I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. New York Islanders, March 10, 2014

When the second period came to a close, the Canucks led 3-0, having outshot the Islanders 19-13, and looking far and away to be the superior club. It was then that I made a grave mistake. Believing the result of this game to be all be assured, I started writing.

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Pass it to Comics: Luongo and Thomas, friends for a season

Pass it to Comics is a collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra, whose Tumblr page, Blue Soup, is a must-follow for any Canuck fan with an appreciation for quirk. Today, we remember a great moment in hockey history.

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Here are some other cool beards Mike Gillis should try

Mike Gillis is going through some things right now. He has a weird new beard.

The Canucks’ GM claims he grew it for “solidarity”, but if so, one can only assume he means solidarity between his chin and his neck. His new beard is something else. It has the look of a goatee, sure, but a goatee that’s grown sentient and then opted to grow a sub-beard all on its own. One wonders if he even has control of the hair. Did he grow it with peanut butter solution?

Gillis’s beard has drawn mockery from the Vancouver fanbase, and at this point, it seems clear that he needs help — which is where we come in. “The Gillis” may not catch on as a beard style, but there are plenty of other styles Gillis might be wise to try on next. Here’s a taste of what he’d look like with each

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Watch Roberto Luongo tributes with us and laugh, and cry [VIDEO]

This week saw the end of an era. After an incredible run in Vancouver, creating memories that would last a lifetime, and staking a claim to the ring of honour, at the very least; after a big-time trade that saw the Canucks bid farewell to a power forward in the prime of his career to bring in an player that signalled the beginning of a new era, the Canucks officially closed the book on that era Wednesday when they parted with Raphael Diaz.

It’s tough to fully comprehend.

Also Roberto Luongo was traded. People are feeling pretty emotional about it.

It’s amazing to think that, not that long ago, the fanbase wanted him gone. (Remember this sign? Remember this window display?) But things have changed since then. Luongo got good at Twitter, the Canucks got bad at hockey, and suddenly, the paradigm shifted. Now he’s in Florida, and he’ll be missed.

We paid our tribute to Luongo with the Elton John-inspired “Goalie in the Wind”, but we were hardly the only ones. Let’s take a look at a few of the other fan tributes that hit Youtube in the wake of the Roberto Luongo trade.

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Stick in Link: Reactions on a quiet day; Eddie Lack, trade deadline winner

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 Week Ahead: Big showdown with Stars, and some very winnable games

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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No confidence in Canucks’ front-office, ownership after idle trade deadline

Coming into Wednesday’s trade deadline, the Canucks could have done just about anything and it wouldn’t have surprised us. They were “aggressively listening” to offers for both Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler, a process we imagine involves an ear trumpet, at the very least. Roberto Luongo had been moved the day before, proving, as the philosopher Kevin Garnett once shouted, anything is possible.

With the team plummeting out of contention, it seemed as though Mike Gillis and co. were on the cusp of blowing it up in the traditional sense — an oft-talked about course of action in hockey, but one that rarely ever happens.

It didn’t happen Wednesday either. The team’s lone move on Wednesday: closing the book on Raphael Diaz’s short tour of duty in Vancouver by shipping him to Alain Vigneault’s Rangers for a fifth-round pick.

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New Van Fan, season 2: Trade Deadline 2014

It’s trade deadline 2014, and this one’s a little different than we’re used to. In recent years, the Canucks have been looking to add at the deadline, to pad an already dangerous roster and hopefully patch any holes and leave the team prepared for a lengthy playoff run.

This time around, that’s not on the table. Instead, after a disastrous season the Canucks are looking to “re-tool”, in the words of Mike Gillis, with Roberto Luongo already gone, and the likes of Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler on the block.

But considering the events of this season, or the fact that Gillis was the architect of them, fans aren’t all that confident that he’s the guy to make these moves and chart the Canucks’ course for the future. Among those fans: Dan and Andreas, the stars of our favourite webseries, “New Van Fan”. But rather than sit around and fret, the two fans have a drafted a letter to Gillis, just to make sure their best interests are kept in mind. It is, as with everyone else they do, quite funny:

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Phoenix Coyotes, March 4, 2014

Let’s be honest: nothing the Canucks did tonight was going to overshadow the events of this afternoon. John Tortorella could have charged into the visiting team’s dressing room, the press box, and two concession booths during this game and it still wouldn’t have done a damn thing to change the front page of tomorrow’s papers. Tuesday was all about the Roberto Luongo trade.

Knowing this, the Canucks didn’t even try to compete with the main story. They played this game like they knew it was going to be a sidebar. Like Frank MacKey waiting out an interview, they sat patiently, counting down the minutes. Occasionally, someone had to hop on the ice, of course, but for the most part, this was as perfunctory as an Adam Sandler movie script. Like the Canucks who played in it, I watched this game.

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Join us in saying goodbye to Roberto Luongo with ‘Goalie in the wind’ [VIDEO]

Welp. Roberto Luongo is gone. It’s a pretty big shock. Granted, I’ve been speculating on this for a little while now. And that god I published that post earlier today, instead of scheduling it for 2pm like I had originally planned. But it’s still weird to think that the Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver is over.

