Canucks' blueline depth a godsend

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 PM ET

What the Canucks have lacked this season in blueline injury luck, they've made up for in timing and depth.

When Alex Edler required back surgery in January, it freed up cap room for Sami Salo to make his return several games later.

Same goes for the emergence of rookie Chris Tanev just as the parade of defencemen to the injury bay increased.

So when Salo missed Tuesday's practice after being hit in his left elbow by a puck Monday, it was easy to assume the Canucks would catch some sort of break. To add to the premise, coincidentally, was the injured Kevin Bieksa participating in his first full practice with the team in just under a month.

"That's very presumptuous," said Bieksa when asked if he will slate into the lineup in Salo's absence. "I have to see how it feels tomorrow and we'll go from there."

The defenceman has missed 13 games with a fracture in his left foot and is not expected to return just yet, at least not Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche make their final visit to Vancouver this season.

"It's my first skate with the team, it went well but I still got a little ways to go," he said. "I don't think it'll be smart to push it a few extra days when I've been this patient so far."

Coach Alain Vigneault said it wouldn't make much sense to play Bieksa, saying the team needs to give him more time. As for Salo, his elbow is still numb from the shot and will be a game-time decision. The Canucks may opt to recall a defenceman from Manitoba if need be.

Back to Cory

Cory Schneider will make his 19th start of the season against an Avs team that has just one win in their last 19 games. The backup goalie has won four straight and is coming off a stellar 44-save performance last Thursday in San Jose.


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