Canucks close out brutal road trip with another loss in Winnipeg

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 10:17PM

Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports

Now that an unsuccessful road trip has come to an appropriate end with a 4-1 loss in Winnipeg, the Vancouver Canucks will return home a humbled group.

It was a brutal seven-game trip for the club, who squandered a promising start to the campaign by dropping six of seven contests, picking up just four of 14 possible points. The club lost narrowly on this road trip and they lost creatively. Vancouver blew big leads, lost close games, surrendered more points in the 3-on-3, shot themselves in the foot on special teams and received shoddy goaltending. 

And yet, for all of the bad, it's hard to escape the feeling that the Canucks deserved better - both in Wednesday night's game and on this road trip. This probably isn't a good team, but this isn't a lottery team. This team is better and played better than the ugly 1-4-2 record they racked up against likely non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. 

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Canucks' Sbisa penalized for rule 48 violation; could supplemental discipline be forthcoming?

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 06:27PM

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa returned to the lineup after an eight-game absence on Wednesday night.

Vancouver's physical third-pairing defender was obviously eager to make his impact felt in his return, but he may have been a bit too eager. 

Early in the contest, Sbisa hit Jets rookie Nikolaj Ehlers with what the referees ruled was an illegal check to the head. Could Sbisa's rule 48 violation warrant a call from the NHL's Department of Player Safety?

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Report: Islanders looking to deal Travis Hamonic to Western Canadian club

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 03:58PM

Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports

Travis Hamonic is a very good hockey player, and by all accounts an excellent guy.

For family reasons, the New York Islanders are trying to trade Hamonic, a very good defenseman, to a Western Canadian club, according to an original report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman with TSN's Darren Dreger filling in some crucial blanks. Before we proceed, let's say that we hope for a favourable resolution for Hamonic and his family and wish them all the best, whatever the issue may be. 

While we won't speculate on the situation itself, we will delve into what sort of player Hamonic is, and whether the Vancouver Canucks might be a team that makes sense as a trading partner for the Islanders. 

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Luca Sbisa will return to lineup Wednesday vs. Jets

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 03:00PM

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will get their most physical defenseman back in the lineup on Wednesday night.

Luca Sbisa, 25, is due to return to the lineup to play his first game in the month of November, the club announced. Though the stay-at-home defender's performance is often ridiculed in the Vancouver market, some of it is fair and more of it isn't, the club has performed poorly in his absence.

Sbisa's return to the lineup will send his countryman Yannick Weber to the press box, and will scramble up Vancouver's power-play combinations, which may be a good thing at this point.

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Canucks' Vrbata misses game-day skate in Winnipeg; Grenier called up

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 10:04AM

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

The hockey gods just won't lay off of Vancouver Canucks forward Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata, 34, has been one of the most effective volume shooters in hockey this year, but he just can't buy a goal. And now it seems that the veteran forward may be a bit banged up, as he missed the club's game-day skate at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, MB on Wednesday morning, the club announced.

On its own, a player missing a game-day skate isn't much of anything to worry about. Usually the coach says it's maintenance, and we go on with our merry lives. That Vrbata's absence coincides with a roster move - the club reassigned AHL leading scorer Hunter Shinkaruk to the American Hockey League and recalled Alexandre Grenier on Wednesday - would suggest that there may be more than just maintenance going on in this case.

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