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 topics that deserve mention.Continue Reading —›
For a brief, fleeting moment, centre was a position of strength for the Canucks. With the acquisition of Maxim Lapierre at the 2011 trade deadline, the Canucks were perfectly structured down the middle of the ice: Henrik Sedin, the super-skilled all-star Art Ross winner, on the top line; Ryan Kesler, the two-way power forward coming into his own as a sniper, on the second line; Manny Malhotra, the defence-first enabler, on the third line; Lapierre, the defensively-responsible agitator, on the fourth.
The Canucks even had Cody Hodgson, full of promise, waiting in the wings. Life was good in Centresville.
That’s when a malfeasant puck made a beeline for Malhotra’s eye, ruined everything, then went on to a starring role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Malhotra returned in the playoffs, he wasn’t the same player and that continued in the 2011-12 season. While he still played a vital defensive role, Malhotra’s ice time was much-diminished and it was apparent that he simply wasn’t as effective as he had been prior to the injury.
Hodgson, for his part, made good on several elements of his promise, but left Alain Vigneault and Mike Gillis wanting on the defensive side of the puck (and the patriarchal side of Hodgson’s family), leading to a trade out of town. In his place came Samme Pahlsson, who came with defensive acclaim, but didn’t live up it. Now he’s gone back to Sweden, leaving the position unoccupied.
When you add the fact that Ryan Kesler is definitely, totally injured and absolutely still recovering, no question about it, to the mix, the middle of the ice looks positively capacious for the Canucks. Utility forward Andrew Ebbett might be a stopgap, but what are the Canucks’ options for a season-long solution? Here are 5 of them:Continue Reading —›
Thomas Drance is in Pittsburgh covering the NHL entry draft for Pass it to Bulis. We told him that if he doesn’t get us at least one sexy scoop, he will be whipped when he returns, so he’s doing it journal-style, touching on a bunch of topics really quickly in the hopes that something he files will appease our irrational demands and spare him a flogging.Continue Reading —›
With the 26th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected Belleville Bulls centre Brendan Gaunce, leading to a frenzy of googling, as Canucks fans tried to decide for themselves whether Mike Gillis should have a statue built in his honour or whether he should be fired. In a kiln.
The answer, of course, is somewhere in between, though preferably further away from the kiln option. Gaunce was a safe pick, a power forward type who was high on nearly every scout’s pre-draft rankings, but it’s impossible to say whether he’ll be a future Hall-of-Famer or an ECHL-bound bust or somewhere in-between. What we can do is try to figure out just who Brendan Gaunce is and why he was picked in the first round by the Canucks.Continue Reading —›