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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Game Day Post: Canucks at Predators

Kevin Bieksa played for the Manitoba Moose last night, and by all accounts, looked pretty darn good and looks ready to get back into the Canucks' lineup (Adam Wazny, Winnipeg Sun).
Bieksa wasn't sure of his status after Manitoba's 2-1 overtime victory over the Chicago Wolves last night but the team confirmed he will be going back to Vancouver today. The Canucks play in Nashville tonight.

Bieksa showed why he's such a big part of the Canucks future with his cool robust style. He mixed right into the action, starting the game on the point and making a point to get involved -- as evidenced by the way he hammered former Moose Jesse Schultz twice to the ice before the game was two minutes old.

The Grimsby, Ont. product took a regular shift, killed penalties and spent significant time on the power play. Bieksa took a minor penalty and counted an assist on Pierre-Cedric Labrie's second period goal.
It's been four months since Bieksa last played in the bigs. It was a long road back, and truthfully, I'm surprised he even came back this season. Shows you what I know.

Ed Willes (Vancouver Province) has a nice piece on his return:
So, now that Bieksa's return to the Canucks lineup is so close he can feel it, he can laugh about everything that's happened and, when pressed, even see the positive things.

But way back in November, when his wife Katie broke the news that Bieksa was going to be out a lot longer than the week or two he envisioned, he didn't feel that way. Mostly he felt scared and confused about why this was happening; why something so freakish could derail his season and possibly his career.

"It's the worst part of the game," said Bieksa of his recovery. "It's slow. It's monotonous at times. But the closer you get the easier it is. This week is easier than last week and last week was easier than the week before. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

It's been a long time coming.
Knock on wood, the Canucks will have their top-four defensemen back in the lineup for the first time since November 1st either tonight in Nashville or Saturday against Detroit. They've weathered the storm - they have a decent 25-14-8 record since November 1st - and, at least on the back end, they're finally getting healthy. Having Bieksa back at this time, the Canucks are basically adding a top-four defenseman close to the trade deadline without giving up assets, and hopefully, should provide the team with a jolt over the stretch run.

More from the MSM:
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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:06 AM