Spitballin’ on betting odds, bad systems, and Bo Horvat

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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Stick in Link: It’s going to be the best season ever, says everybody

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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Eddie Lack provides hope for controversy-free season on TSN 1040

Eddie Lack is everywhere these days. EA Sports events. Tim Hortons for some reason. And on Tuesday morning, the Canucks’ backup was on TSN 1040 to talk about the upcoming season.

Needless to say, after a season in which Lack won the starter’s role (if you can even call that death march a victory), there’s some concern that he might be a little annoyed to be back in the backup role. Lack will be watched closely all season, then, for any hint of frustration, any opening to start talking about the Canucks’ crease.

Fortunately, he knows it, and to that end, we have to give the guy credit for deftly sidestepping the question that would have otherwise fuelled this year’s goalie crisis.

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Who will the Canucks be in 2014-15? (Spoiler: we have no idea)

It’s difficult to know quite what to make of the upcoming Canucks season. There are causes for optimism: new management, and with it, a new way of doing business; a fresh-faced (sort of — he has an old man moustache) and slightly calmer coach that won’t try to Double Dragon his way into the visiting locker room or scream at David Booth for no reason; no David Booth, which likely means a higher team shooting percentage; actual prospects who just might make the team out of training camp; and, of course, those billboards promising “change is coming”, as though the Canucks are a vending machine from which you just bought a Caramilk.

But there is also fuel for the cynic. Last year’s leading goal-scorer plays for another team in the division now. Many of the returning players are hockey old. Willie Desjardins, Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have never done this before.

In other words, it’s a crapshoot. Frankly, I’d say the most accurate Canucks season preview comes to us from Doris Day, who said “que sera, sera”. That about sums it up. Will we have rainbows, day after day? No clue, as the future’s not ours to see. But we do know the past. And I can think of four recent teams that next year’s club could be.

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Watch every goal Ryan Kesler scored last season (Part 3)

And finally, we come to the last run of Ryan Kesler goals for which Vancouver fans are ever going to cheer. It’s been amusing watching the backlash to these posts. People: we do this every year. Plus it’s not like Kesler’s the only guy in the videos. More often than not, it’s about seeing what the other guys do to contribute.

Still, I understand that Kesler has become public enemy no. 1 around these parts, and fans don’t want to see him smiling or celebrating ever again. People: your nightmare ends here.

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Watch every goal Ryan Kesler scored last season (Part 2)

Ryan Kesler may be gone, but we can’t forget him just yet. The outbound jerk scored 25 goals for the Canucks last season, which means we have to account for them in our annual series, in a three-part series. The humanity!

We know, you aren’t so fond of him anymore. But before you write him off completely, remember some of the good times. Here are eight more of said good times.

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Eight guys that could centre the Canucks’ second line

The departure of Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks has left a Ryan Kesler-sized hole in the roster, like when a cartoon character exits a room through the wall.

It’s a concern, no doubt. Nobody in the Canucks’ room has the tools or the skillset to contribute what Ryan Kesler did at his best (although if it’s any consolation, neither does Ryan Kesler anymore). Still, someone is going to fill that role this season, and it’s not like the Canucks don’t have options. Let’s take a look at the most likely guys to win that job this season.

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B.C. teachers’ strike is the NHL lockout all over again

It was probably too much to ask for the provincial government and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation to get a deal worked out in advance of Labour Day. After all, both sides have claimed all along to have their students in mind, and clearly, somewhere along the way, thinking of the students turned into thinking like the students. No doubt they looked at this major project, noted they had two months to complete it, and spent the entire summer futzing around before panicking as the deadline approached and making a doomed, last-ditch effort to get everything done in the final weekend.

Good luck chastising the students for procrastinating when you finally do get the chance to bring them back, adults.

Granted, I may not be in a position to moralize about this, since I’m not an educator, nor am I a student or a parent. Plus I haven’t really paid much attention to this dispute, outside of the myriad articles with which my teacher friends have been spamming my Facebook wall for weeks. (Facebookers: the real victims in this dispute.)

But I am a hockey blogger, and as such, I have some experience throwing my hands up at a labour stoppage that needed to be resolved by autumn, wasn’t and now runs the risk of wiping out everything that leads up to the highly-anticipated June finals. This looks familiar to me, and it goes beyond the fact that schools and hockey get going right around September.

