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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Preseason: Canucks 4 Oilers 5

The Vancouver Canucks, who dressed the minimum eight NHL players, lost a gutsy 5-4 decision against the Edmonton Oilers, who had 14 players from their regular roster. The loss dropped the Canucks to 1-5 in preseason play.

After the game, Alain Vigneault was full of praise of Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun).
Alain Vigneault still doesn't know the makeup of his first two lines, but the Canuck coach has a good idea who might play on his third.

Vigneault was full of praise for Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows following Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to the Oilers. He thinks the two complement one another and is now looking for a third forward to join them on what he thinks can be a very effective third line.

"Those two guys seem to be clicking well together," Vigneault said. "Now we need to find another forward to complement them. Those two tonight were as close as the Sedins have been."

Kesler had a goal and two assists and Burrows, who was at his agitating best, added a goal and one assist. They skated on a line with Danish rookie Jannik Hansen, who scored Vancouver's last goal.

Vigneault wasn't as complimentary of Jesse Schultz and Marc Chouinard (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province).
One thing is certain in Vigneault's search for someone to complement Burrows and Kesler -- it won't be Jesse Schultz. After being trumpeted as a possible linemate for the Sedins following a 37-goal season in Manitoba, Schultz simply couldn't keep up, couldn't finish and was often too easily knocked off the puck.

"I don't know what happened," said Vigneault, who will cut eight to 10 players from his 35-man roster today. "I thought he had a chance, but just didn't play well enough.

"Sometimes with expectations, players have a tough time handling that pressure. I know he's a much better player than what he's shown so far."

(snip)

Schultz had company in the doghouse, where Chouinard has taken up residence. The Canucks are paying the former Minnesota Wild veteran $1.1 million US this year and next year.

After going 0-for-10 in the faceoff circle on Sunday against Anaheim, he was 6-for-11 on Wednesday but went shotless.

"Marginally better, but he's going to have to be a lot more effective than that ," said Vigneault.
In goaL, Wade Flaherty allowed five goals in the first two periods (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province) before Vigneault replaced him Drew McIntyre in the beginning of the third.
Did Flaherty just punch his ticket for the Manitoba Moose?

"I didn't think he was really responsible, but being the individual he is, it was time to show him the respect he deserves," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who went with Drew MacIntyre in the third period.

"Young-player mistakes in the first gave them Grade A chances and five goals against -- I thought it was enough."

With the 38-year-old Flaherty once again in the crosshairs as the can-he-cut-it backup candidate to starter Roberto Luongo, the jury is still out because nobody is rushing to judgment.

But that isn't making Flaherty comfortable. He knows there will be goalies available on the waiver wire.

"They haven't come out and said anything and they've got options, but who knows what they'll do?" said Flaherty.

"I can't worry about that."
No, he can't.

More roster cuts are expected today. The Canucks' next game is Friday night at home against the Calgary Flames.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:24 AM