The Vancouver Canucks hit the ice at UBC Tuesday morning and the same group that skated Monday was once again present.
Yes Brad Richardson, no Zack Kassian.
Richardson skated alongside Derek Dorsett and Shawn Matthias and barring a setback Wednesday morning, he’s a go for Game 1.
“Everything felt good today, so as long as they want me in there, I’ll be ready to go,” said Richardson, who laughed at the notion he’s one shift away from being injured again.
“You guys are making me sound like I’m 45-years-old,” he smiled. “That’s why we took the last few weeks off, it’s a weird injury and a frustrating one, so I’m just going to go out there and hopefully it’s good to go for the playoffs.”
Richardson said he turned up the heat in practice a bit the last two days to test himself, especially during battle drills, and he’s happy with how he responded. He wasn’t hesitant at all, “it felt natural and that’s a good sign.”
Coach Willie Desjardins is pleased with Richardson’s progress, although just like naming a starting goaltender for Game 1, Desjardins didn’t cement Richardson into the line-up.WILD RIDE AHEAD
Kevin Bieksa, a veteran of 65 playoff games, knows a thing or two about the rollercoaster that’s about to leave the station.
“In the playoffs there’s just so many ups and downs from game to game and you’ve got to be able to manage those,” said Bieksa. “There’s momentum shifts all the time, you could be down a couple goals or up, then there’s a penalty and you’ve got to keep your composure.”
The Canucks are a playoff savvy team with only Bo Horvat, Ronalds Kenins, Eddie Lack, Ryan Stanton and Linden Vey having never made a post-season appearance (and Vey and Stanton skated as extras Tuesday).
For the Flames, injured defenceman Mark Giordano is the only active Calgary player with a playoff point for the franchise to begin the series – with one. The Flames have experience separately, but not as a group like the Canucks.
“I like to think we’ve been through every different scenario possible over the last eight or nine years in the playoffs, but hopefully we’ll respond well.”SPLITSVILLE
Excluding the empty net goal Henrik Sedin scored late in Vancouver’s first game against Calgary this season, all four split games between the Canucks and Flames were decided by a goal: 3-2, 3-2, 1-0 and 3-2 (OT).
Daniel Sedin expects that to continue.
“I’m impressed with how they play,” said Daniel, “they’ve been tight games, low scoring too, so it’s going to be a challenge for us. If we play like we have for most of the year, I think we’ll have a good chance.”
The game outside the game is also one Daniel is looking forward to with this being just the second all-Canadian playoff matchup the Sedins have been a part of.
“It’s going to be loud in both arenas and it’s an exciting time. After missing the playoffs last year, it’s fun to be back and we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow.”