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Press Round-Up: OCT.31.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

‘I would say it’s been an October that…will be good to get rid of’

Ben Kuzma plays with the Halloween theme and says that October is more of a trick than a treat for GM Dave Nonis after a 5-7-0 record.

"It's definitely been a mixture," Nonis said Tuesday. "There were positive points and negatives and I would say it's been an October that in a lot of ways will be good to get rid of."

Kuzma said, “The Canucks were a horrible 1-5-0 on home ice and ranked last in shots per game (23.8) and faceoff percentage (43), while their top-ranked penalty killing of last season sat 21st (79.7).”

"There are nights where we haven't executed for whatever reason," added Nonis. "That doesn't always equate to a lack of effort, but working smart is just as important as working hard.”

Kuzma asked Nonis what surprises him most with the October record.

"Inconsistency. The highs and lows have been significant and you really have to take care of those things. It's easy to look for and find excuses,” Nonis said.

"You can put some blame on injuries and some of the veterans who were hurt and missed a significant part of camp, but I don't think it's fair to do that."
Slippery sidewalk sidelines Krajicek for weeks.

The Province published updates on Lukas Krajicek, with his twisted ankle from a slippery sidewalk, who was set up with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) yesterday.

“The MRI revealed a very small fracture in the foot along with an ankle sprain. Krajicek will wear a walking boot for two weeks. It will further keep the Canucks from icing their top six defencemen for the first time this season after Sami Salo returned last week from a wrist fracture,” said the Province.

“The Canucks still have seven defencemen on their NHL roster and have not recalled a blueliner from Manitoba. It means either Alex Edler or Mike Weaver will be in the third pairing with Aaron Miller to face Nashville on Thursday at GM Place. Weaver didn't play Sunday in a 3-2 loss to Detroit.”
Vigneault’s naming names could divide the Canucks

Iain MacIntyre said that Kevin Bieksa’s sore abdominal muscle and Willie Mitchell’s pride are both injuries that may affect this top pairing’s performance.

MacIntyre said, “He confirmed for the first time after Sunday's game that he has been playing with a sore oblique muscle, but refused to cite it for his - or his pairing's - failure in October to match excellent form from last season.”

"I'm trying not to think about it, to tell you the truth," the 26-year-old said. "It is what it is and it's going to be what it is the rest of the year. But I'm not using any excuses. I know I need to be better and I feel the last few games were a step in the right direction."

MacIntyre said, “Like the team, Bieksa and Mitchell have been erratic this season and Vigneault's frustration with his shut-down tandem spilled out after Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings when he told the few reporters still around for his news conference.”

"Obviously, those two guys aren't playing at the level we need to them play. We need those guys to pick up their game," Vigneault said.

“Vigneault's specific criticism of Mitchell's misplay of a two-on-one break that ended with Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson's open-netter late in the first period upset the veteran defenseman, who said Monday he didn't appreciate being singled out publicly,” said MacIntyre.

"We've talked about one mistake leading to two, then three," Bieksa said. "Last year, we were weathering the storm a little bit. One mistake, someone would cover for you. So far, that hasn't happened for us this year."

"We've got to get better structurally,” said Mitchell. “A lot of times, we're having breakdowns that are costing us. It's not all about working hard; it's working smart. At the start of the year last year, I'd say we were probably maybe a little structurally better than where we're at right now."
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