Let the battle for the Vancouver Canucks back-up goalie job begin.
Eddie Lack will start in goal for the Vancouver Canucks in their first pre-season game, which goes tonight against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena.
The plan, Lack said, is for him to play the first two periods, before giving way to Joe Cannata in the third.
It’s been a while since Lack played in an actual game – almost 10 full months, in fact.
Lack last played on Nov. 24 of 2012, in a game for the AHL Chicago Wolves. The Canucks confirmed near the end of January that Lack underwent hip surgery, which ended his season.
“The hip is in the past,” said Lack. “I’m feeling 100 per cent, I’ve been feeling it for a while, too, so I’m just looking forward to playing again.”
Lack, who originally signed with the Canucks as a free agent in 2010, has come to camp with an opportunity to land the back-up job behind Luongo.
SHINKARUK LIKES THE SPEED FACTOR
During the morning of his NHL pre-season debut, Hunter Shinkaruk, the Canucks’ 24th overall pick from this year’s draft, recalled fond memories from his junior hockey days with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
As a 17-year-old, Shinkaruk was paired on a line with another speedster in Emerson Etem and the two managed to light up the Western Hockey League, scoring a combined 110 goals in the 2011-12 season.
“He’s probably the fastest player I’ve seen – ever,” said Shinkaruk of Etem, now a member of the Anaheim Ducks organization.
“Especially that year, we had a lot of success…I think it’s nice when you play with a faster guy. I like that pace of hockey and just keep moving. That’s definitely the kind of player I like to play with.”
There’s a connection as he competes for an NHL spot in Vancouver.
Shinkaruk skated Monday morning on a line with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. Not only are they two proven NHL veterans, but Kesler – when healthy – also brings the ability to flat out fly up and down the ice.
“From what I’ve seen, he’s a fast player, great hands,” said Kesler of Shinkaruk.
“We’re going to play a fast game. That’s how we’re going to compliment each other. We’re going to try to score on the rush and if not we’re going to try and force it down low.”
HORVAT COMFORTABLE WITH GRINDING ROLE
Bo Horvat admitted he’s nervous heading into tonight’s pre-season game against the Sharks.
Getting a good sleep last, however, was not an issue.
“You always get a little bit of nerves going into your first pre-season game. I was nervous in junior and this kind of up the stage a little bit more,” he said.
“Sleeping doesn’t really bother me too much. I usually have pretty good sleeps. I try not to think about it too much, just kind of relax and whatever happens, happens. But it definitely hit me this morning. I was definitely a little bit more nervous this morning.”
Horvat, Vancouver’s ninth overall pick that came after the Canucks traded Cory Schneider to New Jersey in a shocker, skated on a line with Dale Weise and Tom Sestito on Monday morning.
Both Weise and Sestito are known more for bruising the opposition than scoring, but Horvat maintains he’s comfortable with the former style.
“I’ve (been) given all kinds of roles from my experiences (with the London Knights) and I’ve played on the fourth line and had that grinding role,” he said.
“Definitely I’m not afraid to be that grinder or to be that physical guy.”
TORTORELLA’S EVALUATION METHODS
A couple of notes on head coach John Tortorella from Monday’s game-day skate.
First, on being interrupted mid-sentence when a cameraman’s phone rings: “That’s going to be a major league fine, I tell ya. I’m going to walk. I’ll walk. If cell phones go off, I’ll walk.”
Second, he won’t be behind the bench for tonight’s game: “I’m just a good enough coach to be able to coach a game, to try and win it – which we should try to be doing. Every time you put the uniform on, you should be trying to win – plus evaluate and get a fair look at some of these kids.
“I want to watch the kids. I think it’s that important to give them a fair evaluation.”
Tortorella will likely be watching the game on his own.
“I don’t know what the book is here. I usually sit alone,” he said.
“You just have people talking about that play and this play and that’s a big reason why I don’t go to Penticton, because too many people talking to you about, ‘he’s good, and he did this.’ I want to make my own evaluation and we’ll discuss it as a group as we go through it in the next couple of weeks.”