The Injury Bug: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend


The caveat for the Canucks season was always going to be health. If they could maintain a relatively healthy roster to the finish, they could compete for a playoff spot. An injury to one of their core players would spell doom, though.

Seven games into the season, the Canucks and their mostly healthy roster have built a 4-2-1 lead. Of course, they were 4-0-0 at one point. Then Alexandre Burrows and Derek Dorsett were taken from the Canucks lineup with, you guessed it, injuries. Chris Tanev’s since joined them in the infirmary, suffering an injury of his own in Sunday night’s contest.

Well, it didn’t take long to get to this point. That’s three new Canucks suffering some sort of ailment. I’ll update you as best I can, on the other side of the jump.

Derek Dorsett

The Canucks lost Dorsett to a second period collision with Los Angeles Kings defenceman Brayden McNabb. Dorsett was tracking a loose puck on the forecheck and upon engaging McNabb fell awkwardly into the half-wall. At first glance, it appeared as though Dorsett injured his shoulder.

The Canucks confirmed those suspicions, confirming in their post-game presser from Saturday’s contest that Dorsett was dealing with a shoulder injury. Vancouver was forced to replace Dorsett in Sunday’s game with defenceman Alex Biega, and have since called up Jayson Megna from the Utica Comets.

Dorsett is now on IR and expected to miss, at least, 7-10 days.

Alexandre Burrows

Dorsett wasn’t the only Canuck to fall on Saturday. Joining him was his linemate, Alexandre Burrows. Unlike Dorsett, Burrows finished Saturday’s game. In fact, Canucks Head Coach Willie Desjardins called on Burrows in the shootout with all the chips on the table.

The Canucks placed Burrows on IR, and he’s expected to miss 7-10 days. Burrows is apparently suffering a neck injury. 

Chris Tanev

This is the one that really stings. Chris Tanev was retrieving a puck in the defensive zone on Sunday when Nick Ritchie caught him with hard hit after the puck left the zone. Tanev was caught limping to the bench afterwards, though returned to the game. There’s been some speculation Ritchie’s hit just aggravated an ankle injury Tanev suffered in Saturday night’s game against the Kings.

In response to the injury, the Canucks recalled Troy Stecher, who played in Tanev’s stead on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. According to our own Jeff Paterson, Tanev was seen in a walking boot around the Canucks’ facilities as recently as this morning. The Canucks are saying it’s just a precautionary measure, but I’d bet the over on games for Stecher at this point.

The Canucks haven’t placed Tanev on IR and are towing the day-to-day line to this day.

Jake Virtanen

This one is purely speculation. Speculation rooted in Jake Virtanen’s inability to build on his strong finish to last season. He’s not throwing hits. Not with anywhere near the effect of last season. And he’s been noticeably slower in transition. He just doesn’t look anything like the player we parted ways with last April.

Then again, Virtanen takes a hard, late hit from the Calgary Flames Lance Bouma in the Canucks opener. Concussion spotters were quick to spot the wobbly Canuck and had him removed to undergo concussion protocol. He cleared and played regular shifts later in that game. 

Canucks nation has collectively used the process of elimination and come to the conclusion that Virtanen’s shoulder is hurt. If he can’t hit and he passed concussion protocol, what else could it be? The Canucks and Virtanen alike are disputing that notion wholeheartedly. It’s fair to wonder though if something’s up.

Anton Rodin

The Canucks have been taking a tonne of flack for how they’ve handled the Anton Rodin situation, and deservedly so. Rodin, you’ll remember, suffered a laceration above his knee. That same injury cut his 2015-16 season short and required surgery to rehabilitate.

Now, Rodin had made clear through the media that he wasn’t 100%. That was before the pre-season. When the games didn’t matter. At all. For whatever reason, the Canucks played Rodin in the pre-season regardless and played him a lot. However could they have seen a setback like this coming?

Rodin is still on IR and expected to return by the end of November. Hopefully they let him get to 100% this time around.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    You mean “toeing” the line? “Flak”? How do you manage to screw up your idioms so often, JD? Is it on purpose?

    I think the forward we miss the most, surprising to say, is Dorsett. Could have used him disrupting that system vs Ottawa the way no one else seems willing to.

  • chinook

    Derek Dorsett just can’t shine. When he is in the line-up CA (and some fans) complain he is useless and contributes to Canuck losses. Now he is hurt and not playing he is given the same credit. (rolls the eyes)

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      I wrote a longer reply, which explained that while I am normally critical of Derek Dorsett, his absence has been more noticeable than I expected and that he is probably owed more credit than he gets, including from me. Then I posted while forgetting to log in, and it got lost (that seems to happen now). So I just summarized what I wrote, and it looks like I’m a total backslider on my opinions on Dorsett.

      One thing to be noted, though, is that while Dorsett has a clear role and place on this team, that role isn’t “every shift, every position, every situation” the way Willie often seems to think.

  • Whackanuck

    According to many fans, losing Dorsett (poor possession numbers) and Burrows (now slow) isn’t really a loss at all.
    Virtanen hasn’t been his 2015-2016 second half so he should be sent to the minors. One could only conclude that Tanev is the only injured player of note and could be replaced by Tryamkin or Stecher. So why worry?

  • chinook

    My recollection of the preseason is that Rodin said he was out of shape due to not being able to work out properly while his knee healed. To (chronically) blame Canuck management seems like a laughable conspiracy theory.

  • Hockey Warrior

    This article and overview is weaker than the tea at a salvation army drop=in shelter!

    Tanev is the only MISS on this whole list and he doesn’t generate enough OFFENCE to help out the anemic 26th ranked scoring and 23rd ranked powerplay.

    The cold hard truth is my fickle plastic fan friends, this team and this management group is among the WORST in the NHL… just LOOK at what EDMONTON are achieving with a REAL GM and a REAL team loaded with great goaltending, impressive D corps, BALANCE, GRIT and DEPTH and a bonafide SUPERSTAR in McDavid. Just as i so diligently predicted whilst YOU all scoffed at the Oilers being a force.

    Bottom line blowhards, You can’t hide or fake it in todays NHL for long. The Ca-sucks are being FOUND OUT big time and the injuries have NOTHING to do with it whatsoever… FACT!

  • Dirty30

    Rodin was always a long-shot, crap-shoot, dark horse work in progress.

    “He was big in Europe!” really only applies to David Hasselhof’s career. Not a lot of players make the transition from there to the NHL successfully.

    Rodin has skill and speed and if he hadn’t had the injury his chances would have been markedly better than they are now. Might as well let him rest, heal, train and give him the best circumstances to succeed.

    I’m bracing for Tank v.2.0 … top prize a stud centre? Dang, that would look nice in a Nucks uniform!

    Really, at least it’s hockey. We could be fed a steady diet of cricket and soccer.

  • Marvin101

    If the oilers don’t run into salary cap issues it could be a long 10 years for the canucks. Like Brian Burke said, all fans over estimate the talent of their own players.

    The attendance numbers are becoming much more interesting that the so called advanced stats/analyics.

  • JuiceBox

    Two options if Tanev is indeed out long-term.

    1.) With the Ducks signing Lindholm they now need to move Bieksa or Fowler. Anaheim will have to move them quick and they will likely be available at next-to-no cost. Fowler is the guy, he makes less than Tanev so the Canucks wouldn’t need to trade anybody until Tanev comes back and at that point they could finally unload Sbisa.

    2.) The Rangers are in on Trouba and they are apparently looking to trade McIlrath (who is due for a big raise next year) and wouldn’t fit into their salary structure. The cost would be high to acquire him though but he is definitely a guy the Canucks could target as a long term core player.