Game of the Week: Canucks vs Sharks, November 6th

There’s cause to be excited for the Canucks’ trip to California. After all, it’s not really that far away, so if you’re looking to escape Vancouver during the rainy(er) season, and score some cheap hockey tickets, you can make the trek down south along with them. The NHL schedulemakers have taken care over the last few seasons to give Vancouver fans at least one doable road trip a year, and this year, like last year, it’s the first week of November.

Furthermore, just like last year, it begins with a Thursday night stop in San Jose before Saturday and Sunday visits to Los Angeles and Anaheim, respectively. This allows you to do one of two things: drive down to San Jose for the first game, if you’re feeling bold, then take the Friday to make the drive to southern California, leave after Sunday’s Anaheim game, which starts early, and get back into town on Monday. Or you can just fly down for the weekend set sometime after work on Friday, and fly back Sunday night.

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Real good tweets, starring a chirping @Raffi_RC and a special appearance from Toolsy

You folks made some good tweets last week. Some real good tweets.

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Canucks of the week, starring Jason York between the benches, and poor Tom Sestito

Canucks of the Week, written by Kevin Vanstone, examines who and what is keeping hockey in Vancouver interesting these days. That’s right: who and what. It need not only be players. After all, we are all Canucks. All people, places, things, abstract concepts, ideas, emotions — if it’s a noun, proper or common, it’s a Canuck, and it’s eligible to be a Canuck of the week.

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Yep, Alex Burrows totally got suspended [VIDEO]

Bad news, everyone. Alex Burrows is now a repeat offender.

Thus ends a nice little run for Canucks fans, who were able to meet any charge that Burrows is a dirty player with the glorious little counterargument that he’d never been suspended in his lengthy NHL career. Is he dirtier than Phil Kessel? Because Phil Kessel’s been suspended. WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND THAT, SIR.

It’s over now. Now our defence boils down to, well, we like him a lot, and, uh, shut up.

On Friday, the Department of Player Safety hit Burrows about as hard as he hit Emelin (but not nearly as late), suspending the Canucks’ winger three games for what they called a “late, illegal check to the head.” Here’s your video explanation, courtesy second-generation disciplinarian Patrick Burke:

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Alex Burrows is probably getting suspended

Now in his ninth NHL season, Alex Burrows has earned a reputation around the league as a dirty player. On that much we an agree.

But there’s a difference between a dirty player and a dirty hitter. Burrows plays dirty. We’ve seen it, and several opponents have experienced it. But Burrows has never been one to hit dirty.

So yes, he does, as Habs blogger Andrew Berkshire notes, albeit perhaps a tad hyperbolically, “have a history of dirtbag moves.” But he’s generally flown under the radar when it comes to supplemental discipline because he has no history of dirtbag hits. If Burrows gets you in the head, it’s usually just to pull your hair, and it’s this dedication to cheaply dirty play as opposed to dangerously dirty play that’s allowed Burrows to skate in over 600 NHL games without ever garnering a suspension. So when Berkshire writes, “Burrows has always been a punk, and this is just the latest dirty play from him,” he’s not entirely wrong, but he’s missing a crucial detail. It’s not just the latest dirty play. It’s a new kind of dirty play.

But this kind is, like a pair of ill-fitting pants, suspendable. And while the officials missed it, the Department of Player Safety did not:

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I Find This Photo Odd: Chris Higgins is just astounded

According to the caption that accompanies this typically-excellent Jeff Vinnick photo, what you’re seeing here is Chris Higgins adjusting his helmet. (What you’re not seeing, of course, is the super six-pack that tends to peek out from under his jersey whenever he gets his hands up too high — sorry ladies. And some men.)

But I don’t buy it. I guess this could be a photo of Higgins making sure the bean bucket is on snug. Maybe he just saw Zack Kassian skate by and it reminded him that he could stand to tighten the old brain-protector. (You know, because Kassian wears his so loose. That’s the joke.) Or maybe he saw something else that stunned him. Rocked him to the core. Shattered his entire universe.

