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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Big Numbers: Canucks’ powerplay scores goals now, Vrbata shoots a lot

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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Spitballin’ on Vey’s first goal, Kassian’s ordeal, and schedule purgatory

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: Everyone loves the Canucks again and everything is perfect

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’m Daniel’, and other great moments in misidentifying Canucks

It’s every sports media member’s nightmare: you go to talk to a player, perhaps about the game he just played, and after a couple of awkward questions, he has to tell you that you have him confused with someone else.

Incredibly, it doesn’t happen very often, even in Vancouver, which is saying something since the Canucks have two guys who look literally identical to one another and, as teammates and coaches will tell you, remain difficult to differentiate even after years of seeing them every day.

How has it been so long since the last mistake? Maybe because they can get a little intense when you get it wrong, as poor Joey Kenward did after Saturday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Oilers.

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The Paper Feature: Ten gimmicky fan acts that could replace The Green Men

It’s hockey season once again, that beautiful time of year when we reverse our metamorphosis into social butterflies and return to our hockey cocoon, or hockoon. Ah, hockey season. What a time. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of a sports journalist clacking out the lede “the boys are back in town” on his laptop.

It’s true, though. The boys are back in town, save for Jannik Hansen, who never left. I saw him leaving a Safeway parking lot in August. That’s right. Jannik Hansen shops at Safeway, and it’s a commendable choice. Their store-brand orange juice has just the right amount of pulp.

But it’s not just the players who are returning. The fans, too, are coming back around, albeit not in the droves they have in years past. That’s going to take some time. With a riot, a lockout, two first round exits and the short-lived John Tortorella era darkening their experience over the last four years, many are, understandably, keeping the team at arm’s length for the moment.

This has been the story for much of the offseason, with fans way, way down the season ticket waiting list getting calls, and the Canucks admitting they haven’t sold as many packages as they’d like. But let’s not dwell on that. Our concern here today isn’t the status of every fan. We’re thinking of two in particular: the Green Men, Force and Sully.

Are they thinking of retiring the fluorescent green zentai suits? The duo won’t be at the home opener, and now that they’ve got a shiny new radio program Saturday nights on TSN 1410, one wonders if their schtick is slowly going to be phased out. And if so, who will replace them as Vancouver’s bizarre and notable fans du jour? Here are a handful of suggestions:

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Breakdowning Henrik Sedin’s highlight-reel empty-netter

It’s probably too early to say Henrik and Daniel Sedin are back, since one game does not a season make, especially one game against the cellar-bound Calgary Flames, but there were moments in the 4-2 win where it was perfectly clear that they’re determined to get back. One such moment: Henrik Sedin’s empty-netter to seal the victory. If this is the effort level we can expect to see from Henrik this season, one suspects his line will be a touch more effective than they were last year.

This goal was the result of more than just effort, however. Henrik tried very hard, no doubt, but you also need to have an incredible skillset, not to mention a remarkable head for the game to pull this off. Let’s take a closer look at the scoring play:

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Stick in Link: Sbisa gets it; free beer for everyone

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 4, Flames 2

It’s difficult to know how excited to get about Wednesday night’s season-opening win for the Canucks over the Flames. On the one hand, it’s been so long since we’ve seen the Canucks play a meaningful game at all, let alone win one this way, scoring powerplay goals, getting game-breaking offence from the Sedins, deploying the infuriating and effective Alex Burrows, and holding onto leads — it was all very satisfying. But is it sustainable, or is this just the sort of thing that happens when you get to open the season versus the Calgary Flames, as opposed to, say, an angry, vengeful San Jose Sharks team?

I mean, have you looked at the Flames’ lineup? Paul Romanuk called this game, rather than John Shorthouse, because Sportsnet was looking to show off their fancy new NHL broadcasting rights and the toys and personnel it allowed them to acquire, and while the new voice felt a bit strange, it made a great deal of sense. After all, Romanuk’s main gig of late has been calling the Spengler Cup, that tournament that features the best Canadian players who aren’t good enough to stick in the NHL, and the Flames employ a lot of guys he needs to be familiar with in a year or two.

Like Paul Romanuk brushing up for Davos, I watched this game.

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