It appears the injury bug has bitten the Canucks early this season. It started with lingering injuries carrying over from last season for Pavol Demitra and Mathieu Schneider. Then it was Jannik Hansen, who was injured on the last game of the preseason. Now, even worse news. The Canucks will be without iron-man Daniel Sedin and (what’s the opposite of iron man?) Sami Salo.
Daniel Sedin broke his foot after being struck by an Alex Edler slap shot, he’ll be gone 4-6 weeks. This means that Daniel Sedin will miss the most games he’s ever missed in a single season, since his NHL debut in 2000. It also means that twin brother Henrik will get a long stint on a line without Daniel for the first time in his career. How will he fare? It will be interesting to find out.
Sami Salo will also be gone for 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain suffered in their last game against Dallas. For all the joking about Salo’s injury woes, he will be sorely missed. Everyone knows about his big shot, but he is most valuable to the team with his role on the shutdown pairing with Willie Mitchell. I feel bad for the guy. He’s suffered a lot of injuries, to no fault of his own. Some guys’ bodies are just more durable than others in my view. It’s not like he runs around recklessly like Rick Rypien or anything.
Speaking of Rick Rypien, how about a little time-out to watch this again!?
So where does this leave the team? Well, luckily they have depth. Losing a top 4 defenceman a few years ago would have meant power play time for Patrick Coulombe. Luckily, Salo’s ice time can be absorbed by their other regulars. Capable reserve defenceman Aaron Rome will see his first action as a Canuck and, if you read between the lines, Mathieu Schneider should be ready to go, probably as soon as his long term injury reserve time expires on October 25th.
Daniel Sedin’s’ role will be tougher to fill. Guys like Steve Bernier, Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood will need to step it up, but this is the time where the Canucks really need a pleasant surprise from prospects Sergei Shirokov or Michael Grabner (though I wouldn’t hold your breath).
***Update*** Looks like Grabner will get into his first NHL game.
But the number one way the Canucks can withstand all these injuries? You guessed it: Roberto Luongo. Luongo has the ability to steal games, and he may need to do a bit of stealing coming up.
Random thought of the day:
Isn’t this an Olympic year for the NHL? Isn’t the NHL supposed to be compressing their schedule to accomodate the two-week break? If so, why on earth are the Canucks on a stretch of 1 game in 8 days this early in the season? That’s a schedule that more resembles the CFL, not the NHL. I know that there are many factors that go into the schedule, including building availability, and the NHL’s desire not to go head-to-head with MLB playoffs and the NFL, but could they please give the Canucks a bit of a break?
With the horrendous road trips the Canucks have coming due to the fact that GM Place will be occupied with pre/post Olympic use, you’d think the NHL could have thrown in a couple of road games now, instead of in February and March. For those counting, the Canucks have an eight game road trip before the Olympics and a six game road trip after the Olympics.