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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 4:13 PM

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

Call-up Jensen hopes to spark struggling Canucks

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks don't have a lot of young, promising forward prospects to call up from the American Hockey League, but they'll get a good look at one in Nicklas Jensen against the Calgary Flames Saturday night.

Jensen celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday, was called up from the Utica Comets on Friday and will start against the Flames in a top-six role, playing right wing with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins.

The slumping Canucks have scored nine goals in their past nine games and hope Jensen can provide a needed offensive boost after scoring nine goals in his past 14 games in the AHL.

"He's come alive of late," coach John Tortorella said. "I'm going to put him in an offensive position at the start and see where we go."

The Canucks haven't looked like they are going anywhere lately.

A stretch of one win in 12 games has dropped Vancouver to 11th in the Western Conference and sparked talk of a need to rebuild a franchise thin on offensive forward prospects. When top-six right wing Zack Kassian was suspended three games for his hit on Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon in a 6-1 loss on Thursday, the Canucks finally turned to Jensen.

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Posted On Friday, 02.28.2014 / 4:06 PM

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

Kesler, Tanev to return for Canucks against Wild

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks second-line center Ryan Kesler and top-four defenseman Christopher Tanev will each return from a hand injury to play against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Kesler did not play Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues after hurting his left hand blocking a shot during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Tanev has missed seven games since injuring his right thumb blocking a shot against the Edmonton Oilers in late January.

They are welcome additions to the Canucks, who snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 1-0 win against St. Louis.

Kesler leads the team with 20 goals and is tops among NHL forwards in average ice time at 22:12 per game. He plays on the top power-play and penalty-kill units for the Canucks. He was injured by an Ilya Kovalchuk shot in the preliminary round in Sochi but played the final four games for the United States before returning here.

"He has been our most consistent guy," Canucks coach John Tortorella said. "He's been a horse, so it's a really good thing for our lineup. It kind of slots some other guys where they should be, so we're happy."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 5:52 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2014 Trade Deadline blog

Canucks' Kesler denies requesting trade

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler was back on the ice and in the spotlight Thursday, but the hand he injured during the 2014 Sochi Olympics was far from the biggest story.

Kesler, who didn't play in the Canucks' 1-0 win against the St. Louis Blues the night before, spent most of his lengthy post-practice media scrum denying reports he had asked for a trade out of Vancouver.

"Completely false," Kesler said. "I'm happy. I love my teammates. I love the city. My son was born here, my kids grew up here."

Reports surfaced Wednesday night that Kesler had asked for a trade at the start of the season, and speculation has surrounded the Canucks for weeks that Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin are the team's only untouchable players.

"It's coming from our seven-game losing streak, and when you have reports that everybody not named Sedin is on the trading block, I think it stems from that," said Kesler, who has a no-trade clause on a contract with a $5 million annual salary-cap charge through end of the 2015-16 season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 4:18 PM

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

Canucks won't have Kesler vs. Blues; Sedin likely

VANCOUVER -- So much for the 2014 Sochi Olympics giving the injury-ravaged Vancouver Canucks time to rest and recover.

Although a couple key players are expected to return against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, none will make up for the loss of second-line center Ryan Kesler, who won't play after injuring his hand in Sochi.

"He's out and day-to-day," coach John Tortorella said shortly before the Canucks skated Wednesday morning, refusing twice to elaborate.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.29.2014 / 4:50 PM

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

Canucks' Tanev out, reportedly has broken thumb

VANCOUVER -- Already struggling mightily to score, the Vancouver Canucks received some bad news on defense heading into their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

Defenseman Christopher Tanev won't play against the rival Blackhawks, and according to Vancouver radio station News 1130 AM will be out until after the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a broken thumb.

"He's day-to-day with an upper-body injury," assistant coach Mike Sullivan said, declining to address questions about the injury report.

Tanev never was counted on for offense but is averaging almost 21 minutes a game on a paring with Dan Hamhuis that regularly faces the opposition's top line. Tanev also is tied with Jason Garrison for the lead among Canucks defenseman with five goals, and is fourth with 14 points in 54 games this season.

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Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 4:05 PM

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

Schroeder returns at opportune time for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Given the injury-plagued season Jordan Schroeder has endured, you would be hard-pressed to use the word lucky in the same sentence as the Vancouver Canucks center.

But even Schroeder can see the good fortune in finally being ready to return after missing 44 games following ankle surgery at a time when the Canucks are already missing two skilled top-six forwards.

Schroeder, who also missed the first six games of the season after getting hurt blocking a shot in preseason action only to break his ankle in the third game back, returns to a team without two of its top-five scorers in Henrik Sedin (ribs) and Mike Santorelli (shoulder).

"Obviously you don't want to see your teammates injured, but it's good timing," Schroeder said of his return. "It opens up holes and opportunity for other guys."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 2:00 PM

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

Canucks seeking offensive spark against Coyotes

VANCOUVER -- Struggling to score and missing captain and leading scorer Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks appear set to shake up their lines against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday, including dressing a seventh defenseman as a power-play specialist.

Though there were no morning skates Sunday for either team ahead of a 5 p.m. local start time, the indications from practice Saturday were that forward David Booth will be a healthy scratch so defensemanYannick Weber can play on the fourth line and man the point on a new-look power play that has been anything but powerful this season.

Vancouver is 28th in the NHL with the man-advantage at 14.3 percent and has converted two of 30 chances in its past eight games. Zack Kassian scored one of those goals during a 9-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks and Weber had the other in a 3-2 shootout win against the Calgary Flames. But Weber, the Canucks' only dangerous right-hand shot from the point, was scratched for the return of defenseman Ryan Stantonagainst the Nashville Predators on Friday, and the power play went 0-for-5 in a 2-1 loss.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 5:04 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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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Quote of the Day

I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.

— Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr on scoring the 717th goal of his career to tie Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL's all-time goals list after a 4-3 win vs. the Lightning on Sunday
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