NHL Preseason: Canucks
After parting with instrument of cap circumvention training camp hopeful Owen Nolan and a handful of other prospective players the Canucks have begun to whittle down their lineup closer and closer to the final look on opening night.
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Wednesday night’s exhibition game in Anaheim versus the Ducks marked the season debut of several true Canuck veterans including Roberto Luongo, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Dan Hamhuis and Mikael Samuelsson.
If the lineup versus the Ducks was any indication, Cody Hodgson appears to have the (temporary) second line center position locked up to start game one of the regular season. Hodgson scored his first goal of the pre-season versus the Sharks Sunday and could get another chance to light the lamp against San Jose tomorrow when the Canucks visit the Shark tank.
Following the 3-2 loss to the Ducks Dan Murphy tweeted that Alain Vigneault was most impressed with Andrew Ebbett, Aaron Volpatti and Victor Oreskovich when asked about players still in the fight for roster spots.
Around the Rink
Ryan Kesler may be getting a little bored rehabbing off-season hip surgery but that won’t stop him from exploring alternate career opportunities in the time being while Cody Hodgson attempts to fill Kesler’s spot in the lineup.
Kesler will model nude for the ESPN, The Magazine Body Issue a photo edition of ESPN that shows athletes in their rawest form. As Puck Daddy mentioned today Zdeno Chara infamously posed nude for ESPN in 2009, then two years later he won the Stanley Cup. So if Kesler needs to get his birthday suit on for some positive ESPN mojo then I’m all for it.
In the Infirmary
Sunday night’s game with the Sharks proved costly for a handful of Canucks in a 4-3 loss. Aaron Rome broke a finger early in the third period Sunday and Steven Pinnizzotto suffered a shoulder injury after Douglas Murray stepped into Pinnizzotto in open ice.
The hit on Pinnizzotto struck a chord with the Canucks, especially head coach Alain Vigneault who couldn’t help but compare the Murray hit to Aaron Rome’s devastating late-hit on Nathan Horton during last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
Along with Sunday’s casualties, fourth line hopeful Byron Bitz will also be sidelined for an extended period of time after requiring another hip surgery to repair existing damage from an injury filled season last year.