After Canucks practice today – a practice at which Chris Tanev and Chris Higgins were absent – Alain Vigneault updated the media on their respective health status. While Vancouver’s head coach closely guarded the actual prognosis (and admitted he was in "playoff mode" on the injury disclosure front), the update certainly sounds grim:
Both Higgins & Tanev are out indefinately. AV is not sure if Tanev will be ready for start of playoffs. #canucks
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) April 9, 2013
Read past the jump.
This has to be frustrating news for the Canucks, as it most certainly is for their fans. The injury bug has ravaged this club all season long – with David Booth and Ryan Kesler, for example, both struggling through a variety of long-term ailments – but it seemed like the team was finally about to get back something resembling full strength.
Alas, the modicum of health the team enjoyed during Monday night’s victory over Phoenix, lasted for all of one contest. Chris Higgins and Chris Tanev – the latter injured this past weekend against the Flames – will not join the Canucks on their upcoming five game road-trip, and are out indefinitely.
This is a bit of a tough break for Chris Higgins especially. The forward has been overmatched in a shutdown role with little help all season long and predictably has struggled for much of the season. On the other hand, he’s coming off of his best three games of the year and seemed to be finding instant chemistry with newly acquired third-line pivot Derek Roy.
Vigneault was reportedly hesitant to declare that Chris Higgins would be back in the lineup on time for the postseason, and that leaves a pretty serious hole in Vancouver’s top-nine forward group. For now we can expect Dale Weise to skate on the third line alongside Derek Roy and Jannik Hansen, which yeah, renders that third group significantly less formiddable as a two-way unit.
On the back-end, Chris Tanev is a possession beast in a third-pairing role, and one of only two right-handed shooting defenseman the club employs. The other right-handed blueline shooter, by the way, is Kevin Bieksa who has missed time this season, and a plethora of practices when he’s in the lineup, battling a groin injury.
Keeping this news in perspective, the Canucks are still net winners on the "overall injury bug" front with Ryan Kesler returning from his broken foot. The team has successfully weathered more serious injuries this season: Kesler is a key cog, while Tanev and Higgins are useful supporting pieces, albeit quality ones. Though on the other hand, the Canucks will obviously require all hands on deck if they hope to make any noise this postseason…
Obviously with no actual information it’s tough for us to evaluate the severity of the respective injuries. But there’s some almost news from the rink that we’ll throw into the bottom of this post.
Per Ben Kuzma, it appears that Chris Higgins isn’t limping (for whatever that’s worth, and it isn’t worth much):
Talked to Higgins briefly in hallway after Flames game. Wasn’t limping, was bemoaning seven shots, no goals. #canucks
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) April 9, 2013
I hadn’t realized that "victim of cruel percentages" was considered a lower body injury…
The news on Chris Tanev from the rink is considerably less droll:
Breaking: Canuck D Chris Tanev spotted leaving Rogers Arena with "moon boot" on right foot. #canucks
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) April 9, 2013