The Canucks (31-10-9) open up a quick two game road trip against the Dallas Stars (30-15-5) tonight in Texas. In their two meetings this season, Vancouver has dominated their Pacific Division foes, winning both games by a combined 11-2 margin.
Cory Schneider gets the call in net for the Canucks, his first game since a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on January 16th. In Schneider’s last appearance versus the Stars he was spectacular, stopping 44 of 45 shots in a 4-1 victory.
2009 CHL player of the year, Cody Hodgson, makes his NHL debut tonight, centering the fourth line between Aaron Volpatti and Tanner Glass.
“We were planning on bringing him up earlier, but he got that injury in practice which delayed things,” said Mike Gillis. “We’re trying to give as many of our young players as we can a chance to play in the NHL and gain some experience.”
Hodgson, who’s coming off an orbital bone fracture which caused him to miss 16 games this season, and a well publicized back injury which kept him out for most of 2009-10, knows it’s been a long time coming.
“It's been a tough two years, definitely, waiting for this moment,” said Hodgson. “It's just been one day at a time, to tell you the truth; you can't look too far ahead when you're dealing with injuries.”
Hodgson is the 33rd player to suit up for the Canucks this season. The franchise record for most players dressed in one season was set in 1990-91 when 47 different skaters played for the Canucks.
Hodgson becomes the third Markham Waxer (Ontario Junior Hockey League) from the 2008 draft to play in the NHL, following number one overall pick Steven Stamkos and Michael Del Zotto. Recent call-up Chris Tanev is also a graduate from the OJHL hockey factory.
The Dallas Stars were well represented at the All-Star Game this past weekend, as forwards Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson both participated in the event. Eriksson was recently named the most underrated player in the NHL in a survey of 318 NHL players conducted by the NHLPA.
Dallas went 8-2-1 in January and enters Tuesday's action with the third best record in the Western Conference.
The Canucks might feel like they’re in Edmonton right now, as Dallas has been hit by an unexpected ice storm, just in time for Super bowl week. Expected lows of -11 tonight.
The team heads to Phoenix tomorrow for some warmer weather and their first matchup with the Coyotes this season. Game time tomorrow is at 6:30 PST.
For the third time in four years the Canucks are getting some quality family time on the road.
First it was the dad’s turn, then the mom’s, and now it’s the brothers and sisters.
The Canucks family road trip has become an annual event, giving the players an extra something to look forward to when travelling during long winter road trips.
"We thought this was a good time to invite brothers and sisters," said Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman. "The wear and tear, mentally and physically, over an 82-game schedule takes a toll on players. Allowing them an opportunity like this, to invite a family member along, is reinvigorating.”
Check out some of Jeff Vinnick’s photo’s of the trip here.
The Canucks are hoping the siblings will bring better luck than the mom’s last season; the mothers oversaw a 0-2 record, while, three years ago the dad’s went undefeated.