Six Canucks heading to Belarus for Ice Hockey World Championship [Updated]

Getting the call from your home country to play in the World Championship has to be a little bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous honour to play for your country. On the other hand, it means you either missed the playoffs or got eliminated awfully early.

Accordingly, it can be difficult for a player to get excited to suit up for more hockey, having just recently come to grips with the thought of a long off-season. Others may decline the invitation due to lingering injuries that they’re eager to rehab before getting back into training and working out for next season.

Seven Canucks, however, have shaken out the doldrums and disappointment to commit to playing for their various countries: Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Jannik Hansen, Nicklas Jensen, and Eddie Lack.

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PITB is famous: Kevin Bieksa’s first NHL goal memories forever tainted by our existence

When Harrison and I first started Pass it to Bulis, the “PITB is famous” tag was a way to joke about how small-time we were by celebrating even the tiniest mention of the blog in the mainstream media. It was astonishing to us when our silliness — scrabble challenges and dumb questions on HNIC After Hours — actually received coverage in the real world.

Now that we occupy the hazy borderlands between mainstream and alternative media, it’s less surprising to see our blog mentioned elsewhere, so that saying “PITB is famous” no longer seems tongue-in-cheek, but instead looks like we’re tooting our own horn. If our horns are to be tooted, we prefer that other people toot them without prompting from us.

Still, there’s one place where we still don’t expect to get our horns tooted: in the mouths of the players. Okay, that came out wrong…

On Tuesday’s game between the Canucks and the Devils at Rogers Arena, the big screen at centre ice showed a short video during one of the TV timeouts where Kevin Bieksa reminisced about his first NHL goal. Unexpectedly, that led to a mention of your favourite Bulis-themed Canucks blog.

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Every Goal, 2012-13: Kevin Bieksa

The 2012-13 season was an unusual one for Kevin Bieksa. By his underlying statistics, it was Bieksa’s worst season in over five years. His usage was similar to that of 2011-12, but his Corsi went from 10.26, which led all Canucks defencemen in 2011-12, to -0.98, ahead of only Andrew Alberts.

Bieksa just wasn’t at his best this past season, but it gets a little more clear why when you look at who he played with for most of the season. Bieksa’s most common defence partner was Alex Edler, which is surprising given how little chemistry they have together. In 2011-12, Bieksa spent the entire season with Dan Hamhuis, whose steadiness is a perfect complement for Bieksa’s more freewheeling nature.

When paired with Edler, Bieksa’s Corsi% was 49.9%, meaning there was about an even split in shot attempts for and against when they were on the ice. Bieksa’s second most common partner was Jason Garrison and the two of them managed a Corsi% of 51.3% together. When paired with Hamhuis, Bieksa’s Corsi% was 50.9%. Bieksa’s worst Corsi% came when he was briefly paired with Andrew Alberts or Keith Ballard.

Long story short, Bieksa is not a player that can carry a defence pairing on his own, but works best as a complementary player with a steady defenceman like Hamhuis or Garrison at his side. If Chris Tanev is ready to step into the top-four and play with Edler at even-strength, then Bieksa should have a return to form while playing the majority of the season with Hamhuis or Garrison.

Even though it wasn’t a great season for Bieksa, he still scored six goals, just two fewer than his previous season. Given the name of this series, we have every one of them.

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Kevin Bieksa didn’t spear Martin Havlat in the groin; he slashed him (in the groin)

Martin Havlat left Wednesday’s game halfway through the first period for, since it’s the playoffs, undisclosed reasons. It didn’t take long, however, for the reason to become completely disclosed, causing male hockey fans everywhere to cringe in unison.

You see, according to Mike Halford from Pro Hockey Talk and David Pollak from the San Jose Mercury News, Kevin Bieksa speared Havlat in the groin. The NHL Network even has a video of the unfortunate moment, complete with a slow-motion replay.

Halford and Pollak are dead wrong, however. Bieksa definitely did not spear Havlat in the groin. Nope, not in the slightest. He quite clearly slashed him in the groin.

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Luongo, Kesler, Bieksa riff on greasy hair, indecipherable Burrows in odd Twitter conversation

The Canucks are on a roll, winning four straight. As a result, the team is feeling pretty loose and relaxed. Want proof? After their victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, three Canucks engaged in an absurd and ridiculously hilarious conversation on Twitter.

