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Kesler “good to go” for Canucks, will play Tuesday

Oct 17, 2011, 4:20 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler and Selke Trophy Getty Images

Nude model Ryan Kesler is “good to go” and will be back in Vancouver’s line-up tomorrow when the Canucks host the New York Rangers.

The Selke Trophy winner has been sidelined since undergoing off-season hip surgery. Kesler had optimistically hoped to be back for the start of the regular season, but soreness wouldn’t allow him to return. In fact, many thought he would be out until November.

The Canucks shipped rookie defenseman Chris Tanev to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL in order to open up a roster spot. The move wasn’t indicative of Tanev’s play; they just didn’t want to lose anyone to waivers, and Tanev can be moved up and down freely.

What will be interesting to watch now is what the Canucks do with Cody Hodgson. The much-touted (and similarly much-maligned) prospect has played well in Kesler’s absence, but finds himself on a team with four NHL centers (Kesler, Henrik Sedin, Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre).

Malhotra has taken a few shifts on the wing this season, and that could be one way to keep Hodgson up, if that’s what the organization decides to do. However, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault still doesn’t seem completely sold on Hodgson’s NHL readiness.

“He’s doing some things out there that we like as far as things to do with the puck,” Vigneault said last week. “There are certain areas he needs to get better at and we’ve discussed it with him. You’ve got a young man there who really wants to work hard and try to find his way on a consistent basis in the NHL.”

But that’s getting ahead of things. In the meantime, the Canucks will just be happy to have Kesler back. Secondary scoring has been a glaring issue over Vancouver’s first five games — Canuck forwards have combined for 11 goals, six of them courtesy the Sedins and Alex Burrows, the three players who comprise the top line.

  1. Nowhere Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    This is where I have an issue with Vigneault. I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder re: “talented” players. What I mean by that is he’d like to give a solid hard working plug a shot before pricey talent. I think he feels he’s giving them the shot he never got but when in actual fact they just aren’t good enough.

  2. babar61 - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Just hope they arn’t rushing this….Vancouver is deep enough to wait until he is %100

  3. canucks18 - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    1. Who is the plug you’re talking about??
    2. I think Hodgson needs to move to a wing, for 2 reasons which are less defensive responsiblilty than when at centre and less faceoffs. Why would you move one of the best in the league(Malhotra) ???

  4. Nowhere Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Doesn’t apply in this case. Past hard working plugs include. Guillame Desbiens, Alex Bolduc, Aaron Rome.

    Kesler isn’t a plug obviously.

    CoHo has been one of their better players to start the season and AV’s comments seem to belie that fact.

  5. wombat2thereturn - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    i for one can’t wait to see Hodgson finally playing with a guy who can move and handle the puck better than him (i.e. Nude Boy Kes)….should be fun to watch, plus there’ll be a backup face-off man if Kes gets waved out. throw in higgins, who seemed to gel with Kesler in the playoffs, and the Canucks may have a 2nd line again.

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