We here at Pass it to Bulis are all about making bold statements. Unlike other blogs and the mainstream media, we don’t shy away from the gut-punch of truth. We tell it like it is, day in and day out.
It is in the spirit of this unflinching commitment to boldness that we make the following proclamation: the Vancouver Canucks, down 3-0 in their first round series to the San Jose Sharks, have not been good enough.
Is everyone okay? Have we shattered your worldview and sent you scurrying for the warm embrace of your loved ones? Because we’re not done. We’re going a step further. Tonight, in game four, the Canucks need to be better.
Not everyone is willing to make such radical statements, but we know that you, our readers, deserve it. But that’s not all. We’re not just bold visionaries speaking truth to power. We’re also practical sorts, who believe in providing real world solutions. So here are six things the Canucks need to do better if they want to win game four and force the series back to Vancouver.Continue Reading —›
We’ll have plenty of time in the summer to dissect what went wrong for the Canucks this season, as it is extremely likely that it will be a long, long summer. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs and the Canucks have not given fans much confidence in their ability to be the fourth.
But we’re going to save the analysis, finger-pointing, and recriminations for another day. Right now we have something far more important to do. You see, one of the photographers at Sunday’s game between the Sharks and Canucks took a humorous photo and we have no choice but to show it to you, make fun of it, and create a ludicrous photoshop out of it.Continue Reading —›
In case you were not aware, Harrison and I, your (hopefully) esteemed hosts here at Pass it to Bulis, are both musically inclined. Harrison once fronted the incredible funk band, Cinnamon Toast Funk, while I am in the rock band Minnesota Nice. We’ve combined our musical efforts in the past on the blog, with “Song for Nelson Ong.”
During the NHL lockout, Harrison wrote two parody songs that I got the chance to contribute to. “Lockout Man” was our first effort, a parody of the Elton John classic “Rocket Man.” Then Harrison and Sean Gentille of Sporting News got the idea to parody Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend,” switching it to “Call The Union.” It led to a ludicrously precise music video parody that featured Harrison wearing obscenely tight yoga pants.
When news came out that Brian Burke was suing a host of internet commenters for defamation, we quickly realized that the whole situation was ripe for parody. The defendants were listed only by their usernames, including gems like “Sir Psycho Sexy,” “cambarkerfan,” and “Slobberface,” but the name that really stuck out was “Poonerman.”
Harrison recruited myself and his former bandmate in Cinnamon Toast Funk, Bryan Binnema, to come up with the perfect parody song about Poonerman and his legal troubles. Unfortunately, it turns out that the situation is too ripe for parody and we just couldn’t land on a single song.Continue Reading —›
While Roberto Luongo played very well through the first two games of the series and wasn’t to blame for either loss, you had to know he wasn’t happy about giving up three goals in each game and particularly one in the final minute in game two to send it to overtime. You had to know that he would go into game three hungry to improve upon his performance.
He absolutely succeeded, shutting out the Sharks, looking as confident and collected as ever. He finished with 10 saves and…wait. 10 saves? That can’t be right. Surely the Sharks weren’t held to just 10 shots in a playoff game. And what’s this about the Sharks being up 3-0 in the series? Something’s not right here.
Oh. Luongo didn’t start. I swear, I was paying attention when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
One day while growing up on my parents’ farm, I was playing outside with a couple friends. It was summer and were having a water fight, running through the fields. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was laughing. Life could not have been better.
Then I ran full-speed, directly into an electric fence along the cattle run. It hit me directly in the gut, simultaneously taking my feet out from under me and shocking me. Normally when you get shocked by an electric fence, you pull away immediately. Since I was running, I couldn’t pull away from the wire. Also, I was wet from the water fight. I went from joyful laughing to dry heaving in an instant. It felt like I had been punched in the gut and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs.
The end of this game was like an electric wire to the gut of the Canucks, except it wasn’t a fence built for cows — it was one of the fences from Jurassic Park. I needed Dr. Alan Grant to perform CPR after I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Martin Havlat left Wednesday’s game halfway through the first period for, since it’s the playoffs, undisclosed reasons. It didn’t take long, however, for the reason to become completely disclosed, causing male hockey fans everywhere to cringe in unison.
You see, according to Mike Halford from Pro Hockey Talk and David Pollak from the San Jose Mercury News, Kevin Bieksa speared Havlat in the groin. The NHL Network even has a video of the unfortunate moment, complete with a slow-motion replay.
Halford and Pollak are dead wrong, however. Bieksa definitely did not spear Havlat in the groin. Nope, not in the slightest. He quite clearly slashed him in the groin.Continue Reading —›
Judging by their lines at practice on Thursday, the Canucks will be loading up their second line, bumping Ryan Kesler to the wing and moving Derek Roy up to second line centre, with Chris Higgins rounding out the trio.