We’re used to Roberto Luongo entertaining Canucks fans and the rest of the hockey world with his self-deprecating humour on his no-longer-alleged Twitter account, @strombone1, but on Sunday night Ryan Kesler (@Ryan_Kesler) and Kevin Bieksa (@kbieksa3) joined in on the fun. The three Canucks riffed on Luongo’s hair, for the most part, but couldn’t resist a couple quips on Burrows’ indecipherability and a couple body blows on Kesler’s nude photo.

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Breakdowning Mason Raymond’s first period goal against the Nashville Predators

When the Canucks score 7 goals in a game, it’s tough to know which one to break down. We even had calls on Twitter to break down Henrik Sedin’s gorgeous penalty shot goal or Maxim Lapierre’s slick breakaway marker. As nice as those goals were, it’s more than a little difficult to break down a goal when it’s just one skater and a goalie. It would just be one screen shot with the breathtaking analysis of, “Well, you see, he did something the goalie didn’t expect him to do and the puck…well, it went in.”

It seemed obvious to me which one needed the full Breakdowning treatment: Mason Raymond’s seventh goal of the season, which came on a beautiful passing play that incorporated every single Canucks skater on the ice.

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How long will the Canucks’ current defence pairings last?

Alain Vigneault has the tendency to shuffle his forward lines like a magician shuffles cards: most of it is sleight-of-hand and nothing really changes in the end. He and Rick Bowness have frequently done the same with defence pairings in the past over the last couple seasons, but certain pairings tended to stick together and avoid the juggling.

When Christian Ehrhoff was with the Canucks, he was all-but-inseparable from Alex Edler. At one point, Kevin Bieksa only hit the ice when Willie Mitchell was at his side. Over the last couple seasons, it’s been Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis who have been attached at the hip. Other pairings were malleable, but those pairings were, at the very least, semi-permanent.

Heading into this season, the pairing of Bieksa and Hamhuis, affectionately and disgustingly known as HamJuice, were a given. Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev, who performed well when paired together in the previous season, were assumed to be the bottom pairing. That left the newly-arrive Jason Garrison to play with Edler, something I had been anticipating ever since he signed with the Canucks.

It looked like the defence pairings were about as set in stone as they could possibly be. But it took just 5 games for those stones to be thrown to the ground and broken up like the Ten Commandments.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Miikka Kiprusoff is a hanger-on

It makes plenty of sense that Zack Kassian would be the enduring story from Wednesday night’s tilt between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames. After all, the winger looked great, scoring a goal, adding the shootout winner, and looking great on the first line with the Sedins. If you were handing out report cards through the Canucks’ first three games, Kassian would likely earn an A, and his game Wednesday was undoubtedly the best of the bunch.

But still, it seems odd to me that no one is mentioning that strange moment when Mikka Kiprusoff latched onto Kevin Bieksa’s leg like a squid or a leech and refused to let go.

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Kesler and Bieksa host street hockey game with Cabbie, are terrible actors [VIDEO]

A couple weeks ago, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler teamed up with Cabral “Cabbie” Richards for an impromptu street hockey game under the Cambrie Bridge (site of one of the great music videos of our time).

Also, Jason Garrison was there.

TSN waited until last Friday to put up Cabbie’s segment on the game and, this weekend, it finally made it to YouTube.. I’ve been a big fan of Cabbie since his days on The Score. He seems to always be able to get athletes to let down their guard, leading to great interviews and a lot of humour.

This time around, however, Cabbie doesn’t say a word through the entire segment, letting Kesler and Bieksa take the reins. That was either a horrible, horrible mistake or one of the best things he’s ever done, depending on how much you like the unintentional humour of terrible acting. We like it a lot.

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The 10 best pictures of Canucks as kids

There is no better hockey-related Tumblr account in the entire world than NHL Players as Kids. Seeing pictures of big and tough hockey players as adorable, cherub-faced children is inherently hilarious. Making it even better is how many of them haven’t changed in the slightest and look almost exactly the same as they did when they were kids.

