Friday, April 30, 2010

Vancouver vs. Chicago, Playoff Fan Art! Volume 1

My oh my, have we had a lot of fun with photoshop today. Can you tell it's the day before a big game? It's only been about four hours since I launched PiTB's first ever photoshop contest, but I'm going to be honest with myself: it's not going to happen. PiTB is no Puck Daddy, and the best photoshoppers/hockey fans don't have us on their blogroll. Yet. Our time will come.

In the meantime, however, I've stumbled across something almost as good: playoff fan art from Canucks.com. You see, there is a second battle on the horizon, and it's between Vancouver's fans and Chicago's fans. With a year of context and hatred under our hats, the fan art is out in full force. Let me show you what I mean. Click on all images for larger sizes.

First, there's the photo above. It's just a normal photo, but it was introduced to us by forum member BeExcited, hoping somebody could use it for some excellent photoshopping.


So far, I've seen one entry and it's this one. It turns out Canucks.com is not the place for intense and competitive photoshop contests. Anyhow, BeExcited's photoshop contest conflated with my photoshop contest, and neither really went in any new directions.


It really only led to this. And, as much as I'm happy to see people disseminating my art, I'm not sure this is an improvement. Oh well, I guess it's a little more topical (not the most topical, but definitely moreso). That said, somebody needs to tell this photoshopper about color balance. He could have matched the green in Blanka's skin to Byfuglien's head quite easily. But who has the time for that? Speaking of time...


The best photoshop utilized neither HenKik(TM) nor SpearBuff. But it did inspire the joint effort above, from Pinkyandthebrain and Egatti. See, because the Blackhawks are gay, or something? I think only a few of them were gay, but I get what was intended. Originally, only Patrick Kane was photoshopped in here, but eventually, at the behest of the rest of the forum, a place was found for everybody. From left to right: Hossa, Kane, Dustin "Feather-Ryfuglien" Byfuglien" (no?), Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Ladd. All present and accounted for. Remarkably, the guy Andrew Ladd replaced used to be black. That is seamless.


This one makes me uncomfortable because, um, well, they still look good to me... maybe? No, wait, no, I didn't say that. I see what patsajac is going for, but, well, the less said about this one the better.


And then there's this, by Trevor19Naslund This looks hand-drawn to me and I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm going to assume that the irony of an orca shooting an aboriginal person in the face is lost on the artist. Note, as well, the misuse of the blowhole: see, it's how they breathe, not a valve that releases when they're aroused by murder. It's a killer whale, not a serial killer whale.

This completes the first of what I hope to be many rounds of Vancouver vs. Chicago fan art. Oh, uh, wait, there's also this one, but click at your peril. And, if you think it's maybe a bit optimistic, redstar504 changed it to this, which is just as perilous. *sigh* You should probably just click them.

Anyhow. If you have any more to add, please, drop me a line at passittobulis@gmail.com.

Henrik Sedin "Flying Jump Kick" Photoshop Contest?

That picture of Andrew Alberts and Henrik Sedin is hilarious. The size difference! The fact that Sedin looks like a sprite from Street Fighter IV. As soon as I saw it, I wondered why I'd never seen it before, and knew I had to photoshop it right away. So I did. That is all.

You are invited to do the same. I don't know if our readership is quite ripe enough for a Photoshop contest, but frankly, I don't care, sir. I'll take this to canucks.com if I have to. It must be done. The original pic is linked above. Photoshop your hearts out. What else can Henrik kick?

E-mail your doctored pics to passittobulis@gmail.com.

Can Henrik Sedin Actually Win the Hart?

So the nominees are in, and your three finalists for the Hart trophy are: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Henrik Sedin. I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Whaaaaaaaaaa? What about that East Coast bias?"

Well, as much as I think it's partially a myth--it's no more a bias than the fact that you've never seen a Florida Panthers game--the bias probably wouldn't have factored in much to the naming of the finalists. Let's not pretend that winning the Art Ross doesn't make you an automatic lock for a Hart nomination. I don't feel like pulling up the stats to prove it (I'm a blogger, not a journalist), but I'd be willing to wager that every Art Ross winner in the last decade was also nominated for the Hart. I wouldn't wager a ton, mind you--I'm a coward. Heck, like Andrew Ladd, I laugh at being called a coward. Some people don't mind. I don't. Bender doesn't.

Henrik Sedin is no coward. He was a warrior all season, and he deserves to be the first Canuck in NHL history to take home this prestigious award.

But can Sedin actually win? Yes, he totally can. Ovechkin and Crosby are going to win Harts by the bucketload. This might be the only season this decade where one of them doesn't win the Art Ross. Plus, awards ceremonies always give trophies to one-year wonders and snub legends. Here's some proof. And I'm not saying Henrik's a one-year wonder, but, come on, he very well could be. I personally think he'll win, even though I also personally think Crosby dragged a mediocre team into the playoffs for the third year in a row and deserves it more this year.

One thing I am certain of: Alex Ovechkin won't win it. I know his playoff and Olympic failures shouldn't be counted into his NHL regular-season value, but they will be, because the media are not smart. Frankly, it's a two-horse race between Sedin and Crosby, and its a death race.

Give Us Barabbas! Why Andrew Alberts is the Key

If Alberts can't get it done, Sedin should give him the Tekken 6 flying jump kick, just as this picture depicts.

Brace yourselves, Vancouver: Andrew Alberts is the key to this series.

Don't panic. He can do it. I know that this is the guy that we have ruefully called A Minor for his 23 penalty minutes in the first two games of the LA series. I recognize that this is the guy who was undressed by Jason Spezza in one of the highlights of the year. I am aware that the fans want the unspectacular Aaron Rome, or the equally unspectacular Nolan Baumgartner instead of him. But I stand by my thesis. Andrew Alberts is the key to this series.

