Cracker crumbles Sopel’s back
The Great Cracker Caper kept Brent Sopel from playing in the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff opener on Wednesday at GM Place.
“He picked up a cracker yesterday [Tuesday] and his back blew out and just spasmed out,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.
Really? Or is this just a little pre-playoff mind game by Vigneault to throw off the Dallas Stars? “I swear,” added Vigneault. “He was trying to pick up a cracker and anybody who has had back problems knows that can happen.”
Sopel, acquired at the trade deadline from Los Angeles, had five points (1-4) in 20 games with the Canucks and was a minus-3. The Canucks will pair Rory Fitzpatrick with Lukas Krajicek in Sopel’s absence and also ice the pairings of Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa and Mattias Ohlund with Sami Salo.
“I’ve seen postseason action and I should feel comfortable out there because I know what to expect,” said Fitzpatrick, who appeared in 11 playoff games with Buffalo last spring. “And from a personal standpoint, now is the time to just play your game and not worry about anything out of your control.”
Fitzpatrick had seven points (1-6) in 58 games this season and was a plus-12 “He’s been really solid throughout the year and any time we’ve kept Rory’s minutes to around 1315 minutes, he’s been fine,” said Vigneault.