BOOTH IS BACK
After being sidelined 18 games with a knee injury, David Booth makes his return to the lineup tonight as the Canucks prepare to take on the Anaheim Ducks.
"I'm really excited, especially since our team's been playing well and I want to be a part of it," said Booth following the morning's skate. "I feel like my leg is finally getting to where it needs to be so I'm very excited."
Booth hasn't seen game action in over a month and that fact isn't lost on him as he prepares for his first game since December 6.
"It's always tough when you miss 5-6 weeks so the best thing to do is to keep it simple at the start and not try to do too much. I'm playing with good players so if I just keep my game simple, I think that'll help out a lot."
Since joining the Canucks in late October, Booth has 12 points (5-7-12) in 19 games before being injured. Good news is that Booth is a point per game in his career against the Ducks with 2-3-5 in five games.
Booth will play on a line centred by Ryan Kesler with Chris Higgins on the other wing.
ODDS AND ENDS
Just one other lineup change to the Canucks lineup tonight as Keith Ballard slots back in and Andrew Alberts sits tonight against the Ducks. Ballard will be paired up with Alex Sulzer on the blueline.
"In our defensive possibilities that we have right now, all of those guys Alex Sulzer, Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard - they're sort of fighting for that same ice time," Head Coach Alain Vigneault said. "A a lot of time it depends on how they've played but it also depends on the opposition."
"In Keith Ballard's case, he's probably playing the best hockey since he's been with us. That being said, sometimes it depends on the opposition like in St. Louis, it depends on what you're looking for as far as matchups. Tonight, we feel that Keith coming in will give us the right element and that's why he's playing."
With Booth returning, Mike Duco was re-assigned back to the Chicago Wolves. Duco played in three games on his first stint with the Canucks and earned his first NHL point on an assist on a Manny Malhotra goal. He averaged 6:51 of ice time in those games.