What was said to be "lower body soreness" after practice Thursday morning is now much more than that. Kevin Bieksa
will miss 2-4 weeks with a fracture of the metatarsal bone in his left foot.
Bieksa was spotted in a walking boot at last night's Sports Celebrities Festival after taking a day off practice to get x-rays.
"It's tough," he said. "The team is rolling and playing well right now and it's going to be tough not being a part of it. I'm fortunate it's only going to be a short time here.
"I'm hoping it's sooner than two weeks but we have to give the bone time to heal. If I get hit there again, it might get to the point where I would need surgery or something. We don't want it to get to the point where it's months instead of weeks."
Initial x-rays did not detect the hairline fracture so he has been playing with pain in his foot since November 4, after blocking a shot in the game against Nashville.
Bieksa missed 39 games last season after suffering a calf injury, eerily enough against the Predators in early November.
In 13 games this year, he has 11 points (3-8-11), which is just one point shy of his point total last year.
As a result of Bieksa's injury, the Canucks called for help from the farm Friday morning. Lawrence Nycholat makes his return to Vancouver after playing three games for the Manitoba Moose, where he has 3 assists in that span.
On a positive note, Salo who bruised his shoulder in Wednesday's game against Colorado skated with the team this morning and confirmed after practice that he expects to play in tomorrow night's match up against Toronto. He missed two games in October with a groin strain.
Rob Davison will likely step into the lineup to fill in for Bieksa, although head coach Alain Vigneault has not decided what his defensive pairings will be.
“I think probably tomorrow we’re going to put in Davison," Vigneault said. "He’s been with us here, for the past week he’s worked real hard and we’ll put him in the lineup and I’m sure he’ll do well. Obviously he’s not the same type of player that Kevin is, so we’re going to expect more as far as moving the puck from Sami and Mattias and whether it be Willie or Alex Edler we’re going to need more minutes from those guys.”HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
GM Place was buzzing today as the Maple Leafs arrived in town for the first time since the 2005-06 season, when they lost to the Canucks 4-3.
“Obviously there’s going to be a lot of atmosphere in the building, Canadian teams, an Original Six coming in, that’s always really exciting," said Vigneault.
"I’ve watched a lot of the Leafs' last three or four games and they are working extremely hard. They’re really committed to one another on the ice, they work hard at both ends of the rink and that’s probably one of the reasons they’re beating expectations right now."
Tomorrow night's game will be the first time Kyle Wellwood, claimed off waivers by Vancouver in June, will face his former team as a Canuck. Wellwood leads the team in goal scoring with six goals in the 11 games he has played with Vancouver this season and has a total of seven points.
Wellwood will be playing alongside Taylor Pyatt and Pavol Demitra, who is back in the lineup after missing 10 games with a fractured rib.
"I always like to play with Pysie, and Wellwood’s been playing great," said Demitra. "He has unbelievable hands and he can feed me for a couple of goals, I’m hoping.”
“I never have a good start to the season. Finally I get a good game and something happens to me, but I’m very excited. Tomorrow’s going to be a great game, it’s always exciting playing against Toronto.”
The game will be high energy and the players look to rebound from a 2-1 shootout loss to Colorado.
“It’s exciting to play anytime on Hockey Night in Canada, especially against another Canadian team," said Canucks captain Roberto Luongo
. "Just because it’s the Leafs doesn’t make it extra special, but for us it’s all about trying to get the win. They’ve got young players. They’ve been putting the puck in the net, so we have to make sure we’re hard on those guys and don’t give them much room to make plays and take advantage on any mistakes they make and capitalize."