VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks continue to get healthier up front, but they’ll have to wait at least one more game for their biggest return.
Kesler has played seven games all season, missing the start recovering from offseason wrist and shoulder surgeries only to break a bone in his foot blocking a shot two periods into his return. He played six more games before the fracture turned up in a CT scan, but the only thing keeping Kesler from playing now is a lack of conditioning after spending a month on crutches.
“It’s finally healed and it's just a matter of time for the wind to get back and for me to feel comfortable,” Kesler said after taking part in an optional morning skate Saturday. “Obviously being out there you want to play tonight, but that's not realistic. I am itching big time. It’s been a tough year for me but everything happens for a reason. … My goal is to get some games in before playoffs and feel good about my game heading into playoffs.”
Calgary arrived in town well past midnight following a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks dropped them to 0-11-1 in their past 12 road games, and the Flames did not skate on Saturday morning. They are expected to welcome back a couple fresh bodies of their own, with top defenseman Mark Giordano to rejoin them after missing the game Friday for the birth of his child, and forward Max Reinhart called up from the nearby Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.
There was no definitive word available because no Calgary coaches were at the rink, but Reinhart, who was picked by the Flames in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft, would be making his NHL debut in his hometown. His father, Paul, spent the final two seasons of an 11-year NHL career with the Canucks.
Here's how the lineups could look when the Canucks face the Flames at Rogers Arena:
Scratched: Anton Babchuk is most likely to come with Giordano’s return
Notes: Reinhart could replace Glencross in the lineup, who reportedly is questionable with a leg injury.
Notes: Rookie left wing Nicklas Jensen, who spent most of the season playing in Sweden, was sent back to the AHL after his first two NHL games amid all the injuries up front.