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 —›
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 —›
In a sense, it’s been a long season. But in another sense (the literal sense), it’s been a short season, a whirlwind. It’s possible that you missed it all. But now the playoffs are here and we’d hate for you to be so far behind you can’t enjoy them. Here’s a quick review of the 2013 season.Continue Reading —›
If this was Roberto Luongo’s last hurrah in Vancouver, it wasn’t a particularly good one. After playing their best game of the season against their hated rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks settled in and played a thoroughly mediocre game against their mildly-disliked non-rival, the Anaheim Ducks. With both teams stuck in their positions in the Western Conference, with no way to improve or injure their place in the standings, neither team had much to play for.
Still, it’s entirely possible that this was Luongo’s last start as a Canuck in Vancouver, which should have been some motivation. While the Canucks seemed to wake up in the third period and made a concerted effort to win the game for Luongo, by then it was too little, too late, two-one. And then three-one. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Some housepets are total puckheads. Moko the African grey parrot is a vocal and unabashed Vancouver Canucks fan. And just try talking to Dave the cat when he’s watching his beloved Anaheim Ducks. He’ll give you the stinkeye.
Other pets have no time for the game, however, no matter how hard we try to sell them on its merits. Take Clifford, for instance, an adorable dachshund that is, by all accounts, a happy-go-lucky little delight. Watch him do laps around this apartment. It’s adorable.
But try to put a Canucks-themed dog jacket on Clifford and fun time is over.Continue Reading —›
The playoffs are just a couple games away, which means it’s time for teams to get vague about injuries. While NHL teams are maddeningly non-specific about injuries at the best of times, the playoffs bring out the slimy politician in every coach, as no one wants to give the opposition any clue as to what injury a player has suffered, lest they target that injury in subsequent games.
A player could blatantly break his leg, with the bone sticking out through his hockey pants, and his coach would describe it as a “lower body injury.” A player with a literal hole punched out of his chest wouldz have an “upper body injury.” At one point, after Rick DiPietro suffered a clear head injury, his coach diagnosed him with “general body soreness.” Seriously.
But Alain Vigneault took the next big step in ambiguity on Wednesday: when asked about Cory Schneider’s injury that will see Luongo start Thursday, backed up by Joe Cannata callup, he refused to even say if the injury was to the lower or upper-body. It was just… to the body.Continue Reading —›
For much of this season, the primary talking point about the Vancouver Canucks has been the soap opera in their crease, where they have the champagne problem of two number one goalies, and the actual problem of only being allowed to start one at a time.
As a result, it’s been a rough year for Roberto Luongo. The whole thing reached a zenith at the NHL trade deadline when nothing happened, which was, in and of itself, a pretty big happening. You’ll recall an emotional Luongo saying some fairly quotable things about his pernicious contract before taking a deep breath and resigning himself to spending the rest of the season as the backup.
And that’s where Season 1 of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie ended, with Season 2 scheduled for the instant the postseason comes to a close, because there couldn’t possibly be another twist in this saga until — hold on, what’s that now?Continue Reading —›
It’s not enough to say that Frank Corrado didn’t look out of place in his NHL debut: he looked perfectly in place, skating on Alex Edler’s right side like he’d been there all season. Most rookie defencemen will just try to play a simple game and hope to not get noticed for the wrong reason. Corrado, on the other hand, made his presence felt immediately, stapling Marcus Kruger to the boards with a solid check on just his second shift of the game.
Corrado was credited with 24 total shifts and 17:20 in ice time (though this number turned out to be slightly inaccurate upon closer inspection). Still, he was fourth among Canucks’ defencemen in ice time and matched up against Patrick Kane more than any other Blackhawks forward. In fact, Kane was fed a steady diet of the Edler and Corrado pairing for most of the game, demonstrating how quickly Corrado won Alain Vigneault’s trust.
