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After the Canucks Alain Vigneault’s skaters showed no sign of freeing themselves from their post-All-Star game funk earlier this week, the Canucks’ bench boss decided to shake up his lines, splitting up the Sedins for the first time in several months.
The new line combinations most benefitted NHL returnee Byron Bitz, who only one week previous had been playing in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.
Bitz tallied a goal and an assist only 23 seconds apart in his second game back at the NHL level following a long and bitter battle with hip issues over the off-season.
While the move made Head Coach Alain Vigneault look like a strategically genius, fans of the Canucks are well aware almost anyone can put up points alongside the Sedin twins.
Around the Rink
As the Canucks meander through the meat of the regular season schedule the anticipation of GM Mike Gillis’ intentions surround the NHL trade deadline has the hockey world talking.
Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider have both consistently posted strong performances from the Canucks’ crease this season, and with every game played the backup becomes closer and closer to finding a new crease to call home.
There are simply too many keepers in the crease in Vancouver.
While Vancouver’s skaters continue to search for their game in the dog days of the regular season, the team’s tandem of goaltenders have kept the Canucks collecting points since the All-Star break.
Luongo and Schneider have both made some spectacular saves over the last several games and have shown no signs of slowing their nightly competitions for Highlight of the Night.
As writer Daniel Wagner of Pass It to Bulis pointed out this morning, Luongo’s left pad stop on Colin Wilson of the Nashville Predators is probably save of the year in Vancouver, but generated little buzz for the less-than-loved Luongo.
It’s clear only a Stanley Cup will validate Luongo, who is undoubtedly the best goaltender the city has ever seen.
In the Infirmary
Henrik Sedin’s connection with newcomer Byron Bitz may have made headlines after Tuesday’s game in Nashville, however with the line juggling came some unintended consequences.
Sedin missed a few shifts on Tuesday after taking a shot off the foot while caught in his own zone, but continued to play the rest of the game on a number of different line combinations.
Sedin told Dan Murphy Thursday morning that a CT scan showed no fracture and that he would try to skate on Thursday against the Wild. Guess what? He did.
Forward Mike Duco was recalled from the Chicago Wolves as well just in case Sedin was unable to play Thursday. Sedin played, the Canucks won! A good day was had by all.
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and teams around the NHL are trying to decide whether to buy or sell. The salary cap information comes from the web’s authority on the subject, www.capgeek.com.
Acquisition space is different than a team’s salary cap space — it is how much salary a team can add on that day and be in compliance from then until the end of the season. The Canucks Acquisition space is $775,405.
Vancouver is probably the least likely of the top contenders to make a big move because of the cap situation.
In The Community
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Whats On Tap This Week?
|2/11/12||@CAL||L 1-3 12/23/11|
|2/13/12||PHO||W 5-0 11/25/11|
|2/15/12||COL||W 3-2 (SO) 2/4/12|
|2/18/12||TOR||W 5-3 12/17/11|
|2/19/12||@EDM||W 3-2 (SO) 1/24/12|
NWSB Managing Editor “Q” contributed to this report.