During the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics, most Vancouver Canucks fans will be cheering for Team Canada, since most Canucks fans are Canadian. With that said, while fans generally side with their country, some loyalty still remains to the club, and many fans will want to keep an eye on the five Canucks players (and one prospect) playing for other countries.
Fortunately for those in Canada, almost every game of the men’s tournament will be televised live, with games featuring Team Canada getting replayed later in the day. It can, however, be tough to figure out exactly when these games will be and on what channel.
Thankfully for you, were here at Pass it to Zamuner have done the legwork for you. Here are all of the preliminary round games for Canada, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia, along with the channel and time they will be shown in the Pacific timezone. Take a look to see when you will be waking up early, staying up late, or setting your PVR.Continue Reading —›
Last March, Alex Edler earned his first suspension from Brendan Shanahan’s Department of Player Safety after a collision with Mike Smith. It was a Shanaban we didn’t agree with, especially since Smith is basically the opossum of goaltenders — it’s usually mostly his own fault when he gets run over. But the DOPS saw it differently, banning Edler for three games and making the Swedish blueliner a repeat offender under the CBA in the process. You had to figure that was going to come back to bite him, and Friday afternoon, it did.
With the Canucks playing host to Tomas Hertl and the San Jose Sharks Thursday night, Edler and Hertl came together during a puck race in the neutral zone. Hertl was reaching, no doubt feeling invincible after his four-goal game, and in a sense, you have to wonder if he is: he somehow suffered no injury or ill effects from the resulting headshot.
Edler did, though. Factoring his repeat offender status into the play, the Department of Player Safety has decided to suspend him for three games.Continue Reading —›
Alex Edler has become a surprisingly polarizing figure in Vancouver, with seemingly as many detractors as fans. The problem, essentially, is that he’s not as good as he looks. Really, that’s not that big a problem, because he looks like a combination of Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger with his smooth skating, big body, booming slapshot, and slick passing.
Fans have been waiting years for Edler to develop into a dominant, all-around, number one defenceman and lead the Canucks to glory. His skillset and calm demeanour seem to suggest that every season could be the one where he breaks out and it all comes together, but it never quite happens. He looks like he could be one of the best defencemen in the league, but he falls just short every year.
For any other defenceman, falling just short of “best” would be good enough, but fans tend to expect a lot more out of Edler. Every giveaway is magnified, as his puck control is too good to give up the puck so easily. Every missed slapshot is a disappointment, as his shot is just too good for him to miss like that. Every defensive miscue is heightened in the eyes of Canucks fans, as the best defencemen in the league simply don’t get beat like that.
Perhaps it’s time to let go of those hopes and dreams and accept Edler for who he is. He’s not a number one defenceman in the conventional sense, like Shea Weber or Zdeno Chara. That’s something I’ve been saying for a couple years. He is, however, a very good defenceman, who is capable of putting up points, playing big minutes at even-strength and on the powerplay, and occasionally throwing a big hit or two. And that’s okay. With quality defencemen like Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison, and Kevin Bieksa on the team, along with quality youth like Chris Tanev and Frank Corrado, the Canucks don’t really need Edler to be a number one defenceman. They just need him to contribute as best he can.
Last season, he contributed eight goals, which isn’t too shabby. Here they are:Continue Reading —›
Immediately after their elimination from the 2013 NHL postseason (with similar immediacy, even) Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, alongside the madman Alex Edler, accepted the invitation to the World Hockey Championships.
We’ve heard it time and time again: the Worlds mean a very different things for European hockey players. And it’s true. But these Worlds meant even more to the Swedish players, because Sweden wasn’t just a gold medal hopeful — they were the host nation. A win on home ice would make them the first host nation to win the tournament in 27 years, and to underscore how long ago that was, three of the eight nations in that 1986 World Championships — Czechoslovakia, West Germany, and gold medal host the Soviet Union — no longer exist.
