Watch these eight Canucks playoff pump-up videos, get sufficiently pumped

It’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Eve, with the Canucks set to open their first round series with the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, and I, for one, am pumped.

Is it possible that you are also pumped? I should hope so. But if not, fear not, as there’s a whole category of videos designed to get you pump. They’re called pump-up videos, and they’re all but guaranteed to up your level of pumpedness. Here are eight.

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Is Ryan Miller really a Game 1 option for the Canucks?

It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Ryan Miller gets the start in Game 1 between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. Here’s one: in an attempt to have “one last adventure” as before starting his first NHL playoff game, Eddie Lack goes parachuting, and winds up getting stuck in a tree. With no other options, the Canucks turn to Miller.

But let’s be honest: unless Lack repeats Uncle Jesse’s mistake from classic Full House season 4 two-parter “The Wedding”, he’ll be the man between the posts on Wednesday, as the returning Ryan Miller remains, by his own admission, a work in progress. Which is why it was so strange to hear Desjardins pump both goalies’ tires in front of the media on Monday afternoon.

“I believe both goaltenders are ready,” Desjardins said, somehow managing to stifle a laugh. (Maybe he hid it behind his moustache, which has been cultivated specifically to complement his poker face?)

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The PITB Podcast, Episode 29: Playoff Preview and the Common Cold

The Canucks are back in the playoffs and facing an old rival in the Calgary Flames. This year, the playoffs feel wide open, with no prohibitive favourite to win the Stanley Cup, giving Canucks fans hope that they can defy the odds and go on a long playoff run.

In order to do so, they’ll have to get past the Flames in the first round. Daniel and Harrison preview that series, but also discuss the Canucks’ final game of the regular season, a high-scoring, pre-season-like affair that made it pretty clear that Ryan Miller won’t be starting in the playoffs.

They also touch on the rest of the NHL, making their picks for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, as well as the Stanley Cup Final, and take issue with Tim Murray firing Ted Nolan in Buffalo.

Before all that, they talk about the common cold, because Daniel has one. What’s your least favourite cold symptom?

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What do advanced statistics say about the Canucks and Flames first round matchup?

Advanced statistics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; many hockey fans prefer beer or coffee, for instance. I mean, you could steep tea in beer or coffee — and people do — but that seems pretty gross to me. And, for some fans, mixing in advanced statistics into their hockey is just as gross.

For others, however, advanced statistics impart an intriguing new flavour to their enjoyment of hockey. I find their most important contribution is providing perspective — a dose of realism to keep you from getting too high or too low during the roller coaster of the season — but they’re also useful for predictions.

There’s a reason why believers in advanced statistics weren’t surprised when the 8th-seed Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012: their underlying possession statistics pegged them as one of the best teams in the league. They’re not perfect, however, as the Kings were once again one of the best possession teams in the NHL, but missed the playoffs largely because they were 3-15 in overtime and the shootout, the worst post-regulation record in the league. Advanced statistics can’t really account for something like that.

With that caveat in mind, let’s look at what advanced statistics have to say about the Canucks’ first round matchup with the Calgary Flames.

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Spitballin’ on trolling the Flames, the real MVPs, and the crap mantle

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.

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Stick in Link: Canucks-Flames trash talk; Chris Higgins begins fatherhood

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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Really Big Numbers: Regular season wrap-up and playoff preview

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.

In this very special episode, it’s Really Big Numbers, breaking down some of the biggest numbers of the regular season

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The Paper Feature: Please remember that playoff hockey is a wholly different thing

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but I have it on very good authority that the NHL will be shutting down 14 of its 30 teams, in advance of something called “the playoffs”.

My understanding is that the playoffs are like the NHL regular-season, except a great deal more serious. And to show how much more serious things are, the league will split nearly in half, losing all the teams the NHL felt just weren’t taking the game seriously enough. Frivolous teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, who have shown little interest in winning this season? They’re out.

But the Canucks are in. Thanks to a newfound commitment to point accrual under the leadership of Jim Benning, Willie Desjardins, and Trevor Linden, Vancouver has made the cut. Next week, they’ll begin their campaign to win the Stanley Cup, or, at the very least, win one playoff game, since the last time they did that was April 18, 2012.

2012 was a long time ago, and even longer ago if we’re talking about the film of the same name, which was released in 2009. But we’re not. I’m not sure why I brought it up. In any case, with such a big gap between playoff action, my concern is that Vancouver hockey fans may not remember what to do when they next see it. And to that end, here’s a quick playoff primer.

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Game of the Week: Game 1 vs the Calgary Flames

The Vancouver Canucks just played 82 games of regular season hockey and Canucks fans can’t take it anymore. Fortunately, then, the game of the week isn’t a regular season hockey game. The Canucks will be kicking off the post-season with game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at Rogers Arena. Everything has been leading to this point.

The two teams are remarkably evenly matched, splitting the season series at two games apiece, with all four games decided by one goal, notwithstanding Henrik Sedins’s empty net goal in their first meeting of the season. Their win-loss records are nearly identical. The Canucks are the better possession team, but the Flames have team speed and finishers galore.

There’s history, of course, between the two teams, as they have met in the postseason six times before. The last three series between these teams were decided in overtime of game seven. Four of the six times they’ve met, the winner of the series has gone on to appear in the Stanley Cup Final.

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Here’s that entire, incredible Sedin shift from Saturday night [VIDEO]

Once in a great while, you may hear a Canucks fan refer to “the shift”. It’s a piece of typically Vancouver-y hockey lore, starring Daniel and Henrik Sedin in an offensive zone shift so dominant that it earned a place in our memories despite resulting in nothing. (Come to think of it, a lot of our stories are like that.)

But here’s the problem with “the shift”: even though Canucks fans talk about it, no one really remembers which one it was. The Sedins have been at this awhile. There are many shifts that qualify by now, so much so that, if you mention “the shift” in the presence of two Canucks fans, they’ll both go moony at the thought of it, but there’s no guarantee they’ll both picture the same shift.

Until Saturday night, when Daniel and Henrik Sedin staged “the shift” for the umpteenth time. But they outdid themselves with this one, spending 70 dismantling the Edmonton Oilers over and over and over. It’s amazing, and I submit that, from this day forward, this is “the shift”.

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NHL releases playoff schedule: Canucks-Flames begins Wednesday at Rogers Arena

The NHL wasted no time in transitioning to the playoffs. Mere moments after Alex Edler’s overtime winner put a bow on the regular season, the league released has its first round postseason schedule, and wouldn’t you know it — the Canucks are on it.

As was expected the moment Vancouver clinched home ice, the Canucks will open their bid for the Stanley Cup on Wednesday. There really weren’t any other options. Ariana Grande has the place Thursday night, and you don’t mess with Ariana Grande. She was on Sam & Cat. Here’s the full schedule:

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 6, Oilers 5 (OT)

Saturday night’s Canucks season finale had a chance to mean something. Coming into the day, the Canucks had already clinched a playoff berth, and they even had a first-round opponent lined up, but home ice advantage was still up for grabs. Unfortunately, by the time 7pm Pacific rolled around, everything had already been settled, rendering the tilt with the Oilers completely meaningless.

But that’s okay. It made for a poetic close to the Canucks’ 2014-15 season, as the club ended the campaign the same way they opened it: by scoring a bunch of goals on the Edmonton Oilers. I’ll admit it was a little freaky, as I thought, for a moment, that someone had accidentally reset the Canucks’ season and we were back at game 1, especially when I realized Ryan Miller was back in the net, but my friends were able to calm me down and convince me we were in the present as I watched this game.

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Our 15 favourite GIFs of the Canucks regular season

The Vancouver Canucks will play their 82nd game of the regular season Saturday night, signalling the end of the 2014-15 regular season. But wait! There’s more! Turns out this one’s a two-parter, as the Canucks have gained entry in the 2015 NHL playoffs, and will kick off the second season on either Thursday or Wednesday of next week, either at home or in Calgary.

Naturally, most people are looking ahead. After all, the Canucks could soon win their first playoff game since 2012, and their first playoff round since 2011. The future is where it’s at. But let’s not be too hasty to relegate this regular-season to the annals of history, especially since it was such a great year for GIFs.

Admittedly, we didn’t get anything up there with “Sedins in Sync” or “Jarkko Ruutu, Huge Jerk”, but there were still plenty of great, loopable moments for the Canucks. Before we turn our attention to the playoffs, let’s look back. Here are our 15 favourite GIFs of the Canucks’ regular season.

