Alex Burrows is one of the league’s most renowned (and some might say reviled) chirpers. He’ll say almost anything to get an opponent off their game, including bizarrely personal stuff for which he clearly does research. He’s admitted to checking his opponents’ statistics before games. You’ll recall his and Ryan Kesler’s taunts to David Backes back in 2009, which included mentioning Backes’s wife by name. And he once got Detroit Red Wings’ enforcer Aaron Downey worked up by making fun of the Downey family potato farm.
That in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of his taunts to Mike Richards was similarly tailored. After Richards laid the Canuck winger out with a big, open-ice hit in the dying seconds, Burrows went after Richards at the next stoppage. As the linesmen separated them, Burrows took a jab at Richards’s reputation as a partier by dragging his finger under his nose. Twice.Continue Reading —›
Like you, I’m disappointed that the Canucks lost game one against the Kings on Wednesday, and I wasn’t impressed with how they played, beyond the performance of Roberto Luongo. But I’m not panicking and neither should you.Continue Reading —›
Apparently pointing out that some people hate the Canucks is considered news. Last week, the Toronto Star ran a column that quoted Mark Recchi, a Blackhawks fan, and a Calgary sports radio host and concluded that everyone hates the Canucks. The next day, the Toronto Sun suggested that the only reason to follow the Canucks was that even though they’re terrible human beings, they’re at least not boring.
That same story suggested that Canadian hockey fans should cheer for the Senators instead, because the Sedins have never taken snowmobiles to practice.
Then you have the silliness of the Kings’ official twitter account chirping Canucks fans about the rest of Canada hating the team. When even the teams from California are talking about how much everyone hates the Canucks, it must be true, right? It’s surely not possible that so many people could be wrong about something like this.
Apparently it is possible. Because an Angus Reid public opinion poll says that the Canucks are a long way from Canada’s most hated team. They’re not even close.Continue Reading —›
In case you’re still stewing with outrage over the sheer audacity of the Los Angeles Kings Twitter account, I want you to know that they have heard your cries. Thursday afternoon, the Kings apologized for the tweet, which was, of course, heinous. It was in poor taste to suggest the Sedins were women, claim Francophones such as Alain Vigneault and Alex Burrows should be exiled to France, call Cory Schneider a ginger, and make a riot joke all in one tweet.
Wait, that’s not what happened? They merely suggested the rest of Canada was rooting against the Canucks? Then why is the outrage-o-meter bordering on aneurysmal? Because that’s just true.
Earlier this week, I predicted that we might see a redemption narrative take shape this year in the national coverage, especially since the Canucks had scaled back the embellishment, Maxim Lapierre had become a fighter, and the whole group was tougher and less powerplay-reliant. But, one game into the Stanley Cup playoffs, I can already say that I was wrong.
I didn’t expect Byron Bitz to hit a guy in the head (and neither did he, judging from his contrition this morning); it was a surprise that Ryan Kesler decided to pick Game 1 of the postseason to ratchet up the fakery, something we’ve hardly seen at all from him this season; and I wholly underestimated the way that hating the Canucks had become a national pastime, something the Kings’ social media guy clearly gets, and Canuck fans might want to get used to.Continue Reading —›
I was promised prior to tonight’s game that playoff hockey is the best hockey. I don’t know about you, but I thought this particular game was pretty lousy. Now I can never trust again.
It’s difficult for a game to be entertaining when it’s bogged down by constant penalty calls. Approximately half of the first two periods of this game were spent with one of the two teams on the powerplay. It made for an extremely disjointed game that significantly lacked any sense of flow. So, essentially, me when I try to rap.
I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Game one of the Canucks first round playoff series versus the Los Angeles Kings is starting in just a couple hours. To get you ready, I’ve compiled a plethora of numbers from these two teams in order to draw some comparisons. Ultimately, the numbers suggest that this will be a tougher series than the first-versus-eighth matchup would suggest.Continue Reading —›
The start of the NHL playoffs is an odd time for a hockey team’s fanbase. Co-workers and relatives that have never paid attention to sports will suddenly start conversations with “Big game tonight, eh?” Fans of teams who finished outside the playoff picture begin a slow and painful migration to half-heartedly cheering for another team. Even the casual fan will start following the team with a passion usually reserved for their significant others; meanwhile, those significant others resign themselves to suddenly having their schedules revolve around game time.
