With 8 games remaining in the regular season, it seems fairly certain that the Canucks will once again win the Northwest division. The Canucks are trending in the right direction with the addition of Derek Roy and the return of Ryan Kesler and are now six points up on the second place Minnesota Wild, who have lost four of their last five games.
Since the Canucks aren’t likely to catch the Anaheim Ducks, who are seven points ahead, in the standings, the Canucks will finish as the third seed in the Western Conference and face the sixth seed in the first round of the playoffs. At this point, any one of six teams could finish sixth in the West: the Kings, Sharks, Blues, Wild, Red Wings, and Coyotes, with the outside possibility of the Stars or Blue Jackets.
So, which of those teams would the Canucks rather play in the first round? Who would they rather avoid?Continue Reading —›
On one hand, Alain Vigneault has to be frustrated by the Canucks’ continued struggle to ice something resembling a competitive lineup. Thursday night, the club was so shorthanded they were forced to deploy Keith Ballard as a top-nine forward, and somehow they managed to lose another key component in that one after Alex Edler was suspended two games for colliding with Mike “I step in front of cars and sue the drivers” Smith.
But on the other hand, the shorthandedness of Vigneault’s club means they have no choice but to go into full-blown shutdown mode, and I think we all know that Alain Vigneault descends into hockey vampirism — sucking the life out of games in order to survive — with unbridled, abject glee. The Canucks were unyielding in their defensive posture in this one, scoring early, then nursing a 1-0 lead so completely that, after the game, they had to burp it. I sort of felt like a creep when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The moment I knew Henrik Sedin was going to have a great night came just 10 seconds into the game. Anze Kopitar was ahead of him in the offensive zone, looking to create a scoring chance, and Henrik reached out with his stick, got it in Kopitar’s hands, and gave a little tug. With that, Henrik was off to the penalty box for hooking and also off to a great start to the game.
Captain Hook is back, I thought to myself, and sure enough, Henrik dominated the rest of the game, stickhandling around opponents with impunity and creating numerous scoring chances for his linemates. It was like the two minutes in the box spent just observing the game were exactly what he needed, as he discerned the pattern of the game and decoded it. Similarly, I did exactly what I needed to do when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
I always enjoy the atmosphere the Staples Centre brings to a telecast. It’s a boisterous enemy area. But if there’s one thing I still can’t handle about the Canucks’ visits to LA, it’s that execrable, heinous bumper video in which South Park sociopath Eric Cartman screams “Go Kings go!” over and over and over. It’s the worst. “Chelsea Dagger” is “Strawberry Fields Forever” compared to that thing. If you’ve ever read Hamlet, and wondered how, exactly, one perpetrates an ear poisoning, wonder no more. Seriously. You could commit regicide with this video.
Speaking of regicide, the Canucks did their best to off the Kings on Monday night, if by “did their best” you mean played badly, but were fortunate to have Roberto Luongo in goal. However, while they were fortunate in this sense, they were unfortunate in the sense that Luongo’s incredible play wasn’t quite enough to overcome their mediocre play — which, if you watched Luongo’s performance, should make clear how truly mediocre their play was. It was clear to me, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
It can be tough watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Canucks having already been eliminated. While the games are still entertaining, it’s just not the same without a proverbial horse in the race. Cheering against the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings only gets you so far.
Fortunately for the dedicated Canucks fan, there are three significant former Canucks still in the playoff picture. At the very least, Canucks fans can cheer for the individual success of Willie Mitchell, Taylor Pyatt, and Steve Bernier. I thought it would be worthwhile to look at these three players and see how they got to where they are and how they have found a place with their respective teams where, perhaps, they were not able to on the Canucks.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Though it was a tough way to lose the game, the Canucks can take solace in getting the game to overtime and earning the single point. Wait, what? That’s not how it works in the playoffs? The Canucks have been eliminated? That’s it? It’s over? Oh. I watched this game. Canucks 1 – 2 Kings [...]Continue Reading —›
The return of Daniel Sedin on Wednesday was expected to have a trickle-down effect on the Canucks lineup, but Alain Vigneault wasn’t content to just put things back the way they were. He put David Booth, who had just one goal in his last 14 games, with the twins and put Dan Hamhuis on the point of the powerplay instead of returning Sami Salo to his usual spot.
