TORONTO - One day after witnessing teammate Henrik Sedin’s Olympic anguish, defenceman Dan Hamhuis practised fully with the Vancouver Canucks and said he will be on the ice tonight to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in Sochi to play for Team Canada next week.
Hamhuis missed two National Hockey League games this week after sustaining an undisclosed injury during the Canucks’ 2-0 loss Monday against the Detroit Red Wings. Adhering to team policy, Hamhuis declined Friday to talk about his injury except to declare he was “100 per cent” recovered.
“Yeah, I feel good,” the Canucks’ top blueliner said after practising.
“With the amount of injuries we’ve had on defence and the slump our team is in right now, as well as the Olympics coming up, I was pretty concerned after the Detroit game. I’m thankful the injury came around quickly.”
Hamhuis said he spoke with Sedin about the Olympics after his Swedish teammate withdrew from the hockey tournament on Thursday to allow injured ribs to heal before the resumption of the Canucks’ NHL schedule on Feb. 26.
“It’s real sad he doesn’t get his chance to go,” Hamhuis said. “Fortunately, he’s won it before (in 2006) and has gone twice. But any time you get a chance to go to the Olympics, especially with your brother, it’s a special thing. I think it was really tough for Henrik to make that phone call. I’m glad I didn’t have to make the decision. I was pretty anxious there for a couple of days.”
The Canucks, losers of six straight games in regulation time for the first time since 1999, have been anxious for weeks. Hamhuis is their best defenceman, but his return to the lineup still leaves Vancouver without four other blueliners.
Hamhuis and Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo will join Team Canada from Toronto. Other Canucks bound for Russia are centre Ryan Kesler (USA), winger Daniel Sedin and defenceman Alex Edler (Sweden), and defencemen Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber (Switzerland), although the latter’s status remains uncertain due to what is believed to be an upper-body injury.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets jumps in the way of Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks as he tries to score in second period action in an NHL game at the MTS Centre on January 31, 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Photograph by: Marianne Helm, Getty Images