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Canucks' Booth not in lineup against Panthers

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- David Booth was looking forward to playing against his former team, the Florida Panthers, on Tuesday night. He won't get the chance.

Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is making Booth a healthy scratch for the second time this season. The benching comes two games after Booth was recalled from a conditioning stint in the American Hockey League.

Booth, who has this season and next remaining on a contract with a $4.25 million salary-cap hit, comes out of the lineup because fourth-line wing Dale Weise is ready to return from a sprained left knee.

"To whom much is given, much is required - that's a biblical principle that has always stuck with me," Booth said of the expectations that came with his salary and a five-player trade from Florida just over two years ago. "No one holds me to a higher expectation than myself."

Booth, who scored 31 goals for Florida in 2008-09, scored once into an empty net in 12 games with the Canucks last season before an ankle injury that required surgery. He has one goal and three points in 13 games this season, and has already sustained two groin injuries.

Booth agreed with Tortorella's assessment that the speed that's so important to his style of play hasn't returned.

"My explosiveness isn't where it was in the past," Booth said. "That extra step, that's really the strength in my game. Without a doubt, I can get it back. I've had other leg injuries, and it comes back with time. It's just been a little bit longer this time than in the past."

Defenseman Yannick Weber, who played nine of 10 games as a forward, was sent to the minors to make room for Weise.

Tortorella will again shake up the forward lines of a team that has managed just one goal in each of its last four games (0-3-1), moving Mike Santorelli back up to the second-line center spot and sliding center Ryan Kesler, the 2011 Selke Trophy winner, over to his wing. Jannik Hansen, playing his second game after missing 10 with a shoulder injury, drops to the third line. Booth sits out in favor of Tom Sestito and Jeremy Welsh, who were on for a goal against in their first shift of a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday and didn't play again.

"Obviously, I would have really liked to play tonight," said Booth, who spent five-plus NHL seasons with a Florida team that picked him 53rd in the 2004 NHL Draft. "It's a game I was really looking forward to."

Florida won't make any forward changes coming off a win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, even though center Scott Gomez is ready to return from a groin injury.

"I'm not going to change the lineup," coach Peter Horachek said. "He probably could play. Could he play 20 minutes? Nope. But you want to get him in a position where he is going to be at his best too."

The win in Colorado was Florida's first there in 10 years. They will be looking to break an even longer slump in Vancouver, where the Panthers only win came in their inaugural 1993-94 season at the Pacific Coliseum.

Here are the projected lineups for the Panthers and Canucks:


Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Tomas Fleischmann

Scottie Upshall - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Tomas Kopecky -- Marcel Goc - Jesse Winchester

Jimmy Hayes - Shawn Matthias - Krys Barch

Tom Gilbert - Brian Campbell

Mike Mottau - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Matt Gilroy

Tim Thomas

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Scott Gomez, Sean Bergenheim

Injured: Ed Jovanovski (hip), Mike Weaver (illness)


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows

Chris Higgins - Mike Santorelli - Ryan Kesler

Zack Kassian - Brad Richardson - Jannik Hansen

Tom Sestito - Jeremy Welsh - Dale Weise

Alexander Edler - Jason Garrison

Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev ?????????

Ryan Stanton - Kevin Bieksa

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Scratched: David Booth, Andrew Alberts, Zac Dalpe

Injured: Jordan Schroeder (foot)

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