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What will the fifth Sedin vs. Sedin challenge be?

Ever since Henrik grabbed his brother by the ankle in utero and then climbed over him to be first out of the womb, the Sedin twins have been extraordinarily competitive with one another. Heck, Daniel only got into hockey so he could be better than his brother at it. He hates hockey. He just hates his brother more.

We’ve seen their competition play out over the last several years here in Vancouver, as Henrik won the Art Ross and a league MVP, so Daniel turned around and won the Art Ross and the other league MVP. Then, this season, when Henrik realized that his Iron Man streak put him way, way behind Daniel in man games lost due to injury, he broke the streak and got injured twice, just so he could make up the ground.

These two don’t quit, and the Canucks just realized that their blood feud can make for some excellent summer content. All week long, they’ve been running a series titled Sedin vs. Sedin, which puts the two brothers against one another in a five-challenge series that will settle the superiority questions once and for all.

Also the loser has to eat a live scorpion, I think.

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Stick in Link: Next year’s Canucks, now with more prospects and coaches!

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 every goal Chris Tanev scored last season

Almost nobody flourished under John Tortorella. Almost nobody. Somehow, Chris Tanev found a way. Tortorella admitted early on that Tanev was really the only defender to get the new system, which was both a good thing and a bad thing, if you think about it. It’s never good when five of the Canucks’ six defencemen don’t really know what they’re doing out there. But at least it confirmed our suspicions that Tanev is a highly-adaptable blueliner of above-average intelligence.

For this reason, and thanks to Tanev’s continued development, he really stood out in 2013-14, and looks poised for a top-four role on the right side next season. (It’s part of why the Canucks felt comfortable letting Jason Garrison go.)

But there’s another reason Tanev stood out last year: he scored six goals. After taking nearly 100 games to score even one, it seemed unlikely he’d be a source of much offence over his career. But now there’s some hope, especially since he seems to have found a weapon in his wrist shot. Here’s every goal Chris Tanev scored last season.

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Watch every goal that Mike Santorelli scored last season

Not since Magnus Arvedson has a Canuck player’s time in Vancouver ended as frustratingly as Mike Santorelli’s. Like Arvedson, who was on fire with the Sedins before a knee injury ended his career, Santorelli was going when he left, with 10 goals and 18 assists in just 49 games. On many nights, he looked like the Canucks’ best forward. But then he was felled by an injury, and by the time he got healthy again, the season was over.

In many ways, Santorelli was the perfect Mason Raymond replacement, working his way up to a top-six role and impressing there before suffering an injury, then leaving for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s a shame, really, that Santorelli didn’t get a chance to finish the season healthy in Vancouver, because he looked like an absolute steal. Granted, some of that was luck — like, for instance, the fact that everyone else was sucking, which made him look even better — but still, as his 10 Canuck goals illustrate, he was a pretty good player for this team.

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Watch every goal that Yannick Weber scored last season

One month ago today, the Canucks re-signed depth defenceman Yannick Weber, and it’s no secret as to why. Three of Weber’s six goals last season came against the Calgary Flames. He’s a flame-killer, like water, or compressed carbon dioxide, and considering how often the Canucks play the Flames, it’s just prudent to have retained him.

Either that or they simply liked his play in a depth role, and feel his offensive gifts will be more use to him in Willie Desjardins’ system. Weber never looked truly out of place (except for those unfortunate games he was used as a forward), and he looked right at home with the Canucks in the offensive zone, where his best weapon — a wicked one-timer — could be showcased.

It’s definitely showcased here, as we run down all six of Weber’s goals in his first season as a Canuck.

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Watch every goal Zack Kassian scored last season

There weren’t a lot of bright spots in the Canucks’ 2013-14 season, but the burgeoning play of Zack Kassian was definitely among them. Despite never really managing to earn John Tortorella’s trust by demonstrating the two-way play that earns one top-six icetime, Kassian still managed to put up 14 goals and 15 assists.

