One of the biggest events of the Canucks’ off-season had nothing to do with a trade or a signing. Instead, it was Kevin Bieksa joining twitter after a long, PITB-led campaign. Bieksa’s addition to Twitter immediately bore comedy fruit thanks to an over-sized boot in a Colorado airport.

After that, it was a bit of a slow start: while he took a shot at Luongo that was mildly amusing and let his feelings be known about all the boarding penalties being seen in the pre-season, there just wasn’t the wit we were hoping for. Then this weekend, things turned around in a big way.

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Youtube is full of pump-up videos. These fan-made compilations, which combine sports highlights with epic music, tight editing and, usually, a theme of some kind, are designed in order to get you, the viewer, totally jacked before playoff games, seasons, and trips to the gym. Because they’re made by amateurs, usually with whatever footage they can “borrow”, not every one of them works. But when they do, they really do.

Needless to say, there are many Canucks’ 2011-12 season pump-up videos on Youtube, but obviously, you can’t watch them all. With that in mind, and with the Canucks’ 2011-12 season opening this very night, PITB has selected our three favourite Canucks pump-up videos on the Youtubes, and we would like to share them with you, so as to get you appropriately jazzed for the evening’s festivities.

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Stathead Thomas Drance takes a look at the Canucks’ goal projections for the 2011-12 season, both as a team and player-by-player. It’s some full frontal nerdity.

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The 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks came just about as close to winning it all as a team can, falling one win short of lifting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. And, while we’d like to say that a new season means a fresh start, it’s not entirely true. This isn’t a context-free season; rather, this year is about what happened last year, and whether the Canucks can get back to finish the job they started.

Can they? Are the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks capable of a return to the Stanley Cup Final?

No. Hate to say it, but the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks are going to suck, for a multitude of reasons.

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If you’re anything like me, you’re a big fan of fantasy hockey. But the problem with fantasy hockey is that it inevitably leads a hockey fan to disregard a large swathe of the NHL in order to scour for the best and brightest. Thing is, by definition most of the NHL are not the best and brightest. Unless you’re in the world’s deepest fantasy league, you’re never going to pick certain players.

We spend so much time celebrating the success stories in the NHL: now it’s time to celebrate the failures.

That’s why it’s time for the Anti-Fantasy Hockey Pool. In this pool, the entire point is to pick players who you expect to under-perform. Now you have a reason to pick Paul Bissonnette beyond “hilariously” tweeting at him that you totally picked him in the 7th round.

Do you think Dany Heatley is bound to fail in Minnesota? Will Derek Roy spend more time in the doctor’s office than on the ice? Will Al Montoya play a single game in the NHL this year? Is Aaron Rome ever going to score another NHL goal? You can pick them and win.

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Like a disputed goal, hockey movies need to be reviewed. More accurate than the War Room in Toronto, more exciting than a referee’s microphone malfunction, it’s PITB’s Under Review. Next up: “Breakaway,” currently in theatres.

Ruling on the ice: No goal. There is a good movie that can be made out of this concept and Breakaway has a few moments where it is that movie. Ultimately, however, it is far too predictable and has too many flaws to recommend without reservation.

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Part of me wonders if the Canucks decided to only dress the Sedins for one game out of the seven preseason contests they’ve played so far in an attempt to make us miss them. At the end of last season, all Canuck fans could do was grumble about the twins, but after being reminded Wednesday night of how much better they are than anyone else on the team, another game without them was an exercise in dull pain. The Sedinless Canuck team dressed for the penultimate preseason game was about as threatening as a kitten in a felt hat, and nowhere near as adorable.

I ask you, is there anything worse than the realization that you just sat through a three-hour preseason shutout? No. There is only shame, and I feel this shame, because I watched this game.

