the boards for the PP.
— Pass it to Ghoul-is (@passittobulis) October 23, 2013
Nope. We receive minimal editorial input from the Vancouver Sun and generally just write what we want to write. Since we’ve generally proven ourselves to be trustworthy enough not to write anything libellous or egregiously offensive, we’re basically left alone. There have been a couple times that the Sun has asked us to write something, such as when we graded the Canucks last year, but we’re always up front about it.
That’s not really true. What Harrison did was state his opinion emphatically in an attempt to convince the reader that his point of view is correct. Basically everything that we write on this blog is an opinion. We try to back up that opinion with facts, but we don’t feel the need to preface every article with “THIS IS AN OPINION” because that would be ridiculous.
No, you just disagree with it. This is something I’ve seen frequently in the Canucks fanbase: saying that something is a bad article or that someone is a bad writer simply because you disagree with their opinion. Something can be well-written even if you disagree with it. Cam Cole, for instance, is one of the best sportswriters in Canada, but I’ve seen many Canucks fans on Twitter call him a bad writer when what they really mean is that they disagree with him.
As for Harrison’s post, it was fine. It’s not the way I would have written it, but that’s because we’re different people. It wasn’t a bad article, that’s for sure.
Great! We love disagreement, particularly well-reasoned disagreement. The bizarre claims that we were anti-Canucks or were being influenced by editors were all that I took issue with.
I initially thought it was an elbow to the head, but was convinced by repeated viewings of the video and Harrison’s article that it wasn’t. Judging from the lack of hearing for Nielsen, the Department of Player Safety likely saw it the same way.