The bad: captain Henrik Sedin will not play Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens; he’s been shut down for Vancouver’s final two pre-Olympic break games by coach John Tortorella.
Torts was clear he made the call without Henrik's blessing and that Hank would tough it out Thursday and Saturday night in Toronto for the better of the team.
“He wants to play, but he’s not as effective as we need him to be right now,” said Tortorella. “We’re making this call. He’s a tough, tough player and he’d push through it, but we’re not risking it.”
Dan Hamhuis also will not play against the Canadiens.
The good: Chris Higgins and Brad Richardson are both scheduled to return to the line-up.
Verdict: the Canucks will win tonight against the Canadiens and end their five-game losing streak. Or not. But hopefully. Either way, the Canucks are ready for a fight.
“We’re facing a lot of adversity right now and this isn’t an easy building to play in,” said Alex Burrows, who remains without a goal this season. “We have to dig deep and find a way to get the job done.”
“It’s not going to be a pretty win if we can get it,” added Roberto Luongo, who starts in net. “I have to step up and make a difference tonight.
“It’s always fun to play here and this is a big game for our club. I’m worried about playing my game and helping us win.”
Raphael Diaz makes his return to Montreal after being traded to Vancouver three days ago. He scored in his Canucks debut Tuesday in Boston and is looking forward to logging more ice time tonight. Diaz played upwards of 26 minutes against the Bruins and admitted he thought his heart was going to explode early on.
Diaz said it’s also nice to be back in Montreal because it allows him to pack properly for the Olympics. He picked up in a such a hurry that more clothes were needed for Sochi.
“I’m packed now,” laughed Diaz. “The schedule worked out nicely for me. Would be been tough getting my stuff otherwise.”