CANUCKS SIGN FREE AGENT FORWARD
Colorado College forward Eric Walsky was signed by the Canucks today and the 24-year-old product of Anchorage, Alaska was on hand for practice.
Walsky is a four-year NCAA veteran having spent the past two seasons with Colorado, prior to that he played two years with the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
“Eric is a mature, skilled forward with tremendous skating and puck-handling abilities,” said Mike Gillis. “We look forward to him joining our organization and beginning his development in professional hockey.”
After only picking up seven points (3-4-7) in 16 games with Alaska-Anchorage in 2004-05, Walsky played 35 games the following season and picked up 15 points (3-12-15); in the past two seasons with Colorado College he’s improved those numbers even more with 20 points (12-8-20) last year and 36 (12-24-36) this season.DEMITRA FEELING BETTER
On the heels of a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues, the Canucks took to the ice Friday morning to get in a good skate before hitting the road for a six game trip.
All the usual suspects took part, including forward Pavol Demitra. The veteran forward was a game-time decision Thursday night with a swollen knee, but he played and after showing no ill-effects afterwards, was advised to practice today.
“This is something that he’s just going to have to work his way through,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “The trainers felt he needed to skate today, he’ll probably do rehab tomorrow morning and I think this will get better in the next couple of days, it’s nothing serious.”
Demitra didn’t miss a beat as the RPM line wreaked havoc on the Blues all night, they didn’t hit the scoresheet as trio but opened things up for Vancouver’s top line to control play. ON THE ROAD AGAIN
With 11 straight home wins, the Canucks have mastered getting the job done at GM Place, as the team prepares for six games in ten nights to close out March, the goal is picking up wins in unfamiliar territory.
“Since the beginning of the year we haven’t had any easy road trips, they’ve always been very hard,” said Steve Bernire. “I think now we’re starting to get used to it, it’s fun to be with this group of guys on the road so we’re going to take the positives of it and every point is going to be very important for our team so we’ve got no excuses for this road trip.”
“I think we’ve been playing good hockey in general lately,” added Kevin Bieksa
, “our road record obviously hasn’t been as good as at home, but I still think the last month or two we’ve been playing solid road games.
“Same things apply on the road as home, we want to get off to a good start, stick to our game plan, all the usual clichés.”
Vancouver opens the trip in Phoenix on Saturday night before visiting Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado, Chicago and Minnesota. Of those six teams, only the Blackhawks are currently holding down a playoff spot so the Canucks are preparing to face some desperate clubs hungry for points.
“They’ve got nothing to lose and they’re playing just to be spoilers,” said Bieksa of the Coyotes. “They’re always a team that plays extremely hard, especially at home, they’re very aggressive, they’ve had some toughness in their line-up lately so we’ve got to be ready for that and be prepared for battle.”
Willie Mitchell feels that facing basement dwelling teams can be tougher than games with a lot on the line, especially on home ice.
“I look at the road trip and you look at all the teams we’re playing and at home they all have good records, everyone plays well at home. It doesn’t matter that they’re out of it, they’re playing well at home and sometimes those can be trickiest games to play because mentally it can be that much tougher to focus.” FANTASY HOCKEY:
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