Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun is reporting that Canucks winger Mason Raymond, who hasn’t been with the team since suffering a broken vertebra in the Stanley Cup final, practiced with his mates for the first time today. MacIntyre noted that Raymond skated with the main group and received a warm cheer upon leading the team in stretches — an understandable response, given what he’s experienced the last few months.
The injury occurred during Game 6 of the final on a hit from Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk:
The hit put Raymond in a back brace for six weeks and through months of discomfort and soft tissue problems. Even as late as September, the speedy winger was unsure if he’d be able to play again.
“I’m lucky to be standing here today with arms and legs moving. I’m still having some discomfort with some soft tissue,” Raymond told the Vancouver Sun two months ago. “Whenever you have something in that [spinal] area, you have a serous risk of having additional problems.”
While returning to practice was a major step in Raymond’s recovery, there’s still a ways to go. Vancouver assistant GM Laurence Gilman said Raymond “continues to progress” but that he joined the Canucks on road trip mainly to participate in some team-building exercises (they had their golf tourney at Trump National yesterday in L.A.; I’m assuming today was reserved for trust falls and cooperative puzzle challenges.)