Hamhuis ‘hopeful’ to play on road trip; Canucks could really use him

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From The Province’s Ben Kuzma:

That, of course, would be Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who’s been out with a groin injury since Nov. 20. The Canucks are being cautious with the Team Canada blue-liner, not wanting to risk a re-injury by putting him back into the lineup too early. But at the same time, they’ve won just five games in their last 14, and talk of another second-half collapse is gaining steam.

“We’ve really missed his presence,” coach Willie Desjardins said of Hamhuis.

One player in particular that’s missed his presence is veteran Kevin Bieksa, who’s been paired with one of Ryan Stanton or Luca Sbisa since Hamhuis has been out. No disrespect to those two, but they’re not nearly the caliber of Hamhuis, and it’s shown. Stanton and Bieksa have especially struggled as a duo.

After tomorrow’s game in Nashville, Vancouver makes stops in Philadelphia, Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay, before getting a week off for the All-Star Break and starting a six-game home stand.