After crashing head first into the boards and carried off the ice on a stretcher, forward Ryan Johnson is expected to suit up and slide into the line up alongside Darcy Hordichuk and Matt Pettinger tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Johnson’s return is good news on the clubs injury front as they are playing without Roberto Luongo (rib), Jannik Hansen (hand), Pavol Demitra (shoulder) Daniel Sedin (foot), Michael Grabner (ankle) and Alex Bolduc (shoulder).
However, with one return comes another sidelined. Right winger Steve Bernier is expected to sit out tonight’s game due to a bout with the flu. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa will step in on the top line alongside Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows.Jannik Hansen
, who has been skating with the team, will not play tonight.
Tonight’s game will see the struggling Minnesota Wild (5-9-0) try to avenge a 2-1 loss against the Canucks October 17 at GM Place. The Canucks fresh off a 4-1 victory over the Rangers will try to keep their momentum alive despite running with an injury riddled squad.
Tonight’s game will be broadcasted on CITY TV as well as Sports Net Pacific. Puck drops at 5:00 PST.Expected Lines:
Bieksa - Henrik - Burrows
Raymond - Kesler - Samuelsson
Rypien - Wellwood - Glass
Pettinger - R. Johnson - Hordichuk
Mitchell - Ehrhoff
Edler - Salo
Rome - M. Schneider
Forward Mario Bliznak, 22, who made his NHL debut October 30, 2009 against the Anaheim Ducks, has been reassigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.
Bliknak recorded 5 points (2-3-5) in 13 games with the Moose this season. Last season with the Moose, Bliznak recorded 16 points (7-9-16) in 64 games played.
The 6’0”, 192 lbs. native of Trencin, Slovakia, was originally selected by Vancouver 205th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
After the dust has settled from Tuesday night’s 1970’s style brawl that saw ten Rangers and seven Canucks scraping on the ice, defenceman Shane O’Brien and Rangers Dane Byers both walked away with one game suspensions.
O’Brien will sit out Thursday night’s game in Minnesota for sticking New York Rangers winger Sean Avery in the abdomen while on the player’s bench. O’Brien was reportedly sticking up for teammate Darcy Hordichuk as Avery was letting his mouth run.
“I just let my emotions take over,” explained O’Brien.
“It was a heated point of the game and it was getting a little physical. I was pretty upset, pretty fired up. Avery wouldn't even think about fighting and some of the things he was saying to Hordichuk, there was no respect there. You want to play hard against people. But that guy has no respect for anybody."
"You never want to be suspended and I don't think it deserves one, but I'll take my punishment.”
At 6’3” 223 lbs., the Port hope Ontario native, recorded 196 minutes in penalties last season with the Canucks.
Ranger’s rookie Dane Byers will miss Thursday’s game in Edmonton for instigating a fight with Tanner Glass with just over a minute left in regulation.