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Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz, top center, instructs his team during the third period of the Predators' 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 18, 2007. San Jose leads the series 3-1. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez

The culprit is still loose, ready to strike again on Monday when the Nashville Predators face the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place.

The Canucks and arena staff are still searching for the fan who brought a laser pointer to the game Saturday against the Calgary Flames. A green beam of light was occasionally flashed into the helmet of Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, and it had Calgary head coach Brent Sutter fuming after his team's 3-2 shootout victory.

"If they do it [again] fans will have to wait because I'll pull my team off [the ice]" Predators head coach Barry Trotz said when asked if he was concerned about a repeat or copycat incident. "Everybody thinks they'll get their 15 minutes of fame. It's brutal."

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A Canucks spokesman said that staff are reviewing two sets of videotapes, and are attempting to "mirror" the arena surveillance footage with that gathered by game broadcaster CBC.

"It is a bit of a safety hazard any time you're messing with a guy's eyes," said Predators goaltender Dan Ellis, who will start against Vancouver. "I understand it's something you want to do to get the other team off, but let's not forget that if you take away a man's sight, or mess up his vision, it's messing up a lot more than just his hockey career."

"It doesn't really cause any more alarm," Ellis said when informed that the perpetrator is still wanted. "But that person should be taking care of by security."

The offender was seated near the Flames bench, in an area with a high concentration of season-ticket holders. The spokesman said that does not necessarily mean a season-ticket holder is at fault, because he or she might have given away, or sold, the ticket.

"Great fans," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault joked when asked about the incident. "I'm not sure it happened that often."

Vigneault and the Canucks were under the impression that Kiprusoff was not zapped frequently, though Sutter said the laser-pointing was going on for 60 minutes.

"It's ridiculous," Sutter said. "It was going on all night. We could see it from the bench, shining on his mask. It was something that was addressed with security and the refs. The refs, obviously, couldn't do much about it."

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Vancouver will welcome back defenceman Sami Salo, who missed Saturday's game with a swollen shut eye. He replaces rookie Evan Oberg, who was sent back down to the American Hockey League after making his NHL debut.

The Canucks will also be without winger Steve Bernier, who tweaked his groin against the Flames. He will be replaced by Jannik Hansen, and the team appears to be without defenceman Aaron Rome (head) for a second consecutive game, meaning B.C. native Brad Lukowich will likely dress.

The Predators will be without centre Jason Arnot (upper-body injury) for a second consecutive game, though forward Joel Ward (wrist) and defenceman Francis Bouillon (flu) seem poised to return.

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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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