Spitballin’ on Bieksa throwing a glove, Burrows and O’Brien’s odd relationship, and stuff Canucks fans say

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.

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The Canucks had 29 shots tonight, but I’m far more interested in the fact that they only had 3 blocked. The team has struggled so far this season getting shots through, often finishing the night with as many as 20 attempts that fail to reach the opposing goaltender. Tonight, rather than trying to force things, they made smarter decisions with the puck. The results were longer offensive zone shifts and sustained offensive zone pressure at even-strength for the first time all season. It was weird. The 2011-12 Canucks looked like a dangerous team even when both teams had the same number of guys on the ice. Unheard of. But not unseen — I watched this game.

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There weren’t many, but one of the highlights of any contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators was the interaction of former teammates Alex Burrows and Shane O’Brien. Prior to the games, the two chirped each other in the media, and during games, they couldn’t keep from one another. Any time they shared the same ice, the two mercilessly hacked and slashed at each other’s shins, tripped and crosschecked with impunity, and often required intervention from the officials. Even then, they waved and shouted at one another over the linesmen’s shoulders. To the layman, these two were enemies. But a closer look revealed their wry smiles — the laughter as crosschecked one another along the base of the spines, the mirth with which they took each other’s legs out.

In other words, Burrows and O’Brien aren’t enemies. They’re frenemies. See, for instance, the photo above, which demonstrates both the competitiveness and the closeness between the two. Sure, there’s a facewash going on, but there also exists a delicate dance.

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