Spitballin’ on Dan Bylsma, Ryan Kesler, and Simpsons-themed Canucks logos

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass ITBulis: 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.


Dan Bylsma fired; will he be the next Canucks head coach?

When the Pittsburgh Penguins once again suffered an early exit from the playoffs, most people assumed head coach Dan Bylsma would pay the price. Instead, he was kept around while the Penguins fired GM Ray Shero instead. Now, almost a month later, Bylsma has finally been fired, which instantly adds him to the Canucks list of coaches to consider.

When asked, Benning agreed that Bylsma was an “interesting name.” It really is: it’s an odd spelling and it doesn’t even show up on Behind the Name’s list of surnames, so I have no idea what its origin is, though Ancestry.ca suggests it’s Frisian. Also, Bylsma is an interesting option for the Canucks.

The question is how much of the Penguins’ playoff struggles can be attributed to Bylsma and how much to Shero. The Penguins have always had some of the best top-end talent in the league, which seems to point the finger at Bylsma for being unable to wrangle that talent into more success. At the same time, they’ve been criticized for their lack of depth, which would implicate Shero for being unable to surround the core talent with contributors. Heck, they had Tanner Glass playing on their third line when they got knocked out in game 7.

Bylsma joins a list of coaching candidates that already includes Los Angeles Kings assistant John Stevens and Texas Stars head coach Willie Desjardins, with Marc Crawford suggested as a dark horse. Nucks Misconduct has a good breakdown of the three top candidates.

Benning won’t say who the top candidate is, just yet:

“We’re going to wait until the NHL is done and the AHL is done. We’re going to do our due diligence on this. We want to make sure we pick the right guy that’s right for this group. So we’re going to take our time and do the work. It has gone good so far and I expect it to keep going good.”

It has gone well, Benning, well. Dammit Jim, I’m a blogger, not a copy editor.

Kesler rumours continue to swirl

There were plenty of doubters of the reports that Ryan Kesler had requested a trade after the Olympic break. After all, Kesler himself denied them, and what more evidence do you need?

Here’s the thing: Kesler had plenty of reasons to lie about requesting a trade: he doesn’t want to sound like he’s giving up on his teammates or fans in the city and he wants to avoid the clustercuss that surrounded Roberto Luongo. But now there’s just too much smoke to continue denying the existence of a fire.

Reports are in from Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun, Jason Botchford, and Nick Kypreos. At this point, it’s increasingly difficult to deny that Kesler wants out and I’ve resigned myself to the idea that we’ll never get to see him Keslurk as a Vancouver Canuck again. Frankly, now seems like a reasonable time to trade him: his value is still high and expectations for the upcoming season in Vancouver are the lowest they’ve been in years. The question is, then, what can the Canucks get for him?

One of the teams reported to be on Kesler’s list is the Anaheim Ducks, who hold the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft. Could the Canucks swing a deal that nets them that pick and a roster player or prospect?

Simpsons Canucks logos

Last week, graphic designer Mark Avery Kenny made waves in the hockey blogosphere with a series of mash-ups of Canucks logos with Simpsons characters. It was an inspired idea that resulted in plenty of hilarity.

Here’s his take on the Canucks logo, casting Barney Gumble as the orca whale:

While this is fantastic, it’s not quite perfect. If only there was a more appropriate character from the Simpsons ‘verse that could fill in for the Canucks’ orca whale…


There it is. Will GT took inspiration from Mark Avery Kenny’s designs and took it upon himself to re-design the Canucks one with Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish taking the place of the orca. It’s a superb choice and he continued the series by replacing Johnny Canuck with Groundskeeper Willie.


Now we just need one for the stick-in-rink logo: may I humbly suggest inanimate carbon rod-in-rink?

Daniel Sedin actually says that autistic children shoot the puck better than Henrik

No, seriously.

It’s part of a touching video from the Canucks Autism Network’s sports day, where various sports personalities from Vancouver — including Dan Hamhuis and Daniel Sedin from the Canucks, Andrew Harris from the Lions, and David Ousted from the Whitecaps — teach the kids how to play hockey, soccer, football, and baseball.

My favourite moment comes right at the beginning, as Hamhuis’s introduction to the event is interrupted by an exuberant fan who the Community Man immediately hugs. It’s incredibly sweet.

Less sweet is Daniel taking the opportunity, as he always does, to get a jab in at his brother: “Most of them have better shots than Henrik, but who doesn’t?”

Ouch. Maybe stick with the heartwarming messages at charity events and save the brotherly digs for another time.

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