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Ehrhoff hopes to be back with Canucks

by Dave Lozo /
VANCOUVER -- There are few players who are completely healthy by the time the Stanley Cup Final rolls around. Canucks defenseman and free-agent-to-be Christian Ehrhoff admitted after Wednesday's 4-0 loss to the Bruins in Game 7 that he wasn't one of them.

Ehrhoff suffered a shoulder injury during Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. He said in order to play in the Stanley Cup Final, he needed to take a pain-killing injection in the shoulder before all seven games against the Boston Bruins.

The 28-year-old from Moers, Germany, was minus-7 with just one assist against the Bruins, but he showed the type of toughness teams covet. One of the top unrestricted free agents the Canucks possess said Wednesday that he wouldn't mind staying right where he is.

"It's a great group of guys," Ehrhoff said. "There's definitely a great chance to be back (in the Stanley Cup Final) again and I hope I can be part of that. My agent and (GM) Mike (Gillis) have to talk. We'll see where that leads."

The Canucks' three biggest decisions involving unrestricted free agents will come with their defensemen -- Ehrhoff, 30-year-old Kevin Bieksa and 36-year-old Sami Salo. Other notable free agents on which decisions will be made by Gillis include forwards Christopher Higgins, Raffi Torres, Jeff Tambellini and Tanner Glass.

Three restricted free agents -- Jannik Hansen, Maxim Lapierre and Victor Oreskovich -- round out the group.

Ehrhoff earned $3.4 million in the final year of his three-year deal he signed with the San Jose Sharks, who dealt him to the Canucks in the summer of 2009. It remains to be seen if the Canucks can afford Ehrhoff, but he thinks the future in Vancouver is bright.

"It's tough to say right now, for me, I think we'll be back," Ehrhoff said. "We'll learn from this experience."

Following the loss, Daniel Sedin was able to cut through his grief to say he believes that with the core of this team intact for the foreseeable future, there's no reason to believe this team can't get back to the Stanley Cup Final again.

"It's tough now, but I think we have a great group in here," Sedin said. "There's no question we're going to get back next year and be hungry again. Once you've been here, you want to get back. It's been a fun ride and we're a tight group."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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