On Sunday, Sedin-led Sweden (or Swedin, as it’s known when Daniel and Henrik are in the lineup) got it done, bringing gold to the land of the midnight sun.Continue Reading —›
Team Sweden eliminated Team Canada from the quarterfinals at the World Hockey Championships Thursday, winning in a shootout despite ignoring years and years of evidence that Daniel and Henrik Sedin should not be used in such situations. Both twins missed on their attempts, and yet, somehow, Team Canada still found a way to lose. That’s incredible.
Anyway. With the loss, Dan Hamhuis’s World Championships are officially over.
But so too are Alex Edler’s. While the rest of his brethren from the tournament’s host nation will move on to the semifinals versus Finland — the archnemesis with which they share the weirdly suggestive-looking Scandinavian peninsula — Edler has been suspended for the remainder of the tournament after his kneeing incident with Team Canada captain Eric Staal.Continue Reading —›
Canucks fans have been wanting Alex Edler to play a more physical game for years. He’s proven in the past, to Drew Doughty, for instance, that he can be an effective and devastating hitter, but he has been frustratingly inconsistent with that side of his game.
Edler is such a low-key guy that one of his defining traits is his ability to take a nap almost anywhere. That seems to seep into his play. He remains calm and relaxed on the ice, but never seems to get riled up enough to throw a big hit. He certainly never seems to get emotionally involved enough to get angry and throw a dirty check.
That’s why it was shocking to see him go knee-on-knee with Eric Staal during Team Sweden’s game against Team Canada at the World Championships. It was an ugly, ugly hit that will likely see Staal miss significant time and earn Edler a hefty suspension.Continue Reading —›
Thanks to his run-in with Mike Smith, Alex Edler is halfway to repeat offender status. All he needs to do is offend again. People who follow the Canucks closely are likely sceptical that he will do so, since Edler is one of the quietest and most unassuming players in the league and not prone to taking runs at other players.
Or maybe he is. According to Dirk Hoag from Nashville Predators’ blog On the Forecheck, Edler took a run at Predators rookie Mattias Ekholm, leading with his elbow and making contact directly with Ekholm’s head on Monday night.
The accusation caught me a little off-guard. There was no fuss made over the hit during the game, either on the TV broadcast or on Twitter, and Edler didn’t receive a penalty. But Hoag thought the hit was dirty and even worth supplemental discipline. Is he right? Let’s take a look at the hit itself.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks are already having to get creative in order to ice a competitive lineup. Thursday night in Phoenix, they had defenceman Keith Ballard playing as a winger. On the third line. If that doesn’t say something about how incredibly shorthanded they are, I don’t know that does.
And now they’re going to be even more shorthanded. The Shanahammer has come down on Alexander Edler for his charge on Coyotes’ netminder Mike Smith and it’s come down absurdly, head-scratchingly, absolutely what-the-effingly hard: Edler will sit for two games. On the bright side, they have a third-line winger they can probably convert.Continue Reading —›
Canuck fans are usually delighted when Alex Edler decides to play with an edge. The big Swede can be a punishing hitter when he overcomes his narcolepsy and chooses to assert himself — just ask Patrick Kane, Drew Doughty, or, as it happens, Mike Smith.
Of course, the Smith hit is different. While Edler is well within his rights to crush just about any member of the opposition that has the puck, especially behind the net in the “hitting zone”, the NHL rulebook is pretty explicit about goaltenders not being “fair game”. Thus, Edler’s huge collision with Smith from Thursday night’s 2-1 Vancouver win over the Phoenix Coyotes has earned him a phone hearing with Brendan Shanahan and the Shanavengers at the Department of Player Safety.
It’s possible that this could just be a friendly “hi, how are ya”. But it’s also possible that this could be a precursor to the Canucks’ second suspension of 2013. The Bible says faith comes by hearing. Does suspension as well?Continue Reading —›
Alain Vigneault has the tendency to shuffle his forward lines like a magician shuffles cards: most of it is sleight-of-hand and nothing really changes in the end. He and Rick Bowness have frequently done the same with defence pairings in the past over the last couple seasons, but certain pairings tended to stick together and avoid the juggling.
