Markstrom starts Sunday vs. Devils; Canucks 'hopeful' Vrbata will return

Thomas Drance
November 22 2015 12:26PM

Photo Credit: Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of a 6-3 victory over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks will host old pal Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils on Sunday at Rogers Arena. It's the Canucks' fourth set of back-to-back games this season, and for only the second time this campaign, starter Ryan Miller will get the second leg off.

Canucks backup Jacob Markstrom will get the start against the Devils, head coach Willie Desjardins announced on Sunday afternoon following an optional skate. Meanwhile the club is hopeful that Radim Vrbata - who says he's ready to go - will return to the lineup following a two-game absence with what's reportedly a groin injury. 

Read Article | 0 Comments

Jim Benning won't meet Islanders' ask for Hamonic: 'We're going to stick with what we've got'

Thomas Drance
November 22 2015 11:02AM

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

When Travis Hamonic's trade request first surfaced, we covered the news from a Canucks perspective and pointed out that it was difficult to see how the New York Islanders and the Canucks made sense as trading partners. We updated the situation on Saturday by pointing out that the Canucks had reportedly not discussed the possibility of a Hamonic deal (as of Thursday) and seemed unlikely to be involved.

Now Canucks general manager Jim Benning has confirmed that the Canucks aren't going to aggressively pursue Hamonic:

Read Article | 18 Comments

Canucks will be without Vrbata, Sutter, Hutton vs. defending champion Blackhawks

Thomas Drance
November 21 2015 06:59PM

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks figuratively limped back from their season-long seven game road trip this week. Actually they literally limped back too, as the club will be without a handful of key contributors when they host the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Radim Vrbata will not play, the club announced on Saturday. And though fourth-line winger Brandon Prust will return, Brandon Sutter remains sidelined and Ben Hutton is similarly on the limp. Vrbata will join Sutter and Hutton on the sidelines on Saturday night. 

Read Article | 2 Comments

Milan Lucic on possibility of playing in Vancouver: 'Your dream is to play for your hometown team'

Thomas Drance
November 21 2015 05:30PM

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Milan Lucic wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey? As recently as May it was unthinkable with how several of the city's rotten apples treated the Vancouver-born forward in the wake of the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup victory.

A vandalized church. Threats that caused Lucic to alter his Cup celebration plans. Weird, drunk attempts to provoke fights with Lucic at late-night Pizza chains on Granville St..

When Lucic was on the block, though, the Canucks were interested and Lucic indicated that he'd actually had his hopes set on coming home. It's an understandable impulse, especially in the wake of a family tragedy, which Lucic made public last weekend in a touching Sportsnet piece.

And the pull of returning home is still strong for the prototypical NHL power forward, as he made clear in a recent interview with TSN's Frank Seravalli.

Read Article | 22 Comments

Canucks reportedly haven't discussed Hamonic trade with Islanders; seem unlikely to get involved

Thomas Drance
November 21 2015 03:00PM

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

It might not happen soon. It might not even happen this season. At some point, though, New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic will head west - most likely to a market with an international airport that flies direct to Winnipeg on a regular basis.

The Vancouver Canucks were listed as one of the teams Hamonic was hoping to be dealt to initially by TSN's Darren Dreger, but as we wrote at the time, it was hard to see how he fit with the team

It's not just fit that makes the Canucks an unlikely destination for Hamonic.

Read Article | 3 Comments