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Canucks' Booth back in, determined to improve game

by Dan Rosen /

NEWARK, N.J. -- Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth will return to the lineup Thursday against the New Jersey Devils after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career Tuesday at the New York Islanders.

Canucks coach John Tortorella said he benched Booth in favor of a seventh defenseman against the Islanders because "he's not doing enough to play, plain and simple." Tortorella would not elaborate and said he didn't want to get into a public discussion on it.

When asked Thursday why Booth is back in the lineup, Tortorella again said he didn't want to get into a public discussion.

"I want him to play as best as he can," Tortorella said. "I'm not going to get into specifics."

Booth, who has a goal and two assists but has not been on the ice for a goal-against this season, said Tortorella's decision to scratch him came as a surprise, but also a wake-up call.

"It's definitely something that I'm not proud of, and the only way to get out of that is by working harder, doing more, trying to get better," Booth said.

"You can't feel sorry for yourself," he later said. "You can't have other people feeling sorry for yourself. This is a results-based business and I know that. I'm going to continue to work harder than I ever have to get back to where I need to be."

Ironically, Booth was scratched on the two-year anniversary of when he was traded to the Canucks from the Florida Panthers. He said the surprise at being traded was similar to the surprise he had at being scratched.

"It doesn't sit well," Booth said.

He isn't sure if Tortorella was trying to make an example out of him, but Booth said he got the message.

"[Tortorella] just wants to win and he's been there, he's won a Stanley Cup and I haven't, so I want to look up to how he motivates guys," Booth said. "It's worked before and it's something I've got to take to heart and continue to improve my game in any way I can."

Even with Booth back in the lineup the Canucks again will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, including Andrew Alberts, who played 37 seconds Tuesday, because they only have 11 healthy forwards with them at Prudential Center.

Jannik Hansen was sent back to Vancouver for further tests on the upper-body injury he sustained Tuesday when he crashed into the end boards. Vancouver recalled Yann Sauve from Utica of the American Hockey League, but he's a defenseman and didn't arrive in time for the morning skate.

Roberto Luongo will start in goal despite the fact Vancouver also plays Friday at the St. Louis Blues to conclude their seven-game road trip. Luongo could start both games.

Alexandre Burrows, who has been out since fracturing his foot in the season opener, skated with the team but said he may need a full practice before playing. The Canucks' next full practice won't be until at least the weekend, so Burrows could miss at least the next two games.

The Canucks did not do line rushes at their morning skate, but here is what their lineup could look like at the start of the game Thursday:

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Ryan Kesler

Chris Higgins - Mike Santorelli - Zack Kassian

David Booth - Brad Richardson - Dale Weise

Tom Sestito - Jeremy Welsh

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa

Alexander Edler - Jason Garrison

Ryan Stanton - Christopher Tanev

Andrew Alberts

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Yannick Weber, Yann Sauve

Injured: Alexandre Burrows (foot), Jordan Schroeder (ankle), Jannik Hansen (upper body)


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