Stick in Link: Bo Horvat prepares for Memorial Cup, World Championship update

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 Wednesday during the offseason. 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.)

Continue Reading —›
Will Alain Vigneault drive Dan Bylsma right into Canucks’ open arms?

There’s a lot on the line in Tuesday night’s Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers: a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals; questions about Pittsburgh’s core, which is 4-5 in playoff series since their 2009 Stanley Cup, and now a loss away from a 3-1 collapse; Sidney Crosby’s reputation as a game-breaker, which has taken a hit over these playoffs, what with all the games he hasn’t broken.

And, most importantly, for our purposes here in Vancouver, Dan Bylsma’s job. If the Rangers win, Bylsma more than likely hits the open market.

He is, and he would. And wouldn’t you know it, the Vancouver Canucks are in the market for a coach.

Continue Reading —›
Kevin Bieksa hijacks interview with Nathan MacKinnon, is hilarious

It has been well-documented here on PITB that Kevin Bieksa is a funny man. We collected his twenty best quotes during our (ultimately successful) Twitter Needs Juice campaign. Once on Twitter, he owned the medium, photoshopping a disturbing image of a naked Alex Burrows and riffing with Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo.

He dropped the phrase “milk hot dogs” seamlessly into an interview to win a bet. He throws gloves and punts helmets. He has, multiple times, called out the hosts at the Jeff O’Neill show for their dumb questions in his interviews with them.

Then there was the highlight of his comedy career: doing an entire interview with Mike Dunsmore of Fox Sports while pretending to be Ryan Kesler.

Now that he’s the captain of Team Canada at the World Championships, don’t expect him to suddenly turn serious. During his first practice as captain, he started off leading stretches with snow angels. Then, before the tournament started, he butted in on an interview with 18-year-old wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon, turning it from a run-of-the-mill interview into something way more awkward and hilarious.

Continue Reading —›
Bieksa, Burrows, and Garrison come up big as Canada bounces back

There was plenty of consternation to go around on Friday when France stunned Canada in the tournament opener, handing them a 3-2 shootout loss. There’s no getting around it: Canada played poorly, Cristobal Huet did not, and anything can happen once a game gets to the shootout.

You’re not supposed to lose to France. You’re supposed to attack them quickly, occupy their defensive zone, and wait for them to surrender. Yep, jokes about France surrendering. That’s what you get on the weekend.

France looked like a team, while Canada just looked like a collection of players, with many quick to point fingers at the team’s leadership, headed by newly-minted captain Kevin Bieksa. It’s not entirely fair — with 12 players under 25, some early nerves were inevitable — but Bieksa, along with fellow Canucks Jason Garrison and Alex Burrows, are among the few veterans on the team and will bear the brunt of responsibility for any failures.

It also means they’ll take a lot of responsibility for any victories, and all three played a major role in Canada’s bounceback victory over Slovakia.

Continue Reading —›
How much is Zack Kassian worth?

The Canucks’ new General Manager is going to be very busy right away. Linden has said that he wants a GM in place by the end of May. That’s just one month before the NHL entry draft, with free agency beginning a few days later.

In addition, the new GM may have to move quickly to hire a replacement for John Tortorella, as the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes are also in the market for a new head coach. On top of all that, the Canucks have ten pending restricted free agents that will either need qualifying offers or new contracts before June 30th.

The Canucks have an interesting group of RFAs, with seven of them playing at least a few games in the NHL last season. The two most important ones are Chris Tanev and Zack Kassian and they both present interesting problems. Tanev is extremely difficult to evaluate, because his contributions don’t generally find their way to the scoresheet, while Kassian’s inconsistency makes it difficult to judge how he will perform going forward.

Let’s tackle the easier issue first: just how much should Zack Kassian make on his next contract?

Continue Reading —›
Kevin Bieksa makes Team Canada debut with first career captaincy

Kevin Bieksa would prefer not to be in Minsk right now.

He’d far rather be in North America, where the NHL postseason is taking place. But the Canucks didn’t earn a ticket to that ride, leaving Bieksa, along with teammates Alex Burrows and Jason Garrison (and former teammate Cody Hodgson — awkward) available to join Team Canada’s squad at the World Championships in Belarus.

Still, as consolation prizes go, this one has been pretty incredible for Bieksa. He didn’t just get a call to represent Team Canada — he got the call for the first time in his pro career. And on Thursday, he also became the first player with no previous international experience to be named Team Canada’s captain.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: GM, coach searches ongoing; Dale Weise is killing it right now

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 Wednesday during the offseason. 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.)

Continue Reading —›
Ten questions about ‘Prehistoric Hockey’, the most insane Canucks video of the year

“Prehistoric Hockey”, an absolutely batcrap insane cartoon in which a Canucks’ blowout at the hands of the Calgary Flames is prevented thanks to the arrival of a hockey-playing dinosaur, has taken the Internet by storm. By storm, I say!

The video is the year-end animation project of a grade 11 student, who posted it to the Canucks subreddit a few days back, and thank goodness, because this thing deserves to be seen. It is, dare I say, a must-watch. What it’s not, however, is a must-understand, because it seems downright impossible to comprehend. All we know is that, if there’s any justice in the world, the kid who made it got an A+++++++++, like Ralphie in The Christmas Story:

Watch and marvel. And then we have some questions.

