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All-Star R & R

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Depending on your view, the All-Star break couldn't come at a worse time for a Canucks team that's eager to work its way out of January swoon.

And with no Canucks hockey to watch until Jan. 28, Vancouver fans have plenty of time to postulate on the source of the recent struggles.

The Canucks have lost six straight games and eight of their past nine with only a pair of wins in 2009, leaving some to argue that the team has been on an early vacation. Do they deserve more time off? Or would they be better served by immediately building on Tuesday's OT loss in San Jose?

It's said that “a vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking,” and this certainly applies to the Canucks - though they really don't have a say in the matter.

On that note, upon returning home from San Jose earlier this week, the players scattered to do their thing.

The goal is to avoid the rink for a few days and get in a good dose of rest and relaxation to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul, and the players are taking a lot of different routes to get there.

Mats Sundin plans on practicing through the break. Having just returned from a lengthy layoff from the game, it makes sense that the veteran doesn’t want to hit a speed bump as he continues working on his skating and timing.

“I haven’t decided how much I’m going to skate over the break, but I’ll be working out pretty much every day, that’s not going to change,” said Sundin, who will be around Vancouver for the entire week.

Darcy Hordichuk also plans on laying low and healing some niggling bumps and bruises, though that will easier said than done. He and his wife are expecting a baby in March, so there’s plenty to do.

“She’s about 32 weeks pregnant,” said the proud papa to be, who jokingly refers to his unborn son as “little Chuck Hordichuk.”

“We thought about going on vacation, but at this point I don’t think we’re going to be flying anywhere too far away.”

Having a laundry list of things to do before the family’s new addition arrives isn’t a bad thing for a busy bee like Hordichuk. As long as his fists get a chance to heal up over the break, he’ll be good to go.

“I can’t sit very still, that’s the problem with me. Anytime we do go on vacation I’ve got to stay busy while my wife does the exact opposite, she likes to relax. There are some things to do here and we might even try moving out of our place during the break, but it’ll be good.”

Each to his own, Hordichuk and Sundin are content on spending their time lollygagging around at home.

A few Canucks have other things in mind and when all is said and done, their pictures will likely be a little more scintillating.

Last year Willie Mitchell and his wife went to Maui with nothing more than swimming and sun tanning on the agenda. That plan lasted about a day with Mitchell getting caught in a few waves.

“I surfed quite a bit last year,” said Mitchell. “I really enjoyed it and I’m addictive with things like that so we decided to go again this year.”

Mitchell and his wife will be far from alone this time around; his unwavering love for Maui perked the ears of a few teammates who are also making the trip this year.

Among them are Kyle Wellwood, Mattias Ohlund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Steve Bernier and Shane O'Brien.

Everyone is psyched to get away for a few days and recharge for the task ahead, especially Bernier, having always wanted to visit Hawaii.

“Usually I don’t like to travel much because we travel a lot all year, but I think it’ll be good to just relax and think about something else,” said Bernier, who admitted he’s tempted, but a little scared, to hang ten with Mitchell.

“I might try it, but I don’t like being in the water when I can’t see what’s going on, there are lots of sharks and things like that. I know the chances of getting attacked are very slim, but I’m just not a big fan of it.”

Has someone been watching too much Shark week on TV?

“Yeah, maybe,” Bernier snickered. “I watch Discovery Channel a lot and I’ve heard some stories about Hawaii so I’m not too sure what I’m going to do. I want to try it for sure, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it.”

It seems that the only thing more popular than going to Maui with the boys is bailing on Mitchell’s gnarly invite.

“I’m not as scared of sharks as Bernier and I told Mitchell I’d go surfing with him, but I think I’m going to renege and go play golf instead,” laughed O’Brien.

“Ohlund said something about playing some golf, so I’ll pass on the surfing and tee it up.”

Surfing, golfing, skating or preparing for a little one, the Canucks will be busy doing a whole lot of nothing this all-star break and that’s just fine. These days off are intended to be invigorating ones, if used properly.

“The last couple of years I haven’t come back so fresh,” smiled O’Brien.

“That’s why this year I decided to go to Hawaii. My first two years I went to Vegas to recharge and I didn’t really get the rest I needed and wanted, so I’m really looking forward to just relaxing mentally and physically so that I can come back and be ready for the final stretch. That’s everyone’s plan.”

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