Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spirited Canucks Practice Thursday

It wasn't your typical practice today for the Canucks at UBC. Mind you, that's probably what you might expect when the club is coming off a disappointing 5-3 loss at GM Place last night to the Nashville Predators. And it's also what fans shouldn't be surprised at when the team is currently riding their longest home-ice winless streak in franchise history.

The hi-lite came in an altercation during a drill that involved Willie Mitchell, Mason Raymond, and Shane O'Brien. Mitchell threw a hard, clean hit on Raymond at one blue-line. Shortly afterwards at the other end of the rink, Mitchell and Raymond collided again and a shoving match started. O'Brien came on the scene and it looked like the gloves might come off. However cooler heads prevailed and the practiced continued without incident.

The other big news coming out of practice was Mats Sundin working on a line with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. While Burrows and Kesler are considered more of checkers than scorers, they have been two of the better Canuck forwards during this slump, and that's why the coaches have put them with Sundin.

Lots of media on hand, sports-related and others, at GM Place once the players and coaches arrived back at their headquarters. Alain Vigneault answered numerous questions more for than ten minutes, regarding everything from how the team has played at home, his job security, the attitude of the fans, etc.

Pavol Demitra skated with his team mates since injuring his groin prior to the all-star break. Lawrence Nycholat has suffered a groin strain though and has been placed on the injured reserve list.

This is the way the lines and defence pairings worked together today:

D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Pyatt
Burrows - Kesler - Sundin
Hansen - Demitra - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Brown
(extras Raymond/Wellwood)

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - Davison
(extra O'Brien)

The club will practice at UBC tomorrow at 11:00am PST.

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