Let's get a couple of things straight. First, Alberts is not all bad. He's not even close to as bad as you think he is. In fact, the Canucks are 9-1 when his plus-minus is even or better. If he can limit mistakes, the Canucks tend to win. The guy has a natural size advantage over anybody else on the ice at 6'5", 218. Dustin "Feather-Rufflin'" Byfuglien (it really doesn't work, Skeeter, but I'll keep at it for you) may outweight him by thirty pounds, but considering a good chunk of that is fat, let's call it even. Much bigger than previous and current crease-clearers such as Mitchell, Ohlund, and O'Brien, Alberts has the potential to muscle people out of the crease no Canuck has had since Bryan Allen, maybe. And it'll be expected of him on the penalty kill.

Yes, Andrew Alberts is the key to the penalty kill. Notice that, in the LA series, it improved drastically in games where he wasn't the one in the box. The Kings got one power-play goal in the last two games, and Alberts didn't take a penalty in either one. Towards the end of the series, Alberts did a good job of keeping all-star crease presences like Ryan Smyth at bay without taking a penalty. Since Chicago has about twenty-seven guys who can stand in front of the net, Alberts is more vital than necessary. And consider this: his limitations in the mobility department are effectively nullified on the penalty kill, when he won't be asked to go anywhere at all. Stay by the net, and cross-check Dustin Byfuglien for two minutes. That's all we ask.

If Alberts can do this, his acquisition is a complete win for Mike Gillis. As a sixth defenseman, he likely won't get a ton of minutes 5-on-5. And that's good; Patrick Kane might literally skate between his legs. Let's stop and imagine Hughson calling the play:

Hughson: Kane dangles between Alberts' legs!
Simpson: *snicker*

Hmm. It sounds horrible, any way you think about it. And let's be honest. This entire post was an excuse to make that joke.

Now, even I'd prefer if Kane and Alberts never met but on the PK, like an arranged marriage. While not being nearly as slow as most think he is (Canucks fans think speed is inversely proportional to size), Alberts will still likely get undressed by the much more fleet-of-foot Kane . But, if every time the Canucks take a penalty, AV can throw out a well-rested wrecking ball, and Alberts can do this one job with some success (clear the frakkin' crease), then our chances to win the series improve drastically.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Round Two 2: Round Harder

Jonathan Toews looking a lot like his infamous mural

For the second consecutive year, the Vancouver Canucks are playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Round Two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's time for a sequel!

The typical sequel ramps up everything that was successful in the first movie: bigger action, bigger villains, bigger explosions, and bigger box office returns. How does the second-round sequel of Canucks vs. Blackhawks stack up?

Bigger action?

The Canucks enter the series with the highest goals per game of the playoffs and boast the Art Ross trophy winner (and Hart nominee) in Henrik Sedin and the playoff's leading goalscorer in Mikael Samuelsson. With the ability to score throughout their top three lines highlighted by Steve Bernier's 4 first-round goals, the Canucks have one of the most potent offences in the NHL.

The Blackhawks feature the high-flying Patrick Kane, hard-working Jonathan Toews, and the no-Stanley-Cup-winning Marian Hossa. Top that off with a mobile defense corps and free-wheeling style and there will certainly be plenty of action from Chicago.

The Canucks will look to protect their home turf better than Wolverine did in X-Men 2 and hopefully steal a couple games in Chicago, if only to avoid having to hear "Chelsea Dagger" too often.


Bigger villains?

Dustin "Feather-Rufflin'" Byfuglien (I don't expect that nickname to stick) is the main villain in the minds of Canucks fans and possibly in the mind of Roberto Luongo. With the announcement that Byfuglien will be moving back up to forward for the Hawks-Nucks series, the media is already abuzz with Byfuglien vs. Luongo talk.

From the Chicago side, there is no bigger villain than Alex "André" Burrows (yet another nickname that won't stick). Rest assured, they still haven't forgotten the infamous hair-pulling incident.

On the plus-side, it is extremely unlikely that any familial revelations will come out from either of these villains. And cries of "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" will be kept to a minimum unless Stephane Auger is called upon to ref.


Bigger explosions?

How about the bad blood brewing between Andrew Ladd and Ryan Kesler?It's bound to explode at some point in this series and the potential for a brouhaha is high. If any game in this series turns into a blowout, look out.

Look lots more of these throughout the series, though hopefully without the Luongo face-punching, fish-hooking, and hair-pulling. And, hopefully, no nuclear explosions akin to Terminator 2.


Bigger box-office returns?

There's a reason this series is starting on a Saturday: the CBC knows that this series will be their moneymaker, as the Canucks are one of two Canadian teams left in the playoffs, so they threw their weight around to get a Saturday night game for HNIC.

Combine that with the marketing potential of 5 Olympic medal winners, the storylines mentioned above, and the star status of players like the Sedins, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Roberto Luongo, and you have a (near) Summer Blockbuster.

Will it make over 1 billion dollars like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest?

No.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ruminations on That Chelsea Dagger Video


By now, perhaps you've seen the above video, but if, for some reason, you are religiously opposed to Youtube (in which case, wtf are you doing on the internet?), here's what you need to know: in Chicago, when the Blackhawks score, the arena plays "Chelsea Dagger" by the Fratellis every time. EVERY. TIME.

For many Canucks fans, this is a bone of serious contention. This song assaulted their ears seven times in game six, crushing their playoff dreams. But not mine. I got married last year on May the 9th. Our rehearsal dinner was on May the 7th. We left for our honeymoon immediately after the reception. Since 2001, I've never missed three Canucks games in a row, excepting that week, when I was forced to choose the woman I loved over the twenty-something men I loved almost as much.

All of this is to say that I only heard the song once, in game 3 on May the 5th. Everything after that is a mystery to me, and, suffice it to say, nobody was talking about the Canucks when I got back. I remember watching the ticker on ESPN, the best we could do on the boat, during game six. Every time it would cycle back to the Canucks the score would be different. When the Canucks went up 5-4 in the third, we went down to the cruise ship sports bar, thinking there might be other desperate Vancouver fans zealously watching the ticker, waiting to see a positive final score. But, by the time we got to the sports bar--at the other end of the boat, Kane had scored twice and Toews once. It was horrible. We drowned our sorrows in some really big chicken strips. I can only imagine how much worse to have our feelings of utter disappointment soundtracked by the Fratellis seven times. It was cruel of Global BC to toy with the painful memories of the Canucks during this segment. Werner Herzog knew not to do this (if you saw Grizzly Man you know what I'm talking about). Just goes to show why Herzog's palling around with arctic biologists who discover three new species a day, and Barnes has been showing British Columbians amusing German beer commercials at noon since the day I was born.

