A Moment of Pure Bulis

It’s a stressful time right now. The Canucks have crashed harder than a college student after an all-nighter and a four-pack of Red Bull. They’re about to miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Fans are calling for heads, but not while flipping coins: they’ve set up a guillotine outside Rogers Arena next to the Roger Neilson statue.

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Horrible Bruins fan offers Iginla jersey, Centre Ice, to Canucks fan willing to switch allegiances

The Canucks have been a tough club to cheer for this season. They keep losing, which is annoying, but more than that, they keep losing in fabulous and fantastic ways. Heck, just looking at the season series versus Anaheim, there’s enough material for a reasonable person to look at this team and say “nuts to this”. A 9-1 loss. A 5-1 loss with their playoff lives on the line. A 4-3 overtime loss in a game Vancouver led 3-2 inside the final two minutes. It’s disheartening.

(Almost literally. Watching Vancouver this year has been like going toe-to-toe with Mola Ram, the disheartener himself.)

And if you’ve had enough, one Boston Bruins fan (presumably Satan himself) is offering you a way out. And all you have to do is give him your soul. (Seriously, this is what Satan would do.)

Your fan soul, anyway. Fork it over to this guy by way of a Youtube video denouncing the Canucks and joining Bruins nation instead, and in exchange, you’ll get a free Jarome Iginla jersey and a season of Centre Ice or Game Center Live.

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Big Numbers: Canucks vs. California, Edler chasing Ovechkin

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, March 29, 2014

Hey, remember the Northwest? Back in the day, the Canucks were the lone bright spot in a division so hapless — yes, so utterly devoid of haps — that it would occasionally spit out freebies, like a malfunctioning vending machine. They’d waltz into Minnesota, Colorado, Calgary, or Edmonton, and before they could even hit the ice: instant win. The Division would belch out a couple points, and the team would add them to the pile and head home.

I know the Canucks haven’t forgotten, because they’ve spent most of this season doing their best to keep the spirit of the Northwest alive and well in the new-look Pacific. Of course, since their role — the dominant team snatching up all the easy wins — has been split among the California teams, they’ve really had no choice but to settle in as one of the bottom-feeders handing out free points.

It suddenly dawned on me that the Canucks have become last year’s Colorado Avalanche when I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Colorado Avalanche, March 27, 2014

Heading into this game, Jannik Hansen had 3 goals in his last 33 games. Nicklas Jensen had 3 goals in his last 6 games. One played on a line with Daniel Sedin, the other on a line with Tom Sestito. One played more than 6 minutes in a tied third period. The other was stapled to the bench after the second intermission.

Does John Tortorella hate the happiness of Canucks fans? Jensen’s success since his call-up has been the one thing that all fans can enjoy, the one real ray of sunshine and light in the dreary darkness, but then he got shunted down the lineup. Meanwhile, Hansen, who is having the worst offensive season of his career in terms of points-per-minute, kept getting sent out, despite not registering a single shot attempt and the Canucks getting out-shot 9-4 at even-strength with him on the ice.

Did John Tortorella confuse Hansen for Jensen? Does he think all Danes look alike? If so, that’s pretty racist. He’s lucky there aren’t more Danes in the NHL so this didn’t come up earlier.

Like Jensen, who quietly sat back and let Tortorella call him Jannik all night, I watched this game.

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The Prospector: Ben Hutton’s record-breaking season; Canucks prospects make a mark in OHL playoffs

The Prospector is a semi-regular feature on Pass it to Bulis where we pan the Canucks prospects pool in search of gold.

In this edition, we break down Ben Hutton’s solid sophomore season and highlight four forwards — Dane Fox, Bo Horvat, Brendan Gaunce, and Cole Cassels — racking up points in the OHL playoffs.

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Alex Burrows suffers rare legal headshot, chips tooth eating granola bar, is the most cursed you can be

How cursed is Alex Burrows? Let us count the ways.

In his first game, he broke his ankle blocking a shot. He missed four weeks. Shortly after returning, he broke his jaw blocking a shot from a teammate — the muffin man Chris Tanev, at that. He missed six weeks. In a fight with Phil Kessel, which is the hockey equivalent of letting your cat go to town on your sleeve, Burrows sprained his hand.

And while all this is going on, Burrows can’t score. Tom Sestito scores five times. Zac Dalpe scores four. Down in Phoenix, a goalie scores. Meanwhile, Burrows can’t buy one.

Then, finally, when he does, scoring two in one game then three more in his next three, he suffers yet another injury after Shea Weber nearly chops his thumb off on a slash. And in his first game back from that ordeal, Wednesday night in Minnesota, the hockey gods decide he hasn’t had enough yet, and subject him to the rare, legal headshot:

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Stick in Link: The Desolation of Luongo; Alex Burrows on the quiet room

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Minnesota Wild, March 26, 2014

The Vancouver Canucks hit the ice in Minnesota Wednesday night hoping to accomplish three things: win their third game in a row for the first time in 2014, prevent the Wild from sweeping the season series for the first time ever and, in so doing, upgrade their scant playoff hopes from “LMAO never gonna happen” to “LOL doubt it”.

