Third Man In is the ingenious name for Qris Johnson’s weekly column. See, because Pass it to Bulis is officially two guys, but sometimes there’s third guy, just like in a hockey fight. Get it? It’s mad clever.

Today, Qris examines the Canucks’ commitment to their Zen philosophy and offers to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Third Man In is a feature that reminds the world that PITB actually has three writers and occasionally, that third writer comes flying into the fray with his gloves off, looking for a piece of the action. Usually on Friday.

This week, Qris talks about overcoming adversity, who should mind the net in game 5, the telltale signs of lost composure, and the fatigue factor.

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Last year’s Stanley Cup Final opener was a 6-5 game, a classic barn-burner between two freewheeling offensive clubs, with nets minded by Antti “Just wins” Niemi and Michael “Just waived” Leighton, but anyone hoping for another barn-burner was kidding themselves. The Canucks and the Bruins don’t play that way. Instead, both are built around those two things hockey fans loathe: defensive systems and Vezina-nominated goalies. (Blech. Nothing ruins offense like a commitment to preventing it.) Unsurprisingly, then, the Canucks and Bruins gave us the first 1-0 Game 1 since 1984, with the goal coming after fifty-nine minutes of scoreless hockey. That said, that doesn’t mean this game was unentertaining. Anyone who says that clearly didn’t watch this game. Shun them and listen to me. Unlike them, I watched this game.

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Much has been written about Raffi Torres’s controversial hit on Brent Seabrook halfway through last night’s tilt between the Blackhawks and the Canucks. Torres’s hit is as divisive as any we’ve come across since the furor over headshots began, with some saying it was completely clean, and others saying it was one of the dirtiest hits of the year. Consensus isn’t on the way. Is it Raffi Torres’s responsibility to avoid the hit because Brent Seabrook isn’t looking, or is it Brent Seabrook’s responsibility to look? No one seems to know, and the NHL, with trademark clarity, has effectively said, both. Thanks, guys.

Since it won’t accomplish anything, let’s stop debating the legality of the hit, and start debating the intelligence of the hitter. Raffi Torres is not very zen these days. He may be giving the Canucks a certain level of needed grit, but he’s also giving them something they don’t need: a bad reputation.

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Some have voiced concern over Maxim Lapierre’s potential effect on the dressing room. He’ll be fine. By now, you’re probably aware of deadline acquisitions Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre, the two forwards the Canucks picked up at yesterday’s trade deadline (and also: MacGregor “NC” Sharp, where the NC stands for “Nobody Cares” but, true to [...]

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Tony Gallagher wrote an article after the Canucks downed the Maple Leafs 4-1 on Saturday criticizing the effort from the Canucks and wondering how much longer they could play lackadaisical hockey and expect to win. He came just short of accusing the Canucks of playing with the Maple Leafs like a cat with a mouse. [...]

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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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