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Posted On Sunday, 11.17.2013 / 1:24 PM

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

Canucks shake up lines in search of offense

VANCOUVER – Struggling to score, the Vancouver Canucks appear ready to shake up their forwards against the Dallas Stars on Sunday, breaking up their loaded top line in favor of more balance.

Ryan Kesler was moved off the wing of the No.1 line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin in practice Saturday and replaced by Alexandre Burrows, who returns to his old spot without a goal in nine games this season.

"I know how to play with them,” Burrows said of the Sedin twins. “It should be fun, just give them the puck and go to the net.”

Vancouver has scored three goals during its first three-game losing streak of the season, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in which they blew a late 1-0 lead.

The chances have been there. The goals have not.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.14.2013 / 4:16 PM

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

Canucks hoping for better play from top line

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks will get some forward depth back during the next two games.

David Booth returns Thursday against the San Jose Sharks from a groin injury and conditioning stint in the American Hockey League, while Jannik Hansen (shoulder) returned to practice Wednesday and is eligible to come off long-term injured reserve Sunday against the Dallas Stars. And Dale Weise (knee) may join him after skating with the team for the first time Thursday.

"You have to get hit to feel comfortable but I am close," Weise said. "I'll practice Saturday and if that feels good, maybe Sunday. If not then Tuesday [against the Florida Panthers] I think I will be back."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 12:11 PM

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

Kulemin could return for Maple Leafs against Canucks

VANCOUVER -- On a night with no shortage of storylines, it might be easy to overlook Nikolai Kulemin returning from a fractured foot. But the Toronto Maple Leafs could use him against the Vancouver Canucks.

It may have gotten lost amid plans for the retirement of Pavel Bure's No. 10, the contract extension Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin signed Friday, the return of Mason Raymond to Vancouver, or the similarities between the Maple Leafs goaltending tandem and what the Canucks went through the past two seasons. But with forward Carter Ashton starting a two-game suspension for a hit from behind on Derek Smith of the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Kulemin is the best option to take his place in a matchup with the Canucks' loaded top line of the Sedin twins with Ryan Kesler.

Assuming Kulemin plays, that is.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 4:30 PM

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

Red Wings, Canucks to match stacked top lines

VANCOUVER -- The Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks will feature a battle of loaded top lines Wednesday.

Coming off four straight losses, Detroit reunited Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on a line with Todd Bertuzzi, while the Canucks have won four straight games with Selke Trophy-winning center Ryan Kesler moved up to play right wing with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.

"Faceoffs are going to be important," Zetterberg said. "Both of our lines want to have the puck and it's not so fun to chase it."

The Red Wings have done too much chasing of the puck early this season, having been outshot in eight of their past 10 games and giving up 40 shots to the New York Rangers in a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday.

"We're too loose, we're giving up too many shots and we're not as tight as we should be defensively," coach Mike Babcock said.

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Posted On Monday, 10.28.2013 / 4:40 PM

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

Burrows back Monday for ailing Canucks

VANCOUVER – The return of top-six forward Alexandre Burrows to the Vancouver Canucks lineup for game Monday against the Washington Capitals certainly comes at a time of need.

The Canucks forward group resembled a busy emergency room after losing four forwards on their recent seven-game road trip.

Vancouver lost Dale Weise, David Booth, Jannik Hansen and Jordan Schroeder on their longest trip of the season, and none are ready to return for the first game back home against the Capitals.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 4:33 PM

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

Gallagher excited for Vancouver homecoming

VANCOUVER -- The Montreal Canadiens won't have captain Brian Gionta against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, but you won't have to look far for fellow undersized forward Brendan Gallagher.

While Gionta is back in Montreal for family reasons, Gallagher plans to be where Vancouver fans grew used to seeing him during his junior career with the nearby Giants of the Western Hockey League: in front of the net causing havoc.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Canucks brace for Hertl, rest of red-hot Sharks

VANCOUVER -- As if the Vancouver Canucks weren't already having enough trouble handling the San Jose Sharks, now they have to deal with the hottest player in the NHL, rookie Tomas Hertl.

San Jose has already beaten the Canucks eight straight, including a first-round sweep in last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs and the season opener for both teams Oct. 3.

The Sharks will be without defenseman Brad Stuart, who begins a three-game suspension for an illegal hit on New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. But Stuart was also out with a lower-body injury when the Sharks handed the Canucks a 4-1 loss to start the season in San Jose.


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.08.2013 / 5:17 PM

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

Sedins reunited after being split up

VANCOUVER -- If new Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wants to confuse New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider when he returns to play his old team Tuesday night, all he has to do is keep the same lines that finished Sunday's 5-4 comeback win in overtime over the Calgary Flames.

Splitting up identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin is such a rarity Schneider almost never saw it during his time in Vancouver. It certainly got the Canucks attention in Calgary.

"As soon as he wrote the lines on the board, it kind of gives you a little jolt when you see the twins split up. You know it's serious," said defenseman Kevin Bieksa. "I don't get paid the big bucks like the coaching staff to make those decisions and obviously I think they are better together, but at times it's definitely effective to split them up."

After falling behind 3-1 early in the third period, the Canucks stormed back , with the Sedins each setting up a goal on their new lines.

Tortorella downplayed the move, saying it was more about changing the entire forward mix after a miserable start.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 4:39 PM

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

Canucks, Oilers ready for physical game

VANCOUVER -- An already intense rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers ratcheted up when they met in a preseason game that yielded two suspensions.

They play again Saturday night, and Canucks forward Dale Weise, who was suspended three preseason games for his check to the head of Oilers star Taylor Hall, said he isn't sure what to expect.

"I guess we'll see what happens," Weise said. "I'm going to go out and play the same way, and regardless if it's Taylor Hall or someone else I am going to finish that check every time and look to be physical tonight. And if I have to answer the bell it's part of the game."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 2:20 PM

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

Canucks' Burrows out at least two weeks

VANCOUVER -- New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella's reliance on blocking shots generated plenty of discussing around the hockey world. That isn't likely to change now that top-line wing Alexandre Burrows will miss at least two weeks with a lower-body injury.

Burrows was hurt blocking a slap shot while killing off a 5-on-3 during the Canucks' season-opening 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. He finished the game but was spotted limping out of the locker room, and hasn't been back on the ice since. On Saturday, he was spotted wearing a walking boot.

"He's going to be out a couple of weeks, that's where we are going to leave it right now,"Tortorella said, refusing to get any more specific about the injury.

Burrows averaged just under 30 goals over the last four full seasons, and led the team with 13 in the shortened 2012-13 season while playing alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the No.1 line. He joins depth center Jordan Schroeder, who broke his foot blocking a shot in the preseason, on the injured list.

The Canucks, who averaged just over six blocks a game, blocked 22 shots in the season opener against the Sharks.

"I know you are probably going to ask about 15 questions about shot blocking,"Tortorella said. "Alex Burrows made the right play and if he doesn't make that play, he'd probably never play a 5-on-3 again here, so don't turn it into that. It was the right play. Injuries happen in a lot of different ways, so we'll continue to try to play defense – not just shot block – play defense the way you are supposed to."

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I love you. I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can.

— Sergei Fedorov to former Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom after each was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Monday
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