The assists may have been the nicer sign. Watching Kassian for two seasons in Vancouver, it was clear that he had some extraordinary vision — it just wasn’t translating into helpers. But finally, in the back half of the Canucks’ season, as everything else was falling apart, Kassian appeared to be putting it together. By season’s end, he looked like a guy capable of, perhaps, a 20-and-20 season, especially if he finds some chemistry with a centre and gets a spot in the top-six next season.

But enough about next season. Let’s talk about last season, in which Kassian did a lot of good stuff. In his collection of goals, you’ll see power moves, incredible shots, and some deceptive speed for a big man. Here’s every goal Kassian scored in 2013-14.

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Stick in Link: Linden on the radio; Canucks trying to have it both ways

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 summer. 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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Should the Canucks give Johnny Canuck primary logo status?

The Vancouver Canucks have a colourful jersey history, which isn’t exactly a good thing. Recently, over at Puck Daddy, we talked about the Philadelphia Flyers’ narrowly avoiding a run-in with 90s-era teal that would have been a black mark — well, a teal mark — on the franchise’s relatively pure colour palette. For them, it’s always been orange and black. Nothing else.

Not so for the Canucks, whose colours throughout history are almost enough to fill one of those giant Prismacolor coloured pencil sets: blue, navy blue, green, white, silver, yellow, gold, orange, red, maroon, burgundy, and probably some others I’ve forgotten. As Sean McIndoe observed, perhaps the most embarrassing line on the Canucks’ Wikipedia page is this one:

“The team has gone through thirteen different logo and jersey changes in its history.”

All that in mind, you can understand why people might balk at yet another makeover, but Tuesday, during his appearance on the Team 1040 with Matt Sekeres, Trevor Linden suggested the team was indeed considering another change: a swap from the orca to Johnny Canuck as the primary logo.

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Watch every goal scored by a guy who only scored once last season

Here’s how it works at the Every Goal project: you score two goals, you get your own post. But all the guys that tallied just one get lumped into one post, where we chuckle at their rare and random offensive contribution.

This group is always a mixed bag: prospects, fourth-liners, guys that just passed through on their way to Europe, and occasionally, guys that didn’t have a particularly good season. Fortunately, there’s nobody from the latter camp this year (although we were worried about Alex Burrows there for a sec).

This year’s one-goal guys are as follows: defencemen Ryan Stanton, Frank Corrado, and Raphael Diaz, and forwards Kellan Lain, Darren Archibald, and Jeremy Welsh. Diaz and Welsh and already gone, but the other four will be back next year. Think any of these guys have it in them to get their own post next year?

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Watch every goal David Booth scored last season

At some point prior to last season, we at Pass it to Bulis pointed to David Booth as the key to the Canucks’ season. We were mocked. But we would like to point out that Booth had a pretty poor season, which, in the end, mirrored the Canucks season. So I’d say we were right. Who’s the man now, dog?

Booth was bought out at the end of the year, a move that we didn’t particularly agree with, but we can understand. The guy was one of Mike Gillis’s most divisive acquisitions, and with the new regime attempting to do away with all things Gillis in the hopes of selling their “change is coming” mantra, Booth had to go. Now he’s a Maple Leaf, like Mason Raymond before him, as Toronto continues in their bid to embarrass Vancouver as revenge for that weird half-season of Mats Sundin.

Anyway. Before we wipe Booth from our memory forever, always ruing the 20-goal season he never delivered, let’s take a moment to remember how he nearly got halfway there in 2013-14, finding the back of the net nine times. Here’s every goal the ex-Canuck scored last season.

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Trevor Linden’s Twitter account wants to hook you up

Trevor Linden has a big job ahead of him. I’m not talking about his new role as President of the Vancouver Canucks, mind you, although that certainly is a challenge. After all, the rookie president is now tasked with delicately balancing the three heads of power around him — new GM Jim Benning, new coach Willie Desjardins, and shadow owner Francesco Aquilini, who would prefer to have his message filtered through the mouth and supple lips of Mr Linden.

Linden is also tasked with remodelling a stale Canucks team in the hopes of returning them to the Stanley Cup Final, perhaps this fourth time as the victors. But even that’s not the big job I’m talking about.

Instead, I refer to Linden’s Friday afternoon task of seizing his Twitter account back from the bug that has him tweeting gently pornographic chat recommendations to his followers like some sort of E-pimp.

