Edmonton Oilers’ Shawn Horcoff, right, battles with Vancouver Canucks’ Dan Hamhuis, 2, during the first period of the NHL hockey game in Edmonton on Sunday, February 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Ulan
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks will be without defenceman Kevin Bieksa for a second straight game when they host the Dallas Stars tonight.
Associate coach Rick Bowness confirmed after the morning skate the Canucks would go with the same defence pairings against the Dallas Stars as they did during their 1-0 win over Colorado on Wednesday night.
Bieksa is listed as day-to-day.
“We all know Kevin is one of the most fierce competitors in the league,” said Bowness. “He battles hard every shift. So to give him a few maintenance days is the proper thing to do â€” simple as that.”
Bowness declined to comment on the exact nature of Bieksa’s health problems, refusing to say whether he has an upper-body or lower-body injury.
“We’ll just go with the whole body â€” and mind,” said Bowness. “Give him a mental break, too.”
Bowness also declined to offer an update on injured winger Daniel Sedin, who has been out since suffering a concussion March 21 on an elbow to the head from Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith. The head shot resulted in a five-game suspension for Keith.
Reports have suggested Sedin is making good progress in his recovery and could be back in time for the playoffs. However, Bowness refused to confirm that he will be back soon, adding the winger remains day-to-day.
Meanwhile, Canucks winger Aaron Volpatti, out since early December with a shoulder injury that required surgery, skated hard on his own before the team’s morning workout. Volpatti, a 26-year-old Revelstoke, B.C., native, was expected to miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs, but Bowness said he could return ahead of schedule.
“He’s progressed well,” said Bowness. “You can’t rule him out. He’s improved. We want to make sure his conditioning has improved. If he’s ever given the green light, then we have him ready to go.”