VANCOUVER — Depth forward Andrew Ebbett was the odd man out Monday when the Vancouver Canucks needed a roster spot for the return from injury of David Booth.
Ebbett, 30, was placed on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the American League's Chicago Wolves. The waivers expire at 9 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday and the Canucks are hoping he clears and remains in the organization.
“He's a valuable player for us,” said Canuck assistant general manager Lorne Henning, who oversees the team's farmhands. “He's got a lot of character and he's a great kid. He's very versatile and we love Ebby. So, hopefully, he gets through.
The Wolves are pretty devastated and they have no centre icemen so it would be good for us for depth and it would help them, too.”
Ebbett, 30, dressed for five games with the Canucks this season and had no points. He is on a two-way contract that sees him receive $600,000 at the NHL level and $300,000 in the American League.
The waiving of Ebbett leaves the Canucks with only four natural centres on the roster – Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Max Lapierre and rookie Jordan Schroeder.
COACH'S CHOICE: Booth has been declared ready for action after suffering a groin injury on the first day of training camp during on-ice testing. He's missed five weeks and 14 games. He is now a 'coach's decision' for Tuesday's game in Chicago against the soaring Blackhawks.
“I definitely want to try it but I can't push it to have any setbacks,” Booth said Monday. “I have been trying to feel it out in practice but I think the best way to get back into it is just getting into games. I mean, practice can only stimulate so much and I've been practising for five months now. The pace of the game is something you cannot get in practice.”
Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters before the team flew out Monday that he had yet to settle on his lineup for the Chicago game. He said he would reveal his selections Tuesday.
“I haven't had a chance to sit down with my coaches here and talk it through,” Vigneault explained. “So we'll talk it through and see what happens. I know that if I need David to play, I can use him.”
Asked if he felt Booth required at least another practice, Vigneault indicated it wasn't necessary.
“I think he's practised enough,” replied the coach. “I think if it would be just him making the call, I think he would want to be in.”
STROMBONE'S TUNE: Canuck netminder Roberto Luongo's alter twitter ego (@strombone1) was at it again Monday, poking fun at his hopeless attempt to stop Blues forward T.J. Oshie during Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss. Luongo barely moved a muscle as Oshie shot the puck through his wide-open wickets.
“Almost had him,” tweeted strombone1, who posted a photo along with the tweet.
On Monday, all Luongo could do was laugh about it.
“It's actually a pretty good move when you think about it,” he said. “I watched a lot of video on him and not once did he shoot it so it kind of caught me off guard. When the goalie is trying to be patient, you don't expect a shot. It made me look a little bit silly there.”
Luongo has never been stellar in shootouts and all three of his losses this season (4-0-3) have come in this fashion. He has one shootout victory, too, over the Blackhawks on Feb. 1.
QUOTABLE: “The fans are pretty ruthless in Chicago, a little nastier then they are here, I would say.” – Canuck goalie Cory Schneider on the United Center crowd.
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