By Derek Jory
If the Vancouver Canucks were beginning the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight, Kevin Bieksa would be in the line-up.
They’re not, so he won’t be.
Bieksa skated with the Canucks Tuesday morning for the first time since taking some well deserved maintenance days to rest up for when it truly matters. As he held court surrounded by media post-skate, Bieksa had trouble explaining what exactly a maintenance day is, instead saying he’s benefited from it.
“I feel refreshed, I got a good five-six days off from talking to you guys, so mentally I’m sharp again and I feel good going into playoffs to give you some good material,” laughed Bieksa, who attempted to explain what he’s maintaining.
“Just maintaining my status, my body,” he chuckled. “You guys know what it is, it’s maintenance after a long season, we’re heading into playoffs soon and they’re maintenance days.”
In all seriousness, Bieksa said he is not experiencing any problems and could play in one of Vancouver’s final two games after tonight’s tilt with the Anaheim Ducks.
He’s “feeling good,” so you should be feeling the same about the Canucks star defenceman.
“I’m just going to take it one maintenance day at a time,” he said. “I’m anxious for sure, this will be the fourth game I’m missing tonight, so it’s not a lot, but it seems like I’ve been off for a month. Getting out there yesterday after not skating for a few days, it felt like I was starting all over again, but today I felt back to normal.”
The days off were a mutual decision between Bieksa and the Canucks coaching staff and Vancouver hasn’t missed a beat without the hulking blueliner in the line-up. They may not have him back until next week when the second season begins.
“I played 76 games this year, so I feel like I’m ready. That’s a lot of games, we’ll see if I get in one or two more, again, it’s one maintenance day at a time.”
No line-up changes for the Canucks tonight and Roberto Luongo gets the start in net.