Big Numbers: Last chance to see Selanne; Kassian tallies assists, Hamhuis draws penalties

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian gets three-game break from having to play for the Canucks

When Zack Kassian is on his game, you can see the potential to be the power forward that Mike Gillis was banking on when he traded Cody Hodgson to get him. He uses his vision and skill to dish the puck, his quick wristshot to pick corners, and his big body to protect the puck and create space.

Here’s the problem: he’s not on his game very often. And sometimes, when he’s really off his game, he uses his big body in a far less intelligent way. That was the case on Thursday, when he hit Brendan Dillon square in the numbers, sending him face first into the boards in front of the Canucks bench. It was an ugly, stupid, entirely unnecessary hit. He definitely deserved to be punished.

That’s why it’s frustrating that the NHL chose to reward Kassian instead, allowing him to take a three-game vacation from having to play for John Tortorella and his frustrating, goal-starved Canucks. This is supposed to be a deterrent?

Continue Reading —›
Shocking revelation: Zack Kassian does not exist

It’s been a trying season for Vancouver fans. After years of the Canucks hanging with the elite of the NHL’s Western Conference like Raven Symone with Mr. Cooper, the team has taken a step back. They’re still a likely playoff team, but only just barely, and there is literally nothing worse for a fan to endure than only just barely making the playoffs. No one understands our pain.

Fans have been forced this season to cheer for moral victories and just one Sedin (and as it turns out, not the good one). They’ve had to grit their teeth through a historic suspension to first-year coach John Tortorella and a brief, unrequited romance with Vinny “I’m a flirt” Prospal. Chris Tanev has a thumb injury. Jannik Hansen’s fallen off a cliff. The powerplay looks like it’s directed by Tommy Wiseau. It’s been tough sledding out here in Vancouver.

All that in mind, I hesitate to further compound the mental anguish through which the 2013-14 season is currently putting us, but, my friends, I have uncovered a lie so shocking it absolutely has to be shared. Please forgive me my dedication to the truth, but the people need to know:

Zack Kassian does not exist.

Continue Reading —›
Dallas Eakins invokes Bertuzzi/Moore to explain why Oilers didn’t go after Zack Kassian

The Edmonton Oilers don’t like Zack Kassian very much, which isn’t particularly surprising. During a pre-season game, Kassian broke Sam Gagner’s jaw with an errant high stick that many thought was a lot more intentional than careless.

Little to no revenge was had in Kassian’s first game against the Oilers this season. In fact, Kassian got the best of the Oilers, scoring a goal and adding some salt to the wound by mocking Gagner’s face shield, ie. the one he was forced to wear because Kassian broke his jaw.

Unsurprisingly, Oilers fans were out for blood, eager to see someone like Luke Gazdic target Kassian for a little old-school revenge. They didn’t get their wish. Instead, Kassian scored the gamewinning goal.

The Oilers head coach, Dallas Eakins, faced a string of questions related to the Oilers’ physicality and lack of response for Kassian and was eventually pushed to the point he invoked one of the darkest moments in, not just Canucks history, but NHL history.

Continue Reading —›
Can Jordan Schroeder, Zack Kassian, and David Booth give the Canucks an effective third line?

For all the talk of splitting the Sedins between the Canucks’ top two lines over the past week, the discussion bypasses what has been one of the Canucks’ legitimate issues this season: the third line. The Canucks have a bevy of forwards to parcel out in the top-six, but huge question marks in the bottom six, starting at third-line centre.

Since John Tortorella seems content to leave the fourth line on the bench for the vast majority of the game, the third line is the real issue, with none of the Canucks’ centres taking the reins during the pre-season. The third line through the first five games of the season has been a mish-mash of Brad Richardson, Jannik Hansen, David Booth, Dale Weise, Chris Higgins, and Mike Santorelli, with some of those rotating into the top-six. The various combinations haven’t experienced much success and haven’t stayed together with any consistency.

