Before we go any further, let me express my deep regret if this post misled you into thinking that two of hockey's finest personalities had teamed up to form some sort of self-aware, hilarious, analytical, hard-partying NHL supercombo. That really is too good to be true. If you're a fan of hockey blogging and/or hockey tweeting, you probably already know that Justin Bourne and Paul Bissonnette are icons of hockey's alternative media. Bourne, a former hockey player turned writer, contributes insightful and wholly original articles for Puck Daddy, USA Today, and Hockey Primetime, among others. His article on Old Man Strength is one of my favourite pieces of hockey writing this year. Bissonnette, a current hockey player for the Phoenix Coyotes, is perhaps hockey's best and most interesting tweeter, his sub-141 character thoughts a weekly feature on Puck Daddy's Trending Topics. Here's an example of why he's awesome.
If the all star game is about showing off ur skills. If I was in the breakaway competition, I'd dump it in and change. #MadSkills
Objectively awesome. Anyway, it's always a treat to hear what these guys think, and it was thusly a special treat that both men were at the Coyotes game on Thursday night (Bourne in the stands, BizNasty on the bench). Needless to say, their insights on the Vancouver Canucks didn't disappoint. After the jump, Bourne & BizNasty on the Canucks:
Justin Bourne Was At the Game
Considering he was in attendance, it makes sense that Bourne's first observation would be about the atmosphere in the arena:
To say the crowd was 50% pro-Canucks might be an understatement. If there weren’t more of them, they were louder. They chanted Luuuuu, sang the anthem loud and proud, and even the damn green men showed up in full effect.
Clearly, one of the night's big stories was Cody Hodgson and his first NHL goal. However, since Bourne isn't a Canucks fan, he wasn't so enamoured with Hodgson to notice a few warts:
Hodgson rocked the birdcage last night, not the best look for him. Also as I tweeted, [he] skates a little wide. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but he doesn’t bring his skates all the way back under his body, which makes for a shorter, less efficient stride. Mason Raymond? He comes wayyy across his own center-line. I’d have pulled Bryz after the Hodgson goal. Brutal in a 2-0 game to let a puck go in not all that hard and halfway up the net. I think he expected a better shot and was bringing his glove up for a quick one, but it was a change-up. Still, gotta yank him there.
Bourne is absolutely correct here. First, Hodgson's skating still needs work. Even the layman can see it. Second, Hodgson's goal was sort of weak. Granted, it was hard to criticize amidst the wave of elation, but Brzygalov should have had it.
Here's Bourne on the Sedins and Kesler:
The Sedins pass the puck really, really well. Constantly fit it into areas that were no bigger than a stick blade. Kesler is a monster of a dude. He’ll be an absolute menace to play against in playoffs.
Yes. Also, yes. But it's always nice to hear that your team's players inspire shock and awe. And finally, here's Bourne's impressions on the Canucks overall:
The Coyotes looked poor, but only because the best team in the NHL looked really good. Phoenix just isn’t quite on that level, as disciplined as they tend to play.
Paul Bissonnette Was In the Game
Which brings us to Paul Bissonnette, who played in the game. Despite a different vantage point, he had similar praise for the Canucks:
Canucks were the most impressive team overall I've seen this year. Disciplined, block a tone of shots, good puck management, and Luongo.
Oh and that Sedin guy is unreal, it's like there's 2 of them out there.
Funny. The mention of the Sedins led to the following question, tweeted by @Maverick16Lynes: "What would u give to be on the Sedin's line?" BizNasty responded in typical fashion:
The question is what would the Sedin's give to play on a line with me?
I wonder if me and the twins would have as much chemistry as when I played with Crosby and Malkin?
And then, when the inevitable Sedin hate on Twitter started, BizNasty opened up a big can of perspective, doused in humour, as usual:
Why is every non-Canucks fan bashin' the Sedins on Twitter? All of u would give ur left nut to have them on ur team #ExceptDaLadies #NoNuts
And finally, Bissonnette lets us in on why he and Tanner Glass didn't drop the gloves, as many had hoped. No, BizNasty wasn't frightened by the Tru Fakt that Glass fights bears. It's because Glass is responsible and smart:
When your team is up 3-0 and has momentum you don't fight for no reason. #Fact. Like last night when we were down against Vancouver. I asked Glass to fight, he declined, that doesn't make him soft. Its the right play.
And finally, for those wishing, like we do, that Bourne and BizNasty had more crossover, here's Bourne on BizNasty:
Bissonnette skates better than he did when I played against him in Wilkes-Barre, by leaps and bounds. I’d even go as far as to say he’s a good skater at the NHL level. In general, he’s actually not a bad player, I had let his self-deprecation get to my head.
Never change, you two.