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The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

Press Round-Up: DEC.13.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Injured Canucks surprise Ducks
The Associated Press said that even though key Canuck players are out, Brendan Morrison, Roberto Luongo, and Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks still came on top with a little help from the rookies.

The two fresh faces in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room were easy to spot. Lockers displaying pucks with a piece of tape that said: "1st NHL goal" gave Mason Raymond and Jason Jaffray away.

"It was a great feeling to see the look on Mason's face when he got his first one out of the way," Jaffray said. "And when that puck went in for me, I could have jumped five, six feet in the air. It's definitely a moment I'll always remember."

"They called two young players up from the minors and both of them made a contribution," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's huge when you can have young guys step in and get on the score sheet for you."

"It's always nice to get that first one under your belt. There was a little bit of relief there," Raymond said. "Jaffray made a great pass to me, and all I had to do was put it in the net. It's something I'll always cherish."

Jaffray gave Vancouver a three-goal cushion at 4:54 of the second period.

"That far exceeds my expectations, to get regular shifts with Taylor Pyatt and Mason Raymond and also get a chance to play on the power play," Jaffray said. "It couldn't have happened any better for me, to get a goal and an assist. It seemed like all the waiting was definitely worth it."
Injection of enthusiasm for Canucks
Iain MacIntyre said that although the Canucks didn’t want to change their line-up, it may have been just what they need to bring their game to a new level. With fresh enthusiasm and intensity from minor-league reinforcements Jason Jaffray and Mason Raymond, the Canucks were able to score another win against the Anaheim Ducks.

“In his first NHL game, Jaffray scored once and set up fellow rookie Mason Raymond for his first NHL goal. Their eagerness and drive looked infectious. It's just what the Canucks needed, as Vancouver had lost two straight games and lacked the intensity they needed in Monday's 4-2 setback against the Los Angeles Kings,” MacIntyre said.

“Playing without their starting goalie and veteran centre, as well as key defenceman Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver burst to a 3-0 lead against Anaheim before relying on Sanford to preserve a win that moved the Canucks three points clear of the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division.”

"They came out and set the pace for us," Sanford said of rookies Jaffray and Raymond, the Manitoba Moose linemates who were recalled Monday night. "To rely on two young guys like that to set the pace was key. Everybody followed."

"They were flying," veteran defenceman Aaron Miller said. "We can use all the young legs we can get right now. And there was never a doubt about Curtis. Depleted lineup. Tough schedule. I think we've been doing a good job all year of facing adversity. This is another time."

“It was a marvelous entry into the NHL for Jaffray, who spent five seasons on minor-league contracts and made his major-league debut Wednesday at age 26. Sanford knows how Jaffray feels because he, too, crawled through every inch of the minors to get to the NHL,” MacIntyre said.

“At 4:54 of the second period, Jaffray doubled his career scoring total by skating out from behind Giguere and slinging a shot into the top corner.”

"I felt like I could have jumped five or six feet in the air," Jaffray said. "It's an unbelievable feeling. This far exceeds my expectations. It couldn't have happened any better for me -- to get a goal and assist in my first NHL game. It seems all the waiting to get here was well worth it. It's something I'll be telling my kids about years down the line."

Jaffray and Raymond played on a line with veteran Taylor Pyatt, who greeted them when they arrived at the team hotel Tuesday night and took them out to dinner.

"Jason and I have been played together a bit, so there was some chemistry out there," Raymond said. "We were so excited to get called up. Each of us getting our first NHL goal, that was just huge. He deserves everything he gets. It's been a long road for him to get here."
When Lou’s out, he’s still in
“He may be on the outs health-wise, but Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (left) is in when it comes to all-star voting,” said the Vancouver Sun. “In fan balloting results for the Western Conference released Wednesday, Luongo is the top goalie, pulling in 154,591 votes, nearly 20,000 more than Columbus's Pascal Leclaire's 135,447. The overall vote leaders are two Detroit Red Wings: Nicklas Lidstrom (301,245) and Henrik Zetterberg (210,890).”
Fill-ins fine on same line’
Gordon Mcintyre said Jason Jaffray did more than anyone in Vancouver expected for an undrafted minor-league player.