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Stick in Link: Daniel Sedin, somehow underrated playmaker; Brooke Malakoff’s inspiring story

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: Empty-netters galore and ‘The Twelve’

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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Breakdowning Brad Richardson’s surprise opening goal versus the Hurricanes

Most of the time, when we break down goals here at Pass it to Bulis, they involve the Sedins. The reason for this is simple: Sedin goals are gorgeous and their replay value is high — high enough for us to trump up a flimsy excuse for collecting a paycheque just to watch them over and over.

But today we shift our focus elsewhere, to the Canucks’ third line of Brad Richardson, Shawn Matthias and Zack Kassian, who had their best game of the season Tuesday night versus the Carolina Hurricanes, setting the tone with their hits, as well as a surprising (and surprisingly lovely) early tally.

It was a lovely goal, scored with a promising combination of strength, speed and skill, and it’s worth a second look. So let’s break it down:

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 4, Hurricanes 1

The Carolina Hurricanes came into Vancouver for Tuesday night’s game versus the Canucks with zero wins and seven losses, which meant one of two things: they were definitely going to win, since they were totally due, or they were definitely going to lose, since that’s what they totally do. (That’s right. Filtering the Hurricanes’ record through the lens of my hockey expertise, I determined that the Hurricanes were either going to leave Vancouver with one win or zero. Sometimes they invite me on the radio!)

Turns out it’s zero, as the Hurricanes played the same brand of hapless hockey that got them to Vancouver without a single victory. Just no hap at all. If only they could apply some hapstick. I came up with that terrible, terrible pun while I watched this game.

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Spitballin’ on lots and lots of goals, and Daniel Sedin’s war on Christmas

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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What’s frightening, and enlightening about a visit from the Carolina Hurricanes

Last Friday, in advance of the Carolina Hurricanes’ visit to Vancouver, I made an appearance on “Cheaters Never Win”, a Hurricanes podcast. I’ve embedded the chat below, and my segment (which begins at 34:00) is worth a listen, at least early on, not for me, but for the hosts. To hear them speak is to briefly glimpse into the dark and pitiful mind of two Hurricanes fans.

Yes, pitiful, and don’t you roll your eyes at me, Vancouver hockey dude. I know the Hurricanes have hoisted the Cup, which makes it difficult for us here to ever empathize with their plight, but to my mind, Carolina fans have become a special case. Here’s how low they are right now:

At the outset of the interview, the hosts told me that there was a good chance the Hurricanes would still be winless when they arrived in Vancouver.

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You should probably watch this wackadoo video of the Canucks doing team-building exercises

When the Canucks hired Perry Pearn to round out their coaching staff this summer, we were told his primary responsibility would be remaking the powerplay. Thus far, he’d had success: the Canucks have 7 powerplay goals through 8 games.

So what’s Pearn doing differently? For one thing, he’s actually practicing the powerplay, as opposed to refusing to do so and instead shouting “score a [expletive] goal!” at the five guys randomly picked to play the man-advantage just before they go over the boards.

But it turns out there’s more to it than that, as this insane video demonstrates. Seriously, holy crap, this video.

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The Paper Feature: Good luck explaining the Sedins to people

The Sedins are back.

That appears to be the overriding takeaway from the first nine games of the Vancouver Canucks’ 2014-15 season, as both Daniel and Henrik are operating at better than a point-per-game pace in the earlygoing. The powerplay is clicking, new linemate Radim Vrbata appears to be a strong fit, and suddenly, the twins are twinning at an elite level once again.

Thank the heavens. I, for one, wasn’t willing to see the end of the Sedin era, and not just because I’m a fan of this team and their uncanny twin engine, but because I’m terrified of what comes after the Sedins.

Trying to explain them to people.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Avalanche 7

The Canucks had some trouble with the speed of the Dallas Stars at the beginning of this road trip, so you had to know they were going to struggle to defend against a team that employs both Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. Those dudes have more speed than Sandra Bullock’s 1990s filmography and, much like diehard fans of Sandra Bullock’s 1990s filmography (such as myself), it’s tough to keep them from The Net.

