Raymond = Fast
Last year, we introduced the inaugural Canucks Bandwagon cheat sheet to give aid to the less informed, less involved fan who wanted to feel a part of the Canucks' playoff run. Unfortunately, two weeks later, the Canucks were eliminated by the Blackhawks, and the cheat sheet was forgotten.
It's eight months later, however, and the Canucks are once again the talk of the town. They've vaulted to the top of the NHL standings; Bodog thinks they're the odds-on favourite to win the Stanley Cup; the buzz is palpable. Its fair-weather for fans, which often means an onslaught of fairweather fans. But if you're going to be a Canucks fan, the last thing you want is to be smoked out as a bandwagoner. Diehard fans don't take kindly to conditional ones.
So how do you pass for a lifer? You need to know your team. And that's where PITB comes in. This year's Bandwagon Canucks Fan Cheat Sheet--a geyser of valuable information--will tell you everything you need to know about the Vancouver Canucks roster.
:::::::::::::::::::: FORWARDS ::::::::::::::::::::
Name: Alex Bolduc
About: Bolduc wears #49 and plays center. He is continually cast as the Canucks' fourth-line center, but he only seems to get in a handful of games before he's injured. We know very little about him, because we aren't the Canucks' medical staff.
My wife thinks he looks like: Howard Moon, jazz maverick.
If he touches the puck, he's not likely to make a crisp pass to a winger. Even on a 2-on-1, he has admitted to having no idea where his linemates are.
Expect to hear: "I'm not sure about Bolduc. I don't like the way his shoulder explodes when he takes a faceoff."
Don't expect to hear: "No one has vision like Bolduc."
Name: Alexandre Burrows
About: Burrows wears #14 and plays right wing on the Canucks' top line. He's a former ball hockey champion. He's often a triggerman for the Sedins. They say he goes to the dirty areas; this can be taken multiple ways. He spends a lot of time in front of the net, but he also might spear an opponent in the groin, and there are few areas dirtier than the groin.
Nickname(s): Burr, Frack, The Wayne Gretzky of Ball Hockey
My wife thinks he looks like: The Muppet Show's Sam Eagle. It's the eyebrows.
If he touches the puck, he's about a millisecond away from taking a crosscheck to the back. I suspect he's just really fun to crosscheck. His primary job on the top line is to get crosschecked by everyone while Henrik and Daniel score. He's catnip.
Expect to hear: "Win da turd!" "That's a slewfoot!" "Ha ha, Burrows doesn't speak any language well."
Don't expect to hear: "Burrows is such a fluid skater it's a wonder he ever falls down."
Name: Tanner Glass
About: Glass wears #15 and plays wing, mostly. He also plays Scrabble. He's been known to fight a bear or two. He loves tootsie rolls. He went to Dartmouth. Goals are an unexpected bonus with Glass; he's a gritty, defensive forward known for his responsible play.
Nickname(s): The Scrabble Champ, Timothy Treadwell
My wife thinks he looks like: If Gerard Butler and Luke Wilson somehow had a baby.
If he touches the puck, you're about to witness a textbook dump and chase.
Expect to hear: "Glass is the cornerstone of our fourth-line."
Don't expect to hear: "That Glass is loaded with offensive upside."
Name: Jannik Hansen
About: Hansen wears #36 and plays wing. He's a speedy, versatile forward who has spent time on every Canucks' line this season. He seems most at home in the bottom six, where he isn't relied on to score and his standout defensive and forechecking abilities can shine.
Nickname(s): The Great Dane, Beaker
My wife thinks he looks like: Beaker.
If he touches the puck, it's a poke check. You could pass it to him and he'd still find a way to poke check it.
Expect to hear: "Hansen is the far and away the best forechecker on the team."
Don't expect to hear: "I really like the rich baritone of Jannik Hansen's speaking voice."
Name: Ryan Kesler
About: Kesler wears #17 and plays center. He's in the midst of a breakout season. He takes hockey very seriously. He's rumoured to have an adamantium skeleton.
Nickname(s): Kes, Frick, Bull
My wife thinks he looks like: The late Jeff Buckley.
If he touches the puck, someone, somewhere will argue he deserves the Hart trophy.
Expect to hear: "Kesler is the heart and soul of this team."
Don't expect to hear: "Kesler is the heart and soul of this improv team."
Name: Manny Malhotra
About: Malhotra wears #27 and plays center on the Canucks' third line. He's one of the best faceoff men in the league. His skills as a shutdown center have earned Selke consideration this season.
Nickname(s): The Manimal, Alternate Captain Mal
My wife thinks he looks like: Stanley Tucci.
If he touches the puck, hope it's on a faceoff. He knows what to do there. Hope it's not on an odd-man rush. He's a little less clear in that situation.
Expect to hear: "Another faceoff win by Malhotra. The guy's a machine."
Don't expect to hear: "I don't see how this guy's an upgrade on Kyle Wellwood."
Name: Mason Raymond
About: Raymond wears #21 and plays wing on the Canucks' second line. He's terribly fast. When he's on his game he's a major scoring threat. When he's not, he's the skinny guy from NES Ice Hockey, infuriatingly circling the zone. He's a tad bland, and chillingly inconspicuous. Sometimes, he simply is not there.
Nickname(s): MayRay, Lame-O Raymo, Bambi, Dimples, Zippy McLowpercentageshot
My wife thinks he looks like: An adorable baby.If he touches the puck, he'll probably take it wide and circle the zone.
Expect to hear: "Raymond needs to go to the dirty areas."
Don't expect to hear: "If I were him, I'd stay to the perimeter, where it's safer."
Name: Mikael Samuelsson
About: Samuelsson wears #26 and plays wing. He shoots the puck a lot. He speaks his mind. He's the lone Canuck regular to have won a Stanley Cup. Like many Swedes, he plays in direct opposition to conventional hockey wisdom, and somehow, it works for him. Swedish players are the bumblebees of ice hockey.
Nickname(s): Sammy, Mikael McShooterson, The Logo Hunter
My wife thinks he looks like: The Swedish Chef.
If he touches the puck: The crest of the opposing goaltender's jersey will likely get the next touch.
Expect to hear: "What a strange time to shoot."
Don't expect to hear: "I've heard Sweden is quite fond of Samuelsson."
Name: Daniel Sedin
About: Daniel wears #22 and plays wing. He's kind of amazing. He's the twin brother of Henrik Sedin. He's driven by competitive rage. He once spent a month working for Santa.
Nickname(s): Danny, Dank, Brother Daniel, Assistant Captain Hook, Pinky, Kang.
My wife thinks he looks like: Henrik Sedin.
If he touches the puck: Brace yourself for wizardry. Or one pass too many, depending on whether or not the puck can get through the maze of skates.
Expect to hear: "Wizardous Sedinerie!"
Don't expect to hear: "If only he'd made one more pass."
Name: Henrik Sedin
About: Henrik wears #33 and plays center. He's the reigning Art Ross and Hart trophy winner and captain of the Vancouver Canucks. He currently leads the league in assists. He is always one step ahead of his brother. For instance: it looks like he'll be the first one to go bald.
Nickname(s): Hank, Captain Hook, The Brain, Kodos
My wife thinks he looks like: Daniel Sedin. It's uncanny.
If he touches the puck, expect a no-look backpass. Even if he's on a breakaway.
Expect to hear: "What a pass by Henrik!"
Don't expect to hear: "Henrik's playing like crap. That's his fourth assist on the night, but they're all second assists."
Name: Jeff Tambellini
About: Tambellini wears #10 and plays wing. He's the son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. He's a small, lightning-fast and versatile forward who has defied the odds and earned a spot in the lineup. He's listed at 5'10", a generous exaggeration, much like Ke$ha being sold in "music" stores.
My wife thinks he looks like: Former Canuck Ryan Johnson.
If he touches the puck, hope he's in his Magic Shooty Spot. He's money from there.
Expect to hear: "Can you believe the Islanders couldn't find ice time for this guy?"
Don't expect to hear: "He's so fast and small, he's difficult to follow on the ice. What if we put a microchip in him, so he would glow?"
Name: Raffi Torres
About: Torres wears #13 and plays wing. He has a fondness for bone-crunching hits. Torres has three modes. 1) skateskateskateskate 2) get puck and 3) put puck. He often doesn't put much consideration into his methods, though get puck usually involves sub-mode ram.
Nickname(s): Raffi Torrid, the Eyebrowless Ginger. But really, his given name is Raffi. Why bother with silly nicknames?
My wife thinks he looks like: Bubba the Caveduck. Also, confusion personified.
If he touches the puck, hope it's a tip in front. He's good at that. Hope it isn't while carrying the puck across the blue line. Nobody breaks up an odd-man rush like Torres.
Expect to hear: "Torres is a human bowling ball."
Don't expect to hear: "I think Torres is overthinking things."
Name: Aaron Volpatti
About: Volpatti wears #54 and plays wing. He's a fourth-line guy who plays with an edge and hits everything in sight. He's incredibly sneaky. Like Tanner Glass, he's an Ivy Leaguer; he did four years at Brown University. Just like Brown is Dartmouth-lite (at least when comparing basic science facilities, y'all), Volpatti is Tanner Glass-lite.
Nickname(s): Peppermint, the Volpaddy Wagon
My wife thinks he looks like: Jake Ryan, from Sixteen Candles.
If he touches the puck, you're probably at an open practice, watching a drill. That doesn't happen during games.
Expect to hear: "Big hit by Volpatti!"
Don't expect to hear: "Volpatti scores!"
:::::::::::::::::::: DEFENSEMEN ::::::::::::::::::::
Name: Andrew Alberts
About: Alberts wears #41. He's a 6'5" defenseman that loves to take the body. After a rough start in Vancouver, he worked on his game in the offseason and did well to make the team out of training camp. He's a solid bottom-pairing guy that will make a forward think twice about putting his head down.
Nickname(s): Andy Alby, AHLberts, NHLberts, A Minor, Barabbas
My wife thinks he looks like: Dennis Duffy, ex-boyfriend of 30 Rock's Liz Lemon and the last pager salesman in New York.
If he touches the puck, pray it's a brief touch. If this touch last longer than two seconds, he's on his ass and the opponent just got the puck back.
Expect to hear: "What a hit by Alberts!"
Don't expect to hear: "That Alberts has wheels."
Name: Keith Ballard
About: Ballard wears #4. The Canucks acquired him this offseason by trading away a first-round pick, which is a bigger deal now that the Canucks seem to know what to do with first-round picks. Ballard makes over four million a season, which is scandalous, considering he's the 5th defenseman. Ballard loves to skate the puck out of the zone. The only thing he loves more is pranks. He's a noted prankster, who once hilariously climbed into Kevin Bieksa's hockey bag. He also once hilariously bludgeoned his goaltender with his stick.
Nickname(s): Hips, Pranky, Power Ballard
My wife thinks he looks like: Snatch's Mickey O'Neil.
If he touches the puck, hope he doesn't make a mistake with it, or Vigneault will make him sit on his hands for the rest of the game.
Expect to hear: "What a hip check."
Don't expect to hear: "I'm comfortable paying $4.2 million for fifteen minutes of Keith Ballard."
Name: Kevin Bieksa
About: Bieksa wears #3. He's the most divisive defenseman Vancouver has had in some time. At his best, he could fit comfortably into any team's top four. At his worst, he does the double slide. Still, after fully recovering from two freak skate cuts that really set back his game, Bieksa's playing his best hockey, and once-skeptical fans are beginning to fall back in love.
Nickname(s): Juice, Boom Boom Bieksa
My wife thinks he looks like: Kevin Bieksa's brother.
If he touches the puck: He probably just pinched along the boards to keep the puck in. Nobody pinches as frequently as Kevin Bieksa. He's the grandma of the NHL.
Expect to hear: "Trade Bieksa! No wait, keep Bieksa!"
Don't expect to hear: "I never doubted this guy for a second."
Name: Alex Edler
About: Edler wears #23 and just might be the Canucks' number one defenseman. He's certainly the most well-rounded, capable of jumping into the rush, quarterbacking a power play, and playing a physical game. Like most Swedes, Edler hardly emotes, but consider that he has a reputation as an unemotional guy in a dressing room full of Swedes. In short, he's a cold, callous monster.
Nickname(s): Iceman, Robot, Dexter Morgan, Eddie
My wife thinks he looks like: Nick Carter.
If he touches the puck, hope he cranks it. He's got the hardest slap shot on the team.
Expect to hear: "Edler has remarkable versatility."
Don't expect to hear: "Edler has remarkable versatility as a dramatic actor."
Name: Christian Ehrhoff
About: Ehrhoff wears #5 and is one half of the Canucks' most offense-oriented defensive pairing, with Alex Edler. Ehrhoff is faster and less physical of the two, and loves to jump into the rush.
Nickname(s): Error, Hoffer, Blastoff, The Hoff
My wife thinks he looks like: John Robinson of Gus Van Sant's Elephant.
If he touches the puck, he has interpreted this touch as an open invitation to join the rush. He's gone.
Expect to hear: "Ehrhoff's caught up ice."
Don't expect to hear: "Nobody develops better hockey players than Germany."
Name: Dan Hamhuis
About: Hamhuis wears #2 and is one half of the Canucks' shutdown defensive pairing, with Kevin Bieksa. Hamhuis is a stay-at-home type who makes smart plays, has a good stick, and moves the puck out of the zone quickly. He's a strait-laced guy who does things quietly and admirably, both on and off the ice. He's noted for his Christianity and charity work.
Nickname(s): The Hammer, Hammy
My wife thinks he looks like: He's got a bit of a Mark Ruffalo thing going on.
If he touches the puck, he'll make a crisp pass out of the zone and you probably won't even notice.
Expect to hear: "Did you hear Hamhuis took less to play here? Only 4.5 million, what a guy."
Don't expect to hear: "I think Hamhuis really needs to step up his community efforts and renounce Satan."
Name: Aaron Rome
About: Rome wears #29 and is typically the seventh defenseman on the Canucks' depth chart. He's not really good at anything, but he also doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's a solid depth guy.
Nickname(s): Aaron "Aaron Rome" Rome
My wife thinks he looks like: Launchpad McQuack.
If he touches the puck, he'll make the safe play. Rome is so conservative he doesn't school opponents--he homeschools opponents.
Expect to hear: "Aaron Rome banks the puck off the boards."
Don't expect to hear: "I thought Aaron Rome was really noticeable tonight."
Name: Sami Salo
About: Salo wears #6 and is the longest-serving member of the Canucks' blueline corps. He's a walking calamity, more prone to mysterious disaster than ships passing through the Bermuda Triangle. He's the Canucks' best defenseman when healthy, but "when healthy" is a fancy way to say "never."
Nickname(s): Casper, Sami Solo, Salpa, Mr. Glass, Hurty McOuchie
My wife thinks he looks like: The ghost of Boo Radley.
If he touches the puck, every tendon in his body just ruptured a little.
Expect to hear: "For goodness' sake, Salo, stay out of the corner!"
Don't expect to hear: "Don't worry. Jason Botchford just tweeted that Salo's okay."
Name: Chris Tanev
About: Tanev is a call-up from the Canucks' AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Only two years ago, he was playing for the Markham Waxers of the OJHL (sidenote: not OJ Simpson's hockey league). Tanev went from there to the Rochester Institute of Technology. He's the first guy to make the NHL out of their program, which is a little like making the NHL after four years at the Emily Carr Institute.
My wife thinks he looks like: Battlestar Galactica's Chief Tyrol.
If he touches the puck, it's a learning opportunity for everyone.
Expect to hear: "Who is Chris Tanev? Is he Russian?"
Don't expect to hear: "I know a lot about Chris Tanev."
:::::::::::::::::::: GOALTENDERS ::::::::::::::::::::
Name: Roberto Luongo
About: Luongo wears #1, and is, appropriately, Canucks' number one goaltender. He used to be the captain, but he didn't really like it. Now he just stops pucks. He's pretty good at it. Don't listen to the people who tell you he isn't.
Nickname(s): Funny Bob, Louie, Bobby Lou,
My wife thinks he looks like: Sacha Baron Cohen.
If he touches the puck, you're supposed to yell "Looooooo!", no matter the context.
Expect to hear: He's overpaid! He's overrated! He didn't come out for his first star salute! Luongo kicks puppies!"
Don't expect to hear: "Luongo's salary is none of my business and I know nothing about the goaltending position, anyway."
Name: Cory Schneider
About: Schneider wears #35. He's the backup goaltender. Schneider has slowly worked his way up to the NHL by way of college and the AHL. He now appears ready for a full-time starting job. He won't get it in Vancouver, so he's really auditioning for a role somewhere else.
Nickname(s): Ginger Jesus, Schneids, Frecklesnoot
If he touches the puck, he just made a routine save, so brace yourself for a goaltending controversy.
Expect to hear: "Cory Schneider would have made that save. And he did. Because he's in goal tonight."
Don't expect to hear: "I miss Dany Sabourin."
Is a Canuck missing from this cheat sheet? Check the Canucks Bandwagon Fan Cheat Sheet Appendix.