pass it to bulis

Raymond, Ballard and a 3rd; The Trade That Never Was

We’re 10 days away from the 2016 NHL trade deadline and unless Jim Benning and Co. go on a month long bender and forget they still have a job to do, the Canucks will be sellers at the deadline. In previous years, the Canucks have sold off what we believed to be important parts of the team (Hodgson, draft picks) but found out those would have just held us back.

So seeing that the playoffs are not an option for Vancouver this season and plenty of contending teams are looking for valuable rentals, what can the Canucks get for the future of the franchise? That same question was asked back in 2011 and 2012 but the Canucks were the ones doing the buying. What did we all think they should offer; how bout Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and a 3rd round pick?

This was the package that was theoretically put together by anyone that thought they could run the Canucks back then. Of course, we never wanted to get rid of anyone of true value because the Canucks still needed to win the Cup; but we didn’t need Keith Ballard who Alain Vigneault basically cast off of the team and Mason Raymond was just good enough to fetch value on the open market, but we could have cared less about him.

As for the 3rd round pick, whether you play fantasy sports or you are actually the real life GM of a sports franchise, this was the very most you were willing to give away without going into the hot zone of future prospects or being shoo’d away for being to frugal. Giving up a 1st or a 2nd was usually out of the question unless you were getting back a premier player or a hot prospect.

The 3rd was the top pick in the 2nd tier of value so everyone was cool with that. But why did that trade never materialize?

Was it because in reality, it was awful? Was it not enough to fetch the likes of Shea Weber, Corey Perry or jeez, I don’t even remember the amount of players I thought could come back in that trade. It’s funny to think that the Canucks still had Cody Hodgson at the time and was so highly sought after by Canucks brass but would later become the scar just above your chin that you no longer can grow facial hair on.

That vacancy just annoys now and the embarrassing story that is the reason for it has just been told too many times. Imagine if they traded Hodgson at the height of his perceived value: Hodgson, Raymond, Ballard and a 3rd for Shea Weber; that totally would have sealed the deal.

Everyone wanted the Canucks to get better and we’re going through that same cycle all over again except THIS TIME, we suck.

Getting back to the pieces of yesteryear, Keith Ballard was a perfect fit for literally any other team because well, he’d get playing time. AV did not like Mr. Ballard and it was frustrating to see a top 4 defender benched or stapled to the bench on so many nights. Frankie Corrado must know the feeling.

Ballard wasn’t huge factor in the 2011 run but most felt he could have offered more had he actually played, same could have been said for Cory Schneider in the Final. Speaking of Schneider, Pass it to Bulis ran a story on this “package” back in 2012 and I forgot Cory was also a chip in the so called deal.

Thinking back, if that deal happened, we’ d have Corey Perry instead of Bo Horvat. Ryan Kesler may never have wanted out and….you know what, it’s fine. We’re better for it and I’ve moved on.

Mason Raymond was what Jannik Hansen is basically this season. Speed, skill, finish and back checking all described Raymond and he was valuable, in our eyes anyways, because it didn’t disrupt the core and we figured we could add some star power. I think a good chunk of the GMs around the league passed on our deal when they started seeing Raymond tripping over the blue line night in and night out.

That would be a deal breaker for anyone.

This trade may have been destined to fail from the beginning or maybe it never was offered but you have to wonder, would any team have taken that deal? There will never be again a package of that nature that would allow the Canucks to keep all the good and get rid of the suck.

Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis, heck Ryan Miller and even Alex Burrows are now all guys we mention regularly as trade bait. Matt Bartkowski wouldn’t fetch a ball so I can’t imagine there’s a use for him even at a dog park. The Canucks are in a rare situation where a few draft picks, B prospects or even one B level star is attainable through trade this season.

They also have the off chance of being able to draft “generational talent” Auston Matthews in June if they suck just bad enough to beat out both the Leafs and Oilers, ya those guys.

I don’t know if any of you have forgotten that the whole Milan Lucic and Cody Franson thing still may happen so a few extra picks, a kid from Zurich and some hometown boys might just make the Canucks worth watching again.

Anything is better than seeing them lose 5-2 for the 4th consecutive game.

Canucks Supporting Actors Foolishly Get Starring Roles

Part of the reason the Canucks may be working the #tank option this year is how they deploy their players in key situations. Willie Desjardins hasn’t exactly hidden his choices in close games with minutes to go; he openly doubles down on some horrendous decisions. WD has been putting players like Derek Dorsett, Matt Bartkowski, Linden Vey and Alex Biega in starring roles when the game is on the line. 

He’s doing the equivalent of putting Zach Galifianakis or Melissa McCarthy as the headliner in a major movie. The reason those actors are good is because they aren’t relied upon to carry the whole movie – support actors shouldn’t get lead billing. Neither should Dorsett or Bartkowski.

The Canucks aren’t losing every game, they’re actually winning the odd one and lately, they’ve won the last two! However, when you make decisions like putting out less than capable players to close out a lead at the end of a game, you tend to be on the losing side more often than not.

That or start the game with those same players in a role they have no business assuming. I thought DD was a joke on the Sedin line, but it actually happened in real life. Real life….a game was played where Dorsett was a winger with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Simply stunning.

So why would you put those players in such prominent positions? You shouldn’t. You know why Zach Galifianakis was hilarious in all 3 Hangover movies? He wasn’t the star; he had a supporting role. Melissa McCarthy was a riot in Bridesmaids but if you google her like I did, you’ll find that the movies she headlined…not so good.

We tend to see many actors hit it big on one role and it leads to a year of leading roles they have ZERO business acting in. Money is a big reason and Hollywood is hungry for anything they can get their hands on; Bradley Cooper is a good example.

As we watch this season continue and debate the merit of the #tank or the rebuild or WHATEVER, letting Willie D have full control over lines like the following will lead to disaster:

I could think of literally so many other options that would make more sense than that configuration. Put out five d-men, or how about Horvat/McCann/Burrows??? I don’t even coach and that sounds better. You don’t even need Corsi or Fenwick or PDO or any of that…well actually if the stats showed that was the best option then I’d be ok with that but I’m not going to bother because I know it doesn’t.

Already, we’re seeing some lines develop like the Horvat/Bae line and McCann with pretty much anyone seems like a good idea, sadly the fourthies (Prust/Dorsett) usually accompany him. In 2011, you could have the bottom six out there with minutes or even seconds to go in the defensive zone because they were proven to be reliable.

There is no reliability right now and throwing darts at a board isn’t a great strategy.

So Willie, the next time you see John C. Reilly, Vin Diesel, Seth Rogen or even Steve Carrell in a movie…just because they followed that supporting role with a lead one, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Sedins And Hansen: The New… West Coast Express – A Hot Taek

 

Its been a long time since someone has given a Canucks line a catchy name. We had the Mattress Line, Kid Line, Brothers line (but we won’t talk about that one because honestly, who came up with that one), KLM line, That 70’s line and American Express among others. Some of those aren’t even Canucks ones but after a few I realized Canucks fans aren’t that clever, they’ve also had a ton of unexciting players to name together. But there is one line that stands out above them all: The West Coast Express – Naslund, Morrison and Bertuzzi made up one of the greatest, most productive lines of all time even better than Gretzky, Kurri and Larionov. 

But that was a long time ago, over 10 years in fact, so isn’t it time to recharge that line with NEW members? Henrik and Daniel Sedin are very deserving of a new line name and with Jannik Hansen platooned on the other wing he has received a new lease on life and is producing as a true Sedin winger. Its been such a long time since the West Coast Express that many new fans don’t even remember the first one. What a great way to bring fans full circle.

Crazy idea? Probably. But think of the marketability. SEDINS NEW WEST COAST EXPRESS!!! Forget Naslund and Bertuzzi, these guys are as old as the train itself and still produce nightly. Just like the REAL West Coast Express, you’ll never lose your hat when the Sedins are rolling. Need a rest? Henrik and Daniel are there to carry the load while you get some much needed relaxation, sadly if you are playing on any line but theirs, that means you are stapled to the bench.

It’s not all about the Sedins though, Jannik Hansen brings his own trademark style to the rejuvenated line – like Naslund and Bertuzzi, Hansen is no stranger to breakaways; however Jannik is more like Skytrain than the WCE – frequent in-explainable power outages that result in long delays, in his case scoring. But fear not new West Coast Express followers, now that Hansen is on the top line, his production has never been better and at age 29 he’s well on his way to his best season ever!

This is nothing new to you though, you all have seen how well these three play together. In an article by Jason Botchford of The Province he echoes why the Sedins and Hansen just make sense. Or you could look at my last hurrah why they should be cemented together for the foreseeable future. Would it be smart to reboot the mid 2000’s “West Coast Express”? I say yes and if I’m wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

At 35, the Sedins are still a draw if you have any sense in you and if we get this thing trending on the twitter it can get legs. I mean, jeez #TweetDanielaHat trended. How vain are we? It was a great hashtag and the Bulis Boys know how to unknowingly create a trend.

The Canucks are not playing their greatest hockey right now and a welcome distraction is needed and renaming the Sedins/Hansen line is just that distraction. I’ve seen the hilites: we don’t throw hats, we start the wave when we’re losing and we DON’T THROW FREAKING HATS!!!! If we can’t muster up enough courage to do anything remotely productive, like a 16 year old in his parents basement blogging …….

…or on his latest 36 hour Fallout 4 bender, then lets bring back something that quite frankly we all used to love. Hank and Dank aren’t Nazzy and Bert but when it comes about excitement, real fans know how exciting these guys are and I would say they are definitely on par with that line in a slightly different shell.

So even though you are thinking this –

By Manny Mahal

You’re still seeing this pretty regularly –

By rapturjesuss

Henrik, Daniel and Jannik – your NEW West Coast Express.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four ……….if you still think I’m alive after this article.

 

Bo And Ed’s Avalanche Adventure

Oh the storylines that run wild in the National Hockey League. Usually when someone writes about the Canucks and a player’s first ever NHL game, it involves the opposing team and the Canucks being scored on by said player. But this is a different tale. Not since the days of Cody Hodgson has a Canuck prospect been heralded like Bo Horvat. In his NHL debut he shared the feat with a fellow team mate, Alex Edler, having HIS first game as well against the Avs many moons ago.

Bo Horvat and Alex Edler couldn’t be two more different types of players if they tried: one is a forward the other is a defenseman, Bo is 18, while Edler is 28, Edler is swedish and well, you get the picture. Its a tale of two men brought together with the same defining statistic: they both played their first ever NHL game vs. the Colorado Avalanche. Does this really matter? Well no, no it doesn’t. Neither player scored in their debut, had a point or knew where their next step would be.

Fortunately, for the Canucks, they have 2 players that could fit the bill, actually the Ted, for the Excellent Adventure. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter had different results after that movie. One guy was in Speed and the other….well, he was told to stop acting. Basically, the Nucks have 2 Keanus.

Alex Edler has since gone on to play over 500 NHL games, won a silver medal for Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and was on the front sports page when he leveled Drew Doughty in the playoffs a few years ago.

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This is not that hit, stupid internet.
Photo courtesy of nwsportsbeat.com

For Mr. Horvat, it’s just the beginning. When you don’t have any overly memorable plays aside from an almost goal credited to you, you rely on the little things, things that Pass it to Bulis has covered shift by shift. We all have such lofty expectations for this young chap and as long as he progresses like he should, there will be reason to cheer for Bo.

Sure, there will be t-shirts with Bo Knows on them, or Horvat hears a Boo (unlikely, cuz he’s so good), maybe Bo’s before Horvats…c’mon im clean. This hype machine isn’t going to die and before you know it, he’ll score and we’ll anoint him the next one to lead us. That’s life as a Canucks fan, we’re easily fooled.

As the games go on and hopefully this season it’s more than nine, Bo can settle into life as a Canuck and find his way into the NHL. From there, his skill will take over.

So GO ON YOUNG HORVAT, score your goals, play your hockeys; but remember, its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the bite in the….I was never good at motivational speeches.

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