Mats eyes Canucks debut

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

The wait could finally be over.

Barring any complications or a change of heart, Mats Sundin will be suiting up against the Oilers in Edmonton tonight.

"If nothing changes until tomorrow morning, I think it's a good chance I'll play," Sundin said yesterday. "If not, then obviously Friday unless I feel worse tomorrow morning or tonight."

The Swedish centre, who was signed as a free agent with Vancouver on Dec. 18, said that he felt fine the morning after his first full practice with the team Monday. In his second practice yesterday, Sundin again skated on a line with Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond.

During a 5-on-3 drill, Sundin played a few shifts with the Sedin twins.

The 6'5", 231-lb forward and the Canucks will not make anything official until after today's morning skate in Edmonton. But with all signs pointing to a debut tonight, look for Sundin to be used in a lesser role early on in order to assist his return from a nine-month NHL absence.

OTHER UPDATES:

Injured centre Ryan Johnson practiced with the team yesterday and according to coach Alain Vigneault, the penalty-kill specialist is probably a practice or two away from returning. The Thunder Bay native has been on the injured reserve list since Nov. 25 with a broken foot and hand.

As for defencemen Sami Salo, he briefly skated with the team the past few days, although he hasn't taken part in the practice. According to Vigneault, Salo, who is suffering from a broken rib, is a week or two away from making a return.


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