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Canucks in Motown

Wednesday, 22.11.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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Canucks in Motown

BIG 10 RIVALRY

The results of a 42-39 Ohio State victory over Michigan in this past Saturday's college football game have had some effects on Michigan alum, Brendan Morrison.

It wasn't enough he had to wear an OSU t-shirt during media availability on Saturday but teammate and Buckeye alum, Ryan Kesler decided to show his colours in the Canucks dressing room today. He, no doubt, had a chuckle when Morrison discovered an OSU helmet instead of his usual Canuck helmet in his locker.

Morrison opted to skate without a helmet rather than wear the Buckeye red. Luckily, they found his real helmet and all is well.

MINNI FRIENDS

American League MVP, Justin Morneau has a close connection to the Canucks. The New Westminster native is, naturally, a big hockey fan and Canucks fan but he's also a big Willie Mitchell fan.

"We just met one night and kind of hit it off," said Mitchell "I enjoy baseball as well so I watch a lot of baseball games so we kind of met that way."

Mitchell, who was in Minnesota for five seasons didn't miss opportunities to watch the Twins in action. Morneau finished batting .321 with 34 homers and 130 RBIs. He became the first Twins player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season since 1987 and his 130 RBIs are the second-best in team history to Harmon Killebrew's 140 in 1969, when he won the MVP award.

"We have a good relationship and I'm really happy for him."

Although Mitchell is now in Vancouver, he will visit Minnesota four times this season while Morneau returns home for the off season. the friendship has been mutually beneficial.

"I get the inside scoops on ball from him and he gets inside scoops in hockey off of me so we chum around for a bit. It seems that off seasons work well that way too."

BACK FROM THE MOOSE

After a short stint with the Manitoba Moose, Dany Sabourin returns to the Canucks for practice in Detroit. Sabourin went to Manitoba November 16 on a conditioning assignment and played two games with the Moose.

In his first game, Sabourin let in four goals and made 19 saves in a losing effort against Rochester. Sabourin then went on to get a shutout win in Syracuse making 27 saves on the night and named the second star of the game.

Roberto Luongo is slated to start tonight but Sabourin will be seeing ice time on this road trip.

"We're going to play him, obviously not tonight, but one of the next two, we'll see how tonight goes and we'll take it from there but obviously Colorado being a divisional game, it would be a better fit to throw him in tomorrow night," said Alain Vigneault.

Sabourin has only one start with the Canucks this season, in a losing effort against the Oliers on October 17. He also relieved Luongo earlier this month against the Ducks, making 18 saves on the night.

In his two games with the Moose, Sabourin has a 2.01GAA, a 0.920 save percentage, and the only shutout win for the Moose this season.

POWERPLAY WOES

Rumour has it scoring has been an issue for the Canucks this season, but Detroit head coach, Mike Babcock has felt the same about his team on the powerplay, which is currently last in the NHL at 10.1 percent.

"We've had lots of opportunity to go through our games, we get chance after chance, night in, night out," said Babcock. "We had a lull there, there's no question where we didn't do anything on it but it's been good of late and we've been attacking the net."

The Red Wings have scored 10 powerplay goals in their first 19 games so far this season compared to their 29 powerplay goals at the same time last year. Detroit's powerplay ranked first in the NHL last season at 22.1 percent.

"The bottom line is the puck's got to go in for you," says Babcock. "I think when you're watching the games and you see the puck going in for some teams and that's what happened to us last year, the puck went in all the time, it hit somebody and went in."

The difference in their powerplay is also affecting their numbers in scoring. The Red Wings are averaging 2.68 goals per game, about a goal less than last year, where they averaged 3.67 goals per game. The Red Wings have scored 51 goals this year, only 2 more than the Canucks. Last season, they already had 73 goals.

The Canucks start their three game road trip after winning two straight and face a Detroit team coming off of two losses. The Canucks hopes to capitlize on Detroit's struggling powerplay troubles and carry the momentum they had in Vancouver at Joe Louis tonight.