Monday Night Hockey
| NET OVER NECK
Injury is a term that we can expect in the sports world -- Even with the most innocent looking sport, such as badminton, anything can go wrong. This year, the Canucks start their luck with a few fresh injuries.
Roberto Luongo felt the effects of a Brad Isbister slap shot Sunday at the Canucks’ Annual Intra-squad game in Victoria. Always the fighter, Luongo shrugs it off and fortunately, he attended practice Monday morning but will not play in the pre-season opener against the Ducks.
“It was just a little sore, nothing serious,”. He said.
With all the possibilities of getting hit in the neck again, should he hang that extra shield to avoid future neck accidents? Luongo thinks not.
“I’m still pondering the idea [of wearing the neck shield], you got to see what’s more important – a hit in the neck once or twice a year or letting in a couple goals where you can’t find the puck in your feet, so I think for now I’ll stick with the no plastic.”
Last season’s Vezina winner Martin Brodeur and Anaheim’s JS Giguere both choose to wear a guard while younger goaltenders, Ryan Miller and Ray Emery, like Luongo opt to go without.
Luongo is expected to play on Wednesday in the second pre-seaon game against division rivals, Calgary Flames.
In what should’ve been a light pre-cursor to the pre-season in Sunday’s intra-squad game, the Canucks lost defenceman Sami Salo to a wrist injury.
“Sami has a hairline fracture on his wrist, so he’s week to week,” said coach Alain Vigneault following practice Monday morning.
“It’s not a big fracture, so we could have him back by [the regular season], you just never know how these things go.”
While we all know hockey is unpredictable, injuries this early in the season have reporters scrounging up gossip about the fragility of the 6’3 212 pound defenceman.
“When we saw Sami go in the corner to get the puck, he went in there so nonchalant and got hit. I don’t think it’s a matter of being fragile, he was just nonchalant at that time.., it was a nothing hit, he was just too casual. These things just happen sometimes”.
There are worries Salo’s injury may be an early warning sign of recurring injuries but if history has shown, Salo’s ability to come back from injury means the Canucks can expect to see him back in the lineup later on this week.
“If you’re going to get injuries, better now than later. If Sami’s a little late, then he’s a little bit late”, said Vigneault.
No updates yet on the condition of Trevor Linden’s groin injury from Sunday’s game but he will not dress against the Ducks Monday night.
THE SIXTH SENSE
With every negative comes a positive. Injuries can definitely put those smiles away in a dusty file cabinet, but now that the desk is cleared, there opens opportunities for younger players to play in the big leagues.
After an impressive week in Victoria, Alexander Edler is in line to step up in Salo’s absence. Edler, already with 22 regular season and three playoff games under his belt, fitting into the lineup will be no problem.
“It feels good to know all the guys here and it gives you more confidence than last year because I’ve played with them before,” said Edler.
“I see a lot of speed, a lot of skill, he seems like he has a really good head as far as understanding where to jump into holes,” said Vigneault. “Tonight we’re going to try him on the power-play at the point, see what he can do there.”
Salo’s injury means that there is now a fight for the sixth spot on the blueline for one of the young prospects in the Canucks system. One player eyeing that position is Canucks’ 2005 first round pick, Luc Bourdon.
“There is going to be one more spot open, and I think it’ll be a great opportunity for the defensemen in that area.”
Bourdon played in nine NHL games last season with the Canucks before returning to his Junior team in the QMJHL.
This pre-season will be a big one for these two young defenceman trying to earn a spot on the Canucks very skilled defence. With the opportunity the organization is providing, these new players will definitely give the fans something watch for in the very near future.
Training Camp 2007
Camp Insider - Day Three
Camp Insider - Day Two
Camp Insider - Day One
81 – The most games played by a Canuck defenseman in 2006-07 (Kevin Bieksa)
3 – The difference between the Sedin twins’ total points accumulated last season
16 – years that Trevor Linden has been a Vancouver Canuck
"We’ve talked about this throughout the summer, you never have enough defensemen…any team in the NHL wants a tremendous amount of depth, and we are no different than any other team." - Alain Vigneault
"I’ve been through [an exhibition game] a couple times, you’ll always be a little nervous when jumping onto the ice like that, but I think I’ll be fine.” - Luc Bourdon
Blog contest winner, Polar Bear, writes his first CDC blog. More