By Josh Plummer
GM Place was bustling early Saturday morning as two special guests settled into their respective digs. CBC's Hockey Night in Canada is in town for tonight's broadcast and the Eastern Conference Atlanta Thrashers arrived early in preparation for their morning skate, too.
The HNIC Western Canadian broadcast truck was slowly being brought to life with cables and wires as producers hustled up and down the halls of The Garage talking about camera angles and points of view.
I spoke to one camera operator who told me the HNIC broadcast will use more than 15 different cameras, including swivel shots from high on the glass behind the nets, points of view from way up above and net cams to catch all the action in the crease.
Jim Hughson, Scott Oake and Kelly Hrudey from Hockey Night arrived at 9 am with their Tim Hortons to mingle with other media types and catch the Canucks morning skate at 10:30 am. MOVING ON UP
Recent call-ups Brandon Reid and Brad Moran flew by me on the ice from my perch at the end of the visitors bench. Being down low gave me a chance to hear the razor sharp skate blades digging into ice with every twist and turn and some players' skates even sounded like they were squeaking when they were pushed extra hard.
The Sedin Twins took some playful kidding from other players and coaches because their nhl.com commercial finally made its worldwide debut on canucks.com. As Daniel was breezing through the neutral zone coach Alain Vigneault joked, "Come on you dancing machine!"
Moran and Reid were among the last players to leave the ice, but once they made their way to the dressing room, the media were on them before they had a chance to sit down.
"I'm feeling relaxed now - I've had a couple of practices in, so now I just have to go out there and play," said Moran, who hails from Abbotsford, BC and will play on a line with Reid and Markus Naslund tonight. "I know Brandon well and we've played together all year. I think it's up to me to take advantage of my chances - now the ball is in my court and I just have to go out and show what I can do."
Reid had number 37 on his jersey and trying to snap a picture of him during the quick drills was like trying to hold water in your hand. I patiently waited for the stretch at center ice for a decent shot and then joined the scrum in the room afterwards.
"I was a little surprised to get the call but I'm excited," said Reid. "It's been awhile since I've been here so I'm going to make the best of it. I'm just going to try and bring my offensive stuff to the team and try and contribute that way. I think I've been working hard down in Winnipeg and doing a little bit extra so hopefully it pays off." A RARE VIEW
The Thrashers in town means Canucks fans will get a rare chance to see offensive superstars Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk. Even coach Vigneault is looking forward to seeing the duo.
"We're excited to play a team we don't get a chance to see that much," said Vigneaut in post practice presser. "They've got two of the top players in the NHL who are great goals scorers and who can lift you out of your seat whether you're a fan, player or coach."