A Vancouver Canucks team that was finally healthy and rolling through the Western Conference suffered a setback on Tuesday when they found out star center Ryan Kesler will miss up to six weeks because of a broken right foot. Kesler had offseason shoulder surgery and had only recently returned to the lineup. In seven games, he had a goal and five points. Manny Malhotra and Kevin Bieksa also remain on the team’s injured list.
The Canucks are 10-5-4 and hold down first place in the Northwest Division. An 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday was possibly their worst outing of the season and was Roberto Luongo’s first regulation loss of the season. Vancouver also lost to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday by a 4-2 score. With Kesler out, young center Jordan Schroeder will likely get bumped back up to one of the top two lines and be given a chance to have a big impact. There’s also a chance that Andrew Ebbett gets called back up from the AHL Chicago Wolves.
In 568 career games (all with the Canucks), Kesler has scored 154 goals and 342 points. He scored 41 goals and reached 73 points during the 2010-11 season and still managed 49 points last season before getting injured. Thankfully, the Canucks have a break in the schedule until Saturday to get things sorted out. They will face the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames on back-to-back nights this weekend and try to get a few wins without Kesler.
They survived without him at the start of the season and must now prove they can do it again.