VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks were still dealing with the pain of falling one win short of a Stanley Cup on Friday.
They knew as they returned to the scene of Boston’s Cup celebration to clean out their lockers and say goodbye _ some for the summer, others perhaps for the last time as teammates _ that it would eventually subside.
But it hasn’t yet.
“It’s been a rough 48 hours, it hasn’t really wore off yet,” goalie Roberto Luongo said. “You work hard all year to get to your ultimate goal and to fall short by one game is tough. It’s something that’s going to make our team better, but it’s too early to analyze now. It’s going to take awhile.”
“It’s still pretty raw,” defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. “But made it to the final game, so hopefully in a couple of weeks I can say it was still a good season.”
The injuries suffered to get that far will take even longer to heal _ in some cases probably well into the start of next season.
Still, an extensive injury list is one reason General Manager Mike Gillis isn’t planning radical changes to a team that won its first Presidents’ Trophy and made the finals for the third time in 40 years.
“The final wasn’t reflective of the team we had during the season,” Gillis said. “It’s part of playoff hockey. It’s a war of attrition.”
It’s a matchup they lost. But as the city cleaned up from the riot that followed Wednesday’s Game 7 loss, Gillis said the priority was to get his players healthy for next season. It will be quite a task.
Speedy winger Mason Raymond’s fractured vertebrae, suffered on a hit by Boston’s Johnny Boychuk 20 seconds into Game 6, may keep him out through November. Top defenseman Dan Hamhuis will have surgery next week for abdominal tears from throwing a hit in Game 1.
Second line winger Mikael Samuelsson had abdominal surgery during the playoffs, and center Ryan Kesler, so dominant earlier in the playoffs, played for the Cup slowed by groin and hip injuries from the Western Conference finals. The hip may also require surgery this summer.
Defenseman Alex Edler played Game 7 after breaking two fingers on a slash in Game 6, Ehrhoff’s shoulder, hurt during the conference finals, was “shot up before every game and he couldn’t make or take hits.”
Fellow defender Kevin Bieksa played through a bruised MCL in his knee in the final, Chris Higgins injured his foot blocking a shot in the second round, and captain Henrik Sedin had a back problem after a cross check in the same round against Nashville.
Manny Malhotra made an inspirational return from a career-threatening eye injury in the finals, but hadn’t skated in months.
And Aaron Rome, who replaced Hamhuis, was suspended for a late hit that also knocked top-line Boston winger Nathan Horton out the rest of the series with a concussion.