Still no word on the severity of Manny Malhotra’s eye injury. The Team hopes to have a more accurate prognosis in the coming days.
“I talked briefly with Manny last night and there is no timeline right now, it’s wait and see mode,” said Coach Vigneault.
“He was emotional, and any time you’re talking about an injury like that its very challenging on a personal level and a family level, so we’ll wait and see what happens.”
“Manny is a big part of our team and we hope that he can be back real soon,” said Henrik Sedin.
RICK RYPIEN TO PLAY IN MANITOBA TONIGHT
Rick Rypien will play his first professional game in nearly four months tonight when he suits up with the Manitoba Moose against the Texas Stars.
Rypien, who has been on a personal leave of absence from the Canucks is now on a conditioning stint with the Moose, and can play in emergency call-up situations.
"I don't want to go into the lineup and go through the motions, I'm not that type of player," Rypien told the Winnipeg Free Press. "If I do get out there I'm going to try to take advantage of every opportunity and play my game and hopefully provide energy."
For more, check out Randy Turner’s story here.
In 119 career games with the Canucks, Rypien has nine goals and seven assists.
GAME DAY: CANUCKS VS. COYOTES
The Canucks (47-16-9) look to finish off an undefeated three game home stand when they host the Phoenix Coyotes (38-23-11) at Rogers Arena tonight.
Fresh of clinching a third straight Northwest division title, and subsequent playoff birth, the Canucks are still competing for the President’s trophy, and perhaps more importantly, a number one seed in the Western Conference. After Detroit’s win last night against the Blue Jackets the Canucks lead over the Wings is down to nine points.
The Canucks have won seven straight games overall and sport a 2-0-1 record against the Coyotes this season.
With Manny Malhotra out indefinitely and Tanner Glass still day to day with an upper body injury, Mason Raymond will shift down from his usual spot on the 2nd line wing, to centre the 4th line between Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen yet, I took some draws and it’s a different look,” said Raymond.
“Obviously Manny was one of the top faceoff guys in the league, so they’re some huge shoes to fill and he was a huge role player, a great leader and great on the penalty kill.”
It will be a different role for Raymond, who has never played centre in his NHL career.
“Defensively things change a little bit down below, working more with the defense. I want to be good defensively, support the guys, be able to make a good outlet and be on offense heading towards the other end.
Chris Higgins will take Raymond’s place on the 2nd line.
“I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far with Chris, considering he was basically off the ice for a couple of weeks,” Alain Vigneault said. “I like the dimension he can bring, both offensively and defensively.”
Maxim Lapierre moves up a spot to centre regular 3rd liners Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen.
“I think he (Lapierre) has played better every game since he’s been here. He seems to be more comfortable with the environment and the surroundings and he’s got NHL experience in this position,” said Coach Vigneualt.
The Coyotes are in 4th place in the Western Conference, just 4 points up on the 8th place Calgary Flames.
“They’re fighting for their spot in the playoffs,” said Henrik Sedin. “They are going to be desperate, they played last night, but that usually doesn’t matter.”
With 11 players between 11 and 17 goals, the Coyotes are taking the adage 'scoring by committee' to another level.
“They’ve got some solid players and if you look at their stats they don’t have one player that carries their team, they have four lines that roll, a good core of d-men and they’re well coached,” said Henrik Sedin.
Roberto Luongo gets the start in net tonight; he’s 10-8-1 with a 2.19 Goals Against Average and a .927 Save Percentage in his career against Phoenix.
After tonight the Canucks have four days off before heading out East on a four game road trip that begins Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.