Continue Reading —›
What type of General Manager should the Canucks hire?

According to the man himself, Trevor Linden will begin interviewing candidates for the Canucks open General Manager position this week. Linden has spent the past month putting his list of potential GMs together and there has been plenty of speculation over who is on that list.

We want to take a different tack, however, and look instead at different types of GMs, just like we did last year when the Canucks were looking to hire a new coach. In hindsight, I think we can agree that all of our suggestions were better than what the Canucks eventually did.

There are a number of directions Linden could go in his search for a new GM and the type of GM that he targets will profoundly affect the direction of the franchise.

Continue Reading —›
Eulogy: Remembering the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche

Congratulations, Colorado, on dragging out the inevitable. As you hang up your sweaters, that appear to have been designed by the world’s most boring 8-year-old, you can look back at your playoff run and feel proud of almost winning a round.

You had your fans high on nostalgia to start the season, with Joe Sakic in charge in the front office and Patrick Roy behind the bench. Rumoured plans to hire Peter Forsberg as head trainer were scuttled when the 40-year-old Swede reported he was training for one more comeback attempt.

Now you’re just high geographically and on legalized marijuana, as nostalgia has gone awry, like adding noses to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s been over a decade since the Avalanche were at all relevant in the NHL, so it’s understandable why you would want to recapture some of that former glory. It almost worked. Instead you became the only division winner to get knocked out in the first round.

You should have known better.

After all, adopting a team slogan like “Why not us?” was just asking for trouble.

Why not us? Oh, there are so many reasons.

Let’s start with the obvious: You’re just not that good.

Continue Reading —›
Unemployed Trotz, still employed McLellan the odds-on favourites for Canucks coaching job

John Tortorella was fired on Thursday, because the Canucks were bad and he was the head coach while they were bad and Trevor Linden had no confidence that he would help make them less bad in the future. I think that sums it up pretty succinctly.

Unsurprisingly, with Tortorella not even metaphorically cold in his metaphorical grave, the speculation over who the Canucks might hire as their next coach began immediately. Never mind that Trevor Linden hasn’t even begun interviewing General Manager candidates: Canucks fans want immediate action on the coaching front.

The battle lines were quickly drawn, with some hoping the recently fired Barry Trotz would find his way to the Pacific Northwest, while others were rooting for the San Jose Sharks to lose in spectacular fashion so that Todd McLellan would get fired and thus be available for the position. Still others cried out for literally anyone but either of these two.

Why, Canucks fans are so passionate about the subject that they might, hypothetically, be willing to put money on the line. Bodog is figuratively betting on people literally betting on it.

Continue Reading —›
John Tortorella is all gone, as Trevor Linden stands alone

On May 1 of last year, the Canucks played their first game of the 2013 postseason. Roberto Luongo was the starting netminder, backed up by Cory Schneider. Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown patrolled the benches. Mike Gillis watched from his suite overhead.

One year later to the day, it’s all gone. Those coaches have long since moved on. No Luongo. No Schneider. No Gillis. No playoffs.

Instead, on May 1 of this year, Trevor Linden sat alone at the podium in the Rogers Arena press room, calmly explaining the decision to relieve John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan of their duties so soon after they arrived that they didn’t even get even a mention in the year-old flashback that opened this piece.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: The amazing Canuckmobile; Tortorella one and done

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.)

Continue Reading —›
John Tortorella fired by the Canucks after one season

Wednesday was an incredibly jam-packed day for sports fans. All three game sevens in the NHL playoffs were intense, with the game between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild particularly crazy. Game five between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets was a nailbiter, with the Raptors giving up a 26-point lead before eking out the win.

Then, just to make things interesting, a slew of new Rob Ford rumours: He’s heading into rehab. There’s a new video of him with a crack pipe. He made extremely crude comments about a political rival. He had a run-in with Justin Bieber. There’s a sex tape.

Really, it was the perfect time to break news that you want to slip under the radar. So, appropriately, news broke. According to Farhan Lalji, the Canucks will fire John Tortorella on Thursday.

Continue Reading —›
Three manufactured controversies to pass the time while there’s no news

It’s been all quiet on the Pacific Northwestern front ever since the Canucks’ season ended, which makes sense, for a number of reasons. Trevor Linden still has a lot of reading to do, for one thing, catching up on the six years he spent away from the game. (Any moment now he’s going to get to 2011, at which point one assumes his love of Boston will dissipate in a hurry.)

For another thing, considering the way the year ended, you can understand why the Canucks might want to lay low for awhile, hold up somewhere safe, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. (How’s that for a slice of fried gold?)

But as good as the Canucks inactivity is for those running the show, it’s much less so for those of us running this blog. There’s nothing to talk about. There’s nothing going on. It’s a nightmare.

Fortunately, in times like these, there’s always plan C. The “C” stands for controversy. Let’s create one, and then talk about it like it matters.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: Jim Benning, GM frontrunner; Zack Kassian plays dodgeball

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.)

Continue Reading —›
Watch Canucks prospect highlights from round three of the OHL playoffs [Video]

There are still two Canucks prospects in the CHL playoffs. Regrettably, neither are high-scoring forwards who provide plenty of fodder for highlight videos. Anton Cederholm made it to the finals of the WHL playoffs with the Portland Winterhawks, while Miles Liberati is in the OHL finals with the North Bay Battalion. The three remaining Canucks [...]

Continue Reading —›
Eddie Lack’s bandaged finger indicates some sort of finger injury [Video]

When Eddie Lack was invited to play for Team Sweden at the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus, he was understandably excited. He called it a “dream come true” on Twitter, which makes sense. Just four years ago, Lack was a backup in the Swedish Elite League (behind his new backup, Jacob Markstrom) and putting on the blue and yellow to represent his country must have seemed like an unreachable fantasy.

Regrettably, it turned nightmarish just a week later when he had to pull out of the tournament due to injury. What injury, you ask? That’s the thing: we don’t know.

Continue Reading —›
Five potential explanations for why John Tortorella hasn’t been fired yet

The Canucks wasted no time in firing Mike Gillis, showing him the door on April 8, one night after the fans in Rogers Arena called for him to go, and three games prior to the end of the season.

But the team has been a lot slower to make a decision on John Tortorella. It’s now been just under two weeks since the season ended, and we’ve heard nothing regarding what most believe will be his dismissal. Why is that? Here are five possible explanations.

Continue Reading —›
What happened to Jannik Hansen?

Along with the overall disaster that was the Canucks’ 2013-14 season, many of the tales of individual disaster have been well-covered. Alex Edler is squarely in the spotlight thanks to his eye-catching league-worst plus/minus, the Sedins’ fall to 40-points forwards has been well-documented, and Alex Burrows’ unexpected goalless slump was one of the biggest stories of the season.

Lost a little in the hubbub was Jannik Hansen. That’s not unusual for the Dane, as he usually flies a little under the radar, winning the Fred J. Hume award as the Canucks’ unsung hero twice in the last three years. This season, however, he was unsung for a legitimate reason: there was nothing to sing about.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: Eriksson set to replace Lack at Worlds; Tortorella still in limbo

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.)

Continue Reading —›
Six Canucks heading to Belarus for Ice Hockey World Championship [Updated]

Getting the call from your home country to play in the World Championship has to be a little bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous honour to play for your country. On the other hand, it means you either missed the playoffs or got eliminated awfully early.

Accordingly, it can be difficult for a player to get excited to suit up for more hockey, having just recently come to grips with the thought of a long off-season. Others may decline the invitation due to lingering injuries that they’re eager to rehab before getting back into training and working out for next season.

Seven Canucks, however, have shaken out the doldrums and disappointment to commit to playing for their various countries: Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Jannik Hansen, Nicklas Jensen, and Eddie Lack.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: Andrew Alberts’ concussion recovery and the search for a new GM

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.)

Continue Reading —›
California teams moving AHL affiliations West; will Canucks be enticed?

Last week, the Calgary Flames made like me in my early twenties and declared that they were done with Abbotsford. After five years in the Fraser Valley, the NHL team announced that they were moving their AHL franchise somewhere else.

On the surface, one might say there were about 4000 problems. That’s the number of empty seats the Abbotsford Enterainment and Sports Centre had on a nightly basis, with the Heat drawing just 3000 fans. But really, the primary issue driving Calgary out had less to do with the people of the city, and more to do with where the city was. As I explained in Friday’s blog post, the Heat were basically on an island. With the closest teams thousands of kilometers away, the Flames prospects found themselves in transit far more often than they found themselves in their bed, or in their home arena, practicing. Turning a kid into a pro takes time, and the lengthy trips took too much of it away.

This is the same issue the Canucks would face if they were to immediately move their prospects to Abbotsford. Sure, the parent club is a bus ride away, but the Comets wouldn’t be playing the parent club. They’d still be playing mostly East Coast teams. It’s so bad that the AHL’s “Western Division” includes three teams from Texas, and one team from North Carolina.

But all that is about to change. According to a report from Mayor’s Manor, the AHL is preparing a landmark shift, with five or six Western teams planning to move their prospects into Western markets:

Continue Reading —›
Watch Canucks prospects put up points in round two of the CHL playoffs [VIDEO]

The Canucks have to be proud of the performance of their prospects in the CHL playoffs. After two rounds, three prospects are still in the top-ten in OHL playoff scoring: Dane Fox, Brendan Gaunce, and Cole Cassels. The Canucks have five prospects still in the playoffs — the aforementioned three forwards and defencemen Miles Liberati and Anton Cederholm.

Bo Horvat’s London Knights regrettably got eliminated by the Guelph Storm, but will still get a chance to play for the Memorial Cup since they are the hosts of the tournament.

Since so few of the CHL playoff games are televised, I compiled a highlight reel for round one two weeks ago and I have done the same for round two, featuring some pretty assists from Brendan Gaunce and an outburst of goals from Cole Cassels.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Continue Reading —›