Watch seven minutes of questionable officiating, if four games wasn’t enough for you [VIDEO]

Let’s get right out in front of this: the Canucks didn’t lose this series because of officiating. They lost because the Sharks were better, because San Jose’s speed on the forecheck gave them fits, because they couldn’t handle the Sharks’ depth down the middle, and because their penalty-kill went lame at the worst possible time.

But even still, man alive, did that lame penalty kill get a lot of chances to fail, especially compared to San Jose’s. Granted, the Sharks were going to draw more penalties because they had the puck more and they were faster, but as TSN analyst Ray Ferraro noted in Game 4, “From a Vancouver standpoint, you have to feel like any time there has been a 50/50 call, it’s gone against you. They have to be furious.”

The Canucks were indeed furious. While, again, the Sharks made it to Round 2 the old-fashioned way — by outplaying their Round 1 opponent — San Jose was also handed a few big-time momentum shifts throughout the series as a result of some oddball calls. There aren’t many outside of San Jose who feel Daniel Sedin’s penalty in overtime was warranted, for instance.

But as this video from Canucks fan and prolific Youtuber Makaveli suggests, there’s a case to be made that the questionable officiating went beyond that.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks at San Jose Sharks, May 7, 2013

Trailing by a goal and facing elimination heading into the third period, Ryan Kesler made it very clear what the Vancouver Canucks needed to do to keep their scant playoff hopes alive. “We just got to go out,” he told Farhan Lalji, all fiery determination and temerity, “and compete like bastards.”

Now, admittedly, I’m not entirely sure how a bastard competes. Did he mean the Jon Snow type of bastard? Or the Inglourious, Nazi-killing type of basterd? Personally, I would have appreciated Kesler spelling it out loud instead of just saying it.

Either way, the Canucks did indeed come out in the third period like a group of lovechildren and, by the eleven-minute mark, they had turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Unfortunately, Kesler’s speech had also inspired the officials to officiate like bastards. Two illegitimate powerplay goals against later, the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated. For the last time in 2013, I watched this game.

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Six things the Canucks need to do better in Game 4

We here at Pass it to Bulis are all about making bold statements. Unlike other blogs and the mainstream media, we don’t shy away from the gut-punch of truth. We tell it like it is, day in and day out.

It is in the spirit of this unflinching commitment to boldness that we make the following proclamation: the Vancouver Canucks, down 3-0 in their first round series to the San Jose Sharks, have not been good enough.

Is everyone okay? Have we shattered your worldview and sent you scurrying for the warm embrace of your loved ones? Because we’re not done. We’re going a step further. Tonight, in game four, the Canucks need to be better.

Not everyone is willing to make such radical statements, but we know that you, our readers, deserve it. But that’s not all. We’re not just bold visionaries speaking truth to power. We’re also practical sorts, who believe in providing real world solutions. So here are six things the Canucks need to do better if they want to win game four and force the series back to Vancouver.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks vs San Jose Sharks, May 3, 2013

One day while growing up on my parents’ farm, I was playing outside with a couple friends. It was summer and were having a water fight, running through the fields. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was laughing. Life could not have been better.

Then I ran full-speed, directly into an electric fence along the cattle run. It hit me directly in the gut, simultaneously taking my feet out from under me and shocking me. Normally when you get shocked by an electric fence, you pull away immediately. Since I was running, I couldn’t pull away from the wire. Also, I was wet from the water fight. I went from joyful laughing to dry heaving in an instant. It felt like I had been punched in the gut and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs.

The end of this game was like an electric wire to the gut of the Canucks, except it wasn’t a fence built for cows — it was one of the fences from Jurassic Park. I needed Dr. Alan Grant to perform CPR after I watched this game.

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Canucks need Lapierre to channel his inner Malhotra

Judging by their lines at practice on Thursday, the Canucks will be loading up their second line, bumping Ryan Kesler to the wing and moving Derek Roy up to second line centre, with Chris Higgins rounding out the trio.

It’s easy to understand why: the Canucks struggled to create any sustained offensive pressure in the first game of the series. Creating a stacked top-six is a simple solution, though it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Kesler, Roy, and Higgins certainly had their moments when they were matched up during the regular season and it creates some difficult decisions for the Sharks defensively.

The only problem is what it does to the bottom half of the Canucks’ lineup. Without Roy centring the third line, that duty falls to Maxim Lapierre, who will be joined by Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond. In theory, that should be a speedy, defensively responsible line that can create problems on the forecheck, but Lapierre is coming off a fairly mediocre season.

The Canucks need more from Lapierre if they’re going to succeed in the playoffs. They need him to be an enabler. They need him to be Manny Malhotra.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks vs San Jose Sharks, May 1, 2013

The playoffs didn’t exactly open the way that the Canucks hoped they would. What they wanted, and what most in Vancouver wanted, I think, was for the Canucks to kick off the 2013 postseason with 16 consecutive wins. Instead, they started with one loss, meaning it will take them 17 games at least to win the Stanley Cup. Nuts. So close.

What went wrong in this one? Nothing whatsoever, if you completely discount the 3rd period, where everything went wrong. If the game were 20 minutes (and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period) the Canucks win this game. Unfortunately, playing 60 minutes is one of the rules of NHL hockey — even in the playoffs, when a bunch of other rules are abandoned — so the Canucks lost this game. And I watched this game.

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Harrison Mooney takes towel power to the streets of Vancouver [VIDEO]

One of the best parts about being a Canucks fan during the playoffs is the time-honoured tradition of towel power, when Canucks fans wave a white towel over their heads like madmen, commemorating the only time that surrendering was a badass, rebellious move.

