Canucks Game Day: Towering Tryamkin signing, pending arrival overshadows Coyotes clash

 

6-8 Russian blue-liner ‘a freak,’ GM Jim Benning tells season ticket-holders

 
 
 
 
Towering Russian blue-liner Nikita Tryamkin (listed at 6-8, 240 pounds) is welcomed to the Vancouver Canucks organization by professional scout (and former long-time NHL player) Lucien DeBlois at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia on June 28, 2014, when he was picked 66th overall by Vancouver. Tryamkin has just been signed by the Canucks.
 

Towering Russian blue-liner Nikita Tryamkin (listed at 6-8, 240 pounds) is welcomed to the Vancouver Canucks organization by professional scout (and former long-time NHL player) Lucien DeBlois at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia on June 28, 2014, when he was picked 66th overall by Vancouver. Tryamkin has just been signed by the Canucks.

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

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VANCOUVER — It's the Canucks versus the Coyotes at Rogers Arena tonight (7 p.m. PT, on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040).

Doesn't exactly get the pulse racing, does it?

There's not a whole lot on the line. Both teams are 10 points out of a Western Conference playoff spot and are essentially playing for pride.

The loser can take solace in the fact that they'll increase their odds of drafting Auston Matthews this summer.

At this morning's game-day skate, most of the talk was about two guys who won't be playing tonight. Coyotes defenceman Jarred Tinordi was slapped with a 20-game suspension by the NHL for testing positive for a banned substance. On the Vancouver side, the Canucks expect newly signed 6-8, 240-pound Russian defenceman Nikita Tryamkin to arrive in town tonight. He'll likely begin practising with the team on Friday and could play as early as Monday night.

"He's 6-8, 240, and he's mobile," Canucks general manager Jim Benning told season-ticket holders Tuesday night. "He's a freak."

Tryamkin, who was selected 66th overall in the 2014 draft, has played the last four years in the KHL. Coach Willie Desjardins said today the 21-year-old will likely practise with the team for the first time on Friday.

"I am excited," Desjardins said. "He is a big-body guy. He was over here (two years ago at prospect camp). I liked his personality. There wasn't a lot of English at that time. I think he has improved his English since. You look at his numbers in the KHL and he has good numbers. I think he was 17 minutes in the regular season and 21 in the playoffs, so he was one of their key guys. And he's still young. It is going to be exciting to get a look at him."

As for tonight’s game, the Canucks will make only one lineup change as Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal.

The Canucks know there will be lots of these kinds of games down the stretch where there's not a whole lot to play for.

"Until you are mathematically out of the race, you have to approach it like Game 7," said defenceman Luca Sbisa. "If you can still breathe you've got to go for it … it's tough, I have only really been in that situation once in my career where games didn't really matter and that was with only three, four or five games left. You still play, you are still representing not just yourself but your teammates and the organization. There really shouldn't be any difference in your attitude and how you approach the game."

Tinordi's suspension was announced this morning by the NHL. In a release issued the NHL Players' Association, Tinordi said: "I am extremely disappointed that I failed a test under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. I did not knowingly take a banned substance. I understand, however, that I am responsible for what enters my body as a professional athlete and I accept the suspension. I will work hard towards my return to the ice and will learn from this frustrating setback."

The Coyotes head into tonight's game having lost eight of their last nine outings. They have dropped nine in a row on the road.

The Canucks have won two of three meeting with Arizona this season. All three games were decided by one goal.

• INJURIES:

The Canucks are without C Henrik Sedin (upper body), C Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), RW Jannik Hansen (ribs), D Chris Tanev (upper body) and D Alex Edler (broken fibula).

The Coyotes are missing G Mike Smith (lower body), G Anders Lindback (Achilles), D Oliver Ekman-Larsson (upper body), D Jarred Tinordi (suspension) and D Zbynek Michalek (upper body).

• ICE CHIPS: Benning said today he doesn't expect Edler to play again this season … The Canucks for Kids Fund announced a $1-million donation to the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation on Wednesday. The money will be used to create a Canucks-themed playroom in the new Teck Acute Care Centre opening in 2017 at BC Children's Hospital … Brian Pochmara and Gord Dwyer are tonight's referees … This is the first game of a four-game homestand for the Canucks, who play host to the Nashville Predators on Saturday, entertain the Winnipeg Jets on Monday and meet the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Towering Russian blue-liner Nikita Tryamkin (listed at 6-8, 240 pounds) is welcomed to the Vancouver Canucks organization by professional scout (and former long-time NHL player) Lucien DeBlois at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia on June 28, 2014, when he was picked 66th overall by Vancouver. Tryamkin has just been signed by the Canucks.
 

Towering Russian blue-liner Nikita Tryamkin (listed at 6-8, 240 pounds) is welcomed to the Vancouver Canucks organization by professional scout (and former long-time NHL player) Lucien DeBlois at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia on June 28, 2014, when he was picked 66th overall by Vancouver. Tryamkin has just been signed by the Canucks.

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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