By Allan Muir
The Canucks confirmed after this morning's skate that defenseman Dan Hamhuis is out for tonight's game against the Canadiens.
On most days, that kind of news would be of interest only to Vancouver's diehard fans and the dozen or so guys in fantasy leagues that are deep enough to make owning a 15-point blueliner worth it.
But on the day when Team Canada made its first Olympic roster replacement -- substituting Martin St. Louis for the injured Steven Stamkos -- there's a very real possibility that Hamhuis' absence could signal the need for another.
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Hamhuis injured his leg in Monday's 2-0 loss to the Red Wings and subsequently missed Tuesday night's game against the Bruins.
The Canucks have one more pre-Olympic game slated for Saturday in Toronto, but Team Canada officials may not be able to wait that long for logistical reasons. NHL players are scheduled to leave en masse in four charters from Atlanta and New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday and Sunday. Someone could always be airlifted in later, but that might not fit with team protocol.
Who draws in if Hamhuis, widely pegged as the team's eighth defenseman, can't go? It seems likely that Canada would want to replace him with another left-handed shooter, which means players like Brent Seabrook or Dan Boyle wouldn't get consideration. Mark Giordano of the Flames or smooth-skating Brian Campbell of the Panthers might get the longest looks.
We'll keep an eye on this one.