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Ryan Kesler to pose nude, because Ryan Kesler hates clothes

Early Wednesday morning, it was reported that Ryan Kesler will be posing nude for ESPN Magazine’s 2011 “Body Issue.” The Canucks centre will be the first NHL star to pose nude for the magazine since 2009, when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and three members of the Edmonton Oilers appeared in the inaugural edition of the “Body Issue.”

The choice of Kesler makes sense: he was a star for the USA Olympic team, which makes him far more recognizable to ESPN’s audience than, say, any other hockey player in the world.

Oh…and he already has a tendency to remove his clothing at every opportunity.

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Henrik Sedin was in Rogers Arena Monday night, but he wasn’t playing hockey. The Canucks captain celebrated his 31st birthday on Monday by going to see Keith Urban in concert.

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Four games into the preseason, the Canucks continue to hide their veterans in a cave in the mountains. As a result, tonight’s lineup was again a combination of AHLers, fourth liners, invitees, and animals dressed as people. Meanwhile, for the second game in a row, their opponents — tonight, the Anaheim Ducks — dressed something akin to their opening night roster. Needless to say, Vancouver did not win. The Canucks came out strong in the first, but by the second period, they’d run out of moxie (and some of the animals’ moustaches had fallen off). From that moment on, the discrepancy in talent was impossible for those that watched this game to miss. Hence, I saw it, because I watched this game.

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With all the talk in the offseason about the search for wingers for Kesler on the second line and the concern over the injuries to Raymond and Kesler, it seems to be lost that there isn’t actually that much competition for those spots in the lineup. It’s fairly safe to assume at this point that Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm are pencilled in as the second line wingers, with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen ready and willing to jump into those spots if necessary. As for a replacement Kesler, that role is clearly Cody Hodgson’s to lose.

No, the spots that are up for grabs are on the wings of Maxim Lapierre on the fourth line, and this is where things get interesting. After Christian Ehrhoff, the loss of Raffi Torres to free agency is the most significant change to last season’s lineup. His combination of Bowlingballitude, Streakiscoringness, and Photogenicity makes him difficult to replace.

While his place on the third line will likely be filled by Higgins or Samuelsson to start the season, neither has the right combination of attributes to be a true Raffi Replacement. Ideally, one of the players battling for a spot on the fourth line would be that replacement, ready to step into a role on the third line in case of injuries.

So who best fits this description? PITB breaks down the options, focussing on players who can fill a role on the fourth line but would be able to step up to the third. They will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 Raffis.

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One of the reasons NHL teams sign veteran players to Professional Tryout Offers (PTOs) is to give an unsigned free agent a chance to make the team, but this is not the only reason. For Mike Gillis, it’s likely not even the primary reason. Coming off the shortest off-season in team history, Gillis and Vigneault clearly had no interest in icing a lineup in either Calgary or Vancouver last night that bore any resemblance to the actual Canucks.

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People You May Know is a feature at PITB where we speak with Canuck fans of note — actors, musicians, and the likes — in order to find out just how serious their fandom really is. Today, we chat with David Coles — perhaps better known as Kyprios — on being a Canucks fan, winning the Peak Performance Project, and stealing cigars from Pat Quinn.

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There weren’t many, but one of the highlights of any contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators was the interaction of former teammates Alex Burrows and Shane O’Brien. Prior to the games, the two chirped each other in the media, and during games, they couldn’t keep from one another. Any time they shared the same ice, the two mercilessly hacked and slashed at each other’s shins, tripped and crosschecked with impunity, and often required intervention from the officials. Even then, they waved and shouted at one another over the linesmen’s shoulders. To the layman, these two were enemies. But a closer look revealed their wry smiles — the laughter as crosschecked one another along the base of the spines, the mirth with which they took each other’s legs out.

In other words, Burrows and O’Brien aren’t enemies. They’re frenemies. See, for instance, the photo above, which demonstrates both the competitiveness and the closeness between the two. Sure, there’s a facewash going on, but there also exists a delicate dance.

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Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every day, because he knows who butters his bread.

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Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every morning, because he knows who butters his bread.

