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Canucks Report: Mason in the middle

Friday, 01.03.2013 / 4:26 PM / Features
By Colin Hope
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Canucks Report: Mason in the middle

Alain Vigneault looks to have mixed up forward lines yet again as Mason Raymond slotted into the middle on the second line with Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins during Friday's practice.

While Raymond has played most of his career on the left wing, he said he has played centre before and isn't concerned the transition will be problem.

"It doesn't matter, there's a little different look going up the middle but it's nice that you can look both sides and check the wings," said Raymond, who has nine points on the season.

The 27-year-old has a history playing along side Higgins and Hansen which he says will simplify the change.

"Those guys work their butts off. They do very well on the walls and compete hard."

Alex Burrows, who has also moved from the wing to the centre position this season, doesn't think the speedy Raymond will have any trouble adjusting.

"He's got way more speed than I do, so if he uses that speed down the middle and he's able to be creative with puck and responsible with it at the same time he'll probably like it."

Vigneault made no guarantees the line will stay together following practice, only hinting they are a possibility for Saturday night's tilt with the Los Angeles Kings.

Sestito signs

The Canucks signed 6-foot-5 tough-guy Tom Sestito Friday morning on the heels of losing Aaron Volpatti off waivers to the Washington Capitals Thursday.

The 25-year-old Sestito had a pair of goals and 12 penalty minutes in seven games with the Philadelphia Flyers this season.

Vigneault expects the Rome, New York, native to arrive in Vancouver late Friday and should join the team on the ice for Saturday's morning skate.

Zack Kassian has a history with his newest teammate as the two fought last season while Kassian was still a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

"I'm sure we will joke about it, but that's the business," said Kassian. "He's a big body and with his strength and size he's going to be a good addition."

Sestito will be wearing #29, which was last worn by Aaron Rome, as well as former Canuck heavyweight Gino Odjick.

Schneider starts

Cory Schneider will be returning to the crease Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings, and is eager to get on a roll following some tough outings recently.

"It's not as if I'm way off, it's one save a game and its very doable and I'm very confident I can make that extra save," said Schneider.

With the Canucks heading into a stretch of 16 games in the next 31 days Schneider knows he will have the opportunity to get on a roll.

"We have a playoff type schedule coming up here, playing every other night more or less. It's going to be a challenging month for us."

Kevin Bieksa returned to the ice for practice Friday, skating alongside Cam Barker. It's the first time Bieksa has skated with the team since he left the game against Nashville with a groin injury during the Canucks last road trip.

He will be a game-day decision for Saturday's game with Kings.