Pass it to Comics: Luongo and Thomas, friends for a season

Pass it to Comics is a collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra, whose Tumblr page, Blue Soup, is a must-follow for any Canuck fan with an appreciation for quirk. Today, we remember a great moment in hockey history.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Calgary Flames, March 8, 2014

The last time the Canucks played the Flames, the game was marred by a linebrawl off the opening faceoff, a crazed John Tortorella attempting to bull rush his way into the Flames locker room during the first intermission, and a total of 188 penalty minutes.

For a moment, it looked like this game might start the same way, as Tom Sestito and Brian McGrattan lined up opposite each other for the opening faceoff and had words. Fortunately, those words appeared to be, “Good day to you, sir” and “God be with ye,” because the two players separated and did a novel thing: they played hockey. Imagine that.

I watched hockey players playing hockey when I watched this game.

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The Prospector: Nicklas Jensen, Alexandre Grenier, Dane Fox, and Cole Cassels

The Canucks have just 5 wins in 2014, but even as they were going on a massive losing streak heading into the Olympic break, they were still easily in the playoff picture. Sure, they were on the bubble, but all they needed was to come back from the break rejuvenated and ready to make a strong push to end the season and they were in.

Instead, the Canucks won one game, lost the next in the shootout, then dropped three straight in regulation, including losses to Phoenix and Dallas, both teams battling for the final wild card spot in the West. They’ve gone from being one point out of the playoffs to being four points out and in position for a top-ten pick at the 2014 entry draft.

It isn’t pretty and it has plenty of fans giving up on the current season and looking to the future. While we at PITB aren’t writing anything off just yet, we’re still going to take a look at that future, mainly because it’s nice to be positive about something related to the Canucks once in a while.

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Zack Kassian gets three-game break from having to play for the Canucks

When Zack Kassian is on his game, you can see the potential to be the power forward that Mike Gillis was banking on when he traded Cody Hodgson to get him. He uses his vision and skill to dish the puck, his quick wristshot to pick corners, and his big body to protect the puck and create space.

Here’s the problem: he’s not on his game very often. And sometimes, when he’s really off his game, he uses his big body in a far less intelligent way. That was the case on Thursday, when he hit Brendan Dillon square in the numbers, sending him face first into the boards in front of the Canucks bench. It was an ugly, stupid, entirely unnecessary hit. He definitely deserved to be punished.

That’s why it’s frustrating that the NHL chose to reward Kassian instead, allowing him to take a three-game vacation from having to play for John Tortorella and his frustrating, goal-starved Canucks. This is supposed to be a deterrent?

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Here are some other cool beards Mike Gillis should try

Mike Gillis is going through some things right now. He has a weird new beard.

The Canucks’ GM claims he grew it for “solidarity”, but if so, one can only assume he means solidarity between his chin and his neck. His new beard is something else. It has the look of a goatee, sure, but a goatee that’s grown sentient and then opted to grow a sub-beard all on its own. One wonders if he even has control of the hair. Did he grow it with peanut butter solution?

Gillis’s beard has drawn mockery from the Vancouver fanbase, and at this point, it seems clear that he needs help — which is where we come in. “The Gillis” may not catch on as a beard style, but there are plenty of other styles Gillis might be wise to try on next. Here’s a taste of what he’d look like with each

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Dallas Stars, March 6, 2014

John Tortorella has a 5-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

I watched this game.

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Watch Roberto Luongo tributes with us and laugh, and cry [VIDEO]

This week saw the end of an era. After an incredible run in Vancouver, creating memories that would last a lifetime, and staking a claim to the ring of honour, at the very least; after a big-time trade that saw the Canucks bid farewell to a power forward in the prime of his career to bring in an player that signalled the beginning of a new era, the Canucks officially closed the book on that era Wednesday when they parted with Raphael Diaz.

It’s tough to fully comprehend.

Also Roberto Luongo was traded. People are feeling pretty emotional about it.

It’s amazing to think that, not that long ago, the fanbase wanted him gone. (Remember this sign? Remember this window display?) But things have changed since then. Luongo got good at Twitter, the Canucks got bad at hockey, and suddenly, the paradigm shifted. Now he’s in Florida, and he’ll be missed.

We paid our tribute to Luongo with the Elton John-inspired “Goalie in the Wind”, but we were hardly the only ones. Let’s take a look at a few of the other fan tributes that hit Youtube in the wake of the Roberto Luongo trade.

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Stick in Link: Reactions on a quiet day; Eddie Lack, trade deadline winner

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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The Week Ahead: Big showdown with Stars, and some very winnable games

Every Wednesday we take a look at The Week Ahead to see what storylines we’ll be following, because Wednesday is a day meant for looking ahead to the future. Around here we call Wednesday “Future Day” and we all wear silver jumpsuits and big bubble space helmets. Doesn’t everybody do that?

