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Canucks Report: Getting Closer

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks

Fresh off a slump-busting 2-1 win on Friday over the Blues and an off-day of sorts on Saturday with the team holding their annual Canucks For Kids Fund SuperSkills competition, it was back to work at Rogers Arena for the team as they held their final practice session prior to jetting out for a three-game road trip starting on Monday in Los Angeles in front of the several hundred season-ticket holders who took in the session.

The hour-long session saw all available healthy bodies take part, in addition to Alex Burrows, Alexander Edler and Roberto Luongo – the latter two looking like they're close enough to potentially return to the lineup even as early as tomorrow night.

Edler took regular shifts on the back end during the practice session while Luongo took part in the full team practice and saw the lion's share of the work during the scrimmage towards the end of the session.

Neither Luongo or Edler would confirm their status for Sunday's tilt against the Kings though both indicated they would be on the road trip.

"I had a good practice today and we'll see tomorrow," said Edler, who has been out since December 3 when he injured his knee in a game against Nashville. "Mentally, I'm ready."

Luongo, meanwhile, has sat out six of the last seven games but did confirm that the two injuries he has suffered this season - the one against the Winnipeg Jets on December 22 and the latest one on January 4 against the Kings - were non-related.

"One has nothing to do with the other," said Luongo. "Totally different injury on a different type of play. There's nothing in common with either injury."

Not down with Brown

Luongo's latest setback, of course, came as a result of being run over by the Kings' Dustin Brown in the Canucks' 3-1 loss to Los Angeles back on January 4. With a rematch against the Kings on tap, Brown and his crease-crashing tactics were understandably a hot topic.

Luongo didn't go as far as to suggest that Brown intentionally bowled him over after scoring a goal in that game a week and a half ago but wasn't about to absolve him of blame either.

"It's tough to say," said Luongo. "It's a quick game out there, things happen fast.

"He's the only one that knows what really happened."

With the Brown incident fresh in their mind, the Canucks know they'll have to be more aggressive when it comes to protecting their netminders whether it's Luongo or Lack that starts tomorrow.

"We need to play our game," said head coach John Tortorella. "LA plays in the blue, that's part of hockey. We need to play in the blue. We need to protect our blue."

Dalpe on first

If Sunday's practice lines were any indication, the Zac Dalpe with the twins experiment will continue at least to start the game against the Kings.

The improbable promotion for the former Carolina Hurricane paid off on Friday when Dalpe opened the scoring against the Blues. Now that he's had some time to think about lining up with the twins again, Dalpe was quick to point out his focus is not to get away from playing his game just because he's lining up with the Sedins.

"I'm an energy guy," said Dalpe. "I like to skate and shoot the puck. It just so happens to be on a different line."

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