Yes, playoff time is the time of the bandwagon fan, and here at Pass it to Bulis, we are firmly pro-bandwagon-fan. We understand that not everyone is able or willing to follow every wrinkle of the 82-game regular season. While we appreciate those dedicated fans who watched every game with us this season, we also appreciate those who jump on board at the last minute. We get it: playoff hockey is incredible, while regular season hockey has the potential to be unbearable.
This is why we created the Canucks Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet a couple years ago, to inform such fair-weather fans of what they have missed. The Cheat Sheet tells you everything you need to know about each player on the Canucks so that you can easily fit in with the rest of the fanbase. It includes nicknames, what to expect, and things you should and shouldn’t say.
We published part one and two of the Cheat Sheet back in February as people first began hopping on the bandwagon, but there have been some changes to the team since then. Thus, it is now time for the Appendix, covering the new and potential additions to the Canucks so you can be just as well-informed about them as you are about the rest of the team.Continue Reading —›
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas; the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Wednesday night, the Canucks will begin their potential road to the possibility of hopeful victory. As you might be able to tell, I’m hedging my bets. After last season ended in such bitter disappointment, I’m downgrading my raging-over-the-top optimism to cautious optimism.
The Canucks’ first round opponents are the Los Angeles Kings – who are bad – by virtue (or vice) of losing to the San Jose Sharks on the final day of the season. Considering the Canucks went 3-0-1 against the Sharks and 2-1-1 against the Kings, the Sharks likely would have been a better matchup.
But what were those regular season games really like? We can look back at the boxscore and statistics in order to remember, but that only gives us a partial picture. If only someone watched those games and recorded what they thought about them in an easy to digest, quippy, point-form manner.
Oh wait! We watched those games!Continue Reading —›
It wasn’t that long ago that we considered the Canucks to have no chance whatsoever at first place in the Western Conference, let alone the Presidents’ Trophy. On March 20th, for instance, the Canucks were a full 6 points back of the Blues with just 10 games remaining and were coming off their 7th loss [...]Continue Reading —›
Tonight, the Canucks hosted the Orange County team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks in a game stuffed with hyperbole. The greatest one of all time and space was in attendance (Mooney was there too), there was a first period penalty shot (only the most exciting play in hockey), eight pucks heroically rippled the mesh, Jonas Hiller made several acrobatic glove saves, and Henrik Sedin and the puck played a masterful sixty minute game of Cat’s Cradle.
Oh. And somewhere along the way, the Rogers Arena’ faithful chose to serenade Roberto Luongo with a loud chorus of Luu’s. After all, it’s his birthday! But he’s been so good for so long that the birthday boy deserved the appreciative support of the fans, who gave it to him even though he had a rocky outing. At least I think it was a compassionate, grateful crowd that was Luuu-ing, because anything else wouldn’t make much sense!
As a staunch proponent of hockey math, I usually miss out on this sort of drama. I trust the numbers, so there’s no real need to tune into the contests. Tonight, for Wagner and Mooney, I made a rare exception: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Technically, the Colorado Avalanche are still in playoff contention, but their chances are slimmer than a Slim Jim. They currently sit in 10th place, 2 points out of the playoffs, with only two games remaining on their schedule. All four teams ahead of them that they could conceivably catch have three games left. It doesn’t help that all three games the San Jose Sharks have remaining are against other teams battling for those same playoff spots, guaranteeing that the Avalanche will have even more ground to make up.
If the Avalanche fail to make the playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks will be the only team from the Northwest Division in the postseason for the second straight year. The competitive imbalance in the Northwest isn’t good for the team or the fans.Continue Reading —›
If the Canucks had been struggling to find motivation late in this season, there was plenty to be had in Saturday night’s date with the Calgary Flames. First, a victory would allow them to leapfrog the St. Louis Blues and take over sole possession of 1st place in the Western Conference. Second, a victory would officially eliminate the Flames — who objectively suck — from postseason contention. Third, Andrew Ebbett was back. Andrew Ebbett! That dude looks like Chris Martin from Coldplay. How can you not be motivated by that?