Why, just last summer, we wrote “Big Old Goal”, singing Roberto Luongo back to Vancouver after the shocking events of the 2013 trade deadline forced him to stay. And now we’re saying goodbye to him.

Seems to me that deserves a song as well. So I made one. Here’s “Goalie in the Wind”.

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Trade Ryan Kesler right now, if you really care about us

If Mike Gillis’s plan for this season was to mentally prepare the local fanbase for Ryan Kesler to get flipped for a big package at the trade deadline, he’s a flipping genius.

(It probably wasn’t his plan. Just saying, it’s really worked out that way.)

If you had floated the idea of Kesler exiting Vancouver back in early October, you’d have been asked to leave instead. Kesler was, and still is, the heart of the Canucks, the player arguably most important to their pursuit of another Stanley Cup Final berth.

But that dream is dead now, and if the Canucks want to win, they’ll tear their heart out immediately.

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Luongo, Lack cool things down as Luongo rumours heat back up

Considering what went down at the Heritage Classic, with the spotlight suddenly falling back on Roberto Luongo and his frayed relationship with this Canucks team, one would have been forgiven for thinking the goaltender had reached his breaking point — that he was about to go dark.

The fact that he wore a black tuque didn’t help anything at all. Was he in mourning? Was this the first sign of a full-on transformation into dark period Luongo, the birth of Roberto Luongoth?

Apparently not. He refused to speak on Sunday, but on Monday, Luongo seemed to have found the bright side of not playing in the Heritage Classic: there were no netcam shots of his backside in those cream-coloured pants.

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Big Numbers: Canucks don’t score much; could Kesler make history?

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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Daniel Sedin out, Darren Archibald up, as Canucks silly season continues

The Canucks lost far more than just a game on Sunday afternoon.

They lost the drama-free crease that’s been the lone bright spot in this season. They lost ground in the wild card race, giving up a game-in-hand to the Dallas Stars, who are tied with them at 66 points but have played three fewer games. They lost any shot at people looking on the Millionaires’ jerseys with fondness, after their second straight lackluster performance in the retro duds. And they lost the last ounce of optimism to which this fanbase was clutching, both because of all the aforementioned losses, and because of the one I haven’t mentioned yet.

The club also lost Daniel Sedin to a leg injury.

The winger injured his left leg during the second period of the Heritage Classic, and after staying down quite a bit, hobbled to the bench, and then the locker room. He did not return.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Ottawa Senators, March 2, 2014

Decked out in their Millionaires gear, the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday were supposed to be evocative of the last team to bring the Stanley Cup to the city a little over 99 years ago. It didn’t happen. With a completely avoidable goaltending controversy overshadowing everything (including, amazingly, their own marquee event), the Canucks had less in common with their century-old forerunners than they did last year’s team.

Honestly, it was incredible. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d seen this all before. There was a glitch in the Matrix when I watched this game.

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Eddie Lack starts Heritage Classic, as Canucks dust off the ol’ goaltending controversy

It’s been a weird year. Between John Tortorella’s Punch-Out, Alex Burrows’ goalless streak, the slumping Sedins, and the general decline of the Canucks, which has been so sharp Tom Sestito’s begun to look like a contributor, the patience of Canucks’ fans has been thoroughly tested.

And yet, through it all, we’ve been able to rest on one simple and wonderful thing: despite everything, at least there hasn’t been a goaltending controversy. It took some doing, but with Roberto Luongo finally reporting to camp, a smile on his face, Cory Schneider elsewhere, and new backup Eddie Lack happily, quietly, paying deference to his elder, all has been quiet in the Canucks crease.

Until this bolt from the blue paint.

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Stick in Link: It’s pretty much all Kesler today, as you might expect

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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So, how about that reported Ryan Kesler trade request? Pretty weird, huh?

The Canucks played their first game of the post-Olympic stretch on Wednesday night, and in a stark departure from the the seven games they played before it, they even won! Imagine that! Pretty neat, if you ask me.

But even despite coming away with two points for the first time in a month, few are talking about the busted slump today. Much more compelling than the players who played is the drama surrounding the dude that didn’t: Ryan Kesler, who was out with broken fingers after pounding a table in an aggressive trade demand, or something like that. I’m having a hard time keeping up.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues, February 26, 2014

It was always going to be a difficult transition from experiencing the wonder that was Team Canada to returning to Vancouver Canucks fandom. That’s a major adjustment. But fortunately, the Canucks didn’t drag things out. Rather than trying to ease us into things, perhaps by playing a dominant, fabulous brand of star-studded hockey for a little bit before eventually settling into their old selves, they just ripped off the band-aid, coming out and playing classic Canucks hockey, circa 2013-14, from the outset.

Lots of shots. Not much to show for it. mediocre powerplay. A reliance on Tom Sestito for offence. I can’t say it was a completely welcome return to normality, but what it was was true to life, and we here at Pass it to Bulis appreciate nothing if not verisimilitude. Apart from the win, which was a weird new wrinkle, everything was in its right place when I watched this game.

