Canucks demote rookie centre Jordan Schroeder to minors, recall Andrew Ebbett
Notebook: 'They want to get me going, get me playing more and get my confidence back'
ST. PAUL, Minn. — As the Vancouver Canucks headed off to practice here Monday, Jordan Schroeder remained behind in the stately St. Paul Hotel, waiting for an afternoon flight to Chicago and the minor leagues.
The unproductive Schroeder — no points in eight games, no goals in 13 — was a victim of the Canucks’ slump. He couldn't generate any offence for a team desperately seeking it. After 22 games, his stint in the NHL was over. For now. Veteran Andrew Ebbett has been summoned to take Schroeder's spot.
“They want to get me going, get me playing more and get my confidence back,” said a disappointed Schroeder after bidding farewell to teammate Chris Tanev in the hotel lobby.
Schroeder, the Canucks' first pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft, is still on an entry-level contract and does not require waivers to go down. The 22-year-old collected just five points despite receiving some quality power-play minutes.
In his final game Sunday, a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild, Schroeder had no shots, was minus-1 and lost four of six draws in 12:53 of ice time. Ebbett, a left-handed centre, has 32 points in 37 AHL games this season. He's also played five games for the Canucks and has not recorded a point.
“We believe that Jordan has a tremendous amount of upside and, at some point here, he's going to be able to contribute and help us out,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, explaining the Schroeder demotion. “But at this time we felt he had sort of hit a wall a little bit. In the last little while here, it's been a little bit challenging for him.
“He is supposed to be an offensive player, 5-on-5 and on the power play, and we thought we'd help him out by putting him on the power play, where we needed a right-handed shot, to see if we could boost his confidence. Obviously that didn't get the result we anticipated so we just felt that, for now, the best thing would be to go to Chicago to get his game back on track.”
Ebbett, meanwhile, will receive another opportunity. He began the lockout-shortened season with the big club before being waived and assigned to the Wolves on Feb. 19. According to Vigneault, Wolves coach Scott Arniel considered Ebbett his best centre lately.
“Obviously we're a little thin and maybe challenged at that position right now,” understated Vigneault. “Andrew is an experienced centreman so we are bringing him back. We know what he can do both offensively and defensively and we'll see if he can help us win some games, which is the purpose of all this.”
GROIN PAINS: Defenceman Kevin Bieksa (groin) made it through the full practice Monday but would not declare himself fit for game action. In fact, he became a little testy when asked if Tuesday's game in Columbus was even a possibility.
“No timeline,” said Bieksa, who has missed six games, all losses. “When I'm ready to play, I'll tell you and I won't keep it a secret. Then we can talk all you want. But until then, I'm not going to be forecasting 'oh, maybe this game, maybe that game.' It doesn't work that way.”
Bieksa, of course, aggravated the groin when he played in the March 2 game against Los Angeles, Vancouver's last victory. He doesn't want to push it this time and then suffer yet another setback.
“It's tough when you can't help the guys and you're sitting on the sidelines,” he said. “Obviously I'd like to get back as soon as I can. It's a fine line between being smart with the injury and just wanting to get back out there. I felt good today but I have to see how I feel tomorrow.”
HANDS UP: Young Canucks blue-liner Chris Tanev admitted Monday he may have been fortunate not to have suffered a serious injury when he took a Clayton Stoner slapper in his right hand Sunday night. Tanev raced to the dressing room clutching the hand but immediate X-rays showed no fracture and he returned to the game.
“I feel a bit lucky,” he said. “It was a pretty hard shot and it got me in the pinky and side of the hand. It was fairly painful at the time but it died after a bit. It's only a bruise so no problem. I'm glad to be okay.”
QUOTABLE: “We've had some losing streaks before. Losing is not a bad thing either. It makes you stronger as a team. You have to learn how to deal with the disappointment.” — Veteran Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis puts his spin on the team’s woes.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun