Today the Canucks practiced at the ACC with Dave Nonis, Brian Burke and Cliff Fletcher all watching. There was a decent media contingent on hand from the local press and there were questions to Alain Vigneault about Henrik Sedin as a possible Hart Trophy candidate, so I guess the eastern media has been staying up late to watch some games.
The team practiced for over an hour and it was pretty spirited and fast paced. There are lots of smiling faces on the team right now, I guess a 6 game winning streak will do that for you.
Shane O’Brien’s parents were on hand to watch practice, and Burrows’ folks will be at the game tomorrow night.
There are 4 players with Ontario roots playing Saturday; Kyle Wellwood, Ryan Johnson, Shane O’Brien and Andrew Raycroft. Amazingly 3 players will be playing their first ever game in Toronto; Aaron Rome, Nolan Baumgartner (if Salo doesn’t play) and Rick Rypien.
Sami Salo could be back tomorrow night. He skated with assistant coach Daryl Williams today for about 30 minutes, but didn’t stay on the ice to practice with the team. He is likely going to take the pregame skate tomorrow and be a game time decision.
I talked to the equipment guys today, Pat O’Neill and Jamie Hendricks, about this road trip and the challenges of packing for it. You can watch it right now on Canucks.com.
I didn’t realize they had to pack for the entire 14 game trip because they won’t have any access to GM place at all during the Olympics. They had to pack for every scenario, including the potential of recalled players joining the team from Manitoba and they had to pack for trade deadline and the possibilities that brings.
O’Neill will be the equipment manager with Team Canada at the games as well. He won’t be sleeping in his own bed much over the next month and a half, but he’s pretty excited about being apart of Team Canada again.
Canada will be using the Canucks newly renovated dressing room for the entire Olympics. That could be another nice advantage for the home team.