Sure enough, the Canucks rode the wave of motivation to a victory, jumping into 1st in the West, banishing the Flames to the irrelevance from whence they came, and letting Andrew Ebbett lead them to victory, like Moses (if Moses looked like Chris Martin from Coldplay). Also, a fourth important thing happened: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
After two-straight 1-0 shutouts, Canucks fans and media were starting to wonder if the team had completely forgotten how to score. Not me. I was worried that they had forgotten how to allow goals. Fact: no team has won the Stanley Cup without allowing a single goal.
Fortunately, the Canucks eased my concerns by giving up 2 goals to the visiting Dallas Stars. I was relieved when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Something about this game seemed vaguely familiar, like I had watched a carbon copy of it just a couple nights ago… For the second game in a row, the Canucks faced a desperate team on the edge of the playoff bubble, and for the second game in a row, the Canucks shut that team out 1-0.
The biggest difference between the two games, of course, was the goaltender doing the shutting out. On Monday, against the Kings, Roberto Luongo made an early goal by Manny Malhotra stand as the game-winner with 38 saves, including 17 in the third period. In this game, versus the Avalanche, Cory Schneider made an early goal by Chris Higgins stand as the game-winner with 43 saves, including 16 in the third period.
Meanwhile, I looked for changes in the Matrix when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Hey, remember when I said the Canucks would be sashaying into the postseason at half-speed? Yeah, they’re not doing that anymore. With the playoffs now 6 games away and 1st place in the Conference somehow well within reach, the boys in blue have dispensed with the body break and ratcheted up the intensity for the final two weeks, setting their sights on the boys in darker blue.
Suddenly, the Canucks are testing their playoff wheels, embracing activities they’ve spurned over the past month and doing the little things you need to do to win playoff games, such as throwing hits and blocking shots to protect one-goal leads. And what better way to test a team’s ability to protect a one-goal lead than scoring 3 minutes in and spending the next 57 holding on like Wilson Phillips? It may not have been pretty, but if it’s pretty you want, watch that Wilson Phillips music video. As for me, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
There was a lot at stake for the Colorado Avalanche heading into this game. With a victory, the Avalanche could leapfrog the Kings and Coyotes in the Western Conference standings to move into playoff position. Colorado is in a tough 4-team battle for the final two playoff spots and have fewer games remaining. They desperately need wins.
As for the Canucks, they clinched the Northwest Division when the Calgary Flames lost to the Dallas Stars earlier in the day, so they had slightly less at stake. Despite the complete lack of urgency, the Canucks showed resilience, heart, character, gumption, and chutzpah in a tough and chippy game that I closely observed when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With all the fussing over the Canucks’ quality of play recently, it’s easy to forget that they have a 12 point-lead in the Northwest Division. There was essentially no chance that they could lose the division and were essentially guaranteed to have home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Well, you can now remove the word “essentially” from that sentence above and move the whole thing into the present tense. The Canucks have officially clinched the Northwest Division in the most anti-climactic way possible.Continue Reading —›
With Duncan Keith scheduled to go before the Shanaban committee Friday afternoon for his elbow on Daniel Sedin, the Canucks flew into Dallas on Thursday with one goal and one goal only: play a hapless, soulless, sad-sack game of hockey that underscored just how vital Daniel was to their identity and how badly they missed him.
But, as usual, they choked. Led by a two-point night from Mason Raymond, who can never do anything right, the Canucks scored more goals than the Dallas Stars like idiots, winning the game and giving everyone — the Department of Player Safety included, unfortunately — the impression that they might survive without Daniel in the short-term. It was an unacceptable effort, since the team was supposed to be playing without any effort at all. Instead, they screwed up big-time and played a sound road game. And speaking of sound, I listened to this game. While I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
After a long streak of sub-par play from the Canucks, all the talk leading into this game was regarding whether they would wake up for a meeting with their hated rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. That likely won’t be discussed as much after this game, where the Canucks put forward a hard-working, physical effort and played with a passion and emotion that hasn’t been seen in some time.