Anyway, here's some other stuff I noticed.
  • Shane O'Brien likes to party. Even though the song dredges up his most painful memories, he still can barely resist bustin' out the pistols.
  • Kesler looks like you just played him the Timothy Treadwell death tape (seriously, why is Grizzly Man all I can think of?).
  • It takes Steve Bernier a really long time to realize what song is playing. He's a bit thick, isn't he?
  • And finally, the song is so gut-wrenching for Daniel Sedin that he turns in perhaps the best impression of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man we've ever seen by a Vancouver Canuck. He can barely form a sentence.
I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say, here's hoping that song is a rarity for the rest of this year's playoffs.

Your Canucks Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet: For Americans, East Coasters, Wives, and Fair-Weather Fans

Sedins = identical twins

So you've registered your heart for Vancouver Canucks fandom, and now, for whatever reason, you're ready to temporarily follow this team with gusto and passion. Perhaps you're an American, and, according to the Canadian stereotype, you know absolutely nothing about hockey. Perhaps you're a wife, and your husband's rabid allegiance to the team is suddenly tolerable because the games matter more now. Perhaps you're an older Canucks fan--you still call them the Canuckleheads, you mainly know what Squire Barnes tells you to know--and you can't be bothered to stay current with one of the most consistently good teams in hockey over the past decade.

Your largest problem won't be enjoying the hockey. The Canucks are a lot of fun to watch. They have the best forward line in hockey, one of its best goaltenders, and a ton of character guys who are good, genuine characters. But true Canucks fans are insanely knowledgeable, and you're bound to look ignorant if you show up at your local pub for a game and don't wince for the other guy when he drops the gloves with Rick Rypien. You need to know who that dude is.

I recognize your plight and I mourn for you. It doesn't have to be this way. Here is a handy cheat sheet of player information, things to say to make friends, what not to say, and anecdotes from players' pasts to help mask how new you are to the Canucks.


::::::::::::::: FORWARDS :::::::::::::::

Name: Steve Bernier
About: Bernier wears no. 18 and is what would be classified as a power forward. He hasn't had a very good season, but he always seems to play better in the playoffs. He hits a lot and he screens goalies.
If he touches the puck, you'd better hope it's a rebound and the net is wide open. Better yet, maybe it just bounces off his butt and goes in.
Thing to say: How did he not bury that?!
Never say: This guy would be perfect with the Sedins.


Name: Alex Burrows
About: Burrows wears no. 14 and typically skates with the Sedins. He's a fan favorite because he talks funny, annoys people incessantly, says hilarious things, and has a wicked goal celebration. The media loves him because he went undrafted and worked his way up from the East Coast Hockey League. He once played for the Baton Rouge Kingfish.
If he touches the puck, cross your fingers that it's a shorthanded breakaway, because he's money on those.
Thing to say: Can you believe he led the team in goals? What a story.
Never say: Burrows needs to work harder, I think.

Name: Pavol Demitra
About: Demitra wears no. 38 and is Slovakian. He used to be super good. Try him out on NHL 2001--he's so good you'd think it's a glitch. Sadly, he hasn't played at that level in years, save this winter when he played like that for Slovakia's national team at the Olympics.
If he touches the puck, anything's possible, but usually, nothing happens.
Thing to say: Demitra on the third line. Man, what forward depth this team has. (ignore that he only plays like a third liner anymore)
Never say: I think Demitra would play way, way better if we had gotten Hossa and Gaborik to play with him instead of re-signing the Sedins.

Name: Tanner Glass
About: Glass wears no. 15 and plays sparingly. He was signed out of training camp and has somehow stuck with the team. He overskates the puck, hits a lot, and is generally a good energy guy.
If he touches the puck, it had better be during a fourth line shift. I cannot stress with enough.
Thing to say: Glass brings good energy. He's a good fourth-line guy.
Never say: Put Glass on the third line!


Name: Michael Grabner
About: Grabner was a Canucks' first-round draft pick a few years back and, while many players selected after him have already established themselves as solid NHLers, this is Grabner's first season outside the farm team. He's as fast as Mason Raymond, not as strong, and not as experienced.
If he touches the puck, he might dazzle you with it. Probably, though, he'll skate down the wing and wrist it into the goalie's crest.
Thing to say: Baby banana-grabner!
Never say: Man, we should've drafted Milan Lucic.

Name: Jannik Hansen
About: Hansen wears no. 36 and plays the wing. He bounces around from line to line and is generally a good temporary fit anywhere. The jury's still out on whether he's a permanent NHLer , but he always seems to make the team out of training camp. He's got good speed, a good shot, and he tends to go to the right places, but sometimes, he's completely invisible. He's not quite gritty enough to have a spot as an energy guy, but he doesn't quite have the skill to be a consistent scorer. That said, he's got a little of both, and if he ever put it all together, he'd be money.
If he touches the puck it's a crapshoot. Sometimes, this guy is lights out. Other times, you wonder why he's in the lineup. Hansen has moved from the fourth line to the first line and back in the same game before.
Thing to say: Hansen's got big-league skill, if only his hands could catch up.
Never say: Hansen should fight that guy.

Name: Ryan Johnson
About: Johnson wears no. 10 and is a fourth-line center. He's got good speed, he's a veteran, and he's the star of the penalty kill. He wins faceoffs and he blocks shots. That's literally all he does. It's no wonder, then, that he's always injured, but he'll give you a good string of games before his injury swells up to the point where he can't play through it. He played all year last year with this. Gross.
If he touches the puck, it just shattered a bone in his leg. But don't worry, he'll play through it.
Thing to say: Gosh, that looked like it hurt.
Never say: If he didn't try to block everything, maybe he'd get hurt less.