It’s easy to understand why: the Canucks struggled to create any sustained offensive pressure in the first game of the series. Creating a stacked top-six is a simple solution, though it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Kesler, Roy, and Higgins certainly had their moments when they were matched up during the regular season and it creates some difficult decisions for the Sharks defensively.
The only problem is what it does to the bottom half of the Canucks’ lineup. Without Roy centring the third line, that duty falls to Maxim Lapierre, who will be joined by Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond. In theory, that should be a speedy, defensively responsible line that can create problems on the forecheck, but Lapierre is coming off a fairly mediocre season.
The Canucks need more from Lapierre if they’re going to succeed in the playoffs. They need him to be an enabler. They need him to be Manny Malhotra.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
In the wild, orca whales tend to kill and eat sharks, including great white sharks. In the battle of Free Willy versus Jaws, Willy would win.
On the ice, however, it’s a lot tougher to call. The Vancouver Canucks will face the San Jose Sharks in round one of the playoffs, with the first game starting in just a couple hours. Normally, this is when we’d look at the season series to see how the two teams match up, but the season series isn’t particularly useful this time around.
Sure, the Sharks won all three of their meetings this season, but those games came before Derek Roy and Ryan Kesler were in the lineup and only one of those games featured the Sharks’ Brent Burns at forward, where he’s excelled. Also, Cory Schneider started all three of those games and he won’t be in net for game one of the playoffs, with Roberto Luongo slated to start with Schneider our due to injury.
The two teams have changed significantly throughout the season, with the Sharks shedding multiple players before the trade deadline and the Canucks continually rotating injured players in and out of the lineup. So, what can we expect from these two teams? How do they matchup? Let’s break it down as best we can:Continue Reading —›
While the Canucks have been a mess on the powerplay this season and have been inconsistent defensively at even-strength, the one area that has been a strength all season long has been the penalty kill. The Canucks have allowed more than one powerplay goal in a game just three times this season and haven’t done so since February 24th against the Detroit Red Wings.
Once the Canucks had some actual centres in Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy, the penalty kill got even better, going seven straight games and 25 opportunities without allowing a goal against. As a result, the Canucks finished 8th in the NHL in penalty kill percentage at 84%. It’s been one of the most consistent areas for the Canucks, killing off 86% last season and 85.6% the season before.
It’s sometimes tough to tell who on the Canucks is most responsible for their shorthanded success. Goaltending obviously plays a big role and it’s assumed that coaching is vital, but which defencemen and forwards have been the best on the penalty kill for the Canucks?
It’s harder to figure out than you’d think.Continue Reading —›
One of the best parts about being a Canucks fan during the playoffs is the time-honoured tradition of towel power, when Canucks fans wave a white towel over their heads like madmen, commemorating the only time that surrendering was a badass, rebellious move.
Other teams, including some in other sports, have adopted the idea of a rally towel and the Pittsburgh Steelers inaugurated the Terrible Towel before Roger Neilson waved the white flag to the referees during the Campbell Conference Finals in 1982. It holds special significance for Canucks fans, however, as the Canucks rallied around their coach, eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in five games, and going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Are you ready for the playoffs? Do you have your rally towel out and ready to wave? No? Because if you don’t, Harrison Mooney will find you.Continue Reading —›
It’s not always the best team that wins in the playoffs, but the hottest team. If the best team in the NHL always went on to win the Stanley Cup, we wouldn’t bother with the playoffs and we would replace the Presidents’ Trophy with the Cup. After all, 82 games (or even 48) should be enough to separate the wheat from the chaff and decide who is the best in the league.
Let’s face it, very few people truly believe that. In hockey, we celebrate difficulty. To win the Stanley Cup, you have to go through the long grind of the playoffs and survive, facing the top teams in the league night after night and proving that you’re better than they are.
The team that survives isn’t always the most talented team or the most well-built team. It’s the team that hits a hot streak at the right time, avoids injuries, and takes advantage of their chances. Some teams ride a hot goaltender all the way to the Cup. Others have their offence click into place and light up their opposition. With that in mind, we’re going to look at who on the Canucks is on a streak heading into the playoffs, hot or cold. But we can’t do it alone (particularly since we barely believe such streaks matter), so we’ve enlisted some help.
In honour of NHL 94′s 20th anniversary, we’re please to bring in special guest analyst (and noted streak fetishist), Ron Barr.*Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks handed out their team awards on Thursday night prior to their lacklustre effort against the Anaheim Ducks. Henrik Sedin took home the Cyrus H. McLean award as the Canucks’ leading scorer and will keep it unless Daniel manages to score 6 points on Saturday against the Oilers without Henrik getting any.
