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Finish in Minni

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


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The Canucks spent part of Monday's practise reviewing video of Saturday's 3-2 loss in Denver.

"We lost 3-2 and didn't play our best game," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "That should tell us a lot about this group. We've got a lot of potential."

Vancouver's penalty kill will need some attention if that potential's going to be realized in Minnesota.

Five of the six goals the Canucks have allowed thus far have come on the penalty kill. Minnesota currently boasts the best power play in the entire NHL. In fact, they scored five power-play goals in a 6-5 victory over Nashville Saturday.

Vancouver needs to be better shorthanded, and they will after a focussed practise Monday.

Vigneault admits the coaching staff hadn't spent a whole lot of energy on the penalty kill just yet.

"The reason we didn't practice it is because it's our fourth game in six nights. The video session was pretty straightforward. We're still in overload mode with this group right now."


The Canucks held an optional skate this morning in St. Paul. Rick Bowness, Mike Kelly, and Barry Smith led the workout. It's a testament to this team's commitment that nearly every healthy player showed up.

"Personally I feel a little sting after that last game," said Willie Mitchell. "We didn't play all that well, but we had a chance to win it if we had done a few things right. That burns right now. I kind of feel like we let one slip by us in Colorado."


Dany Sabourin will wait at least one more game before between the pipes in a Canuck jersey. Roberto Luongo will get the start at the Excel Energy Center. And why wouldn't he?

Luongo boasts a 2.01 goals-against average and .928 save percentage after three games. He's allowed one even-strength goal, and has yet to be beaten cleanly by a shooter this season - all the goals he's faced so far have been deflections, rebounds, or pucks banked in off a skate.


Vigneault made it perfectly clear in the pre-season he'd continue to shuffle players around if he didn't think lines were working as well as they could. Monday's practice was proof.

After playing Taylor Pyatt with Brendan Morrison and Jan Bulis for the first three games, Vigneault had Matt Cooke skating shotgun with the second line in place of Pyatt.


Returning home to the West Coast this summer after signing a free-agent contract with the Canucks, Willie Mitchell was greeted with open arms. His second homecoming Tuesday night in Minnesota might not be quite as warm.

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire commented on Mitchell's perceived defection Monday saying money will do strange things to a person.

So will six years in St. Paul. Enough said.

Mitchell married a Minnesota girl this summer and had plenty of greeting to do yesterday. He'll play his first game against the Wild while wearing a Canuck jersey tonight.


October 10, 2002: For the first time in Canucks history the club began the regular season with a shutout victory. Dan Cloutier stopped all 19 shots that he faced in the 3-0 win at Calgary.


Forward Lines
D. Sedin H. Sedin M. Naslund
J. Bulis B. Morrison M. Cooke
A. Burrows R. Kesler T. Pyatt
T. Santala T. Linden J. Green
Defence Pairings
S. Salo M. Ohlund
L. Krajicek W. Mitchell
K. Bieksa L. Bourdon
R. Luongo - S D. Sabourin


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