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Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Minnesota Wild (22-26-19-2) at Vancouver Canucks (36-21-8-4).

TIME: Wednesday, 11 p.m. EST.

Luckily for the Vancouver Canucks, their general manager is a lot smarter than Todd Bertuzzi.

Fearful of Bertuzzi receiving a long suspension for his actions against Colorado on Monday, Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke shifted his focus to Tuesday's trade deadline.

As a result, new acquisitions Martin Rucinsky, Geoff Sanderson and Marc Bergevin should be available to play when the Canucks take on the visiting Minnesota Wild.

"You will see from the activity that we made some changes that will help, but I also feel that we preserved our core young assets which I said I would preserve," Burke said on Tuesday.

The Canucks, who have won just one of their last four (1-2-1) games, limped toward the deadline following an awful 9-2 home loss to the rival Avalanche on Monday. With the game out of hand late, Bertuzzi sucker-punched Colorado's Steve Moore from behind and slammed him headfirst into the ice.

Moore was knocked unconscious and was lying in a pool of blood before being taken off the ice on a stretcher. It was later learned Moore suffered a broken neck and a concussion and will miss the rest of the season.

Bertuzzi, who has 17 goals and 60 points this season, is suspended indefinitely and will likely miss the final 13 games of the regular season and possibly several playoff games after learning his fate at Wednesday's hearing in Toronto with league officials.

Burke took a proactive approach to the suspension by replacing the offense Bertuzzi likely would have supplied by trading prospect defenseman Martin Grenier and the rights to unsigned draft pick R.J. Umberger to New York for winger Rucinsky, one of the few bright spots for the disappointing Rangers with 13 goals and 29 assists in 69 games.

"That's what it's all about, You play 82 games to get into the playoffs," said Rucinsky, who will be playing for his seventh team during his 13-year career. "I'm glad to go to Vancouver. They are a great team. I'm just happy to go there, have a good playoffs and hopefully make a good run."

Burke then plucked Sanderson from lowly Columbus for a third-round pick in 2005, and nabbed veteran defenseman Bergevin from Pittsburgh for a seventh-round selection in 2004.

Sanderson, a 32-year-old forward, had 13 goals and 16 assists in 67 games with Columbus this season, and 313 goals and 605 points during his 13-year career.

A veteran of 21 NHL seasons, Bergevin is joining his eighth team. Overall, he has played in 1,182 games, recording 36 goals, 143 assists and 1088 penalty minutes. Bergevin has also played in 77 playoff games, recording nine points and 50 penalty minutes.

The Wild snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-4-3) with a 4-3 win over Pacific Division-leading San Jose on Tuesday.

Manny Fernandez made 28 saves for Minnesota, which will likely miss the postseason after advancing to the Western Conference finals last season.

The Wild are 10 points out of the final playoff spot with 13 games to play.

STANDINGS: Wild - 65 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Northwest Division. Canucks - 84 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Andrew Brunette, 13 goals, 28 assists and 41 points; Matt Johnson, 156 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 32 goals and 75 points; Naslund and Bertuzzi, 43 assists; Jarkko Ruutu, 125 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 8): Wild - Power play: 12.8 percent (35 for 273), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (203 for 240), 11th. Canucks - Power play: 15.6 percent (52 for 333), 19th. Penalty killing: 86.2 percent (268 for 311), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Dwayne Roloson (15-16-10, 4 SO, 1.91 GAA); Fernandez (7-12-9, 1, 2.54). Canucks - Dan Cloutier (26-20-4, 4, 2.40); Johan Hedberg (8-4-2, 2.31, 3).

SEASON SERIES: Wild, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 19; Wild, 6-2. At Minnesota, Marc Chouinard scored two goals for the Wild. Cloutier allowed four goals on 10 shots for Vancouver before being pulled for Hedberg in the second period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 9-13-12-1 on the road; Canucks - 17-11-5-0 at home.

Associated Press
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