VANCOUVER, British Columbia — First, the Vancouver Canucks had to contend with the mumps.
Now, they still have to deal with the virus — and potential negative effects of Alex Burrows’ trade Monday to the Ottawa Senators for Swedish prospect Jonathan Dahlen, 19.
Burrows had spent his entire career with the Canucks since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2005 following a rise up the minor leagues. He played prominent offensive, defensive and special teams roles.
Article continues below ...
Dahlen, who starred at the world junior tournament, has not signed an NHL contract and is not expected to join the Canucks before next season.
“(Burrows) is the type of guy that he showed up at the rink every day with a good attitude and put his work boots on and went to work,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “So we’re gonna miss his leadership in the (dressing) room. We’re gonna have to have other guys step up.”
The first opportunity comes Tuesday as Vancouver (26-29-6) hosts the Detroit Red Wings (24-26-10) at Rogers Arena. But at least the hard-luck Canucks made some headway in their effort to bump the mumps.
Defenseman Chris Tanev took part in practice and is slated to return to action Tuesday. Tanev was quarantined after showing symptoms of the mumps virus, which has spread through the Canucks’ dressing room.
“I was in San Diego visiting my girlfriend,” he recalled after taking part in Monday’s practice. “I originally thought I broke my jaw or something. It started getting worse, especially as you swallow, two days later. So I went to the hospital. Once (I) realized it was potential mumps, I was just in my hotel room ordering room service.”
Officially, according to a news release, Tanev was in quarantine. He was prohibited from traveling back to Vancouver until Saturday.
He was the first of five Vancouver players to show symptoms during the team’s five-day break last week. Since then, defenseman Ben Hutton has also displayed signs of the virus, along with injured winger Anton Rodin (knee) and a club trainer. Hutton has been quarantined and will not play against the Red Wings.
“I’ve had (an immunization) shot before college and two years ago (when all NHL players were inoculated),” Tanev said. “It’s 90-percent effective. For most people, it worked. I just got unlucky.”
Rookie Canucks rearguard Troy Stecher, who had the only confirmed case of the mumps, is also expected to return after missing Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Tanev and Stecher will slightly strengthen the Canucks’ lineup after they used a makeshift crew against San Jose. However, the Canucks are still weakened by the absence of several players due to the mumps and injuries.
But Stecher said the Canucks, who have lost nine of their past 12 games with all of the setbacks coming in regulation time, have no excuses.
“You just face adversity,” he said. “Every team has to go through adversity at some point in the season. Obviously, for us right now, it’s not that good a time to go through it. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We’re nine points out right now. Our goal is still to make the playoffs.”
Defenseman Nikita Tryamkin and Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund, the team’s second-leading goal scorer, are slated to miss the game due to their ongoing mumps symptoms. The Canucks will also be without backup goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who is out day-to-day with an unspecified lower-body injury suffered in practice.
But in some other good news, defenseman Luca Sbisa is healthy enough to play after missing the third period against San Jose due to illness. A doctor told Sbisa that he did not have the mumps and he was feeling much better.
In addition to health woes, the Canucks are also grappling uncertainty as the NHL’s Wednesday trade deadline approaches. Meanwhile, wingers Jannik Hansen and goaltender Ryan Miller could play their final game in a Canucks’ uniform Tuesday — if they don’t get traded first. Hansen and Miller have given Benning lists of teams to which they would accept a trade.
“We’ve had some calls on (Miller),” Benning said. “We’ll see here (by Wednesday) where he ends up. But (with Los Angeles, one of his preferred teams) getting Ben Bishop, I don’t know how many other teams need good starting goalies.”
Meanwhile, the Red Wings were also grappling with trade speculation surrounding multiple players. The players considered most likely to move — defensemen Brendan Smith and Mike Green, and forwards Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott, and Riley Sheahan — all practiced Monday before the Wings flew to Vancouver.
Smith, who is an expiring contract, was hoping to stay with Detroit.
“I’ve always been happy here,” he told The Detroit Free Press.
With some defensemen potentially moving, the Red Wings signed rearguard Nick Jensen to a two-year contract extension Monday. In addition, the Red Wings recalled winger Drew Miller, the younger brother of Vancouver’s Ryan Miller, and netminder Jared Coreau from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. Coreau was sent down to get action during Detroit’s five-day break. He has been seeing backup duty primarily while filling in for injured veteran Jimmy Howard (knee).
Winger Gustav Nyquist will serve the fifth of a six-game suspension for a highsticking infraction.
The Red Wings are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games and in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons.
But Canucks coach Willie Desjardins does not expect potential distractions to throw the Wings off their game.