4:10 PM ET Update: More good news from the injury front as Salo skated 60 minutes pain free yesterday and could be back as early as this weekend. Rypien could actually be back tonight but I doubt they'll rush him back if they don't have too. Daniel gets his cast off this Friday too and is also reported to be pain free at the moment.
Tonight is Burrows' 300th NHL game.
What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday Vancouver was fresh off a 2-1 loss to Edmonton and about to head into Chicago with a thunderstorm of question marks following them.
A week later, they're winners of three straight with some of the kids (Michael Grabner? Meet relevancy) helping lead the charge while their captain seems to have shaken the rust off his slow start. Now, with the news that both Salo and Sedin are perhaps close to returning, the early season mobs have dispersed and returned to their nice condos.
Can't say the same with Detroit. Eight points in nine games leaves them barely hanging on to 12th place in the West. Tonight starts a three game Northwest Canadian tour for the Wings where they'll be looking to end a three game losing skid (two of which at the hands of Colorado, damn it all). Just like with Toronto, there's no reason Vancouver should allow a team to kick the losing habit on home ice.
Do you think Samuelsson had tonight's game circled on the calendar? Probably. For the record, he has more points (10) than anyone on Detroit right now.
Do you think Bertuzzi had it circled? Probably not. Can't blame him either.
Speaking of Mr. Bertuzzi, MacIntyre has a piece on him in the Sun where he talks about almost packing it in:
"I didn’t want to play anymore," Bertuzzi admitted after practising for tonight’s game against the Canucks. "For a while. The trade to Florida ... there have been some weird situations. But I’m quite happy here. I love playing with this team. For how much longer, I don’t know. I’m having fun this year.
And part of that fun means doing what we saw him fail to do (much to our happiness) in Calgary: play defensively.
"I’ve got to be — it’s tough to even say it — a very defensively responsible player now. They need that from me. It’s something I’ve had to work on and they’ve worked hard with me."
The Wings are looking to Bert to pick up the scoring after Johan Franzen was knocked out for half a season. Babcock mixed up his lines yesterday at practice (sound familiar?), putting Bert alongside Filppula and Cleary on the second line and creating a third line of Leino - Draper - Williams.
No word on Rypien's health so expect the same lines as who against Edmonton. Schneider played 14:51 in his first game, so watch to see if AV slowly increases that as the game unfolds. The huge X factor remains Sergei Shirokov who should be up with Sammy and Hank on the first line. Just as with Grabner, Shirok needs that timely goal to get that monkey off his back. Confidence young lad, confidence.
If Vancouver needs a cure for their ES woes, it may come in the form of Ericsson and/or Lebda who have been on the ice for a combined 21 ES goals. It would be nice to get the speed line out against one of them, force them on their heels and see what they can generate.
The special teams: Van PP (5th, 27.4%), DET PP (11th, 22.7%). VAN PK (14th, 80.8%), DET PK (19th, 77.1%).