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Canucks: what went wrong

One of Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins' longest chats with the media this season was mostly spent talking about what didn't happen over the weekend.

Like, why did Vancouver not recall a defenceman from the minors for insurance heading into Saturday's second game of a back-to-back against the Flames in Calgary, forcing the team to ultimately go with a skeleton crew of five blue liners?

And how was it that Anton Rodin — dressed as the 13th forward — stayed stapled to the bench the whole night, not seeing a single second of ice time?

"It was unusual," Desjardins said Monday of his short-handed defence in that 3-1 loss to Calgary. "It was a hard situation to prepare for."

On the defensive question, Desjardins said Christopher Tanev stayed in Vancouver to get checked out after taking a shot up high in Friday's 4-2 home victory over the Flames.

It was hoped he could fly to Calgary on Saturday, but when that didn't happen the club still had what it thought were six healthy defencemen. Things got dire when Ben Hutton, who was hit in the hand by a puck Friday, revealed after warmup he wouldn't be able to go, leaving the Canucks scrambling.

"I thought both would probably be OK," said Desjardins. "They say it's 50/50, it's like you might get one of them back. We thought we'd get one."

The decision had also been made earlier in the day that summoning a player from the AHL's Utica Comets, who were in Pennsylvania, didn't make sense when taking travel considerations into account.

"How much better is that guy going to be in your lineup than if you had to go with five defence?" said Desjardins. "We played a good game in Calgary. It was probably the right way to go, going with five. That's not how you want to go into games."

Tanev travelled with the Canucks as they set out on a two-game road trip to Nashville and Philadelphia, but Desjardins said Hutton will be out for "a bit."

Despite the tough circumstances, Tanev thought the Canucks put up a spirited fight in Saturday's defeat that snapped a six-game winning streak. Vancouver had looked outmatched the previous night, getting outshot 46-13 despite posting a 4-2 win over the Flames.

"I was just as surprised as you guys when I turned it on and saw there were only five defencemen playing," said Tanev, who missed 20 games earlier this season with a lower-body injury. "They did a great job."

Desjardins said he dressed Rodin as an insurance policy in case someone went down against a physical Calgary team.



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