Media just loves to speculate - and to be fair, that's partly their job - but one more piece of speculative news can be put to rest as Cody Hodgson's return date is confirmed. After a long recovery period, Hodgson will dress against the Edmonton Oilers Sunday night.
"It was after talking to the doctor and medical staff, telling them I'm doing well and I'm feeling well out there and it's time to put it into action," said Hodgson. "I'm excited and I'm looking forward to getting on the ice there for a real game."
Hodgson played just 13 games last season with his junior club in Brampton and had eight goals and 12 assists during that time.
The last time Hodgson played in a game was in March 2010 but he doesn't have any concern about his back injury when he suits up in Edmonton Sunday night after getting in some good skates with the team this week.
"It's been a long time since I've been able to enjoy a game and play pain free so I'm looking forward to it and have some fun out there.
"You can't just go into game action without taking some game situation [in practice]. I feel I'm ready now and like I said, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night.
Hodgson was the Canucks first round, 10th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
FIRST LINE MINUTES
After a season of finally playing with a consistent linemate in Alex Burrows last year, Daniel and Henrik Sedin's search for their complementary winger was thought to be over. Offseason surgery for Burrows means the search begins again - something not unfamiliar to the twins.
Preseason (and often through the regular season) is where the Sedins test out new wingers and head coach, Alain Vigneault experiments with his roster.
The first test saw Sergei Shirokov as the third member of the first line Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. Each of the Sedins earned a point, while Shirokov stayed off the scoresheet in his second exhibition outing with the team. He had an assist in his first game against the Flames, where he had five shots and two hits in over 16 minutes of ice time. Shirokov is not expected to dress against the visiting Anaheim Ducks Saturday night.
In his absence or in another try at chemistry with the Sedins, Jeff Tambellini is slotted to fill the first line spot. Tambellini assisted on the first goal of the game in Calgary Tuesday night and had 17:37 of ice time. He won four of five draws and topped it off with two shots on the night.
"They're probably two of the best players in the League," he said. "I'm very fortunate to be put in this spot tonight."
Tambellini was drafted in the first round, 27th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the L.A. Kings and played four games with the club in the 2005-06 season before going on to finish the remainder of the year playing 21 games with the New York Islanders. He spent four additional seasons with the Isles and became a free-agent at the end of the season and signed with Vancouver on July 1st.
He had 14 points (7-7-14) in 36 games with the Islanders last season.
Of course all eyes are on Tambellni as the Sedins get a try with yet another linemate but a change for tonight's game is there is only expected to be one goaliefor the entire 60 minutes.
Roberto Luongo gets his first full game tonight against the Ducks. He played two periods Wednesday against the Oilers, where he let in two goals on 25 shots.
It looks as if there's special paid to the bottom six forward spots this preaseon with a few names seeing ice time in all of the exhibition action so far. Joel Perrault Guillaume Desbiens, Alex Bolduc, and professional tryout free agent, Peter Schaefer have all played in the Canucks opening double headers and will dress tonight again at Rogers Arena.
In two games, Schaefer has a goal, Perrault has an assist, while Bolduc and Desbiens are both pointless so far. Of the four, Bolduc is the only one who has played more than 10 NHL games last season having dressed for 15 games before sustaining an injury. Desbiens played in one game with the Canucks, Perrault saw time in two games in Phoenix, while Schaefer hasn't played an NHL game since the 2007-08 season.
On the blueline, Andrew Alberts and Kevin Connauton are the only defencemen to play in their third game of the preseason.
PRESEASON MINUS ONE
Taylor Ellington was re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose Saturday morning. The preseason roster now stands at 47 players.