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Canucks Report - Matty O-Kay

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
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MATTY O-KAY

After a scare in Friday's game against the Atlanta Thrashers, where Mattias Ohlund failed to finish the game, all's well Sunday morning as the Canucks took the ice for their game-day morning skate.

Ohlund participated in the team skate and will be in the lineup for tonight's match-up against the Dallas Stars.

"I played most of the game, I just missed the last 20 minutes but I feel good now," said Ohlund. "I'm ready to play."

Ohlund left at 17:55 of the second period after logging almost 14 minutes of ice time.

He leads the team with a plus-12 rating and has three goals and 10 assists in 40 games this season. The Canucks will be glad to have him back on the point of the powerplay, that is sitting at 18th in the League with a 17.5% efficiency rate.

"Every time we play them, they're a tough team so it's going to no different tonight," said Ohlund, who has a goal and 16 assists with a plus-3 rating in 32 career games against the Stars.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Roberto Luongo and Curtis Sanford both spent some time with goaltending consultant, Ian Clark prior to the team's morning skate as they both rehab from groin injuries.

Sanford played 20 minutes against the Philadelphia Flyers December 30 before sitting out the final two periods and didn't travel on the Canucks most recent two-game trip, instead, opting to rehab in Vancouver.

"I think Curtis will be fine - he's going to practice with the team tomorrow as far as I know right now," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "I think he'll be ready in the next couple of days."

Luongo, who's been out since November 22 is also making positive progress but his status remains unchanged at week-to-week.

"This was his first time on the ice with Ian this morning," said Vigneault. "I think that it went well and we'll see how he reacts tomorrow. Everyday has been a step in the right direction."

He has yet to participate in a full skate since sustaining his injury. He's missed 19 games - the same number of games he's played before being injured. This is the most he's missed since joining the team in 2006-07, having been absent from the Canucks goal just 15 times over two seasons.

Jason Labarbera, acquired the same night Sanford fell victim to injury, gets his first start at GM Place. Burnaby native, is familiar with GM Place as a member of the LA Kings is anticipated to make his first appearance in his hometown.

"The first two games are fun but it's at home tonight, so it's special," he said after practice. "I'm going to take it like any other game but at the same time, it'll be a little bit different."

Something unfamiliar to the 28-year old is the media attention that surrounded him in the dressing room.

"It's exciting because I wasn't playing much in LA so coming to a team like this, who's right in the playoff hunt and it's my hometown so it's pretty cool for me."

But with both Canucks goalies out for at least the next couple games, LaBarbera is concerned with just one thing when the puck drops at 7:00pm tonight.

"Just give them a chance to win. It's just to play hard every night and battle."

"I don't know what the whole situation is with the injuries but as long as I keep playing, I just have to go out there and do my best."

SUNDIN SUNDAY?

No, not quite.

Both Mats Sundin and Vigneault have indicated that he will not play tonight and while Sundin will debut in a Canucks sweater tonight for jersey off our backs fan appreciation night, neither have a confirmed date for his debut in a Canucks sweater on skates.

"I haven't even thought about dates to be honest with you," said Sundin. "I'll play it by day."

Sundin continued skating in solo sessions while the team travelled to Nashville and Atlanta and participated in two game-day skates but has yet to join the team in a full practice since arriving at GM Place December 30.

"I think I need to skate with the team just once," he said. "I haven't had one practice yet with the whole group so I think getting a good practice, with two days, tomorrow and the next day, and then we can evaluate how everything feels."

"He's got to feel good about himself physically," said Vigneault. "I know he feels good mentally. He hasn't had a real practice with the team so far - the morning skate I don't consider, technically, a real practice and we've got two coming up and we'll see how he feels after."

OTHER INFO: Ryan Johnson's foot has completely healed and his conditioning is ready for him to return to play but his nagging finger, which he is still having trouble bending is slowing down his progress.
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