Canucks’ farm team’s ‘taxi squad’ rides in for NHL playoffs
Notebook: 8 a.m. daily skates in their immediate future as a practice squad
Scott Arniel addresses prospects of the Vancouver Canucks at UBC Thunderbird Sports Centre in September 2009. 'You never know if you’re going to make a long playoff run and usually it takes a lot of bodies,' Arniel said Tuesday of the NHL team's prospects who will be a practice squad in Vancouver.
Photograph by: Stuart Davis, PNG
VANCOUVER — Hey, taxi! The Canucks have summoned 10 players and coach Scott Arniel from the farm to serve as a practice squad as they embark Wednesday on what they hope is a lengthy playoff run.
Three of the 10 — Jordan Schroeder, Nicklas Jensen and Brendan Gaunce — are first-round picks and the group, which also includes previous call-ups Derek Joslin and Joe Cannata, will skate at 8 a.m. each morning.
The remaining players forming the “taxi squad” are Jim Vandermeer, Peter Andersson, Darren Archibald, Andrew Gordon, Kellen Lain, Alexandre Mallet and netminder Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault, the latter a one-time draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Injured goalie Eddie Lack was also called up but, according to Arniel, he’s in Vancouver for medical purposes only. Lack had major hip surgery in late January.
“He’s having his hip looked at,” explained Arniel, who will run the practices along with Dave Babych and Dave Gagner of the Canuck player development department. Goalie coach Rollie Melanson will also pitch in when his schedule permits.
“You never know if you’re going to make a long playoff run and usually it takes a lot of bodies,” Arniel said. “So we have to make sure everybody is up to speed and keeping themselves in tip-top shape. Maybe there is a scenario, whether it’s injury or rest, where Alain (Vigneault) may want some of the guys to move up into the practices to fill out the numbers.”
Arniel figures Cannata will travel with the Canucks to San Jose for Games 3 and 4 to serve as the No. 3 puckstopper. The remaining players will stay in Vancouver. Arniel himself may even hit the road to do some scouting. He has two years remaining on his contract to coach the Canucks’ farm team, wherever it winds up locating next season.
The Canucks, of course, are seeking a home for their newly purchased AHL franchise. They were affiliated with the Chicago Wolves for the last two years.
“The situation has been around us probably since December-January so it’s not really a whole lot different,” Arniel said.
“It would be nice to have an answer but we know it’s going to take some time here.”
PICK SIGNED: The Canucks announced Tuesday they have inked 21-year-old forward Alexandre Grenier, their third-round selection in 2011, to an entry-level contract.
Grenier is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound right winger from Laval. He split the 2012-13 campaign between the Wolves, ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings and Austrian club EC Salzburg. He played just four games for Arniel but collected a combined 44 points in Kalamazoo and Salzburg in 62 games.
YOUNG STARS ON ICE: The Canucks have resurrected their Young Stars training camp tournament and will stage it Sept. 5-9 in Penticton. The tourney features the top prospects in five organizations — the Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Jets and Sharks. It was cancelled last fall due to the impending lockout.
“It’s the best way to get a good read on your young kids coming up,” commented Vigneault. “You get great feedback. You get a really good feel for who is close, who is going to need a little bit more time and what they’re going to need to work on. It’s one of the best things we’ve done since I’ve been here.”
QUOTABLE: “Like Chris Tanev, he’s really calm, patient and rarely makes a bad play. Those are pretty good qualities to have.” — Canucks defenceman Andrew Alberts on young blueliner Frank Corrado, his scheduled partner for Game 1 against the Sharks.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun