As the NHL continues to postpone games across the league leading up to the end of 2021, the Canucks hit the ice for the first time since their anticipated Saturday night matchup against the Maple Leafs was pushed to a later date.
According to The Province’s Patrick Johnston, it’s unlikely that the Canucks will face any rescheduled NHL competition before the Christmas break. Their first game after the holidays, a December 27th matchup with Seattle Kraken, remains on the schedule.
But why talk about all that when we can discuss THIS instead?
Thomas Drance was the first to spot Thatcher Demko’s new equipment, a replication of Kirk McLean’s gear worn during the Canucks’ run to the Final in 1994, all of which lends to the long rumored revival of the team’s Flying Skate jerseys. If the vintage black CCM pads or the red and yellow accented glove weren’t oozing nostalgia for you, the iconic “Vee” style mask McLean wore from 1989 to 1997 is a dead giveaway.
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The Skate jersey’s return to the ice has been an open secret for a while, but until today we’d yet to see any hints dropped by the team. According to Drance an announcement on that front is coming soon, but it looks like Demko is taking advantage of the unexpected midseason pause to break in the gear early.
One big fan of Demko’s new look is his captain, Bo Horvat. “I loved it,” Horvat said. “I’m a big fan of the Skate jersey. I thought it looked pretty sweet out there, it’ll look even better with a black jersey on for sure.”
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As for the rest of the Canucks, the week has provided some much needed time for players who’ve contracted COVID to recover and rest up. For Bruce Boudreau, it gives him some extra time to introduce new game plans on the ice that joining a team midseason usually wouldn’t provide.
Let’s go to the line rushes!

Line Rushes

The lineup remains relatively unchanged from recent games, albeit with the few notable absences either due to the NHL’s COVID protocol or a pending assignment to the AHL. But the team did get one player back on Monday.
Luke Schenn officially returned to the lineup after being cleared from COVID protocol. As a result, Noah Juulsen has returned to the Abbotsford Canucks, after playing two games with the big club against the Blue Jackets and Sharks.
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Ashton Sautner has also been returned to the AHL after being re-signed by Vancouver to offset the original losses of Schenn, Tyler Myers, and Tucker Poolman to COVID protocol. Despite getting no games to play, Sautner at least got an NHL contract out of the whole ordeal. Good for him!

What Was Said

In his return to the ice from COVID protocol, Luke Schenn said it had been confirmed that he’d contracted the Omicron variant, but expressed that he felt good since recovering and how excited he was to be skating again. “I was sick for maybe three or four days, just general flu or cold symptoms,” Schenn said.
“Getting the conditioning back after being on pause for a week and a half or so, it takes a little while to get your lungs back into it, your legs, your hands and just kinda get that feel… There’s no question being excited to come to the rink again and happy around the guys.”
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Bruce Boudreau is taking full advantage of the Canucks current layoff, and discussed how important it is to use that extra time to his and the team’s advantage. “If we’re practicing and other teams are not because of COVID we’d certainly like to take advantage of it,” Boudreau said.
“With the lack of practicing, we haven’t been able to implement all the changes that I would like to implement, or practice the changes that we have made. Hopefully this week before the break we can get all that done.”
Bo Horvat discussed how different the experience has been communicating with Canucks management during this COVID outbreak compared to last season’s, when the entire team was shelved for weeks.
“This year has been a lot different, I think just because of what we went through last year and we know how fast it can spread and what it can do,” Horvat said. “We’re taking a lot more precaution this year just from past experience, so there has been a little bit more communication cause obviously we don’t want to have that happen again.”
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