Dan Hamhuis deservedly won the Babe Pratt award for best defenceman, Cory Schneider understandably won the Cyclone Taylor award as the team’s MVP, and Jannik Hansen simultaneously had his praises sung as the team’s Most Exciting Player and was named the team’s unsung hero with the Fred J. Hume award.
That just doesn’t seem like enough awards, so we put together seven more:Continue Reading —›
If this was Roberto Luongo’s last hurrah in Vancouver, it wasn’t a particularly good one. After playing their best game of the season against their hated rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks settled in and played a thoroughly mediocre game against their mildly-disliked non-rival, the Anaheim Ducks. With both teams stuck in their positions in the Western Conference, with no way to improve or injure their place in the standings, neither team had much to play for.
Still, it’s entirely possible that this was Luongo’s last start as a Canuck in Vancouver, which should have been some motivation. While the Canucks seemed to wake up in the third period and made a concerted effort to win the game for Luongo, by then it was too little, too late, two-one. And then three-one. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The playoffs are just a couple games away, which means it’s time for teams to get vague about injuries. While NHL teams are maddeningly non-specific about injuries at the best of times, the playoffs bring out the slimy politician in every coach, as no one wants to give the opposition any clue as to what injury a player has suffered, lest they target that injury in subsequent games.
A player could blatantly break his leg, with the bone sticking out through his hockey pants, and his coach would describe it as a “lower body injury.” A player with a literal hole punched out of his chest wouldz have an “upper body injury.” At one point, after Rick DiPietro suffered a clear head injury, his coach diagnosed him with “general body soreness.” Seriously.
But Alain Vigneault took the next big step in ambiguity on Wednesday: when asked about Cory Schneider’s injury that will see Luongo start Thursday, backed up by Joe Cannata callup, he refused to even say if the injury was to the lower or upper-body. It was just… to the body.Continue Reading —›
It’s not enough to say that Frank Corrado didn’t look out of place in his NHL debut: he looked perfectly in place, skating on Alex Edler’s right side like he’d been there all season. Most rookie defencemen will just try to play a simple game and hope to not get noticed for the wrong reason. Corrado, on the other hand, made his presence felt immediately, stapling Marcus Kruger to the boards with a solid check on just his second shift of the game.
Corrado was credited with 24 total shifts and 17:20 in ice time (though this number turned out to be slightly inaccurate upon closer inspection). Still, he was fourth among Canucks’ defencemen in ice time and matched up against Patrick Kane more than any other Blackhawks forward. In fact, Kane was fed a steady diet of the Edler and Corrado pairing for most of the game, demonstrating how quickly Corrado won Alain Vigneault’s trust.
I wanted to find out exactly how Corrado’s debut went, shift by shift, to see exactly how he earned his ice time, so I went back and watched his entire game. The verb that kept coming up in my notes was quick: quick skating, quick passes, and quick decisions.Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks defence are like Dr. Curt Connors at the moment: all left. With both Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa out of the lineup with injuries, the Canucks have dressed six left-handed defencemen over the past three games, forcing three of them to play on their off-side. While Jason Garrison appears to have made a fairly smooth transition to playing on the right, it hasn’t gone quite as well for the rest of the defence corps.
The Canucks’ defensive efforts have been marred by turnovers and an inability to break out of the defensive zone and it seems likely that the lack of right-handed defencemen is partially to blame. It comes as no surprise, then, that they would try to remedy the situation with an injection of right-handedness into the lineup.
Frank Corrado, who is coming off a superb final season in Junior, got called up to the Canucks today and, judging from the Canucks’ morning skate, he’ll be inserted directly into the top-four. In essence, Corrado is Curt Connors’ experimental reptilian limb regeneration serum: will he fix what ails the defence or will he turn them into a grotesque monster?Continue Reading —›
We have thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural season of New Van Fan as it’s explored the various oddities of being a dedicated fan of the Vancouver Canucks. We’ve seen Andreas, the titular newbie Canucks fan, get a crash course in being a Canucks fan, learning about Keslurking, despair, what not to say, choosing a scapegoat and the disappointment of the trade deadline. We’ve seen him introduce his own unique contributions to Canucks fandom with Snepsts Day and the Alain Vigneault gum game.
But in this week’s episode, the season finale, Dan and Andreas pulled out all the stops, bringing in a very special guest star: Zack Kassian.Continue Reading —›
Throughout the past few months, we have generally emphasized process over results. In the middle of the season, the Canucks were generally outplaying their opponents, but couldn’t string wins together, leading to all sorts of consternation among Canucks nation. We counselled patience, as the Canucks’ process seemed to be sounds, producing positive puck possession, even as it didn’t produce results.
