By Elizabeth Moffat, Canucks.com
The Canucks practiced in Pittsburgh this morning in preparation for their match up against the Penguins.
Keith Ballard is expected to be back in the line up tomorrow. Head coach Alain Vigneault has not said who he will replace, but it will likely be Andrew Alberts. During practice Aaron Rome skated with Ballard, as well as participating in power play drills.
Dan Hamhuis missed practice today; he underwent a maintenance day to allow his foot to rest. Hamhuis missed eight games this season after taking a puck to the foot on October 17th.
ALL STAR BALLOT
Voting began yesterday for the 2011 NHL All Star game, and will continue through January 3rd.
Fans are invited to visit vote.nhl.com as often as they like to vote for their favorite players. Fans can choose up to three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie from the 100 players on this year’s ballot. There is also an option to write in an unlisted player.
The All- Star Game will take on a new format this year, departing from the traditional East vs West match up. Fans will vote online for their top six players. Unlike previous years conferences will not matter. The NHL will then name the remaining 36 players.
The chosen players will then vote for two team captains. Here the process turns into an old fashioned game of school yard hockey, a coin will be tossed and the captains will take turns picking players for their teams.
The Canucks have four representatives on this year’s ballot, Roberto Luongo, Dan Hamhuis and Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
Luongo made the All-Star team in 2004, 2007 and 2009 and Henrik Sedin played in 2009. If Daniel Sedin or Dan Hamhuis make the cut it will mark the first appearance for both players.
The 2011 NHL SuperSkills and All-Star Game will take place on January 29th and 30th.
OT IN BUFFALO
The Buffalo Sabres saw extra time for the fifth game in a row this season, and unfortunately for Vancouver, all that sudden death practice helped the team pick up the extra point over the Canucks.
“It was a hard fought game by a couple of good teams,” Vigneault said. “They've been playing some great hockey lately. Anybody who saw that game would have seen that there were two great teams out there.”
This was Vancouver’s third loss in four overtime games, and Cory Schneider’s first loss of the season.
“I didn't plan on going 20-0 this year,” Schneider told Gordon McIntyre of the Province. “I think it's good to see some adversity and have to battle back. I'll learn from it and hopefully win the next one.”
The Sabres were slow to get a shot on Schneider, but Tyler Ennis managed to score with the teams first shot on goal.
“Especially after a long [11-day] layoff, you want to see some shots and get some action right away,” Schneider said. “It sucked because I let down my team. Obviously I'd like to have that one back and make that save, then things might have been different.”
Despite letting in four goals, Schneider’s numbers are still impressive with a1.59 GAA and lowered .949 save percentage.
Both Daniel and Henrik Sedin recorded a season high 3 points, and the brothers continue to lead the team with 23 points each.