HENRIK #1 OF THE MONTH
No longer just the passing twin, Henrik Sedin is named the NHL’s Player of the Month for December, recording 25 points (5-20-25) in fifteen games last month. He was held off the score sheet just once during last month.
Henrik has 55 points this season, just two shy of league leader Joe Thornton.
“Confidence comes with being prepared I think, and it doesn’t matter what kind of work you have” said Sedin. “ If you’re prepared, you know you’re going to do well.”
Due to early season injuries suffered by his brother Daniel, Henrik stepped up to the plate and continued to excel in his brother’s absence.
“I think what you’re seeing now is just a continuation of what Henrik and Daniel are,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.
“Every year since I’ve been here they gradually got better through hard work, through good self discipline and real attention to their game. Individual honours are real nice but at the end of the day it’s about the team and I’m sure if you ask him he’d say as long as the team wins I’m real happy.”
''If you look at the shots, it's up a little bit but I'm not shooting that much more,'' says Henrik. ''Both Burr [line-mate Alex Burrows] and Danny cycle the puck so well that it's easy for me to get open and be in better positions.”
Half way through the season he has taken 87 shots, putting him on pace to better his shot total of 143 from a year ago.
Still the twins continue to work well together on the ice. Since Daniel’s return against Chicago on November 22, Henrik has 5-24-29, and Daniel with 11-15-26.
“He’s comfortable taking that extra second to hold the puck to get the guys open” says Daniel. “It’s fun to see and fun to play with him. You make plays you maybe didn’t do before”
The Sedins will join Team Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics taking place on their home ice in Vancouver.
“It’s going to be really a lot of fun to play in front of your home fans and there are 5 or 6 teams that is going to have a chance to win it. Sweden is one of them but we know we can finish first, or we can finish fifth so it’s same thing there, you need to have a lot of luck”
Canuck’s right wing player, Pavol Demitra skated his first full practicewith the team as his injured shoulder continues to heal.
“Today was a good day for me, finally skating with the guys. Just going to see how the shoulder feels tomorrow.”
After his surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and spending two weeks in Slovakia with an acupuncture specialist, Demitra hopes to soon be able to regain his slap shot skills.
“Everything is feeling very good, I’m very happy where I am right now,” Demitra said post morning practice. Shooting’s feeling like it’s almost back to normal. Obviously you know I’m not supposed to do any contact so far and just try to push it step by step every day.”
Demitra scored 21 goals and 32 assists last season with the Canucks and the team is happy to have him back.
“He’s a good player for us,” said Henrik after their morning skate. He was really good for us last year so I think when he’s ready to play, it’s going to come natural. I mean he’s such a talent. He can score goals, he’s always put up points and that’s a player we need.”
Demitra has missed 42 games this season and with limited practice time, it is uncertain where is will fit into the lineup when he’s ready.
“I think it’s up to the coaches where they put me and I’m going to work hard with whatever plays they find for me and just see how it goes. I know what I can do and I know I can help this team.”
Missing from practice today was Rick Rypien who was out sick but is not expected to miss any time and should be back tomorrow.
Ryan Johnson hopes to be back on the ice in about a week after missing the last five games with a foot injury.
Kevin Bieksa left mid-game with a noticeable limp against the Phoenix Coyotes on December 29 and missed the last two games of the road trip. He is out indefinitely.
“He severed a tendon and they had to repair it, he’ll be in a cast for six weeks and then it’s just a matter of rehabbing. I think since he’s gone through this before I’m hoping that it’s going to be quicker than it was in the past, and he came back quicker than we expected last time” states Coach Alain Vigneault after today’s morning practice.
LUKOWICH SETTLES IN
Recently recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, Lukowich is settling in nicely with the team and as a native of Cranbrook, he is no stranger to the province.
“It’s exciting news for me and my family, glad to be back” said Lukowich after today’s morning practice with the team.
During Lukowich’s time in the NHL, he has played for five other teams including the Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, and the San Jose Sharks. Adapting to a new team is not entirely unfamiliar to him but he’ll still need to learn how this team works.
“I just got to come back here and work, you know learn the systems. They play different systems than what I’ve been playing recently so I’ll come in and sit down with the coaches a bit, get my feet wet, watch some games, focus on my position, and do what I’ve always done”
Lukowich knows his role on the team and is content on doing what he does best that makes him successful.
“I’m a defensive kind of guy. I’m not a really glory kind of guy. For me it’s just move the puck, make that first play out of my end then don’t do anything stupid you know, keep it simple.”
He isn’t expected to play in the upcoming games but is prepared to step in where he is needed.