Head coach Travis Green had everyone’s attention at practice on Tuesday.
He certainly had the attention of Jake Virtanen.
Virtanen was one of two players that found himself without a line to skate on, as one of the extra forwards during line rushes.
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Traditionally, extra forwards in practice do not dress for the following game, meaning Virtanen was in line to be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
It seems Green had other ideas.
Travis Green on Virtanen: I never said he was out. You guys…had yourselves talking. Let's make sure. I never had him doing anything. That was it. Jake's playing tonight, I never once said anything about him not playing #canucks
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) January 23, 2019
Virtanen was skating on a checking line with Brandon Sutter and Antoine Roussel at this morning’s game day skate and will play against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.
Fully attended morning skate for #Canucks.
Lines & D pairs to start are:
Extra: Goldobin, Schaller
— Joey Kenward (@kenwardskorner) January 23, 2019
Perhaps it was nothing more than an attention grabber for Virtanen, who assisted on the game-winning goal Sunday, but doesn’t have a goal in 12 games.
The Shotgun Jake movement has cooled considerably since he scored 11 goals in his first 38 games. Virtanen is now on pace for 18 goals.
Instead of Virtanen sitting out, it looks like it will be Nikolay Goldobin. The 23-year-old winger has been kept out of the last three games, despite the fact he’s still fourth in team scoring.
Tonight’s game is the last before the NHL All-Star break, which precedes bye week for the Canucks. They won’t play again until February 2.
A win against Carolina would put the Canucks back in a playoff spot.