Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Pius Suter returns to Canucks practice; still no timetable for return to lineup
2 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks had a familiar face on the ice with them at Friday’s practice at Rogers Arena. Pius Suter skated with the group for the first time since November 14th. The Swiss centre has missed a dozen games with what is believed to be groin injury. He last played on November 12th in Montreal and then practiced with the team at UBC two days later. That was the last time he took part in a team activity before being placed on the injured list.
Suter has skated on his own several times this week, but finally got the green light to rejoin the group for practice.
“It’s nice and a good feeling to be part of a team practice again and fun to be around the guys again,” Suter said.
Originally, the Canucks believed the injury wouldn’t keep Suter out of the lineup for long. But 10 days ago, Rick Tocchet revealed that Suter had suffered a setback of some sort. Given the nature of the injury, there was nothing Suter could do to speed the recovery process but heed the advice of the Canucks medical staff to remain patient.
“It kind of took a turn and I couldn’t do too much about it and had to kind of wait it out,” he explained. “It took a little bit longer, but that’s just how it is. Obviously, I missed a lot of games in that short of time. So definitely was looking forward to getting back on the ice.”
At the time of the injury, Suter had found his offensive touch scoring in four of the six games before he left the lineup. In the 15 games he’s appeared in, Suter has four goals and no assists. But his contributions to the team had run much deeper than his modest offensive totals. Suter had won 100 of the 180 face-offs he had taken (55.6%) and in 177 minutes at 5-on-5, he had been on the ice for five goals for and just two goals against. He had also proven to be a competent penalty killer and his absence along with that of Carson Soucy, who was hurt in the same game, has been felt.
While Suter was excited to be back around the group, the head coach was equally happy to see his injured player return to practice. However, Rick Tocchet was quick to caution that there is no definitive time table for Suter to get back into uniform.
“It’s been a long time for him and he’s ready to go in the sense that now he’s got a full practice and I’m a big believer in practice and getting guys in some sort of game shape and that’s what these practices are for,” Tocchet said. “He needs three or four of those before you even begin to evaluate him. But he’s close.”
Suter showed no signs of rust when he engaged in face-off battles with Teddy Blueger and JT Miller at the end of practice.
With three games remaining on this five game homestand, it’s unlikely Suter will return to the lineup before the Canucks head out on the road for a trip that begins in Minnesota on December 15th. But it certainly seems like he is now a candidate to travel and perhaps will find his way back into the lineup at some point during that stretch of away games.
Whenever he gets back into action, Suter is hoping he can pick up where he left off nearly a month ago.
“Obviously, when I get back, I want to take from those games, those last two weeks when I created a lot and had the scoring touch and hopefully continue from that point.
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