Both turned out to be good decisions: Booth picked up the primary assist on Kevin Bieksa’s gamewinning goal by using his speed to back off the defence, giving Bieksa plenty of room to shoot, while Hamhuis set up Alex Edler on the opening goal on the powerplay.
Both Booth and Hamhuis played a major role in Henrik Sedin’s insurance marker in the third period as well. I had an insurance marker once. It was a felt pen from where my parents bought insurance. It wasn’t as nice as Henrik’s goal.Continue Reading —›
It would be tough to overstate the impact that Daniel Sedin had in his return to the lineup Wednesday night, but I’m going to try: Daniel’s impact was the essence of impact itself; by the game’s end, Quebec’s MLS club had changed their name to the Montreal Daniel Sedin.
The guy made a difference, is what I’m saying. In his first game back from a concussion, Daniel had a game-high 11 shots attempted, over 20% of the Canucks’ shot creation. He and Henrik were on the ice for all 3 Vancouver goals, and although they only picked up points on the third, their presence on the ice opened up space for everyone else and gave the entire team a spark. And not just any spark — the Allspark, which gives life to Autobots, Decepticons, and other cold, lifeless mechanisms, such as the Canucks’ powerplay, which came suddenly to life, going 2-for-3 in this game. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Apart from the scoreboard reading 1-0 when the final horn sounded, there wasn’t a single image in the Canucks and Kings Game 3 tilt quite as scary as a stunned Henrik Sedin weakly knocking at the bench door after being rocked by Dustin Brown.
It was a clean hit. Still, it was a huge hit that, as far as anyone knew at the time, had knocked Henrik out of the game and potentially the series. And thus, it necessitated a “response.”
Ah, the rhetoric of the response. It seems to me that when hockey fans call for a response, they’re hoping that the offending party will be beaten within an inch of his life but that he’ll emerge from it with little more than a lesson learned, effectively deterred and uninjured.
From what I gather, public sentiment is that the response the Canucks mounted wasn’t appropriate. This leads me to wonder what, exactly, Canuck fans wanted instead.Continue Reading —›
You have to give the Canucks some credit. In just two short seasons, they’ve managed to reduce the Presidents’ Trophy to nothing. Last year this team proved that clinching it doesn’t guarantee a Stanley Cup win; this year they’re on the brink of proving that neither does it guarantee even a single playoff win. That’s impressive.
But Canuck fans are not impressed, and with the number one seed in danger of being swept by the LA Kings, you can understand why they’re looking for somebody to blame right now.
I’d blame Duncan Keith, who knocked Daniel Sedin, Vancouver’s only true elite winger, out of the lineup on a dirty, predatory hit in the season’s final stretch. Considering what it did to the team’s line combinations, powerplay, and overall identity, I’d say Keith is a pretty good target for derision.
But to hear Canuck fans tell it, the real problem in this series is that Alain Vigneault is being outcoached as usual. I am gobsmacked by the thoughtlessness behind this line of rhetoric.Continue Reading —›
If you want to quibble with definitions, this game wasn’t technically a must-win game. Since the Canucks didn’t win, however, that makes Wednesday’s game an actual must-win game. In order to prevent that from happening, the Canucks needed to win this game, making it a proverbial, but not technical, must-win game. But, as mentioned, they didn’t muster a win.
Now I’m depressed and I think Harrison’s drunk (and he never drinks). On the plus side, all of Vancouver is now too despondent to leave the house, meaning The Bay won’t have to replace all their windows this year. Oh hell, now I’m making riot jokes: this is definitely the lowest of the low. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” at the height of its popularity (seriously, I’ve seen it on every television show I’ve watched this week), I figured it would only be a matter of time before some group of hockey fans somewhere gave it the playoff parody treatment. Sure enough, the inevitable has happened, and the group behind it are citizens of Canuck nation.