Name: Ryan Kesler
About: Kesler wears no. 17 and is a fan favorite because of how hard he checks. He often gets the assignments of checking the other team's top player, and has seen a lot of success with that. Kesler takes the game very seriously, and will do anything to win, including making enemies of his friends. You might remember him from the Olympics, when he dissed and mocked Roberto Luongo and slagged the country he lives in just to win. His European teammates back home were rooting for Canada because they didn't want to have to deal with a Kesler that won gold. He's kind of a prick, but he's our prick. That's right. Don't let the other Ryan confuse you; Kesler is johnson of this city. Here's a useful tidbit: people will compare him to Jonathan Toews in the Chicago-Vancouver series, but Kesler had more points, was nominated for a Selke, and was just as instrumental in his team's success in the Olympics. The pundits will say Toews; it's a wash.
If he touches the puck, let's hope it's in the high slot on a powerplay. He scores goals in bunches from there.
Thing to say: Kesler wants it more than anybody on the ice.
Never say: This guy hates Canada. I don't want him on my team!

Name: Mason Raymond
About: Raymond wears no. 21 and is a top-six winger. He's lightning-fast, maybe the fastest in the league. He's got a good wrist shot, too. He's got a lot of skill and potential, but he needs his head to catch up with his feet.
If he touches the puck, he'll probably do a lap around the offensive zone, then pass it to a defenseman.
Thing to say: Raymond just needs to use his wingers a little more, and he'll be a consistently dangerous offensive threat.
Never say: Raymond is just another Brandon Reid.

Name: Rick Rypien
About: Rypien wears no. 37 and is a fourth-line winger or center. He's not known for his scoring touch. He's known for his fighting ability. Which he has. In spades. Rypien's dad Wes is a former Canadian boxing champion and it shows. Rypien shields his face, uses both fists, employs combinations, hooks, and uppercuts. He'll literally fight anybody. Seriously. Anybody.
If he touches the puck, it was probably incidentally. He meant to take the body.
Thing to say: Get Rypien on the ice to bash that guy's head in!
Never say: I don't know about this one. That guy's got fifty pounds on him.

Name: Mikael Samuelsson
About: Samuelsson wears no. 26 and is a first or second-line forward, depending on the weather. He played for Detroit last year and is known for his willingness to shoot the puck. He's got a deadly shot, a deadly sense of humour, and a special message for Team Sweden.
If he touches the puck, he will shoot the puck. From wherever he is.
Thing to say: Can you believe Team Sweden didn't want this guy? Ha!
Never say: You know who this team needs? Matthias Weinhandl.


Name: Daniel Sedin
About: Daniel wears no. 22 and plays wing. For reason unknown, he is often referred to as Brother Daniel, but he is not to be confused with this guy. Henrik and Daniel have a system. Henrik makes all the passes, Daniel scores all the goals.
If he touches the puck, expect magic to happen.
Thing to say: OHMYGODTHATWASAMAZING
Never say: Man, we need to come up with a name for this line!



Name: Henrik Sedin
About: Henrik wears no. 33 and plays center. He won the Art Ross trophy this season, which means he led the league in scoring. He makes blind passes, through-the-legs passes, and saucer passes. He wears an A on his jersey, so if you can't see the number on the back, you can still tell him apart.
If he touches the puck, he will pass it to Daniel.
Thing to say: Henrik is tha best evah! East Coast bias! If he played in Toronto he'd be John the Baptist!
Never say: Personally? He's got too many second assists to win the Hart.

Name: Kyle Wellwood
About: Wellwood wears no. 42 and is the Canucks third-line center. He was once the center for Mats Sundin, but Toronto got sick of his lack of work ethic and gave him away for nothing. Somehow, he has held onto this third-line spot, even though that spot normally goes to big, gritty centers. Wellwood is neither of those things. He plays with a super tiny hockey stick. He's weird as all Hell and he doesn't really seem to care about anything. You either love him or you hate him.
If he touches the puck, he will wow you with his stickhandling wizardry, or turn the puck over. There is no in-between.
Thing to say: More like Kyle Swellwood, amirite?
Never say: Wellwood is fat!

::::::::::::::: DEFENSEMEN :::::::::::::::

Name: Andrew Alberts
About: Alberts wears no. 41 for the Canucks and is their largest player, at 6'5". He was acquired in a trade late in this season, and hasn't been good so far. He's taken enough penalties to earn the nickname A Minor, he's been completely embarrassed a couple times, and he's not that fast. But, if he limits the mental mistakes, he could be a very valuable player. Also, he looks a little like Mallrats-era Ben Affleck. Point that out to hear a room full of people go, "huh."
If he touches the puck,
it had better be because he just poked it away from somebody. Otherwise, pray he gets rid of it.
Thing to say: I like this guy's size.
Never say: I like this guy's mobility.

Name: Kevin Bieksa
About: Bieksa wears no. 3 for the Canucks, and has the talent to be one of the Canucks' best defensemen. Sometimes, he gets caught behind the play, however, resulting in odd-man rushes. He is much, much better when he's angry, and if he perceives a slight against him, will hit any member of the opposition as his revenge. He always looked pissed, whether he actually is or not. He is known for suffering bizarre skate cuts to his leg. That almost never happens to anyone. It's happened to him twice.
If he touches the puck, he can be expected to make a good outlet pass, or rush the puck up the ice while standing straight up, like the Michael Johnson of hockey.
Thing to say: Bieksa should superman punch the puck into the net.
Never say: I don't think Bieksa pinches enough.

Name: Alexander Edler
About: Edler wears no. 23 and has the potential to be one of the Canucks best defensemen (see the theme here? The Canucks blueline is a bit of a question mark, Edler the chief enigma). Normally, he's known as the Iceman because he's so mild-mannered, but, in the first-round of the playoffs, he was amazing, and he made a ton of good hits. Like this one. Or this one.
If he touches the puck, hope he shoots it. Edler has the hardest shot on the team.
Thing to say: Edler's gonna be the next Lidstrom.
Never say: He's big. How come he doesn't play big?

