JAFFRAY ON WAIVERS, JOHNSON BACK
The Canucks have placed left winger Jason Jaffray on waivers this morning, hoping to return him to the Manitoba Moose. Jaffray signed with Vancouver on July 17, 2007 and has since played in 33 games with the team over two seasons.
“We put him on waivers this morning,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “He had needed waivers the first time, cleared, and since we played him in 10 games he needed waivers again, so he was put on waivers this morning and we’ll see what happens.”
The Rimbey, Alberta native has played 14 games with the Canucks this season, tallying four points (2-2-4) and 14 penalty minutes. Jaffray remains fourth in team scoring for the Manitoba Moose with 17 points (12-5-17), in only 17 games.
“He’s played well, he’s done everything that we expect, that I expect from him," said Vigneault of the gritty forward yesterday after practice. "I know Jaff from back [in Manitoba], he’s dependable at both of the ends of the ice, he plays with an edge, he can help out on the power play, so he’s played well for us. With Ryan [Johnson] coming back we have some decisions to make with our personnel.”
Jaffray hasn't been the only player the Canucks have moved, the team also re-assigned Alexandre Bolduc to the Moose yesterday and recalled Jannik Hansen
Both Johnson and Hansen will play in tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues. Johnson, who played for St. Louis for five seasons before signing with Vancouver, will make his return to the game after missing 20 games and continues to deal with his fractured finger that hasn't healed as hoped.
“We’re back to square one with [the injured finger], but it gets to the point where I know I can play,” said Johnson. “There’s some pain there but I’ve dealt with it before, we’ll deal with it now. I’m just trying not to think about it and move on.”
Hansen who played two games with the Moose after being sent down looks to make the most of his opportunity to prove he deserves a spot.
“Of course I was a little bit surprised to be sent down, but then again I hadn’t been producing as of lately and if you want to be here you have to be at your best,” said Hansen. “And I hadn’t, so obviously I knew there was a possibility. And when they sent me down it was just a matter of working on my game and getting back to where I feel I should be.”BLUES IN THE GARAGE
Mats Sundin will make his home debut tonight as the Canucks face off against the Blues. The powerful Swede played his first game with Vancouver at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Wednesday night and looks forward to playing in front of a home crowd.
“Anytime in this league you can get an advantage on the other team, usually home ice helps,” said Sundin. “So, it’s going to be great to play at home and in front of home fans for sure.
“So far coming to Vancouver has been great. The players and organization have really taken care of me, and the fans. So it’s going to be nice to start playing some games on home ice, it’s going to be great.”
The former number one overall draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989 is expected to line up alongside Mason Raymond
and Kyle Wellwood for five-on-five action and the Sedins on the power play. The following are the offensive lines and defensive pairs that Vigneault will likely ice tonight:
D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Raymond - Sundin - Wellwood
Burrows - Kesler - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Hansen
Ohlund - Nycholat
Mitchell - Bieksa
Edler - O'Brien
The Canucks look to create a winning streak after a decisive 4-2 victory over the Oilers. The Blues have not played since Saturday, when they defeated Columbus 5-2. The last time Vancouver and St. Louis met on March 8, 2008, the Canucks walked away with a 4-2 win.
Goaltender Jason LaBarbera has earned a 2-0-2 record, 1.93 goals against average, and .938 save percentage, since joining the Canucks last week and will start in net against the Blues.
“They have a younger team, they’re missing some guys right now, but they’ve got some young guys who can skate and put the puck in the net,” said LaBarbera. “So it’s definitely a game we have to play hard [to win].”
The Canucks held an optional game day skate today that was well attended. Injured players Roberto Luongo
and Sami Salo
participated and both stayed for the duration of the practice. Luongo is expected to partake in his first full team practice Monday and start facing odd-man rushes and other game-like situations.OTHER NEWS: Mason Raymond
has been selected to play in the NHL YoungStars Game of three-on-three hockey, presented by Upper Deck, Saturday, Jan. 24 at Montreal’s Bell Centre. The 23 year old winger, part of the talented sophmore roster, has 19 points (9-10-19) in 42 games with the Canucks so far this season. FANTASY HOCKEY:
Check out Canucks Fantasy Hockey
, a free online game that allows you to play against other Vancouver Canucks fans as you attempt to earn the most points during each of the Vancouver Canucks' regular season hockey games.