The top 10 bloopers of the Canucks’ 2011-12 season

Some hockey games yield great stories, heroes, big goals, and clutch plays. This post is not about those games. This post celebrates weirdness, a quality of which the 87 games of the Vancouver Canucks’ 2011-12 season (and playoffs) had in spades. In fact, there were enough odd little moments this year for us to create a list of our favourite 10 bloopers of the 2011-12 season. What follows is a countdown of the funniest, oddest, and most unexpected stuff that happened on the ice during those 87 games.

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The Canucks postgame dressing room video features unintelligible shouting and abs

We had a number of people e-mail and tweet us suggesting we put up the postgame video from the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday. On first glance, it’s hard to see why. The clip, which clocks in at just over a minute, is little more than a bunch of guys walking into a room and undressing. What’s so exciting about that? (Said the heterosexual male.)

I mean, maybe that’s enough for you, but, as you may know, we at PITB deal primarily in wackiness. The wackiness is at a minimum in this clip. What’s the big deal?

However, upon closer inspection, there are some interesting observations to be made in the short video, from Alain Vigneault’s peculiar handshake routine to Zack Kassian’s t-shirt selection. So let’s work our way through it.

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Why Mason Raymond with the Sedins isn’t the worst idea in the history of the world

Mason Raymond has become public enemy no. 1 in Vancouver of late, and it’s easy to see why. The winger only has 16 points this season, with 8 coming in his first month back from injury in December, so the numbers, like the fans, aren’t exactly giving him the benefit of the doubt. Furthermore, nearly every error he makes occurs in the offensive zone, the only zone many Canuck fans seem to watch. Between his tendency to fall down and his penchant for turnovers, his squirrelly play inside the opposition’s end stands out even to the most passive observer.

Futhermore, you know there’s still a large contingent of fans that thought the Canucks could get what they need at the deadline simply by trading Raymond away. Amazingly, these same fans would have been happy if he had been flipped for a bag of Skittles (even tropical flavour). Somehow, the Canucks’ winger was both worthless and worth everything, and when he wound up going nowhere, Vancouver fans were upset that Mike Gillis was unable to move his magic beans.

When Cody Hodgson was moved instead, the mood on Raymond soured even further. For fans that had fallen in love with Hodgson’s play and had already traded Raymond in their minds, the events of trade deadline day were like swapping Hodgson to bring back Raymond.

All of this is to say that Alain Vigneault wasn’t going win, regardless of where he played the much-maligned MayRay Wednesday night, because fans want to see Raymond in a fiery furnace, not in the lineup.

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It’s Meme Time! Alain Vigneault laughs at things

When Alain Vigneault launched into a giggle fit during Sunday’s game against the Dallas Stars, the video went viral like crazy. Apparently people can’t get enough of an NHL coach, who is normally grim and serious during a game, laughing like a fool.

He was supposedly laughing at Vernon Fiddler’s impression of Kevin Bieksa’s angry face, but I don’t buy it. Fiddler’s impression was amusing, sure, but not enough to make someone laugh in such an uncontrollable fashion. He must have been laughing at something else. Here’s my guess:

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Video: Alain Vigneault’s hysterical laughter at Vernon Fiddler’s ‘Angry Bieksa’ impression

It was a slow first period Sunday in the Canucks’ afternoon tilt with the Dallas Stars. When the horn sounded, the shots were 8-6 Vancouver, but you’d be hard-pressed to remember any of them. In recent years, with Marc Crawford coaching the team, these games have been played at a fairly nice clip, but with the Stars’ new system under Glen Gulutzan, this one was reminiscent of the 2007 playoff series between the two teams (which, coincidentally, is where the “Pass it to Bulis” name comes from).

But there was one standout moment. With four minutes to go in the period, the Stars went offside near the Vancouver bench, and when the camera cut to Alain Vigneault shortly thereafter, he was caught cracking up so badly he had to cover his face with his lineup card.

