Torts: Booth’s AHL assisgnment ‘will fast-track him’

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David Booth’s conditioning assignment with the Utica Comets isn’t a way for the Vancouver Canucks “to send a message” to a player that needs a wake-up call, according to head coach John Tortorella.

Instead, it’s just “using your AHL team the proper way.” Which, in Booth’s case, is apparently to “fast-track” a player that’s missed the last four NHL games with a lower-body injury.

Booth, the oft-ailing winger who’s struggled offensively since joining the Canucks in a trade with the Florida Panthers, was sent to the Comets yesterday in a move that some deemed an ominous sign.

But again, the coach didn’t see it that way.

“He has to agree to this, and that shows his mind is in the right spot,” said Tortorella, per Ben Kuzma of The Province.

“He’ll get 20-23 minutes a game there and I can’t guarantee him that in our next four games. It will fast-track him.”

Booth’s agent, Mike Liut, saw it the same way as Tortorella.

“Conditioning assignments are designed for player’s in David’s position, the Canucks and David are taking advantage of the opportunity,” Liut wrote in an email to The Province.

The Canucks kick off a four-game road trip tonight in Phoenix.