Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/15/13
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Kesler back this Friday? All signs are pointing towards it, the coach thinks he’s ready, he’s been cleared medically to play, but without confirmation from Ryan Kesler himself we can’t be 100% sure, but as of this morning it certainly appear that the Canucks Kesler could be ready to return to action tomorrow. Kes spent the lockout recovering from two offseason surgeries; one to his shoulder on May 8th, and the other on his wrist on June 27th. He and his agent Kurt Overhardt let it be known that there was going to be no rushing this time and that Kesler would return when his body told him he was ready to return. What Can the Canucks Expect? If today’s practice was any indication of the things to come, then I would say it’s safe to expect Ryan Kesler back on the top power play unit, penalty kill and taking a large chunk of defensive zone draws, especially since the Canucks announced today that Manny Malhotra would be placed on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season. Kesler skated along side Zack Kassian and Chris Higgins today, a line with great potential to wear opponents down and one that could be a dangerous offensive threat. Kesler & Booth on ice with #Canucks at Coliseum. No Malhotra. Booth and Ebbett wearing grey. Kesler in blue with regulars — Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 14, 2013 Line is Higgins-kesler-Kassian — Jason Botchford (@botchford) February 14, 2013 If not now, then when? Good question. The only person who can answer that is Ryan Kesler. Kesler spent the lockout recovering from two offseason surgeries While he’s itching to get back into the lineup, you have to admire him for not rushing back like he did last season after only five games. Kesler wasn’t the same player that scored 41 goals and won the Selke award in 2011 during the 2011-12 season. At times he seemed like he was doing too much, or trying to force things through on his own. The extended lockout helped Kesler I would imagine, there was no temptation to come back early from October until now, which is something that leads me to believe he’s closer than he is letting on. In fact, as I write this there are a number of confirmations that he will in fact play tomorrow. Make no mistake about it, there is no one that wants Kesler back on the ice more than himself. He’s a competitor, a fierce one at that, he takes pride in his game in all three zones and expects big things of himself. If he feels like he’s ready to go, I can’t see why they would keep him out of the game tomorrow. While he hasn’t confirmed it himself, I think if I were going to bet on it, I would bet on Kesler playing tomorrow night. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN THE CLUBHOUSE TODAY!
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