The 3rd annual Canucks headshot awards, starring Peter Andersson and his creepy blue eyes

A lot of people grumble about the preseason, but here at Pass it to Bulis, it excites us, for several reasons. It’s hockey, for one thing. It may not be the best hockey, but I’d still rather watch preseason hockey than no hockey at all. Furthermore, while the games may not mean anything, points-wise, they sure mean something for the prospects, who are trying to play their way onto the team. Those battles are fun, especially this year, since the Canucks actually have a few guys knocking on the door.

But the best thing about the preseason isn’t the games, nor is it the battles: it’s the headshots. With all an organization’s players and prospects gathered in one place at the start of training camp, the team sends each one of them down to the photographer for his official NHL portrait.

As we said two years ago, picture day always leads to unintentional comedy. Most of the guys would rather be anywhere else. Very few actually prepare for it. And, best of all, they’re given no direction as to what they’re supposed to be doing. Some smile. Some glower. Some just stare vacantly ahead. It’s a good time.

And so, without any further ado, we present PITB’s third annual Canucks headshot awards.

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The 2nd annual Canuck headshot awards, starring a weary Roberto Luongo

There are a number of reasons to get excited about the opening of Canucks training camp. There are storylines galore, especially this season, from the new coach and system to the rookies knocking on the door to the bargain-bin offseason signings attempting to prove they’re worth the contract. There’s the fact that training camp is the harbinger of real, meaningful hockey.

And, of course, there’s picture day.

Picture day is the best. It’s the day every player invited to Canucks training camp sits down in front of the weird, paint-daubed background, smiles or scowls, depending on their mood, and allows Jeff Vinnick to capture the headshot that will be used alongside their name all season long. Amazingly, despite how frequently these photos will be used, few prepare for it (although Sean Avery once brought some fashionable frames) and few make the effort to look their best.

The result is comedy by the bowlful, and since we like comedy here at PITB — although we’re only middling at it — we’d like to highlight a few of our favourites, just as we did last year, in the second annual headshot awards.

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The Canucks dressed their complete roster for the final game of the preseason, setting up a terrifying possibility: considering that a shoddy Vancouver group full of fourth liners, AHLers, and since-cut veterans on tryouts was able to beat this same Edmonton Oilers team only a week ago, a loss tonight by the opening night lineup would have been irrefutable proof that the Canucks made all the wrong choices coming out of training camp. Dan Hamhuis is a flop; Ryan Parent’s where it’s at. Chris Higgins sucks; Antoine Roussel rocks. Mark Mancari and Todd Fedoruk should still be here; the Sedins should have been cut instead. Thankfully, the Canucks justified the decisions of the coaching staff by winning this game. And I watched this game.

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Qris Johnson is the third man in. Just when you thought there were only two writers on PITB, we blindside you with a third writer. It’s like Qris Johnson is Mark Messier and you guys are Mike Modano. Wait, don’t we hate Mark Messier?

In this edition, Qris tackles the Canucks’ rivalry with the Blackhawks and touches on Milan Lucic, prima donnas, and headshots. Yes, headshots. In the summer. It makes sense, I swear.

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