Greetings from Vancouver, B.C. The boys got in here at a decent hour following the game in Calgary on Friday. We were delayed a little bit while the plane was de-iced, but we got to the hotel a little after midnight after a huge win in Calgary. It was a very jovial plane ride and a short one at that, about 90 minutes or so to Vancouver. Owen Nolan did suffer a lower-body injury in the game — it doesn’t look overly serious but in back-to-back games it might be something to watch. From talking to head coach Todd Richards it looks like Josh Harding will get the start in the net. Everything else seems to be status quo.
On the concussion front, I did have a conversation with Andrew Ebbett. He says he’s starting to feel a little bit better but still probably nowhere near a return on this trip, so we’ll look for an update on him when we return to the Twin Cities. You can’t say enough about the effort last night — 45 shots on goal and a come-from-behind win in a building where they have struggled for a long time. Talking to the players after the game, they were tired but certainly excited to get back on the ice because they’re in a stretch where they’re playing their best hockey of the season.
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Assistant coach Mike Ramsay ran the team through the paces at an optional morning skate today. Nathan Smith will step in for Nolan tonight — the B.C. native will be excited to play in front of the home fans. It’s around 30 degrees here — a little chilly for this area of the country, but certainly warmer than it was in Calgary. Most of the players chose to get their rest today — only a handful of players actually skated. The Minnesota Wild lead the NHL with 12 one-goal wins, including Friday night’s win in Calgary — they’re now 12-5-3 in those games. Andrew Brunette will skate in his 900th NHL game tonight.
There were some big parties going on in downtown Vancouver today — it’s spruced up nicely for the Olympics with the rink and BC Place, where the opening ceremonies will be held. It certainly should be a great time and a great venue for the Olympics this coming February.