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Canucks Report: Keep trucking on

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
January 3, 2012

One time in high school I got all dressed up, and by that I mean my jeans were clean, t-shirt fit me, hair was combed and I didn’t have any food on my face, and headed over to my friend’s house for a party.

When I got there the lights were out and no one was home.

Thinking it was actually in my head where the lights were out and no one was home, I double checked the invite and yes, the crumpled piece of lined paper that emerged from my back pocket said 8 p.m. I just had the wrong day.

As I strolled down to the ice at Rogers Arena, ready to write a dynamite Canucks Report and possibly a feature, time permitting, I experienced some déjà vu. There I was, snazzy in my jeans with a shirt that fits, my hair on my head and only a little oatmeal on my face, and the rink was dark and there were no players to be found.

And I actually had the right day.

Turns out that, amazingly, it wasn’t my fault, coach Alain Vigneault cancelled the on-ice portion of Tuesday’s practice, the Canucks were instead divided between workouts in the gym and video sessions.

Without organized media availability, the 10 or so reporters wandering the halls like Walkers from the Walking Dead, swarmed any player brave enough to walk by.

By the lengthy introduction to today’s Canucks Report, you can make an educated guess that not a lot of players were available and that I get paid by the word.

Both those claims are in fact false. Ten Canucks graciously made themselves available and I get paid per word, just in Cheerios.

Enough jibber jabber, on to the news of the day.

-Byron Bitz has been placed on waivers after “he cleared himself ready to play,” according to Vigneault. “He’s been in Chicago for three weeks now practicing with the team, he’s finally cleared himself to play in I think nearly two years, so he’s going to go to Chicago and we’ll see what happens.”

-David Booth will have a CT scan early this week to get more insight on his sprained right knee. The scan will determine how far Booth has come since injuring himself in early December and if the results are good, he could travel with the Canucks on their upcoming four-game road trip. Booth has skated the last three days and has looked better to Vigneault each time on the ice.

-Aaron Rome is still waiting for a thumbs up or down on his broken thumb, but word could surface to the team as early as this afternoon in regards to if Rome will travel later this week.

“It’s tough, but those are the breaks, it’s part of the game, there’s highs and lows and you’ve got to keep an even keel,” said Rome. "It’s frustrating at the same time, but you’ve got to keep trucking on, do what you do and just try to get through those woes.”

This is the second time this season the defenceman has been sidelined with a hand injury, so now more than ever he’s focusing on the positives. Knowing the length of healing time needed to return is one of the pluses.

“I kind of have an idea of the process having been through the same injury, that’s a positive and an advantage that I have, but at the same time I’m looking at it like oh no, not again.”

Rome admitted he’s just happy the injury hasn’t prevented him from being around the guys, who continue to poke fun at the luck he’s had this year.

-Mark Mancari has been re-assigned to the Chicago Wolves. He’s appeared in six games for the Canucks this season.

-Roberto Luongo will start Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He’ll prepare for the game by watching Team Canada take on Russia in a rematch of the gold-medal game from a year ago, in the World Junior Hockey Championship semifinal.

“I will definitely watch the game today, I’m sure those guys are a little bit upset about what happened last year, so it’ll be a fun game to watch, especially when it’s against the Russians.”

-File this one under quirky, nah maybe zany, or just weird, but Luongo was asked about Don Cherry constantly mispronouncing his last name. It should be said as ‘loo-WAHN-goh’ but instead Cherry refers to him as 'Le-Longo'.

Don’t let it bother you from here on out because it doesn’t bother LeLongo in the slightest.

“He can’t get anybody’s name right, it’s almost flattering in a weird kind of way,” laughed Luongo.

“Nah, it’s fine, my dad doesn’t get anybody’s name right either, I don’t get mad at him for that, it’s just the way it goes.”

-The Canucks will reach the midway point of their season Wednesday when they play Game 41 against the Wild. Vancouver is currently tied for the NHL-lead in wins with 24, have the most goals for in the league with 131 and are second place in the overall standings with 51 points.

Considering Vancouver's early season woes, the turnaround has been impressive to say the least.

“I think we’re satisfied,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “With the start we had, to be where we are right now, that’s pretty good. We knew it was going to be a tough road and we kept battling through it and the last few weeks have been a lot better.

“There’s always room for improvement, a lot of nights our power play could be better and special teams overall can be a little better, but in the bigger picture we’ve done a good picture so far.”

Coach Vigneault agreed and he elaborated. He is also paid by word, in Cheerios. Honey Nut too.

“I think we’re a work in progress, like all teams at this stage of the year,” said Vigneault. “Everybody is trying to improve as far as their on ice play, every team is looking at the personnel that they have and do they need to make some adjustments.

“We’ve got a group that we like, we’ve got a group that’s real professional on how they approach the game, a group that’s real professional on their responsibilities as far as getting better individually and collectively and everyday they come in here with a work like mentality with a real solid attitude and they try to get better.”

And with that, it’s lunchtime. Now all I need is some milk.

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