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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 5:57 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Henrik Sedin on verge of Canucks' scoring record

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Pretty soon the only place Henrik Sedin will still be looking up to Markus Naslund is in the rafters of Rogers Arena, where his fellow Swede’s retired No. 19 Vancouver Canucks jersey hangs.

Sedin is one point behind Naslund’s franchise record of 756 heading into Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild, and will soon pass the player who preceded him -- first on the outdoor rinks of their hometown and later as captain of the Canucks. But along with Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl, the other players whose names hang from the Rogers Arena rafters but already sit below him on the scoring list, Sedin will continue to look up to Naslund in other ways.

“It’s a great honor,” Sedin said. “Markus is a guy from our hometown, and Trevor, what he meant for us our first couple of years, and a guy like Stan [now a Canucks senior adviser] is around the team on a weekly basis, so it's very nice to be up there with those guys.”

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 5:18 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Wild

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It hasn’t easy to find a goaltending story to trump the Vancouver Canucks’ ongoing saga with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, but the Minnesota Wild had one Tuesday.

News that symptoms related to multiple sclerosis will prevent Josh Harding from making a start on the second half of back-to-back games not only means a likely first NHL game for 22-year-old American Hockey League call up Darcy Kuemper, but could create a crunch on the 23-man roster should the Wild activate defenseman Jared Spurgeon from the injured list.

At the other end, it will be Luongo back in goal for the Canucks after watching Schneider win the past two.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 4:34 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Harding: '100 percent' he'll return from MS setback

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Symptoms related to multiple sclerosis will prevent Josh Harding from playing against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, but the Minnesota Wild goaltender insists the disease will not prevent him from continuing to stop pucks in the NHL.

Harding said he is "100 percent" confident he could keep playing through the unpredictable, incurable disease that can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. He was diagnosed with the illness in October.

"Coming into this I knew it wasn't going to be the most perfect road," he said after skating Tuesday. "There are going to be some bumps in the road and some challenges and I know things are going to get better and that's a positive point."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 5:47 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Calgary's Street to debut in hometown Vancouver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- If you handed Ben Street a team of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, he still can’t imagine coming up with a better script for his NHL debut than what will play out Saturday night.

Called up from the American Hockey League by the Calgary Flames the day before, Street will play his first NHL game in his hometown against the Vancouver Canucks, in front of family, friends and his fiancé, while the rest of the Street clan watches into the wee hours back in Newfoundland on "Hockey Night in Canada."

It’s hard to imagine a better way to celebrate Hockey Day in Canada.

"I don’t know what else I would add into the story," Street said after Saturday’s morning skate. "On 'Hockey Night in Canada' where you grew up, I don’t think there’s anything I can add to it at this point."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flames getting used to new system, despite injuries

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Calgary Flames are a lot better equipped to handle a recent run of injuries to key players than they would have been when they visited the Vancouver Canucks two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Back then, everyone was still trying to figure out where to go in the new system installed by new coach Bob Hartley.

Now the incumbents can at least tell the new guys where to go.

"Now there are 17 guys that know the system, and we bring in new guys and they can just follow the lead and other guys will be able to even tell them on the ice, 'Hey, this is where you are supposed to be,'" veteran Alex Tanguay said. "A couple weeks ago we had a couple guys on each line that didn’t know where they should be."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 3:26 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Schneider gets back-to-back starts for Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider will get a chance to build a little momentum Saturday night when he makes his second-straight start playing host to the Calgary Flames.

Schneider, who came into the season as the new No. 1 after taking over from Roberto Luongo early in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, watched Luongo start – and excel in – four straight games before making 22 saves Thursday in a 4-1 win at the Minnesota Wild.

"I've always liked to get in a rhythm and tonight is another opportunity to do that," said Schneider, who went 10 days between starts. "I don't change anything regardless of who I am playing, or how long it's been, it all stays the same. I think that's part of staying consistent is doing the same things over and over again that give you success. If you get out of those patterns you see differences in your game."

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 4:49 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Keith-Sedin incident latest fuel to rivalry

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The heated rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks rarely needs any extra fuel to spark a fire, but there is plenty of it going into their first meeting of the season Friday.

It will be the first time the teams have played each other since March 21, when Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith hit Canucks forward Daniel Sedin with an elbow to the head, earning a five-game suspension. Sedin sustained a concussion and missed almost a month, and in his absence the Canucks lost the first three games of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series to the Los Angeles Kings.

Sedin and Keith both downplayed the incident Friday morning.

"I don't get angry that much," Sedin said, while insisting several times a win was all that mattered Friday. "It was more disappointment, so that's the only feeling I have. From what I heard he is a great guy and I still believe he is a good guy, that's not going to change. I think when the rivalry gets that heated players maybe do things they shouldn't do, and that was probably the case."

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 3:44 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Here are the lineups the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks likely will use when they renew one of the NHL's best rivalries Friday at Rogers Arena:

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Zack Kassian

Chris Higgins - Alexandre Burrows - Jannik Hansen

Mason Raymond - Jordan Schroeder - Dale Weise

Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Aaron Volpatti

Dan Hamhuis - Alexander Edler

Jason Garrison - Kevin Bieksa

Keith Ballard - Christopher Tanev

Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker

Injured: Ryan Kesler, David Booth

Weise missed practice Thursday with a stiff neck but said he felt good enough to play after taking part in the morning skate.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Johnny Oduya

Sheldon Brookbank - Nick Leddy

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Scratched: Jamal Mayers

Injured: Michal Rozsival, Daniel Carcillo

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said backup goaltender Ray Emery will start Saturday in Calgary for just the second time this season. Quenneville wouldn't confirm whether Bollig or Mayers would play on the fourth line Friday, but Mayers stayed out for a hard skate long after his teammates left in the morning, as did Rozsival, who is close to coming back from a knee injury.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 5:21 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Landeskog out for Avs, Mitchell moves to second line

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche is shaking up its lines to try and shake an early funk – and a much longer skid against the Vancouver Canucks.

Coming off consecutive losses, winless in three road games, still missing captain Gabriel Landeskog to injury, and facing a team they haven't beaten in regulation in 17 tries, Colorado moved third-line center John Mitchell into the top-six as a left wing and inserted call-up Michael Sgarbossa to make his NHL debut in Mitchell's usual spot.

"Just shake it up a little bit and see what happens," coach Joe Sacco said. "With Gabe being out just thought I'd change it up a little bit."

Sacco didn't have an update on his captain and usual top-line left wing Landeskog, who returned from a big, high hit in San Jose on Saturday and finished the game, but did not dress in Edmonton on Monday night. He is still with the team and watched part of the Canucks morning skate Wednesday from the tunnel outside the Avalanche locker room, but did not take part in Colorado's skate an hour later.

"Same status," Sacco said of Landeskog. "Head/leg injury and no timetable as far as returning."

Without Landeskog, Sacco hopes Mitchell will add "a little more jam" to Stastny's line, something he noticed from the trio after making the switch in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Oilers. The hope is that leads to more power play opportunities for the Avalanche, which is averaging three chances per game and giving up a little more than six.

"It's fair to say we need to do a better job of playing inside the dots, getting to the net more, making the opposition tug us down," said Sacco, who liked the way his team is playing five-on-five but has seen them give up seven power play goals the last two games.

"Our Achilles heel has been our penalty kill," Sacco said. "Even when we do a pretty good job of killing a penalty it seems to end up in the back of our net. No excuses, we have to be better in that area."

Here are the rest of the new Colorado lines as the Avalanche tries to end a 0-15-2 skid against the Canucks on Wednesday night:

Jamie McGinnMatt DuchenePA Parenteau

John MitchellPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Chuck Kobasew – Michael Sgarbosa – Milan Hejduk

Cody McLeodMark OlverPatrick Bordeleau

Erik Johnson - Ryan Wilson

Greg Zanon - Matt Hunwick

Ryan O'Byrne - Jan Hejda or Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Shane O'Brien and Tyson Barrie or Jan Hejda

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie

Notes: Sacco said O'Brien, a former Canuck, would sit out for the fifth time in six games for sure, but as "still deciding" between Barrie or Hejda as his sixth defenseman.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks split up Garrison-Edler defense pairing

The Vancouver Canucks only have one new defenseman playing regularly this season, but they've got two trying to make big adjustments.

Asking them to do so on the same pairing has been problematic early, so for now they have split up newcomer Jason Garrison and Alexander Edler, who is being asked to play the less familiar right side after his old partner Sami Salo left for Tampa Bay as a free agent.

The change came shortly after both defensemen committed egregious turnovers that led to goals early in a 4-1 loss in San Jose on Sunday night. Garrison moved onto a pairing with Kevin Bieksa and Edler, a left-handed shot, stayed on the right side with steady veteran Dan Hamhuis, a top-four mix that stayed intact during a 3-2 shootout loss the next night in Los Angeles.

"We felt we needed to make a couple little changes and adjustments and I felt it worked really well in the L.A. game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Playing against the Stanley Cup champions, it was our fourth game in six nights, and we played a real solid game."

For Garrison, who signed in his hometown as a free agent after a breakout season in Florida, it's about learning a new system, getting comfortable with a new playing partner, and reacting on the ice rather than thinking.

"There is going to be a period when you think about things more than just reacting to them, and that's part of the process," said Garrison, who is pointless but plus-2 in six games. "But you have to make that timeline very short and make it reactionary more than learning very quickly."

Here are the rest of the lines as the Canucks look to extend a 15-0-2 streak against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, including goaltender Roberto Luongo getting a surprise second-straight start:

Daniel SedinHenrik SedinZack Kassian

Chris HigginsAlexandre BurrowsJannik Hansen

Mason RaymondJordan SchroederDale Weise

Manny MalhotraMaxim LapierreAaron Volpatti

Dan HamhuisAlexander Edler

Jason GarrisonKevin Bieksa

Keith BallardChristopher Tanev

Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

Injured: Ryan Kesler, David Booth

Scratched: Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker

Notes: Lapierre, who has been playing through a groin "tweak" the last two games, participated in the morning skate, but could come out in favor of Andrew Ebbett on the fourth line.

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential