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Press Round-Up: JAN.15.08

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Pyatt has dental surgery, could play wearing a protective cage, says Vigneault

Jason Botchford said Taylor Pyatt might possibly play against Columbus Tuesday night, after being hit in the face by a puck two days ago.

“Pyatt couldn't eat or sleep in the 24 hours after he took a puck to the mouth in the first period Sunday in St. Louis. He had dental surgery Monday, saving teeth that were pushed back by the puck,” said Botchford.

"There was no fracture," said coach Alain Vigneault. "Hopefully, he'll be fine [today]. He should be able to play with a cage if he can handle the pain.”

"He didn't lose any teeth, everything has been pushed back into place. He looks different right now."

“Vigneault said he wants to play Pyatt on the top line with the Sedin twins. If he can't play, Vigneault said Trevor Linden will take his place on the No. 1 line,” said Botchford.

If he were to play, Pyatt would be required to wear a full-shield face mask to protect the injured area. Pyatt received 25 stitches to his upper lip and had a splint inserted into his mouth to hold the loose teeth in place.
No pregnant pause backing Louie: 'I really think, in general, most people understand my decision'

Jason Botchford said Luongo’s decision to miss the All-Star game has been supported by his teammates and personnel around the league, although he does have his critics.

“[Luongo] appreciates [the] support [of his team] and that of other NHL players regarding his unusual decision to skip the all-star game and spend time with his pregnant wife Gina,” said Botchford.

"Everybody on the team has been very supportive of me and the few guys I've talked to around the league all understood my situation," Luongo said. "I really haven't had that much negative feedback."

“But just because Luongo hasn't heard much negativity doesn't mean there aren't those in hockey who are irritated by his decision. There are NHL rumblings that some old school-types, who won't go public, are irked,” said Botchford.

“Some around the league are floating the notion that Luongo's decision could cost him Vezina votes. It's that type of negativity that weighed heavily on Luongo as he wrestled with his options for weeks.”

"[A negative reaction] is something I thought about. I never wanted to create any negative energy," he said.

"But, at the same time, I realize there is no way you can please everybody. There are always going to be people who disagree with you. I really think, in general, most people understand my decision and I'm comfortable with that."

Ryan Kesler, who's also awaiting arrival of his first child, a girl around mid-May, understands Luongo's reasoning,” said Botchford.

"What his wife's going through is tough," Kesler said.

"My wife is pregnant and if she wasn't with me in Vancouver it would be so tough. It would be tough not seeing what she's going through and tough not being there for her. I think going home for that break is going to be good mentally and physically for him. I'd do the exact same thing if I was in his position."

“A reflective Luongo said he's more sure than ever he made the right choice. He has been away from his wife for most of the season. She went back to Florida to be with family because of her "delicate" pregnancy,” said Botchford.

"I never doubted it was the right choice," Luongo said. "My values are important to me. This is an important time in my life. I don't get to spend much time with my wife or the baby. This is probably the last time I'll be able to do it before the baby is born."
Fewer watch the Canucks on Sportsnet

Gordon McIntyre said there may be several reasons for the drop in Canuck viewership.

“Maybe 61,000 dads got high-def TVs for Father's Day last June and they've tuned out non-HD Canucks regional broadcasts on Sportsnet,” said McIntyre.

“More likely, there are several factors that would explain why that many viewers -- a 20-per-cent drop in people watching Canucks games on Sportsnet over the first half of this season -- have quit watching the team on TV.”

"Any drop-off in any rating numbers is a concern to us," Chris Zimmerman, the Canucks president and chief operating officer, said Monday. "I've heard many theories [to explain it]."

“Among the theories: HD viewers turned off by non-HD broadcasts; the Canucks' style of play; a schedule that has Minnesota on the menu eight times, but not the Leafs, Habs or Senators, not once; a schedule that has the Canucks play a swarm of games, then off for days at a time; the Internet,” said McIntyre.

"There's a good chance some combination is in play," Zimmerman said.

“Viewership for Canucks games on Sportsnet Pacific has averaged 242,000 this season, down from 303,000 for the first half of last season. That's still miles ahead of Edmonton (116,000, down 30 per cent), Calgary (117,000, down three per cent) and Ottawa (102,000, up 17 per cent),” said McIntyre.

“Pay-per-view audiences are holding steady and TSN audiences for Canucks games are up over a year ago,” Zimmerman said.

“Some pay-per-view games will broadcast in HD next season, if not late this season, Zimmerman said. And Sportsnet announced Monday that 11 more games will be HD this season, bringing the total to 19,” said McIntyre.

"I'm the first to say a hockey game in HD is a significant improvement," Zimmerman said. "As a viewer you don't care who's broadcasting it or why, you just know there's a better experience out there and you want to get the best experience you can."
MacIntyre to play AHL all-star tilt, make haste to Vancouver
Tim Campell said McIntyre will not have to miss the AHL All-Star game to cover for Luongo.

“Luongo, you will have heard, has been granted leave from the Canucks between Jan. 24-31 -- including surprisingly taking a pass on the NHL all-star game in Atlanta on Jan. 27 -- to be with his pregnant wife in Florida,” said Campbell.

“The arrangement, however, includes being excused from Vancouver's first game after the all-star break, a home contest Jan. 29 against Dallas before a road trip begins Jan. 31 in Tampa, where Luongo will re-appear.”

“The Canucks will need another goalie for their Jan. 29 game, and there were worries they were going to ask Moose starter Drew MacIntyre to forego his own AHL all-star appearance Jan. 28 in Binghamton, N.Y., to be Curtis Sanford's back-up against Dallas,” said Campbell.

“Fear not, travel arrangements have been worked out to get MacIntyre to Vancouver right after his AHL all-star appearance, and everyone should wind up happy.”

"I thought of it when I first heard of the Luongo story," MacIntyre said Monday. "I wouldn't want to miss the all-star game for an off-day so it's nice they'll let me fly in there the day of the game."
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