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No confidence in Canucks’ front-office, ownership after idle trade deadline

Coming into Wednesday’s trade deadline, the Canucks could have done just about anything and it wouldn’t have surprised us. They were “aggressively listening” to offers for both Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler, a process we imagine involves an ear trumpet, at the very least. Roberto Luongo had been moved the day before, proving, as the philosopher Kevin Garnett once shouted, anything is possible.

With the team plummeting out of contention, it seemed as though Mike Gillis and co. were on the cusp of blowing it up in the traditional sense — an oft-talked about course of action in hockey, but one that rarely ever happens.

It didn’t happen Wednesday either. The team’s lone move on Wednesday: closing the book on Raphael Diaz’s short tour of duty in Vancouver by shipping him to Alain Vigneault’s Rangers for a fifth-round pick.

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Recapping the 2014 Trade Deadline

This day was supposed to go very differently for the Canucks. This was supposed to be the day the Canucks made a statement about their plans for the future. This was the day Ryan Kesler was supposed to get traded.

Don’t get me wrong: not everyone in the Canucks fanbase is going to be upset that Kesler is sticking around through the rest of the season. Apparently Jay Feaster thinks the Canucks should have traded Kesler, which, more than anything else, makes me think it was the right decision to hang onto him.

But with the Canucks’ season crashing and burning all around them, this seemed like the ideal time to admit defeat.

It didn’t happen.

Did you miss it not happening? Then PITB is here to help. We liveblogged the entire trade deadline from start to finish and now it acts as the perfect recap. For best results, start from the bottom. Otherwise, you’ll be confused by all the players somehow getting traded to their original teams.

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New Van Fan, season 2: Trade Deadline 2014

It’s trade deadline 2014, and this one’s a little different than we’re used to. In recent years, the Canucks have been looking to add at the deadline, to pad an already dangerous roster and hopefully patch any holes and leave the team prepared for a lengthy playoff run.

This time around, that’s not on the table. Instead, after a disastrous season the Canucks are looking to “re-tool”, in the words of Mike Gillis, with Roberto Luongo already gone, and the likes of Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler on the block.

But considering the events of this season, or the fact that Gillis was the architect of them, fans aren’t all that confident that he’s the guy to make these moves and chart the Canucks’ course for the future. Among those fans: Dan and Andreas, the stars of our favourite webseries, “New Van Fan”. But rather than sit around and fret, the two fans have a drafted a letter to Gillis, just to make sure their best interests are kept in mind. It is, as with everyone else they do, quite funny:

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The Paper Feature: 10 crazy things the Canucks might do at the trade deadline

Today is the trade deadline and, for the first time in a long while, we might see some major deals in Vancouver. Not the awesome kind, mind you.

While the Canucks certainly still have a chance to make the playoffs, when you add Daniel Sedin’s injury in the Heritage Classic to the team’s goalscoring woes, things look awfully bleak. Thus, it would be perfectly understandable if the Canucks cut their losses and became big sellers at the deadline, retooling and rebuilding towards the future.

In that light, Ryan Kesler’s rumoured trade request is a blessing in disguise, giving Mike Gillis a perfect opportunity to break up the core of this team without becoming the villain in the same way Mike Keenan did when he traded Trevor Linden.

Kesler getting traded wouldn’t be the only crazy thing that could occur at the deadline, however, as the Canucks are in position to make major changes and set the team up for the future. It’s time for Mike Gillis to go whole-hog. Now is not the time to go half-hog, Gillis, or even three-quarter-hog.

Here are 10 crazy things we could see today, with the likelihood of each rated out of 5 Bob McKenzies.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Phoenix Coyotes, March 4, 2014

Let’s be honest: nothing the Canucks did tonight was going to overshadow the events of this afternoon. John Tortorella could have charged into the visiting team’s dressing room, the press box, and two concession booths during this game and it still wouldn’t have done a damn thing to change the front page of tomorrow’s papers. Tuesday was all about the Roberto Luongo trade.

Knowing this, the Canucks didn’t even try to compete with the main story. They played this game like they knew it was going to be a sidebar. Like Frank MacKey waiting out an interview, they sat patiently, counting down the minutes. Occasionally, someone had to hop on the ice, of course, but for the most part, this was as perfunctory as an Adam Sandler movie script. Like the Canucks who played in it, I watched this game.

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Join us in saying goodbye to Roberto Luongo with ‘Goalie in the wind’ [VIDEO]

Welp. Roberto Luongo is gone. It’s a pretty big shock. Granted, I’ve been speculating on this for a little while now. And that god I published that post earlier today, instead of scheduling it for 2pm like I had originally planned. But it’s still weird to think that the Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver is over.

Why, just last summer, we wrote “Big Old Goal”, singing Roberto Luongo back to Vancouver after the shocking events of the 2013 trade deadline forced him to stay. And now we’re saying goodbye to him.

Seems to me that deserves a song as well. So I made one. Here’s “Goalie in the Wind”.

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Roberto Luongo traded to Panthers, where he’ll join best bud Tim Thomas

This trade deadline wasn’t supposed to be about Roberto Luongo for the Canucks. That was last trade deadline. Have we gone back in time? If we did, let us all take a lesson from Back to the Future and stay away from our moms.

