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Posted On Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 1:02 PM

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

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Posted On Friday, 12.06.2013 / 4:04 PM

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

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 4:46 PM

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

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Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 4:27 PM

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

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Posted On Friday, 11.22.2013 / 4:42 PM

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

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 6:11 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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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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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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres