Canucks Report: Kassian doubtful
The Canucks held a sparsely-attended morning skate at Rogers Arena that saw both netminders, including tonight's starter Roberto Luongo, take part along with blue-liners Chris Tanev, Cam Barker, and Keith Ballard plus forwards Zack Kassian, Andrew Ebbett and Tom Sestito.
The surprise news coming out of the skate was that the team does not expect Kassian to be available for tonight's tilt against the Red Wings.
Kassian had a back injury flare up during yesterday's practice and while he made it through that session and this morning's skate, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said the team would err on the side of caution.
"We're going to try and nip this in the bud here," said Vigneault. "Unless he comes back great tonight, he's probably not going to play at this time."
If Kassian sits out as expected, recently-acquired forward Tom Sestito will draw back into the lineup and skate alongside Maxim Lapierre and Steven Pinizzotto while Dale Weise will move to Kassian's spot and play with Chris Higgins and David Booth.
Look of a Millionaire
The Canucks will pay tribute to the old PCHA's Vancouver Millionaires tonight when they don the jerseys of the 1915 Stanley Cup champions and the special one night only look is winning over a lot of fans inside the locker room.
"Saturday night with the retro jerseys against the Wings – it doesn't get any more exciting than that during a regular season game," said Roberto Luongo, who will get his third straight start tonight.
The Canucks have gone all out to turn back the clock with the team not only planning to wear the maroon-and-white on the ice tonight but also donning new practice jerseys and off-ice apparel the last few days. They've even changed the look of their media game notes package to reflect the Millionaires brand.
“I think we look real sharp, so I'm hoping that we're going to play that way," said Coach Vigneault. "We're going to play as well as we look."
One person who apparently didn't get the memo about the Canucks' new-look duds is Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
Babcock made a cameo appearance during the Canucks morning skate and the first question he asked was, "what team is this?"
When told that Babcock didn't recognize his team at the morning skate, Vigneault had a simple retort.
"He didn't recognize my team in the morning skate? That's because we only had three guys out there. We'll have the full team out there tonight."
Best served cold
The Canucks haven't forgotten their spanking at the hands of the Red Wings back on February 24 when they were lit up for eight goals in an 8-3 loss.
While they've put that game far behind in the rear view mirror, they clearly want to come out and prove they're a much better team than the one that got pummelled last month at the Joe Louis Arena.
"That's not the way we wanted that game to turn out," said Canucks forward David Booth. "That's a good team. If you give them opportunities they're going to score."
The Canucks may be catching the Red Wings at a good time. Detroit has just one win in their last four outings while they've only managed four victories in 12 games played away from the Joe Louis Arena.
All that said, however, the Canucks know they can't afford to take the Red Wings lightly tonight.
"I never view them as a team that's struggling," said Luongo. "They've got guys that can make you pay the price if you make mistakes.
"They're a well-coached team and their goalie gives them a chance to win every night. I don't care what their record is. That's a team that can hurt you if you're not playing well."
Race to 200
Canucks forward David Booth, along with blue-liners Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler, are all within striking distance of recording their 200th career NHL point, respectively.
Booth is just one point away from the milestone while Bieksa and Edler are both three points away.