Over the past two games, however, an intriguing combination has been put together that may solve the problem. With the return of Zack Kassian and Jordan Schroeder to the lineup, the two youngsters have been matched with David Booth to form a third line with the potential to have some staying power.

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian broke a guy’s jaw, so he’s probably in trouble [VIDEO]

Ever since the hiring of John Tortorella, it’s been assumed that, barring a major mishap, Zack Kassian would be opening the season skating alongside the Sedins in place of Alex Burrows. Yeah, about that. Saturday night in Edmonton, there was a major mishap.

On Sunday morning, the Oilers announced that Sam Gagner, a pretty important part of their forwards corps as the only guy without a hyphen in his name capable of playing centre in their top six, would miss a significant amount of time due to injury. The injury: a broken jaw, suffered when Kassian caught him with a high-stick.

Continue Reading —›
What can we expect from Zack Kassian with the Sedins?

John Tortorella is going to ask a lot of Zack Kassian this season, but he’s also going to give him plenty of opportunities to succeed.

That was one of the big messages to come out of Tuesday’s media availability, as Tortorella revealed that he contacted Kassian in the summer and challenged the big winger.

“I want to give him a huge opportunity to be a huge part of this team and I told him that,” Tortorella told the assembled media. “I’d like to see it happen, he is going to to get the opportunity but he is going to sink or swim himself . . .So that is why I contacted Zack. I think this is a big year for him and it’s a year I want him to step out of himself and be a big part of this club.”

Continue Reading —›
Every Goal, 2012-13: Zack Kassian

Zack Kassian started strong for the Canucks, scoring five goals in the month of January and looking like he might be on his way to an outright theft of Alex Burrows’ job as the third Sedin. Unfortunately, he fell out of Alain Vigneault’s favour and down the depth chart shortly thereafter, spending most of the season tarrying in the bottom six forwards while frustrated fans, thinking of his hot start, grew to see Vigneault as the reason it was no longer January. (Really, their beef was with Numa Pompilius, who added February to the Roman calendar in 713 B.C.).

But while Kassian’s season eventually turned into a disappointment, it still had its fair share of bright spots. Seven, to be exact. Let us relive them now.

Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ on Kassian’s favourite snack, Ballard’s patience, and Booth’s new Twitter account

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 —›
Zack Kassian already a mulleted mess; soon he may look like a literal monster

Zack Kassian has looked pretty much ridiculous all season, but the playoffs are a time to step it up, and on Tuesday, the Kassquatch showed up to Canucks practice looking playoff ridiculous. Not only is he sure to have the team’s best beard, but he now proudly sports the team’s best haircut — a ratty playoff mullet that actually curls up in the back, because his hair is in a constant state of rebellion against his head.

After yesterday’s discussion about “hotness”, one might have been concerned that the Canucks were a team of pretty boys, too concerned about their looks to put it all on the line, but I would suggest that Zack Kassian singlehandedly breaks down that characterization. This dude is so unconcerned with his look that he’s bordering on something out of a Jim Henson movie already and the playoffs haven’t even begun yet.

Continue Reading —›
Bonus hardware! Handing out the real end-of-year Canucks team awards

The Vancouver Canucks handed out their team awards on Thursday night prior to their lacklustre effort against the Anaheim Ducks. Henrik Sedin took home the Cyrus H. McLean award as the Canucks’ leading scorer and will keep it unless Daniel manages to score 6 points on Saturday against the Oilers without Henrik getting any.

Dan Hamhuis deservedly won the Babe Pratt award for best defenceman, Cory Schneider understandably won the Cyclone Taylor award as the team’s MVP, and Jannik Hansen simultaneously had his praises sung as the team’s Most Exciting Player and was named the team’s unsung hero with the Fred J. Hume award.

That just doesn’t seem like enough awards, so we put together seven more:

Continue Reading —›
Breakdowning Ryan Kesler’s mess of a game-winning goal versus the Coyotes

Mike Smith was dynamite Monday night, making 40 saves as Vancouver peppered him with chance after chance. The Canucks managed to beat him three times, with two called back — one for goaltender interference and the other for a distinct kicking motion.

