Shooting from the Hip with @SpencerDubas: Canucks Trade Cody and Creating Canucks Cubes
[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan. If you're interested in being featured in "Shooting from the Hip", send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]
Spencer (@SpencerDubas) was born and raised in Surrey, BC (insert jokes here) into a family where Canucks fever was already rampant. Only 3 years old at the time of the 1994 Cup run, he still has his Bure jersey proudly sitting in his room. Though being a fan all his life, his true hockey fan craze didn’t come out until a certain few players: Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison, (you may have heard of them) formed the West Coast Express. This runaway train of scoring dominance that couldn’t be stopped on their way to the top of the NHL points lists. Watching these players are what made Spencer into the fan he is today.
Spencer currently works as a contractor to the City of Surrey Parks. He loves his car (decked out in Canucks colors, of course) and a huge music fan of all genres, from Taylor Swift to Eminem to Nickelback (yes, he’s serious). He runs Canucks on Tap where he posts many of his Canucks related Photoshop creations. Spencer graduated from Fleetwood Park in 2009, and at the young age of 20, may not have the same life experience as other Canucks fans, but still has the “bleed blue and green all day, every day” mentality which makes a true Canucks fan.
1. I think I can guess where the Twitter handle of @SpencerDubas comes from. If you were forced to change the handle to something not your name, what would you change it to and why?
Yes, I don’t have one of those creative Twitter handles that some of the Twitter-verse comes up with. My handle and the 140-character limit don’t get along so well, I always am getting a barrage complaints from retweeters. If I was forced to change my name (I picture a Clockwork Orange-esque movie theatre scene with a Minnesota Wild game being played, talk about torture) I would most likely go with something short, Canucks-related and incredibly cheesy (think of something like @thestanchion levels of cheesiness).
2. The trade deadline has come and gone. Are you surprised by what the Canucks did? Do you think they did enough? Looking at the entire league, who team would you say most improved its chances?
I don’t think there’s a person in Vancouver who saw what happened today coming. Nash didn’t get traded?!?! I’m just as confused as you all are. Besides that not too much happened. We got Sammy Påhlsson (and unless you want trouble make you don’t forget that fancy o above the a in his name!) An early Modo teammate of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Påhlsson brings both veteran leadership and a history of winning to the Canucks. And I guess that’s about it….
Well, there was that Hodgson thing…
Of course I was completely flabbergasted when I found out what the Canucks had done. I was at work when the tweets first started coming in, I dropped a gallon of paint on the ground and almost fell off my ladder. (Don’t go near Bear Creek Park for the next few days.) I was lost for words, which seemed to be consensus all over town. Cody Hodgson and Alex Sulzer had been traded to Buffalo for Zack Kassian and Marc-André Gragnani. This trade hit the city like a bombshell, and as soon I got word of it I ran to my bomb shelter and hid for the next many hours.
We’ve all watched Cody growing up with this team, battling injuries and other setbacks. I’m sure many of us, including myself, saw him as our child, celebrating each of his accomplishments alongside him. So it only makes sense that there is going to be some anger and high tempers when our “child” was suddenly gone. The heart always speaks first, and that’s what happened today. The flooding of shock and animosity on Twitter was almost enough to have me sandbagging off my home. But you have to remember that the NHL is a business first. Keeping players around because you love them and they are “a good guy” isn’t going to win you anything. Plus, there has been speculation that Hodgson had asked to be traded. Personally, I had always felt this rift between Cody and this organization. He may not had asked to be traded, but as a GM you need to think team first. If you have a player who doesn’t completely buy into the system or organization, you need to remove that player, no matter how much talent.
The fact is that this team has a limited window in which to win. With the teams major components signed for only the next couple years, our chance to win is now. If Gillis truly believes moving Hodgson was the best way for this team accomplish it, I can only trust his judgment. He did what he thought was needed, which was add more grit to this team. After a certain event (not to be spoken of) only months ago, everyone asking where this teams toughness was. Gillis addressed that today, and although it was a huge gamble, I do believe this move was for the best. At only 21 years old, adding Zack Kassian to our roster didn’t make us give up on our future, he IS our future.
But back to the original questions, Yes, I do believe the Canucks did enough this deadline. They addressed our few areas of worry, defensive depth and toughness. They may have broken a few hearts in the process, but I hope that in the coming weeks these moves will show their significance.
As for which team did the best this deadline, I would have to go with Nashville. They really pushed all their chips in this year, picking up the massive Hal Gill, along with winger Andrei Kostitsyn, and center Paul Gaustad. Like the Canucks, the Predators are in their best window to make a run. I applaud Dave Poile and his team for making a statement, and hope like hell that we don’t have to face them anytime soon.
Sorry for rambling on and on, but I wanted to present the whole story and show that this trade is not all that bad when you get right down into it. I’m sure hoping Clay will cut this down to a few simple and sweet sentences anyway. (Clay’s note: No way, man. That was good.)
But the biggest and most important question coming from all this: What will the new Canucks Hockey Blog slogan be??
3. As mentioned in your Twitter bio, you are a creator of “Canucks Cubes”. Can you explain what a “Canuck Cube” is and give us some of the background? When did you start doing them and what was the inspiration? How long does it take for you to make the instructions for one of them? How long would it take a rookie like me to make one (following your instructions) and how long would it take you?
Canucks Cubes were my little side project that blew up more than I would have ever imagined. Picture 8-bit gaming brought to life. They all started almost a year ago, when I was messing around with Photoshop trying to come up with a new challenge for myself. I’m not sure exactly where the cube idea came from, but a few hard hours of work later Mini Kesler was born. I put him up on Twitter and people instantly loved it. Everyonewanted their own favorite players to be brought to their 3-dimensional forms. It built from there, with lots of help from @Gutsmctavish24 and the #weareallcardboardraymond campaign. The power of the cube avatars has helped Raymond, Kesler, Hansen and Higgins all bump their slumps, making cardboard magic a reality. The Cardboard army has kept growing and growing from there. Now most of the current roster has be cube-ized, along with some throwback players including my favorite line of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison and of course the great Trevor Linden. The army has even grown to some of the Canucks community, with Derek Jory, Guts McTavish, the Green Men and CHB’s very own Chris Golden, along with a few others, all having their own Cube forms.
I’ve gotten the construction of these little guys down to a science, but it didn’t start out that simple. I remember countless late nights of vulgar cursing and keyboard smashing when I couldn’t make one of these work. But having your own Canuck cube companion is worth the frustration. Give one a shot for yourself, they are all available for your own folding pleasure on my site. All you need is a printer, and pair of scissors, a lot of patience, and about an hour of free time to have your very own. And watch your fingers, I won’t be held responsible for cube related hospital trips.
4. With 6 weeks to go in the season, the Canucks are battling the Red Wings for the Western Conference title and also with the Rangers for the Presidents’ Trophy? If pressed to make a prediction now, what place overall do you predict the Canucks will finish in (both with respect to the West and the NHL overall)? How many Canadian teams will ultimately make this year’s playoffs?
Though I don’t usually like to make predictions, which always find a way of backfiring on me, I do see the Canucks taking the Presidents’ Trophy race. Their play of late hasn’t really lived up to the expectations’ of some, and yet they’ve somehow continued to keep winning games. If they can find that gel of last year’s team I don’t think that there is much stopping them from going right to the top. I have faith that this team will find that extra gear, get all cylinders firing, and give it 110% (I’d make a great hockey interview eh?) to wrap up this season, including a few extra rounds of playoff hockey, at minimum.
As for other Canadian teams making the playoffs, It’s really been a disappointing year for our nation . This is our sport, and I really hope that our fellow Canadian teams will get their acts together in the next few seasons. In all honesty I can’t see any other Canadians team making the playoffs I do have a bit of a soft spot for the Jets though, who have been their own miracle story this year, and I would love seeing them squeeze in. They’ve more than earned it.
5. Why should people follow you on Twitter? What can new followers expect?
This is a tough one. I really don’t know why anyone follows me to be completely honest. I tweet A LOT about pointless things with lame humor. I shouldn’t have any followers. Wait, I think I’m doing this wrong…
EVERYBODY SHOULD FOLLOW ME!
I love to engage with my followers. I know my stats and facts, but tend to keep it relatively lighthearted. I use and abuse sarcasm to its limits, and always have a whimsical quip about all the going ons in the hockey world that should get a few chuckles. I like to keep it real, and I don’t always wear my blue and green colored glasses off when I tweet. I love the Canucks first and foremost, but also love the entire sport as a whole. I love Photoshop so I’m always tweeting different creations, and am always up for a project. I think that alone is worth a follow. I’ve met countless people on twitter that have turned into great friends and would love to make some more.
Thanks to Clay and the whole Canucks Hockey Blog team for letting me do this. It’s been a blast.