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Happy Kevin Bieksa retirement day folks!
Yes, the day has finally arrived. Today, Kevin Bieksa officially retires from the NHL as a Vancouver Canuck.
He won’t be in the lineup — although given the state of the Canucks’ defence, it certainly must be tempting — but Bieksa did take part in morning skate in full gear, with his son Cole accompanying him to the Canucks’ bench.
The Canucks shared a video of Bieksa and his agent Cole meeting with general manager Patrik Allvin to sign the one-day contract.
“I don’t know if you saw me out there for morning skate, but I dominated,” Bieksa said to reporters following the skate.
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Bieksa also took a friendly jab at Quinn Hughes:
Here’s what we saw at that morning skate, as it pertains to the Canucks’ lineup tonight vs. the Anaheim Ducks.

Line rushes

Sheldon Dries was called up ahead of morning skate as the Canucks have decided to move Jack Studnicka to the wing. Nils Höglander appears to be the odd man out of the forward group — more on that later.
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Now for the defence pairings…
You’re not dreaming folks.
Jack Rathbone is out of the lineup once again, as is Kyle Burroughs.
And yes, that’s Riley Stillman now on the second pairing alongside Tyler Myers, after Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s less-than-spectacular performance Tuesday night against the Devils.
Rathbone has been in the lineup for three games this season. Two of those were wins. In fact, those are the only wins the Canucks have picked up this season. Rathbone has watched his team lose seven games from the press box this season, and tonight, he’ll have a chance of doing it again.
#FreeJack.

SCENES FROM MORNING SKATE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

What was said

Bo Horvat spoke at length about his one season playing with Kevin Bieksa, and since it’s Bieksa day, we’re going to include those quotes in full.
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“Honestly, Kev was one of probably one of my favourite teammates I’ve ever played with. I know it was only a year, it was only a short time, but I learned a lot from him in that short year. Just one of the most caring guys, he truly cares about every single teammate he plays with. For me as a young guy coming in, he held me accountable. When I was, you know, acting up or — I tried not to a lot in front of him — but I mean, he just always held me accountable, he always wanted the best out of me. He always kind of took me under his wing and pushed me to to work harder and to be in great shape. This team was in great shape when I came in and I definitely had a lot to learn and he was one of those guys that helped me get to that next level.
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“He’d rag on me all the time about being last in the two-mile run that year with Torts,” said Horvat when asked what his favourite memory of Bieksa is. “He brings it up all the time, but I mean, it’s just one of those things where I learned a lot from that and, you know, I think it pushed me to be a better hockey player. Even when I was you know, I was looking a little — we eat pretty good here — and my first year you know, when you’re not playing as much and, you know, maybe I was eating a little too much and I was kind of starting to pack on the pounds a little bit. He told me, he’s like, ‘Bo you can’t be doing what you’re doing right now at this pace.’ He kind of dialled me in in that way.”
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“With Kevin, he’s one of those guys who’s kind of the ultimate teammate. He’ll obviously stick up for his teammates and go to bat for anybody and plays hard every game. He played every game like it was his last and is obviously a vocal guy in the room, and to have a leader like that recognized for all he’s done for this organization, to come back and do this tonight, it’s special for him. It’s special for the organization and we’ve been really lucky to have him here.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed that Spencer Martin will get the start in goal tonight.
Boudreau also talked about his decisions on the blue line tonight.
“I think you’re just looking for something that fits, like that’s the best thing,” Boudreau said. “I mean, I think Stillman is a stay-at-home defenceman. He just does all the simple things and might be good with Tyler. Bear, he just you know, he’s a little more active than Tyler, he’s a little bit better skater, and, and he might be good with Ekman-Larsson, but unless you try them, you don’t know.”
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Puck drop between the Ducks and Canucks is at 7 PM Pacific from Rogers Arena tonight.