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Watch every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season

This isn’t actually every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season. The title is a lie, as Matthias arrived in Vancouver a few days before the trade deadline having already scored nine goals.

But we don’t concern ourselves with the goals he scored elsewhere — just the ones he scored in Vancouver, and Matthias had three of those, bouncing around the bottom three lines as the Canucks played out the string on a season that was already pretty well gone by the time he arrived.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of his first full year in Vancouver. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got some skill — but where he slots in, and whether or not he even plays at centre — remains to be seen. What doesn’t remain to be seen, however, are the goals he scored last season. Well. At least I’ve seen them. You haven’t yet. Get on that, you.

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Watch every goal Nicklas Jensen scored last season

Nicklas Jensen had one really good week in Vancouver. After finally earning his call-up, he made his presence felt, scoring three lovely goals in four games and leading fans to wonder if perhaps he was the real deal. Sadly, after that, he fell off, although it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was beginning to look good with Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin, but then both of them got hurt. Heck, Burrows breaks his thumb on Jensen’s third goal.

But even now, knowing that he only scores three before the well dries up, it’s tough to look at these three goals and not get a little excited about the Danish winger’s goal-scoring ability. He’s got a great shot. Here are the first three goals of Nicklas Jensen’s career.

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Watch every goal Jordan Schroeder scored last season

One of Jim Benning’s first moves as General Manager wasn’t a move at all, but rather his decision not to move on Jordan Schroeder’s qualifying option. With a shrug, he sent the centre to unrestricted free agency instead, thus ending Schroeder’s relationship with the Canucks. Like Keith Ballard, he seized the opportunity to go home to Minnesota.

Cutting Schroeder loose is a defensible choice. While Benning said goodbye to an asset, and the practical cats over at Canucks Army would argue that this is foolish, the Canucks aren’t hoarders — they’re a hockey team, and one that determined the former first round pick had no value to them. For a small guy, he didn’t appear to have the speed or sizzle necessary to play on the top two lines, and his checking wasn’t particularly conducive to, y’know, a checking role. Worse, he’d probably built up some negative P.R. value as a Gillis draft pick, and the Canucks have spent much of the summer trying to get that “Gillis era” smell out of the franchise, for better or for worse. So they said goodbye to Jordan Schroeder.

And now, so do we. But before we do, we look back on his last three goals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

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Watch every goal Dale Weise scored last season

Dale Weise never really fit with the Canucks. As we’ve discussed previously, he arrived about a season too late for his vision of himself to line up with what the Canucks wanted from him.

Weise fancied himself a goal-scoring grinder; the Canucks wanted him to be a facepuncher who could play. That disconnect was never really resolved, and when John Tortorella arrived and discovered that Weise was unwilling to punch dudes with the frequency of Tom Sestito, he no longer had any use for him. Mike Gillis shopped him unabashedly, sending out a mass e-mail, and soon, Weise was in Montreal, where he’d eventually make quite the mark in the postseason and earn a contract extension.

But before he left, he did manage to pot three goals for the Canucks, which means he gets a post in our annual every goal series, where we look at the Canucks’ goal output, player by player, and observe their tendencies. In Weise’s case, his tendency is simple: he goes to the net, hopes the puck will follow, and then whacks at it until it goes where he wants it to. Simple and effective.

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Stick in Link: Canucks fan optimism; Alex Edler on trade rumours

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 summer. 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 every goal Jason Garrison scored last season

Jason Garrison is gone now, moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning not long after Jim Benning arrived, look at the number of no-trade clauses he had to deal with and said, “Ugh.” Garrison was reportedly disappointed to have to go — he didn’t want to — but then he got the call from Stevie Yzerman, and everything changed.

There’s nothing quite like that call. When you answer the phone and Stephen Gregory Yzerman says, “I want you”, it’s life-changing. And when you’re expecting the call and you don’t get it, well, Marty St. Louis showed us how people react to that. It’s a very special call.

Anyway. Garrison’s gone. But not forgotten, and since he scored seven goals for the Canucks last year, that means he has to be accounted for in the annual every goal series. I hope you like one-timers!

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