Good afternoon from Vancouver, where we have a lot to discuss today. Let’s get down to brass tacks here.
-Line rushes indicated that the alignment showed at yesterday’s practice should hold up in today’s game. Derek Forbort took the first rotation alongside Jamie McBain, and Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender off the ice. Still, Jhonas Enroth followed Quick off the ice shortly thereafter, and with the back-to-back continuing tomorrow night in Edmonton, it’s not crystal clear who’ll start in net against the Canucks. We’ll have to wait to see who leads the team out of the tunnel.
-As expected, Jake Muzzin’s match penalty will be rescinded. He’ll be in the lineup tonight.
Hearing that Jake Muzzin's match penalty Saturday has been rescinded. NHL will rescind the hit to head penalty. Won't be on his record.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 28, 2015
-Obviously, the biggest story regarding the team’s lineup is whether Jeff Carter will play tonight. Carter traveled from Arizona to Southern California before rejoining the team in Vancouver. He was at Rogers Arena but did not participate in today’s morning skate.
Darryl Sutter deemed him “day-to-day,” as Dean Lombardi did yesterday.
Interestingly, Carter shared several cryptic comments about not traveling with the team from Arizona to Vancouver, which is understandable as teams, coaches and players are protective of injury information. But, as Carter noted when speaking with me, Lisa Dillman and Kevin Woodley after a morning skate that he did not take part in, he said that he “was going home either way.”
According to an email from hockey operations, Carter’s return to Southern California was due to “personal” reasons.
Still, the veteran center who turns 31 on New Year’s Day did get dinged up on the opening faceoff in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Coyotes.
“We just got tangled up on the draw,” he said. “It was just kind of a freak thing, there was really nothing that could have prevented it, it just happened.”
He appeared in two shifts against Arizona before leaving the game due to what was said by a team spokesman to be an “upper-body” injury. He said the second shift served “to see how it feels, [but] I just didn’t have it.”
“Pretty much what it is, just got tangled up,” Carter said. “I’m feeling all right, we’ll see how it goes.”
On whether he’ll play tonight, he said, “I feel all right. We’ll see what happens, I don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
Here’s to hoping everything is fine back home with Carter and his family. There’s lots more to come today, including stories on Milan Lucic and Jordan Weal after today’s Darryl Sutter quotes, which will be short.