I Didn’t Watch This Game: Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche, November 1, 2012

Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche would have been the 11th game of the 2012-13 schedule for the Vancouver Canucks. What that really means, however, is that 10 games would have already passed prior to the game with the Avalanche and Canucks fans would have been finally allowed to pass judgement on the team thus far.

For some reason, 10 games is held up as the standard. Early in the season, as fans fly off the handle with pronouncements of doom if their team loses a few, or jubilation and parades if their team gets off to a hot start, people caution fans to “wait 10 games” before freaking out. That means that we were due for a good old-fashioned Canucks fan freakout prior to their game against the Avalanche.

The truth is, we don’t even know that much after 10 games. Teams can very easily be first place in their division, then crash and burn through the rest of the season and miss the playoffs, like the Minnesota Wild. Other teams can get off to terrible starts and do just fine during the rest of the season, like the Bruins starting last season 3-7 then winning their division.

We’ll never know how those first 10 games would have gone for the Canucks, but hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of the remainder of the season. I didn’t watch this game.

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Marlies visit to Abbotsford draws Canucks’ brass, perchance on Luongo trade scouting mission?

On Wednesday, Daniel rolled out a novel mindset that might allow even the bitterest of Canucks fans to cheer for the Abbotsford Heat while still thumbing his nose at the Northwest Division rival Calgary Flames. The worse the Flames are, the better the Heat will be, Daniel espoused.

But there are other reasons for Canuck fans to take in Abbotsford contests besides Schadenfreude from concentrate. As strange as it sounds for a game that features 50% future Flames, a trip to the city in the country might also yield a glimpse into the future of the Vancouver Canucks, and I’m not just talking about when the Chicago Wolves come to visit.

For example: the Toronto Marlies are in Abbotsford this Thursday and Friday, and if the rumours surrounding Roberto Luongo’s future are to be believed, then at least one or two players currently suiting up for the Marlies — Toronto’s best professional sports team, by the way — should become Vancouver property shortly after the lockout ends.

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Canucks fans can love the Heat while still hating the Flames

During last year’s AHL playoffs, the Abbotsford Heat swept the Milwaukee Admirals, earning them a berth in the second round against the Toronto Marlies. After winning the first game, the Marlies won the next three, making game five one of the greatest events in hockey: a playoff elimination game.

With the Canucks already eliminated from the playoffs, the Heat were hoping that hockey-hungry fans would flock to the Abbotsford Sports & Entertainment Centre to take in the action. Instead, a paltry 1360 fans showed up for what turned out to be a thrilling overtime game. I was one of the few people in attendance and it was thoroughly depressing to see so many empty seats.

I understand why it happened of course. It was risky to plant the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames in the heart of Canucks country and the terrible branding and marketing did little to separate the Heat from the Flames in the minds of most fans. Their more recent slogan “Our Town. Our Team.” that I’ve seen on signs around Abbotsford is far better, but it’s too little, too late for many. Most Canucks fans just can’t wrap their minds around the idea of cheering for the affiliate of one of the Canucks’ biggest rivals, even during an NHL lockout where the Heat are the only professional hockey within driving distance.

Let me help you remove that roadblock: if you cheer for the Heat, you want the Flames to be terrible. Becoming a Heat fan won’t make you into a Flames fan by proxy; instead, it will simply heighten your hate.

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Hungry like the Wolves: Get out of the kitchen

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Chicago Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

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Canucks, Abbotsford may be ideal match, but Flames happy with Heat

Did you hear? The Canucks are in talks to take over the AHL franchise in Abbotsford. At least, that’s been the rumour for the last four years or so.

If it’s true, nobody’s talking. Abbotsford Heat President Ryan Walter says no one has discussed it with him. Same for Abbotsford mayor Bruce Banman.

“As of yet, nobody’s knocking on my door,” Banman said. But he wasn’t shy about admitting that the city would be “fools not to be” interested if the Aquilini Group, owners of the Vancouver Canucks, did come around hoping to take the reigns of the franchise from the Northwest Division rival Calgary Flames. In fact, the rumours excite him like they excite anybody else. “I’m hoping where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Banman said.

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Spitballin’ on nothing, nada, and zilch

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.

Normally, Spitballin’ is used for the above purpose: to quickly run down the many things that have happened in a short space of time. Right now, however, nothing is happening. At all. In fact, there’s so much nothing happening that it boggles the mind, necessitating a Spitballin’ feature to cover it all. Here is all the nothing that is happening right now that you need to know about:

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The Chicago Wolves’ playoff push could be made or broken this week in Abbotsford

The Chicago Wolves are back in town this Thursday and Friday for another two-game set with the Abbotsford Heat, and if you missed them the last time around, make sure you head into the Valley for one or both of these games. They might be the biggest games of the year for both teams.

We’re all a little spoiled here in Vancouver — it’s been a few years since the home team was locked in a nerve-wracking race to make the playoffs. But if it’s desperate hockey you want, the Wolves are where it’s at. There are 5 points separating 3rd from 10th in the AHL’s Western Conference, and the Wolves, in keeping with their wolfy nature, are a part of the pack.

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