Name: Christian Ehrhoff
About: Ehrhoff wears no. 5 and was acquired in the offseason from San Jose in the most lopsided trade in history. Ehrhoff creates a lot of offense from the blueline and can quarterback a powerplay. He is beloved and was voted as the team's best defenseman this season.
If he touches the puck, good things are likely to happen.
Thing to say: Finally, a defenseman who can join the rush!
Never say: He's good, but I wasn't quite ready to give up on Patrick White.


Name: Shane O'Brien
About: O'Brien wears no. 55 and has been playing for the Canucks for two years, although sometimes I wonder if he was actually meant to play football. Like Plaxico Burress, he likes to party, and he's always packing heat. When O'Brien's on his game, he's reliable, defensively sound, and smarter with the puck then we give him credit for. But he also tends to get on the coach's bad side for funny stuff.
If he touches the puck, do not encourage him to shoot it. He's not good at that.
Thing to say: Here comes the gun show!
Never say: This guy's a clown.

Name: Sami Salo
About: Salo wears no. 6 for the Canucks and has been playing for them a long time. He is known for his remarkable injury history. He's never healthy; just between injuries. Skeeter thinks it's a cover. Salo has a hard, lethal shot and just might be the Canucks' best defenseman. If he gets hurt, expect everyone around you to take suicide pills, because we need him. Salo is blonde, balding, and pale. He looks like a ghost. He is not a ghost, however. Do not fear him.
If he touches the puck, hopefully he is shooting it.
Thing to say: Hurt again??!!
Never say: This guy is invincible!

::::::::::::::: GOALIES :::::::::::::::

Name: Roberto Luongo
About: Luongo wears no. 1 because he is the best. He's also the captain of the team, which is technically against the rules, so he has a C painted on his mask instead of wearing it on his jersey. Luongo was the goalie for Team Canada when they won that gold medal. He's really, really good, but people question him because sometimes he gets scored on. He is the Canucks Messiah, and the longer the Canucks are in the playoffs, the more he'll look like Jesus.
If he touches the puck, he just made a save. That's called a save. If he touches the puck with the knob of his stick, however, it's in the back of the net.
Thing to say: Louuuuuuu!
Never say: I don't see how he's an upgrade on Cloutier.

Name: Andrew Raycroft
About: Raycroft wears no. 30, and is the back-up goalie. He won't play a game in these playoffs unless Luongo is injured or having a really bad game. He once won the Calder trophy for rookie of the year, but he's been garbage ever since. He got run out of Toronto, which is normal for players. He's played much, much better since leaving, which is also normal for players.
If he touches the puck, play is dead, because the puck's on the bench.
Thing to say: I have a lot of faith in our backup.
Never say: How come they never play Raycroft?

Do I Really Need To Explain Why I've Posted This?

I don't think this needs any context at all. And seriously, I've been waiting for this image for days. Thanks to Emo_Rachael for the photoshop job. Stay tuned for real content, including a handy-dandy guide to your Canucks for all of our new, second-round fans, and a preview of the series with the Blackhawks that begins on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Hits (From Behind)

Quick Hits (From Behind) is a semi-regular feature on Pass it To Bulis, wherein two hockey fans chip in their thoughts on current hockey news and get assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
While it's certainly not as bad as planning a Stanley Cup parade route after a first round victory, these kinds of proclamations are usually saved for league champions or record-setting regular seasons. While it's always nice for the city to show support for the home team, they rightly deserve the mocking they will receive.
Let's start with the obvious: I love Alexandre Burrows. You, if you're a Canucks fan, love Alexandre Burrows. But he may as well have been Alexandre Bolduc in that last playoff series (you knew there was a reason I spelled out "Alexandre"). It's long been acknowledged that players need to find an extra gear in the playoffs to perform well. That's why Joe Thornton does not succeed: he coasts in the playoffs like it was the regular season. The problem, however, is that Burrows operates at playoff-level at all times, which is why he's managed to battle his way from the ECHL to the best line in the NHL. It seems like Burrows just doesn't have that extra playoff gear because he's already gunning it throughout the regular season. Fortunately, Burrows has a wide range of ways that he can impact a game, ways that don't appear on the scoresheet.
This is one of the big reasons why I love hockey. In general, hockey players are some of the most charitable people in the world of sports. It's why Trevor Linden wasn't just a great hockey player but a legend in Vancouver and why I was impressed and touched, but not surprised, by the Sedins recent donation of $1.5 million to BC Children's Hospital. This year, the finalists are Dustin Brown, Mike Green, and Ryan Miller. These kinds of things can even make me like a diving, conniving punk like Dustin Brown. At least for a little while.
Finally, with an appropriate topic for the inaugural Quick Hits (From Behind), an article on the absence of Checking From Behind calls this season and the rise of Boarding calls. It's an interesting article, well worth the read. The issue is that every single Boarding call seems to be a hit from behind as well, which makes it difficult to know where to draw the line. It's also interesting to note that the Checking From Behind penalty is an automatic 5-minute major and a game misconduct, meaning hits like Hossa's on Hamhuis, which was called boarding, could have resulted in a game misconduct for Hossa, meaning he's not on the ice to score the gamewinner in overtime. Instead, he was assessed a 5-minute major for boarding with no game misconduct.

It's likely that no game misconduct (and no suspension) was assessed because Hamhuis wasn't injured on the play, yet another absurdity of the current NHL's system of punishment. The question is, should more Checking From Behind penalties be called or is the NHL's emphasis on Boarding penalties enough to dissuade these kinds of hits? Feel free to chip in your comments on the issue.


Eastern Conference Craziness


Two of the top three seeds in the East are done, out of the playoffs, joining the Maple Leafs on the golf course. The Washington Capitals, the top seed in the entire NHL, are going to game 7 with the Montreal Canadiens, who had the worst regular season record of any playoff team. Sidney Crosby had to play like he was Jeremy Roenick in NHL '94 to get the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Ottawa Senators in 6 games.

