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Scenes from Canucks practice: Demko back on Rogers Arena ice; Lindholm a possibility for Wednesday vs Coyotes

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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If Rick Tocchet had a wish for his 60th birthday, it would likely include the return to action of his star goaltender Thatcher Demko. The Vancouver Canucks head coach who is celebrating his 60th today won’t get that wish for Wednesday’s game against Arizona, but Saturday in Edmonton isn’t out of the question.
Exactly one month to the day since being injured in a March 9th game against Winnipeg, Demko returned to the ice at Rogers Arena on Tuesday. He worked with goalie coach Ian Clark prior to practice and then stuck around and joined his teammates as they filtered onto the ice. Demko was one of three netminders taking part in the 45-minute long session. He faced line rushes in the early part of practice, but for his own protection left as the team worked on netfront and battle drills in and around the blue paint.
This was all part of the prescribed program Demko is on as he works his way back to full health. He skated after practice on the team road trip last week and is now ramping up his involvement for a return to game action that could come as early as Saturday.
Demko was not made available to the media on Tuesday, but Tocchet called the day a success.
“We have a schedule and a plan with him and today was probably like taking part in 60% part of the practice and probably next will be 70 and we’ll just gradually go from there,” the coach said. “It was a full practice for him with some limitations. It was good. We had a good day. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. That’s the approach you have to take right now.”

Lindholm motivated to make his mark in the playoffs

While Demko is not an option for Wednesday against Arizona, the Canucks may get Elias Lindholm back. The veteran Swede participated fully in Tuesday’s practice. Lindholm has missed seven games with a wrist injury, but is considered a possibility to face the Coyotes.
“I feel good, obviously I want to get back into playing,” he said after practice. “I tried to battle through it (injury), just couldn’t do it any more. It was a good time to let it heal and hopefully get back pretty soon.”
Whenever he gets the green light to play, Lindholm would like the opportunity to play centre. He was used briefly on the wing in the team’s top six, but he sees himself as a centre and believes that’s where he can bring the most value.
“I think I’m more used to playing centre, but that’s up to the coaches to decide where they think I’m the best fit,” he said. “I’m most used to centre. That’s where I’ve played the last couple of years. But I can play pretty much wherever.”
With five goals and nine points in the 22 games since he was acquired from Calgary at the All Star break, Lindholm is the first to admit that between the lack of the points and the injury things have not gone as anyone had hoped. But he says he’s motivated to change the narrative around his time as a Canuck and knows there’s no better place to do that than the playoffs.
“I came here to do something good in the playoffs and obviously so far in the regular season it hasn’t worked out, so I’m pretty excited to get this thing going,” he explained. Everyone in here is excited for what is to come. I’m motivated and I feel good and confident, so hopefully I can be back playing soon and play a couple of games and get going and be ready.”

Practice notes

The Canucks gave scoring leaders JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes the day off to rest after Monday’s emotional 4-3 win over Vegas. All are expected to play in Wednesday’s game against Arizona.
Tocchet said someone filled his office with balloons to mark his 60th birthday.
The coach wouldn’t confirm his starting goalie for Wednesday’s game but conceded that Arturs Silovs could get a second straight start.
The Canucks wore black skate practice gear ahead of their final scheduled wearing of the alternate jersey for this season tomorrow night.
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