Keith Ballard remains sidelined from a concussion he suffered on October 15th. He’s missed three games and continues to work on off-ice conditioning but hasn’t started any on-ice training yet.
Dan Hamhuis skated briefly but will not play in tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He took a puck to the foot during Sunday’s game against Carolina and hasn’t played since.
Alain Vigneault confirmed that although tests have been negative, he is still unable to skate.
“He tried again this morning to see if he could push off,” said Vigneault. “We’ve had two x-rays, we’ve had a CT scan, but nothing seems to come up. He can walk but he can’t skate so we’ll wait a few more days.”
Alex Burrows was at practice today working with Roberto Luongo on some shootout drills.
Burrows’ recovery is on schedule but will remain on long-term injury (LTI) reserve until at least November 2nd. This is the soonest he would be allowed to return under LTI regulations.
“Starting next week he’ll be close to being able to practice full time with the team,” said coach Vigneault. “And then it’s just a matter of getting to that 10th game.”
Cory Schneider will start tonight at home against the Minnesota Wild for the second straight home-game and his second start of the season.
“I’m excited to play again so quickly after last week,” he said. “I haven’t played that many games here at home, so when we do get a home game you have to take advantage of it. We’re a tough team to play here, and I do think we play a little bit better at home.”
Last season, the team had a 30-8-3 record at home,. Their 30 home-wins were tied for first with the Washington Capitals. The Canucks have earned at least a point in all three home games so far this season.
Schneider has one win, a .974 SV%, and 0.75 GAA in four periods of play this year.
“We all know he’s a good goaltender,” said alternate captain Ryan Kesler. “He obviously played extremely well his first game, so we’re all confident in him.”
“We feel we have a great young goaltender in Cory, whose proven in the American league that he can be a very good goaltender,” said Vigneault. “We think he’s capable of taking the next step. The schedule, with 4 games in 6 nights, those are challenging times and I felt that it was the right time to put him in.”
GAME DAY NOTES
The Canucks take on the Minnesota Wild for the second of six matchups this season and the second time this week.
The two teams last saw each other on Tuesday, when the Canucks fell 6-2 to the Wild.
“We still have that fresh in our minds, so it does matter a little bit,” said Kesler. “ I don’t think we want redemption, we just want to win. They embarrassed us in their building, we’re looking to win.”
Since their last meeting, Vancouver visited Chicago in a 2-1 game decided by a shootout. Minnesota played in Edmonton last night, claiming a 4-2 victory over the Oilers.
Vigneault acknowledged that his team needs to make improvements if they expect to win tonight.
“We didn’t play real well, and they did play real well,” he said. “ In all areas of the game we got outplayed. Their powerplay right now is the best in the league and it’s a real weapon.”
The Wild are currently 44.4% on the powerplay overall and are converting at 25% while away from the Xcel Energy Center.
“I think they just keep it simple,” said Kesler. “They have a lot of movement, which is hard for any PK, because when you start interchanging between the boards, and really just not having one guy stand still, they throw a lot of pucks at the net.”
Vancouver’s penalty kill at home is 93.3%, the team has allowed only one powerplay goal on 15 chances.
“They’re coming out and their powerplay is one of the best, if not the best in the league,” said Schneider about the team he earned his first NHL win. “They’ve got some dangerous guys who are playing well together. They’ve been defensive in the past in Minnesota, but this year they’ve been scoring some goals, so you’ve got to get ready for them.”
Jose Theodore will be making his first start as a Wild tonight, giving Niklas Backstrom a rare night off. Last season Theodore finished 30-7-7 with the Washington Capitals. He is 11-10-3 with a 2.72 GAA and a .906 SV% in his career against Vancouver.
Defensemen Cam Barker will also sit out tonight, due to a groin injury. In six games he has recorded three points. He will be replaced by Clayton Stoner, a BC-native from Port McNeill. He has played two games and has a -2 record.