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Canucks' Tanev out, reportedly has broken thumb

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- Already struggling mightily to score, the Vancouver Canucks received some bad news on defense heading into their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

Defenseman Christopher Tanev won't play against the rival Blackhawks, and according to Vancouver radio station News 1130 AM will be out until after the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a broken thumb.

"He's day-to-day with an upper-body injury," assistant coach Mike Sullivan said, declining to address questions about the injury report.

Tanev never was counted on for offense but is averaging almost 21 minutes a game on a paring with Dan Hamhuis that regularly faces the opposition's top line. Tanev also is tied with Jason Garrison for the lead among Canucks defenseman with five goals, and is fourth with 14 points in 54 games this season.

While most of the focus has been on the Canucks' scoring woes as they've won just four of 13 games in 2014, they've given up four goals in each of the past two games and surrendered numerous odd-man rushes during a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

None of which bodes well against a Chicago team that leads the NHL with an average of 3.44 goals per game despite being on a four-game winless skid (0-2-2).

"We know these guys have a lot of firepower," goalie Roberto Luongo said. "We have to be playing as a team within our system very well. It's not always going to be picture perfect, there are going to be breakdowns [and] it's my job to make those saves anyways."

Tanev's absence means Yannick Weber gets to play defense after being used as a fourth-line forward and power-play specialist at the point the past two games. It also means forward Dale Weise comes back into the lineup after being scratched to make room for Weber.

Chicago did not skate in Vancouver after a 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday so there was no word about possible lineup changes. But the Blackhawks will start goalie Corey Crawford after he came on in relief of Antti Raanta in Calgary.

The Blackhawks also may swap Sheldon Brookbank in for Michael Rozsival on the third defense pairing and veteran center Michal Handzus, who was rested against the Flames, likely will come back into the lineup, possibly for Brandon Pirri.

Here are the rest of the expected lineups for the Blackhawks and Canucks:


Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Kris Versteeg - Brandon Pirri - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Brandon Saad

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Johnny Oduya

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Michael Kostka, Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Handzus

Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder)


Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Zack Kassian

Daniel Sedin - Jordan Schroeder - Alexandre Burrows

David Booth - Brad Richardson - Jannik Hansen

Tom Sestito - Zac Dalpe - Dale Weise

Alexander Edler - Jason Garrison

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Ryan Stanton - Kevin Bieksa

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Kellan Lain

Injured: Christopher Tanev (upper body), Henrik Sedin (ribs/finger), Mike Santorelli (upper body), Andrew Alberts (upper body)

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