Canucks centre Ryan Johnson put on his first pair of skates today since suffering a broken foot against the Minnesota Wild on April 4. He is day-to-day and may be ready sometime during round two against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Defenceman Aaron Rome has been skating on his own after being injured in game three against the Los Angeles Kings. He, along with Nolan Baumgartner, who has not yet skated on his own, are day-to-day with their injuries.
The schedule against the Blackhawks has been confirmed to start Saturday, May 1st. Game one will take place in Chicago.
Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have recalled goaltender Cory Schneider from the AHL's Manitoba Moose.
The 24 year old from Marblehead, Manitoba appeared in 60 games with the Moose this season ending with a 35-23-2 record. He recorded four shutouts and a .919 save percentage. Schneider also played two games with the Canucks this season recording a .915 save percentage.
He was chosen as the AHL's 2008-2009 Goalie of the Year. That season he played 40 games with the Moose posting a 28-10-1 record and a 2.04 GAA. His NHL debut was on November 29, 2008 agains the Calgary Flames where he made 28 saves off 31 shots.
The 6'2", 195lb goaltender was selected by Vancouver 26th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Leaving Chicago empty-handed last season after being knocked out in game six left the Canucks disappointed having missed out on entering the third round, something that hasn’t been done since the 1994 Stanley Cup run.
Now they’re in the same place they were last year, facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals. Though the Blackhawks are a tough opponent, the Canucks are excited for a second head-to-head in as many seasons.
"There's a lot of history and some bad blood there," said Shane O'Brien. "Every guy in the room remembers the feeling leaving Chicago last year. It was one of the worst feelings I've ever been through and we had such a good group of guys and a good team. To come up short, it definitely didn't feel good. We're going to use that, and we definitely want to get some redemption on these guys."
Defenceman Christian Ehrhoff, new to the Canucks this season, noticed the disappointment in the team’s eyes as he stepped foot into General Motors Place for the first time to join his new team.
"Everybody was really upset, that was the first thing I noticed when I came here for the first meeting," said Ehrhoff. "Everyone was really upset with how last year ended. Everyone's really eager to get in and make this year better."
With last year’s round two victory in hand and a higher ranking in the standings with 112 points (52-22-8), compared to Vancouver’s 103 (49-28-5), Chicago may be the favourite but the Canucks have no problem being considered the underdog.
"They should be the favourites, they were fighting with San Jose all year for the Western conference," said Henrik Sedin. "They are the favourites, I think everyone knows that and we know we have to play our best to be able to beat them."
Chicago faced a similar first round as the Canucks this year being down 2-1 early in the series and coming back to take it in game six against the Nashville Predators. They’ve taken home the Cup on three different occasions (1934, 1938, 1961), but have not appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1992. Last season was the first time Chicago entered the third round since 1995.
The Canucks know they face a tough challenge ahead of them, but hope they’ve improved enough this year to overcome this challenge that they couldn’t last season.
"I think we're all looking forward to this challenge," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "We have a great opportunity here to put our best game on the ice, and an opportunity to go to the final four. This group of the Vancouver Canucks, myself included, have had this opportunity in the past and haven't been able to meet the challenge. We feel we're better equipped and we're ready for this challenge. It's not easy to get these chances and we want to make the best of it."
STARTING ON THE ROAD
Though the Canucks will get a second shot at defeating the Hawks, it won’t be at home. Chicago will get the home-ice advantage for the series.
Vancouver’s road record in the regular season ended at 19-20-2, but they stepped it up in the first series against LA winning two of three road matches. Last year they won only once on the road against Chicago and are hoping to excel against a team that is equally as good as the Canucks at home.
"They're a bigger team, and it's going to be different [than LA]," said Sami Salo. "Our five-on-five play had to be really good because they have a lot of scoring power up front and they're going to be challenging us a lot more on the one-on-one battles. We have to be really sharp in our own end."
The Blackhawks were 29-8-4 at home this year, similar to the Canucks 30-8-3 home record that put them first in the league. Chicago won two of three home games this post-season against the Predators.