Stick in Link: Canucks have Fin, so they don’t need Thornton; coach hunt continues

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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Canucks’ wedding gift to David Booth: cash (in the form of a buyout)

David Booth is set to get married later this month at the field in Montana where he bagged his biggest deer. (He’s a weird dude. This has been established.)

So what do you get as a wedding present for a dude this wacky? Coonskin cap? Bearskin rug? A something-skin something, most definitely, unless you want to go the route the Canucks have reportedly opted to go, and just give him cash.

It’s a pretty impersonal gift, granted, but the Canucks probably don’t mind, since this one doubles as compliance buyout. Late Monday evening, new Canucks GM Jim Benning called Booth’s agent Mike Liut to inform him that the left winger would be bought out.

The David Booth era in Vancouver is, sadly, over.

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Did Alain Vigneault really say the 2014 Rangers were closer than the 2011 Canucks?

After watching his opponent hoist the Stanley Cup right in front of him for the second time in his pro career, Alain Vigneault returned to Madison Square Garden with his Rangers not to play a Game 6, as hoped, but to clean out their lockers for the summer.

Naturally, with two Final losses now weighing heavily on his mind, the head coach couldn’t help but conflate both experiences, and in trying to explain a Stanley Cup Final series that felt a great deal more competitive than most that end in five, he took the approach of contrasting it with the Canucks’ loss.

Then, according to Rangers beat writer Andrew Gross, he said a truly wacko thing: that the 2014 Rangers were closer.

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Why Ryan Kesler’s trade demand could be a blessing for the Canucks

The above photo was snapped by Jeff Vinnick for Getty Images, and here’s what you’re looking at, according to the caption: “Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks steps off the ice for the last time in the season during their NHL game against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena April 13, 2014.”

Be assured that Vinnick arrived at Rogers Arena that night intending to get this exact photo. Why? Because he knew, just as many of us knew, that it was possible Kesler wasn’t just heading off for the last time in the season. If the Selke-winning centre gets his wish, this will soon be a photo of him stepping off the ice for the last time as a Canuck.

The regime change in Vancouver didn’t lead to a mind change for Kesler, as TSN’s Darren Dreger said last week. “He wants a fresh start and to move on from Vancouver; he met with Benning earlier this week to talk about that. It’s believed that Kesler still has six teams on his list that he’s willing to be traded to.”

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Hear the Canucks’ lost 1975 theme song, “We’re With You” [VIDEO]

When it became clear that the 2013-14 Vancouver Canucks weren’t playoff-bound, the team launched a concerted effort to focus on the past. 1994, to be specific. But let’s overshoot 1994 by a couple of decades, and go a little further back, to the halcyon days of 1975.

Back then, the Canucks’ goaltender was a guy by the name of Gary “Suitcase” Smith, so named, during this era when hockey players were better at nicknames, because he was an NHL journeyman. It was the year of the Canucks’ playoff debut, as the team won the Smythe Division in its first season after realignment. And it was the only year in Canucks’ history in which they played without a team captain.

They didn’t need a captain, you see, because they got all the inspiration and motivation necessary to win the big games from their new theme song, “We’re With You”. Yes, the Canucks have a theme song, and to my mind, it rivals “Here come the Hawks”. But I’m biased.

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Breaking news: David Booth takes a slackline to the groin [Video]

It seems like we’re always talking about David Booth’s groin.

It’s been a problem area for him ever since he arrived in Vancouver — something many fans feel is partly Booth’s own doing. The winger has come under fire in recent years for his offseason training regimen, which involves a lot of dry land stuff — weight training, hunting, hiking — and not enough stuff that would get his groin ready for the rigours of a intense sport played on ice.

We’ve scoffed at this notion in the past. But on Wednesday, Booth uploaded irrefutable evidence on his Instagram that some of his groin troubles are self-inflicted:

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Stick in Link: Canucks not trading Edler; Alberts mad as Hell, likely to retire

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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Canucks fan wins the World Shin-Kicking Championship [Video]

With no Canucks playoff games to watch this spring, Vancouver hockey fans have been left to their own devices, tasked with finding something else to do.

Most just went outside. (The weather’s been pretty nice.) But Ross Langill headed to Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds of England, to take part in the Cotswold Olimpick Games, and not just any event. Not the tug of war. Not something called dwile flonking. Not piano-smashing. No sir. Langill signed himself up for the main event: the World Shin-Kicking Championships.

Yes, shin-kicking, where two combatants fill their pants with straw, then face each other, lock shoulders, and kick one another in the shins while trying to score takedowns. Langill signed up for this, proving once again that the Venn diagram of Canucks fans and insane people is a perfect circle.

But Langill didn’t just participate. Sporting a blue Canucks’ home jersey, he won the 400-year-old competition.

