New lid for Lu
By Derek Jory
“It’s a couple weeks late, just like my game.”
Roberto Luongo was in a jovial mood this morning when he revealed his new mask after Vancouver’s optional skate.
Criticizing Luongo has apparently become so popular that the man himself is taking shots at the man himself.
Now that the new mask, a vintage non-gloss helmet featuring an angry brahma bull-looking Johnny Canuck on the top, Vancouver and Canucks written down the sides and a 1 on the back, has arrived, Luongo is ready to right the ship that has seen him win just one of his first four games.
The journey begins Thursday night against the Nashville Predators, Vancouver’s second round playoff foes from a year ago.
“I’m just focused on my game, I want to get back to where I am, that’s what my main goal is,” said Luongo. “I can’t control what’s going to happen out there, I can only control the effort I put in, the work, and the way I play. My job is to stop the puck and I’m putting my main focus on that tonight.
“I’m a big believer that you’ve got to work hard in practice and I’ve been doing that and I’m obviously not exactly where I want to be, but that’s going to come. Just like every other year I’m going to get on top and look back down the road from now and I’ll be laughing.”
For a full jaw-dropping preview of tonight’s game, click here. I dare you.
MARCO (…SAY STURMO)
One line-up change for tonight as Marco Sturm will return to the line-up in place of Mikael Samuelsson, who is being given a maintenance day due to stiffness he’s been feeling of late.
Sturm was a healthy scratch for the first time this season Tuesday night against the New York Rangers.
Coach Alain Vigneault believes Sturm will be ready to go against the Predators.
“He’s a new player to our team and obviously he’s trying to get adjusted and he needs to bring what he brings,” said Vigneault. “We were told from our scouting staff that he’s a guy that has a real good skill level, real good speed, could chip in both offensively and defensively, so he’s going to get another opportunity tonight and hopefully he’ll be able to do that tonight.”
With Samuelsson out, Sami Salo will quarterback the top power play unit.
10 Things you might not know about the Canucks and Predators
By Travis Britton
1. Former Canuck and overtime specialist Martin Gelinas is one of Nashville Predators main scouts. He got offered the position after playing his final season in the NHL with the club.
2. Mikael Samuelsson (Mar. 15, 2008) and Marco Sturm (Nov. 7,2002) both recorded their 100th NHL assists versus the Nashville Predators.
3. Ryan Kesler recorded a point in 11 of the Canucks' 14 goals in the series against the Nashville Predators this passed playoff run, leading them past the Predators in six games. He was one point short of Pavel Bure's franchise record of most points in a playoff series (Bure had 12 points in a seven-game series against the Blues in 1995).
4. The Predators are the youngest team in the NHL at 26-years-old, and currently have six Calder-eligible rookies on their roster.
5. A month into the 2007–08 season, Kevin Bieksa suffered a severe calf laceration in a game against the Predators on November 1, 2007. After battling with forward Vern Fiddler against the boards, Fiddler's skate slashed Bieksa across the back of his right calf. Bieksa was helped to the bench, leaving a trail of blood behind him on the ice.
6. Mike Fisher scored his first goal as a Predator against the Vancouver Canucks on February 17, 2011.
7. Jordin Tootoo got his first NHL point with an assist on a Dan Hamhuis goal against the St. Louis Blues on October 16, 2003.
8. Martin Erat has two career hat tricks, the first against the Edmonton Oilers, and the second versus the Vancouver Canucks on December 8, 2009.
9. On October 16, 2009, against the Vancouver Canucks, Brian McGrattan recorded his first career Gordie Howe hat trick en route to a 5-3 Flames win.
10. A month into the 2008–09 season, Roberto Luongo began a shutout streak that lasted three games against the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota Wild, akin to the feat he accomplished in the same month of November the previous year. His overall shutout streak was snapped at 242:36 minutes, in a 2–1 shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche, surpassing the Canucks record he set the previous season.