This video is the product of comedy team IFHT, whose name is best left as an unexplained acronym (for the same reason B.M.F.A, Martha Wainwright’s debut single, was). In a nice touch, the team takes it one step further than just parodying Gotye’s song, also styling their video after his, with face paint, awkward standing and a pretty girl yelling in their ear:Continue Reading —›
After Thursday, many wondered if there was anything on this planet more offensive than the Los Angeles Kings’ official Twitter account. It would appear there is: the Vancouver Canucks’ powerplay, which generated little else but goals against Friday, and cost the team a game 2 in which they otherwise played well.
Now, let’s not panic. Sure, prior to Friday night, the Canucks had never opened a playoff series by losing the first two games at home. But, on the bright side, the Canucks have also never lost a playoff series after losing the first two games at home. So you can understand why I’m so optimistic; I watched this game!Continue Reading —›
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 —›
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 Canucks open their first round series with the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday, and we’re sure to get to know this team a little better over the next two weeks or so. Don’t be fooled into thinking you already know them — they’re not the same Kings team we saw in 2010. Coach Terry Murray has been replaced by Darryl Sutter, Jack Johnson has been effectively replaced by rookie blueliner Slava Voynov, and the troubled bromance of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards has moved to Hollywood.
There are other changes, too. Dustin Penner plays for LA now. Michal Handzus doesn’t. They don’t score all that well. And so on.
Really, when it comes down to it, what we know about this team pales in comparison to what their own bloggers know about this team, which is why we sat down with Kings blogger The Royal Half to get a better insight into his team and we’ll see from them over the next 4 to 7 games.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’s a tradition here at PITB to muster hatred for upcoming playoff opponents by mentally separating their nickname from all its good, positive pop culture associations. This is a tradition that dates all the way back to April of 2010 (when cars were powered by feet and dinosaurs and sabretooth tigers were kept as pets), as the Canucks were gearing up for a first round date with the Los Angeles Kings.
History has repeated itself, as you may know, and the Canucks find themselves preparing for a reprise of that series. (Sadly, without the possibility of Mikael Samuelsson catching fire or Shane O’Brien busting out the double guns.) With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to make like history and repeat ourselves as well by plucking one of our earliest posts from the archives and see if it still holds up. Here is, for your reading pleasure (or displeasure; these things are highly subjective), The Los Angeles Kings are Bad.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 —›
After a truly terrible effort against he Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, many predicted a strong start from the Canucks in this game against the Kings. Boy, were they wrong. The Canucks were absolutely awful in the first period, getting out-shot, out-chanced, and out-scored. It could have been a lot worse, but Roberto Luongo was phenomenal.
Just like in Luongo’s first season with the team, he stole a point for the Canucks, making 39 saves on 41 shots through regulation and overtime. Like Harrison from the press box, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks need to stop playing games right before holidays. This game fell on New Year’s Eve and it was their worst effort since their game against the Flames just before Christmas. If you have tickets to their game against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 13th, Valentine’s Eve, you’re better off just selling them on Craigslist. And if you’re planning on going to their game against the Calgary Flames on March 31st, better known as April Fool’s Eve, forget it.
Their last game of the regular season falls on April 7th, Easter Eve. Don’t watch that game. Let me watch it for you. Just like I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks marched into the Staples Centre looking to take control of things from the outset, and they got lucky when their ideal meshed perfectly with the Kings’ gameplan, which appeared to be to take careless penalties and cede control early. (It was kismet, I think.) After being gifted a lengthy five-on-three, the Canucks put their powerplay specialists — Sami Salo and Andrew Ebbett — to work, jumping out to a quick two-goal lead. Then Aaron Rome stepped up (as usual these days), adding an insurance marker that would stand as the game-winner. Meanwhile, I would sit as the game-watcher, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›