Blue-liner Jason Garrison rejoins locked-out Canuck teammates
Vancouver's newest free agent finished with rehab, drawing regular paycheques
Jason Garrison, formerly of the Florida Panthers, is chased by Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens during a National Hockey League game last March at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Garrison has since joined the Vancouver Canucks as a free agent.
Photograph by: Francois Lacasse, NHLI via Getty Images
Jason Garrison figures he couldn’t have picked a better time for his worst injury.
The National Hockey League defenceman, who joined the Vancouver Canucks in July on a six-year, $27.6-million free-agent contract, began skating with out-of-work teammates Tuesday at the University of B.C. after spending the first three months of the lockout rehabilitating a groin/abdominal injury.
Garrison revealed he has had similar injuries before, but not to the extent that he missed more than a few games.
Ironically, the player Garrison essentially replaces, departed free agent Sami Salo, had chronic groin problems and many other injuries during his time with the Canucks.
“There were things torn up there,” Garrison, 28, said after skating with a handful of teammates and players from the UBC Thunderbirds. “Previous to the summer, there was talk (about surgery) but this was something that doctors told me wouldn’t take too long to heal: ‘Just give it some time and it will go away’ kind of thing. But that wasn’t the case.
“It’s slightly different than a recurring thing for me. I’ve had issues the last few seasons, but haven’t missed many games because of them. I was able to play through (injury). This was just a little bit different. Kind of a different area and, obviously, it took a little more time.”
Garrison said in September that he thought he’d be able to play if the NHL season started on time on Oct. 11. But owners locked out players on Sept. 15, and Garrison spent three months receiving treatment — and paycheques — from the Canucks.
“I think any guy would rather be healthy,” he said. “Everyone wants to be playing. The situation was frustrating. I’ve had injuries over my career, but nothing that’s taken this long. The progress was very slow and it took a lot of time and focus.”
Garrison, who is from White Rock and played junior hockey in Nanaimo, has been in the NHL only 2½ seasons after going undrafted and developing his game in the minors. His 33 points in 77 games for the Florida Panthers last season included 16 goals. He was projected to be on the Canuck power play and log top-four minutes.
Garrison said he is glad his worst injury as a pro did not cost him any games.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun