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Bouncing Back

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks



Forward Jan Bulis looks to the healthy scratch tonight against the Flames. Centre Marc Chouinard, who watched the past three games from the press box will most likely get his 11th start.

"[Bulis] is one of our most skilled players," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "But consistency has been an issue and that's where we are with him."

Bulis has three goals and seven points through 14 games this season.

Vigneault took Bulis aside during the morning skate and spent a few minutes talking to the Czech forward along the boards.

"That was a personal conversation between him and I," said Vigneault. "But obviously you know I was pretty specific on what we need him to do. He's a good player and he's going to help us."


The Canucks got great news this morning. Sami Salo's back after missing the last three games with a knee sprain.

"I feel fairly close [to 100 percent]," said Salo, who's still wearing brace. "But we'll see tonight how it feels again."

"I'm just happy to be back in the lineup."

With Salo able to play, the Canucks sent 21-year-old Nathan McIver back to the Manitoba Moose.

Salo's return couldn't come too soon. The Canucks have dropped four of their past five games - including a 6-0 loss to the Ducks Thursday - and have just 11 power play goals on the register through 18 games. They'll need Salo to do some heavy lifting in the back end if they're going to beat the division-rival Flames tonight.

"I think all year long we've been out working other teams and then last game was a different story," he said. "I think it's just a matter of us all getting back on the same page and out working the other team."


With just eight goals in the past five, coach Vigneault is going back to the lab in hopes of finding some magic scoring chemistry.

He had Markus Naslund skating with the Twins on the first unit, while Taylor Pyatt moved alongside Ryan Kesler and Josh Green.

Brendan Morrison, who had anchored Naslund's line for the several games, skated between Trevor Linden and Tommi Santala.

"We're looking for a better showing from [Morrison]," said Vigneault. "He's been an elite player in this here league for a long time. And I know the injury is still bothering him a little bit, but he should be a better performer than what he's done so far."

"We need him - there's no doubt that we need him every night that we play to be a consistent offensive player on this team."


After blowing the doors off in training camp, minor-league buzz saw Rick Rypien was all but guaranteed a roster spot in Vancouver. A thumb injury late in camp earned him re-habilitation time in Manitoba, then he pulled a muscle.

Rypien was back, but re-injured his thumb in a fight.

"His hand didn't hold up and now he's back to 50 per cent of what he was before," said Vigneault. "So he's not coming up."

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