Manny Malhotra was not signed by the Canucks to provide offense, instead taking over the defensive duties of Ryan Kesler, enabling Kesler to stop doing Selke-related activities and focus on offense. This, of course, led to Kesler winning the Selke award as he scored 41 goals. Observations pointing out that this makes no sense whatsoever and that the Selke award is nearly nonsensical at this point are welcomed, but will change nothing.

Even though Malhotra started an incredible 75% of his shifts in the defensive zone, leading the NHL, he managed to finish fifth on the Canucks in fewest goals against per 60 minutes while facing the toughest competition of all Canucks forwards. Oh yeah, and he managed to score 11 goals while doing all of this. In his five previous seasons, Manny averaged 11 goals, 19 assists, and 30 points. This season, he hit those averages dead on, while playing in a far more defensive role. It was an incredibly impressive season that ended in an agonizing what-if, as the Canucks playoff run could have been a completely different story if Malhotra wasn’t struck down by an errant puck in March.

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Stated simply, the mind/body problem concerns the relationship between the mental and the physical, the subject and objects. Mental states and processes, aka. consciousness, seem to be very different from physical states and processes, aka. the world. How do these two disparate things connect and co-exist? How does light entering the eye, hitting the retina, resulting in neural impulses in the brain, create the sensation or feeling of sight? When Dan Hamhuis got a groin and abdominal injury from hipchecking Milan Lucic, why did it hurt? We understand everything up until the transition from neural impulses in the brain to the feeling and sensation of “I am hurt” as that is the point at which the situation changes from a physical process into a mental state. Science is good with physical processes. Science can work with objects. Mental states and subjects? That’s a bit tougher for science to handle.

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Yes, Mike Duco has deleted his Twitter account, and whether it’s by choice or by orders from a higher power — say, the organization to whom he was recently traded and with whom he recently signed a one-year, two-way contract — it happened as a direct result of the post we made on Sunday night. By now, you’ve probably heard all about it, especially since it turned into a major controversy. How major? Eventually, Mike Duco publicly apologized for his tweets. Twice.

Ladies and gentlemen: the offseason.

Putting the clamps to Mike Duco was never the intention although, in hindsight, I should have seen this coming. It’s only been a month since Canucks fans proved their penchant for overreacting and it was an especially slow news weekend. I presented Mike Duco’s Canuck-mocking tweets as little more than an amusing irony, because that’s how I read them when I found them. Many Canuck fans, on the other hand, jittery and bored as ever, took them as a personal affront. The second coming of Steve Francis. And, as they often do, they took to flaming Duco like Theo Fleury until he had to address the issue.

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Yesterday, we began our countdown of the 10 best games of the Canucks regular season, looking at top-notch tilts with the Flames, Blackhawks, Stars, Lightning, and Blue Jackets that yielded some classic and/or hilarious moments and some great entertainment overall. Today, we round out the top five, examining the best of the Canucks’ season series with a perennial powerhouse, a surprise blowout, and a nail-biter in Southern California.

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Now that a little time has passed and the anguish over another game 7 Stanley Cup Final loss (and subsequent riot) has subsided, we can begin looking fondly back at what was, by all accounts, a very good season. Inspired by Stanley Cup of Chowder counting down the 10 best Bruins games (a list which includes their one regular-season tilt with the Canucks, a game I found wholly unentertaining, probably because the Canucks didn’t win it), PITB will now look back at the 10 best Canuck outings of the 2010-11 regular season. Today, we tackle 10-6.

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Today in the Every Goal series, we’ll look at the human bowling ball himself, Raffi Torres, and the 14 goals he scored for Vancouver during the 2010-11 regular season.

Though 14 was the lowest full season goal total of Torres’s career, his year in Vancouver was largely held to be a success. After signing with the Canucks late last offseason as a reclamation project on a one-year deal, Torres carved out a semi-permanent place for himself on the third line alongside Manny Malhotra and Jannik Hansen. He had a knack for massive hits, usually clean (but there was this one time…. and arguably this other time…). He gave the Canucks some physicality that their top nine truly lacked — and now lacks again, after Torres accepted a two-year offer from the Phoenix Coyotes.

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When True North Sports & Entertainment purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and moved them to Winnipeg, it had a profound impact on three other professional hockey teams. The Manitoba Moose became the AHL affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets and were shipped out to St. John’s, Newfoundland. This meant the Vancouver Canucks were without an AHL affiliate and the Chicago Wolves, former affiliates of the Thrashers, were without an NHL affiliate. Naturally, the two clubs came together to resolve the issue.

Of course, this means that Vancouver’s prospects will now play in Chicago, where, rumor has it, they’re not too fond of the Canucks. It’s like trying to make a good first impression with a girl who has been told by all her friends that you’re a violent chauvinist Nazi skinhead who wears a wig as a disguise. It’s a tough sell.

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Among the many accomplishments of the 2010-11 Canucks was the milestone they reached on January 5th, when Daniel Sedin scored the 10,000th regular-season goal in Canucks’ franchise history. After reaching this landmark, people reminisced about the many great goalscorers the Canucks have employed over their first 40 years, such as Pavel Bure, Alex Mogilny, or even Sedin himself.

But, to reach a number like that, a team doesn’t just need many great goalscorers — they need a great many as well. Some of whom will only score one goal.

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On Stanley Cup Final coverage and the problem of bias

In the field of sports journalism, objectivity seems held in higher regard than anywhere else, perhaps because, without it, it’s easy to brand sportswriters as glorified fans, a label that would severely diminish the value of their work. As a result, claiming there’s a bias in sports journalism has become a little like accusing the government of a conspiracy: in an effort to protect the credibility of the institution, we turn a blind eye to obvious instances of duplicity and discredit the individual speaking out

The moment someone suggests a conspiracy in government, he or she is branded a nutcase; the moment someone suggests a bias in sports journalism, he or she is branded a homer, the scarlet letter of sports writing.

But make no mistake: at the cost of sounding like a homer (which I can handle, as a Canucks blogger) there is a bias, and we’ve seen it in the laughably anti-Canucks national coverage of this year’s Stanley Cup Final.

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Mike Murphy’s ruling on the Alex Burrows/Patrice Bergeron incident — in which Burrows “allegedly” bit Bergeron during a Game 1 scrum — was a little difficult for some people to accept. However, it wasn’t so much a question of whether or not it was a suspendable offense. Most of the scoffing came from the Murphy’s statement, which asserted, “I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron.”

No conclusive evidence? Look, I’m fine with Murphy’s decision not to suspend Burrows for what I assume are obvious reasons, but let’s get serious here.

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The moment the Boston Bruins punched their ticket for the Stanley Cup Final, many Vancouver fans pointed out that PITB’s exclusive, very real photos of Tanner Glass fighting bears — released sporadically throughout the season — suddenly seemed downright prescient. As previously reported, Glass has been sneaking into the forest on weekends since January, picking fights with up to eight bears a day, no doubt in preparation for the series that begins Wednesday. The logical assumption, at this point, is that Tanner Glass is some sort of prophet of pugilism, and has known all along that a skilled bearfighter could tip the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver’s favour. With this in mind, PITB has gently improved a couple Boston Bruins print ads to reflect the impact a bearproof Glass may have on this series.

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Kevin Bieksa’s double overtime winner put the Vancouver Canucks into Stanley Cup Finals for the only the third time in their history. It was a momentous occasion, and there was little for Vancouverites to complain about. the That said, there was one minor issue: the confetti.

As soon as the Canucks scored the winner, flakes of coloured paper began raining down from the ceiling. It looked really nice until it landed on the ice, creating a mess that jammed up the players’ skates, looked horrible to clean up, and would have made it impossible to continue the game had the goal been waved off, like some initially suspected it might.

That said, it could have been much worse. Through much investigative journalism, hacking, and espionage, PITB has acquired a list of 50 items suggested and eventually rejected by Rogers Arena event staff before they settled on confetti. One perusal of this list tells you things could have been much, much worse.

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Twitter Needs Juice, plus Kevin Bieksa’s 20 best quotes

Much has been made of the hockey players that have recently hit Twitter, with Shane O’Brien being the latest to join its ranks. Much has also been made of the guys we wish would do the same — the guys noted for their sharp wit and their quotey goodness. If you’re asking me (which you aren’t, but just roll with it), Twitter’s direst need is Kevin Bieksa, one of the league’s top quotes, and undoubtedly the star of the Vancouver Canucks postgame locker room.