When Christian Ehrhoff was with the Canucks, he was all-but-inseparable from Alex Edler. At one point, Kevin Bieksa only hit the ice when Willie Mitchell was at his side. Over the last couple seasons, it’s been Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis who have been attached at the hip. Other pairings were malleable, but those pairings were, at the very least, semi-permanent.
Heading into this season, the pairing of Bieksa and Hamhuis, affectionately and disgustingly known as HamJuice, were a given. Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev, who performed well when paired together in the previous season, were assumed to be the bottom pairing. That left the newly-arrive Jason Garrison to play with Edler, something I had been anticipating ever since he signed with the Canucks.
It looked like the defence pairings were about as set in stone as they could possibly be. But it took just 5 games for those stones to be thrown to the ground and broken up like the Ten Commandments.Continue Reading —›
There are dozens of people on Twitter claiming to be NHL insiders, with sources inside very organization. They’re essentially all frauds and charlatans. The only trustworthy sources of information are generally guys like Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, who keep in touch with a vast array of contacts around the league and whose reputations are on the line every time they make a call.
But there’s one Twitter account that has repeatedly beat the mainstream media to the punch on several signings related to the Canucks and clearly has a source deep inside the organization: @GMMikeGillis. This anonymous insider doesn’t tweet much, but he also hasn’t been wrong about a signing yet – an impressive track record.
Friday night, @GMMikeGillis broke the news that the Vancouver Canucks have re-signed defenceman Alex Edler, well before it was tweeted out by the likes of Pierre LeBrun and Nick Kypreos. As I’m writing this, Dreger and McKenzie haven’t even reported on the signing yet, an impressive coup.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
You didn’t think we could end the Every Goal series on such a positive note with Chris Higgins, right? You should know by now that things can never end well for Canucks fans. That is why the last post in our annual off-season Every Goal series will end with all 8 goals the Canucks managed to score during the 2012 playoffs versus the Los Angeles Kings.
On the plus side, we’re only looking back at the good parts, when the puck was going into the Kings’ net. If you squint and ignore the scoreboard, you can imagine that the Canucks won the series. While you’re at it, imagine that the NHL and NHLPA have concluded their CBA negotiations and that there won’t be a lockout to start next season.
In any case, the Canucks scored some pretty goals during the playoffs and they deserve to be remembered and highlighted. Seeing them outside of their disappointing context makes them a lot more enjoyable.Continue Reading —›
With last week’s three-part series on Daniel Sedin, we mistakenly believed we were done recapping every goal the Canucks scored during the 2011-12 regular season. Somehow, to our eternal regret, we missed two players: Alex “Napster” Edler and Chris “Abbey Road” Higgins. While this was an inexecrable error, it does mean we have another Monday-to-Thursday full of goodness for you.
Alex Edler had the best season of his career and it was a tremendous disappointment. At least, that was the general sentiment among Canucks fans after the Canucks were unceremoniously bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Despite setting career highs in goals, assists, and points and being named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, Edler’s season suffered in comparison to the season he played in the imaginations of Canucks fans.
Instead of being Superman, Edler was more often Ultra Boy, the hero with all of Superman’s powers who can only use them one at a time. Edler just wasn’t able to put all of his laudable skills into practice at the same time, leading to an uneven season that saw him triumph one moment and trip himself up the next.
With all that said, Edler still scored 11 goals to lead all Canucks’ defencemen and established himself as one of the best defencemen in the NHL. As Tom Benjamin put it, “being Ultra Boy is worthy of some admiration. Being able to use only one super power at a time seems to me to be a lot better than being without any super power at all.”
