Injury & Opportunity
Injuries continue to haunt GM Place as Jannik Hansen joined the list of wounded late in Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over the Flames.
“Jannik broke his thumb yesterday. So, we’re still in the process right now of figuring out if he needs to have it pinned or just in a cast for a couple weeks,” Vigneault said.
The coaching staff has continually lauded Hansen through camp and suggested the young Dane has a solid shot at filling the much-coveted spot as a right-handed winger.
“I wanted to give each of those three right-handed shots - being Jozef Balej, Ryan Shannon, and Jannik Hansen - a chance with the Twins. So since Jannik is out, and Jozef already had one game, so we’re going to try Ryan tonight.”
Hansen’s injury likely dashes all hopes of starting the season in Vancouver, as he’ll take the next two weeks off to heal his thumb.
“I can honestly say that a lot of our veteran players really liked [Hansen] as a player,” said Vigneault. “He’s got serious upsides to him and his game. It’s unfortunate you get hurt, it’s going to definitely set him back. There are only two weeks before the regular season, so it’s probably safe to say that he’s not going to start with us depending on if he has a miraculous recovery.”
Vigneault also said Kevin Bieksa will not dress tonight versus the Oilers as he “didn’t feel well this morning,” but should be back in the line-up soon.
With the loss of Hansen and Bieksa, the Canucks are now without 10 players including, Trevor Linden (groin), Sami Salo (wrist), Brendan Morrison (groin), and Willie Mitchell (groin).
“This is an overall state of soreness with a couple guys who are going to be out a little longer – its part of the regular NHL season,” Vigneault said.
The injuries will delay decisions as Vancouver leans on warm bodies for pre-season primers.
“As far as cutting anyone before the weekend, which was my intention, isn’t going to happen now,” Vigneault said. “We have ten guys that are out and I don’t expect any of these guys playing on the weekend. So we’re going to keep everybody for San Jose and Anaheim. And probably on Monday or Tuesday, we’ll do something then.”
With Jannik Hansen nursing his busted thumb, speedster Ryan Shannon will shine his blades for the third consecutive game as he rides shotgun with the Twins against the Oilers tonight.
“It’s great, actually,” said Shannon. “I’m point on the power play, so it’s a little defense too.”
“I think it’s a good start with two games under my belt. Now I can focus more on the systems. I’ve settled down a bit, nerves are gone.”
Shannon is the only skater to dress in all three preseason contests, and certainly the only forward to do double-duty on the blue line. Shannon, who had just two goals and 11 points in 53 games in his NHL debut year with the Ducks last season, can see a door opening up in Vancouver.
“I think it’s a great sign [playing all three pre-games], because it just gives me another opportunity. The more ice time I can get, the more I can prove. I’m not thinking about not doing well when I’m out there, I’m thinking about providing a spark, energy and contributing. I think that the more I play, the better it is.”
Playing right wing with the Sedin Twins, certainly won’t hurt his cause.
“The Sedin brothers make it really easy; they slow it down, and they always seem to get chances. So hopefully I can provide whatever I can…go out there and contribute.”
For the past few seasons, landing the right-wing slot alongside the Twins has been NHL’s version of carding a blackout at Planet Bingo.
Two years ago Anson Carter was paired with the Twins. He went from 15 goals and 28 points in 2003-04, to 33 goals and 22 assists in 2005-06 while riding wing with Hank and Daniel.
Taylor Pyatt was a six-goal, six-point man with the Sabres in an injury-shortened 2005-06 campaign. He put up a career-high 23 goals and 14 assists last year.
Shannon hopes some of the fairy dust will rub off.
BOLSTERING THE BLUE LINE
With Sami Salo mending a cracked bone in his hand, the Canucks cast a wide net this week in hopes of hauling in a veteran defender for opening night.
They found one on Thursday: Dan McGillis, a 35-year-old journeyman with 634 NHL games on his resume.
“I have to come in and work hard and it’s an opportunity that keeps your nose to the grindstone. I got to make sure I’m in shape, and keep skating as much as possible,” Gillis said.
McGillis spent most of the past two season in the AHL after being moved the to the New Jersey Devils organization in 2005.
“Dan is an experienced guy that our pro scouts like, and he was out there free and we’re going to take a look at him,” said Vigneault “He’s probably going to play at least one game this weekend and we’ll just take it from there.”
With Alexander Edler and Luc Bourdon waiting in the wings, and Aaron Miller set to return from abdominal surgery shortly, McGillis will have to fight for a roster spot.
“You got to get out and skate, and be part of exhibitions to get ready for the season if you want to play in the regular season,” said McGillis, who was working out with Brian Kilrea and the Ottawa 67’s before getting a call from the Canucks.
On a team that preaches defence, responsibility and hard work like it was carved on the holy tablet, McGillis’ one big advantage is experience and old-school work-ethic.
“I’m a solid and physical defenceman, and hopefully I can bring that part of the game and hopefully that’s what they’re looking for.”
“What I remember of him, when he was in Philadelphia, was that he was a guy that moved the puck really well and he’s pretty dependable defensively,” said Vigneault.
“You never have enough defencemen. And the fact that we have right now a few of our veteran defencemen that are hurt, not for an extended period of time, but they’re hurt right now."
Training Camp Info
4 - Prospects scored last night against the Flames
3 - Consecutive preseason Shannon has played
16 - Seasons Linden has been a Vancouver Canuck
5 - Pounds difference between the Sedin Twins (Henrick: 190, Daniel: 185)
"I found out last night that I would be given the opportunity to play right-wing with them, and I had trouble sleeping. Just going through all these different scenarios of where I would be on the ice." - Ryan Shannon on playing the triplet.
"It was very physical, and when you play Calgary. it’s always a bit of an intense game. So obviously the bodies were flying around." - Roberto Luongo on facing the physical Flames.
Morning Skate and Press Conference