With Jacob Markstrom out, Thatcher Demko to get first start of the season for Vancouver Canucks

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      After four very solid games for the Vancouver Canucks to start the season, it appears that Jacob Markstrom won’t be available when the team hosts the Detroit Red Wings at Rogers Arena tomorrow night.

      The goaltender has been granted a leave of absence to attend to a family matter.

      As a result, the Canucks have called up Zane McIntyre from the Utica Comets, who will likely serve as Thatcher Demko’s backup with the big club.

      Obviously, one hopes that everything is okay with Markstrom—the team wouldn’t comment further on the matter.

      It’s also an opportunity for Demko, who many figured would see about 25 games this season.

      The 23-year-old Californian has only played 10 NHL games thus far, but has looked ready for more action.

      The Red Wings figure to be one of the poorer teams in the league, but have gotten off to a decent start, posting a 3-2 record while scoring 16 goals in the process.

      It’ll be a good starting test for Demko. And after that is when the Canucks’ so-far-very-tame schedule starts to heat up. Vancouver embarks on a four-game road trip on Thursday, which starts with the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues and features a back-to-back with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.

      Hopefully the Canucks have Markstrom back by then. But if not, it’ll be interesting to see what Demko can do.

      Of course, Markstrom’s contract is up at the end of the season, and many have wondered whether the team will pay up for a goalie that has probably earned a healthy raise. That decision will likely hinge on if Demko is perceived ready to take on full-time duties. Time to find out.

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