Kesler cleared to play
Ryan Kesler has been medically cleared to play for the Vancouver Canucks game against the Dallas Stars Friday night at Rogers Arena.
Kesler joined his teammates at practice Thursday skating on a line with Zack Kassian and Chris Higgins, while also slotting into a power play grouping.
Alain Vigneault has been impressed with what he's seen from Kesler thus far.
“He’s looked extremely good in practices," said Vigneualt. "All the drills we’ve had him do, he’s done them at full pace and with strong execution.”
It has been a frustrating nine months for the former Selke Trophy winner, who had off season surgery on both his left shoulder and wrist.
“Obviously it’s no fun not playing, I want to be out there," said Kesler. "I want to help my teammates. I have to be patient and go as my body lets me.”
Easing Kesler into the line-up is the plan for Vigneault, who traditionally used Kesler over 20 minutes a game for several years now.
“My initial thoughts are to keep the minutes reasonable,” said Vigneault. “He has been our forward used the most minutes per game, so don’t expect that tomorrow.”
Malhotra done for the year
As one centreman potentially draws into the line-up, Mike Gillis announced another, Manny Malhotra, has been placed on the Injured Reserve. The move ends the 32-year-old's season due to on-going issues with the eye injury Malhotra suffered in 2011.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve done in this job,” said Gillis. “We came to the conclusion that for his long term health and his long term safety this was the best thing we could do.”
“It’s tough to hear,” said Henrik Sedin. “He means a lot to our team. He brings a lot on the ice, but even more so off the ice. He’s a great teammate. It’s sad news.”
Alain Vigneault agreed with his captain.
"He's a huge part of our group," Vigneault said. "Such a strong individual in all categories. I know this is an emotional time for Manny."
Malhotra will remain with the team in a capacity still to be determined according Gillis, but it was confirmed that he will not be returning to the ice as a Canuck this season.
Aaron Rome, who spent three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, will make his return to Rogers Arena Friday and his former teammates welcomed him back with some good natured ribbing.
A mystery prankster added Rome’s name to the top of the Canucks Award list which lines the walls from the locker rooms to the ice.
Cory Schneider will be back in the crease for the Canucks. Schneider is 4-1 in his career versus Dallas with a 1.41 GAA and .961 SV%.
This will be Schneider’s third start in four games. The 26-year-old has allowed just a single goal in each of his last two starts, both of which he won.
Henrik Sedin remains just a single point back of the Canucks franchise scoring record of 755 held by former captain and fellow Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native Markus Naslund.