By Derek Jory
Game 1 is here, the 2012 NHL Playoffs have finally arrived.
And the Vancouver Canucks will begin their Western Conference Quarter-Final series against the Los Angeles Kings without leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin.
Coach Alain Vigneault said he had nothing new to report on the status of the Canucks forward, so “he’s not going to play tonight.”
Vigneault reiterated this is a unique injury, every concussion is, and when Daniel is ready to play, he’ll play. He remains day-to-day.
Mason Raymond is expected to slot into Daniel’s spot beside Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows on Vancouver’s top line; the trio has played together before and they sat down this morning to discuss how to be most effective.
The new H.A.M. line won’t force things, instead focusing on playing their individual games.
“You wish Danny was playing, but I’ve played with these guys before and I’m looking forward to it,” said Raymond. “We talked a bit about it as a line this morning about how we’re going to go about it, but for myself it’s just going out, being who I am, twist and turn and use my speed going to the net.”
Raymond said he won’t be shy if a Sedin cycle game is needed, but the opportunity has to be there. He’s not trying to replace what Daniel Sedin brings to the ice, not even a little.
“We read off one another, including Alex out there, and we each play how we play. When you try to change your game a lot, that when I think more errors come in.”
The night before Christmas…
Zack Kassian is excited. He’s excited to step onto the ice at Rogers Arena for his first playoff game, to a thunderous ovation by towel waving fanatics in the stands.
”It can’t come soon enough,” he smiled.
His sentiment is shared throughout the locker room.
“It’s been a long year,” said Alex Burrows. “Once again we went through a lot of adversity last summer and got ready the right way and competed the right way for 82 games and now we have the chance and opportunity to be here again and we’re going to try to do our best.
“It’s not going to be any easier, we’re playing against a very good team and if we’re able to establish our game and play the way we can, we should be alright.”
Quote of the day
”No Joey, don’t go there, I don’t know about the Green Men, I don’t know if they’re going to be here tonight” – Coach Vigneault humorously answering what he thought CanucksTV reporter Joey Kenward was going to ask, before he asked it. In Joey’s defence, his question was not about the Green Men.