I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, March 29, 2014

Hey, remember the Northwest? Back in the day, the Canucks were the lone bright spot in a division so hapless — yes, so utterly devoid of haps — that it would occasionally spit out freebies, like a malfunctioning vending machine. They’d waltz into Minnesota, Colorado, Calgary, or Edmonton, and before they could even hit the ice: instant win. The Division would belch out a couple points, and the team would add them to the pile and head home.

I know the Canucks haven’t forgotten, because they’ve spent most of this season doing their best to keep the spirit of the Northwest alive and well in the new-look Pacific. Of course, since their role — the dominant team snatching up all the easy wins — has been split among the California teams, they’ve really had no choice but to settle in as one of the bottom-feeders handing out free points.

It suddenly dawned on me that the Canucks have become last year’s Colorado Avalanche when I watched this game.

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Alex Burrows suffers rare legal headshot, chips tooth eating granola bar, is the most cursed you can be

How cursed is Alex Burrows? Let us count the ways.

In his first game, he broke his ankle blocking a shot. He missed four weeks. Shortly after returning, he broke his jaw blocking a shot from a teammate — the muffin man Chris Tanev, at that. He missed six weeks. In a fight with Phil Kessel, which is the hockey equivalent of letting your cat go to town on your sleeve, Burrows sprained his hand.

And while all this is going on, Burrows can’t score. Tom Sestito scores five times. Zac Dalpe scores four. Down in Phoenix, a goalie scores. Meanwhile, Burrows can’t buy one.

Then, finally, when he does, scoring two in one game then three more in his next three, he suffers yet another injury after Shea Weber nearly chops his thumb off on a slash. And in his first game back from that ordeal, Wednesday night in Minnesota, the hockey gods decide he hasn’t had enough yet, and subject him to the rare, legal headshot:

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Stick in Link: The Desolation of Luongo; Alex Burrows on the quiet room

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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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Minnesota Wild, March 26, 2014

The Vancouver Canucks hit the ice in Minnesota Wednesday night hoping to accomplish three things: win their third game in a row for the first time in 2014, prevent the Wild from sweeping the season series for the first time ever and, in so doing, upgrade their scant playoff hopes from “LMAO never gonna happen” to “LOL doubt it”.

These are depressing goals. Fortunately, this game was far from depressing, as the Canucks accomplished all of their goals, and even scored five in the process, the first time they’ve tallied five regulation goals since they beat Boston in mid-December. Like that game, the catalyst for the scoring outburst was David Booth, who appears as at home versus the Wild as he does in it. Like Booth perched in a bush, quietly loading his crossbow for the kill, I watched this game.

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Guest Post: ‘Best Canucks season ever’, says Ryan Lambert, of his own free will

All anyone has heard these last few months about the Vancouver Canucks is that this season has been a catastrophic failure. They say there are a lot of reasons why.

The team loses a lot, for one thing. And you’d have to say that’s probably a pretty big one because losing 1) sucks, and 2) is something to which this team has lately grown unaccustomed. The Canucks used to win their division a lot, you know? Like a LOT a lot. Won two Presidents’ Trophies too. Went to a Stanley Cup Final. Went to Game 7 in it, in fact. So yeah, the losing hurts.

Then there’s the mismanagement, they say. Alain Vigneault fired. John Tortorella hired. Trades that have ostensibly brought the team lower than it has been in years with little hope of significant improvement ahead. At least, not so significant that the team seems poised to return to the glory days any time soon.

Especially because of realignment, they say. Before the Canucks could expect a spate of games against Colorado and Calgary and Edmonton and Minnesota. Lots of easy Ws in there for sure. But now they’re sharing a division with Los Angeles and San Jose and Phoenix and Anaheim, and even with Calgary and Edmonton still mixed in there (and still awful) things are really not even close to being quite so rosy as they used to be. Not that they’re going to get better, either, since re-realignment doesn’t seem like it’s going to be on the table any time soon.

To these naysayers, I reply, “You obviously haven’t been paying attention.” This has been, in point of fact, the best Canucks season ever.

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The Week Ahead: One last back-to-back, and the return of Alain Vigneault

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?

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The Paper Feature: All aboard the Miracle Express, the Canucks are making the playoffs

Looking at the standings, at the odds, at the team’s injury list, which currently includes Henrik Sedin (again), Chris Tanev (again), and Alex Burrows (again), and even looking at the schedule’s final stretch, which the team would basically have to sweep to even have a puncher’s chance, it’s pretty much impossible at this point to ignore the obvious:

The Canucks are poised for a miracle run. That’s right. I said it.

