For much of this seemingly unending road trip, the Canucks have looked like a team in need of some adjustments, and on Wednesday, they made several. Counting the goaltender swap, as Ryan Miller draws back in for backup Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver's lineup for Wednesday's game in Winnipeg will feature four personnel changes.
Gone is Hunter Shinkaruk, who spent two games with the Canucks, and actually got to play, albeit sparingly, in the second. He's been sent back to Utica. Replacing him is the much larger Alexandre Grenier, and it's not hard to see the logic in the swap: in a game where the Jets are likely to try running the road-weary Canucks out of the building with physical play, Grenier's size could come in handy.
In addition, Radim Vrbata will be sitting this one out with a minor injury, and Alex Burrows will be returning to the lineup after missing Monday night's game in Montreal for the birth of his kid.
But the move you've all been waiting for comes on the back end, where Yannick Weber is out, and friends, Luca Sbisa has returned. I, for one, couldn't be more excited.
Not because I think he's a particularly good player, mind you. Regular readers of this blog are sure to know Sbisa's been our whipping boy for some time now. Neither am I excited simply because I get to complain about him again, although complaining is always fun.
I'm geeked on Sbisa's return because of the timing. Consider: the Canucks have been without Sbisa for the entire month of November to date. They're 2-4-2 in that span, and they're riding a three-game losing streak. The situation looks grim. They need someone to save their entire season. And if they have a strong showing in Sbisa's first game back, if they look like a team that's found its footing, people are going to begin suggesting that Sbisa is a difference-maker.
He may have nothing to do with it. The Jets have lost five straight, after all. The Canucks might stumble into a win just because the Jets are eschewing victory even harder than they are right now. But Sbisa is going to get the credit. Are we ready for a Luca Sbisa savior narrative?
I love me a good redemption story, so this excites me. Forget the crap mantle for the night -- it'd be nice if the Canucks managed to doff it, but that needn't be their top priority. The Canucks need to win this one for Sbisa.