The Canucks had nothing in Game 4. Possession-wise, they dominated from start to finish, but it was a little like how the toddler always dominates possession during road hockey games in the cul-de-sac. Sure, he has the puck a lot, but that’s mostly because he’s among friends, and nobody has the heart to take it from him. He’s five. Does he really need to know his motor skills are pure crap? Just let him carry it around for awhile. Eventually he’ll pull a Luca Sbisa and just bobble it away for no good reason, and then the game can continue.
But while the Canucks looked like a bunch of toddlers out there, they also looked like a bunch of dads. Old. Slow. Not particularly interested in winning anymore. Which is crazy. Unless a witch turned the entire Canucks roster into slugs sometime between Game 3 and Game 4, there’s simply no excuse for them to be this sluggish in a game they needed to have that badly. Heck, even then it would be hard to defend the way they played tonight. Oh, a witch turned you into slugs? Tough. That’s just playoff hockey. Now go out there and show some flippin’ heart, you pack of stinking gastropods. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
When Alex Burrows was stretchered out of the Saddledome and sent to the hospital with a broken/displaced rib, it was expected that the newly called up Sven Baertschi would take his place in the lineup. After all, Baertschi is a skilled winger who ideally should play in a top-six role to be successful, so bumping Radim Vrbata up to play with the twins and putting Baertschi on the struggling second line seemed to make sense.
It was also a nice narrative: the former Flame coming back to play his team in a critical playoff game, hopefully scoring the game winning goal in overtime, then pointing directly at Brian Burke as he celebrates, yelling “How’s that for a flash of brilliance?”
Unfortunately, that storyline will have to wait. Instead of #Svengeance, we’ll be getting #Veyngeance in Game 4, which just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Linden Vey will reportedly slot into the lineup with Burrows out, which has Canucks fans in an uproar, but it’s an unnecessary one. It actually makes a lot of sense for Vey to get into the lineup ahead of Baertschi.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks responded well to a tough loss in Game 1, dominating Game 2 from puck drop and giving the Flames no chance to win. The Flames responded in kind in Game 3, winning in convincing fashion. Will the pattern continue in Game 4?
With Alex Burrows out of the lineup and questions swirling about how the Canucks have handled the Flames’ physical forecheckers, how will the Canucks respond? Here are four things the Canucks need to do in Game 4 to come away with the win.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 —›
The AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs start Wednesday, April 22nd, so they need all hands on deck as they start their run. They’ll be short one of their star players, however, as Sven Baertschi has been called up by the Vancouver Canucks and is expected to play tonight against his former team.
With Baertschi’s skill, and the extra motivation of proving the Flames wrong for giving up on him, he could be an interesting addition to the lineup, though it’s unclear where he’ll slot in.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks will be without Alex Burrows for Tuesday night’s Game 4 after the right winger left practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome on a stretcher.
Information at this point is scarce. According to some reports, Burrows left the ice saying “help”, and appeared to be favouring his wrist. He was followed by the training staff.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks are down 2-1 to the Flames in the playoffs, which means it’s time for everyone to start second-guessing Willie Desjardins. The number one topic is his use of the Sedins, who are averaging less ice time than they had in the regular season, apparently to keep them “fresh”.
We talk about how the Sedins need more ice time to exert a greater influence on the series, along with the overstated impact of Michael Ferland, the Canucks’ struggles on the breakout, Luca Sbisa’s turnover issues, and Bo Horvat’s excellent playoff debut.
We also talk about cross-rival dating and the corrupting influence of Remy Shand. Before all that, however, we discuss how message sending in the final five minutes is seen as part of the game and how the NHL really has no issue with brawls, as it sells the game.Continue Reading —›
It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond three times a week. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in [...]Continue Reading —›
If you’ve been following the Vancouver Canucks’ first round series with the Calgary Flames, and you’re not Steve Simmons, you know that the last couple of contests have not exactly ended in a dignified manner.
Both Games 2 and 3 have ended in line brawls, with the losing team opting to “send a message”. That’s hockeyspeak for “be a sore loser”, by the by, in much the same way “climate change” is used to downplay “global warming” or “planet wrecking”.
But the bad behaviour hasn’t just been restricted to the ice.Continue Reading —›
Game 3 may have ended around 10pm PST last night, but as the Canucks went to bed on Sunday, they did so knowing they could awake to one or two more losses, as both Alex Burrows and Dan Hamhuis awaited the mercy of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
But Lady Fortune has smiled on the Canucks. It would appear that both Burrows and Hamhuis will be eligible for Tuesday’s all-important Game 4.Continue Reading —›
Any fans hoping for a repeat of Game 2, with the Canucks dominating from puck drop, taking an insurmountable lead, leaving the Flames with no response other than to goon it up, well, they were in luck. Only, in reverse.