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Stick in Link: Henrik Sedin injured again, proving this season is super cursed

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: Canucks not totally dead, just mostly, with nine games remaining

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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Eddie Lack asks ‘Do You Wanna Have a Goalie Fight?’ in amazing Frozen parody

If Roberto Luongo’s trade to the Florida Panthers was the final chapter in his incredible saga in Vancouver, the following week’s visit from his old team, now led by Eddie Lack, was a fitting epilogue. It even got the sort of dramatics that we’ve come to expect from this tale, with the whole thing culminating in a shootout.

But to hear Lack tell it, he wanted more dramatics. “I challenged him to a goalie fight when we chatted before the game but he didn’t want to go,” said the Swedish netminder.

Over on Reddit, that got people talking. Not about who would win such a fight, mind you, but about what it would sound like if Lack didn’t just ask the question — he sang it, like Anna asking Elsa “Do you wanna build a snowman?” in Disney’s Frozen.

From there, lyrics were written. And then the thing was recorded by Redditor heyheymse, and honestly, she killed it. It’s amazing and hilarious. Fair warning that it also gets a little NSFW for strong language in the second verse.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Buffalo Sabres, March 23, 2014

By defeating the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks put themselves in an incredible position. Maybe not a position to make the playoffs, mind you — the 2013-14 Canucks have more modest goals right now — but with that victory, the Canucks were poised to string together their longest win streak in over two months: two games, sucka!

All they had to do? Beat the Buffalo Sabres, whose best forward has yet to prove he’s the better end of the one-for-one trade that gave the Canucks Zack Kassian. Now, no offence to Zack Kassian, especially not after the lights-out game he had, but that shouldn’t be difficult, and since it’s proven to be for the Sabres’ best player, beating them at hockey is not. I watched the Canucks go streaking when I watched this game.

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Stick in Link: Nicklas Jensen will save us, and other reasons to be optimistic

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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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Nashville Predators, March 19, 2014

The Canucks’ chances of making the NHL playoffs are slim. Fatboy slim. They’re not mathematically eliminated, but the fans in this city have never put their faith in math, and dammit, they aren’t about to start now. Glimmer of hope or no, I think we all know the Canucks are playing out the string.

That in mind, the games we’re watching now aren’t really games anymore. They’re game-length commercials for next year’s club. And as advertisements go, this one was pretty effective, showcasing two of next year’s stars in Eddie Lack, who busted out of his funk like Rick James busting out on the funk, and Nicklas Jensen, who continues to score like Hans Zimmer. I was effectively marketed to when I watched this game.

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The Week Ahead: Canucks visited by other lowly teams, the Predators and Sabres

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?

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Stick in Link: Bo Horvat is Canucks’ top prospect; Burrows snarks on hot streak

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 ‘Someone Like Lu’, the last (and best) Luongo tribute, we promise [VIDEO]

The Roberto Luongo trade caught everyone off guard. Heck, would it really have surprised anyone if Mike Gillis had been called for comment, only to respond with, “WE DID WHAT?!” It was pretty sudden.

There really wasn’t much time to get our bearings, either. We wrote our songs as we tried to come to terms with the new order, but before we could even be close to over the guy, suddenly, the Canucks were down in Florida watching Luongo tend net for the Panthers.

There’s really one way to tackle a situation that emotionally complex, and it’s with more music. And so, at the suggestion of several readers, I took it upon myself to repurpose Adele’s “Someone Like You”, which is a sad song about seeing a former flame and feeling weird, as a song about our curious situation.

Then I rounded up a couple friends. In the long-awaited first (and hopefully far from last) collaboration with the insanely talented Marie Hui and Clay Imoo, may I present, “Someone Like Lu”.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning, March 17, 2014

The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off an incredible trick just prior to Monday night’s game versus the Canucks. In a pregame ceremony, they purported to honour the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, who hoisted the Cup on June 7, 2004. But when their video tribute began, the date on the JumboTron read June 7, 2014, which isn’t ten years ago — it’s three months from now.

One might say that this is a mistake. But that would be the mistake. In fact, this was a deliberate act of cunning: the Lightning left the Canucks completely confused as to whether they were in the past or the future. By the time the Canucks realized the answer was neither, as they were in the present, playing a hockey game, they were losing the hockey game, and they kept losing the hockey game until they had lost the hockey game. And I watched this game.

