Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Hamhuis status still unclear

Categories: Boston Bruins, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Dan Hamhuis, right, delivered a massive hip check on Milan Lucic in Game 1, but it may have injured him in the process. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Dan Hamhuis, right, delivered a massive hip check on Milan Lucic in Game 1, but it may have injured him in the process. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

VANCOUVER -- The only update the Vancouver Canucks provided on injured defenceman Dan Hamhuis was that he has been listed as day-to-day.

The dependable blue-liner appeared to hurt his left leg when it buckled under the weight of the 220-pound, 6-foot-4 Milan Lucic.

Hamhuis delivered a perfect hip check on the Bruins forward early in the second period of the Stanley Cup Final opener between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Hamhuis, who did not skate on Thursday, was helped to the dressing room and didn't return. If he can't play in Game 2 on Saturday, either Keith Ballard or Andrew Alberts is expected to play in Hamhuis's spot.

The Canucks have dealt with injuries all season long to their defencemen and they haven't missed a beat with players like Alberts and Chris Tanev.

When Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome were felled by injuries in Game 3 of the West final against the San Jose Sharks, Ballard and Tanev stepped in and played well in Vancouver's two wins to clinch the series.

If Ballard is tapped on the shoulder for Game 2, he remarked that he felt fortunate to at least see action in the previous series because he had not played in seven games since Game 2 of the second-round series against the Nashville Predators.

"Absolutely, without those two games it was a long layoff since the Nashville series," Ballard said. "Regardless, you have to find a way to stay ready."

Before he was traded to the Canucks last summer, Ballard played two seasons with the Florida Panthers alongside current Bruins Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.

But Ballard stated that despite the familiarity of those two as well as playing against the Bruins in the East, it is not an advantage because the Boston players know his tendencies as well.

Power outage

Bruins head coach Claude Julien was defensive when it came to the subject of his team's struggling power play. It has gone 5-for-67 in the playoffs and went 0-for-6 in the series opener.

While the Bruins generated several scoring chances in those six man-advantage situations, they wasted an opportunity to strike first when they had a four-minute power play early in the first period and a 92-second 5-on-3 situation early in the second.

"It's amazing that just because of how it's been before, it's still being kind of questioned today," Julien said. "I think our power play was very good last night in moving the puck and creating some chances and was even better than Vancouver's.

"We had more scoring chances than Vancouver did on the power play. If we're going to criticize ours, we should criticize theirs at this stage of the playoffs."

The Canucks also went 0-for-6 in man-advantage situations in the series opener.

"The way I've looked at it is that both power plays start from scratch in this series," Julien added. "Right now, we're dead even. I thought our penalty kill did a great job against a power play that is supposedly so potent."

Moose calls

There are plenty of ties between the Canucks and Winnipeg because the Manitoba Moose had been their AHL affiliate for the past decade.

Even Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault coached there. He was asked how his former ownership group, led by Mark Chipman and his general manager Craig Heisinger, would do now that they have landed an NHL franchise.

"I think Winnipeg is going to do great," Vigneault said. "Working with Mark and Craig for a whole season, seeing how professional they are, they were running an American League franchise in an NHL fashion. The way they treated their players, the way they treated the staff.

"I know Mark is a very persistent individual. He had been working a long time to bring NHL back to Winnipeg. I think the fans there are real passionate, love their hockey. There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to work."

Boston's television numbers

While the Stanley Cup final series opener was the highest-rated game in CBC's history with average audience of 5.6 million and a 7.8 million peak, the city of Boston has been nuts about the Bruins first visit to the final since 1990.

The NBC overnight ratings in the Boston market for the Canucks' 1-0 win on Wednesday scored a 25.5 rating and 39 per cent share, which was higher than the 19.1 rating and 34 share for the opener of last year's NBA final between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

A rating is the percentage of homes with a television tuned into the program, while a share measures the percentage of homes with a television in use at the time.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox have moved the start time of their Saturday game at Fenway Park against the Oakland Athletics from 7:10 p.m. ET to 1:10 p.m., so the city's sports fanatics can also take in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, which starts at 8 p.m.