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Four ways the 2014 NHL postseason could have been worse to the Canucks

The NHL playoffs have been unkind to the Vancouver Canucks this year.

It seems downright ungrateful when you consider all the Canucks have done for the NHL playoffs. Three years ago, they teamed up with the Bruins to give us one of the most memorable and controversial Stanley Cup Finals in hockey history. The next year, the Canucks lit the Kings on fire and sent them into the second round that way. The rest is history. And last season, the Canucks played the all-important supporting role in The Annual San Jose Sharks’ Postseason Collapse™ as the team that gets crushed in Round 1 to make people think it might actually be San Jose’s year. (The Kings, meanwhile, were tapped to play that same role this season, but refused to see it through to the end, because they’ve been spoiled by their own success. Unprofessional scene-stealers, the lot of them.)

Anyway. Despite all the Canucks have done to make the postseason compelling in previous years, this year, they weren’t even on the guest list. A classless gesture by the NHL playoffs, in our opinion.

But this goes beyond the unceremonious snub. The playoffs also paved a path for Alain Vigneault, fired by the Canucks for failing to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive years, to do exactly that in his first year with the New York Rangers.

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Alex Burrows still getting injured, sucks at buying popcorn in new Visa ads (Video)

Alex Burrows didn’t do much this year. He spent much of the season recovering from various broken parts, and when he was in the lineup, he struggled to score, thanks to a combination of rotten luck, John Tortorella’s “goals are death” system, and a carousel of injuries that set back his conditioning and threw off his groove.

The offseason came earlier than expected, too, so it’s understandable that the Canucks’ winger would have a lot of unexpended energy. It might explain why he’s been busy this offseason, heading to Europe for the World Championships, and still finding time to film a couple new commercials for Visa.

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Eddie Lack should pick the sparkly pony mask (and frankly, he might)

David Booth got a lot of attention early last season when John Tortorella went on record as saying the winger was “a weird dude”. But he’s hardly the only one of those the Canucks have.

Starting netminder Eddie Lack is an equally weird dude, as evidenced by the video introducing his latest mask design contest, in which he’s unashamedly holding an adorable Fin plushie:

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The Boston Model is a myth, but Jim Benning may still know how to follow it

The Canucks confirmed Wednesday what many had been suspecting ever since Trevor Linden was brought in to preside over the Vancouver Canucks: Jim Benning was the guy he was told to hire. “There were moments of clarity for me in speaking with Jim that we just really connected on a hockey level,” Linden said of the personnel [...]

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Stick in Link: Scouting issues; Canucks real happy Vigneault’s doing well and they’re in Europe

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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Jim Benning reportedly close to Canucks’ GM job, because it looks difficult, and he’s into that

It’s hardly a secret that the Canucks have been after Jim Benning, presently an assistant GM with the Boston Bruins, to replace Mike Gillis as the General Manager in Vancouver, and it’s easy to see why they want him: for the last five years, the Canucks have been led by the one-two of Gillis and still-employed AGM Laurence Gilman, two men whose surnames sound very similar. No doubt they’ve keyed wordplay as the secret to success, and very quickly landed on Jim Benning, whose surname rhymes with that of Lorne Henning, their other AGM.

Expect to hear a lot more of Lorne Henning, then, simply because “Benning and Henning” sounds so good together, now that the Canucks are expected to announce Benning’s hiring in the coming days, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

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Dale Weise is beyond good right now

Three goals. That’s three times as many goals as Sidney Crosby had in this postseason. Is Dale Weise better than Sidney Crosby? I’m not saying it. The numbers, they speak for themselves.

Okay. While the NHL playoffs are a breeding ground for the sort of short-sighted thinking that leads to proclamations that Player X is the new best player in the world after a few good games, no one is suggesting that Weise is better than the Penguins’ captain.

But he is better than the Canucks gave him credit for. Weise is making that abundantly clear right now.

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Will Alain Vigneault drive Dan Bylsma right into Canucks’ open arms?

There’s a lot on the line in Tuesday night’s Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers: a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals; questions about Pittsburgh’s core, which is 4-5 in playoff series since their 2009 Stanley Cup, and now a loss away from a 3-1 collapse; Sidney Crosby’s reputation as a game-breaker, which has taken a hit over these playoffs, what with all the games he hasn’t broken.

And, most importantly, for our purposes here in Vancouver, Dan Bylsma’s job. If the Rangers win, Bylsma more than likely hits the open market.

He is, and he would. And wouldn’t you know it, the Vancouver Canucks are in the market for a coach.

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Kevin Bieksa makes Team Canada debut with first career captaincy

Kevin Bieksa would prefer not to be in Minsk right now.

