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Canucks Report: Bieksa returns

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
March 13, 2010

Bieksa

BIEKSA'S BACK

Kevin Bieksa returns to the lineup tonight as the Canucks prepare for their first home game in seven weeks.

"It feels good, I've been out for a while so I'm happy to get back," said Bieksa. "It's the first home game in a while so it should be a pretty good atmosphere."

After missing the last 27 games with a lacerated calf December 29 in Phoenix, Bieksa will dress in the Canucks first home game in six weeks and his first since sustaining the injury and having the crowd behind him is going to make his welcome back that much better.

"It's my first game in 2010 so it's been a long time coming. It's the first game back after being on the road for six weeks. I'm sure the fans will be pretty excited and it's another Canadian team so it's all the makings for a great game."

Bieksa is consistently one of the Canucks minutes leaders, averaging over 20 minutes in every full season he's been in the NHL. In his 40 games this year, he averages 21:48 TOI per game, which includes 2:53 powerplay time per game and 2:04 of PK time.

But it will be a shift-by-shift situation that determines how much he'll play after missing two months of play.

"Obviously, we're going to start him off slow here and give him some time five-on-five just to see how he feels," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "He's been out for quite some time now but he's done a lot of work on and off the ice and he's been cleared medically so hopefully it won't take him too long to find his way back."

"I'm not going to be running around but I'm going to be playing my game," said Bieksa. "I'm not going to be conservative, I'm not going to hurt the team but I'm going to do what I do."

Shane O'Brien will come out of the lineup as a result.

GAME DAY LINEUP

Darcy Hordichuk slots back in for Tanner Glass to give a little more grit to the fourth line.

Hordichuk has missed the last five games since playing in Columbus in the Canucks first game after the Olympic break.

Hordichuk did not play in the earlier meeting with the Sens, where there were two fighting majors between Glass and Matt Carkner and Rick Rypien and Chris Neil.

Roberto Luongo will start, as expected, but there is no decision on who will be in net for tomorrow's game against the Flames.

Luongo has started in every Canucks home game that he's been available for this year. He missed just two games at GM Place, when he was out with a fractured rib in early November. He's started 29 of 31 home games so far with 10 home games remaining.

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