Canucks will see new captain and old friend against Kings
The Canucks have a number of ceremonies scheduled Saturday night before they face the Kings, most of the fanfare to commemorate the team’s 40th anniversary.
But they will also announce who will succeed Roberto Luongo as captain, and it’s expected that the honor will go to Henrik Sedin, the NHL's scoring leader and most valuable player last season.
Sedin’s twin wasn’t giving anything away. Asked after the morning skate if he had been sworn to secrecy, Daniel Sedin smiled and said: “Yeah. It will be fun tonight for the fans, some special things.”
Daniel Sedin acknowledged that it will be difficult to face former teammate Willie Mitchell, who left the Canucks to sign with the Kings as a free agent in August. The two met in the hallway before the Kings’ morning skate to say hello.
“He’s tough to play against. He’s a great player,” Daniel Sedin said.
Canucks forward Ryan Kesler said it was probably a good thing for Mitchell and the Canucks to get this reunion over with early in the season.
“He was a good player for us when he was here,” Kesler said. “There’s the old saying there’s no friends on the ice. We’re going to be playing hard against him.”
Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault also praised Mitchell.
"I had four great years with Willie," Vigneault said. "He's a real professional, real competitor. He always prepared himself to compete.
"I'm happy that he's healthy and able to play this great game and I wish him the best of luck -- except tonight."
The Canucks have been touted as a Stanley Cup favorite, but Vigneault said that outside expectations have no effect on him and his team.
“We embrace the fact that we’re considered one of the good teams in the league but it doesn’t change anything in our approach,” he said. “Our approach is just on getting better every day.
“Our goals are still the same going forward into the season. You’ve got to eliminate seven teams from your conference. That’s how you get in [the playoffs]. Then you work on home-ice advantage and your seeding.
“The goals at the beginning are the same. All the teams want to get in. We know the process has to be a daily one and that’s what we’re going to do.
More later from the Kings’ morning skate.
-- Helene Elliott in Vancouver, Canada