He’s back (for now): Kesler to play vs. Wild tonight

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Ryan Kesler will return to the Vancouver lineup on Friday night when the Canucks host the Wild at Rogers Arena.

Kesler, the focus of great trade speculation over the last few days, missed Vancouver’s first game following the Olympic break with a hand injury suffered while playing for the U.S. in Sochi. The severity of said injury was originally unclear — reports claimed Kesler had been telling people it was broken — but the fact Kesler is now back after such a short time off only adds intrigue to the situation.

According to The Province’s Jason Botchford, Kesler was overheard saying “I hope my hand isn’t broken because that would impact my trade,” in Sochi. Read into that what you will (or take it for whatever you feel it’s worth), but it’s certainly interesting to see Kesler playing, not sitting, with just six days remaining until the NHL trade deadline.

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