“Just as he did when he first joined the Canucks' system after a trade to Manitoba from the Cleveland Barons midway through 2004-05, Jaffray scored a goal in his debut with his new club,” said Mcintyre.

"I don't know, maybe they'll send me back down and some other team will pick me up just for one game," Jaffray said, a wide smile spread across his face. "It's just an incredible feeling."

Mcintyre said, “Jaffray set up the first goal with a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 with Mason Raymond, then scored the Canucks' third goal, rifling a wrist shot over the right shoulder of J.-S. Giguere from a tight angle.”

"He was skating well, doing good things with the puck, that's the Jaff I know," said coach Alain Vigneault, who coached the 26-year-old for a season in Winnipeg. "We needed that and that's what he gave us."

“For Raymond, a speedy and heralded winger who drew an assist in the Canucks' season-opener, then went pointless in eight games to earn a demotion to Manitoba, it was also his first NHL goal,” said Mcintyre.

"I felt a lot more relaxed today, not nervous like the last time I was here," Raymond said. "For me, I just want to come here and play.

"It feels great to get that first goal."
Jaffray jacked about debut
Gordon Mcintyre said when Jason Jaffray landed in Anaheim, he wasn’t so alone as his mom was unable to fly there to see him.

“The newest call-up from Manitoba knows several Canucks from their stints with the Moose, of course, but the Anaheim Ducks' Scott and Rob Niedermayer are familiar faces, too,” said Mcintyre.

"I went out to watch their practice," Jaffray said before Wednesday night's game. "Scott knows the situation, he knows it's my first game. He stops what he's doing, comes over and shakes my hand, says 'Congratulations on the call-up.'

"That means everything to a guy like me, a guy playing his first game have a guy come over who's won the Stanley Cup over and over and say hi.

"I know Rob really well, too, so it's really nice to be playing my first game and have those guys out there."

“The Niedermayer brothers are part-owners of the Kootenay Ice, where Jaffray played for part of his junior hockey career, and he works with them in summertime at their hockey school,” Mcintyre said.

“At 26, Jaffray is a little older than your typical minor league call-up, but nothing has come the easy way for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound centre/left-winger from Olds, Alta.”

“He's had to fight and scrape his way from fourth lines to top lines, from whistle-stops in the WHL -- traded to Swift Current while he was the captain in Kootenay, the year the Ice went on to win the 2002 Memorial Cup -- and the ECHL to the AHL in Winnipeg. He didn't even have a contract with the Canucks until this summer (a two-way, two-year deal), so he was ineligible to be called up before this season,” said Mcintyre.

"I've worked my way up right from the bottom," the 26-year-old said. "Last year, there was less to worry about because I wasn't waiting for a phone call."

"There were definitely some tough spots throughout my career, where you're thinking if it's ever going to happen, if you're ever going to get that call up," he said.

Mcintyre said, “He's always put up impressive numbers -- 35 goals to lead the Moose in scoring last year, 10 goals in 19 games this season -- but the knock against him has been his skating, said Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault, who coached Jaffray for one season in Winnipeg.”

"But he gets there," Vigneault said. "His offensive reads and his puck skills are real good. He's an offensive player and we'll give him an offensive role."
All good things must end
Iain MacIntyre said it took Brendan Morrison almost eight years to end his Iron man title as he is scheduled to have surgery on his wrist and it may take more than two months before he can hit the ice again.

“Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said Wednesday the tendon surgery, though not complex, requires "significant" recovery time and the National Hockey League club has no expectations for Morrison's return beyond the 32-year-old being available before the playoffs,” said MacIntyre.

"It's significant," Nonis said. "From what we've been told, it's not a difficult [operation], nothing that we need to worry about. But he will spend significant time in a cast. And after that, there's rehab.

"We knew of this possibility weeks ago. We didn't know if his injury would deteriorate but it wasn't going to get better with rest, so we were hoping he could get through the season with it. But of late, it was getting progressively worse."

MacIntyre said, “Morrison's NHL-leading streak of 542 games ended officially when the Canucks played the Anaheim Ducks here Wednesday night.”
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