LUONGO, SALO PRACTICE
The Canucks held an energetic, fast-paced 3-on-3 tournament today instead of the regular drills of practice as the team returned to GM Place for the first time in almost two weeks.
“Today is one of those days where we thought if we just practice, it’d be probably not be as beneficial," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "The guys went out today, skated, we had a little 3-on-3 tournament.
"They worked hard on the ice and they had an off-ice work out and now they’re going to get 48 hours before we’re on the ice in Edmonton.”
Injured captain Roberto Luongo
participated in the first 20 minutes of the hour long mini-tournament, moving well in his crease. Following practice Vigneault told reporters that it is too soon to know whether Luongo will be ready to play this weekend.
“He’s been following a steady plan, steady progression. The plan is for him to practice on Friday. Every day is a step, there’s been improvement, and groins are tough areas for players and especially goaltenders. So, we’ll see how things continue to progress.
“Roberto is only going to come back when he is 100%. When he’s ready to play he’ll let us know.”Sami Salo
also took part in the upbeat scrimmages. Whether he plays Saturday in Edmonton will depend on how his groin reacts tomorrow.
“I felt pretty good out there so we’ll see tomorrow how the body reacts,” said Salo. “It’s just one of those things that happens with fatigue and my muscles get tight, things can happen. So it’s nothing too serious."
The only players absent from practice were Rick Rypien, Pavol Demitra, and Mattias Ohlund. Rypien, who has been out since October 27th, is still rehabing his sports hernia injury. Demitra and Ohlund were both at GM Place today, but skipped the scrimmages to rest up before back to back games this weekend.
“Because of the demands of our schedule, I think on Saturday, that’s going to be our 30th game of the year, 19 of them on the road, a lot of travelling, different guys [have] different levels of soreness," said Vigneault. "[We're] giving them a day off today and tomorrow and then we’ll practice on Friday.”CANUCKS 3 vs PREDATORS 1
Earning the first star of the game, Alex Edler revived the Canucks power play and netted the game winner, converting a Daniel Sedin
feed for his second goal of the season to open the third period.
The Canucks played a physically aggressive game, punishing the Predators at the Sommet Centre last night. Alex Burrows lead the charge and also tallied an empty-netter in the last minute to end the game 3-1.
"We knew we had to play hard against their top players; that's what we did tonight," said Burrows. "Obviously, if I can get on the top players and finish my checks hard and get them off their game, I'm doing my job."
Burrows delivered a big hit on J.P. Dumont in the second that is the topic of debate today. The Predators took offence and Jason Arnott jumped Burrows, giving the Canucks a seven-minute power play. Responding to criticism that the hit was dirty and he left his feet, Burrows insisted that there was no intent to injure.
"The puck was in the air," said Burrows. "I didn't want to injure the guy. I know the guy. We work out together in the summer. I don't want to hurt a guy like that."
Despite the rare seven-minute man advantage the Canucks were unable to generate many quality chances.
"We fixed it, that's how we got the goal there [to start the third]," Daniel said. "We had guys in the wrong spot in the second period. We had no one timers. It's tough to get shots through if you're not using one timers."
Demitra opened scoring in the first with his eighth of the season. The high-energy game was the second match up between the two teams this season. The Canucks have now recorded five consecutive wins against the Predators dating back to December 6, 2007.
"There was a lot going on out there," said Vigneault. "It seemed we weren't allowed to hit them. Every time we threw a good, strong, clean hit, there was a scrum after. Hitting is part of the game. There's nothing in the rule book that says we can't hit a Nashville player. It was a physical game, it was intense.
Curtis Sanford earned a spot in the NHL's three stars of the night for his performance in last night’s 3-1 win over the Predators. Sanford turned aside 20 shots in the victory, setting up a chance for the Canucks to finish their seven-game road trip at .500. The team is currently 2-3-1 in their current road stretch and face the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.