And so, while the Sedins contributed their usual Practical Magic, the Avalanche’s stars were Forces of Nature that saw a tired Canucks team and decided Friday night was A Time to Kill. Duchene, in particular was a Demolition Man, hopping the boards with a “Who do I Gotta Kill?” look in his eyes, going end to end like a Fire on the Amazon. With his third period goal, he guzzled the Hope Floats of Canuck Nation. Perhaps you, like the Canuck defenders, napped through this one. Well. While You Were Sleeping, I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 4, Blues 1

It may have taken longer than expected — about eight months more — but Ryan Miller the game-breaker finally arrived in St. Louis on Thursday night. Unfortunately, he arrived several months after Ryan Miller, paid employee, had departed the Blues organization. That guy’s a Canuck now. Like so many things in life, this is simply a case of bad timing.

Not a case of bad timing? Me, turning this game on at the precise moment it began. That’s good timing, and as a result, I watched this game.

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Stick in Link: Ryan Miller has a bad day; Alex Edler’s 500th game

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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Stick in Link: Desjardins does Dallas, Kassian more Burr than Bertuzzi

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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Spitballin on Bo Horvat’s convenient injury, zone starts, and a John Travolta cameo

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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I Watched This Game: Canucks 2, Lightning 4

You had to know the Canucks were going to lose eventually. By the time the puck dropped on their Saturday night date with the Tampa Bay Lightning, every other team in the NHL had.

That’s right. Every other team, as the Canucks were the last club to lose a game in the NHL this season, which means they win the Governor’s Trophy. Congratulations to our boys in blue and green! Sure, they lost tonight, but even though the Lightning took their unbeaten record away from them, they’ll never be able to take away the Canucks’ unbeaten record through three games. And that’s special. Proudly, I watched this game.

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Game of the Week: Canucks vs Lightning, October 18th

Incredibly, this time around, we have opponents to choose from that aren’t the Flames and the Oilers. You’ll excuse me while I just bask in the selections, and how not-Alberta they are. What a wonderful time to be alive. (Granted, that means these games are going to be harder to win, but after a month [...]

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Real good tweets, starring a wise and knowing @Shazmodius

You folks made some good tweets last week. Some real good tweets.

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Canucks’ sellout streak ends when no one shows up for secret Friday afternoon home game

The Canucks opened the 2014-15 season with back-to-back victories, and with another go at the Oilers on Friday, have a chance to go to 3-0 for the first time in 15 years. Nevermind that it’s probably also been that long since they’ve been blessed with an opening trio of games against last year’s two worst teams — it’s still exciting, and after last season, refreshing. Spirits are high.

Which means it’s a good time to drop some bad news on the people. They can handle it. And to that end, bad news, folks: the sellout streak, hockey’s longest, and one of the longest in professional sports, is over. Here’s the full letter, courtesy Canucks CEO Victor De Bonis.

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Canucks to play rare hockey game on Friday

The Vancouver Canucks hockey team — that’s what they are, it turns out, a hockey team — will play a hockey game contest match Friday night, according to sources.

You’ll forgive our skepticism, and our need to attribute this information to a source. It’s just been so long since they last played that we had begun to suspect that, perhaps, they don’t actually play hockey, that maybe they never played hockey, that the Canucks are a shared delusion, a product of the tainted water of English Bay getting into us, warping our consciousness, telling us lies. As time passed, and their last game drifted further and further into the past, it became less an event that had truly occurred and more a myth. And some, myself included, began to disbelieve.

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Canucks of the Week, starring Kerry Fraser, and he-who-shall-not-be-named

Canucks of the Week, written by Kevin Vanstone, examines who and what is keeping hockey in Vancouver interesting these days. That’s right: who and what. It need not only be players. After all, we are all Canucks. All people, places, things, abstract concepts, ideas, emotions — if it’s a noun, proper or common, it’s a Canuck, and it’s eligible to be a Canuck of the week.

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