Over the last month, however, the process has been questionable at best. The Canucks have been outshot by some pretty terrible teams, looked lackadaisical in their own end, and struggled to create quality scoring chances. And, of course, now they’re getting the results.
I give up. Nothing makes sense anymore. Heck, the Red Wings might miss the playoffs while the Blue Jackets get in. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. The only thing that hasn’t changed: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Alex Burrows has a lot to be happy about these days. He’s about to get a $2.5 million raise, his team is heading into the playoffs with, if all goes well, home-ice advantage, and there are tentative plans for a charity tennis match between him and Milos Raonic in August, which is pretty dang cool.
Yes, life is good for Burrows and you would think that he wouldn’t have much to be sad about. Oh how wrong you would be, hypothetical person. As this picture from Jeff Vinnick’s Behind the Lens series at Canucks.com reveals, Burrows is super sad right now.
Here are 20 reasons why.Continue Reading —›
It’s time once more for Ask it to Bulis, where two incredibly intelligent, witty, handsome, and humble bloggers answer your questions about life, the universe, and everything, but mostly the Vancouver Canucks. Side effects include enlightenment, rationality, and botanophobia.Continue Reading —›
With both Ryan Kesler and David Booth on the injured reserve list to start this season, the Canucks were forced to rely on Mason Raymond to anchor their second line and provide secondary scoring. Considering his decline in offensive production over the past couple seasons, this seemed to be a cause for concern.
Raymond, however, stepped up in a big way and was one of the Canucks most consistent forwards early in the year. It appeared that the extended off-season created by the lockout significantly helped his recovery from a broken back in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and that Raymond was back to his 25-goal form that earned him a two-year $5.1 million contract extension in 2010.
Over the course of the season, however, Raymond’s play has gradually begun to flatline and there are some significant causes for concern for the future. With Raymond approaching his first off-season as an unrestricted free agent, the Canucks need to seriously consider whether they will re-sign the speedy winger, with his playoff performance likely playing a large role in the decision.Continue Reading —›
Thanks to his run-in with Mike Smith, Alex Edler is halfway to repeat offender status. All he needs to do is offend again. People who follow the Canucks closely are likely sceptical that he will do so, since Edler is one of the quietest and most unassuming players in the league and not prone to taking runs at other players.
Or maybe he is. According to Dirk Hoag from Nashville Predators’ blog On the Forecheck, Edler took a run at Predators rookie Mattias Ekholm, leading with his elbow and making contact directly with Ekholm’s head on Monday night.
The accusation caught me a little off-guard. There was no fuss made over the hit during the game, either on the TV broadcast or on Twitter, and Edler didn’t receive a penalty. But Hoag thought the hit was dirty and even worth supplemental discipline. Is he right? Let’s take a look at the hit itself.Continue Reading —›
The big story heading into this game was Ryan Kesler getting moved to the wing alongside Derek Roy in order to load up the top-six with offensive talent. It turned out that story was a big, fat lie and everyone who told that story was just a big, fat liar and a generally terrible person. Just awful.
What actually happened was that Derek Roy moved to the wing alongside Ryan Kesler. Completely different.
Some chemistry experiments lead to a slow descent into moral ambiguity. Thankfully, the chemistry experiment that threw Kesler and Roy together produced offence instead of methamphetamine. Still, I suffered from withdrawal symptoms after I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Barring a massive collapse in the final seven games, the Canucks are firmly ensconced in the playoffs and will comfortably win the Northwest Division for the fifth straight season. Since the Canucks’ incredible 2010-11 season, however, it’s been harder and harder to satisfy Canucks fans. Last season, the Canucks won their second straight Presidents’ Trophy with a 111 points season, just 6 fewer points than in 2010-11, but since the Canucks didn’t look as dominant, they still received plenty of criticism.
This season, some of that criticism is definitely deserved. The powerplay has been disastrous, the Canucks have frequently been a fire drill in their own end, and their depth at centre has been a question mark all season long and remains an issue as Ryan Kesler will be moved over to the wing for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. Still, the Canucks are a positive puck possession team, have the fourth-highest goal differential in the Western Conference, and have been able to lean on some exceptional goaltending. They still look like a team that can potentially go far in the playoffs.
One of the criticisms I’ve been hearing lately has to do with the playoffs, specifically how well the Canucks have performed against playoff teams as compared to non-playoff teams. A certain segment of the Canucks fanbase is pessimistic about the Canucks chances in the playoffs because of their record against playoff-bound teams. Is this criticism justified? Have the Canucks performed particularly poorly against these teams?Continue Reading —›