John Tortorella broke somewhat from tradition on Saturday morning when he spoke to the media ahead of the Canucks' scheduled morning skate at Rogers Arena and he had some bad news to break as well concerning forward Alex Burrows.
One day after suggesting he was hopeful that Burrows would be able to go tonight in the home opener against the Oilers, Torts revealed that Burrows will be missing more action that originally anticipated.
"He's out and he's probably going to be out for a couple of weeks," said Tortorella while addressing a packed Norm Jewison Media Room.
Burrows was hurt after blocking a shot during San Jose's lengthy 5-on-3 man-advantage on Thursday. When asked whether or not it was the Canucks' new emphasis on shot blocking that might have served to be Burrows' downfall, the Canucks head coach defended the team's approach to playing defence.
"Alex Burrows made the right play," added Torts. "If he doesn't make that play he'd probably never kill a 5-on-3 again here.
"It was the right play to be made and injuries happen in a lot of different ways. So we'll continue to try and play defence, not just shot block, but defence the way you're supposed to."
Tortorella would not reveal who he plans to slot on the top line next to the Sedin twins in Burrows' spot although the likeliest candidate is Jannik Hansen, who saw quite a bit of action playing with the twins during pre-season.
"If that's going to be the case, I'd be more than glad to take the opportunity to play with them," said Hansen.
Even with the injury to Alex Burrows, don't expect the Canucks to recall a forward from Utica (AHL) to fill the void.
Instead, at least for the time being, the Canucks will be going with seven defenceman.
Tortorella would not comment on which defenceman will be added to tonight's lineup. Blue-liners Jannik Weber and Andrew Alberts were both healthy scratches in the Canucks' season opener on Thursday.
Torts did offer one gem on his lineup tonight, however, which was to confirm that Roberto Luongo would get the start between the pipes.
Saturday night's alright for fighting
If there's a bit more rough stuff than normal in tonight's game, it's a good chance it's in response to what occurred the last time the Canucks and Oilers hooked up in pre-season action.
That outing back on September 21 saw Dale Weise take a run at Taylor Hall with a high elbow and Zack Kassian break Sam Gagner's jaw with a careless high stick.
Both Canucks involved in those respective incidents were suspended by the NHL – Kassian still has four games left on his suspension including tonight – but the Oilers might not feel the Canucks have fully paid the price yet.
But while the Oilers might have some payback on their minds, don't expect the Canucks to actively seek out confrontations.
"I'm sure they're here to win a game," said Canucks' captain Henrik Sedin. "We want to get off to a good start at home too.
"If they want to run at us that's fine. If not, then we'll play the game."
Edmonton has bulked up in the toughness department since that pre-season meeting against the Canucks adding enforcer Luke Gazdic to their roster. Even with a new sheriff in town for the Oilers, the Canucks won't be changing their game plan when it comes to physical play.
"I guess we'll see what happens," said Weise. "I'm going to go out and play the same way.
"Regardless of whether it's Taylor Hall or someone else I'm going to finish that check every time and I'm going to look to be physical tonight. If I have to answer that bell, it's part of the game."
Moving up the ironman ladder
Henrik Sedin will extend his consecutive games played streak to 631 tonight moving him into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list past Andy Hebenton.
If you're unfamiliar with Hebenton, he was a Winnipeg-native who played in the NHL from 1955.56 to 1963.64 mostly with the New York Rangers. He also spent much of his playing career in the old Western Hockey League suiting up for the likes of the Victoria Cougars, Victoria Maple Leafs and Portland Buckaroos.
Henrik enters play today as the second leading active ironman behind only St. Louis' Jay Bouwmeester.