Smith was playing so well that you’d expect only the prettiest of goals to beat him. Instead, the Canucks won the game thanks to indecision, falling down, a flubbed shot, and missing an open net.

Quick, skilful passing plays that lead to goals often get described as tic-tac-toe. This play needs an easier child’s game than that: let’s go with Candy Land. Like Candy Land, it was completely random, with no one really deserving to win. Ryan Kesler just happened to draw the right cards to reach Candy Castle and rescue King Kandy first. There’s no glory in that. And yet, Kesler still celebrated the game-winner appropriately: like a three-year-old.

Let’s break down the madness, shall we?

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian no longer grounded; should Canucks have sent him down?

Lost in the excitement of the Canucks’ compelling, dizzying lack of action on trade deadline day was the one roster move they did make, recalling Zack Kassian from their AHL affiliate in Chicago and sending down Bill “The Jet” Sweatt in his place.

The move brought to a close what appears to have been some sort of punishment for off-ice shenanigans, something that Kassian corroborated upon his return, saying that management had stressed “being a professional away from the rink.”

Granted, this somewhat contradicted Alain Vigneault’s earlier explanation that Kassian “went to Chicago basically to play hockey,” but only somewhat. After all, Kassian did go to Chicago to play hockey. That’s what he did while he was there. He evens scored a goal. Of course, the reason he had to go to Chicago to play hockey is because whatever he was up to in Vancouver was enough for him to be grounded from playing hockey here.

Continue Reading —›
Body movin’: Zack Kassian, Andrew Gordon down, Bill Sweatt, Nicklas Jensen up

On Saturday, the Canucks put in their most lacklustre effort of the season, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in less than 8 minutes. It was a demoralizing loss and, with the trade deadline just a couple days away, many Canucks fans are eager to see Mike Gillis shake things up by making a big move.

On Sunday, the Canucks called up Nicklas Jensen and Bill Sweatt from the Chicago Wolves and sent down Zack Kassian and Andrew Gordon.

It would be a mistake to connect these two days together by anything more than chronology. Fans and media alike were quick to call this a desperation move, but the roster movement doesn’t seem to be sparked by the loss in Edmonton. Instead, it looks like this roster move was caused by something that happened before the game even started.

Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ on who will play, who won’t play, and who misread the play

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 topics that deserve mention.

Continue Reading —›
Note to Antoine Roussel: don’t get Zack Kassian angry

Zack Kassian is a surprisingly soft-spoken guy off the ice. In an interview setting, he’s low-key and fairly reserved. He can be that way on the ice sometimes, which likely contributes to his streakiness. It’s likely that motivation rather than skill will be his major limitation early in his career and it will be Vigneault’s challenge to figure out what motivates him.

Different players require different types of motivation, something Vigneault has spoken about in the past. “I think part of coaching is getting the most you can out of the personnel,” he said in a Q and A with the Vancouver Board of Trade in early 2011, “and that’s getting to know your personnel both on and off the ice and how to handle individuals. You can’t treat everybody the same way but you can treat them fairly. Some guys need to be handled with a little bit of cuddling sometimes and some have to be harped on sometimes. That’s what they want.”

I have a suspicion that cuddling is not the best way to motivate Kassian. Instead, Kassian seems to need something to get him emotionally involved. On Thursday night, Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars figured out exactly what gets Kassian motivated: royally piss him off.

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian isn’t fully benefiting from playing with the Sedins yet

Not long ago, the Canucks’ acquisition of a big power forward with a right-handed shot would have resulted in one reaction from fans: finally, someone to play with the Sedins.

It’s a testament to how well Alex Burrows has played with the Sedins that Canucks fans did not have that reaction when the Canucks traded for Zack Kassian. Instead, Kassian was projected as, at best, a second-line winger on the Canucks, someone to play alongside Ryan Kesler and David Booth. At worst, he could be a physical presence on the fourth line.