There are several Canucks represented on NHL Players as Kids and many of their pictures are awesome and need to be shared. So here I am, sharing them with you. That’s just how we roll here at PITB.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best pictures of current and former Canucks as kids:

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Kevin Bieksa does the weather on Global Morning News; breaking: he’s bad at it (VIDEO)

Clearly, picking up a parking ticket hasn’t discouraged Kevin Bieksa from visiting to UBC. Last week, it was announced that he and his Buddies — a team that includes Jannik Hansen, Cory Schneider, Willie Mitchell and some other special guests — would be playing a charity game versus the UBC Thunderbirds on October 17th. Tickets went on sale Saturday morning, and because this market is absolutely starved for Canucks hockey, and because it’s only a 5000-seat stadium, they were sold out by Saturday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Bieksa appeared on Global’s Morning News to discuss the already sold-out event, the lockout and, in a surprise turn, do the weather. This might not come as much of a surprise to you, but Bieksa is a lot better at starting the breakout than he is at forecasting the week.

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Bieksa’s Buddies to play charity hockey game

As we have previously pointed out, one of the true tragedies of the NHL lockout is that it prevents players from participating in charitable endeavours through their teams. This is especially tough on charities that rely on the Canucks’ fundraising efforts for a large chunk of the donations they receive. Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Canucks Family Education Centre, and the Canucks Autism Network depend on the charitable efforts of the Canucks to provide their services to the community. In many ways, these are the people the lockout hurts the most.

This is why Kevin Bieksa has stepped into the void. Just because the Canucks players are locked out and prevented from doing charity work through the team doesn’t mean they can’t organize it themselves.

Bieksa, along with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, Max Lapierre, Cory Schneider, and Willie Mitchell will be playing a charity hockey game against the UBC Thunderbirds on October 17th, with net proceeds to benefit the three charities above.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Kevin Bieksa is a crooner

While searching through the Canucks.com archives for poorly-dressed Canucks, I happened across a great photo of Kevin Bieksa appearing to entertain Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins with some impromptu acapella, using his stick as a microphone. I chuckled to myself and moved on.

But then I found another one, this time using a wireless handheld water bottle.

It turns out that Bieksa simply loves to sing. We should have known: he famously burst out into song during an interview with Scott Oake and he loves playing to a crowd. Now, in the spirit of the many axes of Cory Schneider, PITB takes a look at Kevin Bieksa’s lockout plans, where he’s taking a chance on a new career as a singer.

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Spitballin’ on stolen ice time, charitable giving addict Dan Hamhuis, and snubbing Jan Bulis

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 quick topics.

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Kevin Bieksa chats with the Jeff O’Neil show about the lockout, Rick Rypien, and Tweepers

With the NHL lockout in just-short-of-full-swing (bunt?), Canucks players are left with a lot of time on their hands. Some fill that time with hunting wildlife, angering animal lovers, and discussing the merits of sneezing, but Kevin Bieksa is apparently filling that time with silly interviews.

Bieksa once again appeared on 99.3 The Fox’s Jeff O’Neil Show and, knowing Bieksa and his tendency towards quotability, we knew it would be worth a listen. His last appearance on the show yielded such gems as Mason Raymond’s irritability when his face is damaged, tips on manscaping your chest (“It’s 2011, not 1973. You gotta keep things tight.”), and Bieksa flat out calling one of the host’s questions “stupid.”

What gifts did Bieksa have for us in Tuesday’s interview? Take a listen.

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Kevin Bieksa gets a ticket, and other great moments in Canucks automotive history

In case you haven’t heard, the NHL collective bargaining agreement expired at 9pm PST on Saturday night, meaning the second work stoppage in seven years is officially upon us. (Alert status: complete despair.) No games have been canceled yet, but the lockout is already beginning to affect things. On Monday, a handful of Canucks skated at UBC with their practice jerseys turned inside-out. After all, they aren’t employees of the Canucks right now. Horrifying.

And that wasn’t the only tangible impact the lockout had on the Canucks’ unemployed hockey players. With no training staff around to keep an eye on the clock, Kevin Bieksa’s parking meter expired. He returned to his car to discover he’d been busted by officer 300, the Judge Dredd of parking services officers. Bieksa now has until the end of the month to pay the $30 ticket before it doubles to $60. Will this wreak havoc on his lockout preparation fund?

