Carol Schram: Vancouver Canucks: Prepping for Seguin, Avoiding the Mumps, Jordan Subban

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The Vancouver Canucks are practicing at Rogers Arena on Tuesday ahead of the second game of their homestand on Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars.

No big shockers in terms of manpower:

#Canucks practice underway. No Kassian or Hamhuis, but we spy a Sestito. pic.twitter.com/UovmRpcAyi

— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) December 16, 2014

I also don’t think it’s any surprise that the forward lines have been shuffled back to their old formations:


Line rushes at #Canucks practice: 22-33-17/20-13-14/27-15-7/51-53-36 extra 29.

— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) December 16, 2014

We do, however, see a much-needed shakeup in the defense pairings. As I’d been hoping, Kevin Bieksa has been paired with Ryan Stanton, while the all-Swiss tandem of Sbisa and Weber are reunited.

#Canucks D pairings: Edler-Tanev; Stanton-Bieksa; Weber-Sbisa. Alex Biega is the seventh defenceman.

— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) December 16, 2014

Like the Canucks, Dallas also hasn’t played since Saturday. They beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 at home. Though the Stars are already nine points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, they do boast the NHL’s leading scorer.

Tyler Seguin has 23 goals and 38 points on a team that has only scored 85 goals in total. That means he’s been in on almost 45 percent of Dallas’ goals this year. WOW.

When I think of Seguin, I worry. For two reasons:

• He has been a beast against the Canucks since moving over to the Western Conference. In three games last season, Seguin posted three goals and five assists for eight points and was a plus-six in the Stars’ three wins against Vancouver. He continued the pattern this year, with a goal and an assist in Dallas’ 6-3 victory over the Canucks back in October.

• Our main man Jim Benning was part of the crew that decided that Seguin was finished in Boston, as we can see in this clip from the Bruins’ reality series “Behind the B.”

If there’s any consolation, Benning is quiet as his colleagues talk about Seguin’s lack of willingness to “pay the price.” His big on-camera moment is a facepalm when the team learns that Nathan Horton has decided to move on as a free agent.

The Stars have been a tough opponent for the Canucks in recent years. It won’t be an easy game for Vancouver to bust out of its slump.

As we know, Vancouver seemed to run out of gas after its game against Pittsburgh on December 4—12 days ago. We know now that the incubation period for the mumps is 12-25 days, and that Sidney Crosby was infected. The New York Rangers also sent Derick Brassard home after he started showing symptoms following Saturday’s game at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks have played other mump-stricken teams earlier in the season—it’s now assumed that virus that debilitated the St. Louis Blues when Vancouver visited in October could have been the mumps, and they’ve seen the Anaheim Ducks twice. So, fingers crossed that the team is following all the proper protocols and the virus isn’t the reason for the sluggish play.

Or maybe we should hope that the players are sick? At least that’d be an explanation for why the air has gone out of their tires. Look how much better the Blues have gotten now that they’re healthy! Spotlight: Jordan Subban

Though he wasn’t named to Canada’s World Junior team, Vancouver Canucks prospect Jordan Subban is having a strong season for the Belleville Bulls. He leads all OHL defensemen with 13 goals and is fourth with 28 points, as well as sitting second overall in scoring for the Bulls. He has also developed into a shootout specialist.

Canucks.com has a brief video feature on Subban. I like his choice of Brian Rafalski as a player he admired growing up: an undersized two-way defenseman who carved out a solid career for himself.

As I mentioned the other day, the chapter on the Subban family in Bob McKenzie’s new book “Hockey Confidential” is well worth reading, and offers plenty of reason to believe that Jordan will have the determination to make the NHL despite his small stature.

According to McKenzie, “(father) Karl Subban is convinced Jordan has the best hockey hands of the bunch.”

Here’s brother P.K.’s take:

People look at Jordan’s size and they don’t get him. Honestly, he can squat more [weight] than me, he lifts more than me—not in the bench press, but in everything else. He sprints better than me, he has a fire in him like you can’t believe. He wants [to make it to the NHL] more than me and Malcolm, and believe me, me and Malcolm really want it. But Jordan is on another level.

Some of that offense from the defence sure would look good for the Canucks right about now.