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Change Up

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


The Canucks recalled Jannik Hansen and Nathan Smith Thursday afternoon and both are expected to be in the lineup tonight in game two against the Stars.

Alex Burrows and Matt Cooke, who are listed as day-to-day with an upper body and a groin injury respectively, will sit out Friday's game. Burrows is expected back Sunday night in Dallas.

Brent Sopel, who was sidelined Wednesday night with a back spasm, took to the ice in the morning skate but will be a game-time decision.

"Now it's starting to loosen up and I felt pretty good [skating] today so if it continues on this path, I'll play tonight but we'll wait and see," said Sopel.

"If Sopel is exactly the same that he was this morning then he should be in," said Alain Vigneault. "We'll be keeping him away from crackers the rest of the afternoon."

Josh Green was spotted on the ice 30 minutes before the team's morning skate Friday.

He's been going through rehab for the past few weeks and expected to return this week but the progress is taking longer than he anticipated.

"It's [lingering] a little longer than I'd hope," says Green. "I wasn't sure what [to expect] I've never had a knee injury before."

"It's probably close to a week or two weeks away - it's feeling better. I haven't done anything in a long time so it's going to take a while to get back into game shape. I haven't even skated with the team yet so it'll still be a little while."


While this is Nathan Smith's second call-up this season, Jannik Hansen's getting his first NHL call.

"Hansen's got pretty good skill, he's going to make the reads that he needs to make and in Nathan's case, he's more of an up and down grinding type, usually can play centre and wing so we'll expect him to keep it a little more simple," said Vigneault.

Smith, 25, joined the Canucks for a brief one-game stint March 13th against Minnesota. He had no points but had 8:45 of ice time and is expected to fill in on the penalty kill tonight with the Canucks injury-ridden PK units.

Hansen is in his first year pro with the Canucks farm team in Manitoba.

"The biggest transition was coming from Denmark to Junior, adapting to the ice and the playing style," says Hansen, 21. "Coming from North American Junior to Pro, it's just faster, it's bigger players but it's kind of the same style of hockey."

He played one year in Juniors with Portland before joining the Moose this year and as a top 10 scorer on the team, he's adjusting just fine.

Hansen has 12 goals and 22 assists in 72 games and is a plus-3 rating, while Smith has 19 goals and 21 assists with the Moose.

Sure there are nerves, admits the 21 year old from Denmark, but it's all part of thrill.

"It's probably a good thing he doesn't really know what he's getting into," said Vigneault. "He'll just be able to go out there and play hard."


After 137:50 minutes of play Wednesday night, Marty Turco was confident of victory Friday night in game two at GM Place.

"We know we can beat these guys here or at home," Turco said Thursday afternoon. "Or anywhere. The game [Wednesday] reaffirmed it."

Turco has yet to win the opening game of a series in his post-season career, and is looking to avenge Wednesday's loss after playing a game that seemed would never end.

"He's confident in his ability and his team's ability," said Brendan Morrison. "I don't think you're going to see a guy come out and say that they don't think they're going to beat us. He feels they're a good enough team that can beat us. Every game we've played this year with them have been one-goal games, there's no reason he wouldn't think otherwise. I'm sure he's sending his team a message to let them know he's confident and feels they can do the job."

Wednesday night's game put a strain on everybody physically and Willie Mitchell was still feeling it the day after but is he ready for what's to come tonight?

"Absolutely. Are you kidding me? It's the playoffs. This is what it's about."

The Canucks will want to seal up the win at home before going to Dallas for two, where they lost both games in the regular season.

"If we can put together a win tonight and win our two at home and head into Dallas, obviously that puts the pressure on them," said Mitchell.

"If they win, the pressure goes on us. Expect a very good start from them, expect them to be a little more aggressive than they were earlier on last game."

Not only did the length of the game surprise everyone but so did the nine goals. The teams scored 12 goals in their whole regular season series but don't expect the same scoring spree that you saw last game but then, again, you never know, right?

"Coming in you might have thought would've taken us through the first four games and I think that was legitimate looking at the goaltending and the type of style the teams play," said Trevor Linden, who's got 113 playoff games under his belt. "That's the thing about playoffs, it's hard to predict. You never know which direction things will go in, you have to be ready for games like that and we don't know which direction things are going to go tonight so we just have to be ready."
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