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Press Round-Up: NOV.08.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Adversity helps motivation – for now

Jason Botchford said that even with all the injuries on the team, the Canuck win against Colorado Avalanche may be the key to bring back the success from last season.

“It was a game -- a 4-3 win Saturday at Colorado -- that, on paper, looks like any other one-goal win on an 82-game schedule.,” Botchford said.

“But the Vancouver Canucks are hoping it means much, much more.”

“They are hoping it's a sign they can compete even without Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo. They are hoping it proves they have drawn closer as a team and relearned lost lessons. They are hoping they have found themselves, finally, in this fumbling, bumbling start to the season,” said Botchford.

"Unfortunately, it took a bunch of our players going down. But it's been a blessing in disguise," Willie Mitchell said. "Absolutely, I'd say, no doubt [the injuries to Bieksa and Salo] brought the team closer together.

"We had this feeling that everyone was against us," Roberto Luongo said. "People were saying our season was over. Stuff like that is motivating for us. It does bring a team together.

"And what you saw was our best effort yet in Colorado."

Botchford said, “Vigneault explained to his players, in that speech, that they no longer had any choice if they wanted success. They had to buy in, they had to play hard and they had to play as a team.”

"He basically explained that we're all in this together, we're facing this adversity as a group and there was only one way to overcome it," Brendan Morrison said. "I think, initially, in that game [against Colorado] everyone bought in to what we had to do. We didn't have guys trying to deviate from the plan.
Canucks finally see game action again

Brad Ziemer talks about the unfriendly game schedule having three to five day gaps between games allowing the momentum to slip away.

Ziemer said, “Off since Saturday, when they surprised nearly everyone by going into Denver with an injury-riddled lineup and beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-3, the Canucks finally play again here tonight against the Calgary Flames.”

"I'm not a real fan of these gaps where we are not playing for three or four days," centre Ryan Kesler said after Wednesday's practice at General Motors Place. "I like playing two games in two nights and three games in six nights just because you don't get out of focus, you are always in game mode. When you have breaks like this, you get out of game mode."

“In a major scheduling quirk, the Canucks have been faced with a number of significant gaps in the first month of their season,” said Ziemer. “Tonight will be their first game in five nights. They return home to play host to the Avalanche on Friday night. Then they get four days off and don't play again until the following Wednesday. Earlier this season, they twice had three-day breaks between games.”

"If you go through it, every team in the NHL, especially in our conference, has got challenging moments and moments like this where you play two games in 12 days and then you play eight games in 12 days," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "I don't know which guy is exactly in charge of the schedule, but I'm not sure he knows all the traveling we have to go through out here."
Phew, Dion is OK

Steve MacFarlane said that the leg injury Dion Phaneuf had seems like it didn’t happen at all as he ‘strutted’ back to the changing room after practice.

MacFarlane said, “The third-year defenseman missed his second straight practice yesterday, but rode the bike and worked out in the gym before telling the few still waiting in the hallway he was good to go tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.

"Definitely. The X-rays came back negative, so that's positive," said Phaneuf, whose unspecified leg injury was painful enough to require further examination but likely won't cause him to miss a game barring a setback at today's morning skate.

"The X-rays were precautionary, just wanted to make sure everything's OK."

"I think that he'll be prepared to play. He feels that he's ready," said Calgary Coach Mike Keenan. "Actually, he wanted to go out today and the medical team suggested he take another day."
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