Canucks Report: Welcome back Zack
The Canucks will welcome back Zack Kassian to their lineup tonight when they host the Canadiens at Rogers Arena.
Kassian missed the first five games of the regular season after being suspended for his high stick on Edmonton's Sam Gagner during a pre-season affair.
Kassian is expected to begin the game on Vancouver's third line skating alongside Brad Richardson and David Booth but, even though he's not starting in the top-six, head coach John Tortorella expects plenty from the returning forward.
"I hope he brings us some forechecking, a big body along the wall," said Torts. "He's a willing guy. I think it helps us slot some other people in other areas so we'll see how it all falls out and see how it sets up as the game goes along."
Kassian, for his part, knows he has plenty to prove to his new coach and to himself not only in his first game back but in the bigger picture as well.
"I haven't earned anything," said Kassian. "It starts tonight with my play. I have to take it a shift at a time and work hard and compete and do the little things I can do to be successful.
"I want to establish myself as a player. I want to have a bigger role and that all starts tonight. If I do the things I can and approach every game and every shift the way I can good things are going to happen."
Trickle down effect
The return of Kassian, along with the suspension to defenceman Alexander Edler which was announced on Friday, means there will be several changes to the look of the Canucks' lineup compared to the first four games of the season.
Kassian's return will result in Dale Weise dropping from the third line down to the fourth line in the spot where defenceman-turned-forward Yannick Webeb had been skating.
Weber, in turn, will still get a chance to face his former mates but back in his natural role as a blue-liner. He skated on Saturday morning alongside Ryan Stanton on the third pairing but might see some power play time tonight.
"It's especially nice to play against my old team," said Weber. "I have a lot of good friends on that team. It's a special night for me and I'm looking forward to it."
Torts, in the meantime, had no comment on the Edler suspension other than to state that the team will miss having him but will need others such as Weber to step up in his absence.
"He's a hell of a player," said Torts of Edler. "I've said to you guys everyday that you've asked about him. He's impressed me, but we don't have him and other people need to step in and take his minutes."
Injured forward Jordan Schroeder made an appearance at the Canucks morning skate as he slowly works his way back to full health.
Schroeder hurt his foot blocking a shot in a pre-season game against the Oilers but looks to be well on his way to recovery.
"It's getting better every single day," said Schroeder.
There's no timeline for Schroeder's return but the good news for the 23-year-old is that he says he is now pain-free.
"I think it's more just getting the foot muscles and that back," he added. "When you're not using it for so long they kind of go away and you don't realize how much you actually need them."
Chase for 800
Henrik Sedin's pursuit of 800 career points hit a snag on Thursday when he was held off the scoresheet in Vancouver's 4-1 loss to San Jose leaving the Canucks' captain still two points shy of hitting that milestone marker.
When he does finally reach that mark, he will become just the 10th active player to score 800 points with one club joining Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), Jarome Iginla (CGY), Jaromir Jagr (PIT), Teemu Selanne (ANA), Patrik Elias (NJ), Martin St. Louis (TBL), Vincent Lecavalier (TBL), Patrick Marleau (SJS) and Shane Doan (PHX).
He'll also become just the seventh Swede to amass 800 career NHL points joining a couple of former Canucks – Mats Sundin and Markus Naslund – in addition to Nicklas Lidstrom, Alfredsson, Peter Forsberg, Tomas Sandstorm and Thomas Steen.