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Canucks Report - Luongo puts in extra time

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

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After missing yesterday's practice with the flu, Kyle Wellwood, who started feeling ill before Tuesday's game, was back on the ice today for the Canucks' morning practice.

Vigneault will make the decision whether Wellwood will play Saturday against Chicago, depending on how he is feeling tomorrow. If today's practice was any indication he will be ready to go.

The lineup for the Blackhawks game will likely be the same as Tuesday, with d-man Shane O'Brien and forward Mason Raymond as the healthy scratches.

Centreman Rick Rypien and defenceman Lawrence Nycholat remain on the injured reserve. Nycholat will undergo further tests today in relation to his injury.

"[Nycholat is] getting an MRI today because it's not turning the corners here and we're not quite sure what it is," said Vigneault. "It's [something] with the hip and groin, so we'll know more some time next week."

Most of the players were on the ice earlier than the 11am, the scheduled time for practice, to work on their shootout skills. The rest of the hour practice was spent running drills and working on special teams as the team looks to tighten up their penalty kill and improve on the power play.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo has been taking advantage of the time off between games to fine-tune his play. He has spent extra time on the ice the last few days working on his positioning and technique. Luongo has played six games since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for 24 matches.

"I’ve been going on the ice almost 45 minutes early every day, except for today, which I stayed after practice for a little bit,” said Luongo. “I’ve been putting in extra work. There was so much space in between games that it was a good opportunity to work on some things."

After the thrilling end to a winless slump, with the 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canucks were eager to continue improving their play. With three days in between, one a day off and the other two practice days, the team is rearing to face off against the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow at GM Place.

The Demitra – Sundin - Kesler line that Vigneault debuted in Tuesday’s game against Carolina is expected to stay intact. The new second line hopes to build off their 7-point night and take some of the offensive pressure of the Sedins, playing with Taylor Pyatt.

"I think it's important, not only for our line, but for all the players," said Mats Sundin. "All the great teams in this league get production from all four lines."

Alex Burrows, who helped end the Canucks winless streak with his shorthanded breakaway goal in the last minutes of regulation on Tuesday, is now centring a line of Mason Raymond and Steve Bernier. The fourth line is made up of Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson, and Jannik Hansen.
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