Andrew Alberts #41 of the Vancouver Canucks skates in front of the bench with the puck against of the Florida Panthers on January 9, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Canucks 2-1.
(January 8, 2012 - Source: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America)

Canucks’ Alberts (concussion) knows career might be over


Plagued by post-concussion symptoms, Vancouver defenseman Andrew Alberts knows his nine-year NHL career might be done.

Alberts, 32, was concussed on a hit from Calgary’s Brian McGrattan in late December, one that ended his season entirely and left him with daily headaches nearly five months later.

Here’s more, from the Vancouver Sun:

Alberts, who suffered a serious concussion with the Boston Bruins in 2007, was off skates for 2½ months after the McGrattan hit. He started skating in mid-March, but a comeback was aborted less than two weeks later when Alberts’ condition badly deteriorated. He says now he pushed too hard in his desire to at least practice with teammates before the end of the season.

He has had conflicting recommendations from three different neurologists, but has settled into a pattern of light daily workouts in the morning, consisting typically of about 15 minutes of cardio and some light lifting.

“Basically, the approach is try to stay active instead of sitting around doing nothing,” Alberts says. “I’ve talked to three different neurologists and all three had a different opinion. I’ve challenged my body a little bit because you get sick of just sitting around doing nothing. I did nothing for the first 1½ months and almost started to feel worse.

“I usually get through a 35- or 40-minute workout without a headache, but the headaches come a couple of hours later. Headaches can last an hour … or the rest of the day. You never know. It’s random.”

As far as his playing future goes, the prospects look dim. Alberts turns 33 on June 30… the day before his one-year, $600,000 deal with the Canucks expires. Considering he took a pretty significant pay cut just to come back to Vancouver after the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — he made $1.225 million annually on his previous contract — the prospect of landing another deal, especially given his health concerns, seems remote.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.