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The most embarrassing moment of the John Tortorella era happened yesterday

Ask most Canucks fans what the most embarrassing moment of John Tortorella’s brief tenure as Canucks’ coach has been and one incident is bound to spring to mind: the hot-tempered coach’s Oldboy moment, when he attempted to punch his way through a hallway of foes to exact vengeance against Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley.

But not if you ask me. For my money, the most embarrassing moment came Tuesday,

On the eve of the Canucks’ first game of the post-Olympic stretch, Tortorella attempted to clear up a minor firestorm he engendered last weekend, apologizing for his (apparently unconscionable) position on the Olympic gold medal hockey game.

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The Paper Feature: 7 reasons it’s better to cheer for the Canucks than Team Canada

And we’re back.

For three glorious weeks, the Vancouver Canucks effectively did not exist. Their scoring troubles, their inability to hold leads, their injury woes, their losing streak? During the Sochi Olympics, it was all quiet on the Western front, as Vancouver fans were gifted a much, much better team: a team with untold puck-movers, brilliant first-line centres, and, incredibly, two goalies of equal skill, one of which was Roberto Luongo, and yet no goalie controversy whatsoever. This is unheard of in Vancouver.

But now, as the players go back to their NHL teams, we have to do the same.

Don’t cry, Vancouver. If you’re down about this, you’re looking at things all wrong. Team Canada may have been near-flawless, but only near. There were some serious issues with that group — issues the Canucks simply don’t have. This may surprise you to hear, but it’s actually better to cheer for the Canucks right now, and I have reasons.

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Will the Olympics turn out to be a blessing or a curse for the Canucks?

“I love my teammates!” Roberto Luongo tweeted, along with the above photo, shortly after earning his second consecutive gold medal with Team Canada. Of course he does: his teammates include Sidney Crosby, Sidney Crosby’s little brother (“If you’re going to Sochi, take your little brother with you”, Crosby’s mom had said), Dan Hamhuis, Mike Smith, and the adorably huggable Marty St. Louis. How can you not love that team?

Of course, shortly after this photo was taken, these guys, with the exception of Dan Hamhuis, were no longer Luongo’s teammates. And now Luongo returns home to a much more troubled bunch, facing a much more daunting task than winning a short tournament for which they’re heavily-favoured.

As it stands, the Canucks aren’t a playoff team. But they could still turn it around. If they do, the Sochi sojourn will turn out to be a good thing for the club.

Mind you, if they don’t, the Olympics could take some of the blame, especially after Ryan Kesler returned from Russia with a hand injury. Will Sochi turn out to be a blessing or a curse?

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I Find This Photo Odd: Tortorella and Sullivan are not impressed

Dan Hamhuis returned yesterday to Vancouver an Olympic gold medallist. He didn’t play a whole lot in the tournament, and only saw one shift in the gold medal game — the final one, as Mike Babcock threw him a bone by sending him over the boards to watch the clock tick away from the ice — but there’s no doubt that he still values the experience.

It’s over now, however, and Hamhuis must immediately transition back from a team where he’s a little-used depth defender to a team where he’s the number one option, averaging 24:28 a night.

There are upsides and downsides to this. The upside: you play more. That’s fun. You certainly didn’t work your way up to the bigs just so you could attend games for free. The downside: playing more means more opportunities to make mistakes, and if you’re playing for John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan, that means more opportunities to draw nasty looks like this.

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I Watched This Game: Canada vs. USA

Friday morning’s contest between Canada and the United States was very reminiscent of the 2010 gold medal game in Vancouver, and not just because it ended with another one-goal win for Canada, the greatest nation on earth.

Actually, scratch that. That’s totally why. There were other similarities — the game was fast, the teams were the same — but really, this match was more reminiscent of Canada’s previous matches in this tournament versus Norway, Latvia and Finland, with Canada dominating for most of the match, even if the scoreboard said otherwise in the end. That’s impressive, because the USA is very different from, Norway, Latvia and Finland. They have much better players. Also more debt to China.

Like every other Canadian who was supposed to be working, I watched this game.

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Sidney Crosby is struggling: twenty reasons why

Team Canada has won all three of their games so far in Sochi, so naturally, everybody is panicking. The biggest concern: Sidney Crosby has yet to score all the goals and all the points, which makes no sense, since we built him to do exactly that.

Crosby was initially supposed to be paired with Chris Kunitz in this tournament, since Kunitz came pre-loaded with chemistry, but it didn’t work, and when it became apparent that Kunitz was only a star player when he wasn’t surrounded by other star players, he was bumped down the depth chart in favour of Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn. It still produced nothing.

Fortunately, Drew Doughty’s star turn was enough for Canada to get past Finland, but the nation is concerned that it won’t be enough going forward. Getting Sidney Crosby back to form is priority one, and that means finding him linemates with whom he clicks.

Why is this so difficult, though? Why does the best player in the world appear to struggle playing with others? Does he smell? Is it just a matter of small sample size? Is it luck, since Crosby is still generating a tonne of chances? Both B and C? (Probably.) But what if it’s something else? Here are 20 theories:

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