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Vancouver Canucks' Brendan Morrison speaks to reporters in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday September 17, 2010. About 15 years in age and around 829 NHL games separate Morrison and Cody Hodgson. The two players are at opposite ends of their careers but both are trying to land a job with the Vancouver Canucks at training camp.


There were no surprises among the 10 players the Vancouver Canucks released on Monday, but the battle for the final roster spots is sure to heat up this week with just three pre-season games remaining.

Veterans Brendan Morrison and Peter Schaefer, both in training camp on professional tryout agreements, both survived the trimming, as did Russian winger Sergei Shirokov.

Shirokov made the team after a terrific camp last year, but lasted just six games and did not return to the NHL. He was kept off the ice Monday because his conditioning is not up to snuff, furthering the likelihood that he will begin the season in the minors.

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Schaefer, meanwhile, has a swollen eye and won't play Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena. Neither will Roberto Luongo, who suffered a mild groin strain Saturday in a 4-1 win over Anaheim. The goaltender could skate Tuesday, and will want to play at least one of the remaining exhibition games.

Centres Joel Perrault and Alex Bolduc were also kept, and will battle Morrison and prospect Cody Hodgson for at least one job down the middle. The Canucks may keep two of these four centres, with one serving as a spare forward.

On the wing, newcomers Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich face an important week. Both are battling for roles while Alex Burrows (shoulder) recovers from surgery during October.

The duo, along with Schaeder and a trio of incumbents -- Darcy Hordichuk, Rick Rypien and Tanner Glass -- are after at least three jobs, possibly a fourth. Rookie Bill Sweatt and minor-league veteran Guillaume Desbiens are also in the mix.

The Canucks assigned nine players to the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose, including former first-round draft pick Jordan Schroeder and winger Aaron Volpatti, a college free agent who had impressed at prospects camp earlier this month.

Centre Mario Bliznak, after a strong showing, was also sent to the farm club, as were defencemen Nolan Baumgartner, Evan Oberg, Kevin Connauton, Chris Tanev and Sean Zimmerman. The team also sent forward Prab Rai to the Moose, while releasing defenceman Travis Ramsey to Manitoba.

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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