There was a familiar face around GM Place on Friday as forward Taylor Pyatt returned to the Canucks.
Pyatt had been on a leave from the team since the death of his fiancée, Carly Bragnalo, in a car crash on April 2. He missed the final five games of the regular season and didn't play at all in the Canucks' first-round sweep of St. Louis.
Pyatt skated Friday for the first time in three weeks. He didn’t take part in Vancouver’s formal practice, instead opting to work out on his own. Although a timeline for his return to the lineup hasn’t been set, his teammates are just happy to have him back.
"It’s great just having his presence around this morning," forward Ryan Johnson said. "I know it’s great for us as a team to have him around and see his face, and I know for him, too, I’m sure it’s nice to have some of the guys around and some of the guys to talk to."
Friday’s skate was Vancouver’s first since completing an opening-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday -- the players were given Wednesday and Thursday off.
Mats Sundin, who missed the final two games against the Blues with a lower body injury, practiced and said he feels fine, while defensemen Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo both took another day of rest.
The Canucks will skate again on Saturday before taking Sunday off; full practices will resume next week and hopefully by then Vancouver will have a better idea who its second-round opponent will be.
"We’re going to work on our game as far as getting it to where it needs to be for the second series,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Practice really hard Monday and Tuesday, and maybe we’ll know [who we play] by then.”