Yeah, he can probably afford it, which means there isn’t much of a story here. It’s a shame his violation was 11b (expired meter), and not, say, violation 13g (nuisance) or violation 7k (counterfeit pass). I mean, that would have at least made things interesting.

But what we lack in one quality parking story we can more than make up for in quantity. This is, after all, just the latest in a long line of parking incidents for members of the Vancouver Canucks. Come with us as we park multiple times on memory lane.

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Every Goal 2011-12: Playoffs

You didn’t think we could end the Every Goal series on such a positive note with Chris Higgins, right? You should know by now that things can never end well for Canucks fans. That is why the last post in our annual off-season Every Goal series will end with all 8 goals the Canucks managed to score during the 2012 playoffs versus the Los Angeles Kings.

On the plus side, we’re only looking back at the good parts, when the puck was going into the Kings’ net. If you squint and ignore the scoreboard, you can imagine that the Canucks won the series. While you’re at it, imagine that the NHL and NHLPA have concluded their CBA negotiations and that there won’t be a lockout to start next season.

In any case, the Canucks scored some pretty goals during the playoffs and they deserve to be remembered and highlighted. Seeing them outside of their disappointing context makes them a lot more enjoyable.

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Spitballin’ on nothing, nada, and zilch

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 quick topics.

Normally, Spitballin’ is used for the above purpose: to quickly run down the many things that have happened in a short space of time. Right now, however, nothing is happening. At all. In fact, there’s so much nothing happening that it boggles the mind, necessitating a Spitballin’ feature to cover it all. Here is all the nothing that is happening right now that you need to know about:

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Every Goal, 2011-12: Kevin Bieksa

The 2011-12 season was a good one for Bieksa. While still playing a shutdown role alongside Dan Hamhuis, he set a career-high in points with the third 40+ point season of his career. In addition, he finally succumbed to PITB’s omnipresent pressure and joined Twitter, giving Canucks fans what would end up being the second best Canuck player Twitter account.

His interviews this season were legendary, such as the Milk Hot Dog Interview and the one in which the interviewer mistook him for Ryan Kesler and Bieksa ran with it. Then there was the time he threw a glove at Cal Clutterbuck. Basically, Bieksa had a hilarious season off the ice that also happened to be highly successful on the ice.

Along the way, he scored 8 goals. When we take a look at all 8, I think you’ll agree: Bieksa Real Good!

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Spitballin’ on Chris Tanev’s glove, the creepiest Sedin video ever, and Luongo’s future

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 quick topics.

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I Find This Video Odd: Bieksa has an irresistible tush

With just two goals in regulation and only 46 shots total, Monday night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes wasn’t exactly the epitome of entertainment. Fortunately, Canucks fans can count on Kevin Bieksa to liven things up, though he normally does so with his comments in interviews.

Near the end of the third period, Bieksa tried to get fancy with an iced puck, flipping it off the boards and attempting to catch it behind his back. He came just short of succeeding when linesman Mark Wheler stepped in to help him out…

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Pass it to Comics: Kevin Bieksa, stanchion killer

Pass it to Comics is a regular collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra, whose Tumblr page, Blue Soup, is a must-follow for any Canuck fan with an appreciation for quirk. Today, we recognize the source of Kevin Bieksa’s uncanny luck with the partition.

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Pass it to Comics: Why Bieksa hates milk hot dogs

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, we discover the true origins of Kevin Bieksa’s strange new insult.

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The guy selling Bieksa’s tooth on Craigslist was so close

The best Canuck-related Craigslist postings are from odd individuals looking to sell strange paraphernalia at exorbitant prices, such as the guy asking $11,000 for that hand-carved Canuck bear in jeans, or the guy trying to sell Kevin Bieksa’s tooth for $500 the night after the Canuck defenseman took an elbow to the mouth and lost it.

The latter ad didn’t last long, primarily because people (including our beloved sports editor Scott Brown) called B.S. on this right away. Lucky for everyone, I took a screenshot before it was taken down. Relive the glory.

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Just because Christian Ehrhoff’s contractual rights were dealt today to the New York Islanders doesn’t mean absolutely that he’ll wide up in Wang’s World when the season starts, but the simple fact that he reportedly turned down the same offer that Kevin Bieksa got (including a no trade clause) is mind boggling.  There is no doubt that Ehrhoff will command [...]

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