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Canucks vs Nashville Sunday at 6:30PM - Tickets available

A Day To Rest

Tuesday, 09.01.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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A Day To Rest

JAN.09.07
MISSING THREE


After winning a season-high seven straight, the Canucks went back to work Monday morning with a tough practice but they wouldn't have it any other way.

"I think it's good to get right back at it the next day and we don't want to rest on our laurels at all," said Josh Green. "It's good to get back and get a workout in because we're going to get a couple days off here and it was a good work day."

"I think it was necessary," says Markus Naslund. "We've got a few days between games and this is basically the only time we can do it. It was a good skate an a good workout and I think it's going to help down the stretch."

The Canucks participated in a long on-ice and an off-ice conditioning practice yesterday but is rewarded with a day off today before getting back to work tomorrow afternoon.

Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, and Sami Salo were missing from the group practice Tuesday.

"Luongo went on the ice early to work with Ian and did his off-ice stuff after," said Alain Vigneault. "Kes had an MRI two weeks ago, something with his hip and he's having another form of MRI to rule out anything. I'm not exactly sure what the other form is. It's nothing serious it's just this was the time to see and check it out. [For Salo] It's just an opportunity to give him 72 hours [to rest the shoulder] before the next practice."

So there's nothing to worry about with the missing faces but Vigneault's got a theory on Kesler's hip.

"We think it might be because of the kicking in the shootouts that he's hurting himself so we're not quite sure."


REFRESHED POWER PLAYS

Although the Canucks power-play started the season virtually last in the league, it has been on an upward climb, now ranked at 22nd. At 15.6 percent, the Canucks still have a way to go to but it's definitely getting there.

Trevor Linden's right-handed shot and the Twins fancy moves have definitely made an impact when the Canucks have the man advantage but it's more than that.

"Trevor's got a really good rapport with the Twins," said Vigneault.

"I think because of the rapport they have with one another. They found a way to get our power-play going with the help of Ohlund and Bieksa because those are the five guys we use on that unit."

"I think we have really good chemistry," said Linden. "I really rely on them to tell me what they're seeing because they're such smart players and they understand what makes thing successful, what makes things work so I really rely on them to talk to. We spend a lot of time before games and during the periods just talking about what we can do to break down the other team's penalty killing."

Linden, who's now averaging almost 11 and a half minutes is making the most out of this new role.

"It's nice to get an opportunity and it's nice to get some results and that's the key to getting the opportunity you want - to make a difference and I've been fortunate enough to do that."

In the first 20 games, he saw over 10 minutes of ice time in only six games. In the past 20 games, he's played less than 11 minutes in only one.


OVERTIME JUST RIGHT

After Sunday night, the Canucks are 10-1 in overtime or shootouts with their only loss coming to Minnesota at the beginning of the season on October 10, their fourth game in the season.

Since then the Canucks have taken the two points in extra time, including three in this seven-game win streak and a shootout win against the Dallas Stars, who were undefeated in shootouts before facing the Canucks last Wednesday.

So what's the secret to the Canucks in overtime?

"It's a little bit of luck involved," said Linden. "It's one of those things where you take a chance when you go into overtime but we've got some extremely skilled players with Daniel and Henrik, they're really puck possession guys."

"It's tough to explain," said Green, who scored the game winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout Sunday night.

"[The Sedins] do well in the overtime and the shootouts we've got Roberto back there and he's stopping a lot pucks. He's one of the main reasons for our success."

The Canucks are undefeated at home in overtime or a shootout in six tries this year. They have the second best overtime/shootout record after San Jose, who's only played one overtime game this year and yet to play in a shootout.

There's really no secret to this success, it's just a whole team effort.

"All our games have been tight," said Vigneault. "All our games have been close, are guys are used to that pressure. It just seems that the more pressure we put on ourselves to play, the better we played, which is a good thing for the team. We've done it in pressure situation and the Twins four-on-four are also pretty good."


TIME TO RELAX

The Canucks captain scored his 13th of the year on Sunday against the Panthers to break his 17-game scoring slump.

"It's definitely a little bit of a weight lifted off your shoulder when you finally get one and obviously it's nice to come out to the rink now that we're winning. It makes a big difference."

Naslund was upbeat, even after a long practice on Monday morning.

"I don't usually [celebrate] a whole lot when I score, but when you do it every [18] games, you might have to."

There's been a lot of pressure on him and even though it took 18 games to score, he showed the poise expected from the Captain.

"It wears on you and you try to look for reasons in all different areas. I think once you score, you relax and go back to playing the way you're supposed to instead of looking for an edge in different areas and getting out of your game."

One thing that's been constant is the fan support.

"It's a little emotional, it just shows how loyal they are and how they're behind you even if you're struggling. It really warms your heart."


SHUFFLE IN THE Q

After returning home with a second gold medal from the World Junior Championships, the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL traded Canucks 2005 first round pick, Luc Bourdon, on the day of the Q's trade deadline Monday.

Bourdon was traded to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for 16-year old Mark Barberio.

After playing nine games with the Canucks earlier this season, Bourdon earned 14 points (3-11-14) in 13 games with Moncton.