Vancouver Canucks got defenseman Alex Edler back from a two-game suspension on Tuesday after he ran into goalie Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes last week. His return bolsters the Vancouver blue line as the Canucks attempt to keep pace with the Minnesota Wild at the top of the Northwest Division.
“He’s a huge asset for us offensively and defensively and he plays in all situations,” Canucks goalie Cory Schneider said, via the Vancouver Sun. “The ‘D’ did a great job standing in for him when he was out and we’ll gladly welcome him back.”
The Canucks entered Tuesday night having won four straight to stay in hot pursuit of the Wild, winners of six straight. Defense figures to play a major continued role in Vancouver’s chances at success, as the Canucks rank in the top 10 in goals allowed per game, even-strength goals allowed per game and shots allowed per game.
Edler’s contribution has been critical in his 30 games played this season, and his suspension was a subject of controversy despite only costing him two games. However, two games can mean everything in this division race.
The Province’s “The Legion of Blog” took particular issue with the merits of Edler’s suspension, writing that “Alex Edler is a first time offender and Mike Smith is a multi-time embellishment artist who would make a slew foot look like a head shot if given the opportunity.”
Now Edler is back on the ice as Vancouver turns its sights to the lockout-shortened NHL season’s stretch run.