Unfortunately, one of the causes of that emotion was an ugly, ugly elbow by Duncan Keith that knocked Daniel Sedin out of the game. The result: a massive outpouring of concern and vitriol from Canucks fans, an entertaining game on the ice, and a certain suspension for Keith. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
(Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows celebrate as gently as possible.)
Vancouver hockey fans rarely reach a consensus on anything, but I think we all agree that the Canucks looked unmotivated and disinterested on Monday night in Minnesota.
It was the Canucks’ 7th loss in 10 games, leading the cynics — who see everything as a conspiracy (including the rhetoric of any suspected non-cynics) — to freak. Some called for Alain Vigneault’s head once again, claiming the team had tuned him out, that his time here was done, and that the team should fire their coach 10 games from the postseason.
Level-headed thinking is not the strong suit of this pocket of Canuck nation.
But these folks have a point: if we’re assuming that Alain Vigneault is trying to wring the best and most hard-working performances out of his team — a reasonable assumption — he’s failing miserably these days. After the loss to the Wild, Canucks Army observed that, while the Canucks had 33 shots on goal, they only had 9 scoring chances. Against one of the NHL’s thinnest defense corps, it’s difficult to be that offensively inept. It’s as though the Canucks were actively trying to remain on the perimeter.
But maybe they were.Continue Reading —›
Let us take heart. Tonight was not the worst Vancouver Canucks/Minnesota Wild game ever played. Admittedly, that’s like saying, “This isn’t the most awful Land Before Time sequel ever” or “I’ve seen worse Star Wars prequels,” but still, it’s a little perspective.
So there’s your silver lining, Canuck fans: as low as the entertainment value at the Xcel Energy Center was this evening, as much as this game was to the soul as Coke is to a molar, it could have been far worse: this game could have featured both Ducky the Dinosaur and Jar Jar Binks. Thankfully, it had neither, a fact with which I consoled myself while I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Most of the time, we use the “Breakdowning” feature to unpack busy goals. Back in December, for instance, we broke down two Sedin goals versus the Minnesota Wild. Both featured a great deal of movement and, eventually, a tiny defensive error on which the twins were able to capitalize. We also looked at a powerplay goal versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. In it, the Leafs’ penalty-kill unit made an error, and the Canucks were able to pull off a complex scoring play as a result.
Alex Edler’s end-to-end rush Saturday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets was hardly complex. Basically, the Swedish blueliner just skated straight up the middle of the ice.
And no one stopped him. If you’re wondering how this goal happened, let me make it very clear: typically, a skater isn’t allowed to do that. But Edler was, and thus we break down exactly what allowed Alex Edler to go coast-to-coast like Space Ghost on the Columbus penalty kill.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 season, Chris Higgins missed time with a mysterious infection of some sort, and we at PITB immediately screamed “Zombie bite.” Of course, no one takes our opinions seriously (which is probably a good thing), so our suggestion was ignored.
But then the infection struck again, and Higgins missed even more time. A highly-resist strain of infection? Definitely zombiism, which isn’t just highly-resistant, it’s potentially virulent.
And yet still, we were ignored. Eventually, Higgins was brought back to health with antibiotics and rest and returned to the lineup, where we have secretly feared that he would pass the infection onto his teammates ever since. And, judging from this photo from the Canucks’ tilt with the Phoenix Coyotes, it would appear that our concerns were justified. I’m not sure how this isn’t a bigger story, but on Wednesday night, Chris Tanev and Sami Salo ate an official.Continue Reading —›
Lovers of high-tempo, offensive hockey were dreading this game, considering the two previous meetings between these teams were 1-1 affairs that both went to the shootout. Those who were not anticipating offence may have forgotten that Phoenix and Vancouver combined for 75 shots in their last matchup and a combination of stellar goaltending and bad bounces were the only reason 9 goals weren’t scored.
But 9 goals were scored in this game, meaning that the goaltending wasn’t stellar and the bounces weren’t bad. Unless you recently travelled forward through time from the 80′s, in which case I mean the bounces were bad. They were the baddest. Totally tubular, in fact. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›