Alex Burrows suffers injury at World Championship, because of course he did [VIDEO]

Alex Burrows’ season was so cursed that it managed to continue past the end of the actual season. Burrows was playing a key role for Team Canada at the World Championship in Minsk, killing penalties and playing with young talent like Nathan MacKinnon and Brayden Schenn.

It was too much to hope that this one thing would continue to go right for Burrows. Burrows left Team Canada’s 6-1 win over Italy at the end of the first period after a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Joachim Ramoser.

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John Tortorella wanted the Canucks to buy out Alex Burrows [Report]

It was just a matter of time. After Trevor Linden finally fired John Tortorella at the end of April, eventually some juicy behind-the-scenes stories about his brief tenure with the Canucks would come out.

Sure enough, Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail went on the Team 1040 and shared a series of interesting and surprising revelations. He also tweeted out a few of the most notable things he’s heard since Tortorella’s departure.

The biggest revelation of them all: Tortorella continually put pressure on Mike Gillis and ownership to buy out Alex Burrows’ contract. For those looking to paint Tortorella with a Mike Keenan-shaped brush, there’s your “forced a beloved player out of Vancouver” moment, in case contributing to the trade of Roberto Luongo didn’t cover it.

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Stick in Link: Bo Horvat prepares for Memorial Cup, World Championship update

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 Wednesday during the offseason. 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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Kevin Bieksa hijacks interview with Nathan MacKinnon, is hilarious

It has been well-documented here on PITB that Kevin Bieksa is a funny man. We collected his twenty best quotes during our (ultimately successful) Twitter Needs Juice campaign. Once on Twitter, he owned the medium, photoshopping a disturbing image of a naked Alex Burrows and riffing with Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo.

He dropped the phrase “milk hot dogs” seamlessly into an interview to win a bet. He throws gloves and punts helmets. He has, multiple times, called out the hosts at the Jeff O’Neill show for their dumb questions in his interviews with them.

Then there was the highlight of his comedy career: doing an entire interview with Mike Dunsmore of Fox Sports while pretending to be Ryan Kesler.

Now that he’s the captain of Team Canada at the World Championships, don’t expect him to suddenly turn serious. During his first practice as captain, he started off leading stretches with snow angels. Then, before the tournament started, he butted in on an interview with 18-year-old wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon, turning it from a run-of-the-mill interview into something way more awkward and hilarious.

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Bieksa, Burrows, and Garrison come up big as Canada bounces back

There was plenty of consternation to go around on Friday when France stunned Canada in the tournament opener, handing them a 3-2 shootout loss. There’s no getting around it: Canada played poorly, Cristobal Huet did not, and anything can happen once a game gets to the shootout.

You’re not supposed to lose to France. You’re supposed to attack them quickly, occupy their defensive zone, and wait for them to surrender. Yep, jokes about France surrendering. That’s what you get on the weekend.

France looked like a team, while Canada just looked like a collection of players, with many quick to point fingers at the team’s leadership, headed by newly-minted captain Kevin Bieksa. It’s not entirely fair — with 12 players under 25, some early nerves were inevitable — but Bieksa, along with fellow Canucks Jason Garrison and Alex Burrows, are among the few veterans on the team and will bear the brunt of responsibility for any failures.

It also means they’ll take a lot of responsibility for any victories, and all three played a major role in Canada’s bounceback victory over Slovakia.

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How much is Zack Kassian worth?

The Canucks’ new General Manager is going to be very busy right away. Linden has said that he wants a GM in place by the end of May. That’s just one month before the NHL entry draft, with free agency beginning a few days later.

In addition, the new GM may have to move quickly to hire a replacement for John Tortorella, as the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes are also in the market for a new head coach. On top of all that, the Canucks have ten pending restricted free agents that will either need qualifying offers or new contracts before June 30th.

The Canucks have an interesting group of RFAs, with seven of them playing at least a few games in the NHL last season. The two most important ones are Chris Tanev and Zack Kassian and they both present interesting problems. Tanev is extremely difficult to evaluate, because his contributions don’t generally find their way to the scoresheet, while Kassian’s inconsistency makes it difficult to judge how he will perform going forward.

Let’s tackle the easier issue first: just how much should Zack Kassian make on his next contract?

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What type of General Manager should the Canucks hire?

According to the man himself, Trevor Linden will begin interviewing candidates for the Canucks open General Manager position this week. Linden has spent the past month putting his list of potential GMs together and there has been plenty of speculation over who is on that list.

We want to take a different tack, however, and look instead at different types of GMs, just like we did last year when the Canucks were looking to hire a new coach. In hindsight, I think we can agree that all of our suggestions were better than what the Canucks eventually did.

