Vancouver opens the season Wednesday night in Calgary, then the Canucks host the Oilers Saturday night; a break of five days awaits the Canucks after that as the team plays only twice in the opening nine days of the year.
The light schedule is a blessing for Kevin Bieksa.
The Canucks defenceman practiced with the team Tuesday for the first time since injuring himself last Thursday in Edmonton. Bieksa crashed into the boards awkwardly while attempting to hit Tyler Pitlick, who had taken a run at Bo Horvat earlier in the night.
Does Bieksa regret the hit? Is that even a question?
“That was the right time, I did pick my spot and that was the right time,” said Bieksa, of the hit on Pitlick. “It was a combination of me coming in a bit too fast and him ducking on me, which probably isn’t the safest play when a guy is coming to hit you at the boards.”
Looking forward, Bieksa is traveling to Calgary, but he wouldn’t speculate on whether or not he’ll play Wednesday. He said he felt good and strong in his first skate back with the team, so it’s a waiting game to see how everything reacts tomorrow.
“You want to play on opening day, I definitely would like to play, but you also have to be smart. Playing one game and then sitting for four or five is not smart and not good for the team. A lot of factors to consider but it’s Game 1 and there’s a lot of games this year.”
Frankie Corrado also returned to practice Tuesday and although he too is feeling better, he will not make the trip to Calgary.
Following Vancouver’s light start to the season, the Canucks play eight games in the next 14 nights to close out a busy October.