The Canucks, who have battled through a slew of injuries, are starting to get healthy bodies back in their line up. Tonight Captain Roberto Luongo returns, from a hair line fracture to his rib that sidelined him for six games, to back up Andrew Raycroft. Luongo sustained the injury Oct. 24 after Toronto’s Niklas Hagman fired a shot that caught Luongo in the seam of his chest protector.
"Obviously, there's a little soreness there because the muscles haven't been worked that much," said Luongo. "The timing is not quite there yet. I need a few more practices. I want to make sure I feel comfortable in my crease.”
Last season, Luongo, itching to get back, returned too quickly after straining his groin and ended up reinjuring himself missing 24 games. Cautious this time around, Luongo is taking his time to ensure he’s healthy enough before suiting up.
"There's a fine line there. I'm practicing with no problems. There still a little discomfort there, but it might be there for a few more weeks. It's just a matter of making sure that if I'm out there, there's no chance of me reaggravating it."
Netminder Andrew Raycroft has been solid during Roberto Luongo absence posting a league leading 1.60 goals against average and a .936 save per cent.
Manitoba Moose call up and the 2008.09 AHL goalie of the year, Cory Schneider, has been re-assigned to the AHL.
Schneider, 23, has played in nine games for the Moose this season, posting a record of 6-3-0 record. He has registered one shutout and recorded a .910 save percentage. In his most recent recall with Vancouver, Schneider made an impressive start in Dallas on November 6th, stopping 45 of 47 shots faced in a 2-1 loss for Vancouver.
Last season, Schneider played 40 games with the Moose, posting a 28-10-1 record and a 2.04 goals against average. He also led the Moose to the Calder Cup Finals with a 14-7-0 record and 2.15 goals against average.
The 6’2” Marblehead, MA, native was selected by Vancouver 26th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Tonight the Canucks return to St. Louis to take on the Blues for the first time since the Canucks swept the first round playoff series last spring.
Hungry for redemption and looking to get out of their five game losing skid, the Blues are struggling ranked 25th in the league with five wins (5-6-4) in 15 games this season.
Daniel Sedin, who injured his foot Oct 7th, is not expected to suit up tonight.
Daniel ,who has been skating, did not partake in yesterday’s practice with the team.
"I had four good days of skating, so we had some treatment [yesterday] and I'll get back at it [today]," said Daniel. "I wouldn't say it's sore. It's more precautionary. I felt fine skating. We just thought we'd take it easy."
Steve Bernier who had a 48 hour bout with the flu is expected to slide in on the top line alongside Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows.
Jannik Hansen, who has also been skating with the team, will remain a game time decision. The 6’1” 189 lbs., Denmark native has missed 18 games after breaking three fingers during a pre-season scrap.
Puck drops tonight at 5 PST.
Expected Line up