Canucks lose as Luongo sits out
Iain MacIntyre said after all the days of coaches saying that Roberto Luongo
is healthy, he revealed last night that he was far from healthy.
After the Vancouver Canucks maintained for two days that their star goaltender was not injured, Roberto Luongo
revealed after missing Monday's game against the Los Angeles Kings that he has a rib injury and is unsure how soon he'll return to his National Hockey League team's lineup.
"It's been injured since last Sunday in Minnesota," Luongo said after backup goalie Curtis Sanford was rushed in to play what turned out to be a 4-2 loss against the Kings. "The last few days it got worse. I've been in pain all day. Not good enough to go.
"It hurts when I breathe, hurts when I move. It's tough to do your job."
Sanford learned only during the pre-game warmup Monday that he'd be starting…The loss was his first in four starts this season.
"It's a lot tougher [to find out in the warmup] but you're always prepared to play when you're backing up," Sanford said. "Louie mentioned to me he wasn't feeling 100 per cent. He decided to see what it would be like in the warmup, but midway through the warmup, he kind of gave me the nod."
On Monday morning, Luongo explained that he had suffered muscle cramps, often indicative of dehydration. But there was no indication he wouldn't play against the Kings until the warmup.
"I was trying to see in the warmup if I could go, but it was pretty painful," Luongo, who was hit in the ribs by a shot in Minnesota, told reporters. "It's day to day. I don't know, I can't say [when I'll return]. Hopefully in a few days. It's almost got to just heal on its own."
Little value in practice
Iain MacIntyre said during the Canucks usual morning practice, there was still no shootout practice.
“The Canucks were 17-7 in games that ended after regulation time last season and are 2-3 this year. But they'd lost all three of their shootouts, while converting just two-of-14 chances. And since Trevor Linden is 2-for-2, the rest of the team is 0-for-12,” said MacIntyre.
“But Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said Monday there is suspect value in practising shootouts because game situations -- notably, the opposing goaltenders -- are different.”
"Sometimes guys at the end of practice [do it on their own]," Vigneault said of shootout work. "But going against Curtis or Louie [Canuck goalies Curtis Sanford and Roberto Luongo
] and going against Dany Sabourin is different. Every goalie has a different way of reacting. A lot of it is instinct.
"Obviously, it's an area we'd like to improve on, but I'm not quite sure how you can do that."
Kesler’s shadow knows how
Gordon McIntyre said an old position called “The Shadow” has evolved over the years and as he looks at Ryan Kesler
, there couldn’t be a better example of that.
“Things are more refined today. You're allowed to watch the puck; to score, even, as Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler
did on Saturday while shadowing Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby,” McIntyre said.
“On Monday night, Kesler got to do it all over again, against young Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar and linemates Mike Cammalleri and Dustin Brown, who had spread out 40 goals evenly between them heading into the game.”
"Every night's a new challenge," Kesler said. "There's always a game within the game, I guess you could call it."
“The 30 goals Kesler scored during the lockout with Manitoba in 2004-05 dangle tantalizingly from his resume, but his NHL best is 10 goals in '05-06 -- a target he's close to equalling and passing,” said McIntyre.
“But, an experiment to make him a No. 1 centre abandoned, Kesler has grown into his current defensive role and has come to relish it.”
"He's a young guy and he's really learned his position this year," said defenceman Willie Mitchell, who with Sami Salo
often finds himself on the ice with Kesler as part of the Canucks' shutdown unit. "This year he kind of accepts his role, embraces it. A large part of hockey is accepting your role."