Much like his inspiring teammate Manny Malhotra, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis has been listed as a game-time decision for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. Unlike the increasingly likely (and undoubtedly inspiring) return of Malhotra, the general consensus isn’t very optimistic about the chances of Hamhuis actually playing, though.
Hamhuis is a valuable defensive defenseman for the Canucks, which is why they paid big in a bidding war to land him as a free agent last summer. Hamhuis might be to blame for his own injury after he landed a big hip check on Milan Lucic in Game 1.
He hasn’t been practicing with the Canucks since then, muting some optimism that an extra night off between Games 1 and 2 might increase his chances of playing for Vancouver. It’s a tough loss that really makes you wonder if the Bruins’ big line of Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton might be primed to make some noise in Game 2 (and beyond). Here is what Vancouver’s defensive pairings might look like, judging from various reports taken from their practices.
Kevin Bieksa-Aaron Rome
Christian Ehrhoff-Andrew Alberts
Sami Salo-Alex Edler
The Canucks still enjoy the positive impact of not having a truly awful duo, but Rome and especially Alberts will leave many Vancouver fans worried. Meanwhile, Keith Ballard and his $4.2 million salary cap hit will likely remain a healthy scratch.
Many people think that Tim Thomas will need to play some spectacular hockey for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup, but Roberto Luongo won’t be able to relax much, either. Naturally, Hamhuis isn’t absolutely counted out of Game 2, so if anything changes, we’ll let you know. If the rumors are justified, however, the Canucks defense will be much more vulnerable tonight.