BACK ON THE ICE
By Elizabeth Moffat, Canucks.com
Manny Malhotra was back at practice this morning after sitting out Monday due to the flu. He is expected to play tomorrow against Calgary.
Kevin Bieksa was also at practice today. Head coach Alain Vigneault did not confirm if the defenseman would play in Calgary, telling reporters that he would need to talk with Bieksa first.
Coach V expects to return his bottom six line up to the way he started Friday’s game. Raffi Torres, Manny Malhotra and Mikael Samuelsson will be on the third, and Tanner Glass, Joel Perrault and Jannik Hansen manning the fourth.
BOLDUC COMING BACK
Alex Bolduc is expected to be back in game shape by the end of the week, but he may not be wearing a Canucks jersey when he does.
“The plan is, once he is cleared to play, we’re probably looking at sending him to Manitoba for a couple of games, and see where we go from there,” said Vigneault.
The 25 year-old suffered a high ankle sprain after playing only 6:54 of the first game of the season, and has not played since.
Despite cracking the roster during the preseason coach V is not ready to throw him into a game midway through the season.
“He had a good camp, since that time the pace and intensity of the game are a lot different than they were in training camp.,” he said. “If you look at the standings, everyone is in play off mode, that’s how tight and competitive it is, so we don’t really know where he slots in right now.”
Bolduc played 15 games with the Canucks last season before suffering a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the final 35 games of the season.
LEAVING ON A JET PLANE
The Canucks left today for a two game road trip against a pair of rivals, first the Calgary Flames on Wednesday followed by the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
This will be the first time this season the Canucks have faced the Flames. The two teams played each other six times last season, walking away with three games apiece.
“They’re one of our biggest rivals,” said Alex Burrows, who recorded two points Friday. “It’s always a good game when we go into that building, and I’m sure it’s going to be the same tomorrow night”
“A lot of guys have been playing against each other for a long time. There’s a lot of pride in wearing a Canucks jersey or a Flames jersey.”
“I think they’re intense games,” said Roberto Luongo when asked about the Flames “We don’t particularly like each other, so they’re fun games to play.”
When the team heads into Chicago Friday it will be the third time the teams gave seen each other since the Blackhawks eliminated the Canucks in the Western Semi Final.
The Blackhawks have emerged victorious both times, including a soul crushing 7-1 loss on November 20th.
“The guys know that we’re going to go into a very hostile, physical environment,” said coach V. “They get themselves ready to play and they’re usually great hockey games.”