Canucks’ Hamhuis hopes to return prior to the all star break

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After tonight’s meeting with the Florida Panthers the Vancouver Canucks have five games prior to the NHL all-star break and defenseman Dan Hamhuis hopes to be ready to play in at least one of those games.

The 32-year-old has been out of the Canucks lineup since Nov. 20 due to a groin tear.

“It’s been feeling really good, been skating for a while now and finally made a step to skate with my teammates,” said Hamhuis per The Vancouver Province. “The goal is to play in a couple of games before the (start of the) All-Star break (Jan. 20). But it’s hard to say an exact game. I’ll practice with the team tomorrow, will be going on the road and hopefully get into one of the games there.”

Hamhuis, who will miss his 19th game tonight, says he’s benefitted from working with sport physiotherapist Rick Celebrini – hired by the Canucks this season.

“We’re really fortunate to have Rick Celebrini as part of the team,” said Hamhuis. “He does a lot of work with movement training and positioning the body to be in a safe position. It’s not going to be effective unless I can translate it from the gym to the ice.

“That’s where we brought (skating coach) Barb (Aidelbaum) in and (team skills coach) Glenn Carnegie as well.”

Hamhuis had six assists and a minus-5 rating while averaging over 20 minutes in ice time in 20 games prior to the injury.