Rome sticking with Canucks

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Owner of a Stanley Cup ring and still something is missing.

It might be the fact Aaron Rome's bauble from championship experience with the Anaheim Ducks came without a diamond-studded image of the Cup.

Only those who qualified to get their names on Lord Stanley's mug were given the top-tier rings to commemorate the 2007 championship.

"It gives you something to shoot for," said the Vancouver Canucks defenceman who appeared in just one opening-round game against the Minnesota Wild after a single regular-season appearance with the Ducks in a call-up capacity that year.

Taking the spot of injured Sami Salo last night at the Saddledome, the 26-year-old Rome, who was a -3 and logged 15:32 minutes of icetime last night, joined up-and-comer Alex Edler on the Canucks blueline for a regular-season debut with his latest club.

Although his first NHL experience culminated in a title with the Ducks -- and he did get to spend a day with the Cup -- he's been scratching his way through the professional ranks ever since his brief breakthrough.

Traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets after the Stanley Cup season, Rome worked his way into 17 games in 2007-08, then another eight a year ago when recalled from the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch.

Signed by the Canucks as an unrestricted free agent this summer, Rome was finally part of a 23-man NHL roster to start a season.

"I've bounced around," Rome said hesitantly after the morning skate. "It's not uncommon, though, these days."

He was used to it after a five-year junior tour through the WHL took him from the Saskatoon Blades, to the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current Broncos before finishing as an overager with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

"I felt like it was positive," Rome said. "Every move I've made, I got an opportunity to develop more as a player."

Last night was his first opportunity to show that his experiences have paid off. He'll have plenty more of them with Salo's knee sprain sidelining him anywhere from three to six weeks.

"I will approach it the same way I did training camp," said Rome. "There's a lot of good players, and I just wanted to show that I could play with them, that I deserved to be here.

"I just feel like every year there has been a progression. I've got a little bit more confident and a little bit more comfortable playing with these types of players."

His partner, Edler, knows how Rome feels.

The Swede with the booming slapshot was given his first game as a Canuck when Salo went down with an injury in the fall of 2006.

"Sometimes, that's how you get your opportunities. Maybe it's a little similar," said Edler, who was called up from the AHL when his turn came.

"He's got to go in and play his game. We all know he can play at this level -- otherwise, he wouldn't be here. "

Rome's first NHL game was in Detroit. His second was in the playoffs.

His 27th came last night in a divisional game against arguably the team's biggest rival.

But he's getting used to those scenarios. After all, he started his career with a championship. Now he wants to be a bigger part of one -- and make his second day with the Cup even more meaningful.

"It's by far the best feeling you can ever have as a hockey player, I think," Rome said. For me, it would be unbelievable to be able to spend a whole day with it again.

"And have my name on it."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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