But now Kassian has been promoted to play on the top line and the early returns are impressive. Kassian leads the Canucks in goals with 5 in 7 games and is, in fact, tied for second in the NHL in goal-scoring. The thing is, most of that goal-scoring hasn’t exactly come as a result of playing with the Sedins, but there’s reason to believe that he will have success with them in the future.

Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ on Brendan Gaunce, intro songs, and Kassian’s MMA training

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 topics that deserve mention.

Continue Reading —›
I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Calgary Flames, January 23, 2013

The Canucks really needed this win. It wasn’t just that they were 0-1-1 heading into it. It was much worse than that. As a colleague who will remain nameless because I’m about to make fun of him pointed out to me, they weren’t just winless in their first two. They were 1-4-2 in their last seven, dating back to last postseason. Ah, but I pointed out to him that if we’re just going to trace the Canucks’ record back to arbitrary dates, we should point out that they’re actually 52-26-11 dating back to the beginning of last season. Perhaps, my colleague responded, but they’re a mediocre 1353-1455-391-83 dating back to the beginning of the franchise.

That’s almost 100 games under five hundred. You can see how badly they needed this win. Sure, it’s a big hole to crawl out of, but you’ve got to take these things one game at a time. Tonight was one such game, and I watched this game.

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian stars in ‘hockey mouth or meth mouth?’ on The Tonight Show (VIDEO)

Normally, it is to our great shame that we miss something sort of awesome and another Canucks blog happens upon it first. We do our best to be on top of this stuff. But in this case, we’re not ashamed to admit that this one escaped us the first time around.

Why? Because it means we don’t watch the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. (No offense if you do watch it. It’s just that we’re #TeamCoCo. Also, when we watch late-night comedy, we like to laugh occasionally. But seriously, no offense.)

However, lucky for all of us here in the Canucks’ blogosphere (also known as the Smylosphere), Jordan Bowman of the Province’s Legion of Blog has been working the Jay Leno beat. Hard. And Monday night, his fervent, completely unexplainable devotion to Leno finally paid off. In honour of the NHL lockout coming to an end, Leno debuted a new gag, titled, “Hockey mouth or meth mouth?”

I think you will recognize the mouth.

Continue Reading —›
Hungry like the Wolves: Up the river with the Rivermen and Admirals

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian suspended for one game for ‘his actions’ [VIDEO]

The American Hockey League has suspended Canucks prospect Zack Kassian for one game, but are being remarkably vague about the reason why. Their official press release only indicates that the suspension is “a consequence of his actions during a game at Charlotte on Nov. 6.”

The Wolves, when contacted, indicated that as far as they know, the suspension is for accidentally running into an official on his way off the ice after taking a second period penalty, which sounds relatively innocuous. While pushing or hitting an official would certainly earn a suspension, players accidentally bump into officials all the time while on the ice. It seems certain that there’s more to the story.

Paul LaTour of the Chicago Tribune floated his theory that the suspension is for throwing his stick in the penalty box, hitting the off-ice official and cutting him.

Continue Reading —›
Hungry like the Wolves: Ice the Hogs, then split with Checkers

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

Continue Reading —›
Hungry like the Wolves: Beating the Heat

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Chicago Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time. When the Canucks’ AHL affiliate flies [...]

Continue Reading —›
Is a lockout exactly what Zack Kassian needs?

In his first professional season, he seemed stuck between being too good for the AHL and not quite good enough for the NHL. While it might have been best for his development to play the full season in the AHL where he could play big minutes, he instead spent a large chunk of the season averaging around 11 minutes in ice time with the Canucks, with minimal success offensively.

Then, the CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA stalled, and a lockout loomed. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Ryan Kesler, who had a fantastic season for the Manitoba Moose.

Wait, did you think I was talking about Zack Kassian? That’s an understandable mistake to make, considering I put his name in the title of the post and used vague personal pronouns in my opening paragraph. Sorry about that.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Continue Reading —›