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Finals Checks

Monday, 02.10.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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Finals Checks
OCT.02.2006

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NEW-LOOK CANUCKS

The buzz after Monday morning's practice was all about the bumps and cuts.

Forward Marc Chouinard sat out with a shoulder injury while Rick Rypien, Jannik Hansen, and Patrick Coulombe were all re-assigned to Manitoba.

The Canucks roster now sits at 22.

"Those [Coulombe and Hansen] are two young players that came and played extremely well, and made it right down to the wire," said Alain Vigneault. "But at the end [Luc] Bourdon played a little bit better than Coulombe. Luc picked it up and he will start he season with us."

"In Hansen's case I really liked what I saw, but he's going to be more of a top-two line role player. He's an offensive skilled player."

Despite averaging two goals per game through the pre-season, Vigneault says the team's better off in the short term with a more veteran bench that will score by committee.

"Even though we didn't score a lot of goals, I think we're going to go with the guys we have here right now. We've got three lines here that can possibly score." Vigneault lauded Rypien's camp saying he was standout right from the start, but sent him down because of a thumb injury.

"In Rypien's case he would be here and somebody else would be going down. He deserves to be here but his thumb doesn't permit it."

"He's going to go down, play some games and when we get the okay from the doctor that he can be 100% and skate and hit and drop the mitts if it needs be, he'll be right back up here."

FARM CALLS

Vigneault says he'll continue to evaluate both the Canucks and the Moose through the season with an eye to moving bodies around to keep the most competitive line-up on the ice.

"It's performance-based," said Vigneault. "If you want to stick around, you have to make sure you're playing well and that the team is winning. Those things go hand in hand."

Vigneault singled out players like Lee Goren, Jesse Schultz, Brandon Reid as scoring forwards who could step up, as well as defenders Yannick Tremblay and Nathan McIver.


INJURIES

Marc Chouinard sat out practice this morning after injuring a ligament in his shoulder against Edmonton Saturday. "He got hurt midway through the second," said Vigneault. "He sat on the bench in the third and didn't play. He's got a first-degree separation so we're looking at seven to ten days. I would say it was an upper body injury, but it's too early for that."

Chouinard, who joined the Canucks as a free agent this summer and will be counted on for defensive strength down the middle, says he's already improving but will miss the first road trip.

"I got a weird check down the corner there on the forecheck, Torres I think it was, and somehow I felt that little squeeze there. I talked to Berny [Mike Burnstein] on the bench and he assessed that it was an AC sprain that we have to take care of."

"It's feeling much better already, so far we're looking at Thursday to start skating. But overall we're looking at seven to ten days."

MINDING THE CREASE

Barring any last-minute surprises, the Canucks will open in Detroit with Wade Flaherty watching Roberto Luongo from the end of the visitor's bench.

Unlike some of the other roster spots, the crease is one area the Canucks have few questions about.

"At this time this is the duo we're going to start with," said Vigneault. "Luongo has gotten better as camp has gone on. He's played extremely well the last couple of games and Flaherty gave us a chance against Edmonton, and that's what we want from our backup."

PHOTO GALLERY

AUDIO CLIPS

Please be aware, may take a minute to load!

1. Alain Vigneault talks about the roster cuts made today.

2. Roberto Luongo's excited for the first game in Detroit.

3. Luc Bourdon relfects on the cuts made and the transition playing with the Canucks.