JOHNSON, BERNIER OUT
The Canucks turned out in full force this morning to practice in preparation for tomorrow's match up against division rivals the Calgary Flames. Two notable absences were gritty forwards Ryan Johnson and Steve Bernier.
Bernier bruised his shoulder in Monday's game against Detroit. He is listed day to day, but will likely miss tomorrow night's game. Johnson will be out longer, 3-5 weeks. After seeing a specialist today for his broken finger, it was discovered he also has a broken foot that he has reportedly been playing on since October.
“I’d known that he had taken a couple of x-rays and they’d all come up negative,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “Since his finger got hurt and he was going to be out for a couple of weeks, they decided to do a scan on the foot and they found out that was an issue also.
“It’s part of the game, he’s got to deal with it, and we’ve got to deal with it and that’s what we’ll do.
“[Bernier] is doubtful tomorrow, he’ll probably skate tomorrow, but I would say doubtful and hopefully for Saturday.”
Alexandre Bolduc, recalled yesterday from the Manitoba Moose, will slot into the lineup in Johnson's place. Bolduc is excited to get a chance to play in Vancouver after having a strong start to the season, playing in 12 games for the Moose, registering eight points (2-6-8), and maintaining a plus eight rating. Mike Brown will fill out the roster for the Calgary game tomorrow.
“Here, I’m not going to try to do anything crazy, I’m going to play my game, play it safe,” said Bolduc. “Not get noticed in a bad way, keep it simple and go from there.
“I think there are lot of guys they could have called up from our team, we’re on a roll right now. Ryan Johnson is a defensive guy and they wanted someone who could fill that role, so I’m just going to come here and play that role the best I can."BIEKSA RETURNS TO BATTLE FLAMES
Despite a growing injury list the Canucks continue to battle every night and find ways to win games. In addition to Johnson and Bernier, forward Rick Rypien and star goaltender Roberto Luongo
remain out of action.
The team will have some help battling through adversity as defenceman Kevin Bieksa
, who has missed five games with a fractured foot practiced with the team today and is expected to play Thursday.
“I didn’t talk to [Bieksa] after practice, I figure I’ll talk to him tomorrow morning and he’ll tell me if he can go," said Vigneault. "But I think all the indications are that he wants to [play] tomorrow.”
The team is preparing for an intense physical, emotionally charged rematch against the Calgary Flames, a rival team they haven't faced since the beginning of the season. Vigneault expects both teams will be fired up for the game.
“I think you always try to put the shoe on the other foot, and if we were a team that lost the first to games of the year to a division rival, we’d be pretty hungry to get another opportunity to play against them,” said Willie Mitchell. “So we know they’re going to come out hard and we’ve just got to play our game like we have in the last little while and play hard against them back, but be in control. If we continue to play like we are I think we’ll be okay.”
With many close games being won or lost by special teams, the coaching staff spent time working on them during today's practice. The Canucks' penalty killing unit is 19th in the NHL at 76.6 percent and their power play 17th at 17.9 percent.
“Power plays, you work on that all year long," said Vigneault. "The available personnel make you work at finding the right combination. Now we've got Kevin and Sami back so we can make some adjustments. It’s a work in progress and that's not going to change it’s going to be the same all year.”OTHER NEWS:
Alex Burrows answers fan questions on the Vancouver Canucks message boards. Check it out here