Last night’s Canucks loss to St. Louis proved to be costly in a way that Vancouver is getting a bit too used to these days. During the game, the team lost defenseman Andrew Alberts with a broken wrist putting him on the shelf for a few weeks. This puts Alberts on the injured list along with Alex Edler, Keith Ballard, Dan Hamhuis, and Lee Sweatt at the moment. If you’re keeping track, that’s three starters, an occasional starter, and one rookie all out of the lineup right now.
To replace Alberts, the team called up Yann Sauve. Sauve has the significance of being Vancouver’s 12th defenseman they’ve used this year. To say the Canucks have persevered in the face of trouble would be an understatement. Vancouver still sits atop the Western Conference standings with 81 points, seven more than second place Detroit. The Canucks also lead their division by 15 points over Calgary.
Vancouver’s ability to dominate in the West where the playoff race is so tight a short losing streak can send you tumbling down the standings is incredible. Having so many guys get hurt can usually break a team or at least make them fall off for a bit, but Vancouver has continued to march through their season and have the best record in the NHL. What it says about the job coach Alain Vigneault and GM Mike Gillis are doing this season is incredible. We’ve said plenty here about saying the Canucks are looking tough to beat but they’ve been doing it shorthanded virtually all season long. It’s frightening to think what they’d be capable of with a fully healthy roster to run with.