I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Wild 2

You had to know the Canucks were going to win this one. The team has made a habit in recent weeks of defying our expectations, marching past the Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins in a seven-day span while also managing to inexplicably squeeze in a loss to the Minnesota Wild. So of course, in a rematch with those same Wild, the only difference being that half the Canucks’ defence is hurt now, they were going to come out on top.

Not to mention Vancouver is completely incapable of putting together a streak right now — in either direction. They can’t win consecutive games. They can’t lose consecutive games. So it doesn’t even matter that they were without their top pairing, the co-MVPs up to this point. They’re nothing if not inconsistent, and that meant following up Saturday’s loss with a win. There was really nothing the Wild could do. I was pleased with the Canucks’ predictable unpredictability when I watched this game.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 2, Flames 3

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day when you cozy up to that special person in your life and offer up the romantic gestures that you’re obligated to do on this most romantic of occasions. But what if you don’t have someone special? Why, then you check in with your old flames, in the hopes that one of them doesn’t either and they need someone with whom to commiserate.

That’s essentially what the Canucks did tonight, hooking up with one of their old Flames, the old Flames — the Flames who played meaningful games against them in February, games with playoff implications and the like. It’s been a while since the Canucks and Flames last hooked up for a game like this. But it felt so familiar, so comfortable. Maybe they’ll get back together? The old chemistry is still there, that’s for sure. That’s what I noticed when I watched this game.

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The Paper Feature: What should the Canucks do at the trade deadline?

We’ve spent much of this season trying to determine what, exactly, these Vancouver Canucks are. A contender? A pretender? A third thing that fits the rhyme scheme? It’s been hard to say, especially as the Canucks continue to match last season’s point totals.

But the team is finally beginning to stray from the 2013-14 script, albeit not in a way that really helps to sort out whether they’re good or bad. At the time of this writing, they’re 5-5-0 in their last ten, and they’ve been alternating wins and losses for eight straight. What are we to make of a team that hands the Pittsburgh Penguins their collective butt, then goes to Minnesota and lets the Wild hand-deliver their collective butt? Are the Canucks butt-handers or butt-handees?

Fortunately, as fans, we can continue to debate this ad infinitum, without consequence. If I say aloud that the Canucks are bona fide contenders, the worst that will happen to me is someone will tweet nastily in my direction, and that’s going to happen regardless. But for the Canucks’ front-office, they actually need to make an assessment.

And quickly. The NHL trade deadline is under three weeks away now, and what Vancouver does will hinge on what their GM, president, and coach think of their ability to hold onto a playoff spot down the stretch and potentially compete once there. Do they add? Do they subtract? Do they… I dunno, multiply? Let’s examine their trade deadline options.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 5, Bruins 2

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, only hours before puck drop, Shawn Matthias sat down with his beloved.

“Love bug,” he said, “Of all the gifts, what most would you like to be gifted this Valentine’s?”

“500 hats,” she said, greedily. “Like Bartholomew Cubbins.”

“Nerts!” Matthias said quietly to himself. “It’s the day before Valentine’s and I have a game in three hours! How will I ever get 500 hats, of varying shapes, sizes and colours, on such short notice?”

And then he had an idea.

I watched this game.

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Breakdowning Daniel Sedin’s dizzying overtime goal versus the Blackhawks

Say what you will about the Sedins’ gradually declining five-on-five effectiveness, but I’d still take them over just about any other duo four-on-four. With more room to operate, the Sedins hit peak Sedin, and the result tends to be magic.

Which is likely why Daniel Sedin is the Canucks’ franchise leader in overtime goals, with 12, and why, on Wednesday, Daniel became just the fourth NHLer to score his third overtime tally this season — the others being John Tavares, Sean Monahan, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The goal is vintage Sedins, so vintage Main Street hipsters have been wearing it like a coat ever since. The Sedins cycle the puck in the corner until the Blackhawks are dizzied, then, in a flash, they bring the puck to the net with one well-placed saucer pass, and the next thing you know, the game is over.

That’s the short breakdown. But this one is too pretty for just a passing glance. Let’s dig into it a little bit.

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Canucks of the Week, in which John Tortorella returns

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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John Tortorella breaks the silence, says he deserved to get fired, which, yeah

You might remember John Tortorella from such Vancouver Canucks eras as the Torts-ture Era, a brief blip on the franchise’s radar in 2013-14 in which they played sorta well, then really poorly, then so disastrously poorly that Tortorella became the first Canucks head coach to be sacked before his 100th game since Bill LaForge’s 20-game stint in 1985.

