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Jul 4, 2018
The Canucks (30-40-10) will strive to earn a win against the Phoenix Coyotes (29-40-11) as twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin play their final home for the only NHL club they have known.
“We definitely want to make their last game here memorable and (we) want to try and get a win for them,” rookie Canucks winger Adam Gaudette told reporters Wednesday after an optional practice.
A sellout crowd is expected for the second straight game, with tickets again fetching premium prices, after the Sedins announced their retirement Monday. Daniel Sedin told reporters that Thursday’s contest will stand out more in their minds than the boisterous scene Tuesday, when the Canucks lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in a shootout in which both Sedins participated.
“It’s a chance for us to thank the fans, it’s more that than anything else,” Daniel Sedin said. “Time flies. It will be over before we know it. We’re going to enjoy it and treat it like a normal game. (Thursday) will be more emotional. I think that’s when you realize … you’ve probably taken your last steps on the ice. It will be special.”
Several tributes are planned for the 37-year-olds during the game as their parents, two older brothers and other friends and former teammates join the crowd.
Among other special happenings, the club’s nightly 50/50 will start at C$400,000 and lights outside Rogers Arena and within Vancouver’s city limits will shine blue and yellow (Sweden’s colors) in tribute to the Swedish siblings.
The Sedins’ teammates plan to enjoy the occasion, too.
“It’s the end of an era Gabe Jackson Jersey ,” center Bo Horvat, who is a strong candidate to replace Henrik Sedin as captain next season, told reporters. “It’s the end of an amazing career for those guys.
“To be part of it is really special for me.”
Although the Canucks and Coyotes will miss the playoffs, the game — the second-last for each club — holds some significance in the standings. With a win, Arizona can move a point ahead of the Canucks and leave Vancouver last in the Western Conference. Thursday’s result could also affect the teams’ 2018 draft position, depending on how lottery balls fall.
The Canucks and Coyotes have been playing well, much to the chagrin of fans who want them to tank during the stretch run and improve their draft hopes. Vancouver has won five of seven games, while Arizona has two straight victories and six in the past eight outings.
The Canucks might need to worry about one of their former players. Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton, who was drafted by the Canucks and spent most of his time in their farm system, has been on a scoring tear lately.
He scored the winning goal and added an assist in Arizona’s 4-1 victory over Calgary on Tuesday and has 10 goals since the all-star break — after scoring only once in his first 42 games.
“I’m playing a lot more confident — using my skating, using my shot,” the 28-year-old Lawrence Taylor Jersey , who is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, told reporters. “(I) had a rough year last year with injuries and then sitting out (as a healthy scratch.) So the beginning of the year, I was still trying to get back to my game, but I think I’m back there now.”
Connauton might see more playing time than usual Thursday. Fellow Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who was injured in Calgary, will not be in the lineup. The Coyotes recalled Dakota Mermis from the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League to fill in for him.
Chychrun suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury when he was tripped from behind by Calgary’s Michael Frolik. Arizona coach Rick Tocchet took exception to Frolik’s action.
“I know he’s not a dirty player, but it’s a dirty play,” Tocchet told reporters. “I don’t like it at all.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Brandon LaFell hasn’t had much sleep since signing with the Oakland Raiders.
Out of a job for more than a month after being let go in a somewhat surprising move by the Cincinnati Bengals, LaFell has been too busy trying to learn Jon Gruden’s complex and wordy offense in hopes of being ready to play in next week’s season opener.
“It’s a lot going on right now,” LaFell said Wednesday. “Right now for me it’s just leaving everything from Cincinnati out of my head and trying to refresh things with everything I’m learning now. A lot of the terminology is somewhat the same. I’ve grasped some of the same concept so far but it’s a lot right now.”
That LaFell is in Oakland is a little mystifying. He signed a $9 million, two-year extension with the Bengals in 2017 and received a $1.25 million roster bonus in March.
The Raiders didn’t seem to have much need for another receiver either after signing free agent Jordy Nelson and trading a third-round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant.
It all changed quickly for both sides.
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis was quoted as saying LaFell was feeling the heat in training camp from some of the Bengals’ younger receivers. LaFell responded by asking for his release Mohamed Sanu Jersey , which the team did on Aug. 2.
Coupled with Oakland’s decision to release Bryant during final roster cutdowns, it created an opening on the Raiders for LaFell.
“He’s a good player,” Gruden said. “He has played multiple roles and played well when he’s played. We think he can come in and get ready quickly to make a contribution. He’s got size that we like, he’s an excellent blocker. He’s going to give us some versatility and depth, which we need.”
The well-traveled LaFell has a resume that was certainly attractive to the Raiders.
A third-round pick by Carolina in 2010, LaFell caught a career-high 74 passes for 953 yards and seven touchdowns and won a Super Bowl with New England following the 2014 season.
Over the past two years in Cincinnati LaFell caught 116 passes for 1,410 yards and nine touchdowns.
“A smart guy, a guy that’s played with Tom Brady when I was in New York,” Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist said. “Crafty guy, big guy, can run for his size and can go up and get the ball. Can play in the slot, can play outside. You need a guy like that.”
LaFell arrived in Oakland late and spent his first practice on the scout team. He spent Wednesday’s workout backing up Nelson.
“It is crazy right now Marcus Allen Jersey ,” LaFell said. “Luckily my receivers coach (Edgar Bennett) said for the first couple of days just learn the X so I’ll be the outside receiver and rotating with Jordy whenever he gets tired. Hopefully, these first two weeks I can stay at X and just focus on learning that X spot right now and as the season goes on start moving me around.”
Bryant was let go, in part, because of his lack of versatility in Gruden’s offense. That doesn’t appear to be an issue for LaFell.
“I’ve always felt like the more spots I knew, the faster I can play and the more time I can stay on the field,” he said “A lot of guys are going to get tired and need to check out or check in here and there so the more spots I know I don’t have to leave the game. I can just slide over, slide from outside to inside.”
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