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Conspiracy Watch: Did the NHL just give the Calgary Flames a playoff spot?

Conspiracy Watch is the official PITB home for the tinfoil-hatters, a large demographic in Vancouver that deserves to have its voice heard. Every Friday, Kevin Vanstone will espouse and catalog insane conspiracy theories no one else will validate, probably because they’re too true.

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Canucks won their first playoff series by sweeping the Flames, 33 years ago today

It’s amazing how much has fallen into place for the Canucks this season. Sure, the team is vastly improved from last year’s disaster, but that’s hardly the only reason they find themselves in a position to clinch home ice advantage in the first round of the NHL postseason. The Pacific Division going from Marlon Brando tough to Marlon Brando soft played a role as well.

That was best demonstrated Thursday night, as the Canucks walloped the hapless Arizona Coyotes while, one province East, the Calgary Flames were eliminating the Los Angeles Kings from playoff contention and guaranteeing a playoff matchup with Vancouver in the process.

Let’s be honest: that’s actually pretty ridiculous. The Coyotes weren’t supposed to be this terrible. Neither were the Kings. Or the Sharks, for that matter. All three of these teams were supposed to finish ahead of the Flames this season, but they did not, and the Canucks get their ideal first-round playoff opponent (although, in fairness, so do the Flames) as a result.

That’s a good sign for the Canucks. And so is this little nugget: today, April 10, the day after the Flames/Canucks series became official, is the 33rd anniversary of the Canucks’ first playoff series win in franchise history: a sweep of the Calgary Flames.

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Real Good Tweets, starring @jocelynaspa’s perfect Oilers tweet

You folks made some good tweets last week. Some real good tweets.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks 5, Coyotes 0

Let’s face it: with the Canucks clinching a playoff berth on Tuesday, this game just didn’t feel all that important. At most, home ice advantage in the playoffs was on the line, which just doesn’t tie up your innards as much as the playoffs themselves being on the line.

What was happening elsewhere in the league made this game recede even further. Over in the Eastern Conference, Roberto Luongo and the Panthers upset the Bruins, while the Senators shutout the Presidents Trophy-winning Rangers, who were resting players for the postseason. That means the Bruins are at risk of missing the playoffs, which I wouldn’t mind one bit.

More importantly, here in the Western Conference, the Kings played the Flames for their playoff lives. The game took place at the same time, more or less, as the Canucks game and provided enough innards-tying for both games. The Flames were up 2-0 heading into the third, but the Kings pulled within one in short order, then pressed hard for the equalizer, firing 14 shots on net in the third period. They couldn’t do it. The Kings are dead and the Canucks will face the Flames in the first round of the playoffs.

I had one eye on the out-of-town scoreboard as I watched this game.

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Big Numbers: Dorsett and Sbisa by the numbers; balanced scoring equals playoff payoff

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.

Statistics are gathered from NHL.com, War-on-Ice.com, Puckalytics.com, HockeyAnalysis.com, BehindtheNet.ca, and elsewhere.

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Stick in Link: Canucks in the playoffs; Radim Vrbata, elite goal-scorer

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 every Tuesday and Thursday. 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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Overpayments to Sbisa, Dorsett are enough to make one distrustful of entire Canucks’ front office

It’s possible that the contract extensions announced Wednesday for winger Derek Dorsett and defender Luca Sbisa will work out for the Canucks. Heck, they could be deemed as bargains before they even kick in. Imagine a long playoff run, maybe even a successful one, that ends with the Canucks hoisting the Stanley Cup, and role players like Dorsett and Sbisa hailed for their clutch, yeomanly work during the Canucks’ march to a title.

Or maybe it takes a little longer, until sometime next season, for instance. Maybe the 28-year-old Dorsett is a late bloomer with a lot more to give the Canucks. Maybe he really is on the verge of becoming the all-situations player Willie Desjardins — and, as we discovered with his deal, Jim Benning and Trevor Linden — think he is. Maybe Luca Sbisa, too, is about to put it all together and spend his next few seasons as a relatively unassailed member of the Canucks’ top four.