I wanted to find out exactly how Corrado’s debut went, shift by shift, to see exactly how he earned his ice time, so I went back and watched his entire game. The verb that kept coming up in my notes was quick: quick skating, quick passes, and quick decisions.Continue Reading —›
Earlier this morning at the other blog I write for, Greg Wyshynski asked an interesting question: Who are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for your team?
As you may know, the Turtles are a quartet. But what you may not know is that their four members fit into four basic archetypes. There’s the austere leader, the silly guy, the philosopher, and the bad boy. The same can be said of the Beatles, the cast of Seinfeld, the non-infant members of the Simpsons family, the Sweathogs, and almost any other popular quartet in popular culture.
“It’s like some essential human grouping pattern,” Linus Millberg says in Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude.
Working out who on any given hockey club might fit into this pattern makes for a fun exercise, so we thought we’d bring it to you here at PITB. Who are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of the Canucks?Continue Reading —›
There’s a lot to take away from this game, but let’s begin this recap with something no one can EVER take away: with the win versus the Chicago Blackhwks, the Canucks clinched their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title! Five in a row, baby!
Say what you will about the division title. Sure, it’s as easy to get as your first Pokemon. But the Canucks were the 1956-1960 Montreal Canadiens of the Northwest Division: that’s a half-decade of pure, uncut domination. I watched the Canucks cement a mother-flipping dynasty when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Daniel Sedin scored the third and final Vancouver goal in the Canucks’ 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, getting in behind the Blackhawks’ defence before beating Corey Crawford on a breakway.
The last man back for Chicago: Duncan Keith, who let the Canuck winger know he was right there with a slash just prior to Daniel’s shot.
Little was made of the slash at the time. That makes some sense, I guess. If an arm had gone up for a delayed penalty, it would have come right back down when Daniel scored anyhow.
It’s possible Keith was fully aware of that when he swung the lumber in the first place. Or maybe he was just trying to cause Daniel to slip up and lose control of the puck. I’m not going to pretend to know his intent. Better to just ask him, which is what the Team 1040′s Karen Thomson did after the game. Her reward: an earful of completely uncalled-for sexist rubbish.Continue Reading —›
Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy will be back on the same line again Monday versus the Chicago Blackhawks, but there are a few changes to the Canucks’ second line nonetheless. First of all, Chris Higgins returns to the lineup, and he’ll replace Jannik Hansen on the other wing. Second, Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy will trade spots, meaning that, unless Alain Vigneault has an eleventh hour change of heart (like he did last time), Roy will be the centre. Kesler will be reprising his long dormant role as a right-winger.
But now he has to try to remember what it’s like to play the wing, a position he hasn’t played since 2009. That’s a long time. He might need a refresher course.Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks defence are like Dr. Curt Connors at the moment: all left. With both Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa out of the lineup with injuries, the Canucks have dressed six left-handed defencemen over the past three games, forcing three of them to play on their off-side. While Jason Garrison appears to have made a fairly smooth transition to playing on the right, it hasn’t gone quite as well for the rest of the defence corps.
The Canucks’ defensive efforts have been marred by turnovers and an inability to break out of the defensive zone and it seems likely that the lack of right-handed defencemen is partially to blame. It comes as no surprise, then, that they would try to remedy the situation with an injection of right-handedness into the lineup.
Frank Corrado, who is coming off a superb final season in Junior, got called up to the Canucks today and, judging from the Canucks’ morning skate, he’ll be inserted directly into the top-four. In essence, Corrado is Curt Connors’ experimental reptilian limb regeneration serum: will he fix what ails the defence or will he turn them into a grotesque monster?Continue Reading —›
We have thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural season of New Van Fan as it’s explored the various oddities of being a dedicated fan of the Vancouver Canucks. We’ve seen Andreas, the titular newbie Canucks fan, get a crash course in being a Canucks fan, learning about Keslurking, despair, what not to say, choosing a scapegoat and the disappointment of the trade deadline. We’ve seen him introduce his own unique contributions to Canucks fandom with Snepsts Day and the Alain Vigneault gum game.