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Vigneault/Kesler tiff falls short of a spat or quarrel

fter the disappointing loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night, Canucks’ coach Alain Vigneault was asked about the performance of Ryan Kesler, who has been struggling of late. With just 3 points in his last 8 games, Kesler has not looked like his dominant self.

Part of Vigneault’s response was that Kesler needs “to use the players around him a little bit more so he can get into open space.”

Understandably, the media wanted to get Kesler’s take on the issue, so they cherry-picked the statement and brought it to the Canucks’ centre to see what he had to say. He was a little miffed:

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Remember last season, when people said Alain Vigneault was “outcoached” by Joel Quenneville? Many Vancouver fans, Team 1040 callers and even members of the media insisted this was the case, while skeptics wondered out loud what being “outcoached” would really look like.

Wonder no more. Todd McLellan has made some horrible decisions over the last few days, and Alain Vigneault has made some great ones.

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Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead–often called “the worst lead in hockey”–is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.

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Usually, when it’s observed that the Blackhawks lost a lot of their key depth, it’s observed in the same breath that their core is still intact. It’s true that Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook and Campbell are all still there. Depth is important, but with a strong core like the Hawks have, they can threaten to look a lot like the team that won the Cup a year ago.

So what’s the game plan against them? Play to their weakness.

The Blackhawks’ depth players just can’t be leaned on.

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The great irony of the Jack Adams award is that being the coach of the league’s best team often precludes one from talk of being the league’s best coach. Truth is, when there’s no other possible explanation for a team’s success, then the coach gets the credit. If, however, it’s possible to attribute that success [...]

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Ryan Kesler’s wingers are polar opposites. It’s like a sitcom on ice. Early in Sunday’s game versus the Calgary Flames, Canucks’ winger Mikael Samuelsson turned the puck over in his own zone, allowing Flames’ center Michael Backlund to walk in, uncontested, and score the game’s first goal. It was painful. For this ill-timed and completely [...]

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You, Brad Ziemer. You’re the one I hate. I hate you. Alain Vigneault is a coach who really knows how to use the media, not to garner attention, like Ron Wilson, but to make his team better. Some of us even go so far as to point out when he does it. Still, while Vigneault [...]

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A Little Motivation For Cody Hodgson

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that the Canucks made a minor roster adjustment this morning, sending Evan Oberg back down to the Moose and calling up Cody Hodgson in his place. For Canuck fans, it’s good news all across the board, as Oberg’s reassignment means that Dan Hamhuis will jump back into the [...]

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Canucks 4 – 1 Wild With tonight’s victory over the Minnesota Wild, the Canucks successfully staved off their first two-game regulation losing streak since November, when they went three straight games without collecting a point against Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Phoenix, in that order. Again: that was in November. This stat, incredible as it is, never seemed [...]

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If you see this as a picture of Henrik Sedin, you may be qualified to vote for the NHL awards. When Alain Vigneault took the Jack Adams trophy for the 2006-07 season, a lot of people didn’t care, because their problem was, Luongo hadn’t won the Vezina or the Hart. “Luongo was robbed,” the general [...]

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Canucks 7 – Blue Jackets 3 Less than twenty-four hours after a high-octane skillfest with one of the NHL’s elite teams in one of the NHL’s elite hockey markets, the Canucks were sentenced to an evening in Columbus. There was concern that this game could be something of a trap game, as Vancouver realistically couldn’t [...]

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In the aftermath of Vancouver’s last regulation defeat, a 3-2 home loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, Province writer Jason Botchford questioned questioned the Canucks’ grit. “The Blues forwards were rarely touched,” Botchford wrote, “Even after they shoved around Luongo. In one incident, BJ Crombeen took a shot at the Canucks goalie [...]

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A great example of Kovalev’s defensive coverage comes around 0:45 of this video. Watch him take over 6 seconds to arrive at the play. One of the cool things about the team this year is how little we talk about keeping our stars happy, or trying to get a player going, or any player putting [...]

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