Canucks’ Benning on Kassian: ‘He’s got the physicality and size to be a power forward for us’


Zack Kassian is expected to be in the lineup tonight when the Vancouver Canucks play host to the Detroit Red Wings.

It’ll be Kassian’s first game since Nov. 25. The 23-year-old was originally out with a broken finger, but was a healthy scratch for the Canucks 3-2 to loss to the L.A. Kings on Thursday.

“He’s got the physicality and size to be a power forward for us. He’s going to have to embrace that style of game,” Canucks general manager, Jim Benning, told The Vancouver Province. “That’s how he’s going to help us win.”

Kassian, who has two goals and five points in 17 games this season to go along with a minus-5 rating, is just one season removed from scoring a career-best 14 goals and 29 points in 73 games during the 2013-14 season.

Benning admitted he’s willing to listen to calls from other teams regarding the availability of the former first-round pick.

“With any young player you have to patient, but having said that, if somebody calls us, and we think we can make our team better we’re going to look at that. We’re going to talk about it,” Benning said. “That’s the case with any player.”

Injuries have forced Kassian to miss 18 games this season.

Originally the 13th overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres in 2009, Kassian has 27 goals and 55 points in 173 career games with the Sabres and Canucks.

Kings score twice in 53 seconds to top Canucks


Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll scored less than a minute apart Thursday night as the L.A. Kings edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.

With the win, the Kings (19-12-8) leapfrog the Canucks (21-11-3) into second place in the Pacific Division. L.A. also avoided a sixth straight road loss with the victory.

With Canucks’ defenseman Ryan Stanton in the box serving a hooking minor, Williams beat Ryan Miller over the shoulder for his ninth of the season at 17:53 of the third tying it 2-2.

Then at 18:46, Stoll netted the game-winner with his fourth of the season.

Despite being out-shot 30-10 through two periods, the Canucks held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Alex Burrows opened the scoring 12:18 of the first with his ninth of the season.

Vancouver then took a 2-0 lead scoring on their first shot of the second period.

Radim Vrbata scored his team-leading 15th at 3:39 of the second. The Canucks had just two shots on goal in the middle frame.

Dwight King had the other Kings goal.

Jonathan Quick made 14 saves for the win. Miller stopped 37 shots in the loss.

Canucks’ Hamhuis expects to return near the all star break

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis expects to return from his lower body injury around the NHL all star break.

Speaking to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy Thursday night, Hamhuis, who has missed 16 games, said there’s no set date, that he is re-evaluated each day, but that “somewhere near that all star break” is where he’s targeting for a return.

The NHL all star break is Jan. 22-26.

The 31-year-old suffered the injury during the first period of the Canucks’ 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when his right skate appeared to catch a rut in the ice in the Ducks zone.

For those who haven’t seen the play, here it is:

In 20 games this season Hamhuis has six assists and a minus-5 rating while averaging 20:36 in time on ice.

Kassian: ‘The coach doesn’t see me fitting in right now’


Zack Kassian will be a healthy scratch tonight when the Vancouver Canucks play host to the L.A. Kings.

Kassian has not played since Nov. 25, in part, due to a finger injury.

According to coach Willie Desjardins, with the Canucks collecting points in four straight, including an impressive 3-1 win in San Jose, it’s tough to make a lineup change.

“(He) has done everything we’ve asked (and) worked really hard,” said Desjardins per The Vancouver Province. “It’s just hard some times. You’ve got tough line-up decisions. When you have guys that are playing well, some times you want to stay with it.”

Kassian has two goals and five points in 17 games this season to go along with a minus-5 rating.

“It’s definitely frustrating. I’ve prepared myself the way I have to to play, but the team is playing well right now,” Kassian said. “The finger is 100%. It’s been 100% for a little while now.

“The coach doesn’t see me fitting in right now. That’s the coach’s decision. It’s definitely frustrating. I want to play. But there’s nothing you can do about it. You can sit here and whine all day. It’s not going to help. When I get my chance, I’m not going to come back out, I can tell you that.”

Kassian has missed 18 games due to multiple injuries this season.

The 23-year-old netted a career-high 14 goals and 29 points in 73 games last season.

Canucks’ Hansen fined $5K for Wingels headshot (Video)


Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen has been fined $5,000 for a hit to the head of San Jose’ Tommy Wingels on Tuesday night, the NHL announced today.

Here’s the incident in question, which occurred early in the second period and netted Hansen a two-minute illegal check to the head minor:

Wingels looked to be shaken up on the play and left momentarily before returning to the contest, finishing with 14:50 TOI.

Hansen has been suspended for a hit to the head once before, receiving one game following a shot to Chicago’s Marian Hossa in February of 2013.