No one saw this coming. Well, except us. (We gloat because this rarely happens.) But other than us, no one saw this coming. Long after it seemed like Luongo was stuck in Vancouver for good, he was finally traded to where he wanted to go all along: Florida. He’ll join none other than Tim Thomas in net, forming the odd couple of goaltending tandems.

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Eddie Lack favourites haters on Twitter, continues to be the best

Eddie Lack got a lot of undeserved flak on Sunday afternoon during the Heritage Classic, bearing the brunt of fan outrage over John Tortorella’s decision to start him over Roberto Luongo. Sure, the jeers and boos weren’t really meant for him, but they were still directed at him, which likely feels about the same.

Lack handled the situation with his usual aplomb on Twitter, first taking a humorously passive-aggressive approach, then poking fun at himself. But that was just the public side of his Twitter persona. Taking a look at his favourites reveals some hidden hilarity.

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Trade Ryan Kesler right now, if you really care about us

If Mike Gillis’s plan for this season was to mentally prepare the local fanbase for Ryan Kesler to get flipped for a big package at the trade deadline, he’s a flipping genius.

(It probably wasn’t his plan. Just saying, it’s really worked out that way.)

If you had floated the idea of Kesler exiting Vancouver back in early October, you’d have been asked to leave instead. Kesler was, and still is, the heart of the Canucks, the player arguably most important to their pursuit of another Stanley Cup Final berth.

But that dream is dead now, and if the Canucks want to win, they’ll tear their heart out immediately.

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Stick in Link: Canucks acquire Costello, Heritage Classic fallout, and Kesler rumours

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 [...]

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Luongo, Lack cool things down as Luongo rumours heat back up

Considering what went down at the Heritage Classic, with the spotlight suddenly falling back on Roberto Luongo and his frayed relationship with this Canucks team, one would have been forgiven for thinking the goaltender had reached his breaking point — that he was about to go dark.

The fact that he wore a black tuque didn’t help anything at all. Was he in mourning? Was this the first sign of a full-on transformation into dark period Luongo, the birth of Roberto Luongoth?

Apparently not. He refused to speak on Sunday, but on Monday, Luongo seemed to have found the bright side of not playing in the Heritage Classic: there were no netcam shots of his backside in those cream-coloured pants.

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Big Numbers: Canucks don’t score much; could Kesler make history?

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.

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Daniel Sedin out, Darren Archibald up, as Canucks silly season continues

The Canucks lost far more than just a game on Sunday afternoon.

They lost the drama-free crease that’s been the lone bright spot in this season. They lost ground in the wild card race, giving up a game-in-hand to the Dallas Stars, who are tied with them at 66 points but have played three fewer games. They lost any shot at people looking on the Millionaires’ jerseys with fondness, after their second straight lackluster performance in the retro duds. And they lost the last ounce of optimism to which this fanbase was clutching, both because of all the aforementioned losses, and because of the one I haven’t mentioned yet.

The club also lost Daniel Sedin to a leg injury.

The winger injured his left leg during the second period of the Heritage Classic, and after staying down quite a bit, hobbled to the bench, and then the locker room. He did not return.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Ottawa Senators, March 2, 2014

Decked out in their Millionaires gear, the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday were supposed to be evocative of the last team to bring the Stanley Cup to the city a little over 99 years ago. It didn’t happen. With a completely avoidable goaltending controversy overshadowing everything (including, amazingly, their own marquee event), the Canucks had less in common with their century-old forerunners than they did last year’s team.

Honestly, it was incredible. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d seen this all before. There was a glitch in the Matrix when I watched this game.

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Eddie Lack starts Heritage Classic, as Canucks dust off the ol’ goaltending controversy

It’s been a weird year. Between John Tortorella’s Punch-Out, Alex Burrows’ goalless streak, the slumping Sedins, and the general decline of the Canucks, which has been so sharp Tom Sestito’s begun to look like a contributor, the patience of Canucks’ fans has been thoroughly tested.

And yet, through it all, we’ve been able to rest on one simple and wonderful thing: despite everything, at least there hasn’t been a goaltending controversy. It took some doing, but with Roberto Luongo finally reporting to camp, a smile on his face, Cory Schneider elsewhere, and new backup Eddie Lack happily, quietly, paying deference to his elder, all has been quiet in the Canucks crease.

Until this bolt from the blue paint.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Minnesota Wild, February 28, 2014

If you need proof that judging a goaltender by their wins and losses is incredibly stupid, you just have to look at Eddie Lack this season. He has a mediocre 9-8-4 record after this shootout loss to the Wild, but has a .925 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average. Over his last eight starts, he’s allowed more than one goal just twice, but has just two wins.

The Canucks have given Lack less support than the parents of an Art major. By my calculations, Lack should have about 734 wins by now. I think there might be something wrong with my calculator, actually. There’s also something wrong with me, because I watched this game.

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