Regular Sportsnet Canucks broadcast team replaced Monday

John Shorthouse, Dave Tomlinson and Dan Murphy flew home as a precaution after a replacement team made it to Columbus

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Monday’s early Vancouver Canucks game in Columbus will have a different look and sound after the regular Sportsnet broadcast team decided to fly home as a precaution due to bad weather back east.

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Early this morning, regular play-by-play man John Shorthouse told Sportsnet’s Halford & Brough show that he, analyst Dave Tomlinson and host Dan Murphy returned to Vancouver after a replacement crew managed to make its way to the arena in Ohio while the regular trio were grounded by a weekend blizzard.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to have a contingency plan to make sure that we had a crew in Columbus, and got said crew there while we were kinda stranded in Buffalo.

“Once that happened, we just made the decision to come home, Dave and I.”

In their place will be Mike Luck, who often does Ottawa Senators games on Hockey Night in Canada, and Sam Cosentino, who often appears on Sportsnet hockey panels. Sean Reynolds will act as host.

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Shorthouse said he wanted to assure Canucks fans before game time that they would be “very ably taken care of today” and that the regular crew are all safe and sound.

The Canucks also had to improvise because of the weather, travelling by bus to Toronto after Saturday night’s 1-0 win in Buffalo, then flying from there to Columbus for the Monday matinee. (The Canucks broadcast team has been flying commercial this season, which is why they weren’t also on the bus.) Parts of New York state were still under a travel ban late Sunday.

Puck drop against the Columbus Blue Jackets is just after 10 a.m. Pacific time.

The Canucks will attempt to conclude a sensational seven-game road trip with a victory against the struggling Blue Jackets and finish with a 6-1-0 record to stay atop NHL overall standings.

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It won’t be easy — the Canucks will have to gather their game in a hurry, despite having mind and body out of sync.

“It’s an individual thing,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said of the odd prep before puck drop. “I use the experience when I was a player. I probably skated a little harder in warm-up and did more more starts and stops to get the engine revved early.

“Hopefully, we establish our game early. We don’t want to dump the puck in, but you’d like to get a forecheck going early and get yourself and linemates in the game. If you try to play fancy early and you’re sleeping a little bit, things can go the other way quickly.”

The Blue Jackets are 28th overall, have won just two of their last 10 (2-4-4), have trouble scoring and are allowing second most goals per game (3.74). An obvious danger game for the Canucks, but an opportunity for NHL’s highest-scoring club (3.84) to take care of business.

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