NHL debuts memorable

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:12 PM ET

There is one gift Rick Rypien won't find under the tree this year, but that's because he already has the puck from his first National Hockey League goal in his possession.

Rypien made his NHL debut with the parent Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night in a wild 7-6 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at GM Place.

Playing mostly on a line with veteran Trevor Linden and Jarkko Ruutu, Rypien produced a highlight moment on his fifth shift.

"It all happened so quick, I didn't really know what was happening," Rypien told the Sun last night. "To realize later on that I had scored a goal in the NHL, it was an unbelievable feeling. It was an early Christmas present, that's for sure."

Rypien, a rookie from Coleman, Alta. who was signed as a free agent by the Manitoba Moose late in the 2004-05 season after completing his Western Hockey League career with the Regina Pats, was quick to react after Ed Jovanovski's point shot deflected off Ruutu and landed right on his stick for an easy tap-in.

Rypien, who finished with 6 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time on 13 shifts, wasn't the only member of the Moose to make his NHL debut this week.

Defenceman Kevin Bieksa suited up for the Canucks in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday at GM Place.

SHORT SHIFT

Bieksa, who missed the first 13 games of the American Hockey League season with a high ankle sprain, played 10 minutes and 45 seconds on Monday night.

"The first thing that pops out is being on the ice to start the game," said Bieksa, who also suited up on Wednesday. "But it was a pretty short shift since there was a penalty called 10 seconds in."

Bieksa said nerves weren't a big factor in his first game.

"I was a bit nervous at the start, but once the game starts there's a lot to think about so you don't worry about that," said Bieksa. "As the game wore on, I felt more relaxed out there."

The comfort level increased two nights later when his ice time increased substantially.

When former Moose captain Nolan Baumgartner left the game on Wednesday with an injury early in the first period and didn't return, Bieksa played 17 minutes and 40 seconds and was even used on the power play and penalty killing units.

"They showed a lot of confidence in me," said Bieksa. "I'm not playing a ton of minutes, so every time I'm out there I'm trying to bring some energy, join the rush, get pucks to the net and make things happen."


Videos

Photos