LUONGO TO UNDERGO MRI TODAY
GM Mike Gillis has announced after consultation with team doctors, that Canucks' injured star goaltender Roberto Luongo
has an Adductor Strain (groin) and his return status is week-to-week.
Luongo underwent an MRI today and his prognosis is more positive than many were originally anticipating.
The Canucks will have some added strength on the blueline as Sami Salo
who missed two games with the flu is expected to step back into the lineup. D-man Kevin Bieksa
is still out with a fractured foot, but did skate this morning prior to the team skate. Forward Rick Rypien
who has missed 12 games with a sports hernia injury is also recovering well.
"Sami is a game time decision but it looks good for him tonight," said Vigneault. "And Kevin should be able to skate with us in the next couple of days. It looks good there too."
Vancouver Canuck fans everywhere had a synchronized gasp Saturday morning when they saw captain, Luongo sprawled on his stomach motionless. Luongo left the game assisted off the ice by his teammates and putting no pressure on his left leg.
"It's very disappointing and frustrating," said Luongo. "We've been playing great as a team and I've been really happy with my game in the last few weeks. It's really disappointing to have something like this happen."
Early reports say he has suffered a groin pull but the extent of the injury will be confirmed after an MRI Monday.
Back up goaltender Curtis Sanford
will start in net tonight as the Canucks face off against the Red Wings. Sanford stepped up in Luongo's absence Saturday and he and team took the two points out of Pittsburgh.
"It's just taking opportunities when they come and try to make the most of them," said Sanford. "You hate to see Roberto go down because you care about your teammates. The guys rallied around him and did a great job. They played awesome and the last two nights have just been unbelievable for us.
"Obviously there is a lot of pressure, but this is what we play for. It's something that you embrace and it gets you on your toes and you get out there and play the best you can."
The Canucks recalled Cory Schneider
from the Manitoba Moose following the game Saturday, to back up Sanford tonight when the team takes on Detroit. Vigneault will decide on a night to night basis who will be starting in net while Luongo is out. Schneider will be ready to go whenever the team needs him.
“You never want to see anyone get hurt, especially Louie, who’s so vital to the team, but it’s exciting opportunity for me and hopefully we can weather the storm while he’s out,” said Schneider. “I don’t think it’s so much about me, as it is about Louie getting better and Curtis getting his chance to show what he can do. You've always got to be ready."RED WINGS REMATCH
"For us it's business as usual," said Vigneault. "We have the Stanley Cup Champions here tonight. Curtis has played the the last two games, he went in a tough building in Minnesota and played a really strong game. He played against the Stanley Cup finalists, after Roberto went down five minutes into that game and had another strong game. Our players played really well in front of Curtis, and he is a really experienced NHL goaltender."
The Canucks (13-6-2) are coming off a successful 3-0-1 road trip and look carry that momentum into two home games before returning to the road for seven. The rematch between the Canucks and Red Wings (14-2-3) will be an exciting one as Detroit looks to extend their five game winning streak.
The team has already faced the defending Stanley Cup Champions twice this season, on the road and at home. The Canucks won their first matchup 4-3 in Detroit after scoring 27 seconds into overtime to end the game. The Red Wings then pulled off a 3-2 upset in Vancouver on November 2nd.
The Canucks will need to play disciplined hockey tonight in front of Sanford. The Red Wings power play is ranked first in the NHL, with a 32.9-per-cent efficiency. The Canucks sit 17th in the league at 16.7 percent on the power play.
“We have to [move forward] the best we can,” said Ryan Kesler
. “Obviously [Luongo is] the face of this franchise and he’s our best player, so it’s going to hurt to lose him and we’re going to have to do our best without him. Saying that, we have Curtis, a great goaltender, he’s been proving it all year. He proved it coming in two nights ago, and we’ll tighten up defensively, worry about defence and then worry about offence.
“We got seven out of eight points, which is really good, an excellent road trip. But that’s in the past now and we’ve got to move on. We’ve have a great challenge tonight with the Red Wings and it’s going to be a tough battle out there tonight."
The Canucks have re-assigned defenceman Nolan Baumgartner
to Manitoba. Baumgartner, 32, was recalled by Vancouver on Thursday, November 20th because Willie Mitchell was questionable for the game due to illness. Baumgartner did not play in his most recent recall.
The game tonight starts at 7:00pm PST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific.OTHER NEWS:
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