This coming weekend is make or break for the players fighting for the open spots on the Canucks roster. Heading into the third and fourth pre-season games in San Jose and Anaheim the Canucks have narrowed the team down to 41 players.
GM Mike Gillis announced today that the team reduced their training camp roster by four players. Right winger Juraj Simek was reassigned to the Manitoba Moose. While defencemen Jann Sauve and Taylor Ellington have been assigned to their junior clubs. Goaltender Karl Goehring was released but will be attending the Manitoba Moose camp.
“It’s just a matter of we’re playing back to back games, there are some guys that are going to get to play a little bit more than others, we didn’t think that we’re going to use these gentlemen on the weekend,” said head coach Alain Vigneault.
“In Yann’s case, a young 18 year old coming in, we see a lot of upside there. He needs to go back to his team, dominate that league, be a good teammate, a good player. And, we think we’ve got a solid defenceman for the future."
"For Simek, there’s skill there, but obviously he has areas where he needs to improve on, hopefully he’ll earn more ice time in Manitoba and become a top six forward there. He’s got that offensive skill, he just needs to put it all together.”
“Ellington is going back to his junior team, he hasn’t played a lot in the last 3 years and he needs to go there and have a good season and stay healthy. And for the young goaltender, Karl, he knew he was going to start in Manitoba and we just thought it was the right thing to do.”
With more cuts looming Monday all of the players need to be performing at their best. While many fans are speculating who will earn one of the open roster spots, the players are focusing their energy on not only showcasing their talent but proving they can excel within the Cancuks organization.
“Obviously every game is important in exhibition, to establish yourself and try to make room for yourself on the roster,” said left winger Matt Pettinger. “It’s kind of a cliché but sort of take one game at a time right now.”
“It’s tough, there’s lots of guys fighting for lots of spots. I think I’m just going to go out there and let my play dictate where I fit in on this team. Exhibition is a time for guys to play in situations they aren’t used to, and see how they respond.”
The group comprised of Pavol Demitra, Mason Raymond
, Taylor Pyatt, Ryan Kesler
, Roberto Luongo
, and Cory Schneider
will face off tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks.
In practice this morning Vigneault and the coaching team ran through various drills and played scrimmages while creating game scenarios. Although Vigneault noted there will be a few changes to Saturday’s line-up and line combinations may be shuffled the following player combinations meshed in practice:
Jeff Cowan - Kyle Wellwood – Jannik Hansen
Taylor Pyatt – Pavol Demitra - Mason Raymond
Jason Jaffray – Ryan Kesler
– Jason Krog
Rick Rypien – Matt Pettinger – Mike Brown
Lukas Krajicek – Nathan McIver
Ohlund – Edler
Baumgartner – FitzGerald
Rahimi - Heshka
Rick Rypien will see some game action this weekend after sitting out for the first two pre-season match-ups.
“He works hard, he’s a great kid that comes to play every game, every shift,” said Vigneault of Rypien. “We had one extra forward for the two teams. In my mind I didn’t need to see him in either of those two games. Now we’re down to five and he’s going to get to play quite a few of those games and we’ll make the assessments, but he’s still a player that we like and this will have to sort itself out.”
There is a lot at stake this weekend for some of the players.
“Some of those guys that are playing tomorrow, not a lot, but a few are going to play back to back,” said Vigneault. We still have 12 defence right now and still 8 lines, after this weekend we’re going to cut down to 6 lines probably.”RELATED NEWS: Kevin Bieksa
did not practice today because of personal matters, however he will be back for tomorrow morning’s practice before the team departs for San Jose.