WAITING FOR LOUIE
Good news from Nashville today: Roberto Luongo
says he's ahead of schedule, although there's no set date for his return yet. Luongo participated in his first team practice, indicating that he's ready for more intense sessions.
He's been with the team on the road trip and skating in solo sessions since the beginning of the month after suffering a groin pull in Pittsburgh in late November.
Just three days ago, he indicated he needed to test his body in a controlled environment with goaltending consultant, Ian Clark, where he can decide how his body feels before joining the team.
He felt some strain in those early sessions with Clark but is progressing quickly stopping practice shots from teammates and moving in a wider range of motion than he could three days earlier.
Prior to the injury, Luongo was on top of his game, recording an 11-5-2 record, posting a 2.17 goals against and .928 save percentage.
In addition, he leads the league with five shutouts in his 19 starts this year. Miikka Kipprusoff of the Calgary Flames and Niklas Backstrom are tied for second with three shutouts of their own.
The Canucks are 2-4-1 since losing Luongo with Curtis Sanford and Cory Schneider
sharing the duties between the pipes.SOMETHING TO GROIN ABOUT
Alain Vigneault's known for mixing p his forward lines throughout a game but it wasn't the line switching that caught commentators attention last night. When the defensive pairings started changing near the end of the first period, concerns drew about a missing d-man.
Turns out Sami Salo
left at 18:20 of the first and never returned with what Vigneault says is a "tweaked groin". The extent of the injury is unknown but his status will remain day-to-day and whether he'll dress Tuesday will likely be a game-time decision.
Salo has missed four games this year and struggled with injuries all last year, missing 19 games.A LITTLE SORE, BUT OKAY
After a back and forth game with the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night in which the Canucks came out on the losing end in a 5-4 shootout and one point in the standings that leaves them tied for first in the division.
Another fortunate thing that came out of that came is that Kevin Bieksa
finished the game and played more than any of his teammates, after being hit into the boards from behind by Cody McLeod.
The hit drew immediate attention from Steve Bernier, who jumped to Bieksa's defence as he was still getting to his feet and followed suit into the scrum once he got up.
McLeod got a two-minute minor for boarding and the post-whistle action resulted in coincidental penalties that evened-out on both sides.
"It felt like probably the worst hit I've ever taken," Bieksa said. "I was lucky, very lucky, that I took most of it on my helmet and shoulder. But it was still a pretty dirty hit in my mind."
"I'll be OK, but that's not the point. If I broke my neck, would it make the referees feel better? I don't know if we should wait until someone gets seriously hurt before we eliminate it."
Bieksa continued to play and assisted on Bernier's go-ahead goal mid-way through the third period before the Avs scored to force overtime. OTHER NEWS:
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