The Canucks practiced at Rogers Arena today before jetting off to California for a two game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.
Rick Rypien continues to skate with the team Tuesday and is expected to play his first game since suffering a rib injury in the first game of the preseason.
“He’s been telling me for a few days that he’s ready and that he can handle it,” said Alain Vigneault. “So he should be in tomorrow.”
When asked about his injury, which was initially only going to keep him out for a week to ten days, and has instead lingered almost three weeks, he said,
“I feel good, I don’t think there’s going to be too much of a change in the next little bit, so no sense waiting around, I’m ready to try it out.”
The fourth line centre was disappointed over missing so much preseason time, but is optimistic the time out will not have a lasting effect.
“I think I can adapt and get right back in there,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened, but that’s the way I play”
Rypien missed seven games last season due to several injuries, and missed 70 games in the 2008-2009 season due to a sports hernia. Last season he recorded 8 points (4-4-8) in 62 games.
Alexandre Bolduc’s MRI results are not expected for a couple of days. The 24-year-old centre may have suffered a high-ankle sprain Saturday in a second-period collision with Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings, when Stoll fell hard on Bolduc’s left leg. The exact state of his injury had not been confirmed.
Dan Hamhuis was missing from practice, due to a sore groin, but worked out on his own, and is still expected to play tomorrow.
NUCKS NEW STYLE
Roberto Luongo came into this season surrounded by change - most notably in Rollie Melanson, the Canucks full-time goaltending coach.
The changes are proving positive as Luongo produces results, allowing just two goals in 72 shots his first two games of the regular season, giving him an early .973 SV% - the best of any goalie playing more than one game.
Both player and coach, however, deny that the changes in goaltending technique are really all that significant.
“I think there’s been more being made of subtle changes than are actually happening,” said Vigneault.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve changed my style,” said Luongo. “My style is going to be the same, just a little bit of minor changes, conditioning, the way you move around. The key is you have to believe in it, if you have doubts it’s not a good thing.”
With just two games done, it’s much too early to start making predictions but Luongo looks to stay consistent through the rest of the 80 games.
“It’s a long season, and you just want to keep doing the right things in practice,” he said. “We need to be ready, we have to make sure we play a good game and do the little things right.”
Luongo has a win and a shootout loss in his first two outings of the year.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Manny Malhotra’s game-high 71% face off percentage stood out as another Canuck highlight Monday night. The former Shark is in his first year with the Canucks and named assistant captain on the advice of captain Henrik Sedin Saturday night.
In the Canucks season opener Saturday against the Kings, Malhotra was part of the penalty killing unit that endured an epic two-minute four-on-three shift in overtime. Fellow newcomers, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard were the defencemen on the shorthanded shift.
Just one on-ice example of what Sedin’s leadership team is expected to bring this season.
“I expect him to help out,” said Vigneault. “Not just the younger players, but the other centremen, just like I expect the twins to do that, just like I expect our core guys. I expect our guys to be good teammates, and good teammates help each other.”
Malhotra and the Canucks kept the Florida Panthers powerplay at bay Monday night on three opportunities. He is currently 16th amongst centres with a 59.4% faceoff percentage in two games.