But he’s not on Twitter. Frankly, Kevin Bieksa without Twitter is like Mozart without a piano, his prodigious gifts isolated from the very medium for which they were made.

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No fight fan could have asked for a better start to 2011 than UFC 125. For those whose memory of the festive season is a little hazy this two-disc set is the perfect way to re-live one of the best title bouts in history.

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A short while ago Blue Jay president Paul Beeston publicly expressed an eagerness for Toronto to play regular season games in Montreal when in actuality he should have professed a growing desire to play games in Vancouver. His longing to reward the long suffering faithful fans from Canada’s first major league baseball city is admirable but Montreal is mostly a part of the sport’s past—Vancouver is part of this country’s baseball future.

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If you watched Game 2 of the Canucks-Predators series last Saturday night on CBC, you no doubt caught Glenn Healy’s sudden tirade about the Green Men, whom he hates. You’d be forgiven for assuming he mistakenly believed they had orchestrated 9/11; he seethes at their very mention. One imagines that, if the league were indeed to ban these two, Healy would head up an impromptu celebration outside the NHL head offices in New York.

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In yesterday’s IWTG, we wrote the following: “Pekka Rinne was some kind of wonderful, and he kept his team in this one. He made 29 saves, most of them with a catching mitt that seemed capable of swallowing all that was and is and is to come. It quickly became apparent that Pekka Rinne’s glove was where scoring chances went to die, and people began to speculate about what other wonders might be things in Rinne’s glove.”

And speculate we did. The #ThingsinRinnesGlove hashtag, generated by @canucksean21 (after we completely missed the opportunity on our own joke), picked up some serious steam by the end of the first period, and by this morning, it was a solid source of funnies. But, if you don’t have time to click and read through all of them, we at PITB have compiled our favourite 25 things found in the glove of Pekka Rinne.

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A few months back, PITB came into exclusive possession of some shocking action shots, which depicted Canucks enforcer Tanner Glass fighting bears. Through hard-nosed investigate journalism, we were able to report that Tanner Glass had been foraying into the forest and picking fights with the formidable mammals as a means of training for NHL scraps.

On a hunch, I trailed the Canucks’ winger earlier this week, suspicious that he might return to the woods to brush up on the physical elements of his game for the playoffs.

Sure enough, I saw him fight eight different bears that afternoon. I took pictures. Happy Friday.

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Welcome to the back half of the Best of the Sedins countdown, the top 5 plays the Canucks’ top line orchestrated this year. Before we go any further, let me say that this list is far from definitive, and I’d be interested to hear your contrary opinions in the comments.

And, if you’re planning to happen by the comments, here’s something for you to ponder: are the Sedins the greatest players in Vancouver Canucks history? I think they are. I watched Pavel Bure; I watched the West Coast Express, too. For me, what the Sedins do night after night simply wins out. The way they move the puck, the meticulous way they break apart a defense, the casual way they do the incredible–it’s unlike and above any other superstars Vancouver has ever had.

You want proof? I submit, for the record, exhibits 5 through 1:

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PITB’s first post ever was a top 5 countdown of the best Sedin goals of last season, posted exactly a year ago today. We thought, in honour of our first birthday, and the fact that the Sedins are totally balls, it was time to return to our roots. What are blogs for if not for lists?

Unlike last year, there is no de facto number one, but there are about fifteen plays worthy of a spot in the top five. As a result, we’ve doubled the list, and will now be counting down the top ten Sedin plays of 2010-11. Be warned: this list is highly subjective. Last week’s post, in which we shared 12 wizardous candidates, proved consensus on Sedin-ranking to be impossible. As a result, we just decided to go with our gut, which I can safely say has never steered me wrong, save last week, when it asked for a bacon sundae. Anyway. Here are plays 10 – 6.

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Some say the hipcheck is a lost art in the NHL, but you’d be hard pressed to find a Vancouver fan that feels this way. The offseason additions of Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis, two defenders that love to hip check, made going wide versus the Canucks a downright dicey proposition. Eventually, even Aaron Rome fell in love with the hit, giving the Canucks three guys who could surprise with a hipcheck at seemingly any moment. The result: perhaps the only team in the NHL for whom the hipcheck was common.

I’m not sure Canucks fans realized how spoiled they were this season. With that in mind, PITB has compiled a countdown of the five finest hipchecks thrown by the boys in blue and green in the 2010-11:

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