Canucks' depth to receive first true test
The injury bug did something over the weekend that most NHL clubs have failed to do all season -- take a bite out of the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks grabbed three of four points in battles against Alberta clubs Saturday and Sunday, but also lost the same number of players to its lineup.
Forwards Henrik Sedin and Trevor Linden and defenceman Mattias Ohlund all went down to injury over the weekend. The trio did not join the team for its mini two-game road trip, which begins Tuesday in Chicago.
Sedin sprained his left shoulder in the Canucks' 6-3 win Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers. On Sunday, Ohlund sprained his left knee, while Linden received a cut around the eye after getting hit in the face by teammate Trent Klatt's stick in Vancouver's 3-3 draw with Calgary.
Sedin and Ohlund are expected to miss about a week, while Linden, who was placed on injured reserve, should be sidelined for at least two.
Vancouver has rolled through the season, and many an opponent, without much adversity. The recent rash of injuries should provide coach Marc Crawford's club with its first true depth test this year.
"It's going to happen," Crawford told the Vancouver Sun Monday. "Teams go through injury periods. We're going to have to survive. We'll work harder as a unit to get through it. Our depth is going to be tested."
Many of the Canucks' character players should see more ice time Tuesday, including forwards Trevor Letowski, Mats Lindgren and Artem Chubarov.
Blueliners Bryan Allen and Marek Malik, who have both been healthy scratches at times this season, should also suit up.
The Canucks also recalled 24-year-old forward Zenith Komarnski from Manitoba of the AHL to fill Linden's roster spot.
Vancouver faces a Chicago club fresh off a frustrating 5-0 loss to the Dallas Stars. The defeat snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for the Hawks.
The Blackhawks have rebounded from a poor start to the season, thanks in large part to the return of stars Eric Daze and Theo Fleury. Daze has 13 points in 16 games since returning from injury last month, including a hat trick against the New York Rangers on Dec. 11
Fleury has stepped into the Chicago fold without missing a step after missing the first quarter of the season. He has scored in three of his first six outings and has given the Hawks a much-needed feisty presence up front.
Chicago fell 5-3 to the Canucks on Nov. 20 in the only encounter between the two clubs this season.
with files from Sports Network