We haven’t heard much from Tortorella since then, but on Friday, he emerged from his Tortress of Solitude to do a radio appearance on Tampa Bay’s 620 WDAF. Unsurprisingly, since these guys know what’s up, he was asked for his thoughts on his ugly run in Vancouver.

Among the quotes you should expect to see floating around today: ““Quite honestly, I deserved to be fired after that second half of the year,” Tortorella said, correctly.

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Stick in Link: Canucks claim McMillan; Yannick Weber bring special celebrity dad on road trip

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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Winnipeg Jets and the blockbustery day: Canucks were never really in the running for Kane

For the second time in the last 45 years (it’s becoming an alarming pattern!), the Buffalo Sabres have taken that which is rightfully ours.

Not unlike when they stole the 1st overall pick from the Canucks in the 1970 draft by means of witchcraft, the Sabres made a massive trade splash on Tuesday, snatching up disgruntled hometown boy Evander Kane right from under the Canucks’ nose in a blockbuster deal.

Heading to Buffalo: Evander Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and goalie Jason Kasdorf. Headed to Winnipeg: Tyler Myers, winger Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and one of the innumerable 2015 first-round picks the Sabres turned up as they continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

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Sedins get apology from Stars’ Jamie Benn, the end

Let’s be honest: nobody wanted to talk about that awful Minnesota Wild game. So it was an infuriating blessing when Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin’s comments on a jocky Dallas radio station, in which the duo played along with a riff on the Sedins that suggested some pretty offensive and crude things, came to light. The city of Vancouver talked mostly about that yesterday instead. Wild game? What Wild game?

But with the Canucks playing the Blackhawks on Wednesday evening, it’s time to retire this story, and wouldn’t you know it, right on cue, it received the ending it deserves, with Jamie Benn doing his captainly duty and reaching out to the Sedins to apologize.

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Stars’ Seguin, Benn disrespect, insult Sedins on Bad Radio [AUDIO]

There was a time when one could argue that Daniel and Henrik Sedin were the most dynamic and dominant duo in the Western Conference. That time is probably over, mind you, what with the Sedins aging, and their speed of attack and point totals dropping in what one suspects is a correlative relationship.

Meanwhile, as they get older, the young stars of the game stay the same age. These days, one could probably point to, say, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars as the most dangerous one-two punch in the West. They’re faster, more dynamic, and younger.

Of course, with age comes maturity, so while you might take Benn and Seguin on the ice right now, in a broadcast studio, I’ll take the veteran, intelligent Sedins and their ability to know when a conversation is veering into dumb and offensive territory and either steer it back towards reason or shut it down. This is a skill that Benn and Seguin have yet to master, as evidenced by a recent appearance on The Bob and Dan Show (which is also aptly called BaD Radio).

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Wild 5

What’s worse? Watching this game, or watching this game two nights after watching the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins — a win so convincing you wondered if embarrassing evenings like this loss were in the past? It’s sort of amazing. If this loss to the Minnesota Wild had followed the loss to the Sharks, it might have been met with a collective shrug, as everybody acknowledged that this is just who the Canucks are right now. We were already on our way to accepting that, after all.

the Penguins’ game left us wondering if, perhaps, that’s who the Canucks were, and maybe it was the Sharks game that was an aberration. It turned us around. And then — and maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m alone here — the frustration that followed this loss was exacerbated by a sense of naivete, like it was silly to think the Canucks would be able to pick up where they left off versus Pittsburgh. The joke was on me when I watched this game.

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Game of the Week: Canucks vs Bruins, February 13, 2015

Is there really any other way to go this week than the visit from the Boston Bruins?

It’s sure not going to be the trip to Minnesota. Watching the Canucks play the Wild, even now, long after the end of the Jacques Lemaire era, is like popping a couple melatonin and sitting down to watch an episode of “Criminal Minds”. Instant slumber. Plus they played the Wild last week. And they play the Wild again next week.

You could pick the Blackhawks, I guess, but speaking of sleep, that rivalry sort of feels like it’s gone dormant. The Blackhawks remain one of the league’s best teams. The Canucks do not. So it’s hardly a meeting of rivals anymore. It’s more of a measure-up game. Can the Canucks still hang with the Blackhawks?

The Bruins, on the other hand…

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Big Numbers: Canucks in danger of being caught; Vrbata hits 20 goals

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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Real Good Tweets, starring free iTunes help from @50_MissionCap

You folks made some good tweets last week. Some real good tweets.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 1, Sharks 5

Chris Tanev is going to make so much money this offseason.

