By Derek Jory
The Canucks practiced at Rogers Arena Wednesday before flying to Calgary for their final road game of the season; Daniel Sedin, Zack Kassian and Chris Tanev were the only players who didn’t skate.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Kassian remains day-to-day with an upper body injury and that Tanev was given a maintenance day. It’s unclear when the pair will suit up next, but Tanev will travel with the team today.
Keith Ballard will also be aboard Air Canucks, traveling for the first time since he resumed skating with the team, but he will not play Thursday. Coach is still working out who will slot in and out over the final two contests, but Ballard, who practiced with a blue helmet indicating he’s cleared for contact, said he doesn’t feel ready to go.
“Not yet, no,” said Ballard. “I’m more ready than I was yesterday, but I need to continue to practice. This was just my third team practice after being out for seven weeks, so I’ve skated a lot on my own, but this is a lot different. I need to keep practicing.”
A lot of the talk Wednesday focused on the "goalie controversy" that never goes away after another chapter was written last night when Roberto Luongo was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots.
Cory Schneider will start Thursday, but it has nothing to do with how Luongo faired against the Ducks, he found out Monday he’d be between the pipes versus the Flames.
“Every time something doesn’t go right, it becomes an issue,” said Schneider, regarding the hoopla made over the goaltending switch Tuesday night. “The bigger picture is that we’re on a seven-game winning streak, we’re playing really well here and we have a chance to win the Presidents’ Trophy, which if you would have said that a few weeks ago people would have laughed at you.”
Luongo has moved past the start and he’s focused on his next start, possibly Saturday in Vancouver’s regular season finale against the Edmonton Oilers.
“I don’t really pay attention to that stuff, I worry about my game and focus on what I have to do to be good and last night I was very disappointed with myself and upset with myself more than anything,” said Luongo, adding that he’s now trying harder than ever to live in the moment.
“It’s a day-by-day approach. It was not a very good one yesterday and the key is to turn the page, if you dwell on it, that’s when it can linger.”