No appetizers, let’s get straight to the main course.
Sami Salo woke up with a headache Sunday morning as the result of a hit from Brad Marchand Saturday; Salo did not practice with the Canucks. Coach Alain Vigneault said the defenceman will be monitored to determine when he will practice or play again.
Forward David Booth has been medically cleared to play, he is eligible to return to the line-up as soon as he feels ready. Vigneault said Booth has yet to approach him about being reinserted to the line-up.
Aaron Rome still has not been medically cleared to return to the ice, although he continues to join the Canucks on the ice either before practice or during.
When Mike Duco arrived at the BankAtlantic Center in Florida Sunday morning, he didn’t need to ask for directions.
Duco, who was recalled by the Vancouver Canucks from the Chicago Wolves, had his first cup of coffee in the NHL with the Panthers playing 10 games in Florida in 2009-10.
The 24-year-old didn’t record any points, but had 50 penalty minutes before being assigned to the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Duco played another two games for Florida the following season, but spent the majority of the year with the Americans.
This past summer Duco, a restricted free agent, was tendered an offer from the Panthers, who then traded his rights to the Canucks for the rights to Sergei Shirokov.
And now he’s finally with the team and Monday he’ll face his former NHL team.
“I’m just really happy to be a part of this team and thankful they’ve given me an opportunity to prove that I can play,” said Duco, post-practice Sunday. “I played my first NHL game here, so it’s a pretty memorable building for me.”
Duco has played 33 games with the Wolves this season and recorded 13 points (8-5-13), including a hat trick on January 6th versus Peoria. He’s played well, and displayed toughness he’ll have to keep up with the Canucks while skating alongside Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise, but with Chicago boasting a deep pool of players, Duco wasn’t sure if he’d get the call he was hoping for.
“Obviously I’ve thought about it, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but it’s not something you can think about when you’re down there because it just eats at you and it gets worse and worse.
“I just tried to stay as positive as possible and they have a real good team down there, so I just tried to work on aspects of my game that would continue to this level and hopefully I can bring that in the next couple of games.”
Duco’s journey to the NHL is No Laughing Matter, as you can read here.