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Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins back at site of 2011 Cup triumph

VANCOUVER – Boston Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic walked into the visitor’s locker room at Rogers Arena on Saturday morning and the Stanley Cup memories came flooding back.

Back in Vancouver for the first time since winning Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Bergeron said it was hard not to recall the celebrations 2 ½ years ago, both on the ice and in the room.

"Just celebrating with all the guys and it all happened here in this room, it does bring a lot of memories," Bergeron said. "And the final buzzer when you jump on the goalie and all celebrate together. Too many things to talk about, but it is obviously a special feeling."

Lucic, who is from Vancouver, shared those sentiments. But like most of his teammates, Lucic downplayed the significance of the rivalry that blossomed in that Cup Final and what it would mean Saturday.

Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 3:28 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks' Tortorella still seeks complement for Sedins

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks are still looking for a good option to play with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin while regular linemate Alexandre Burrows recovers from a broken jaw.

Coach John Tortorella admitted that neither Jannik Hansen nor David Booth has been effective while taking turns on that top line since Burrows was injured four games ago. Tortorella also made it clear Zack Kassian, who scored five goals in the first seven games alongside the Sedins last season, isn't going to get a turn anytime soon.

There was a lot of talk about Kassian getting a regular shot with the Sedins coming into training camp, and he did in preseason before an eight-game suspension for breaking the jaw of Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner with his stick. That included missing the first five games of the regular season, and Kassian has spent most of his time since on the third or fourth line, averaging 11:20 of ice time and sitting out as a healthy scratch once.

"I am not ready to put him in those situations when I am playing that line against probably one of their top two lines on the opposing team," Tortorella said of playing Kassian with the Sedins. "We are still in the process of trying to get Zack to process the game, not only with the puck but away from the puck. It's tough when you have to worry about pucks going in the back of your net, when players just aren't ready to read those situations. I don't feel he has learned that part of the game well enough to be put in those situations."

Posted On Monday, 12.09.2013 / 5:24 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lack to make home debut for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was named the NHL's Third Star for the period ending Dec. 8, but he won't face the First Star for the same time period, the Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner, on Monday when the Canucks host the Hurricanes.

Instead, Canucks backup goalie Eddie Lack will play against the Hurricanes and Skinner, who had five goals and an assist in three games last week. It will be Lack’s first home game after watching Luongo come within seven seconds of a shutout in a 3-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

Lack is 3-2-0 with a .911 save percentage in his first full NHL season, including 29 saves in a 3-2 win in Carolina eight days earlier. The 25-year-old Swede has started the back half of five of the first six sets of back-to-back games for the Canucks, but always on the road.

"It's something I've been looking forward to for a while," Lack said of playing at home. "You nap in the hotel on the road, you nap in your own bed here, that's pretty much the only difference. It's still the same ice."

Posted On Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 5:36 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks recall Weber from Utica

VANCOUVER – Two days after coach John Tortorella said he was worried about defenseman Andrew Alberts stepping into the lineup after six weeks as a healthy scratch, the Vancouver Canucks recalled defenseman Yannick Weber from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.

Alberts played his first game since Oct. 24 and just his fourth of the season Friday against thePhoenix Coyotes in place of Alexander Edler, who is out indefinitely with a right knee injury. But Alberts, who has played two of his four games as a forward this season, finished with just six minutes and 33 seconds of ice time and only played one shift after the second period of the 3-2 overtime win.

Posted On Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 1:02 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Tortorella's message to Canucks: Stay aggressive

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks won't change their lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, but coach John Tortorella is still trying to change his team's mentality.

Tortorella was upset his team sat on a 2-0 third period lead against the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday, blowing the lead midway through the period and giving away a point to a Pacific Division rival they are chasing before rallying to win 3-2 in overtime.

It was the fifth time in the past seven home games that the Canucks failed to hang onto a lead in the third period. And while he made it clear the team was not guilty of sitting back with the lead in the other four losses, Tortorella still sees room for improvement.

Posted On Friday, 12.06.2013 / 4:04 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks' Alberts to pick up some of Edler's minutes

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella didn't sugarcoat how he felt about Andrew Alberts filling in for injured defenseman Alexander Edler after sitting out the past six weeks as a healthy scratch.

"I am worried about it," Tortorella said.

Alberts hasn't played since Oct. 24 and only one of the three games he has played this season came on defense; he filled in as a fourth-line forward in the other two. He played one 37-second shift Oct. 22 and three shifts totaling 1:49 on Oct. 24. Now the Canucks need him to fill some of the team-high 23:26 averaged by Edler, who is out indefinitely after injuring his right knee in a 3-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Tortorella knows that is a lot to ask of Alberts.

"I love the guy. He is a great teammate. He just comes to work every day but he hasn't seen any game looks," Tortorella said. "With so many different looks coming at you, when you don't have those in game situations for as long as it's been, it's a tough spot.”

Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 4:46 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings hope Carter can provide boost to offense

VANCOUVER -- The Los Angeles Kings should get a needed scoring boost with Jeff Carter expected back in the lineup Monday night against the Vancouver Canucks after he missed the past 10 games with a broken foot.

Coach Darryl Sutter would only confirm Carter was being activated from the injured list before the game and would be one of 13 forwards to take the pre-game skate.

Carter wasn't available to talk after the morning skate, but it seemed clear from the line rushes he would be back and on the second line. Carter, who had five goals and nine points his first 14 games, returns to a team that scored one goal its past two games, including a 1-0 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Despite the drought, the Kings, who also get big fourth-line forward Jordan Nolan back after he missed four games with an undisclosed injury, have a point in nine straight (6-0-3).

"We have been getting a lot of opportunities, we're just not finishing it off," Sutter said.

Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks' Hossa leaves team for family reasons

VANCOUVER -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa left the team to attend to a family matter and will not play against the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate.

"I think it's OK but I don't know yet," Quenneville said, adding he "didn't know yet" how long Hossa will be gone.

Hossa missed three games with a lower body injury before returning to score a goal and add an assist in Chicago's last game, a 6-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. Hossa has scored 10 goals and recorded 17 points in 20 games this season.

With Chicago already missing forward Bryan Bickell, who was injured against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, Hossa's absence means Kris Versteeg will slide back up to the top line of the NHL's highest-scoring team. Versteeg has a goal and four points in four games since being re-acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers on Nov. 15.

Posted On Friday, 11.22.2013 / 4:42 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Tortorella juggles Canucks lines looking for spark

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is changing up his forward lines for the fourth time in as many games. That juggling will include splitting up Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night.

With six goals scored during a five-game losing streak (0-3-2), Tortorella admitted he's just trying to find a winning mix.

"We're throwing it up against the wall here a little bit and we'll see what sticks," said Tortorella, who also split up Mike Santorelli and Chris Higgins.

Henrik will center Higgins and Jannik Hansen, who scored on Tuesday in his second game back after missing 10 with a shoulder injury. Daniel, who has 15 shots his past two games, will play on the left side of Santorelli and Ryan Kesler while Alexandre Burrows, who hasn't scored this season, drops from the first line to the third.

Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 6:11 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks' Booth not in lineup against Panthers

VANCOUVER -- David Booth was looking forward to playing against his former team, the Florida Panthers, on Tuesday night. He won't get the chance.

Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is making Booth a healthy scratch for the second time this season. The benching comes two games after Booth was recalled from a conditioning stint in the American Hockey League.

Booth, who has this season and next remaining on a contract with a $4.25 million salary-cap hit, comes out of the lineup because fourth-line wing Dale Weise is ready to return from a sprained left knee.

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— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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