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Press Round-Up: NOV.26.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Canucks keep young guns in check

Ben Kuzma said both the Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks had their young talented players contribute to last night’s game.

“In Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Vancouver Canucks faced fleet-footed and fast-thinking forwards who have played leading roles for the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks. Kane leads all rookies with 22 points [7-15], while Toews is second with 16 [8-8],” said Kuzma.

“However, they didn't get a shot for two periods as the Canucks registered a 2-0 win to move back into a tie for the Northwest Division lead with Minnesota.”

Kuzma said, “It was yet another stellar checking effort by the possessed Ryan Kesler, who worked well with Taylor Pyatt and Brad Isbister. The centre even sent Kane into the Chicago bench with a heavy check in the opening minute of play.”

"I thought I'd take a lick on him and show him early that it's not going to be an easy night," said Kesler.

"They've got a lot of youthful energy and that's probably the hardest to contain."
Luongo bounces right back

Jason Botchford said that Roberto Luongo bounced back from the St.Louis loss, exactly as everyone was expecting him to.

Botchford said, “But there wasn't anything ordinary about Luongo's third-period performance against Chicago as he put on a clinical puck-stopping display that was eerily reminiscent to what he did so often during the second half of last season.”

"Louie had a great game," Markus Naslund said. "He was a big difference.

"They got some good chances in the end, but I thought [Luongo] was patient back there. He made some key saves, especially on that last power play. It's great to see him play like that."

“Luongo took over the game in the final 20 minutes. He made 12 saves in the last stanza, including three on Jonathan Toews during one crucial Chicago power play that started with just 5:36 left,” said Botchford.

“Toews best chance was a wicked 17-foot wrist shot from the slot that Luongo contained with his glove hand and his shoulder.”

"I thought it was going to sneak in there," Toews said, sighing as he described his best denied scoring chance. "But I guess he covers a lot of net and even when he doesn't see it sometimes he's going to get a piece of it."
Canucks Nation Weekly

Ben Kuzma said that with the injured beginning to heal and slowly gaining enough strength to join the team, what happens to those who came up from Manitoba and helped begin the Canucks’ turnaround.

“Mattias Ohlund is back. So is Sami Salo and Lukas Krajicek,” said Kuzma.

“With all three in the lineup, the question now is what to do with a glut of talent on the back end. You can argue that health is wealth and parting with a veteran defenceman in a trade doesn't make sense -- especially with Kevin Bieksa's season in jeopardy from a lacerated calf and Salo's career injury count now at 29.”

Kuzma said, “However, you could also argue that the rapid development of Alex Edler and the remarkable improvement in Luc Bourdon means somebody is expendable in a move for a proven top-six forward.”
Bert back in Vancouver with Ducks

Tony Gallagher said Todd Bertuzzi is back in GM Place to play his first NHL since he was first traded from the Canucks to the New York Islanders.

Gallagher said, “While he's played against some of his old Canuck teammates in Anaheim during this preseason, he expects his return to Vancouver on Tuesday night will fill him with emotion.”

"There's no question it's going to be emotional in a lot of ways for me," said Bertuzzi from his home in California while preparing for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Kings.

"After all the great years and great friends I made in the city, it's going to be very strange to be back there playing. It's going to be a very different experience, a very difficult game to play."

“And while there will be some boos, it's expected the response will be more cordial than hostile, especially when one considers his contribution over the years and the fact trading him brought Roberto Luongo here from Florida,” said Gallagher.

"There's no question it's going to be weird for me because I've never played against all the guys at once. Of course I did when I was on the Island, but the team was so different and it's so long ago it's hard to remember and I don't recall what it was like.

"So there's no doubt it's going to be different, hard to handle in some ways."
Stay out of the comfort zone

Iain MacIntyre said the team needs to be afraid or desperate because the Canucks perform better under such pressure.

Canuck defenceman Mattias Ohlund returned to the lineup from suspension Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, one game after Sami Salo rejoined the team after missing eight games with facial injuries.

Ohlund and Salo are workhorses, unspectacular but reliable defencemen who play in all situations and add valuable size to a lineup that is no longer one of the league's biggest. Their return is a good thing. But only if the Canucks maintain the urgency and commitment borne out of desperation after Salo and blueliner Kevin Bieksa were badly hurt on Nov. 1.

Now, Bieksa, whose calf will take many more weeks to grow back together, is the only Canuck out. The Canucks are as healthy as they've been all-season and their defence -- with an emerging Alex Edler taking Bieksa's spot -- should become the elite unit general manager Dave Nonis built to support goalie Roberto Luongo.

But none of it works without the urgency and commitment. Without a small dose of fear. "It's really important," Salo said Sunday after logging 26:21 of ice time in a 2-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. "After Christmas last year, we played really desperate hockey, simple hockey. That's what made us successful last year and that's why the team was so successful when Kevin and I were out.

"But that doesn't just happen. You can't push a button for that desperation. We learned the hard way in October by losing by some big numbers."
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