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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 5:04 PM

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

Predators start trip without assistant coach Lambert

VANCOUVER -- The Nashville Predators announced Thursday that assistant coach Lane Lambert didn't accompany the team on its four-game road trip through Western Canada so he could stay in Nashville with his wife, Andi, while she undergoes chemotherapy treatment.

"If you know anything about Lane, you know he is a fantastic young coach, very detailed, passionate, and I am going to miss him on the bench," coach Barry Trotz said. "His wife and him have been absolute rocks with the stuff they have been going through."

Trotz said it was his decision to leave Lambert home.

"He would be here and his wife would want him here," Trotz said. "I made the decision more than him."


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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 4:54 PM

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

Del Zotto to debut with Predators paired with Jones

VANCOUVER -- The last-second trip to the left coast was a hectic one for new Nashville Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto, but the move back to the left side made all the scrambling worthwhile.

Del Zotto was still a bit out of sorts after taking to the ice with his new team Thursday morning to prepare for a game against the Vancouver Canucks, but not as out of sorts as he was trying to play the right side as a left-shot defenseman for the New York Rangers this season. Getting the offensively gifted defenseman back on his natural left side was a big part of the trade for the Predators, who sent one of their excess right-shot defensemen, Kevin Klein, back to the Rangers.

"For sure, some guys enjoy playing the opposite side, but it's a very different game and for me, I've played left side my whole career and it was a bit of an adjustment," said Del Zotto, who will start with the Predators on the left side of impressive rookie Seth Jones.


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Posted On Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 4:27 PM

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

Henrik Sedin games streak in jeopardy

VANCOUVER -- Henrik Sedin's ironman streak is in jeopardy at a time when the Vancouver Canucks really need their leading scorer.

Coach John Tortorella said Sedin, who leads the team with 40 points, will be a game-time decision against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. Already playing through a finger injury on his left hand and wearing a splint on his pinky finger, Sedin left a 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period Thursday after taking a late cross-check in the ribs from Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal and did not return.

Sedin took part in the morning skate at Rogers Arena, including power-play drills, but said afterward no decision had been made on his status. The fact he didn't come back with the Canucks on the power play for the final four minutes of the 1-0 loss in Phoenix said a lot for a player who hasn't missed a game in almost 10 years, a streak of 678.

"That's when you want to be out there for sure, but I wouldn't have been any help for our team if I was out there," Sedin said. "This is the time when you don't want to miss out, you want to be there, and that's what every guy feels who plays a team sport."

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Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 3:58 PM

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

Canucks' reinforcements aren't ready just yet

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks are close to getting several key players back, but they'll have to try to beat the hottest team in the NHL on Friday night with the same players that have lost the past five games.

Top-pair defenseman Alexander Edler and top-line wing Alexandre Burrows are both skating with the team again, but neither will return Friday against a St. Louis Blues team that won its seventh straight game the night before, a 5-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Edler, who is skating with a brace on the right knee he sprained Dec. 3, does not have a timeline for his return. Burrows, who broke his jaw two days earlier, isn't expected back until Jan. 18 against Calgary.

"I feel great but it's a process when you have a broken bone," Burrows said. "They normally say it takes six, seven weeks to heal fully. If it's in your foot, and there are bones around it, you can maybe go in three or four. When it's the jawbone, you have to be extra cautious."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 7:32 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canucks' Hamhuis excited to make Canadian roster

VANCOUVER -- First-year Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella didn't mince words when describing Dan Hamhuis earlier this season, saying the defenseman's "game was a dog's breakfast."

A few months later Hamhuis is an Olympian.

Hamhuis was among the surprises when Canada named its team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday morning, earning a spot ahead of Dan Boyle and Brent Seabrook, who both won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, among others.

Despite representing Canada seven times internationally -- twice at the World Junior Championship and five times at the World Championship -- and being a part of the Olympic orientation camp in the fall, it was hard to picture Hamhuis at the Sochi Games as he was struggling to adjust to the new system installed by Tortorella.

"I didn't get off to the start I wanted but just tried to stay patient with myself and patiently get better, and I think my game's come around," said Hamhuis, who has four goals, 13 points and a plus-12 rating in 44 games while often being matched up against opponents' best lines.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 6:39 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Neal among key Penguins left off Canadian team

VANCOUVER – As the media gathered five and six deep around the lockers of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and linemate Chris Kunitz to talk about making Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, James Neal sat quietly a couple of stalls away.

As happy as Neal was for his teammates, it was hard to match their smiles after being left off the Canadian roster.

"You have to keep your head up, and try to keep a smile on your face but it is tough," Neal said. "It's disappointing, you wanted to be part of that team so bad and you only get so many chances. It's the chance of a lifetime to play for Team Canada at the Olympics."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:34 PM

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

Timetable on return for Canucks' Luongo a mystery

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will be healthy enough to represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but there is still no indication when he'll be back with his NHL team.

Luongo spoke about his selection by Hockey Canada on Tuesday but was forbidden from talking about the ankle injury that kept him out against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, and required an MRI on Monday.

Luongo still hasn't skated and he won't play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, but there was no sign of a limp as he walked away from a long media scrum team officials threatened to cut short if there were questions about his injury. He did, however, admit to wondering about his Olympic chances after getting hurt in a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

"I mean, at that point I did not know what was going on exactly yet so obviously it crosses your mind," Luongo said, adding he never talked to Canada officials over the weekend about the injury. "But at the end of the day my main goal is to get healthy and play for the Canucks, so that's what I am worried about right now."


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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 5:39 PM

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

Luongo back skating with Canucks

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo skated with the team Wednesday morning for the first time since a lower-body injury forced him from a Dec. 22 game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Luongo, who had been on the ice with goalie coach Roland Melanson a couple other times already, won't dress against the Lightning, but hopes to be back by the weekend.

"I felt really good out there today," said Luongo, adding he was first hurt stopping a shot from Evander Kane and left after feeling it again making another save a few minutes later. "I knew it wasn't serious given the fact I could still move around and skate off on my own."

Luongo isn't the only Canucks player nearing a return.

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 3:38 PM

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

Luongo back on ice; Canucks call up Corrado

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was back on the ice Monday morning after a suspected groin injury forced him out of a game against the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 22.

Luongo wasn't made available to the media after his hour-long skate and isn't expected to play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, but looked fine running through a series of movement and recovery drills with goaltending coach Roland Melanson. He pushed off both legs on his skates and from his knees, dropping into and lifting up out of the butterfly while stopping shots.

Joacim Eriksson, called up from the American Hockey League after Luongo was hurt, was also on the ice and remained on the roster. He is expected to back up Eddie Lack, who improved to 7-2-0 with an 18-save, 2-0 shutout win against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

Vancouver did call up rookie defenseman Frank Corrado from Utica of the AHL on Monday morning after Andrew Alberts was knocked out of the game on Sunday by a high hit from Calgary forward Brian McGrattan. Alberts joins Alexander Edler (right knee) and Ryan Stanton (left ankle) on the sidelines, though Edler, who was hurt in a game on Dec. 3, was among four players who skated Monday.


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Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.

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Quote of the Day

I've never seen anything like that. The great thing is I don't know how many times guys bailed me out where they had to score to keep it alive and they did every time. It was amazing. It's not the way we draw it up, to go 20 rounds here, but obviously it's a big win.

— Florida goalie Roberto Luongo after the Panthers defeated the Capitals in the longest shootout in NHL history on Tuesday
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