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Scenes from Canucks practice: Dakota Joshua joins Miller and Boeser line; Lindholm absent again

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
22 days ago
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For the first time in six weeks, Dakota Joshua was a full participant in a Vancouver Canucks practice. And more than that, the big winger was dropped into a role in the team’s top six skating on a line with JT Miller and Brock Boeser as the club worked out at UBC on Wednesday morning.
Joshua, who suffered a hand injury in a late game fight in Chicago on February 13th, skated with the team on Sunday. However, then, he was sporting a non-contact jersey. Today, Joshua was a full participant suggesting he could return to the line-up on Thursday night when the Canucks host conference-leading Dallas at Rogers Arena.

What we saw

Joshua has missed 18 games and the team has gone 9-7-2 in his absence. While Joshua was a welcome sight at practice, Elias Lindholm was once again missing from action. Lindholm has now been forced to skip the team’s past three practice sessions along with Monday’s night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings with an undisclosed injury.
Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed Thatcher Demko on LTIR which freed up cap space to recall Arshdeep Bains from Abbotsford. Bains was among the extra bodies on the ice at Wednesday’s practice. In five games on his first NHL recall last month, the Surrey native did not look out of place, however he also did not manage to register a point. In 11 games since being returned to the American Hockey League, Bains has six goals and four assists in the minors and leads all Abbotsford skaters with 49 points on the season. Based on today’s deployment, it looks like Bains will be healthy scratch tomorrow night.
Other items of note from Wednesday’s practice included the reunion of Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek after the two were separated to start the game against the Kings. 
With Joshua back, Phil Di Giuseppe appears to be relegated to the sidelines again after starting Monday’s game alongside Miller and Boeser. With the team trailing, PDG saw just three third period shifts against the Kings.
Also, Pius Suter remains the left-shot bumper option on the team’s top power play unit despite scoring only one goal – an even-strength goal at that – in his last 24 games and only two power play goals all season.
The second unit featured two defencemen – Hronek and Myers – with Höglander, Garland, Podkolzin up front. That leaves PP2 without a natural centre which meant Conor Garland took a pair of draws on Monday and went 0/2 losing both of his face-offs to Phillip Danault. Of that second unit group, Hronek with a pair is the only one to score a power play goal this season and he has not cashed in with the man-advantage since November 25th against San Jose.

What we heard

Rick Tocchet with latest on Elias Lindholm injury: “I’m not really concerned. It’s something that’s a little nagging that’s getting better every day. That’s how you have to look at it.”
Tocchet on how much team has missed Dakota Joshua: “When you look at that LA game, he’s that guy that can get the puck around the net. And obviously the way over the last year how he’s gotten better and better. His season start didn’t go great, but he took the information. For that six, seven weeks or two months there, that line was cooking and he was a big reason for it.”
Dakota Joshua on whether he was out longer than he had anticipated: “I didn’t expect to be out that long, but once I learned more about it (the nature of the injury), it’s just part of the recovery process. Not being familiar with the medical terms, I didn’t expect to be out that long but it is what it is and happy that time is behind us now.”
Joshua on whether he regrets dropping his gloves late in a one-sided contest: “You never know what’s going to happen and that’s just how you play the game. I don’t regret it. It’s just unfortunate the way it turned out. But you have to stick up for your teammates. It’s part of the game.”
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