Rock ‘em sock ‘em Cookie
Ben Kuzma said that Matt Cooke, who’s known to get under players’ skins, actually achieved his goals, but took a couple down that were more injured than expected.
“The aggressive Canucks winger has sidelined three opposition players with heavy borderline checks along the boards -- two resulted in concussions to Daymond Langkow and Petteri Nummelin -- but wasn't suspended for any of the hits,” said Kuzma.
“Chicago Blackhawks defenceman James Wisniewski was on the receiving end of a heavy Cooke hit in a 2-0 loss to the Canucks on Nov. 26 at GM Place. Cooke wasn't penalized on the play in which Wisniewski's head hit the glass.”
“The blueliner was cut for 15 stitches above his left eye and makes his return to the lineup here tonight. Wisniewski isn't vowing revenge, but Cooke might want to keep his head up,” Kuzma said.
"He didn't get suspended, so I guess it was a fair hit," said Wisniewski. "My head hit the glass and I remember being on the ice bleeding. Some people might have a little more respect when guys are in vulnerable spots”
"Things happen, it's hockey. If I have a chance to hit him, I'm not going to let up at all -- and might put a little more effort into it. He saw that my back was turned a little bit and I was close to the glass and he could have eased up a bit."
“Cooke defended his action describing what took place on the play,” Kuzma said. “Wisniewski had his stick on the puck and appeared to see Cooke coming at the last second, according to the winger
"I thought he actually looked up and saw me and tried to chip the puck out before getting hit," said Cooke. "He turned and I even stopped a bit and stuck my hip into him and he hit his head on the glass."
“Cooke drives the opposition crazy because he's a heavy hitter with a gift of gab who doesn't fight,” said Kuzma.
"I'm trying not to do anything illegal," Cooke added. "I'm just trying to take the body and they [hits] are not when guys are in vulnerable positions. A lot of times when pucks are dumped in, I'm the first forechecker who wants to create some separation.”
Undefeated Sanford scheduled to plat today or Thursday
Ben Kuzma said it must be hard for a back-up goalie to work in the big shadow of Roberto Luongo
, but Curtis Sanford will get some time in the spotlight – maybe tonight.
“Sanford is expected to start either tonight in Chicago or Thursday in Nashville, but understands his 2-0 record pales in comparison to what Luongo has accomplished,” Kuzma said.
“Luongo was named the league's first star of the week from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3 for posting a 2-1-0 record with an 0.67 goals-against average and .976 save percentage. Starting on Nov. 25, he had a club record three shutouts and stretched the franchise string for minutes without surrendering a goal to 212:02.”
"It will be exciting to get in there again, but it's tough to go in after what Roberto has done," Sanford said following practice Tuesday.
“Sanford hasn't had stellar career numbers against the Blackhawks or Predators. He's 0-2-3 against the Hawks with a 4.00 GAA and .809 save percentage. Against the Predators, he's 0-1-3 with a 3.21 GAA and .862 percentage,” said Kuzma.
Linden in limbo waiting for ice time
Ben Kuzma said that Linden feels fresh and ready to go, but Coach Alain Vigneault is having problems of where he can put the Canuck veteran.
“Neither seems sure how all this will play out in the coming days, weeks and months. Linden has been a healthy scratch the last two games -- and eight times already this season -- and is expected to play either tonight in Chicago or Thursday in Nashville,” said Kuzma.
“Vigneault's concern is team chemistry and he's having a hard time coming up with a formula that consistently includes Linden. The Canucks coach wants the winger to be fresh because of the demanding schedule and a franchise mandate to give prospects more playing time.”
"I still haven't made up my mind yet [on Linden]," said Vigneault. "I'm still in the process of watching Chicago's last game and the type of lineup they are putting on. We'll have to figure that out [today]."
“Linden has three points in 18 games in 11:06 of average ice time. Last season, he had 25 points in 80 games and five of his 12 power-play goals came with ample time with Daniel and Henrik Sedin
. He also led all Canuck forwards with seven playoff points,” Kuzma said.
"Where does Trevor fit in?," asked Vigneault. "If we want to be an in-your-face type team on the fourth line, Trevor doesn't fit there."
"I promised myself I wasn't going to be upset or become a distraction if I didn't play," said Linden, who would rather the focus to be on the team winning, not him losing playing time. "I'm not going to walk around with my lip dragging on the ground. I'm trying to be good in practice and positive around the guys with the belief I can make a difference."
THE VANCOUVER SUN
Linden sucks it up
Brad Ziemer said there is a possibility that Trevor Linden will sit his third straight game against the Chicago Blackhawks and there is nothing Linden can do about it.
"I want to be a positive influence and one thing I promised myself is that I wasn't going to be pissed off or upset and become a distraction if I didn't play," Linden said after the Canucks practised at the United Center.
"I'm not going to walk around with my lip dragging on the ground because I'm not playing. I'm trying to be good in practice and positive around the guys with the belief that I can make a difference."
“Linden said he knew coming into this season that he would sit out some games along the way. That message was communicated to him in a late-summer meeting with Canuck coach Alain Vigneault,” said Ziemer.
"I knew the ground rules when I came in," he said. "It was either accept that or not play, so I made my choice to play and this is the situation you get yourself into. And you either go and try to be a positive influence or you make an issue about that and create a problem and I'm not going to do that.
"I'm probably the easiest guy to take out and they probably want to take a look at some other guys. It's not really about me at this point. It's about the team and trying to win games and that's what the focus should be on."
CANWEST NEWS SERVICE
Islanders don’t fear Canucks assistant GM spying.
CanWest News Service said that the New York Islanders invited the players’ fathers to join them on their three day road trip.
“In some ways it's a great fit for forward Jeff Tambellini's dad, Steve, to accompany the team,” said CanWest.
“Steve spent two seasons in a New York Islanders uniform, including the 1980 Stanley Cup championship team.”
“Steve is also the assistant general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, but head coach Ted Nolan and general manager Garth Snow were willing to look the other way.”
"I ran it by Teddy and Garth to make sure it wasn't too difficult a situation," Jeff Tambellini told Newsday. "But he's coming as a dad, not a GM with Vancouver. Hopefully, it should be a great experience and I'm really looking forward to it."