These are depressing goals. Fortunately, this game was far from depressing, as the Canucks accomplished all of their goals, and even scored five in the process, the first time they’ve tallied five regulation goals since they beat Boston in mid-December. Like that game, the catalyst for the scoring outburst was David Booth, who appears as at home versus the Wild as he does in it. Like Booth perched in a bush, quietly loading his crossbow for the kill, I watched this game.

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Guest Post: ‘Best Canucks season ever’, says Ryan Lambert, of his own free will

All anyone has heard these last few months about the Vancouver Canucks is that this season has been a catastrophic failure. They say there are a lot of reasons why.

The team loses a lot, for one thing. And you’d have to say that’s probably a pretty big one because losing 1) sucks, and 2) is something to which this team has lately grown unaccustomed. The Canucks used to win their division a lot, you know? Like a LOT a lot. Won two Presidents’ Trophies too. Went to a Stanley Cup Final. Went to Game 7 in it, in fact. So yeah, the losing hurts.

Then there’s the mismanagement, they say. Alain Vigneault fired. John Tortorella hired. Trades that have ostensibly brought the team lower than it has been in years with little hope of significant improvement ahead. At least, not so significant that the team seems poised to return to the glory days any time soon.

Especially because of realignment, they say. Before the Canucks could expect a spate of games against Colorado and Calgary and Edmonton and Minnesota. Lots of easy Ws in there for sure. But now they’re sharing a division with Los Angeles and San Jose and Phoenix and Anaheim, and even with Calgary and Edmonton still mixed in there (and still awful) things are really not even close to being quite so rosy as they used to be. Not that they’re going to get better, either, since re-realignment doesn’t seem like it’s going to be on the table any time soon.

To these naysayers, I reply, “You obviously haven’t been paying attention.” This has been, in point of fact, the best Canucks season ever.

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The Week Ahead: One last back-to-back, and the return of Alain Vigneault

Every Wednesday we take a look at The Week Ahead to see what storylines we’ll be following, because Wednesday is a day meant for looking ahead to the future. Around here we call Wednesday “Future Day” and we all wear silver jumpsuits and big bubble space helmets. Doesn’t everybody do that?

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The Paper Feature: All aboard the Miracle Express, the Canucks are making the playoffs

Looking at the standings, at the odds, at the team’s injury list, which currently includes Henrik Sedin (again), Chris Tanev (again), and Alex Burrows (again), and even looking at the schedule’s final stretch, which the team would basically have to sweep to even have a puncher’s chance, it’s pretty much impossible at this point to ignore the obvious:

The Canucks are poised for a miracle run. That’s right. I said it.

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Stick in Link: Henrik Sedin injured again, proving this season is super cursed

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Big Numbers: Canucks not totally dead, just mostly, with nine games remaining

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

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Eddie Lack asks ‘Do You Wanna Have a Goalie Fight?’ in amazing Frozen parody

If Roberto Luongo’s trade to the Florida Panthers was the final chapter in his incredible saga in Vancouver, the following week’s visit from his old team, now led by Eddie Lack, was a fitting epilogue. It even got the sort of dramatics that we’ve come to expect from this tale, with the whole thing culminating in a shootout.

But to hear Lack tell it, he wanted more dramatics. “I challenged him to a goalie fight when we chatted before the game but he didn’t want to go,” said the Swedish netminder.

Over on Reddit, that got people talking. Not about who would win such a fight, mind you, but about what it would sound like if Lack didn’t just ask the question — he sang it, like Anna asking Elsa “Do you wanna build a snowman?” in Disney’s Frozen.

From there, lyrics were written. And then the thing was recorded by Redditor heyheymse, and honestly, she killed it. It’s amazing and hilarious. Fair warning that it also gets a little NSFW for strong language in the second verse.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Buffalo Sabres, March 23, 2014

By defeating the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks put themselves in an incredible position. Maybe not a position to make the playoffs, mind you — the 2013-14 Canucks have more modest goals right now — but with that victory, the Canucks were poised to string together their longest win streak in over two months: two games, sucka!

All they had to do? Beat the Buffalo Sabres, whose best forward has yet to prove he’s the better end of the one-for-one trade that gave the Canucks Zack Kassian. Now, no offence to Zack Kassian, especially not after the lights-out game he had, but that shouldn’t be difficult, and since it’s proven to be for the Sabres’ best player, beating them at hockey is not. I watched the Canucks go streaking when I watched this game.

