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AM Skate: Canucks Biggee, New Coaches, Marchand Suspension

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Vancouver Canucks Swedes Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Elias Pettersson celebrate the latter's goal Wednesday night against the Islanders.

The Vancouver Canucks skate in Burnaby on Friday in preparation for Saturday night’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena. It’s a statement game.

It’s a chance to beat a powerhouse from the east, a team most Vancouver Canucks fans hate, and an opportunity to propel the current Vancouver roster towards a playoff stretch drive with confidence. Other than that there’s nothing at stake.

While we’re waiting, you should toss on your blades …

Let’s Skate! …

‘Just When You Thought … ‘

Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis went from coaching his son’s pee wee team to coaching the Montreal Canadiens. Proof there’s a first for everything.

“If anything this team needs right now, it’s to have fun,” St. Louis said in his introductory press conference Thursday. “I know when (the players) were peewees, they had a lot of fun, so I am probably the most qualified guy right now.”

Montreal Hockey Now provides multiple angles on the Montreal Canadiens coaching developments in NHL-crazed Quebec.

The Habs lost their debut under their interim coach Thursday night 5-2 to the Washington Capitals.

Oilers Tailspin Again?

While St. Louis took over in Montreal, coach Dave Tippett gave up the reins of the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, fired and replaced by AHL affiliate head coach Jay Woodcroft. Oilers associate coach Jim Playfair was also replaced by Woodcroft’s assistant with the Bakersfield (California) Condors, Dave Manson.

“I think it’s a gut feel,” Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland told the media. “I’ve been around the National Hockey League, around teams, a long time and I just felt I needed to make (a decision). It’s a very difficult day, a tough day, they’re both good men, they poured their heart and soul into the Edmonton Oilers for the last two and a half years.”

While the Vancouver Canucks were at least splitting their first two games coming out of the NHL All-Star break, the Oilers were getting smooshed twice, 4-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday and then 4-1 to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Both games were played in Edmonton.

The Oilers sit in fifth place in the Pacific Division just one point ahead of the Canucks.

Bad Bad Brad

Even though it happened on Wednesday we thought we’d throw this in the morning skate today because it’s something Vancouver Canucks fans can’t read, hear, or watch enough of … Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins being suspended six games.

It’s entertaining: Take it away NHL Department of Player Safety.

There used to be an old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.” Not here. Apparently Marchand couldn’t handle being chirped.

The Bruins lost their first game without him 6-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Enjoy The Hockey Action !!

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