What in the world is happening?

The bottom four teams in the Eastern Conference stumbled into the playoffs, each sporting records that would have sent them to an early off-season in the West. The foregone conclusion was that the top 4 seeds would move on fairly handily, with room for one upset, maybe.

Martin "Hermano" Brodeur was out-goaltended by Brian "The Mighty Boosh" Boucher. The much heralded trade deadline acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk was a bust and the rest of the Devils looked old and tired.

The Buffalo Sabres wasted what was a decent playoff performance for Ryan Miller with their inability to score. Thomas Vanek managed a point per game pace, but only played in half of the series. Derek Roy and Tim Connolly were nowhere to be found, with not a single goal between them. For a team that struggled for offence throughout the regular season, they couldn't afford to have their two top scorers to be held without a goal.

The Capitals, with the most potent offence in the league and the record to match it, ran into Jaroslav "The Client" Halak, while Michael Cammalleri has outscored Alex Ovechkin and has the same number of points as Backstrom and Semin combined. Of course, Semin only has 1 assist in the entire series, choosing the most inopportune time to disappear. Unless the Capitals offence can solve Halak on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be facing the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, a prospect that just a couple weeks ago would have seemed laughable. But with the way the first round has progressed, anything is possible.

On a lighter note, this image that is currently on the front page of the Montreal Canadiens website is one of the worst photoshop jobs I've seen in a while. That's a weird looking Andrei Markov. Reminds me of Laser Portraits.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Ryan Kesler is a Woo Boy



Just a quick share for those of you who sometimes think that our beloved Canucks aren't human. This is from just after last night's series win over LA, so he definitely has a reason for throwing his hands in the air like he just don't care. I know Kyle Wellwood marvels at how serious Ryan Kesler always is, but Kyle, explain why--if Ryan is so serious--he's always caught doing such un-serious things and makes for such good animated gif content? I have no answer for you. I just know that Ryan Kesler loves to dance.

While we're on the topic: Ryan Kesler is not the only Canuck who can't resist a fat sack of beats. Here are some other classic Canuck dancing moments:

Mason Raymond, Luc Bourdon, and Alex Edler at the Canucks Dice N' Ice event, 2007. Note Edler's robot--an appropriate dance for the Iceman. Raymond has no idea what he's doing. And isn't it nice to see Luc Bourdon again.


Daniel and Henrik as hot Swedish twins dancing for change. They claim they would never do this, but what do they mean? They would never dance, or they would never dance for so little?


Have I forgotten any? Leave a tip in the comments section and we'll add it.

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Kings, April 25, 2010

Above: Absurdity

I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass it To Bulis, chronicling the observations and insights of two people who watched a hockey game.

To quote the excellent sign held by a Canucks fan last night at the Staples Center: "YES!" That is Canucks hockey at its finest. Superb goaltending from Roberto "Bob Long" Luongo, highlighted by his absurd save on Ryan Smyth shown above. Steve Bernier introducing Johnny Quick to his behind. Daniel Sedin scoring a crucial goal. Mikael Samuelsson shooting from absolutely everywhere. Fantastic stuff.

And now, in my very best impression of Will Farrell impersonating Harry Caray, "CANUCKS WIN! CANUCKS WIN!"

  • Andrew Alberts was decent on the penalty kill. Who knew? It was hard to tell through the first couple games of the series because he was in the penalty box for all of the Kings' powerplays. He only had one shift in the third period, so it's clear Vigneault still doesn't fully trust the guy, but he's turning things around after a putrid start.
  • Steve Bernier has been a revelation all series, but he played his best game last night. His strong work on the boards on the penalty kill was a major reason why they didn't give up a single powerplay goal.
  • Slight caveat to that last point: the Canucks killed every penalty, but both LA goals came immediately after powerplays and were a direct result of the pressure LA was able to mount throughout the two minutes. The Canucks still have some work to do on that PK, it seems.
  • Dustin Brown played an excellent game, but his dive to draw a Daniel Sedin tripping penalty was ugly. Between periods, Ron Maclean showed the clip several times, while praising Dustin Brown for his high level of play. What, no compilation of the "best of" Dustin Brown diving?
  • What was with the guy in the Oilers' jersey behind the Canucks bench? Is he just a fan of hockey in general? Is he an Edmonton fan who is now cheering for the Canucks as the closest Canadian franchise? Is he a Wayne Gretzky fan, but prefers the Oilers jersey to the Kings? What's the deal?
  • Alex Burrows' tribute to Luc Bourdon gets me every time. Even when it comes on an empty net goal. Here's hoping that goal gets Burrows to loosen up a bit. It was far too easy to forget that he was the Canucks' leading goalscorer in the regular season.
  • Terry Murray's post-game comments about the game-winning goal? Not the least bit classy and sound awfully whiny: "The puck just flutters around, and it ends up with a very fortunate bounce. If (Samuelsson's shot) gets through, it probably goes over the net. That was not a well-placed shot."
  • Luongo's glove stop on Smyth was the highlight reel save of the night, but he was solid throughout. It helped that he faced a ton of shots early and made 15 saves in the first period. He settled into the game quickly and was at the top of his crease for most of his saves.
  • Johnny Quick, after solid performances to start of the series, looked like a playoff rookie through the last two games. It was indicative of his performance throughout the year. The difference in the regular season was that his team could frequently score their way out of trouble and were unable to do so in this series. Still, he's young and has a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see Bernier and Quick battle to be the Kings starter next season.
  • Ron Maclean's "pull that top off" moment was baffling. The man realizes he's on national television, right? The really sad part is that two men have been dressing up in skintight bodysuits, rubbing themselves against the penalty box glass, and generally being very provocative, and not a single sexual comment or innuendo has come their way. Instead, it's seen as goofy, fun, and humorous. As soon as a female dressed the same way, a sexual comment is made (intentionally or otherwise). I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up by more media sources.
  • Finally, I'm already looking ahead to the next series. Whether it's against Chicago, Phoenix, or Detroit, I'm confident the Canucks can make it through. That said, they'll need to get more offensively out of Raymond and Burrows, . The Sedins have been their usual steady selves, Samuelsson has been ridiculous, and Bernier has been surprising, but Raymond and Burrows only managed a goal each. As the playoffs progress, teams will key in on the Sedins and Samuelsson, which is when the second and third lines will need to contribute more. Some will call for more from Ryan Kesler as well, but he did score 6 points in 6 games while playing solid defensively. Raymond and Burrows, however, will need to provide that secondary scoring punch for the Canucks to get through the next round.

Note: this post is actually by Skeeter, but I, Harrison, bumped it to the top and blogger gave me credit for it. I have plagiarized my best friend and I take full responsibility for the crime.

Urban Dictionary Fun with Darren Pang and Gord McIntyre

Puck Daddy has a good take on the amusing back-and-forth between Darren Pang at TSN and our very own Gord McIntyre. So, in case you missed it, let's get you up to speed:

Darren Pang says a little bit about Mikael Samuelsson, but the line that got Gord's goat is when Pang says that Samuelsson benefits from "playing with the Twinkies." McIntyre gets upset because, well, the Sedins have become tough, tough players, and they have a history of earning sissy nicknames. The Sedin Sisters, for example. Anybody with a lick of sense knows what a twinkie is, just as those same people (save Gob Bluth) knows what a poof is.

Looks like Darren Pang only meant twins. He needs to get with the times. It may not have been as bad as that time Lynn Westmoreland called Barack Obama "uppity", but it's still a poor choice of words. That's all, mind you; it's a small controversy.

I'm more interested in Puck Daddy's link to Urban Dictionary definitions of the term twinkie. Hilarious. But what some people don't know is that the Urban Dictionary can be an endless source of fun. According to the dictionary of street, everybody's name is a slang term for insane, sexual conduct.

For instance, I would imagine Gord McIntyre used the Urban Dictionary to verify his outrage. But my outrage begins the moment I see his name in the Province at all. Here are some definitions. Here is a sentence using definition number five: Oh man Josh Gorded me and the smell was horrifying.

Yeah. It gets much, much worse for Darren Pang when you look up his last name, and obscenely inappropriate when you look up Panger, which he is sometimes called. Here is a sentence for Pang: Sulla eats pang. My guess is that "Sulla" is a friend of the definer. Or perhaps no longer. Either way, that is unprofessional dictionary management of the highest order. The OED this ain't.

Long story short: urban dictionary is not a source.

Ron Maclean Thinks It's Mardi Gras



If you went downtown to celebrate the game after the Canucks wrapped up their series with the Kings last night, you may have missed one of the strangest moments in Ron Maclean's broadcasting career. The CBC panel was joined by a green girl, most likely an intern with the network, who came and stood between Glenn and Kelly and imitated the moves of Force and Sully. Glenn, Ron, and Kelly laughed, and then, uh, Ron Maclean said:

"Show us what you got! Pull that top off!"

I don't think he meant it quite the way he sounded. This is Ron Maclean, not Joe Francis. Seems like he quickly realized how it sounded, and, in the same breath, added, "Oh, nevermind." He was met with silence from Glenn and Kelly, who were probably wondering what in the heck he was thinking. This was where CBC left it last night.

I think/hope Maclean meant the mask. I'm going to leave it at that.


As an aside, I saw this last night and accidentally deleted my PVR before I could upload it to Youtube. However, any Canucks fan on the Internet knows that
CanucksHD is the master of Youtube and we love and appreciate his invaluable contributions.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Forum Fun! New Monikers For SOB



Don't ask me how, but Shane O'Brien's antics last night (were they antics) seemed to overshadow the fact that the LA Kings were completely embarrassed in a crucial game five. SOB's behaviour has been something of a subplot over the last month and change, but, in the last two games, it has become a much larger story. Why? The Canucks' blueline, seemingly a bastion of depth going into the season, is suddenly looking one injury away from becoming a glaring weakness. Certainly, if Andrew Alberts could play like he played last night, we'd be less concerned, but A-Minor only drew into the lineup because of one-and-done injuries to Aaron Rome and Nolan Baumgartner. Shane O'Brien is the last guy we want to see out of the game for any amount of time because it means that Alberts' minutes increase and we have to play Lawrence Nycholat. O'Brien needs to preserve himself.

Craig Simpson pointed this out during the broadcast. He really shouldn't be fighting, especially after we saw Jannik Hansen break his hand early on in the season, during a tilt. He needs to resist the urge to pound Simmonds' head in.

But he did fight. Worse yet, after a draw that ended in a takedown, he flashed the double guns like the Black-Eyed Peas had just infected the playlist at the Roxy. Terry Murray called him a clown. AV seemed amused but annoyed, as is often his emotion. And what of the fans? Why, they loved it. And over at Canucks.com, the message boards lit up with suggestions for new nicknames for SOB. Let us examine whether any of them is worth its salt.

Shane "Double Guns" O'Brien
suggested by: rkoshack
Not sure if it's the most creative, but it does describe that time he flashed the double guns.

Shane "The Pain" O'Brien
suggested by: OrcaKlanChief
Not bad. It rhymes, which is a plus. On the flipside, in a draw, and for a guy who rarely fights these days, I'm not sure it's entirely deserve. I should mention I'm also giving OrcaKlanChief the benefit of the doubt, as his suggestion was actually "SHANE THE PAIN OBREIN".

Shane "Pain Lion" O'Brien
suggested by: Godzilla Deuce
I am going to guess that a "pain lion" is a lion that is known to inflict pain. If such a thing existed, perhaps this nickname would make a little more sense. As it is, I, uh, don't know what to say. It's a bad suggestion, yet I feel strangely compelled to take it for myself.

Shooter McBrien
suggested by: rkoshack
In his second go-around, rkoshack goes for the Happy Gilmore reference, but it doesn't really work.