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PITB chats with Roberto Luongo about Twitter silence and Eddie’s readiness

Roberto Luongo hasn’t tweeted since the Canucks’ disastrous 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on March 6th, when he sent out a few mildly snarky missives sympathizing with Lack’s plight.

“There was a little mishap there,” said Luongo, “a little confusion on what I was tweeting. I think some people took it the wrong way.”

The main someone was Don Cherry, who lambasted Luongo on Coach’s Corner the following Saturday, telling him to “keep his mouth shut.” Is anyone surprised that Cherry badly misinterpreted Luongo’s tweets?

“There was no maliciousness behind those [tweets],” said Luongo. “It was mostly making fun of myself and I felt bad for Eddie that game. It was nothing about him or his play, I mostly felt bad for him the way the guys were playing in front of him.”

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Stick in Link: Nicklas Jensen will save us, and other reasons to be optimistic

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Nashville Predators, March 19, 2014

The Canucks’ chances of making the NHL playoffs are slim. Fatboy slim. They’re not mathematically eliminated, but the fans in this city have never put their faith in math, and dammit, they aren’t about to start now. Glimmer of hope or no, I think we all know the Canucks are playing out the string.

That in mind, the games we’re watching now aren’t really games anymore. They’re game-length commercials for next year’s club. And as advertisements go, this one was pretty effective, showcasing two of next year’s stars in Eddie Lack, who busted out of his funk like Rick James busting out on the funk, and Nicklas Jensen, who continues to score like Hans Zimmer. I was effectively marketed to when I watched this game.

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The Week Ahead: Canucks visited by other lowly teams, the Predators and Sabres

Every Wednesday we take a look at The Week Ahead to see what storylines we’ll be following, because Wednesday is a day meant for looking ahead to the future. Around here we call Wednesday “Future Day” and we all wear silver jumpsuits and big bubble space helmets. Doesn’t everybody do that?

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The Paper Feature: 10 prospects that could make a big impact next season

At this point, it would take a miracle for the Canucks to make the playoffs and the hockey gods have been particularly stingy with the miracles for the Canucks this season. With that in mind, it’s understandable that many fans are looking to the future, and Nicklas Jensen’s performance since getting called up from the Utica Comets is giving that future a certain rosy hue.

Jensen has looked like a legitimate top-six forward for the last few games, with the caveat that he’s playing alongside two very good first line forwards. It’s enough to get people to pencil Jensen into next season’s lineup, albeit faintly and with an eraser at the ready in case the Canucks go crazy on the trade market or in free agency.

He’s not the only Canucks prospect with the potential to step into the lineup next season, however. The Canucks have been criticized for their shallow prospect pool, but it’s simply not true. In fact, there are as many as 10 prospects that could step into the lineup next season and be real difference-makers.

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Stick in Link: Bo Horvat is Canucks’ top prospect; Burrows snarks on hot streak

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Watch ‘Someone Like Lu’, the last (and best) Luongo tribute, we promise [VIDEO]

The Roberto Luongo trade caught everyone off guard. Heck, would it really have surprised anyone if Mike Gillis had been called for comment, only to respond with, “WE DID WHAT?!” It was pretty sudden.

There really wasn’t much time to get our bearings, either. We wrote our songs as we tried to come to terms with the new order, but before we could even be close to over the guy, suddenly, the Canucks were down in Florida watching Luongo tend net for the Panthers.

There’s really one way to tackle a situation that emotionally complex, and it’s with more music. And so, at the suggestion of several readers, I took it upon myself to repurpose Adele’s “Someone Like You”, which is a sad song about seeing a former flame and feeling weird, as a song about our curious situation.

Then I rounded up a couple friends. In the long-awaited first (and hopefully far from last) collaboration with the insanely talented Marie Hui and Clay Imoo, may I present, “Someone Like Lu”.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning, March 17, 2014

The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off an incredible trick just prior to Monday night’s game versus the Canucks. In a pregame ceremony, they purported to honour the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, who hoisted the Cup on June 7, 2004. But when their video tribute began, the date on the JumboTron read June 7, 2014, which isn’t ten years ago — it’s three months from now.

One might say that this is a mistake. But that would be the mistake. In fact, this was a deliberate act of cunning: the Lightning left the Canucks completely confused as to whether they were in the past or the future. By the time the Canucks realized the answer was neither, as they were in the present, playing a hockey game, they were losing the hockey game, and they kept losing the hockey game until they had lost the hockey game. And I watched this game.

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Could Markus Naslund return to the Canucks?

The last time Steven Stamkos was in town with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the superstar forward was overshadowed by Markus Naslund, who saw his number retired by the Canucks in a ceremony before the Lightning’s 5-4 shootout victory.

With the Canucks visiting Stamkos’s Lightning on Monday, the people of Vancouver once again have Markus Naslund on the brain, as rumours swirl that Naslund could be joining the Canucks’ front-office.

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