Alain Vigneault coached the Vancouver Canucks to a Presidents’ trophy and Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2010-11, but his follow-up season was about on par with Season 3 of Lost. I mean, it was still the same show as last year, and it still had its high points — the second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, the flashforwards — but all things considered, it was messy, confusing, and decidedly underwhelming.
And, unlike the writers of Season 3 of Lost, Vigneault’s Canucks were unable to flip the switch towards the end. As a result, a large segment of the Vancouver fan populace demanded that he be fired.
That was unreasonable. The Canucks were still an excellent team, they won the regular-season for the second year in a row, and they got bounced by an LA Kings group that got hot at just the right time and made minced meat of every other opponent they faced after Vancouver. It was a disappointingly quick ouster, to be certain, but Vigneault didn’t deserve to lose his job over it.
When he didn’t, with the club announcing a two-year contract extension for him, those that disagreed turned up the vitriol. The result: this entire season has been filtered through the lens of mounting fireable offences for Alain Vigneault, and we’re not talking about substantive criticism, we’re talking about childish hostility.Continue Reading —›
Roberto Luongo showed a great deal of patience this season amidst all the drama of the soap opera in Vancouver’s crease, and yes, it is a soap opera. Recently, Thomas Drance suggested that its long, long, long running time made it more epic than soap, but clearly, the dude needs to brush up on his daytime dramas. “The Young and the Restless” has been running since February 4, 1980, and the feud between Jill Foster Abbott and Katherine Chancellor has been going on for pretty much that entire time.
A rivalry that never seems to end? That sounds about right for this analogy.
Anyway. Like I was saying, apart from a few moments where he seemed on the verge of flipping a table — like, say, just after the trade deadline, which is likely why the Canucks made him do that presser standing up with no table in sight — Luongo has shown some remarkable serenity in the face of a decidedly unserene situation.
But he won’t be doing that again. Funny Bob has no intention of sticking around for another season of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie, and in case that wasn’t entirely clear, his Vancouver condo is for sale.Continue Reading —›
We’ll have plenty of time in the summer to dissect what went wrong for the Canucks this season, as it is extremely likely that it will be a long, long summer. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs and the Canucks have not given fans much confidence in their ability to be the fourth.
But we’re going to save the analysis, finger-pointing, and recriminations for another day. Right now we have something far more important to do. You see, one of the photographers at Sunday’s game between the Sharks and Canucks took a humorous photo and we have no choice but to show it to you, make fun of it, and create a ludicrous photoshop out of it.Continue Reading —›
In case you were not aware, Harrison and I, your (hopefully) esteemed hosts here at Pass it to Bulis, are both musically inclined. Harrison once fronted the incredible funk band, Cinnamon Toast Funk, while I am in the rock band Minnesota Nice. We’ve combined our musical efforts in the past on the blog, with “Song for Nelson Ong.”
During the NHL lockout, Harrison wrote two parody songs that I got the chance to contribute to. “Lockout Man” was our first effort, a parody of the Elton John classic “Rocket Man.” Then Harrison and Sean Gentille of Sporting News got the idea to parody Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend,” switching it to “Call The Union.” It led to a ludicrously precise music video parody that featured Harrison wearing obscenely tight yoga pants.
When news came out that Brian Burke was suing a host of internet commenters for defamation, we quickly realized that the whole situation was ripe for parody. The defendants were listed only by their usernames, including gems like “Sir Psycho Sexy,” “cambarkerfan,” and “Slobberface,” but the name that really stuck out was “Poonerman.”
Harrison recruited myself and his former bandmate in Cinnamon Toast Funk, Bryan Binnema, to come up with the perfect parody song about Poonerman and his legal troubles. Unfortunately, it turns out that the situation is too ripe for parody and we just couldn’t land on a single song.Continue Reading —›
While Roberto Luongo played very well through the first two games of the series and wasn’t to blame for either loss, you had to know he wasn’t happy about giving up three goals in each game and particularly one in the final minute in game two to send it to overtime. You had to know that he would go into game three hungry to improve upon his performance.
He absolutely succeeded, shutting out the Sharks, looking as confident and collected as ever. He finished with 10 saves and…wait. 10 saves? That can’t be right. Surely the Sharks weren’t held to just 10 shots in a playoff game. And what’s this about the Sharks being up 3-0 in the series? Something’s not right here.
Oh. Luongo didn’t start. I swear, I was paying attention when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Friday night’s Game 2 between the Canucks and the San Jose Sharks put Vancouver hockey fans through the wringer. Through two periods, it looked like we were witnessing yet another game in which the Canucks wouldn’t be scoring. Another disappointing outcome seemed inevitable. You could forgive any fan who felt that he had seen this game before and decided by about the second intermission that there wasn’t going to be much to see in the third.
But then Ryan Kesler came to life, scoring early in the final frame on a blistering slap shot from the point. Suddenly the disbelieving fans were forced to change their tune (albeit briefly). And one fan was forced to change his pizza order:Continue Reading —›
One day while growing up on my parents’ farm, I was playing outside with a couple friends. It was summer and were having a water fight, running through the fields. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was laughing. Life could not have been better.
Then I ran full-speed, directly into an electric fence along the cattle run. It hit me directly in the gut, simultaneously taking my feet out from under me and shocking me. Normally when you get shocked by an electric fence, you pull away immediately. Since I was running, I couldn’t pull away from the wire. Also, I was wet from the water fight. I went from joyful laughing to dry heaving in an instant. It felt like I had been punched in the gut and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs.
The end of this game was like an electric wire to the gut of the Canucks, except it wasn’t a fence built for cows — it was one of the fences from Jurassic Park. I needed Dr. Alan Grant to perform CPR after I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Martin Havlat left Wednesday’s game halfway through the first period for, since it’s the playoffs, undisclosed reasons. It didn’t take long, however, for the reason to become completely disclosed, causing male hockey fans everywhere to cringe in unison.
You see, according to Mike Halford from Pro Hockey Talk and David Pollak from the San Jose Mercury News, Kevin Bieksa speared Havlat in the groin. The NHL Network even has a video of the unfortunate moment, complete with a slow-motion replay.
Halford and Pollak are dead wrong, however. Bieksa definitely did not spear Havlat in the groin. Nope, not in the slightest. He quite clearly slashed him in the groin.Continue Reading —›
Judging by their lines at practice on Thursday, the Canucks will be loading up their second line, bumping Ryan Kesler to the wing and moving Derek Roy up to second line centre, with Chris Higgins rounding out the trio.
It’s easy to understand why: the Canucks struggled to create any sustained offensive pressure in the first game of the series. Creating a stacked top-six is a simple solution, though it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Kesler, Roy, and Higgins certainly had their moments when they were matched up during the regular season and it creates some difficult decisions for the Sharks defensively.
The only problem is what it does to the bottom half of the Canucks’ lineup. Without Roy centring the third line, that duty falls to Maxim Lapierre, who will be joined by Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond. In theory, that should be a speedy, defensively responsible line that can create problems on the forecheck, but Lapierre is coming off a fairly mediocre season.
The Canucks need more from Lapierre if they’re going to succeed in the playoffs. They need him to be an enabler. They need him to be Manny Malhotra.Continue Reading —›
We’ve seen our fair share of fan videos here at Pass it to Bulis. We’ve seen singer/songwriters write songs and sing them, as is their modus operandi. We’ve seen rappers lay down tracks in support of the team. We’ve seen amateur filmmakers like David McKay blow us away with their vision and execution.
But, until today, we had never seen an acrobat paint himself in Canucks colours and scale a pole outside of Rogers Arena in support of the home team. This may be strangest and most incredible Canucks fan video you’ll ever see:Continue Reading —›
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 —›
You’d think think San Jose Sharks’ supporters would have struggled to find much to get upset about during Wednesday night’s Game 1. After all, when your team outplays the Canucks in 2 of 3 periods, when the powerplay looks like a lethal weapon, and when the Sharks come away from their 2013 postseason debut with a victory, what’s there to complain about?
The green men, apparently.
If you were watching the American feed of this game, you were treated to CSN Bay Area announcers Drew Remenda and Randy Hahn ripping Force and Sully pretty fiercely. Glenn Healy’s got nothing on this exchange:Continue Reading —›
The playoffs didn’t exactly open the way that the Canucks hoped they would. What they wanted, and what most in Vancouver wanted, I think, was for the Canucks to kick off the 2013 postseason with 16 consecutive wins. Instead, they started with one loss, meaning it will take them 17 games at least to win the Stanley Cup. Nuts. So close.
