Ryan Kesler remains optimistic he will be able to play in the Vancouver Canucks' season opener despite undergoing hip surgery only four weeks ago.
Kesler was given a time frame that included 10-12 weeks of rehab after he had the labrum in his hip repaired late last month. The Canucks open at home against Pittsburgh on Oct. 6.
"It's going good; small victories here and there," Kesler told Canucks TV from his hometown of Livonia, Mich. "I just got off my crutches and I'll start strengthening so everything is back to normal. I'll start skating here in the next couple of weeks and hopefully be back by that first game."
Kesler's history with hip labrum surgery suggests he might just make the opening night lineup. He had a similar surgery in January 2007 and returned 10 weeks later -- in time for the start of the playoffs. He was initially told he would be out anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks.
"I know what it takes. I know the rehab," Kesler said. "It might even make me braver to try things I probably shouldn't be trying, but it's going to make me come back quicker and hopefully I can play in that first game."
Kesler is coming off a career year in which he scored 41 goals and won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl