Bert who's he?

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:09 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- His H2 Hummer is in the players' parking lot from time to time but no one will discuss the man who drove it there.

 He allegedly skates with injured teammates early in the day but no one's sure where he changes.

 In fact, no one outside the organization can positively confirm a sighting of the man who already appears to be having a significant impact on a series against Calgary that doesn't start until tomorrow.

 He is The Man Who Mustn't Be Named.

 "You don't really see him -- it's like ghosts," said one local broadcaster of a man who used to wear No. 44 for the Canucks.

 "You hear or sense he's around but you can't really be sure."

 Ask anyone inside the organization about You Know Who and they'll tell you, well, absolutely nothing.

 "He's still around and that's all I'm going to say about that," said the generally talkative Brad May.

 Unlike Calgary's dressing room, where the free-wheeling Flames don't seem to be burdened by a strict directive of any sort, the Canucks walk gingerly around a subject as taboo as Gordon Campbell's drunk driving.

 Like the terrifying wizard Voldemort who haunts all in Harry Potter's world, everyone is scared to say his name for fear of repercussions.

 Instead, when talk of the man responsible for one of hockey's darkest days comes up, even local media types have subconsciously come up with clever ways to avoid What's His Name.

 When asking questions about the night the club's top right-winger orchestrated a vicious attack from behind that left Colorado's Steve Moore with two fractured vertebrae, they spoke yesterday of "The Unfortunate Incident," "The Scenario," or "The Unforeseen Adversity."

 One even called it "The Extremely Difficult Set of Circumstances."

 This in a city where some still subscribe to theories suggesting Avs coach Tony Granato is to blame for putting Moore on the ice or that the young forward is a faker who can't take a punch.

 Thanks to a criminal investigation, a pending civil lawsuit and the powerful control Brian Burke has over his camp, it's apparent no player or team official is to speak the offender's name, even though the hockey world knows his sentence will sideline him the balance of the season. They're obviously sick of it all anyways.

 It's become so bad even What's His Face won't use his own name these days.

 It was recently discovered You Know Who played in the recent Re/Max BC Match Play golf championship kickoff tourney under an assumed name.

 His alias: S. Blakeney.

 Presumably the S doesn't stand for Steve.

 "Anytime you go through experiences and you're missing who you're missing...," started Crawford, dancing around talk of Thingamabob when asked about the tailspin his team endured following the March 8 'mishap.'

 "In spirit, he's certainly here and the guys all kind of rally around him."

 To show just how on edge everyone is these days with The Ordeal hanging over the club, consider Ed Jovanovski's response to a question concerning the obvious dislike these two teams have for one another.

 "Don't try to stir things up, you (bleeping) guys," he snapped.

 Aside from That Guy's teary apology days after The Challenging Incident, the only confirmed sighting of The Artist Formerly Known as Bert came Saturday when he received a standing ovation from Canucks fans for making a surprise appearance at Fan Appreciation Night to give away his jersey.

 "He's around, chatting with the guys and it's good to see him around," said Jovanovski, coming close to saying his name.

 "In his situation, he could do what he wants -- he could just pick up and go -- but he made that commitment to stay around the city."

 Who the hell were we talking about again anyway?


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