Canucks forward Alex Burrows set to return tomorrow night

If there’s something that the Vancouver Canucks have been missing, aside from good health along the blue line, it’s the presences of all-around threat Alex Burrows. Burrows plays on the wing with the Sedin twins, he sets up on the power play, and he’s a legitimate threat to score when working on the penalty kill as well.

After going through off-season shoulder surgery, Burrows’ rehab has kept him out of action this season. That is, until tomorrow when it appears that Burrows will be set to rejoin the Canucks lineup. Gord McIntyre of the Vancouver Province gets the word from Canucks coach Alain Vigneault about Burrows’ status.

Tonight’s game marks the 10th and final game Alex Burrows has to sit out after being placed on the long-term injury reserve to start the season. He’ll play Tuesday.

“He’s fine, he’s ready to go,” Vigneault said. “I would not dare tell him he’s not playing Tuesday.”

Obviously Vigneault fears having to deal with the feisty Burrows and I can’t blame him as Burrows is a tremendous pain in the butt for opponents to deal with on the ice. The Canucks will have to do a little bit of salary work to be able to squeeze Burrows in under the cap and it looks like Alexandre Bolduc could move to LTIR in order to do that.

With Burrows returning, we can effectively put an end to the endless auditioning of players to put on a line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. Guys like Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson just did not work out well and getting Alex Burrows back on a line with them will help solve a lot of problems the Canucks have had with chemistry amongst line mates. Burrows will also add a bit more snarl to the team, something that’s been a bit lacking to start the year.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

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    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

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    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.