The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the worst.
Truly, it can’t get much worse for the Canucks than losing all-star goaltender Thatcher Demko ahead of their first home game since December 14th.
And tomorrow, with the league-leading Florida Panthers in town, the club could find themselves in that exact position.
On top of that, Bo Horvat, Conor Garland, and Jaroslav Halak remain sidelined by the NHL’s COVID protocols and will be unavailable tomorrow.
Today at practice, Spencer Martin and Michael DiPietro — two of the three goalies typically in Abbotsford — were the only goaltenders on the ice at Rogers Arena.
Thatcher Demko, along with J.T. Miller, took rapid tests that returned positive results.
“It’s been two years now, and it’s tiring answering questions about it,” said defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson after being asked about the potential loss of Miller and Demko to the lineup.
The hope now is that at least one of, if not both players, return negative PCR tests, which the club hopes to get the results of either today or tomorrow. This would mean they’d be available to the Canucks tomorrow.
Martin was being deployed as the number one goalie this season in Abbotsford as it became clear he gave the club their best chance to win. Although DiPietro has played better as of late, he had a frustrating start to his season and still authors a save percentage below .900, and the same can be said for Arturs Silovs.
Meanwhile, Martin is putting up some of the best numbers of his seven-year pro career, and has capitalized on the work he’s been able to get in with Curtis Sanford and Ian Clark.
Boudreau will default to Clark to help him make the decision, but when asked about which goalie he’d go with, Boudreau appeared to cast his vote for Spencer Martin.
“Martin’s been here practicing with us, he’s more used to the NHL, but I would defer to Ian to tell me which one he thinks should start,” said Bodureau.
Regardless, the Canucks have a game to prepare for, and can’t afford to worry about the things they can’t control at this stage, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is fully aware of that.
“I feel like we’ve been playing some good defensive hockey over the season here,” added Ekman-Larsson. “So that’s what we need to do tomorrow as well. I mean, obviously Demmer and Jaro have been good for us all year and I feel like not much is gonna change.”
“They [Martin and DiPietro] are here for a reason. They’re good goalies and they know it. We’re going to have to help them out and stay positive in front of them and do whatever it takes tomorrow to get two points. That’s what it’s all about these days, because we’re right there and we need points.”