Spitballin’ on Brendan Gaunce, intro songs, and Kassian’s MMA training

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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Pavel Bure is finally inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame, unnecessary drama ensues

After 6 years of being snubbed by the induction committee, Pavel Bure is finally getting his due from the Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Joe Sakic, Adam Oates, and Mats Sundin as the class of 2012, which makes me desperately hope that Bure’s portion of the ceremony comes before Sundin’s so that no one can say that Sundin was the first Canuck inducted into the HHOF on a technicality. Before you ask, Mark Messier never played for the Canucks; I don’t know who keeps spreading that myth, but it’s about time Snopes.com debunked it.

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A quick note for panicking Canucks fans


Stop panicking.

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.

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If the Canucks look unmotivated, that’s probably by design

(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.

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Why Mason Raymond with the Sedins isn’t the worst idea in the history of the world

Mason Raymond has become public enemy no. 1 in Vancouver of late, and it’s easy to see why. The winger only has 16 points this season, with 8 coming in his first month back from injury in December, so the numbers, like the fans, aren’t exactly giving him the benefit of the doubt. Furthermore, nearly every error he makes occurs in the offensive zone, the only zone many Canuck fans seem to watch. Between his tendency to fall down and his penchant for turnovers, his squirrelly play inside the opposition’s end stands out even to the most passive observer.

Futhermore, you know there’s still a large contingent of fans that thought the Canucks could get what they need at the deadline simply by trading Raymond away. Amazingly, these same fans would have been happy if he had been flipped for a bag of Skittles (even tropical flavour). Somehow, the Canucks’ winger was both worthless and worth everything, and when he wound up going nowhere, Vancouver fans were upset that Mike Gillis was unable to move his magic beans.

When Cody Hodgson was moved instead, the mood on Raymond soured even further. For fans that had fallen in love with Hodgson’s play and had already traded Raymond in their minds, the events of trade deadline day were like swapping Hodgson to bring back Raymond.

All of this is to say that Alain Vigneault wasn’t going win, regardless of where he played the much-maligned MayRay Wednesday night, because fans want to see Raymond in a fiery furnace, not in the lineup.

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We may never know what’s behind the great Sedin scoring famine of 2012

There has been much consternation about the twin scoring slumps of twin scoring champs Daniel and Henrik Sedin, but it’s worth noting that offensive droughts are an inevitability in professional hockey. Sometimes they just happen. Heck, Aaron Rome once went through a spell during his time in Vancouver in which he only tallied 1 goal in 105 games. Now that’s a slump. He finally got back to his usual scoring self this November with 3 goals in 4 games, but then his luck turned once again and he immediately fell into another prolonged drought. The poor guy only has 1 goal in his last 34 games!

But hey man, that’s just slumping.

Granted, unlike Aaron Rome, the Sedins have been fairly slump-resistant in recent memory (perhaps they carry slump repellant in their utility belts?). Their current drought, while a far cry from the potato famine some are making it out to be, is still the worst in a decade, or, as Henrik Sedin brilliantly put it Saturday night, “Way back then I was a crappy player.”

You can understand why there’s a little unrest about the great Sedin scoring famine of 2012. For the past two seasons, the Sedins have been so automatic that, if they were pointless late in a tied game, you could be confident in the Canucks’ ability to finish on top because their inevitable goal was still forthcoming. Not so over this recent stretch.

So what’s been the issue?

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In their first game of the season, the Canucks battled hard but were unable to win the game in regulation in their home opener. In the shootout, the opposition’s star forward and best offensive defenceman scored on Luongo, while neither Canuck shooter could score.

In their second game, the Canucks squeezed out a one-goal victory against one of the worst teams in the league, with the top-line scoring the gamewinner in the third period.

In the third game, the Canucks fell one goal short in a high-scoring game that featured 2 powerplay goals for both teams, resulting in a 1-1-1 record to start the season.

Thing is, I’m not talking about this season. I’m talking about last season, where the Canucks lost to the Kings in the shootout, then just barely beat the Panthers before losing to the Ducks 4-3 in their third game.

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Many have pointed to last year’s historic comeback by the Philadelphia Flyers (who clawed their way back from 3-0 down versus the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals), as evidence that the Blackhawks could still win this series, that a comeback could still happen.

History aside, if history’s any indication, it’s not very likely.

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The Canucks gave up 7 goals against only once this season, in the infamous Voldemort game against Chicago on November 20th. Though “Voldemort” implies that it shall not be named, like Dumbledore, I have never seen any reason to be frightened of talking about it. After all, the Canucks followed up the game by going on an incredible run, winning 17 of their next 21 games. The two games are remarkably similar actually: both games were tied after the first period, the Blackhawks scored four goals in the second period of both games, and Canucks fans collectively flipped the pool after each game. Also, both games were excruciating to watch. I should know: I watched that game and I watched this game.

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