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People You May Know is a feature at PITB where we speak with Canuck fans of note — actors, musicians, and the likes — in order to find out just how serious their fandom really is. Today, we chat with Alex “Stone Hands” Johnson, Alan “The Plug” Poettcker, Matt “Dangler” Vink, Joey “Cheddar” Porter, Josh “Trolley Tracks” Mitchinson, and Gypsy “Gino” McDaniel of Capitol Records’ partycore band, These Kids Wear Crowns.

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Nicklas and Brendan Jensen may have the same last name, but they enter prospect camp with completely different expectations. And, for that matter, pronunciations. Nicklas sports a soft “J”, while Brendan has a hard “J”, which is appropriate, as he has a much harder path ahead of him.

Nicklas is a first-round pick, while Brendan is an unsigned invitee. Nicklas spent his summer at the Canucks’ development camp, while Brendan spent the summer wondering if he’d have a job with the Vancouver Giants with Canucks draft pick Jonathan Iilahti slated to come over from Finland. Nicklas has been training with the Danish U-20 team in Quebec, playing exhibition games against teams in the QMJHL, while Brendan has been training with the Giants and having his coach publicly question his ability to be a number one goaltender.

And yet, both find themselves at the Canucks’ prospect camp and Young Stars tournament, both wearing the familiar orca on the front of their jerseys.

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Some actual player personnel news in Canuckistan today, as the club announced the signing of Victor Oreskovich to a one-year, two-way contract worth $605,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL. Oreskovich was the last remaining free agent from the 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks.

Oreskovich, an RFA, received his qualifying offer at the end of June, at the same time as fellow RFAs Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen. Lapierre re-signed immediately, and Hansen re-signed just one month later, but negotiations with the Oreskovich camp lasted the entire summer. Clearly, Oreskovich wanted a one-way deal and held out until just a week before the start of training camp in hopes of getting one. That he didn’t means this is a clear win for Mike Gillis.

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After an offseason that saw bigger names going out from Vancouver than coming in, it’s clear that the Canucks are counting on their most substantial improvements coming from the young players already within the organization. With that in mind, PITB looks at the three top candidates for Canucks’ breakout player of the year — Chris Tanev, Jannik Hansen, and Cody Hodgson — and what it would take for them to earn the mantle.

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More horrible news out of the hockey world this morning, as a plane carrying over 40 people, the majority of them members of the KHL team Lokomotiv, has crashed. Among the players onboard the flight was former Canuck Pavol Demitra.

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Like Neo in the Matrix, Nathan Horton wants his phone call. The Bruins forward is evidently upset that Aaron Rome texted him an apology rather than calling him on the phone. While this could easily be seen as sour grapes, particularly after Horton still won the Stanley Cup, I can understand wanting a slightly more personal apology. What I don’t understand is dragging it out into the open in the media.

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Like a disputed goal, hockey movies need to be reviewed. More accurate than the War Room in Toronto, more exciting than a referee’s microphone malfunction, it’s PITB’s Under Review. Next up is 2010′s “Score: A Hockey Musical” starring Noah Reid and Allie MacDonald. Fair warning: spoilers will occur.

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Daniel Carcillo, Chicago’s newest tough guy, is a stereotypical goon, right down to the fact that he doesn’t quite exude knowledge and wisdom. When asked about the rivalry with the Canucks in his introductory press conference, for instance, he showed that he wasn’t fully caught up on the offseason roster moves of his new nemesis.

But this story has been severely underreported. It turns out that Carcillo made a bevy of other questionable, somewhat misinformed comments at his press conference. Great news, too: we at PITB got our hands on a complete transcript, and we’ve compiled his top 20 quotes right here:

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Like a disputed goal, hockey movies need to be reviewed. More accurate than the War Room in Toronto, more exciting than a referee’s microphone malfunction, it’s PITB’s Under Review. First up: 1986′s Youngblood, starring Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Cynthia Gibb. Fair warning: there will be spoilers.

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