The five worst moments from last season’s California nightmare

It’s difficult to know what to make of the Canucks’ strong start. I mean, sure, they’re 8-4-0 heading into Tuesday night’s tilt with the Colorado Avalanche, which is nice, but it’s important to note that their first dozen games were completely California-free. Last season, the Canucks got the San Jose Sharks first. Unsurprisingly, they started the year 0-1. Then they won three straight! Then they played the Sharks again and their winning streak came to an abrupt end.

That’s how it was all last season. Any momentum the Canucks managed to muster was wiped clean by a visit to or from a Californian rival. The Canucks’ combined record against Anaheim, San Jose, and Los Angeles last season: 2-9-3, as they picked up seven of a possible 28 points. Even a record just a notch above .500 — say, eight more points — puts them in a playoff spot. (Granted, they’d have earned a first-round date with the Anaheim Ducks, and, that would have been a disaster for them.)

So here we are, a year later, and after a relatively breezy month of hockey to open the year, with not a single in-division reality check in sight, the Canucks are on their way south for their first meetings of the season with the Sharks, Kings and Ducks. (That sound you heard was a bunch of Vancouver hockey fans gulping, and nervously loosening their collars in unison.) And since knowing where you’ve been is the key to understanding where you’re going, come with us as we review the five worst moments from last year’s California nightmare.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: October in review; Malhotra was Bieksa’s… ad-visor

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.)

Continue Reading —›
Andrew Ference gets three games for headhunting Zack Kassian [Video]

It’s rare for a suspension to make fans of both teams happy, but one suspects that Andrew Ference’s three-game ban for an illegal check to the head of Zack Kassian in Saturday night’s Oilers-Canucks tilt managed to get it done.

Oilers fans probably aren’t over the moon at the thought of playing the next three without their captain, but at the end of the day, it’s a small price to pay for taking Zack Kassian’s head off. Every other wish made in Edmonton has something to do with harming the Canucks’ winger.

As for Canucks fans, good news: there’s no conspiracy against the Canucks. This suspension is equal to the number of games Alex Burrows received for his illegal check to the head of Alexei Emelin just a few days prior, and as we all know, any and all supplemental discipline handed down absolutely must be commensurate to the most recent punishment given to a Canuck (in the eyes of the non-biased Vancouver fan), lest we cry conspiracy. Breathe a sigh of relief. Looks like the conspiracy’s on hiatus or something.

Here’s a look at how the Department saw the play:

Continue Reading —›
I Watched This Game: Canucks 1, Predators 3

I’m not too torn up about this game, to be honest. The Canucks lost, sure, and that’s never ideal, at least not when you’re cheering for them, but considering what’s become of Eddie Lack his last two times out, both of which came, like this one, in the second night of back-to-backs, you have to give the Canucks marks for improvement.

And speaking of marks for improvement, who are these new Nashville Predators? Are we sure this is the same team? Part of me expects to see a Gawker article with clips of their wide-open neutral zone play, wryly titled here are some videos of the Nashville Predators. I hardly recognized them when I watched this game.

Continue Reading —›
I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Oilers 2

Both the Vancouver Canucks and the B.C. Lions were in Edmonton Saturday night, and in a sign of impressive solidarity, both put up the same number of points: three. The problem, of course, is that the Lions needed far more than that to edge the Eskimos — 35 more would have done it. But alas, they were too focused on making sure their total points could be matched by their on-ice counterparts, whose scores didn’t come in multiples of 6. Tough to drop a touchdown on a hockey team, even if it is the Edmonton Oilers.

Of course, these are a slightly different Oilers than the ones we last saw. They’ve tightened up considerably, winning 4 of 5 since being shut out by Ryan Miller on October 17th. Granted, they’ve yet to beat a Western Conference team, and the Eastern Conference really is the Edmonton Oilers of conferences, so they came into this game with something to prove. Between that and the fact that they’ve already lost to the Canucks, like, 17 times this season, they were no doubt chomping at the bit like Alex Burrows nonverbally threatening to strike again. But the result was all too familiar when I watched this game.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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:

Continue Reading —›
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:

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.)

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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:

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.)

Continue Reading —›
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.)

Continue Reading —›
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.

Continue Reading —›
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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Continue Reading —›