He’d far rather be in North America, where the NHL postseason is taking place. But the Canucks didn’t earn a ticket to that ride, leaving Bieksa, along with teammates Alex Burrows and Jason Garrison (and former teammate Cody Hodgson — awkward) available to join Team Canada’s squad at the World Championships in Belarus.

Still, as consolation prizes go, this one has been pretty incredible for Bieksa. He didn’t just get a call to represent Team Canada — he got the call for the first time in his pro career. And on Thursday, he also became the first player with no previous international experience to be named Team Canada’s captain.

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Stick in Link: GM, coach searches ongoing; Dale Weise is killing it right now

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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Ten questions about ‘Prehistoric Hockey’, the most insane Canucks video of the year

“Prehistoric Hockey”, an absolutely batcrap insane cartoon in which a Canucks’ blowout at the hands of the Calgary Flames is prevented thanks to the arrival of a hockey-playing dinosaur, has taken the Internet by storm. By storm, I say!

The video is the year-end animation project of a grade 11 student, who posted it to the Canucks subreddit a few days back, and thank goodness, because this thing deserves to be seen. It is, dare I say, a must-watch. What it’s not, however, is a must-understand, because it seems downright impossible to comprehend. All we know is that, if there’s any justice in the world, the kid who made it got an A+++++++++, like Ralphie in The Christmas Story:

Watch and marvel. And then we have some questions.

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John Tortorella is all gone, as Trevor Linden stands alone

On May 1 of last year, the Canucks played their first game of the 2013 postseason. Roberto Luongo was the starting netminder, backed up by Cory Schneider. Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown patrolled the benches. Mike Gillis watched from his suite overhead.

One year later to the day, it’s all gone. Those coaches have long since moved on. No Luongo. No Schneider. No Gillis. No playoffs.

Instead, on May 1 of this year, Trevor Linden sat alone at the podium in the Rogers Arena press room, calmly explaining the decision to relieve John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan of their duties so soon after they arrived that they didn’t even get even a mention in the year-old flashback that opened this piece.

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Stick in Link: The amazing Canuckmobile; Tortorella one and done

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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Three manufactured controversies to pass the time while there’s no news

It’s been all quiet on the Pacific Northwestern front ever since the Canucks’ season ended, which makes sense, for a number of reasons. Trevor Linden still has a lot of reading to do, for one thing, catching up on the six years he spent away from the game. (Any moment now he’s going to get to 2011, at which point one assumes his love of Boston will dissipate in a hurry.)

For another thing, considering the way the year ended, you can understand why the Canucks might want to lay low for awhile, hold up somewhere safe, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. (How’s that for a slice of fried gold?)

But as good as the Canucks inactivity is for those running the show, it’s much less so for those of us running this blog. There’s nothing to talk about. There’s nothing going on. It’s a nightmare.

Fortunately, in times like these, there’s always plan C. The “C” stands for controversy. Let’s create one, and then talk about it like it matters.

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Five potential explanations for why John Tortorella hasn’t been fired yet

The Canucks wasted no time in firing Mike Gillis, showing him the door on April 8, one night after the fans in Rogers Arena called for him to go, and three games prior to the end of the season.

But the team has been a lot slower to make a decision on John Tortorella. It’s now been just under two weeks since the season ended, and we’ve heard nothing regarding what most believe will be his dismissal. Why is that? Here are five possible explanations.

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Stick in Link: Eriksson set to replace Lack at Worlds; Tortorella still in limbo

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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California teams moving AHL affiliations West; will Canucks be enticed?

Last week, the Calgary Flames made like me in my early twenties and declared that they were done with Abbotsford. After five years in the Fraser Valley, the NHL team announced that they were moving their AHL franchise somewhere else.

On the surface, one might say there were about 4000 problems. That’s the number of empty seats the Abbotsford Enterainment and Sports Centre had on a nightly basis, with the Heat drawing just 3000 fans. But really, the primary issue driving Calgary out had less to do with the people of the city, and more to do with where the city was. As I explained in Friday’s blog post, the Heat were basically on an island. With the closest teams thousands of kilometers away, the Flames prospects found themselves in transit far more often than they found themselves in their bed, or in their home arena, practicing. Turning a kid into a pro takes time, and the lengthy trips took too much of it away.

This is the same issue the Canucks would face if they were to immediately move their prospects to Abbotsford. Sure, the parent club is a bus ride away, but the Comets wouldn’t be playing the parent club. They’d still be playing mostly East Coast teams. It’s so bad that the AHL’s “Western Division” includes three teams from Texas, and one team from North Carolina.

But all that is about to change. According to a report from Mayor’s Manor, the AHL is preparing a landmark shift, with five or six Western teams planning to move their prospects into Western markets:

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