Just in case you were not aware, sometimes Pass it to Bulis has a third guy who occasionally contributes. It’s like when you have a child and they get old enough to do chores and will sometimes sweep the kitchen floor if you remind them to. Qris Johnson is the Third Man In.

In this edition, Qris defends Gary Bettman, talks Brendan Shanahan and discipline, and admits that he has nightmares about the LA Kings.

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Third Man In is the ingenious name for Qris Johnson’s weekly column. See, because Pass it to Bulis is officially two guys, but sometimes there’s third guy, just like in a hockey fight. Get it? It’s mad clever.

Today, Qris examines the Canucks’ commitment to their Zen philosophy and offers to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Qris Johnson is the third man in. Just when you thought there were only two writers on PITB, we blindside you with a third writer. It’s like Qris Johnson is Mark Messier and you guys are Mike Modano. Wait, don’t we hate Mark Messier?

In this edition, Qris tackles the Canucks’ rivalry with the Blackhawks and touches on Milan Lucic, prima donnas, and headshots. Yes, headshots. In the summer. It makes sense, I swear.

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Qris Johnson is the third man in, see, because PITB is two guys, but sometimes, there’s a third guy. It’s like when you go see a band that you know is a trio and they’ve got some stranger on rhythm guitar. I mean, who’s that guy? Why isn’t he on the album cover?

Today, Qris discusses the PTOs signed by Owen Nolan and Tedd Fedoruk, the hiring of Craig MacTavish, and Ryan Kesler’s surgery.

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“Third Man In” would make a good movie title. I can see it now: Qris Johnson is…the Third Man In.

This week, Qris takes a cold, hard look at Jannik Hansen, a warm, soft look at potential Ehrhoff replacements, a lukewarm, “what’s up” look at Vegas odds for next year’s Stanley Cup, and a piping-hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven look at offer sheets.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday. This week, Qris talks about boredom, experience, and the fact that Dave Nonis’s signature is no longer on any of Mike Gillis’s contracts.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday. This week, Qris examines why Keith Ballard can’t get out of AV’s doghouse and admits he knows nothing about Marco Sturm.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday. This week, Qris takes on the Canucks’ needs and wants on free agency day.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday. This week, Qris tackles Mike Gillis’s offseason plans, why 15 postseason wins is a good reason to to keep this team together, and which Sedin has the more impressive case.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday.

This week, Qris dips into the past, present and future, tackling disappointment, despair, what went wrong, and what happens next.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday.

This week, Qris talks about overcoming adversity, who should mind the net in game 5, the telltale signs of lost composure, and the fatigue factor.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday.

This week, Qris takes on goaltending duels, the importance of Game 1, special teams, and officiating.

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The Canucks have seemed stacked on paper since July 1st, but the playoffs have really shown how amazing the team really is. The team hasn’t gone through much in the way of playoff adversity, when you really think about it. They’ve never trailed in a series, have faced elimination only once, and have racked up enough wins in each series that they’d have at least three chances to eliminate their opponents.

Of course, it’s easy to expect that with the way the Canucks dominated the league in every statistical category this season. Best offense, best defense, best special teams, best faceoff team, best record. For me, it’s almost like the Canucks were expected to wind up here. Who really expected the Predators to stop the Canucks in the second round?

Really, though, the Canucks’ making it to the Cup Finals for the first time in 17 years is special not only because it was a long time coming, but because it was truly on the backs of the whole team. Like The Avengers, the Canucks’ playoff roster is stacked when it comes to heroes.

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Remember last season, when people said Alain Vigneault was “outcoached” by Joel Quenneville? Many Vancouver fans, Team 1040 callers and even members of the media insisted this was the case, while skeptics wondered out loud what being “outcoached” would really look like.

Wonder no more. Todd McLellan has made some horrible decisions over the last few days, and Alain Vigneault has made some great ones.

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They don’t. Now that that’s settled, Qris Johnson, like others before him, can speak of many other things.

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There’s been a lot of talk, recently, about history. A lot of hay was made about how the Canucks had never won Game 2 against the Blackhawks. The question came up a lot in interviews with players. They didn’t seem too interested in the question. Neither did Vigneault, who didn’t say much when asked about Game 2: “If you learn from the past, the past won’t necessarily dictate the future. We’ve learned from our past experiences.”

In other words, past is past. Vigneault’s attitude seemed along the lines of, “Why are you wasting my time with this question?”

Ironically, Scott Oake read this quote at the beginning of Game 2, as if it were something profound. Some folks just can’t seem to help themselves. There’s a problem, though. In the NHL playoffs, history is irrelevant when it comes to predicting the future.

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Usually, when it’s observed that the Blackhawks lost a lot of their key depth, it’s observed in the same breath that their core is still intact. It’s true that Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook and Campbell are all still there. Depth is important, but with a strong core like the Hawks have, they can threaten to look a lot like the team that won the Cup a year ago.

So what’s the game plan against them? Play to their weakness.

The Blackhawks’ depth players just can’t be leaned on.

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There’s a lot of hype around this series, and the storyline is readymade. Will the Canucks finally have the ability to defeat their arch-nemeses? Unfortunately, the hype around it really doesn’t feel as justified, this time.

The theme for the Canucks-Blackhawks series seems to be demons, and the exorcism of them. That, right there, tells you all you need to know about how much of a threat the Blackhawks really are. Last season was different. Last season both teams had improved, and it was a really interesting matchup. This season is a lot like the 2008 playoff matchup between the 1st seeded Red Wings and the 8th seeded Avalanche — when you take away the history, it becomes pretty dull.

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Canucks 5 – 4 Sharks (SO) With this game, the Pass it to Bulis California (and Glendale) road trip draws to a close with a 4-0 record. Clearly, fans should be clamoring to send Skeeter and Harrison out of Vancouver more often. The trip ended in an exciting and dramatic fashion, but I can’t help [...]

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Dan Hamhuis’s overtime winner was pure wizardous sedinerie. Rejoice, Canucks fans! Last game wasn’t just a triumph, it was a return to form, or at least, something close to it. While the Canucks can say their Nashville game was one of their best, I respectfully disagree — the Canucks aren’t at their best playing tight-checking [...]

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Video from outside Staples Center after the Kings game. Looks like a lot of fun. Fun is good. Wow, it was exhilarating to go to the Ducks game. I met Daniel and Harrison, and their wives, and that was pretty amazing. We were also surrounded by Canucks fans. Living in California, I only see the [...]

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Canucks 0 – 3 Predators The Canucks didn’t score, so I used this video from a year ago. With Daniel and Harrison out on a road trip in Oregon, enjoying the thrill of having your gas pumped by someone else, it fell to me to cover this game. Like anyone swapping footwear with Sideshow Bob, [...]

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You, Brad Ziemer. You’re the one I hate. I hate you. Alain Vigneault is a coach who really knows how to use the media, not to garner attention, like Ron Wilson, but to make his team better. Some of us even go so far as to point out when he does it. Still, while Vigneault [...]

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You’ve got to hand it to a lot of Canuck fans. They really know how to get their hopes up. True, it’s not as bad as last year, when the White Towel was already planning the parade route after the first round, but there’s still a lot of ridiculous “this is our year” nonsense going [...]

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Think video review would have fixed some of these bad calls? Look how many of these miscalls were the result of video review. Miscalls happen in hockey. Referees are human, players are jerks, and few calls are an exact science. It’s pretty much a Canadian tradition to complain about officiating (ask me about the Canucks-Kings [...]

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