Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let’s start with the bad and get it over with. Steve Pinizzotto returned to the ice to practice with the Vancouver Canucks Monday, only to leave halfway through favouring his left shoulder.
Pinizzotto has been on injured reserve dealing with shoulder issues since early October and his practice time with the team was to be a step in the right direction. Then, according to coach Alain Vigneault, he reached out for a puck in a one-on-one drill and his shoulder didn’t respond the way he anticipated it would.
Vigneault said the Canucks will not take Pinizzotto along on their upcoming road trip, he’ll remain in Vancouver and see how his shoulder responds to this potential setback.
On to the good news: my Halloween costume is complete and I will be the greatest Oscar the Grouch since the real Oscar the Grouch tonight when I take my little Elmo out trick-or-treating.
Now on the good news you actually care about: Aaron Rome will be back in the Canucks line-up before you start your Christmas shopping.
Rome practiced with Vancouver Monday and has been on the ice for close to a week now; the broken hand he suffered a month ago is 100 per cent healed, according to Vigneault, and the blueliner should be back patrolling the Canucks zone as early as this week, as late as next.
The Canucks travel to Calgary today to face the Flames Tuesday night, Roberto Luongo will be between the pipes for Vancouver as it begins a six-game swing through Calgary, Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
THIS AND THAT FROM VIGNEAULT...
-The Canucks are road bound today and that had coach Vigneault feeling a little sentimental to open his post-practice press conference. “We won’t see each other for a while, I’m really going to miss you people,” he laughed. “Hey, I’m not saying that sarcastically,” he added sarcastically.
-The Canucks knew what they were getting when they traded for Maxim Lapierre, an honest, hardworking player who wants to win. That being said, Vigneault is still surprised at how well the forward is playing this season. “He’s definitely been one of our most consistent players, he’s playing around 12-13 minutes a game, which is a good number for a third or fourth line player, and he’s helping us killing penalties and he’s helping us on the forecheck. We need that contribution. Him and Chris Higgins have come to play and come to play hard."
-Manny Malhotra’s early struggles haven’t gone unnoticed by Vigneault and his staff, although they were expected. Malhotra worked out at 50-to-60 per cent for as little as three weeks in the summer, so the team knew it would be a challenging start to the year for him. “I figured that it was going to be like this, the tough part for me right now is manaing Manny as far as him not getting overly disappointed or frustrated with himself. He knows that the game that he is putting on the ice is not the one he wants to put on and we have to work our way through this.”
-The chemistry between Ryan Kesler and David Booth will improve. Give it time. “It’s a work in progress, Ryan is not where he can be and David coming into a new environment with a new way of doing things, I see a lot of upside there, but I expect them to be a lot better,” said Vigneault.
-Alex Sulzer is a Canucks defenceman. He’s also a pleasant surprise. “I’ve really liked the way he’s played, I’ve really liked him on the right side. Out of all the left-handers that we have, he’s been the one that’s the most comfortable, very competitive one-on-one, he sees the ice and can make a good pass and so far has been dependable. You need to know what players are going to do in certain situations, you need to know how they’re going to react, and so far he’s done a good job for us.”
Quote of the day
“We didn’t win the Cup, so I’m not quite sure about what hangover we’re talking about.“ Coach Vigneault, when questioned about Vancouver’s 'Stanley Cup hangover'.