Defenceman Mathieu Schneider made his Vancouver debut yesterday after undergoing off-season arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Schneider, 40, was placed on long-term IR before the seasons start, and had to wait for 10 games or 24 days to pass before he could suit up, despite being ready two weeks prior.
"I've had this date circled for a while," said Schneider.
"I felt really good out there and tried to keep it real simple,” said Schneider of his game play. “I didn't want to do too much and it was a good game to come back in. We played a great team defence and it was one of the best efforts I've seen this year from the guys and it made it real easy on defence for us."
Schneider, logging 14:51 minutes of ice time including 2:18 on the power play, is expected to utilize his skill and heavy shot to boost the clubs already efficient power play.
"That's been a big part of my game since I have been in this league," said Schneider. “My job is to get shots through to the net and create rebounds and create chances that way. And it's not always getting them through to the net, it's getting them through to guys at the side of the net and I like to use the backboards sometimes.”
At 5’11” and 192 lbs, Schneider’s recorded 221 goals, 99 of them of the power play, and 734 career points.
GRABNER'S CONFIDENCE SPARKS OFFENCE
Manitoba Moose call-up, Michael Grabner is making the most of his second chance. After struggling to find his offencive game during the pre-season, Grabner is starting to see results at this level recording two goals and three assists (2-3-5) in six games with the Canucks.
“He seems like he’s playing with a lot more confidence,” said head coach Alain Vigneault on Grabner’s play of late. “He’s using his tools. His skating, getting pucks to the net, going to the net hard and when he does that he’s a very effective player.”
“That line [of Michael Grabner, Ryan Kesler, and Mason Raymond] is using its speed. They've been our best line the last three games. Grabner had seven shots on net and had some great quality chances. It’s fun to see a young player coming into his own and helping our team with injury situation we have right now, and helping our team win some games.”
"Confidence is a big thing in this league," said linemate Ryan Kesler. "If the coach shows faith in you, you're going to keep getting more and more confident and Michael's showing that now."
Sunday night, Moose call-up Sergei Shirokov slid into the lineup, after Kyle Wellwood injured his big toe after blocking a shot Saturday afternoon against Toronto.
"[The puck] just hit me in the skate, right on top of the foot, and fractured my big toe," explained Wellwood. "It didn't hurt during the game, but once I took my skate off it started swelling."
Wellwood is the team’s fifth forward to be sidelined by an injury.
"It's frustrating because we already have enough forwards hurt and every time you lose a guy someone has to fill in and it just compounds things for everybody else on the team," said Wellwood.
With no clear timeline, Wellwood is day to day.