There are a number of directions Linden could go in his search for a new GM and the type of GM that he targets will profoundly affect the direction of the franchise.

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Eulogy: Remembering the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche

Congratulations, Colorado, on dragging out the inevitable. As you hang up your sweaters, that appear to have been designed by the world’s most boring 8-year-old, you can look back at your playoff run and feel proud of almost winning a round.

You had your fans high on nostalgia to start the season, with Joe Sakic in charge in the front office and Patrick Roy behind the bench. Rumoured plans to hire Peter Forsberg as head trainer were scuttled when the 40-year-old Swede reported he was training for one more comeback attempt.

Now you’re just high geographically and on legalized marijuana, as nostalgia has gone awry, like adding noses to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s been over a decade since the Avalanche were at all relevant in the NHL, so it’s understandable why you would want to recapture some of that former glory. It almost worked. Instead you became the only division winner to get knocked out in the first round.

You should have known better.

After all, adopting a team slogan like “Why not us?” was just asking for trouble.

Why not us? Oh, there are so many reasons.

Let’s start with the obvious: You’re just not that good.

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Unemployed Trotz, still employed McLellan the odds-on favourites for Canucks coaching job

John Tortorella was fired on Thursday, because the Canucks were bad and he was the head coach while they were bad and Trevor Linden had no confidence that he would help make them less bad in the future. I think that sums it up pretty succinctly.

Unsurprisingly, with Tortorella not even metaphorically cold in his metaphorical grave, the speculation over who the Canucks might hire as their next coach began immediately. Never mind that Trevor Linden hasn’t even begun interviewing General Manager candidates: Canucks fans want immediate action on the coaching front.

The battle lines were quickly drawn, with some hoping the recently fired Barry Trotz would find his way to the Pacific Northwest, while others were rooting for the San Jose Sharks to lose in spectacular fashion so that Todd McLellan would get fired and thus be available for the position. Still others cried out for literally anyone but either of these two.

Why, Canucks fans are so passionate about the subject that they might, hypothetically, be willing to put money on the line. Bodog is figuratively betting on people literally betting on it.

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John Tortorella fired by the Canucks after one season

Wednesday was an incredibly jam-packed day for sports fans. All three game sevens in the NHL playoffs were intense, with the game between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild particularly crazy. Game five between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets was a nailbiter, with the Raptors giving up a 26-point lead before eking out the win.

Then, just to make things interesting, a slew of new Rob Ford rumours: He’s heading into rehab. There’s a new video of him with a crack pipe. He made extremely crude comments about a political rival. He had a run-in with Justin Bieber. There’s a sex tape.

Really, it was the perfect time to break news that you want to slip under the radar. So, appropriately, news broke. According to Farhan Lalji, the Canucks will fire John Tortorella on Thursday.

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Stick in Link: Jim Benning, GM frontrunner; Zack Kassian plays dodgeball

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 Canucks prospect highlights from round three of the OHL playoffs [Video]

There are still two Canucks prospects in the CHL playoffs. Regrettably, neither are high-scoring forwards who provide plenty of fodder for highlight videos. Anton Cederholm made it to the finals of the WHL playoffs with the Portland Winterhawks, while Miles Liberati is in the OHL finals with the North Bay Battalion. The three remaining Canucks [...]

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Eddie Lack’s bandaged finger indicates some sort of finger injury [Video]

When Eddie Lack was invited to play for Team Sweden at the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus, he was understandably excited. He called it a “dream come true” on Twitter, which makes sense. Just four years ago, Lack was a backup in the Swedish Elite League (behind his new backup, Jacob Markstrom) and putting on the blue and yellow to represent his country must have seemed like an unreachable fantasy.

Regrettably, it turned nightmarish just a week later when he had to pull out of the tournament due to injury. What injury, you ask? That’s the thing: we don’t know.

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What happened to Jannik Hansen?

Along with the overall disaster that was the Canucks’ 2013-14 season, many of the tales of individual disaster have been well-covered. Alex Edler is squarely in the spotlight thanks to his eye-catching league-worst plus/minus, the Sedins’ fall to 40-points forwards has been well-documented, and Alex Burrows’ unexpected goalless slump was one of the biggest stories of the season.

Lost a little in the hubbub was Jannik Hansen. That’s not unusual for the Dane, as he usually flies a little under the radar, winning the Fred J. Hume award as the Canucks’ unsung hero twice in the last three years. This season, however, he was unsung for a legitimate reason: there was nothing to sing about.

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Six Canucks heading to Belarus for Ice Hockey World Championship [Updated]

Getting the call from your home country to play in the World Championship has to be a little bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous honour to play for your country. On the other hand, it means you either missed the playoffs or got eliminated awfully early.

