Press Round-Up: JAN.07.08
"Luongo is second in goals-against average (1.97) and shutouts (six) and third in save percentage (.930). More importantly, where would the Canucks be without their stellar starter?," Kuzma said.
"For me, Luongo and Iginla are in a two-horse race. And considering Iginla has but two goals in five meetings with the Canucks this season -- and Luongo is 4-1 in those clashes -- who has been the MVP in the season series?"
"I enjoyed school, it was great. There is a little bit of pressure there and you have to be on your toes and have your marks in and that sort of thing. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but I find it a lot more enjoyable up here doing something I love. I don't really miss school much," said Raymond.
Raymond did dip his toes in the professional waters last spring after leaving Minnesota-Duluth. He suited up 24 times, including playoffs, for the Moose so he wasn't a pure rookie in that sense. He also appeared in 17 AHL games this season before his recall, putting up 14 points, said Pap.
"Obviously I don't think you're human if you're not disappointed when you're sent down," he said. "So you go down and work as hard as you can. It's early in my career and I'm still learning lots. Hopefully, I can keep things going said Raymond.
"I just think it's a matter of time until he plays regularly in the league," Mitchell said. "Mason's got a passion for the game and he's a pretty heady player. When he's skating, he's a very dangerous player for us. And he's a good kid, too. He loves being at the rink and that, for me, is a pretty important thing."
In one summation, Kevin Bieksa explains the elation of finally focussing on weight-bearing exercises to strengthen his surgically- repaired calf muscle, said Kuzma.
In the next summation, the Vancouver Canucks defenceman admits there's no timetable for his return from the laceration he suffered Nov. 1. And he doesn't want to think about the prospect of not playing again until next fall.
"I'll deal with that when I get there," said Bieksa. "I'm just thinking about getting on the ice. When I'm coming back and how much of the schedule I might play is irrelevant to me right now. From talking to the surgeon, there's nothing that can speed up the recovery time. It's how it feels and my feedback is pretty critical to the prognosis. There was a lot of damage and I've learned more about the calf muscle than I need to know. It [rehab] has been good so far, but stuff like this tends to hit a plateau and you don't improve as quickly. I hope I don't hit it,"
"Anybody who can tell you the exact date that he'll be back is lying to you," said Nonis. "We would never put a player in a situation where there's risk involved. If he's healthy to play on April 1, I'd put him in. But I'd never put him in a situation where he's not ready to go and hasn't played for a long time or in a spot where he's putting himself in danger."
Mattias Ohlund missed five games with whiplash and concussion-like symptoms from a Dec. 18 check, said Kuzma.
Results of a second examination carried out Friday could be known as early as today. Not that there will be much to report, according to Dave Nonis.
The Swede complained of initial neck stiffness from the hit he absorbed on the first shift against the New Jersey Devils, said Kuzma.
"My head was jammed against the [corner] glass," said the blueliner, who briefly rode the bike last week before experiencing more symptoms. "I played a few more games, but I didn't feel good and things are not where they're supposed to be."
Ohlund logged 24:20 against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 20 at GM Place and 24:11 two nights later in Phoenix before deciding he was in too much difficulty, said Kuzma.
"It's hard [to diagnose] because of the issues he's having and they're not necessarily concussion issues," said Nonis. "Part of it is almost a whiplash and some of the problems he's having are coming from the neck area."
"We're going to take the proper precautions and make sure we're doing the right things. It [recovery] could happen quickly or not. It's the unknown," said Nonis.
After being "pied" a year ago, Alex Burrows claimed he wasn't out for revenge at this year's skills event. Nonetheless, he did administer the whipping cream delight into Mason Raymond's unsuspecting face. "I wanted someone else to do it," Burrows protested. "But the guys told me whoever got it last year had to do it this year. I hope Mason isn't too mad at me."
Canuck rookie Alex Edler, who is having an excellent season, further impressed everyone by capturing the hardest shot event at the skills competition Saturday. His broke his stick on his first attempt but his second blast of 99.3 mph was a winner. He edged four-time defending champ Sami Salo, whose best rocket was 98.5 mph. "It was fun to see how hard you could shoot," he said.