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Elias Lindholm given maintenance day from Canucks practice, expected to play against Calgary on Saturday

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
28 days ago
Elias Lindholm didn’t participate in the Vancouver Canucks practice on Friday, but head coach Rick Tocchet says the veteran centre is expected to play on Saturday against Calgary. The coach also shot down any notion that Lindholm will require more days off in the run-up to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Just a maintenance day,” Tocchet said. “Just a couple of things there, so just a maintenance day.”
On Thursday, Tocchet first mentioned that Lindholm is playing through a nagging issue believed to be an upper body ailment.
Further proof of that may be the fact that Lindholm, a face-off ace when he’s at the top of his game, won just three of 13 draws in last night’s 4-1 win over Montreal. And it wasn’t like he simply didn’t match up well against any one particular opposing centre. Lindholm won one of six draws against Jake Evans, two of five against Alex Newhook and didn’t win either of his two face-offs against Nick Suzuki. Lindholm has a 59.9% success rate overall in 21 games since being acquired from Calgary at the All Star break.
Teddy Blueger skated in Lindholm’s spot at Friday’s practice centering a line with Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty. But Blueger may have simply been a placeholder with Tocchet expecting Lindholm to suit up against his former team tomorrow night.
“I don’t think this is going to be a problem, but we still have to keep an eye on certain players,” Tocchet said. “We want to win every game, but we also want to be smart. So we have to find out where we want to go with this.”
Lindholm and his linemates Mikheyev and Lafferty had a strong outing against the Canadiens with Lindholm and Mikheyev picking up assists on Nikita Zadorov’s game opening goal while Mikheyev and Lafferty combined to set up Zadorov for his second goal of the game.
For Lindholm, who was not available to the media on Friday, that was his first point in five games and just his eighth point since joining the hockey club.
In the event Lindholm can’t face the Flames on Saturday night, Teddy Blueger says he’s ready to step in and play wherever he’s needed.
“It’s pretty easy to do with the guys that we have here,” Blueger said. “I think we’re pretty deep at all positions, so regardless who you’re playing with I think it’s a fairly easy adjustment. As far as our team system, it’s all the same so that doesn’t change. And my game doesn’t change either. Honestly, I don’t think too much of it. Whatever happens going forward, it doesn’t really matter.”
The Canucks are already without Dakota Joshua and are walking a fine line when it comes to their forward depth if the team suffers another injury up front. It sounds, for the time being, like Lindholm is going to be able to play through whatever is bothering him. But it also sounds like a situation that is going to be worth monitoring in the weeks ahead. The bottom line is the Canucks need Lindholm as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

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