In any case, enjoy these 11 goals. Expect to see far fewer slapshots than you’re expecting, which is a loop that will lead to you to expect none at all. Expect more than that.Continue Reading —›
One of my favourite comic book concepts is the Legion of Superheroes, which can be summed up in a simple sentence: a thousand years in the future, superpowered teenagers battle to save the universe. One of my favourite members of the Legion of Superheroes is Ultra Boy, the result of a pure comic book question: what if a character had the powers of Superman, but could only use them one at a time?
Ultra Boy has many phenomenal powers: super-strength, invulnerability, flight, super-speed, and various vision powers, including x-ray vision and heat-vision. With that combination of superpowers, he ought to be one of the most powerful superheroes in the universe, but for that one weakness: he can only use one of those superpowers at any given time.
Why am I talking about Ultra Boy? Because he is, essentially, Alex Edler. (The main difference is that Edler has never been eaten by a space whale.)Continue Reading —›
It’s going to be a big offseason for Mike Gillis, who will likely be moving either Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider some time before September in what could be the biggest deal since he arrived in Vancouver. But, as important as that deal is likely to be, the goaltending situation is hardly the most pressing issue on his plate. Regardless of which backstop the team keeps, the Canucks will be just fine in goal next season.
Priority number one for the Canucks this summer has to be solving the curious case of Alex Edler. Either the Canucks need to go out and get him someone to play with, or they need to move him as part of a package for someone that can anchor a top pairing in a way that Edler can’t.Continue Reading —›
The Columbus Blue Jackets are like Dan from Dan in Real Life (or any other advice columnist from the movies): they can help everyone but themselves. Are your superstars struggling to score? Has it been awhile since your best defenceman wowed everyone? Has your team looked listless for weeks? Well, then you’re in luck, because the Blue Jackets are in town to get your game back on track. They’ll encourage you, set you up to succeed, and even play alongside you, gosh darn it — they want you to do well.
Columbus was exactly what Vancouver needed Saturday night: a beatable opponent. Granted, the Canucks still weren’t perfect, but if there’s one thing you don’t have to be to beat the Blue Jackets, it’s perfect. In the end, the secret to beating Columbus is simply to “score one more goal than them,” as Kevin Bieksa so succinctly put it in the postgame scrum. And that’s what the Canucks did. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Earlier this week, Alain Vigneault talked about Chris Higgins’ plus-5 scoring chance differential over the Canucks’ losses to the Sabres and Stars. The two-game sample Vigneault referred to isn’t much to go on, but it was enough to make plain that the Canucks use a different methodology in their in-house tracking of scoring chances than what we use to track scoring chance data over at Canucks Army. What Vigneault’s number did correlate exactly with, however, was Higgins’ personal Fenwick +/- number.
This isn’t the first time that the Canucks seemed to be paying close attention to a players’ Fenwick number. At about this time last season, when everyone was confused as to why Vigneault seemed to prefer the unremarkable Aaron Rome over the more visibly skilled Keith Ballard, Cam Charron pointed out that Rome’s Fenwick events against rate was significantly lower than Ballard’s. We theorized that, for a third pairing defenseman, Vigneault preferred Rome’s “safe minutes” to Ballard’s more adventurous (albeit exciting) style of play.
Because I’m increasingly convinced that the Canucks place importance on a players’ individual “fenwick number,” I figured it would be worthwhile to break down the Canucks’ blue-line in this manner. Let’s see if we can get a handle on which defencemen have been the “best” defensively from a shot suppression standpoint.Continue Reading —›
We get a lot of mileage out of Chloe Ezra here at Pass it to Bulis (such as the Pass it to Comics series, which will return in the new year, we promise). But our defense is a simple one: Chloe rules. She has a great style and great ideas, and when the two come together, well, the results tend to be pretty great.
As yet another example, we present Chloe’s completely original and completely adorable “Hanging Canuck tree things,” original creations that feature members of the Vancouver Canucks drawn hanging by their sweaters, to be strung up anywhere your heart should so choose.Continue Reading —›