It’s not impossible. But one thing we know for sure is that, in order for Sbisa’s new three-year, $10.8M deal and Dorsett’s four-year, $10.6M deal to ever be seen as anything other than ill-advised, foolish, wasteful contracts, Dorsett and Sbisa are going to have to get better than they currently are.

At the time of this writing, these are bad deals, alarming overpayments that deserve a facepalm at the very least, an apology to Flames fans for mocking the Deryk Engelland signing at the very most, and, somewhere in the middle, maybe even a complete reassessment of the current regime’s ability to run the ship anywhere but aground. Which is amazing, since it comes the day after they clinched an unlikely playoff spot.

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Canucks sign Sbisa and Dorsett to terrible three and four-year extensions

When Jim Benning re-signed Chris Tanev to a long-term extension, the praise was unanimous. Everyone likes Tanev, from the fanciest of fancy statters to those who decry advanced statistics as ruining the game. Tanev’s quiet, calm game both looks good on the ice and translates to his underlying numbers. He’s a player everyone can love.

Today, Benning gave out contract extensions to Luca Sbisa and Derek Dorsett. The acclaim won’t be anywhere near as universal.

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Spitballin’ on the Canucks’ two-headed monster and their fresh new strategy of getting points

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.

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Who should win the Canucks’ year-end awards?

The Canucks have two games yet to play this regular season, and while a playoff berth has already been clinched, there are still reasons to watch them: love of the game, for one thing. But if that’s not enough for you, there’s the return of Ryan Miller, the quest for home-ice advantage in Round 1, and, of course, the Canucks’ year-end awards ceremony.

Who will take home the Cyclone Taylor (MVP), Babe Pratt (Best Defenceman), Pavel Bure (Most Exciting Player), and Fred J. Hume (Unsung Hero) trophies? Now, this is a question that The Vancouver Sun claims has already been asked and answered by their hockey writers. But we know that’s garbage, since we’re Sun hockey writers and no one frickin’ asked us. Such disrespect.

It’s a shame, too, since we would have brought a little sense to the table. The Sun’s trio of Canuck writers — Iain MacIntyre, Elliott Pap, and Brad Ziemer — all picked Radim Vrbata as their MVP, and we suspect the fans are about to do the same. Unless we can help it. Everybody is wrong. Same for those trumpeting Jannik Hansen as unsung hero. No. Bad. At this point, Hansen has been sung about as often as Stagger Lee.

Here are the correct picks for the Canucks’ year-end awards.

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Canucks clinch a playoff spot with Kings’ loss to Oilers

Just one year after a campaign so disastrous it cost the Canucks their 474-game sellout streak, got a coach fired after just one season (not to mention his President and General Manager), and had most people, including the pundits, writing Vancouver off for this season and, often, the next few as well, the Vancouver Canucks are back in the dance.

The Canucks received their all-important X on Tuesday night, when the Edmonton Oilers proved you can’t spell “playoff spoilers” without “Oilers”, knocking off the Los Angeles Kings in regulation by a score of 4-2. With that, the Kings’ ceiling becomes 97 points, which is, coincidentally, the Canucks’ current number of points. But the Canucks hold the all-important first tiebreaker — regulation and overtime wins — and they will continue to do so even if the Kings win out, so it’s over. The Kings may still get in, but they’re not getting ahead of the Canucks.

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The PITB Podcast, Episode 28: Dethroning Kings and Pitch Perfect

The Canucks defeated the Kings in a crucial game on Monday night, potentially leaving the defending Stanley Cup Champions outside of the playoffs. It was close and hard-fought, proving that the Canucks can compete with the Kings if they do end up meeting in the first round.

We break down the game, including Daniel Sedin’s gametying goal off an incredible pass by Henrik Sedin and their performance in general. We also talk about the surprising Yannick Weber, who hasn’t received the praise he’s due for how well he’s played. Then we get into the implications for the playoff picture, with the Flames and Kings playing what may be a deciding game on Thursday, and talk about the goaltending situation, with Eddie Lack playing great hockey and Ryan Miller trying to get back in time for the playoffs.

We also find time to talk about Furious 7, Lethal Weapon, Kenan Thompson, and Kyle Wellwood. Before all that, however, we talk about the movie Pitch Perfect for basically no reason whatsoever.

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