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Kesler optimistic he'll be ready for opener

Monday, 08.22.2011 / 1:19 PM / 2011 Offseason News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Kesler optimistic he'll be ready for opener
Vancouver center Ryan Kesler, who had hip surgery last month, told Canucks' TV he's optimistic he'll be ready to play on opening night.
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
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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp