TWO NEW FACES AND A NEW JERSEY
Two faces and two jerseys stood out at practice Monday afternoon as the Canucks hit the ice at GM Place. Pavol Demitra and Jannik Hansen
joined the team for today’s skate in non-traditional baby blue jerseys. They participated in drills to prepare for Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche make a visit to Vancouver.
“Probably the worst practice because there’s lots of skating at the end and for the first time,” said Demitra, following conditioning sprints on the ice at the end of practice. “It was a little bit hard but it was nice to be out there and get used to the speed and everything. I’m feeling not bad but obviously, you feel it a little bit but it’s good. I’m going to see how it’s feeling tomorrow and the next day.”
“Of course, it’s good getting back skating with the team and really pushing it a little more and see how it felt,” said Hansen. “So far no problems so it’s just a matter of seeing of it’s good later today and hopefully it’s back at it tomorrow again.”
Demitra’s missed nine games since sustaining a rib injury October 19 that was predicted to need 3-4 weeks recovery time. He has two goals and an assist in the six games before the injury and with the line juggling since he was in the lineup, he may find himself with new linemates upon his return.
In his first skate with the team in three weeks, Demitra avoided contact with any players and is still unsure if he’ll be ready for Wednesday.
“It’s tough to say right now. I’m just going to go practice by practice and push a little bit more but I was pushing hard today and feel good. We’ll see how it goes.”
Sidelined with a groin strain, Hansen’s missed four games but was clicking well with linemates, Ryan Kesler
and Alex Burrows prior to getting hurt.
Hansen appeared in 50 games last season, starting the season with a wrist injury and missing part of the season with a concussion, he’s familiar with watching from the sidelines but wants to be careful that he won’t soon return to the press box.
“I missed a lot of games last year and it’s never fun sitting out but with this injury, it’s touch and feel,” he said. “It’s not a two-week or if you break a bone, it’s more a matter of finding the right feel and when you feel you’re ready. It’s hard for trainers to say, you’re ready to go, it’s more up to yourself and how you feel.”
“I don’t want to start over from scratch so it’s a matter of getting a feel for it and pushing it a little more everyday. It’s a fine balance and making sure that I too much that it makes it worse. Today was a good day and I tested it at the end with the bag skate so I’m happy.”
He has three goals, four assists, and is a plus-4 in his first 11 games. Hansen is ninth in scoring on the team and 11th amongst all rookies in the league and ranks in the top 10 in goals, assists, and plus-minus.
While both had good practices, neither are certain they’ll play Wednesday. They’ll have to wait to see how they feel in the morning and take in another skate to see what the verdict will be.A STAR
After a perfect week, Roberto Luongo
tops the league's three stars honours.
Luongo stopped all 81 shots he faced in posting three consecutive shutouts as the Canucks (9-6-0, 18 points) climbed to first place in the Northwest Division.
Luongo made 24 saves in a 4-0 victory over Nashville Nov. 4, stopped 28 shots in a 1-0 victory over Phoenix Nov. 6 and finished the week by turning aside 29 shots in a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild Nov. 8.
The 29-year-old Montreal native improved his season record to 9-5-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and a League-leading five shutouts.
He has blanked the opposition in four of his past six starts and enters Wednesday's game against Colorado with an active shutout streak of 201:08.MORE NEWS:
Rick Rypien was seen in the halls of GM Place in workout gear and in the gym, working on getting back in form to draw into the lineup.