Accordingly, it can be difficult for a player to get excited to suit up for more hockey, having just recently come to grips with the thought of a long off-season. Others may decline the invitation due to lingering injuries that they’re eager to rehab before getting back into training and working out for next season.

Seven Canucks, however, have shaken out the doldrums and disappointment to commit to playing for their various countries: Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Jannik Hansen, Nicklas Jensen, and Eddie Lack.

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Stick in Link: Andrew Alberts’ concussion recovery and the search for a new GM

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 Canucks prospects put up points in round two of the CHL playoffs [VIDEO]

The Canucks have to be proud of the performance of their prospects in the CHL playoffs. After two rounds, three prospects are still in the top-ten in OHL playoff scoring: Dane Fox, Brendan Gaunce, and Cole Cassels. The Canucks have five prospects still in the playoffs — the aforementioned three forwards and defencemen Miles Liberati and Anton Cederholm.

Bo Horvat’s London Knights regrettably got eliminated by the Guelph Storm, but will still get a chance to play for the Memorial Cup since they are the hosts of the tournament.

Since so few of the CHL playoff games are televised, I compiled a highlight reel for round one two weeks ago and I have done the same for round two, featuring some pretty assists from Brendan Gaunce and an outburst of goals from Cole Cassels.

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Five ways for Canucks fans to decide who to cheer for in the NHL playoffs

The NHL playoffs start tonight and, for the first time since 2008, the Canucks won’t be participating. Watching hockey without a rooting interest is all well and good, but it’s generally more fun to have a team to cheer for. So which team do you ally yourself with, if any?

For some fans, this is an easy decision, as they are already fans of another team in addition to the Canucks, for whatever reason. For some, it’s because they moved to the west coast after growing up elsewhere and still have a place in their heart for their childhood team. For these people, if their other favourite team is in the playoff picture, they’re sitting pretty.

For the rest of us, however, we have a decision to make: who do we root for in the playoffs? Here are five ways to decide.

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Spitballin’ on Jamie Benn as a Canuck, Barry Trotz, and Heat leaving Abbotsford

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.

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Trevor Linden praises the ‘Boston model’, thinks Shawn Thornton is ‘an important player’

During the first intermission of Saturday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Ron MacLean conducted a quick but informative interview with Trevor Linden about his new job as President of Hockey Operations with the Vancouver Canucks. While Linden still sounded like someone coming to grips with his role and hedged his bets on several answers, MacLean managed to get some interesting responses out of Linden.

Unfortunately, one of the most interesting responses was also one of the most concerning. When Linden started talking about having a “well-rounded group of forwards” — particularly in regards to the third and fourth lines — he referenced the “Boston model” and immediately praised Shawn Thornton as “such an important player” for his team.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Edmonton Oilers, April 12, 2014

As is appropriate for this season, the Canucks earned a moral victory in their final road game. Not only did they lose, thereby giving themselves the opportunity to clinch the 6th overall pick in the upcoming draft with a loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday (and simultaneously worsening Edmonton’s draft position), but they also managed to get a rival team’s fans to call them classy.

As CBC constantly reminded us all game, this was Ryan Smyth’s final NHL game and, like Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames did for Trevor Linden, the Canucks came back out on the ice after the game ended and, led by Henrik Sedin, shook Smyth’s hand and wished him the best.

The reaction was immediate and universal. Even the most ardent Canucks haters could only muster a weak joke about it being the first instance of class ever shown by the Canucks. For one brief moment, Oilers fans were forced to like and respect the Vancouver Canucks. If that’s not a moral victory, what is?

Also, they played something resembling hockey before all of that. I watched this game.

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Spitballin’ on Bieksa to Worlds, Dane Fox’s award, and John Tortorella’s systems

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.

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The Week Ahead: A Northwest Division farewell tour

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?

This week, it’s the end of the season and the Canucks face a trio of former Northwest Division opponents.

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Stick in Link: Hello Trevor Linden, farewell Mike Gillis, whither John Tortorella?

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 [...]

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Trevor Linden is the future of the Canucks; is John Tortorella still part of it?

Trevor Linden made a good impression in his first press conference as the Vancouver Canucks new President of Hockey Operations. He apologized for lying in his interview with Global TV, he was humble in discussing his lack of experience and need to surround himself with intelligent, experienced people, and he looked comfortable handling every single question that came his way.

The same can’t be said for Francesco Aquilini, who didn’t look at all comfortable in front of the cameras, awkwardly reading from a prepared statement before answering the media’s questions.

Apart from thanking Mike Gillis for “his years of service” three times — it was literally the exact same wording, like he had practiced saying it in front of the mirror the entire previous night — he also gave a particularly convoluted answer when asked about John Tortorella that seemed to imply that Tortorella wouldn’t be with the team next season.

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