The Flames were the better team in this one, getting in hard on the forecheck and disrupting the Canucks’ breakout, then out-battling them along the boards to hem the Canucks in the defensive zone. When the Canucks did get chances, they couldn’t capitalize and were unable to sustain pressure.
Then, with the Flames up late, Dan Hamhuis hit Sam Bennett in the head, Alex Burrows hit Johnny Gaudreau from behind and fought Kris Russell, and Kevin Bieksa forced Michael Ferland into a fight in the final minutes that nearly turned into another line brawl. It was dumb, ugly, and disappointing, because the Canucks can play better than this.
I got thoroughly frustrated when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Everybody’s talking about the Canucks and Flames after their spirited Game 2, which ended with the two clubs embroiled in yet another line brawl. Of course, some are talking about it better than others.
Others, in this case, is ESPN, whose highlight package for Vancouver’s 4-1 win won’t do much to dispel the notion that the network wouldn’t know a hockey game if one broke out at a fight. It’s full of mispronunciations and, in some cases, just completely different names. Roland Kenins? Dan Hamoose? The Sundin twins? You should probably watch this.Continue Reading —›
We have a new favourite gorilla here at Pass it to Bulis. Until today, it was Mighty Joe Young, obviously. But that was before we saw this adorable video from the Calgary Zoo in which a Canucks jersey stuffed with straw is placed in the gorilla habitat.
“What you see behind you looks like the torso of a Canucks fan,” we’re told. “We’re gonna see what our gorilla troop thinks of that. Stay tuned.”
Presumably, the goal here is to get footage of a gorilla destroying a Canucks sweater — maybe even throwing some poop at it or something. But it turns out chimps think the Flames are for chumps. Rather than seeing some gorillas symbolically tear a Canucks fan limb from limb, we get a video in which one of the local gorillas goes rogue, and publicly declares his love for the Canucks by draping himself in the blue and green.Continue Reading —›
Kevin Bieksa has a bit of a history when it comes to mistreating equipment. Back in 2012, he tried to intervene in a tussle between Cal Clutterbuck and Dan Hamhuis by chucking his glove at Clutterbuck, earning him a penalty and sending him deep into our gif tournament during the lockout.
Last season, he took out his frustrations after a loss to the New York Rangers on Brian Boyle, then yanked Boyle’s helmet off his head and punted it down the ice.
Bieksa likely wished he was on the ice when Game 2 devolved into a line brawl, but instead Sbisa and Hamhuis were the makeshift defensive pair, as Yannick Weber had previously received a 10-minute misconduct (wait, what?). Bieksa was left cleaning up the mess afterward, helping clear the ice of discarded equipment. That’s when he decided to take out his frustration at not being able to drop the gloves with anyone by dropping someone else’s glove over the glass.Continue Reading —›
Any Canucks fan dreaming of a sweep over the Flames was bitterly disappointed by the third period of game 1. I mean, every Canucks fan must have been bitterly disappointed watching the Flames score two third period goals, including the winner in the final minute, to steal home ice advantage, but especially those dreaming of a sweep.
It was understandable why some would hope for a sweep. If the Canucks could take care of the Flames quickly while the Jets and Ducks beat each other up in the other Pacific Division matchup, the Canucks could have a worn-out opponent in the second round. Some might have looked at the Flames youth and inexperience and expected the pressure of the playoffs to overwhelm them.
Or perhaps you bought into the rise of advanced statistics this past season, found out that the Flames were one of the worst puck possession teams at 5-on-5 this season, and thought the Flames’ luck would run out just in time to get the brooms out.
But the Canucks were never going to sweep the Flames in the first round and it has a lot less to do with the Flames than it does the Canucks.Continue Reading —›
Everyone had an opinion on why the Canucks lost Game 1 of their first-round series with the Calgary Flames. Not enough Sedinery; too much Pizza-Juice; Nick Bonino was terrible. But if you ask me, the big issue was simpler than that: after scoring the opening goal, the Canucks stopped scoring. That’s not gonna cut it — not when the Flames turn into werewolves in the light of the third period moon.
But this time, the Canucks scored, and then they scored again. And then again. By the time the third period rolled around, they were too far in front for Calgary’s comeback to have any impact. So naturally, the Flames went nuts instead, offering up pretty convincing rebuttal to anyone who would suggest they’re the most disciplined team in the league. I had my doubts when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks got off to a great start in game 2 against the Flames, out-shooting them 13-3 in the first period and, more importantly, out-scoring them 2-0. It was about as dominant a period as the Canucks played all season and a wave of positivity swept through Canucks fandom.