Tanev was already due for a pretty substantial raise in his next contract, just based on the way he’s played this year, and what he’s doing on the top pairing with Alex Edler. But one suspects that Tanev’s agent will probably want the tape from this one, as Canucks played the Sharks without Tanev (who missed the game with concussion symptoms) and looked like a group of guys trying hockey after learning about the game secondhand from an old man that didn’t quite explain it properly.

And I watched this game.

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Breakdowning Luca Sbisa’s surprising overtime winner versus Winnipeg

Just as everyone predicted, Luca Sbisa was the hero Tuesday night when the Canucks played host to the Winnipeg Jets. Less than a minute into overtime, the Swiss blueliner executed a 200-foot give-and-go with Radim Vrbata, starting the breakout, then following Vrbata into the zone for the centring pass and the goal.

It’s not unreasonable to ask how a thing like this could happen. Sbisa has all of three goals this season and, again, he was at his own goal line when this play started. How does he wind up in front of the Jets’ goal with enough time and space to put the puck into it? The answer is simple: because the Jets screwed up. Like, a bunch. Let’s break it down.

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Quotes Taken Out of Context: Ronalds Kenins edition

Today in Quotes Taken Out of Context: Ronalds Kenins has a curious fetish.

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Stick in Link: Zack Kassian seems frustrated for some reason; best Canucks plays of January

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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What’s the Canucks equivalent to what happened to the Seahawks?

All things considered, Seattle fans did a pretty good job of keeping their emotions in check after Sunday’s shocking Super Bowl conclusion. Especially if you juxtapose it with the reaction to another championship loss a few clicks north in 2011.

I’ll admit up front that I’m not a Seahawks fan. I mean, I cheered for them like everybody else in this town, but at the end of the day, their loss didn’t crush me. After all, I’d only been paying attention for a month or so. It wasn’t too difficult to brush it off. But I know from being a Canucks fan that you can’t do that as a diehard. I know some people had a hard time waking up this morning and going to work, and not because they drank too much — they were just too crushed by the end of this game. But I don’t know that, as a Canucks fan, even amidst all the disappointed I’ve ever felt with this frustrating team, I’ve ever felt what serious Seahawks fans are feeling right now.

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Spitballin’ on aging in reverse, moving Miller, and a Comets-themed wedding

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, Wild 4

Oftentimes on television shows, you’ll find characters making references to “the game”. The particulars of this game — what sport, who’s playing, what’s on the line — are rarely filled in, but it seems as though everybody on the program already knows. That’s because this game is so big, you don’t even need specifics. It’s just “The Game”.

Suffice it to say, this Sunday features one such game: Vancouver Canucks versus Minnesota Wild at noon. This game is why we got up this morning. This game is the one everybody’s been anticipating for weeks. And I watched this game.

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The Paper Feature: Very bold thoughts on the Canucks

Quick note to the editors before I start this piece: this week is a tricky one. As you know, even though these articles run on Saturday, they have to be filed by Thursday. That’s usually fine, but on Friday, the Canucks play the Buffalo Sabres, and I think it’s safe to say that the mood in Vancouver will be drastically different if they lose. After all, it was one thing to lose to the Anaheim Ducks — hockey’s best team. It’s something else entirely to lose to hockey’s worst team — a team that’s all but trying to lose most nights.

With that in mind, I’ve had to write this week’s article with both a win and a loss in mind. Here’s what you’ll have to do Friday night: if the Canucks win, simply remove all the words in bold. But if they lose, leave the article as-is. DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS OR I’LL LOOK FOOLISH.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 5, Sabres 2

The Canucks’ home life has been troubling of late. It’s been showing in their work, and there have been outbursts in class and on the playground. Their last goal in front of the home fans came on January the 8th, and while that tidbit looks a little more damning thanks to the five-game road trip that followed it, it still meant they’d gone two straight home games without a goal. That’s bad.

But not as bad as the Buffalo Sabres, whose city name, if you add the results of every game in the month of January, is Buffalollllllllllll. It’s also an apt description of the team at the moment, approaching the NHL record for most losses in a row as they march towards the NHL basement, where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are currently being held prisoner. This is a historically bad team, one that seems to have forgotten how to even do hockey in the basic sense. At times in this game they seemed to think this was a Boggle tournament. But it was indeed a hockey game, however laughable, and I watched this game.

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Canucks of the Week, starring an expecting Ryan Miller

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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