Lack Of Sleep, Injuries & The M-Schneids Experience

3:40 PM PST Update: Well this sure brightened my outlook for tonight's game: Luongo will start for us and Jeff Deslauriers will play between the pipes for the Oilers.

1:48 PM ET Update: Good catch by TheLastJohnny:

BotchonCanucks: Kyle Wellwood has a broken toe, so Canucks have recalled Sergei Shirokov

The enigmatic (ha!) Russian returns, but where he slots in is another matter. Probably the third line since you don't dare mess with Kesler's line. But the Sedin line was invisible last night too. Could he end up on the top line again?

As for Pudge, he'll be on the shelf for three weeks.

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As the first month of hockey draws to a close, Colorado is eight points ahead of Vancouver and tied with Pittsburgh for the best team in the league. So the two points against Toronto and the two points up for grabs tonight against Edmonton are vital if they're going to crawl back into Western Conference relevancy.

First thing's first: the Leafs game. The win was nice, the execution not so much. Grabner and Raymond? Good. That third period? Atrocious. If the Leafs weren't so snakebitten at the moment, they probably would have at least pushed OT if not outright won the contest.

And you know what a bad game means? We get Tony Gallagher. Brace yourself.

This was easily the Vancouver Canucks' worst performance of the season by a wide margin and after 10 games, a pattern is beginning to emerge that presents a profoundly disturbing picture to anyone who happens to have paid for season tickets.

I guess Tony missed those Calgary games. And he doesn't really define any pattern that's so profoundly disturbing other than to suggest Aaron Rome is terrible, Ryan Johnson can't win a defensive face-off to save his life and Henrik Sedin looks lost without Daniel (all of which were true last night). Then again, he seems to downplay the fact the Canucks are laughably riddled with injuries and - along with Rome - are relying on the likes of Grabner (2A), Glass (blew up Schenn) and Bolduc to help patch the holes. Down two snipers and having three AHL'ers strung across three lines will generally hurt any team. But blaming injuries for sleeping through half of the Leafs game is no excuse.

And that injury parade keeps humming along: While Demo may actually play this year, Edler may have hurt his shoulder and Pudge may have a broken toe (queue up the jokes appropriately). Rypien is still a game time decision.

So while it's great that Mr. Mathieu Schneider will likely suit up for his first Vancouver game tonight against Edmonton, he alone won't solve the disappearance of the first and third lines. He should, however, give the PP a boost in the arm. The two PPG's last night pushed the Canucks to fourth best in the league, but that's being generous, especially facing the league's worst PK. They played terribly around the perimeter and didn't fully test MacDonald over eight penalties. Of Schneider's 221 career goals, 99 have come on the man advantage (that includes six of his nine goals last year). It should be easier on the eyes and heartrate to see him in the point instead of Sammy.

The Oil should be in a foul mood, having their three game winning streak snapped last night in a 5-2 loss against the Flames. Not only did they lose the chippy affair, Edmonton was also down five players to injury with a handful more suffering from the flu. So, depending on the morning skate, the expected lines should be:

Penner - Gagner - Hemsky
Moreau - Horcoff - O'Sullivan
Jacques - Cogliano - Nilsson
Studwick - Stortini - MacIntyre

Visnovsky - Smid
Grebeshkov - Gilbert
Peckham - Chorney

Khabibulin

Khabibulin represents the first first-string goalie they will have played in the past two games so they can't rely on the Kesler line to solely put them over the top again. Which probably means that's exactly what will happen.

Check out The Copper & Blue for more.

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