Other teams, including some in other sports, have adopted the idea of a rally towel and the Pittsburgh Steelers inaugurated the Terrible Towel before Roger Neilson waved the white flag to the referees during the Campbell Conference Finals in 1982. It holds special significance for Canucks fans, however, as the Canucks rallied around their coach, eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in five games, and going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Are you ready for the playoffs? Do you have your rally towel out and ready to wave? No? Because if you don’t, Harrison Mooney will find you.

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Canucks get Round 1 date with San Jose Sharks, who are, we remind you, bad

With their loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, the Sharks close out the 2013 season as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. This means a first-round playoff date with the third seed, your Vancouver Canucks.

We’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to this series (as well as during it), just as we always do, but for tonight, we would simply like to remind you of something.

This post originally appeared on May 13, 2011, in advance of the Canucks’ Western Conference Final series versus the Sharks two years ago. It was true then and it’s true now: the San Jose Sharks are bad.

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Three former Canucks still in the playoffs

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.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings, April 22, 2012

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 [...]

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, April 18, 2012

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.

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On Dustin Brown’s hit, and the Canucks’ much-maligned ‘response’

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.

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The people versus Alain Vigneault: a case study in terrible ideas

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.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, April 15, 2012

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.

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Video: Canuck-themed ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ parody features facepaint, moping

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:

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10 crazy ideas to fix the Canucks powerplay

It’s no surprise to fans that the Canucks powerplay is struggling. After an incredible start to the season that saw the team once again lead the league in powerplay percentage, it crashed and burned in the second half of the season. The powerplay was 4-for-42 in their last 10 games, and that’s just an arbitrary round number of games to select. Other than a 4-for-11 outburst against the Boston Bruins, the Canucks powerplay hasn’t truly been good since December.

On Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings, however, the team’s pwowerplay woes went from troubling to truly disastrous. On two Willie Mitchell holding penalties, the Canucks not only couldn’t score, but also gave up two shorthanded goals to Dustin Brown. It’s gotten to the point that fans everywhere wish the team could just decline the penalty and continue to play 5-on-5, where the Canucks have actually outscored the Kings 4-3 in the first two games.

Considering most people still think of the Canucks as a team that tries to draw penalties and beat you on the powerplay, including the Canucks themselves, it’s not surprising that this power outage has led to an identity crisis in Vancouver. Something needs to change and the Canucks can’t count on the return of Daniel Sedin. According to Kristin Reid, not only will Daniel not be travelling to Los Angeles with the team, he won’t be back for the rest of the series.

The Canucks may need to do something drastic. Here are 10 crazy ideas to fix the powerplay:

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A quick note for panicking Canucks fans

Stop.

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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Apparently Canucks are not Canada’s most hated team

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.

Seriously.

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.

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Byron Bitz suspended two games for hit on Kyle Clifford

There were two contentious incidents on opening night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the first, Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber punched Henrik Zetterberg in the back of the head, then went back again, driving Zetterberg’s head into the glass with such force that he cracked the Detroit forward’s helmet. For this, he was been fined $2500. In the second, Canucks’ fourth line winger Byron Bitz hit Kings winger Kyle Clifford from behind, driving his head into the glass.

For this, he’s been suspended 2 games. Here’s sheriff Shanahan, breaking down the first Canuck suspension of the 2011-12 campaign.

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The Kings apologize for harmless tweet; Canuck fans need to develop thicker skin

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.

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I Watched This Playoff Game: Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings, April 11, 2012

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.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One Preview: By The Numbers

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.

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Daniel Sedin will not play in game one versus the Kings

From a report by Swedish website Allehanda.se: Daniel Sedin will not be playing in Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. According to Daniel’s father, Tommy (who is as it happens, Henrik’s father), the younger Sedin is still experiencing concussion symptoms.

While Daniel skated with the team in practice on Monday, he was not with the main group on Tuesday, skating instead in a shorter session with other players who were expected to miss the opening night of the playoffs. Tommy Sedin indicated that Daniel experienced a headache after Monday’s practice and has still not completely recovered from the concussion he received after being elbowed in the head by Duncan Keith.

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The Los Angeles Kings Are Bad

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.

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A Canuck fan’s guide to what Saturday means for the playoffs

Saturday is the final day of the 2011-12 regular season, with all 30 teams playing their 82nd game of the year, including the Canucks, who host the Oilers. There’s still much to be decided. The 16 organizations heading to the first round of the postseason have all been established, but in many cases the clubs they’ll be meeting there have not.

This is especially true in the Western Conference, where zero of the 8 playoffs teams have clinched their seeding. Try to make sense of this: The Canucks currently sit in 1st, but they can still be passed by the 2nd place St. Louis Blues. The Phoenix Coyotes are holding down the Pacific Division lead and the automatic 3rd seed that comes with it, but with a loss, they can be overtaken by the winner of the Sharks and Kings’ Saturday evening affair. (Meanwhile, the loser of that game will finish 8th.) The Nashville Predators are in 4th, but they can still be passed by the 5th place Detroit Red Wings, who can still be passed by the 6th place Chicago Blackhawks. Still with me?

Normally, in cases like this, you could put on your fan blinders and avoid the confusion altogether, but simply focusing on what’s at stake for the home team will still yield a dizzying mess. Thankfully, PITB is here to help. Here’s a guide to what you, the Canuck fan, need to know about Saturday.

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