VANCOUVER - Winger Jannik Hansen returned to practice Wednesday and could be back in the Vancouver Canucks lineup as early as Sunday night.
Hansen was put on the long term Injured reserve list after suffering a shoulder injury when he crashed into the end boards in the first period of a game Oct. 22 against the New York Islanders.
Hansen is not eligible to return until he has sat out 10 games and that 10th game will be played Thursday night when the Canucks meet the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena. The Canucks next play Sunday night against the Dallas Stars.
““It’s feeling a lot better, obviously,” Hansen said. “It’s nice to skate with the team. I have been skating on my own for quite a while now so it’s definitely nice to be back.”
Hansen suffered the injury when he got tangled up with Islanders defenceman Brian Strait.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of time to brace myself so I was trying to get the head out of the way and I hit it a little awkward with the side of my shoulder,” Hansen said. “So it’s unfortunate, but I’m glad I didn’t go head first.”
Hansen’s return will certainly help the Canucks’ depth, which has been severely tested with injuries recently to David Booth, Dale Weise and Jordan Schroeder.
““He is versatile, he is a really good player, I can put him in all different spots,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said of Hansen. “Sure, we have missed him. But I’m not exactly sure when he’s going to play. He practised well today. He’s day to day and we’ll see where we go with it.”
KEEP SHOOTING: He has taken 26 shots this season and has yet to score a goal. So Alex Burrows thinks the law of averages is on his side.
“I normally average around 10 or 15 per cent (shooting percentage) so I just keep shooting and you hope every 10 shots you are going to get one,” Burrows said Wednesday. “You just have to keep shooting.”
It’s not like Burrows hasn’t had any chances. He’s had a number of blue-chip scoring opportunities, but has either missed the net or been robbed by the opposition goalie.
“It is a game of inches, I have been robbed a few times really close,” he said. “I know I have to score goals to help this team win. It’s coming.”
Burrows has played seven games since returning from a foot fracture suffered in Vancouver’s regular-season opener. He has played mainly on a line with Mike Santorelli and Chris Higgins.
“I think his game is going to get better, there’s still some rust there I believe,” Tortorella said of Burrows. “It has been a very good line, it has been a line that has had the puck for quite a bit of time in the games they have played together. . .I’m not worried about him, I think his game is going to get better and he is going to be a huge part of the team.”
FAMILY MATTER: Captain Henrik Sedin missed Wednesday’s practice due to a family matter, but Tortorella said he will play Thursday night against the Sharks.
Tortorella also indicated he’s tired of hearing the media discuss the big minutes he’s giving the Sedins and Ryan Kesler.
“I know people are up in arms here about all the ice time the Sedins and those guys are getting,” Tortorella said. “They are going to get it. That’s the responsibility of those types of players. They are not tired. I hope you guys don’t try to talk them into being tired. They are not tired. They thrive in those types of situations. That’s what your best players do.”
OT DILEMMA: The Sharks, who were 3-2 winners in overtime over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, held a short practice at Rogers Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Five of San Jose’s last six games have gone to overtime and three of those were decided via a shootout. Coach Todd McLellan was asked how he felt about an extended overtime, perhaps with some 3-on-3 play, so fewer games went to a shootout.
“We are here to entertain and I think 3-on-3 would be a very entertaining time,” he said. “But I think it’s hard on the players right now with the amount of travel, especially the West Coast teams, to add another five minutes on and if we get into 15 or 20 of those a season that’s a lot of extra time that takes its toll on the high-end players that have already played 23 or 24 minutes a night. When you get down to that 3-on-3 point, those are the players who are going to play.
“I am not a big fan of the shootout, either, but I don’t know what the solution is.”
CORSI SCHMORSI: McLellan is clearly not fan of advanced stats.
“I can’t tell you what a Corsi is, I can’t tell you what all these stats are,” he said. “I’m a simple guy from Saskatchewan. I rely on my eyes and my gut. Coaches in this league watch more video than ever before and they know their players as individuals, they don’t know them as numbers or stats.”
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