The Vancouver Canucks were already struggling to find supplemental scoring. So the loss of star-crossed No. 2 center Ryan Kesler for up to six weeks with a broken foot will make their lives even more difficult.
Kesler actually suffered the injury during his first game back from shoulder and wrist surgery. He got hurt blocking a shot back on Feb. 15, but played six games with bone fracture.
(Would you ever see a baseball player soldier through such a painful injury? Of course you wouldn’t.)
“It always seems like he’s playing through something,” teammate Chris Higgins told the Vancouver Province. “I feel like he was just starting to feel up to game speed and I’m sure on a personal level it’s pretty devastating because he’s going to have to start again with his conditioning and everything else.
“And for our team, it’s a big impact through our whole lineup because he contributes to every facet of the game. It kind of takes us back to the beginning of the season where we’re going to have to make up for his loss by committee.”
Here is the fallout:
Alexandre Burrows could move off the top line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin and center the No. 2 line with Higgins and Jannik Hansen.
Andrew Ebbett is expected to return from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL to fill the roster spot.
On the power play, Jordan Schroeder and Alexander Edler could man the points on the first unit Wednesday with the Sedins and Burrows up front. Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison would play the points on the second unit with David Booth, Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian up front.
The Canucks would have to redouble efforts to move either of their goaltenders, Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider, for offensive help.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is desperately trying to generate some offense beyond the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik.
No. 2 center Ryan Kesler remains sidelined recovering from surgical repairs. Second-line winger David Booth is out with a groin muscle strain.
So Vigneault moved the Sedin’s usual linemate, agitating winger Alexandre Burrows, to the second-line center role – even though Burrows has precious little experience at center. Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen will flank him.
“It's not a big deal,” Burrows told the Vancouver Sun. “I know the game, I understand the game. There's an adjustment, but it's still playing hockey. You still have to work hard, play well defenisvely and skate. That is probably the biggest difference, that you are skating a little bit more.”
Rugged young winger Zack Kassian is getting to skate with the Sedins at even strength. The third line will feature former first-round pick Jordan Schroeder centering Mason Raymond and Dale Weise. Schroeder will be making his long-awaited regular season NHL debut.
“We'll see how I sleep tonight,” Schroeder told the Sun. “It's beyond exciting. I have been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time. For these guys (his new teammates) it's an everyday job, but this is a first for me. I'm just looking to come in and prove I can play here.
“I'll be nervous, but I don't want to let it affect how I play. I just want to stay calm. . .and these guys in this locker-room have been around and I'm sure they will be talking to me. I'm looking forward to some support from them.”
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