SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Canucks hurting at wrong time

The Vancouver Canucks are going through a tough time. Meanwhile, the injuries are piling up. (USA...

The Vancouver Canucks are going through a tough time. Meanwhile, the injuries are piling up. (USA Today)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 PM ET

The Vancouver Canucks aren't faring well so far in 2014.

Winless so far in the new year, the Canucks face the daunting task of trying to end their losing skid against some of the league's best teams. And after a back-to-back this past weekend with a pair of formidable Western Conference foes, Vancouver only managed one point — losing to both the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

"We've beaten ourselves a little bit," Canucks head coach John Tortorella said. “We've had a lot of struggles in a lot of different areas in the past couple of games.”

And it doesn't get easier.

The Pittsburgh Penguins come to town Tuesday for their lone visit, bringing with them the Eastern Conference's top record and 16 wins in their last 19 games.

Oh, and the injuries are also piling up for Vancouver.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected to miss up to two weeks with an ankle injury after being bowled over against the Kings on Saturday. Forward Chris Higgins sat out Sunday's match with the flu, while Zack Kassian left the game after being accidently kicked in the head by teammate Tom Sestito.

Shelved for the long term is Alex Burrows, who is still recovering from a broken jaw, while a trio of defencemen, Alex Edler (knee), Ryan Stanton (ankle) and Andrew Alberts (suspected concussion), are all out.

"I never want to use any excuse but we're a little bit beat up," Tortorella admitted. "We're playing a different level of teams, especially the past couple of nights. But we have some work to do, not just our defenceman but our team defence."

MYERS GETS 3

The NHL has suspended Buffalo Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers for three games without pay for an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus during Saturday's game, the NHL’s department of player safety announced Monday.

The incident occurred at 7:02 of the third period, and Myers was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary, Myers will forfeit $84,615.39.

Myers has four goals and eight assists in 42 games this season.

He was also suspended for boarding in March 2012.

KOIVU OUT 4 WEEKS

Minnesota Wild centre Mikko Koivu, who leads his team in points, underwent surgery Monday to repair a broken ankle and is expected to be sidelined about four weeks, the team announced.

Koivu, the Wild captain, suffered the injury in Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals.

He returned after the injury and added two assists, but later left the game for good.

He was placed on injured reserve, and the team expects him to make a full recovery.

Koivu, 30 has eight goals and 27 assists this season for a team-high 35 points through 44 games.

SWISS ROSTER ANNOUNCED

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller and defenceman Mark Streit of the Philadelphia Flyers were two of eight active NHLers named to Switzerland's Olympic roster Monday.

Also heading to Sochi are Calgary Flames goaltender Reto Berra, Montreal Canadiens defenceman Raphael Diaz, Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi, Vancouver Canucks defenceman Yannick Weber, New Jersey Devils winger Damien Brunner and Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter.

Simon Moser, a forward playing with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, also made the cut.

Switzerland has qualified three times for the Winter Games since professional players were allowed in 1998, but has never finished higher than sixth.

BRIEFLY

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal will miss Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres with a lower-body injury, head coach Kirk Muller told the Raleigh News & Observer. Staal is listed as day-to-day with the injury.


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