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Could Markus Naslund return to the Canucks?

The last time Steven Stamkos was in town with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the superstar forward was overshadowed by Markus Naslund, who saw his number retired by the Canucks in a ceremony before the Lightning’s 5-4 shootout victory.

With the Canucks visiting Stamkos’s Lightning on Monday, the people of Vancouver once again have Markus Naslund on the brain, as rumours swirl that Naslund could be joining the Canucks’ front-office.

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Big Numbers: Canucks’ playoff chances; Tom Sestito’s chase for 20 fights

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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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Florida Panthers, March 16, 2014

If we had been paying better attention, I think we would have been able to predict that Roberto Luongo would be a Florida Panther by mid-March, and I mean before Eddie Lack started the Heritage Classic. Are we honestly supposed to believe the NHL schedule just conveniently had Luongo facing Cory Schneider and Eddie Lack in back-to-back games, so soon after the deal?

That’s weird. It’s even weirder when you consider that the Panthers’ next four games are against the Chicago Blackhawks, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the Graz 99ers, and IF Björklöven. Those are the respective teams of Jason LaBarbera, Curtis Sanford, Dany Sabourin, and Andrew Raycroft. Three of those teams aren’t even in the NHL! It’s as Ann as the nose on plain’s face! We should have seen it. But it became all too clear when I watched this game.

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Canucks’ team bus breaks down, as cursed season continues

It is widely accepted now that this Canucks season has been cursed from the outset. Where this curse came from, we cannot know, although considering Alex Burrows got it the worst (with his linesmates, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, getting it the second-worst), we can probably assume that he was the prime target. Did he deny a witch a bank loan? Find an evil book in an old cabin and read a Latin passage aloud? Spend the offseason tending a secluded hotel in the Colorado mountains? It could be anything.

Whatever it was, however, Burrows managed to shake loose from it Wednesday night in Winnipeg through sheer force of will, playing his heart out and scoring his first goal of the season, just three shots before he matched Craig Adams’ modern-day NHL record for the forward with the most shots on goal in a goalless year. The curse appeared to have been broken.

But if we learned anything from Mickey Mouse’s battle with the broomsticks in Fantasia, or Scratchy the Cat’s similar battle, it’s that breaking a curse doesn’t end it — it just turns it into a bunch of smaller curses determined to keep on cursing, because curses gonna curse.

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Stick in Link: Henrik’s milestone game; thoughts on Kesler

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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The Paper Feature: Several reasons to keep following the Canucks

With the events of last Monday’s historic collapse still weighing heavily on all of our minds, it might be tempting for you to consider joining the Canuck players and tuning this team out for the rest of the year. After all, if what we saw versus the Islanders is an indication of the sort of team we have now, one might say, there’s really no point in tracking this team to their logical end, which is the last game of the regular season, and no further.

No one would blame you for that. Watching the Canucks come out of the tunnel after the second intermission leading by a field goal, only to give up a touchdown? That’s tough to take. (Although I’d argue surrendering a third-period three-goal lead would be tougher to take if it happened in the playoffs, in a game 7, against the hated Boston Bruins. So it could be worse.)

But don’t do it. At the risk of sounding like a shill for the Aquilinis, there are so many reasons to keep watching this team this season, and we’re here to give you just a few. Here’s why you should stick with these Canucks.

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Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider star in amazing GIF that pretty much says it all

Things can change in a hurry in the NHL. Last March, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider were locked in a battle for the starting job in Vancouver. This March, they’ll face off twice — on the 14th, and again on the 31st — as the starting netminders for the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils, respectively.

They, like us, probably have their issues with how they exited Vancouver. But unlike us, looking back at the exploding house they just escaped, they’re probably happy to be elsewhere. That is, if they even look back. Two cool customers like that might not even bother. After all, that’s not what cool guys do.

All of this leads us to what has to be considered the GIF of the year in Canuckland. Look at this masterpiece:

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Because someone had to pay, Canucks fire entire concession staff

It’s chaos in Vancouver, and with the club delaying their season ticket renewal letter until they can pair it with some kind of optimism, it’s clear, and it became clearer after Monday night’s historic collapse, that someone needs to pay.

On Tuesday morning, the hammer came down. After 18 years working with the concession pros at Aramark Canada, the Canucks have fired their entire concession staff.

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