Bandit
suggested by: Cogburn
What I like about this one is the simplicity. Bandit is basically always a good idea for a name. Badies, new products, pets, getaway vehicles, terms of endearment... Bandit is like the one-size-fits-all of nicknames. It loses points for not being a play on SOB's name. What about, say, BanditO? Any takers?

Shane "Akimbo" O'Brien
suggested by: TheAgent
First answer: I don't get it. Follow-up answer: now I get it. The Akimbo is an attachment in Call of Duty 2 that allows players to wield two of the same weapon at once. Not bad. I wonder about its crossover ability, as only CoD gamers are going to get it, but it's definitely the smartest suggestion so far.

Pew Pew O'Facepunch
suggested by: Kolian
Nope. This one. This one's my favorite.

Shane "The Panther" O'Brien
suggested by: The Kernel
Kind of sounds like a nickname a date rapist would give himself. No dice.

Shane McLane
suggested by: The Kernel
From Die Hard? To my mind, any nickname has to retain at least the O in his surname. And if we're going with Irish action starts, McBain is a much better choice. Shane McBain: double guns don't kill people. I do.

The Organ Grinder
suggested by: daxt234
Along with a link to this photo. Not sure if he really earned such a wicked nickname. Um, we'll get back to you on this one. But, um, in the meantime, I'm gonna borrow both the nickname and the photo.

Mean SOB
suggested by: Jester13
Jester13 added, "I mean seriously, am I the only one making the son of a you know what connection?" Is this guy new here?

Shane O Mac
suggested by: sandlakthehouse
It's kind of already taken by the son of Vince McMahon, but I think that was the point. I don't know if I want SOB associated with this much douchery. Besides, if I associate him with any wrestler, it has to be Danno O'Mahony, inventor of the Irish Whip.

Shane "Hate Crime" O'Brien
suggested by: Horny Manatee
Normally, I'd say, "Not cool, Horny Manatee." But his profile picture is of Franklin Delano Bluth, so I think he finds politically incorrect racial humour irresistible. Perhaps, but let's leave it to Mitchell Hurwitz, then. Sidenote: speaking of Arrested Development references as they pertain to the Canucks, Skeeter's wife calls Michael Grabner "Baby BananaGrabner."

Shane "The Rampage" O'Brien
suggested by: Canuckz -_-
Let's stop for a second. We're all aware SOB didn't win his fight, right? It was a draw. It seems that flashing the double guns clouds everybody's perspective. Next time I get the crap kicked out of me, I'm going to flash the double guns as they load me into the ambulance. Then, everyone will be like, "Harrison won that fight! Let's call him 'The Rampage'!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Kings, April 23, 2010



I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass It To Bulis, chronicling the observations and insights of two people who watched a hockey game.


Well, how about that? I feel great. I think I might keep this on the PVR forever, and watch it every night, in favour of having intercourse with my wife. It was that satisfying. Let's get right into it. (Editor's note: That was Harrison. Skeeter would like it made clear that he prefers intercourse with his wife to watching Canucks games on PVR)

  • This game featured a much better start by the Canucks' penalty kill. They were so on their game that they killed off the first two-minute minor in eight seconds. Good on ya, boys.
  • Anybody else catch Fin as a green man? A little late to this party, Fin, but we still like you. On the flipside, I think I saw the Green Men repeating moves tonight. I expect unlimited creativity and preparation out of you guys. I saw one King head to the box and the green guy kind of had a "maybe next time" look on his [featureless] face.
  • More goals by Mikael Samuelsson. That's seven in five games. What's really incredible about his streak is that he's putting everything glove side. Like Gunner Stahl. "He's fancy. He'll go glove."
  • Craig Simpson needs to consult a dictionary on the difference between complexity and complexion. He also needs to use less sexually descriptive phrases. The Kings were "getting into a nice tight box" is perhaps a smidge racy.
  • For the conspiracy theorists, I hope you caught DJ Dave's tribute to you guys when "Sabotage" hit the speakers after the second penalty that led to the five-on-three in the second period.
  • Andrew "Barabbas" Alberts played quite well tonight. I like his big body when he's up against forwards like Handzus and Fredrik "Is that You" Modin. And, just when we were once screaming "crucify him!" he gets an assist on the seventh goal. He actually has more points than Alex Burrows. Just sayin'.
  • LA's total collapse in the third period was like those episodes of Law & Order where the criminal self-destructs and admits he did it while the district attorney is questioning him. We all know it. Just show us your true self. So gratifying.
  • Speaking of gratifying, I don't know what was better. When SOB beat up on Wayne Simmonds and then flashed the shaky pistols like he was partying at the Roxy, or when Rick Rypien pounded on Clune. I'm thinking the second one, as I'm pretty sure I'm heard Glenn Healy imply afterward that Rypien was a hockey god.
  • Meanwhile, on that self-destruct, Demitra and Samuelsson made Ersberg look like he was playing in the 80s, what with the shots from the wing that beat him so cleanly. Back then, even the best goalies in the world couldn't stop those shots. These days, let in a couple and you'll get pulled for the goalie that just got pulled. As Skeeter said, consistently missing the opportunity for puns tonight, "Quick was put back in the game rather swiftly."
  • Roberto Luongo played great tonight. 'Nuff said.
  • The Sedins have combined for fifteen points in this series. I'll tell you when home ice matters: when you have the last change. They seemed unstoppable tonight, and one of the major reasons was that Terry Murray couldn't seem to get his matchups.
  • The Demitra-Wellwood-Bernier line was on fire tonight. I hesitate to say Wellwood was playing like a man possessed. He wasn't, but I saw him take a slap shot tonight. Maybe the hardest shot he's ever taken. Most times when he shoots, it looks more like a saucer pass.

A Moment of Pure Bulis




Sometimes the fever pitch reaches a critical point. When that happens, we at PiTB recommend that you take a step back, breathe in, and enjoy a much-needed Moment of Pure Bulis.


Did you know? Ryan Kesler has a dog named Muffy.


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