DROP THE PUCK
By Colin Hope
After a nearly nine month break, the Vancouver Canucks are finally going to be back on the ice as they open their season Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena.
And just as he did 272 days ago, Cory Schneider will be getting the start between the pipes.
“It’s a great honour, I’m very humbled,” said the Marblehead, Massachusetts, native, who will start the opening game for the Canucks for the first time in his four-year career.
There are not a lot of new faces on this year’s version of the Canucks, but there was one major addition – White Rock’s Jason Garrison. Garrison, who has been fielding ticket requests from friends and family all week, can’t wait to hit the ice with his new club.
“It’s a real thrill,” the defenceman said, after this morning’s pre-game skate. “I’ve really looked forward to this day.”
Garrison will paired with Alex Edler, who should be playing with extra motivation after re-signing with the Canucks on a long term deal late Friday night.
“I wanted to stay here,” Edler admitted. “It’s a great city, great fans, great hockey, great organization. That was a no-brainer.”
Alain Vigneault is over-the-moon knowing the 26 year-old Swede will be patrolling his blue-line for years to come. “We’ve had Alex since he was 20-years-old he’s grown with the Vancouver Canucks. He’s developed into one of the best defenceman in the league. We feel that he’s still got some potential to grow.”
In other news, Andrew Ebbett’s strong camp and consistent play earned him the second line centre job between Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian, which he was in competition with youngster Jordan Schroeder.
“Andrew had a real strong camp,” Vigneault said. “He’s got more experience and in Chicago he had been their most consistent forward.” Ebbett fought through an injury-filled season last year, dressing in just 18 games posting five goals and an assist.
The late start to the season has boosted excitement levels on the team according to Daniel Sedin. “It’s been a long time, so we are more excited this year than when you start the season in October.”
Jason Garrison shared his new teammate’s feelings. “Tonight I don’t think there is going to be anything held back. Everybody in this room is going to put all the work and effort they’ve put in the last week and leave it out on the ice.”