Sven Baertschi couldn't stop grinning.
He plunked down on the black leather sofa in the lobby of the team hotel in Toronto Friday morning and delicately opened the wrapper of a breakfast sandwich - cheese on egg on sausage on an English muffin.
It didn't look like much, it was a little squished truth be told, but to Baertschi it looked epic and tasted even epicer.
"Food is really good," he laughed, between bites.
Four-weeks ago on December 9th Baertschi was hit by a puck in the face, suffering a fractured jaw. His timeline to return was four-to-six weeks and looky looky who's back in the line-up Sunday with the Canucks visiting the Canadiens in Montreal.
It's tough to say if Baertschi is more excited to return to the line-up or return to eating regular foods.
During the first three weeks of his recovery, Baertschi was limited to mushy foods that required little to no chewing. Smoothies were all the rage, as was eating in general.
"It was tough, I never had that full feeling, you know? I was eating everything I could, eating all the time. And I was losing weight. It didn't matter what I did. I'm glad that's behind me."
When Baertschi, whose conditioning never dipped and has taken part in two full practices and a game day skate with the team, got the opportunity to order off a menu like a human last Thursday night in Toronto, he didn't hesitate.
"Steak! I got a big steak and it was delicious. It was nice to have that full feeling back."
Baertschi had eight goals and 10 assists in 30 games before injuring his jaw. In the 11 games he missed, the Canucks went 2-7-2 with 28 goals for; they were shutout once and scored only a single goal in four of their losses.
Now that Baertschi has that full feeling back, hopefully he can give opposing goalies the same treatment. He'll play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin against the Canadiens, opting for black stick tape over his regular white in order to see the puck better through his jaw protector.
"It's all in the details…"