Then that wave crashed on the rocks of a pretty dumb play by Kris Russell and a little negativity snuck back in.
Right as Chris Higgins scored the Canucks second goal, Russell came down with his stick on the back of Nick Bonino’s head at the side of the net. It bore a strong similarity to a play by Dustin Byfuglien near the end of the regular season that earned the Jets’ defenceman a 4-game suspension. Will Russell get a similar suspension? Will he get any suspension at all?Continue Reading —›
We’re not wrong often here at Pass it to Bulis, but sometimes it happens, and when it does, we believe in bringing our mistakes right to you, the readers. Here is one such mistake: on Wednesday, after releasing “Sedinery”, an ode to the Sedins that borrows its melody (and single cover art) from Blackstreet classic “No Diggity”, we were convinced that PITB was the source of not just the number one Canucks’ playoff anthem, but also the number one Canuck-themed club banger.
We were wrong. On Friday, the gentlemen at Hoodwinked Films dropped a video of their own, and folks, this thing is where it’s at. It’s an earworm, but it’s also a tapeworm, because you’re gonna feel it in your backside — this is rump-shaking music. But it’s also raw hip hop artistry. It’s like if, instead of spending the last seven minutes of To Pimp a Butterfly just talking, Kendrick Lamar and the ghost of Tupac had given us the hip hop collab we really wanted, nay, needed.
Have I oversold it? You decide.Continue Reading —›
For much of the regular season, the Vancouver Canucks have been credited with a balanced forward corps, thanks to additions like Bo Horvat, Derek Dorsett, and Radim Vrbata. This new dynamic lifted the team back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has been a welcome change of pace after John Tortorella tried to play the Sedins to death during 2014. However, there has been a hidden thread connecting the moves made by the new regime: they’re all the part of Jim Benning and Trevor Linden’s master plan.
Ever since Benning and Linden took over the Vancouver Canucks, they have done everything they can to “make their mark” on the organization by committing significant money to free agents and acquiring the players their coach wanted. Ryan Miller, an expensive free agency signing, has been in the sights of Benning for quite some time. Similarly, “good human” Derek Dorsett was an interesting acquisition considering the cost, but as one of Willie Desjardins’ former Medicine Hat players, the acquisition began to make some sense. Then there were the contracts extensions to Dorsett and Luca Sbisa, which seemed blind to the play of both men during their first year in Vancouver.
Fast forward to today, and we now know that the Canucks aren’t just overpaying for Sbisa and Dorsett, they’re overplaying them too. Instead of deploying Henrik and Daniel Sedin with consistency during Game One against the Calgary Flames, Willie Desjardins opted to play a “balanced” lineup, rolling all four lines almost equally. This, of course, was a large part of the team’s downfall. Henrik and Daniel Sedin are generational players, and while they may be prone to overuse like anyone else, they need to be given the chance to take over a playoff game.
Instead, the Sedins both played less than five minutes each during Wednesday’s third period. Why? Because they were here when Benning and Linen arrived.Continue Reading —›
Game 2 between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames goes Friday, and it’s clear the Canucks need to make a few changes if they don’t want this series to get away from them.
For one thing, they need to win more. On Wednesday, they didn’t win at all, and if I may say, that’s not enough winning. But it’s not quite that simple. In order to win more, they’ll need to do the following:Continue Reading —›
It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond three times a week. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)Continue Reading —›
Far be it from me to complain about the playoffs, but the Canucks’ postseason berth has had an adverse affect on us here at Pass it to Bulis, albeit a minor one: game of the week has been put to sleep. It’s just a little too easy to pick at this point: whichever game the [...]Continue Reading —›
You folks made some good tweets this week. Some real good tweets.Continue Reading —›
It’s playoff time in Vancouver, so naturally, all anybody wants to talk about is the goaltenders. Who should be starting? Who’s better? In both cases, the correct answer is Eddie Lack, and unsurprisingly, he was the guy the Canucks turned to in their playoff opener Wednesday night. Will the Canucks stay with Lack, though? One suspects that if the club heads to Calgary down two games, we might see Ryan Miller. Expect Vancouver fans to have some opinions on that.
But while Miller and Lack are fueling debate at the top of the Canucks’ depth chart, third-string option Jacob Markstrom is all but forgotten. Which might have been the motivation behind his goalie fight with Peter Mannino of the Birmingham Senators on Wednesday night: get people talking about ol’ Marky. Take a look:Continue Reading —›
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 —›