What went wrong in this one? Nothing whatsoever, if you completely discount the 3rd period, where everything went wrong. If the game were 20 minutes (and it started after a 20 minute warm-up period) the Canucks win this game. Unfortunately, playing 60 minutes is one of the rules of NHL hockey — even in the playoffs, when a bunch of other rules are abandoned — so the Canucks lost this game. And I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
In the wild, orca whales tend to kill and eat sharks, including great white sharks. In the battle of Free Willy versus Jaws, Willy would win.
On the ice, however, it’s a lot tougher to call. The Vancouver Canucks will face the San Jose Sharks in round one of the playoffs, with the first game starting in just a couple hours. Normally, this is when we’d look at the season series to see how the two teams match up, but the season series isn’t particularly useful this time around.
Sure, the Sharks won all three of their meetings this season, but those games came before Derek Roy and Ryan Kesler were in the lineup and only one of those games featured the Sharks’ Brent Burns at forward, where he’s excelled. Also, Cory Schneider started all three of those games and he won’t be in net for game one of the playoffs, with Roberto Luongo slated to start with Schneider our due to injury.
The two teams have changed significantly throughout the season, with the Sharks shedding multiple players before the trade deadline and the Canucks continually rotating injured players in and out of the lineup. So, what can we expect from these two teams? How do they matchup? Let’s break it down as best we can:Continue Reading —›
It’s time for part 2 of the Canucks bandwagon fan cheat sheet, the guide to bluffing your way through an evening with a group of actual, diehard Vancouver hockey fans. Don’t let yourself get caught thinking the Sedins are the same person. They only sort of are!
Yesterday, we went over management, the goaltenders, and the defence. Today we take you through the Canucks’ forward lines. Get a pen. You’ll want to write all of this on your hand.Continue Reading —›
While the Canucks have been a mess on the powerplay this season and have been inconsistent defensively at even-strength, the one area that has been a strength all season long has been the penalty kill. The Canucks have allowed more than one powerplay goal in a game just three times this season and haven’t done so since February 24th against the Detroit Red Wings.
Once the Canucks had some actual centres in Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy, the penalty kill got even better, going seven straight games and 25 opportunities without allowing a goal against. As a result, the Canucks finished 8th in the NHL in penalty kill percentage at 84%. It’s been one of the most consistent areas for the Canucks, killing off 86% last season and 85.6% the season before.
It’s sometimes tough to tell who on the Canucks is most responsible for their shorthanded success. Goaltending obviously plays a big role and it’s assumed that coaching is vital, but which defencemen and forwards have been the best on the penalty kill for the Canucks?
It’s harder to figure out than you’d think.Continue Reading —›
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 —›
One of the best parts about being a Canucks fan during the playoffs is the time-honoured tradition of towel power, when Canucks fans wave a white towel over their heads like madmen, commemorating the only time that surrendering was a badass, rebellious move.
Other teams, including some in other sports, have adopted the idea of a rally towel and the Pittsburgh Steelers inaugurated the Terrible Towel before Roger Neilson waved the white flag to the referees during the Campbell Conference Finals in 1982. It holds special significance for Canucks fans, however, as the Canucks rallied around their coach, eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in five games, and going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Are you ready for the playoffs? Do you have your rally towel out and ready to wave? No? Because if you don’t, Harrison Mooney will find you.Continue Reading —›
On Monday, we talked streaking, investigating which members of the Canucks were hot, and who had gone cold. Mason Raymond? Cold as ice, unwilling to sacrifice. He has just one point, an assist, in his last six games. Tom Sestito? Hot streak. Blistering. Dude has scored in one consecutive game. That’s as hot as he gets.
But today we’re going to talk about a different kind of hotness: physical hotness. Like what sexy people have. Did you know the Canucks are the NHL’s hottest playoff team? Because they totally are.Continue Reading —›
We here at Pass it to Bulis are supporters of the bandwagon fan. We recognize that not everyone can devote the amount of time and energy that we do to the Canucks and understand that some people only start to tune in when the playoffs approach.
With that in mind, we have prepared the Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet for the past several years in order to help out bandwagon fans who haven’t been paying much attention to the Canucks until now. It’s full of helpful information about every Canuck on the roster, including their tendencies on the ice, their nicknames, and a bevy of inside jokes that you can pretend to understand when your friends, coworkers, and family bring them up.
This year, however, the regular season ended after 48 games, so we’re running a little behind schedule. So, without further ado, I leave you with part one of the 2013 Bandwagon Fans Cheat Sheet.Continue Reading —›
There are two things you can expect to see the moment the NHL playoffs begin: one, the Edmonton Oilers cleaning out their lockers and going home. Two, because of this, some non-genius in Edmonton will decide to take out his frustrations and make a desperate bid for postseason pageviews from a large fanbase still watching hockey come spring by writing a Vancouver Canucks hit piece.
It’s tradition. I suspect they may draw straws. Get the short one, and it’s your turn to blow some tiny thing out of proportion, point to it as evidence that the Canucks are the great evil, use the 2011 riot as supporting evidence, and then openly root not just for their failure, but also the return of Jesus, who will descend from the cloud and cast them into the lake of fire.
This year’s winner: Peter Adler of the Edmonton Journal, who has written — and this is the actual headline — Here’s Hoping the Unprofessional Vancouver Canucks Crash Out of the Playoffs.
It’s batcrap insane and amazing.Continue Reading —›
It’s not always the best team that wins in the playoffs, but the hottest team. If the best team in the NHL always went on to win the Stanley Cup, we wouldn’t bother with the playoffs and we would replace the Presidents’ Trophy with the Cup. After all, 82 games (or even 48) should be enough to separate the wheat from the chaff and decide who is the best in the league.
Let’s face it, very few people truly believe that. In hockey, we celebrate difficulty. To win the Stanley Cup, you have to go through the long grind of the playoffs and survive, facing the top teams in the league night after night and proving that you’re better than they are.
The team that survives isn’t always the most talented team or the most well-built team. It’s the team that hits a hot streak at the right time, avoids injuries, and takes advantage of their chances. Some teams ride a hot goaltender all the way to the Cup. Others have their offence click into place and light up their opposition. With that in mind, we’re going to look at who on the Canucks is on a streak heading into the playoffs, hot or cold. But we can’t do it alone (particularly since we barely believe such streaks matter), so we’ve enlisted some help.
In honour of NHL 94′s 20th anniversary, we’re please to bring in special guest analyst (and noted streak fetishist), Ron Barr.*Continue Reading —›
The Canucks played their last game of the regular-season last Monday (despite being scheduled for two more games after). Their next challenge: the 2013 postseason, which begins Wednesday night in Vancouver versus the San Jose Sharks.
Playoff hockey means a few things: more intensity, higher stakes, beards, and a ton of playoff pump-up videos uploaded to Youtube. So many. It’s crazy. Users upload an hour of video to Youtube per second. This weekend, it was mostly footage of Kevin Bieksa making his angry face.
Since we love a good pump-up video here at PITB, here are five of our favourites.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks closed out the 48-game 2013 regular season the same way it began: by surrendering seven goals in a humiliating loss. Now, granted, this one isn’t quite as concerning as the season-opener against the Anaheim Ducks, which featured the full Canucks lineup, save Ryan Kesler. This time around, the Canucks flipped the script, icing a lineup that featured Ryan Kesler and little else. Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler, Alex Burrows, and Daniel Sedin all sat this one out.
So did Henrik Sedin, although not officially. The Canucks’ captain started this game between Steve Pinizzotto and Dale Weise, and we were excited to watch him spend the whole game there before demanding a trade to Buffalo, as one does after such deployment. But instead, Henrik just left the game. As it turned out, he was only dressed so as to protect his iron man streak, and once he had done what he needed with one shift, he promptly suited up and called it a night. Like Henrik Sedin, I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With their loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, the Sharks close out the 2013 season as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. This means a first-round playoff date with the third seed, your Vancouver Canucks.
We’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to this series (as well as during it), just as we always do, but for tonight, we would simply like to remind you of something.
This post originally appeared on May 13, 2011, in advance of the Canucks’ Western Conference Final series versus the Sharks two years ago. It was true then and it’s true now: the San Jose Sharks are bad.Continue Reading —›