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Canucks Report - Schneider, Hansen re-assigned

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Hansen


This week on Canucks.com
Injury report
Hodgson goes for gold
Black ice

Goals of 2008

Practice gallery
HANSEN RE-ASSIGNED TO MOOSE

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that forward Jannik Hansen has been re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

Hansen, 22, has recorded 17 points (4-13-17) and 27 penalty minutes in 37 games with Vancouver this season. Last season with the Moose, Hansen had 21 goals, 22 assists and 43 points in 50 games played.

The 6-foot-1, 190 lbs. native of Herlev, Denmark, was chosen 287th overall by the Canucks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

GOALTENDING UPDATES

Curtis Sanford was back practicing with the team today after missing three games with a tweaked groin. Sanford shared the goaltending duties this morning with newly acquired goalie Jason LaBarbera.

With Sanford ready for action the Canucks re-assigned netminder Cory Schneider to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

“I went on [the ice] yesterday with Ian and Roberto for a good hour and it felt good with the moving drills that we did,” said Sanford. “We wanted to take it a step further today and test it out with full drills and shots. It’s feeling much better and I’m excited to come off the IR tomorrow.”

Schneider, 22, made his NHL debut with Vancouver this season and posted a record of 2-4-1 with a goals-against average of 3.38. The Salem, Massachusetts native returns to Manitoba where he has gone 10-1-0 in the 2008-09 season. His outstanding play with the Moose was recognized with the Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month for the month of November.

Schneider was drafted with Vancouver’s first pick, 26th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

“We feel very high on Cory,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “We feel we have a very good, young goaltender there, with a tremendous amount of upside. He had some great moments, some real good moments while he was here, and at the same time he had some other ones that were a little more challenging.

“He’s like any young player, you’ve got to go through the steps. He’s going to go back to the American League to continue the good start that he had this year. I think this was a great learning experience for him, the pressure of the NHL, the competition of the NHL. It’s part of his learning curve, he’ll only get better with time.”

“I think that’s the key, is learning every chance you get, whether watching or on the ice during a game or a practice,” said Schneider. “They are all important situations and I think I took a lot away from [this experience]. Whether it was Jason or Curtis or whoever it may have been.

“I’m very grateful for my time spent here and I think we all knew it was going to be a limited amount of time. Obviously I'm disappointed to leave but at the same time I’m excited to head back and help Manitoba out.”

Canucks captain Roberto Luongo missed his 20th game last night as the team fell 3-2 in the shootout. Out with a groin injury the star goaltender is continuing his progress in rehab and skated with goaltending consultant Ian Clark for 40 minutes this morning before the team practiced.

LaBarbera, acquired from the LA Kings to bolster the Canucks depth between the pipes, had strong performances in his three starts since joining the team. He will start in net against the Oilers on Wednesday.

EVOLVING LINEUP

The Canucks have faced more than their fair share of injuries so far this season, forcing the team to adjust their lineup. However, with the addition of power forward Mats Sundin and players returning from the injured reserve list, the roster depth looks strong heading into the second half of the season.

Sundin participated in his first full practice today with the team, playing alongside Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond for a few drills.

“It was fun to be out there with him,” said Wellwood. “He plays high tempo and I think today’s practice was pretty intense because of the couple of losses we had.

“I played quite a bit [with Sundin in Toronto]. I’m familiar with playing with him. He plays really fast tempo, he takes it to the net hard. You’ve got to work a little harder with the puck, because he’s always open and ready to play. So, it’s a challenge, even in practice today, that I enjoy.”

The former Maple Leafs captain will travel to Edmonton with the team regardless of whether he will play or not. Vigneault wants him to spend time with the players and get to know their routine.

“I felt good,” said Sundin. “It’s a different intensity and different pace when you’re out there with the whole team obviously. But it’s nice to be out there, and get a full practice, so we’ll go from here.

“I think another practice tomorrow and we’ll see. I felt good today skating, I think it’s how I feel tomorrow morning and maybe Wednesday morning, see how the body reacts skating at this pace.”

Vigneault will let Sundin decide when he feels ready to play and will start him slowly, giving him time to adjust to NHL game pace.

“He looked good, it was a good practice,” said Vigneault. “I think it was a little of what he was looking for, more NHL pace, and he seemed fine to me and when I talked to him briefly at the end of practice I think he’s a step closer to playing. I’m not exactly sure when that’s going to be, but we’re closing in.”

While Sanford slots back into the lineup, Ryan Johnson inches closer to a return from a broken foot and finger. Johnson, who required surgery for his finger, looked good skating with his teammates today but is still having difficulty bending his injured finger.

“We’ve got some issues with [Johnson’s] finger still that I’m not sure we can do anything more," said Vigneault. "I think he’s going to see another doctor, but he’s going to have to deal with it the way it is now. So I think that he might be close to a week away or something.”

Pavol Demitra was absent from practice due to a stiff groin, but he is expected to practice tomorrow and play Wednesday night in Edmonton.

OTHER NEWS: Cody Hodgson and Canada's National Junior team take on Sweden today in the World Junior Hockey Championship finals. This year's final is a re-match from 2008, when Canada defeated the Swedes 3-2 to win gold. Team Canada hopes to win their fifth consecutive gold medal.

Canadian and Swedish Canucks were making friendly bets today after practice in support of their junior teams. Proud Swede, Mats Sundin however predicted the Canadians would take gold, citing them as the "safe bet."
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