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Canucks Report - Bolstered blueline

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Vaananen
BOLSTERED BLUELINE

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that the Canucks have claimed defenceman Ossi Vaananen off of waivers.

Vaananen, 28, joins the Canucks from the Philadelphia Flyers where he played 46 games, recording 10 points (1-9-10) and 22 penalty minutes. Over his seven-season NHL career Vaananen has played 476 games and recorded 67 points (13-54-67) with 482 penalty minutes.

“He’s a good guy, a really solid, defensive defenceman,” said Sami Salo. “He doesn’t back up off any physical play and he plays hard every game. I think he’ll fit pretty good in this locker room.

“I’ve played quite a few times with him [on the Finnish National team]. He’s an easy-going guy and I think he’s going to be a solid addition.”

The 6’4”, 215 lbs. native of Vantaa, Finland was drafted originally by the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round, 43rd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Ossi Vaananen Highlights  

The Canucks' latest acquisition adds depth to the organization as the team heads into the playoff push.

“Right now it’s just depth as far as defencemen,” said head coach Alain Vigneualt. "Ossi, we feel brings us good depth and there’s still quite a few days before the trading deadline, so we’ll see what happens.

“He’s a sixth or seventh defenceman on a good team. So he gives us depth in that area. He’s a big, stay-at-home type d-man.”

GAME NIGHT AT THE GARAGE

The Canucks (30-22-8) are set to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (20-29-12) tonight at GM Place, their first game back after a week-long cross Canada road trip. The two teams last met on January 31, 2008 when the Lightning handed the Canucks a 4-3 defeat.

After a successful 3-1-0 road stint the Vancouver squad is excited to be back in front of a home crowd and continue improving their position in the standings.

Defenceman Shane O’Brien, who came to the Canucks with forward Michel Ouellet for d-man Lukas Krajicek and prospect Juraj Simek, is excited to see familiar faces and take on his former team for the first time since coming to Vancouver at the beginning of the season.

Krajicek has missed three consecutive games with a hip injury, but is hopeful for tonight’s game at GM Place.

Forward Pavol Demitra will play through the pain tonight. The Slovakia native fractured the tip of his finger when he was slashed during Tuesday’s game in Montreal, but it is not serious enough to keep him from playing.

Winger Darcy Hordichuk will also be in the lineup, his first game back after the birth of his son.

The Lightning are currently 13th in the Eastern Conference, but Canucks, fifth in the West are not taking their opponent’s record for granted.

“I think a good start is key,” said Kevin Bieksa. “When we were going through that streak, we weren’t winning games, we were playing from behind all the time. So getting the first goal, coming out, making this a tough building to play in are things we’re concentrating on.”

No team has seen more points slip away than the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have lost nine games in which they've led by more than one goal, including back-to-back home games against Chicago and New Jersey last week in which they couldn't hang onto two-goal leads. They've lost twice after leading by three goals and seven other times when trailing by two.

Tonight’s game faces off at 7:00pm PST and can be seen on Canucks TV Pay-Per-View.
 
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