But in this week’s episode, the season finale, Dan and Andreas pulled out all the stops, bringing in a very special guest star: Zack Kassian.Continue Reading —›
Throughout the past few months, we have generally emphasized process over results. In the middle of the season, the Canucks were generally outplaying their opponents, but couldn’t string wins together, leading to all sorts of consternation among Canucks nation. We counselled patience, as the Canucks’ process seemed to be sounds, producing positive puck possession, even as it didn’t produce results.
Over the last month, however, the process has been questionable at best. The Canucks have been outshot by some pretty terrible teams, looked lackadaisical in their own end, and struggled to create quality scoring chances. And, of course, now they’re getting the results.
I give up. Nothing makes sense anymore. Heck, the Red Wings might miss the playoffs while the Blue Jackets get in. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. The only thing that hasn’t changed: I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Alex Burrows has a lot to be happy about these days. He’s about to get a $2.5 million raise, his team is heading into the playoffs with, if all goes well, home-ice advantage, and there are tentative plans for a charity tennis match between him and Milos Raonic in August, which is pretty dang cool.
Yes, life is good for Burrows and you would think that he wouldn’t have much to be sad about. Oh how wrong you would be, hypothetical person. As this picture from Jeff Vinnick’s Behind the Lens series at Canucks.com reveals, Burrows is super sad right now.
Here are 20 reasons why.Continue Reading —›
The last time the Canucks were in the playoffs, things didn’t go so well. Poised to make like Janet Jackson and go deep, Vancouver’s first draw was an LA squad that had, unbeknownst to anyone, somehow managed to find the postseason settings and switch the difficulty to “easy”. As a result, the Canucks were hapless, and when they finally repossessed their haps, they were on the verge of elimination. Five games after they had begun, they were out.
That trauma in mind, you could understand why the Canucks might be reluctant to go back there, and why, with a chance to clinch a return to the postseason with a win over the Dallas Stars, they gave in to their fears in the third and descended into self-sabotage instead. They lost this game to the enemy within: themselves. Also Dallas. They lost to Dallas. I watched this game.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 —›
It’s time once more for Ask it to Bulis, where two incredibly intelligent, witty, handsome, and humble bloggers answer your questions about life, the universe, and everything, but mostly the Vancouver Canucks. Side effects include enlightenment, rationality, and botanophobia.Continue Reading —›
With both Ryan Kesler and David Booth on the injured reserve list to start this season, the Canucks were forced to rely on Mason Raymond to anchor their second line and provide secondary scoring. Considering his decline in offensive production over the past couple seasons, this seemed to be a cause for concern.
Raymond, however, stepped up in a big way and was one of the Canucks most consistent forwards early in the year. It appeared that the extended off-season created by the lockout significantly helped his recovery from a broken back in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and that Raymond was back to his 25-goal form that earned him a two-year $5.1 million contract extension in 2010.
Over the course of the season, however, Raymond’s play has gradually begun to flatline and there are some significant causes for concern for the future. With Raymond approaching his first off-season as an unrestricted free agent, the Canucks need to seriously consider whether they will re-sign the speedy winger, with his playoff performance likely playing a large role in the decision.Continue Reading —›
When the Vancouver Canucks debuted their Vancouver Millionaires jerseys back in March, we wondered aloud if the original plan had been to debut the historic duds versus the Ottawa Senators, the team the Millionaires defeated back in 1915 for Vancouver’s lone Stanley Cup.
No, we were told when asked (proving the worst thing you can ever do is ask), that had never been the plan.
That said, if the Canucks did want to sport their heritage jerseys versus the Senators, it would appear that next March will yield a golden opportunity. According to multiple reports, the league is planning to go from one outdoor game to six in 2013-14, with the sixth and final game in what’s being called a stadium series happening just next door to Rogers Arena in BC Place. Vancouver will obviously be one of the two teams. The other club: the Ottawa Senators, who have been sore about the way we stole Cyclone Taylor and then their Stanley Cup for 99 long years.
GRUDGE MATCH.Continue Reading —›